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  1. #1 Lighting bill plumets using EPIC. 
    Senior Member Mark Toia's Avatar
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    Hi Everyone,

    I've finished all my EPIC tests a couple of days ago, I'm back on the horse working on another project in Jakarta this time. (never at home these days)

    We are working on a few quotations out of the US, Europe and Asia at the moment and we often go back to older jobs for reference.
    One thing that dawned on us the other day was how our lighting (gaffa) quotations have plummeted over the last 12 months. We still hire Gaffas but really.. hardly any gear comes out any more. Well only a small percentage of what we did use.
    The latitude and range of the chips these days are so bloody good in hi contrast situations and low light situations that large lamp fill is almost non existent anymore. In Shots were I'd throw up an 18k without even thinking twice to fill a shot under a tree through a 20x20 trace... gone. Generator gone, best boy gone... time delays waiting to set it all up also gone... Trucks have turned to Vans, Hmi's turned to small LED panels or bounce boards...

    Example from EPIC...

    http://www.zoomfilmtv.com.au/ftp/Dyn...i_contrast.mov

    Now what is really sad about this is that I have many good friends with huge lighting trucks. Great guys, been using them for years!, but it's really taking it's toll on that industry.
    I think we should all support our lighting guys. Even if we don't need them anymore. It's up to them to modify what they own or have in there trucks, but it's up to us to keep them employed.
    Mark Toia
    Director / DP / Founder of Zoom Film & Television


    www.toia.com

    www.zoomfilmtv.com.au
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  2. #2  
    All that latitude or speed doesn't really help much when you have to recreate daylight after the sun has gone down. If you need to create sunlight falling through a big window, you are still going to need a big lamp, it just might be a 6K HMI instead of a 12K HMI. The reasons you use big lights are not necessarily due to the speed of the camera or the latitude, you use them to substitute for big sources in real life, like a big sky or the sun, where a tiny light isn't going to create the same feeling. Sure, if I can rate a camera at 1000 ASA instead of 500 ASA, I can either use a lamp half as bright or I can stop down the lens by one-stop, and that's convenient. But the need for large units to recreate sunlight on a large scale, or light a large area at night (let's say a field in the middle of the country lit for moonlight) doesn't go away just because the speed of the camera has improved or the latitude.

    I would say that the decrease in the amount of lighting being used is just as much due to stylistic trends (greater interest in available light photography), and/or budgetary concerns, as is due to technology.

    The Epic is fast, and so is the Alexa, and that's great, but let's not exaggerate what another stop of sensitivity gains you in terms of the need for lighting a scene.
    David Mullen, ASC
    Los Angeles
    http://www.davidmullenasc.com
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  3. #3  
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    haha, that's maybe a little extreme... i love lights and i'd hate to see them go, but as david mentions, i do love working with the environment a little bit as well using some available light as the starting point. lighting is without question the most important thing to capturing images in many ways. without light, we wouldn't be able to survive of course, and neither we or our cameras could see anything. but really, being able to sculpt light is a huge factor in storytelling and in creating beautiful artwork. sometimes that doesn't take much, and sometimes that means the big boys bringing the big lights. they'll be okay as long as they are dedicated and listen to wisdom and the winds of change blowing.
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member Christian Munoz D's Avatar
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    Mark,
    I agree with David. I think stylistic situations and recreation of light on specific scenes is reason enough to keep our electrical department working safe for a very long time...
    Christian Muñoz-Donoso

    Equilibrio Films, LLC
    cmunoz at equilibriofilms dot com
    Studio: +1 646-397-9498
    Massachusetts, USA


    www.ChristianMunozDonoso.com
    www.EquilibrioFilms.com
    www.WildViewSeries.org
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  5. #5  
    Senior Member J Davis's Avatar
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    hey Mark a quick question ... is that with or without HDRx ?
    J.Davis
    jdMAX.com
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  6. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Mullen ASC View Post
    All that latitude or speed doesn't really help much when you have to recreate daylight after the sun has gone down. If you need to create sunlight falling through a big window, you are still going to need a big lamp, it just might be a 6K HMI instead of a 12K HMI. The reasons you use big lights are not necessarily due to the speed of the camera or the latitude, you use them to substitute for big sources in real life, like a big sky or the sun, where a tiny light isn't going to create the same feeling. Sure, if I can rate a camera at 1000 ASA instead of 500 ASA, I can either use a lamp half as bright or I can stop down the lens by one-stop, and that's convenient. But the need for large units to recreate sunlight on a large scale, or light a large area at night (let's say a field in the middle of the country lit for moonlight) doesn't go away just because the speed of the camera has improved or the latitude.

