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Hello group,

 

Just got a 100ft roll of 16mm 1R Eastman 7222 Double-X neg stock. The label states "© 2002". Also bought supposedly fresh Double-X stock very recently and the label says "© 2009".

 

 

Q 1: anyone know what's the deal with the dates (same with Ektachrome 100D BTW)?

 

Q 2: should I compensate for sensitivity loss with the 2002 Double-X stock? I know that overexposing Double-X is bad - not like current Kodak color neg at all.

 

Love the classic look of Double-X with its typical 'vintage' grain pattern ranging from shadows all the way up to highlights.

 

Any reply/tips very highly appreciated.

 

Christian

 

 

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The copyright date might be for the artwork of the packaging?

Certainly the film itself is not copyright in anyway... that would be more the realm of patents and the like.

 

If the film is old then it will depend how it was stored. If it has been kept stored correctly in very low temperatures... like some kind of freezer or something then it can keep for a long time.

 

Black and white film tends to last longer than colour film too.

 

Freya

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Freya,

 

Thanks for your reply!

Well of course I wasn't referring to copyright, just mentioned it as a reference regarding what is written on the label. I thought the same: very likely Kodak simply kept the label artwork and just changed it in 2009 (as I mentioned, the exact same seems to happen with 16mm Ektachrome 100D: there's either 2002 or 2009 - so 2002 might even mean it's made as late as 2008 (?).

 

The film stock was at least during a very long time freezer stored, very likely all the time. I usually get expired film stock from fellow 16mm film users, who know how to store film stock correctly (fortunately). It's also a factory sealed 100ft spool, which is much less of a gamble than re-canned stock from short ends.

 

Anyway: Decided not to compensate the exposure and rate the 7222 film stock as is (240 daylight, 200 tungsten).

 

One last Q: am I right that the Double-X has no remjet backing? Had a bad experience with expired Vision (1) 500T that was re-canned. Had it machine processed and the image turned out ace, but a lot of remjet remained, turning the footage unusable. Another roll of the same 500T was hand processed and turned out great, there's just a slight color shift/flicker and a few white chemical marks in places since hand processing ECN-2 (larger than 8mm film) even by skilled experts is very hard to do evenly with a 100% consistent image. Remjet is no problem with hand processing, since the person who processes film stock for me knows how to remove it during processing perfectly - no rotating brushes set at a certain fixed pressure without checking if the remjet actually was removed correctly.

 

Thanks again,

Christian

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You are right there is no rejet on the black and white stocks from Kodak.

 

I'm surprised you had trouble removing the remjet during machine processing as all colour neg has the remjet.

The machines are supposed to remove the remjet in the first stage before it goes into the first bath.

Maybe this was some kind of budget setup someone made rather than a full scale lab?

 

Freya

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Freya,

 

Don't want to name the lab as not to cause any harm to anyone's reputation. Suffice it was a top notch full, scale lab in Berlin, Germany - their results are usually the finest you'd expect.

 

Christian

 

 

It might be because it was a recan and something damanged the film before you got to shoot it.

 

Freya

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Freja:

yes, the remjet (Vision 1 500T) became sticky (re-canned and probably bad storage at one stage), so it only can be removed by fiddly hand processing. Not the lab's fault. Their brushes work perfectly with fresh film stock. Still have a 100ft roll of Fuji Super F 160D. I know it's even worse (very sticky at any rate) with this stock. Will get it hand processed - the guy can get it off with hand processing (large custom tank). It's all (kinda) test footage anyway. If it turns out good, I'll use it in a project where it fits, if not, at least I gained practice.

 

Mark: Thanks for the information. For some reason I prefer the look of B&W neg over reversal. Seems like the image "comes together" much better. Obviously this would be a non-issue on larger film formats, but I think the Double-X looks great in 16mm /S 16.

