More than just some fan boy’s shaky footage of whatever knick-knacks happen to be on the cupboard at the moment… Shane Hurlbut gives us a preview of his workflow when testing out a camera for a serious production – looking at the way it handles noise, skin tones, and how contrast ratios will influence the emotion of the scenes being shot.

Shane Hurlbut Camera Tests Black Magic Cinema

“Skin Tones and Fill Ratio”

This is one of my favorite tests because it shows you and the director how the camera will handle underexposure on the fill side of your actor or actress’ face. We have our model and we will go down in fill ratio levels a 1/2 of a stop at a time. Quickly you can see what level that you might like, but is that level right for your scene or your story?

“The WHY with Fill Ratio”

Creating the emotion, the mood and the tone of a scene that will ultimately transpose onto the actors’ faces is very important. Finding that fill ratio that brings about a HAPPY emotion, or a TENSE emotion, or one that is a FEARFUL emotion is critical. Your level of light on the down side, fill side of his or her face is important to help with both storytelling and delivering the emotions that the director wants to convey.

The level that you like might be way too bright for the director or much too dark. The reason for these tests is so that you can establish a visual language with your director. Once you have agreed on this, you know exactly the way to proceed with the lighting plans.

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Nick Paris

The Skin Tone test was crazy. The first shot, that bright skin tone made the emotion of that shot happy and triumphant almost, where as the Second Shot, that grey paled look made the emotion of that shot sad as if she was a ghost or something. Loved the difference you can produce with that camera

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