Gabriel Beristain, ASC, BSC, AMC Puts New Stock to the Test
As soon as Fujifilm introduced its ETERNA Vivid 160T, cinematographers embraced the new stock for its bold contrast and color rendition. Likewise, Vivid 500T expanded the shooting options for those interested in using Vivid's imaging characteristics in lower-light conditions. Now, Fujifilm has added a 250 daylight balanced emulsion and asked the director of photography Gabriel Beristain, ASC, BSC, AMC to put it through its paces.
“I didn't know the Vivid stocks very well so I went in without any preconceived ideas,” says Beristain, who put together the test, which was based around the concept of young people auditioning their performing skills. “Before anything I considered the conditions in which 250 Daylight was the most appropriate film stock to use. Often, I find that kind of stock especially valuable if you want it for day interiors with mixed light conditions. Maybe you have tungsten fixtures inside and you can't use Condors to put big tungsten units through the windows. A daylight stock handles the window light without that horrible blue cast you have to worry about with a tungsten-balanced film and you can get a nice warm glow from tungsten bulbs without having to gel or dim them.”
Beristain tested the Vivid 250D's response to a mixture of skin tones and color temperatures.
Beristain shot interiors inside the historic Park Plaza hotel in downtown LA. The interiors presented a mix of window light and tungsten practicals already and he augmented the lighting and helped to slightly even out the color temperature differences with a few additional units. After printing the material at FotoKem, Beristain checked the results. “The mixed color temperatures didn't introduce a radical color shift,” he says. “I would have liked to punch some extra light through the windows but it wasn't possible. I was concerned the scene might look flat but I was pleased that the Vivid still gave me strong contrast.”
The cinemaotographer wanted to demonstrate the ability of the stocks to render strong contrast even with a purely photochemical finish.
He notes that a stock that can transition easily between exterior and interior is particularly valuable on a lot of today's fast-moving action shows. “Directors and cinematographers like to be able to move the camera freely and it can be particularly effective and rewarding to follow characters from interior to exterior or vice versa in the same take.”
Beristain liked the Vivid 250D so much that he shot his next commercial with it. The spot for Comcast stars their spokesperson, Modern Family's Sofia Vergara, who cheers up a bored family by bringing Comcast service into their house.
The commercial, says Beristain, involves interiors, exteriors and mixed conditions and he was delighted with Vivid's performance throughout. “Sofia looked fantastic,” he says. “In spite of having more contrast than some other stocks, Vivid is definitely good for portraiture. Skin tones reproduce beautifully.”