 

Also considered using color neg and simply desaturate in post - as done with "The Artist" (2011) - because they found Double-X a bit too grainy even on 35mm (so I read) for the big screen and full HD. Call me a purist ( :-) ) - but I really prefer the look of genuine classic B&W film stock for B&W cinematography. The Double-X is just a little on the grainy side, but it's tack sharp and I love the grain structure, texture and general contrast. Evokes the 1940s and 1950s in a way.

 

A friend of mine is a fantastic color grader and he has some killer grain management softare plugins. If used very sparingly, you lose (virtually) no detail and don't get that waxy look. I'll try that if I find it a hint too grainy.

 

Would love to have a 100 ASA/ISO version of the Double-X neg which can be perfectly mixed in one film project. Seen some Plus-X reversal processed as a neg on YouTube: very nice but it looks a little too soft for my taste (might be the transfer). A little Like Orwo UN 54 neg: (way too much grain and softness for a 100 ASA/ISO stock IMHO). All Plus-X stock is long expired anyway.... (sigh).

 

Thanks for your most valuable information!

Christian

Edited by Christian Schonberger
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No problem with halation around strong highlights.

 

Freya, may I ask which one is (was) your favorit B&W stock? I dismissed Tri-X. There is a threshold. Anything lighter and it looks sharp and great, anything darker and you get golfball sized grain with an unpleasant pattern. IMHO not acceptable. Did test footage - that stock it out of the question. That leaves the Orwo UN 54 which I find too soft and grainy (as stated before).

 

Here is the only example online (regular 16mm) at 1440p I could find. Really like it a lot (except for the vertical jitter, but I don't have problems with that):

 

 

Christian

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I really used to like Plus-X a lot!

Now that is gone it's hard for me.

 

I like Tri-x in Super8 because it is so grainy, I just feel you should embrace the grain and go all the way.

So that would be my fave right now.

 

However it would need the right transfer to get it right like with all these things.

 

Freya

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It's of course a matter of taste,

 

But look at my Tri-X footage (mostly overkanked on a humble Super 16mm converted, lens re-centered, K-3), to smooth out the handheld. Tripods are strongly forbidden in the city where I live, only professionals can get an expensive permit through Film Comission (it's a money grab by the authorities).

 

The vertical scratch is since fixed (polished the gate). Look how sweet the lighter (or slightly overexposed) areas look, and how dirty the grain pattern looks as soon when a "value threshold" is reached. Even, dark gray areas are unacceptably grainy. I have much higher res original file (ProRes from a 2K scan, with the grain not blocking but detailed) - it looks dirty. Not what I'm after. Noticed that on all (!!!) Tri-X footage online. Some have heavy temporal grain reduction. It comes through when things or people move fast (no reference from adjacent frames). IMHO that looks really ugly. But it's a matter of taste.

 

My Tri-X test:

 

 

 

The vertical jitter is dead easy to stabilize with an overscan since I have plenty of vertical headroom anyway:

 

 

 

Thanks and best wishes,

Christian

Edited by Christian Schonberger
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I actually only have my little netbook here and I'm getting more codec noise than grain when I play back your video.

 

Christian, I think you mistunderstood what I was saying.

 

My point was that I think Tri-X is a VERY grainy film. It's famous for that, and if that is all I have to shoot (because there is no Plus-X anymore) then I would rather shoot it on Super8 where it will be even more grainy and nasty and to just embrace that look.

 

I actually also have found double-x to be a bit too grainy for my liking too. I'm just not that keen on the grain pattern in that stock but I might be open to swerve. I think it looks better in 35mm too.

 

Freya

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Yep: codec artifacts are nasty, especially on 16mm footage that is not (say) Vision3 50D.

 

As I said: it's a matter of taste. I do like some film grain - the one and only problem I have with Tri-X is that the grain looks very different in dark gray areas than it does above a certain threshold. I see it again and again on 16mm footage.

