Happy Independance Day!
For a long time now, I’ve been doing my own tests when it comes to cameras and other gear that I would use on my films.
Amongst these, the most common one is a Latitude test. Like the name suggests, it’s a test that shows me the latitude of the film stock or sensor. Usually different camera manufacturers / film stock manufacturers put out the results of the tests that they have done that determines the latitude, but I like to do it myself, so it’s tested under conditions that I know that I’ll be using the said film stock / sensor.
I devised my own kind of test from the many tests I had done when I used to shoot analog, on film. These were done whenever a new film stock was released or mostly before the start of a feature film.
Why would I need to do these tests?
Well, for one - so I could get to know the advantages and disadvantages when I shoot with a particular film stock, and two - most importantly, whether it worked for the story that I was about to shoot.
The same goes for Digital Cameras. In my mind, the different camera sensors are like different film stocks with varied characteristics of their own. Once I know the limitations of the sensor or a stock, then I can push or pull it to a point where it works best for a particular story.
Also, I’ve forever been curious about new cameras and gear coming up in the market. So, in a way, doing these tests also keeps me up to date with the ever-changing technologies in our industry. I’m still way behind, but I do hope to catch up someday.
But I used to wonder if I’m doing these tests right?
While in LA last year, I posed this question to a friend of mine, Ambar and he told me that I should speak to his mentor, Bill Bennett, ASC about the same.
A veteran of the industry, Bill has long been an advisor to ARRI when it comes to designing cameras and technology. He knows so much about the subject and has been continuously testing newer cameras and technology from time to time. With his years of experience of shooting on film as well as digital, he was the perfect person to talk to. I was stoked and honored when Bill agreed to having a chat with me on the subject.
I’m including a video of the chat with this post.
I have also included the 2 images that Bill shows us during the chat, so you can have a better look at how he does his tests.
Also included, are 3 focus charts that you could download and print out when you do your tests.
Images from the chat:
Kartik Vijay, ISC