Capture the adventure!
1988 advertisement of one of Philips' first VHS shoulder pads… just those thirty years ago…
Of course they were images with a gain (an artificial gain) that even on the first phones you could not see… yet for the time it was magic.
Today we find ourselves in a series of contradictory situations that many do not explain, ultra-sensitive cameras such as the recent Sony Alpha that range over 200,000 iso (we speak of two hundred thousand) providing more than decent images if there is a minimum of light, while more professional rooms come to 800-1600 asa le bmc, 3200 asa le Arriflex and Red , which most people don't explain.
The questions that arise spontaneously are:
– why don't such emblazoned companies do it if Sony does?
Do you really need to have this brightness beyond the human?
Honestly at the first question I can not give an answer, or rather, I can only make assumptions, related to the type of technology that lies behind the cameras, and why you do not feel the need to get to sensibilities so crazy, since even with the film in cinema you stop with the 500 Asa produced by Kodak.
What is the use of a greater sensitivity of film or sensor?
The speech might be very articulate, with lots of nostalgic speeches, but I like to be practical.
Cinema is made with light, so to me talk of lowlight shooting without lights or anything I do not give much, especially because they rarely come well even with ultrasensitive sensors, lack the reflections of light in the right places, the games of light and shadow, many things that seem natural, but that are finely constructed by the directors of photography.
A more sensitive sensor helps you work better in certain situations, point …
Let's dispel some myths about natural light?
- The recent Revenant with photograph of the Oscar-winning Lubensky was shot in natural light, did not use additional lights…
more or less, it made extensive use of reflective panels, it exploited various natural fires and lights, and it seems that during the colorgrading phase they massaged the images a lot to enhance and amplify much the contrasts of light and the various shades of the images.
Anyway, being a lover of Golden hour, that sunset time interval when there is a magic light, I know that you can get a result very close to that, but if only Inarritu could afford it, because that interval lasts a few minutes… to make the most of it they went as far north as possible to be able to find the places with a longer duration than the Golden Hour.
- If I have light, that's enough, why add light?
often the problem is not the amount of light, but the distribution between areas of light and shadow, the direction, which if wrong spoils the face of actors and actresses, the risk is that the background is brighter than the foreground, so you have to lighten the foreground in order not to burn the background, which is bad to see
- If the sensor is sensitive why do I have to use light?
the sensor can be sensitive but not to all light, but only at certain frequencies, so the more we go on the low light, the more you lose some light color frequencies, so even if the sensor is more sensitive it is likely that the colors it can capture are less intense, or worse, that loses some, which means that the images will be poorer and especially limited
- Why do you use films that are less sensitive to cinema, why should you use less iso in recovery if there are any?
For a matter of final image quality, when chemical or electronic sensitivity rise, the image worsens by increasing contrast, reducing the finely captured details, so native ISOs or Asas of a sensor or film are always used and do not "pull" in any way. In film to capture more light, the grains must be larger and have a change capacity at the harder exposure, so they quickly become more visible, but offer greater contrast, and the capture of light becomes coarse.
Similarly, in digital information is amplified, but if it is few, when you amplify it increases the contrast and therefore highlights the image but also the noise itself.
Update 2020 : I am pleased to note that certain topics I covered are taken up years later by the well-known RedSharkNews