The Double-X is an old emulsion (probably with only a very slight upgrade) and doesn't have the Kodak T-grain. I do like the pattern of negative grain structure though, because it doesn't consist only of dark random "ant crawling" clumps, but it looks a little more complex to my old eyes, and simply a little easier on the eye. I also like the slightly smoother overall look. Tri-X can be a little harsh (but one never knows how much digital sharpening had been applied on an online video or a digital file). Obviously all that can be heavily modified by digital grading. A friend of mine (mentioned him before) did a very nice job reducing the grain of my Tri-X just enough so that I don't lose a lot of detail (any grain reduction has to sacrifice detail, obviously - the software is getting better, but only in very small steps recently) and no crazy artifacts (as happens with Neat Video, which works great with different source material) appear. Still: I like the stock I use being as close as possible to what I'd like to see.

 

Well I'll shoot a 100ft roll of 16mm Double-X, have a nice 2K scan made (Prores, my old computer can't handle larger files) and see what happens.

 

Just to make it clear again: I like film grain, but only so much. When it becomes "image content" and draws away the attention, it's definitely too much. My personal taste is having a silky film look that doesn't try to be anything else than what it is, but with that polished, professional feel - if possible.

 

Thanks,

Christian

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Just to make it clear again: I like film grain, but only so much. When it becomes "image content" and draws away the attention, it's definitely too much. My personal taste is having a silky film look that doesn't try to be anything else than what it is, but with that polished, professional feel - if possible.

 

Thanks,

Christian

 

 

Where we differ slightly is that I like really nasty grainy film.

 

However... and this is the bit I think you are missing about what I am saying... I would prefer a film with much more subtle grain that doesn't draw attention to itself for most things. The trouble I have is I don't feel Double-X is that film for me. I really liked Plus-X but it is no more and hasn't been around for some time. I'm just not drawn to Double-X that much although I have seen people do really interesting things with it from time to time. So it's less that I have a great love for Tri-X but more that I don't have that much love for Double-X.

 

In a way I don't like double-x that much because it is too grainy and I'm not keen on the grain pattern.

 

I think Tri-X is probably suited towards certain things. It is such a specific look that it lends itself towards certain kinds of projects. The things I like about it are that it is cheap and it has a kind of punky atmosphere to it. It's gritty and nasty and that is what it is about. It isn't the kind of stock that you would shoot anything on but that is the thing about having different film stocks... it gives you choices you can make about the way the film might look.

 

I know there has been a kind of meme around in more recent years of shooting everything on a single camera or even sticking with a single film stock. For instance to shoot everything on a red camera and to try and grade it to be whatever you want. However even cameras such as RED MX series cameas and Alexa cameras have something of a look to them. One of the things that really impressed me that someone did a few years ago that really worked well was they made a feature film with a sort of urban dance and music story as the subject. They shot it on RED MX and it looked perfect because so many music videos of the time were being shot on RED MX too.

 

These days people are very focused on lenses to give a look to a movie but I personally like that combination of the look from the camera or filmstock with the lenses and the lighting etc all together. Like the ingredients of a cake or something.

 

I want to be careful about how much more I say on this subject because I once was nearly banned from this forum for comparing cameras to chocolate (everybody has different tastes and their favourite chocolate and it's all good)

and I'm not looking to annoy people.

 

In any case I wouldn't want to have to shoot everything on Tri-X but I think it really works for some things, especially if you embrace the grain instead of trying to fight it.

 

Freya

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Freya,

 

Not annoying at all!

 

Well I'm a starving musician and I couldn't afford a camera (digital or film) which allows for at least a decent choice of lenses. I know the lenses I have and they are decent (within the dirt cheap). Wouldn't mind having an Arriflex 416 with a huge choice of lenses, working with T-stops and real cinema lenses (long throw focus and all) - or better: a 35mm film camera (while we're at it: of course a modern Super 35, 3-perf) so the film grain is fine enough as not to be distracting and we go from damage control to creativity.