    I would say that the decrease in the amount of lighting being used is just as much due to stylistic trends (greater interest in available light photography), and/or budgetary concerns, as is due to technology.

    The Epic is fast, and so is the Alexa, and that's great, but let's not exaggerate what another stop of sensitivity gains you in terms of the need for lighting a scene.
    Yes, I 100% agree - but you could also use the brand new Big Eye and put a Joker bug in it. You really must try the Big Eye David. You will fall in love. I just did (and am really excited to actually be able to share a useful tip with you, as you have given me so very many.)

    However, the Big Eye won;t help much when you're fighting or re-shaping daylight - sensor sensitivity does not change the fact that daylight is what it is, and to fight it you need something of similar strength.

    I'd also add that while I've been extremely impressed by much of Marc's work, that demo shot looks like an after-effects save, and the trick looks a bit weird. It would look way better had it been lit properly. If we were closer to the man's face, the weirdness of the After-Effects (or whatever soft was used) save would be even more pronounced, as we can always tell when facial lighting looks off. Tracking these kinds of cheats with a moving camera would have it become an even more difficult trick, in the end likely more expensive than on-set lighting because post is not free.

    A very highly placed editor at a fashion mag once told me "The best photographers of course use Photoshop like everybody else, but when they're shooting they pretend it doesn't exist."

    Also, some "rebel DPs" might like lots of doco-ish "natural" lighting, but audiences don;t. Generally unlit-looking movies and TV shows flop (with a few very rare exceptions, most of them in TV), and studios have been studying this.
    Last edited by Rob Ruffo; 06-05-2011 at 10:27 PM.
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  7. #7  
    I'm just sensitive to any re-emergence of the old "with digital you don't need to light anymore" sort of line of thinking...
    David Mullen, ASC
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    http://www.davidmullenasc.com
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  8.   This is the last RED TEAM post in this thread.   #8  
    Red Leader Jannard's Avatar
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    My bet is that the truth lies somewhere in the middle... you need to light, but you can light with less with EPIC. EPIC does not solve every problem, it just makes life a bit easier.

    Jim
    "The camera is arguably one of the most important of all inventions… it is the single tool that has the ability to stop time, record history, generate art, tell stories, and communicate messages that transcend language like nothing else ever conceived."

    "Everything in life changes... including our camera specs and delivery dates..."

    We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone with a bad attitude.
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  9. #9  
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    Yeah '...somewhere in the middle' sounds good. But I do share Mark's joy. It's great to know that you pull out the detail if you need to. Especially if it's over a wide area where it's impossible to light. So many times I've been asked to shoot in a large, dark apartment, but they also want to see the view. So I guess, I can still use lights to shape the shot, give things an edge etc.. But it's great to know that when the client springs an unscheduled shot last minute, and you may not have the lighting for it (this happens alot on budget shoots), or you're not allowed to set up light at all (safety reasons) then thank goodness for Epic.
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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Mullen ASC View Post
    I'm just sensitive to any re-emergence of the old "with digital you don't need to light anymore" sort of line of thinking...
    I agree with that issue as well. It's kind of like dealing with filmmakers who believe you can "re-light in post," which in a way you can, but it's a lot more organic (and more pleasing, I think) to get it right on the set.

    There's also the old axiom of great lighting being about placing shadows, so it's not simply getting a camera (or film stock) that's so sensitive, you need less light (or all natural light). Dynamic range and key-to-fill ratios are still significant issues, and only an experienced DP can control these.
    marc wielage, csi • colorist/post consultant • daVinci Resolve Certified Trainer
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