I’m looking forward to the next step in this conversation, as the topic is a very interesting one.
AFC Lens Conference
Promoted as a conference, this turned out to be a screening of two extremely thorough and extensive lens tests that the AFC has performed over the last 5 years. In the first round, executed 4 or 5 years ago, 31 different s35 lenses were tested in a well thought out set, in which highlight detail, shadow detail, depth of field, flare, halation, focus breathing and many other characteristics were clear to discern. The second test, performed in 2021, did the exact same thing, but now with full frame lenses.
What made this a fun exercise was the fact that all lenses had received a two letter codename and the audience got pen and paper to keep notes on your observations during the screening. I have to admit that sitting through 2x 31x 1,5 minutes of the same 2 shots is tedious, especially as it was just that, showing the recordings, with no sound or commentary. Nonetheless I found it incredibly fascinating to see all the differences.
The most striking observation: s35 lenses come in all kinds of different flavours whereas full frame lenses are a lot of different iterations of vanilla and a few more exotic flavours.
I touched base with Pascale Marin from the AFC after the session to see if she would be willing to share the DCP of these tests with other societies. The AFC is very open to this idea, so I hope to host a screening of these tests for NSC members sometime later this year.
HDR On-Set Workshop
Hosted by BandPro, a Munich based reseller of cameras and peripherals, a small set was built in which colorist Felix Hüsken, DIT Christian Saure and make-up artist Julia Schlotke showed participants of the workshop what to pay attention to when shooting for HDR, and how to correctly monitor for HDR, both when you are fortunate enough to have HDR monitoring on set and when you don’t have that option. I especially had a great conversation with Julia Schlotke about the impact that sharper lenses, higher resolution and higher dynamic range have had on her work over the last decade.
On display were some of Small HD’s current monitors: the 350 nit limited 24” OLED and the 1000 nit 24” Vision series. Even though the list price on these models is still very steep, Small HD finally gives us hope that HDR monitoring on set will be something within reach even for lower budget productions in the next few years. The image quality and tracking of the PQ curve on both these monitors is stunning. Nonetheless, using these monitors on set still comes with its set of intricacies that you need to be aware of before deploying HDR monitoring on set.
Metamerism & Metameric Failure
As closing act, Dirk Meier (renowned colorist and world-class teacher) treated us with a full blown magic trick that would play very well at a Las Vegas residency show. With the use of a white sheet stolen from the hotel, a tungsten light source, an LED light source and a bag filled with bell peppers, Dirk managed to explain a very abstract yet important facet of color science in an easy and convincing manner. The details of the experiment go a bit too deep for this writeup, but it boiled down to being a very convincing demonstration of everything that Philippe Ros and David Stump had warned for in their opening session, which brought the entire show full circle. I’m hopeful we will find a good place at a future NSC event to replicate this magic trick, as it is definitely worth seeing it in real life.
Combine all of the above with great conversations, German sized beers and Bavarian cuisine and it is easy to imagine that these were two very fruitful and educational days but equally exhausting.