Yep: lenses are of utmost importance when you have a wide choice. For certain shots with a wide angle in narrow spaces, I probably would prefer slight barrel distortion over rectilinear which seems to "suck" objects into the corners of the frame. Let's not get started on old uncoated lenses, blooming effect, and even desirable types of lens aberrations. Anamorphic is even more complex with the different brands and series, all with their particular quirks, fans having a field day with narrow depth-of-field, oval bokeh, lens flare and barrel distortion. And yes: the film stock is very important with anamorphic: with coarser grain you can spot the 2x stretching of the grain pattern.

 

Film stock has become kind of a moot point since the last 15 years or so, since many a movie shot on film is so heavily graded. As for color stock: I'm sad that Fuji called it a day a few years ago. They made some killer stock for a certain silky smooth look (PTA's Punch Drunk Love for example - that's all Fuji Super-F neg. Very different from There Will be Blood, which used Kodak Vision 2 with its slightly more earthy colors and that again was the perfect choice IMHO).

 

Scorsese's Raging Bull was a mix of Double-X and Plus-X (not sure if the latter was processes as neg). Looks just perfect for me. But all the aforementioned were 35mm formats.

 

Not a film purist, I just happen to love the look of certain film stocks to death (and to feel the film running through the gate when I'm shooting - who loves it will understand). the choice is quite narrow and where I live, the Tri-X is expensive, the cheapest being the Orwo UN54, which is definitely not what I'm looking for. Yet, I might zap a test roll through my camera and see what happens.

 

Just my ramblings. I'm by no means an expert or anything resembling a pro. I wish I was, but you can't be anything you want. That's a fairytale - especially where I come from.

 

Christian

Edited by Christian Schonberger
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Freya,

 

Not annoying at all!

 

Well I'm a starving musician and I couldn't afford a camera (digital or film) which allows for at least a decent choice of lenses. I know the lenses I have and they are decent (within the dirt cheap). Wouldn't mind having an Arriflex 416 with a huge choice of lenses,

 

I thought you had a K3? Is yours bayonet rather than M42 mount? Because there are so many lenses available in M42 mount!!! :)

 

Freya

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Freya,

 

Yes it's a humble Super 16mm re-centered K-3 with M42 mount. The lenses available for the M42 mount are all for still photography. Because of the crop factor it is impossible to find a real great wide angle lens (that would be something between 10-12mm for the 16mm film format). Got a 16mm Zenitar with moderate (=acceptable) barrel dirstortion, giving me an extra millimeter and a pin sharp, vignetting-free image. The peleng 8mm is unusable for Super 16mm beause the fisheye barrel distortion is very heavy and makes everything look like GoPro footage. The Meteor zoom (quite fast at f/1.9 all through the zoom range) that comes with the camera is just fine. I have no use for, say, 35mm or 50mm prime lenses. Got that covered with the stock zoom. I'm also not too keen on telephoto shots. I like it a little more "cinematic". The camera is way too cheap to invest in an M42 mount prime lens with a focal length I have already covered, only because of certain characteristics (and the faster the lens: the more expensive). The "wide choice" is a bit misleading, since you will have a very hard time finding a wide angle lens. The rare old Takumar 17mm also has barrel distortion and is too expensive when in mint condition. I also heard of an obscure 15mm lens once (probably very expensive if in good condition and fungus free). What makes the "wide choice" not that "wide" is the aforementioned crop factor of the 16mm format. Any old (regular 16mm I should say)16mm camera with a three lens turret had a 10mm or a 12mm wide angle included (often: 10mm - 25mm - 65mm). No such luck with the K-3. Too bad the great classic Arri-S/M/BL cameras can't be easily converted to Super16mm, it needs a very complex rebuilt of many parts (Ultra 16mm is fine, but it has no vertical headroom - you are literally stuck between sprocket holes - and it's not quite the same as Super 16, cropped regular 16mm is too soft and grainy for my humble taste).

 

I won't get into alternatives for the K-3. Been there. Besides: I don't have the money for that anyway. Otherwise I'll probably own a good Eclair NPR, Super 16 converted, with at least a nice Angie zoom that gives me at least 12mm - and of course longer - I obviously don't shoot everything wide angle, but I'm a wide angle lens fan for many reasons (you can shoot from within a conversation, handheld is the easiest, you can include the background in narrower spaces, etc. etc. - without vignetting.

 

Christian

Edited by Christian Schonberger
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What makes the "wide choice" not that "wide" is the aforementioned crop factor of the 16mm format. Any old (regular 16mm I should say)16mm camera with a three lens turret had a 10mm or a 12mm wide angle included (often: 10mm - 25mm - 65mm). No such luck with the K-3. Too bad the great classic Arri-S/M/BL cameras can't be easily converted to Super16mm, it needs a very complex rebuilt of many parts (Ultra 16mm is fine, but it has no vertical headroom - you are literally stuck between sprocket holes - and it's not quite the same as Super 16, cropped regular 16mm is too soft and grainy for my humble taste).

 

I won't get into alternatives for the K-3. Been there. Besides: I don't have the money for that anyway. Otherwise I'll probably own a good Eclair NPR, Super 16 converted, with at least a nice Angie zoom that gives me at least 12mm - and of course longer - I obviously don't shoot everything wide angle, but I'm a wide angle lens fan for many reasons (you can shoot from within a conversation, handheld is the easiest, you can include the background in narrower spaces, etc. etc. - without vignetting.

 

Christian

 

Most of the three lens turret cameras tended to top out at 25mm to be honest. If you were lucky you might get 20mm lens. Of the Cooke C-Mounts, the widest I ever came across was 16mm and it was very, very rare.

 

It's just that fashion has meant that people now shoot more often with wider focal lengths than before and 25mm

wasn't that wide back then either but it was uncommon to find even 16mm focal length lenses on a lot of 16mm turret cameras such as the filmo.

 

You can find 20mm lenses in M42 mount but you are right they are expensive and not getting any cheaper to boot.

On the upside M42 lenses are some of the cheapest around so if you wanted to experiment with another kind of lens perhaps for a specific effect, then it would be a good way to go.

 

You are right though, there's not as much wrong with the meteor zoom as people might have you believe. ;)

 

Freya

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Freya,

 

Didn't know about the 25mm limit on many of the old 16mm turret cameras, especially since 25mm is considered the "normal/medium" focal length (kinda) the equivalent to 50mm on 35mm cameras.

 

No worries, I don't use wide angles because it has become fashionable. I love seeing details in the background in, say, establishing shots. 16mm is the smallest format that can get you that kind of detail (not super crisp, but it's there and easy to watch). I am also fully aware that wide angle lenses are not very flattering to the human face when shot at a close distance. Obviously - I will use a longer focal length if I want to create a certain distance (if the set piece or location allows for that - it should. It's the first thing I look for after the general look and feel: do I have enough space for the camera to choose the focal length freely or am I forced to use wide angle.

 

I live in Europe where many cities are built incredibly narrow and small compared to North America. You want to film part of a block and already bump into the one on the opposite street? You'll need a wide angle. 16mm is barely enough where I live.

 

Heard in a "making of" feature (I think it was Jurassic Park) that director Steven Spielberg sees the world in 21mm. Not sure if that takes 35mm Panavision style anamorphic into account, but anyway: on 16mm film that would be (around) 10.5mm.

 

And yes: the meteor zoom has a few slight issues (pincushion distortion at telephoto and barrel distortion on wider angles, starting as soon as 20mm - also a tiny bit of chromatic abberation/color fringing appears on the edges of Super 16mm - but the general quality is very good and I don't mind some lens distortion - this is "the movies" and needs to look and feel right, not be right. They had to keep the zoom range short-ish to avoid the many problems and costs. 17-69mm is O.K. but nothing to write home about.

It's an old design from the 1960s. I think it's fine and I use it with confidence.

 

Thanks for sharing your information.

 

Christian

Edited by Christian Schonberger
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Freya,

 

Didn't know about the 25mm limit on many of the old 16mm turret cameras, especially since 25mm is considered the "normal/medium" focal length (kinda) the equivalent to 50mm on 35mm cameras.

 

No worries, I don't use wide angles because it has become fashionable. I love seeing details in the background in, say, establishing shots. 16mm is the smallest format that can get you that kind of detail (not super crisp, but it's there and easy to watch). I am also fully aware that wide angle lenses are not very flattering to the human face when shot at a close distance. Obviously - I will use a longer focal length if I want to create a certain distance (if the set piece or location allows for that - it should. It's the first thing I look for after the general look and feel: do I have enough space for the camera to choose the focal length freely or am I forced to use wide angle.

 

I live in Europe where many cities are built incredibly narrow and small compared to North America. You want to film part of a block and already bump into the one on the opposite street? You'll need a wide angle. 16mm is barely enough where I live.

 

Heard in a "making of" feature (I think it was Jurassic Park) that director Steven Spielberg sees the world in 21mm. Not sure if that takes 35mm Panavision style anamorphic into account, but anyway: on 16mm film that would be (around) 10.5mm.

 

And yes: the meteor zoom has a few slight issues (pincushion distortion at telephoto and barrel distortion on wider angles, starting as soon as 20mm - also a tiny bit of chromatic abberation/color fringing appears on the edges of Super 16mm - but the general quality is very good and I don't mind some lens distortion - this is "the movies" and needs to look and feel right, not be right. They had to keep the zoom range short-ish to avoid the many problems and costs. 17-69mm is O.K. but nothing to write home about.

It's an old design from the 1960s. I think it's fine and I use it with confidence.

 

Thanks for sharing your information.

 

Christian

 

 

On the Bolex, people used to get very excited about an expensive wide angle lens that had a 10mm focal length but again it was rare and expensive. I'm guessing it was hard to make the wider focal lengths. You are right thought that 25mm is n't that wide at all but a typical lens set for shooting 35mm movies would start at 18mm and not there are often people shooting wider than that with full frame digital cameras!

 

I think the meteor zoom is kind of cool. There are often compromises made with zoom lenses anyway.

17-69mm seems like a good range. It might be nice to go a little wider but I suspect that would mean a much more complicated and expensive optical design with poorer results.

 

I'm sure you will be able to do some really cool things with your setup there.

 

Freya

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Freya,

 

Absolutely!

I'm more than fine with the K-3 and my two lenses: the stock meteor zoom and the Zenitar 16 prime. Not sure if 10mm is free of vignetting on a Super 16mm converted Bolex. Yes: I largely prefer Super 16mm. The 3:4 format (it's a matter of taste only) looks not only odd (by now) pillar boxed inside a 16:9 screen, but I am also used to frame composition for 16:9 (1:1.77...) or 1.1.85 - you can have a group of people naturally without irrelevant image information top and bottom and it's perfect for simply two people talking together in any situation. Did I mention landscapes?

 

Any true step up would mean an external magazine without it being as fiddly as an add-on (Arri-S, Bolex, Beaulieu, 1 and 3 are next to impossible to convert to S 16 anyway) because it's as fiddly to load if not more than internal 100ft spools, a crystal sync motor and not having to live without a true mirror reflex system. That means a LOT of money - if you can find one in top notch condition. If I had the $$$, I wouldn't hesitate a second buying a truly professional S 16mm camera.

 

As for now, I'm fine with the K-3. I'm willing to make heavy compromises and workarounds just to use real film and have it color graded to look like the film stock I used (unless a project calls for some "creative" grading/compositing). No substitute for that when it comes to telling a great story and make the images endlessly rewatchable. Just my opinion.... i wouldn't even dare dreaming about 35mm, not even 2-perf.

 

Thanks,

Christian

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