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Color Print Films cheaper than B&W??


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Hey film student Zoomer here. I'm already thinking about the required student film thesis I'll make in 2025 (leaning towards 16mm Tri-X) and while checking prices for print films, I noticed smth weird (see image attached):

3 1000 ft reels of 16mm Color Print Film is cheaper than 2 1000 ft reels of B&W. Why?

Is it because Color Print Film could only print from negatives/intermediates while B&W can do those + reversals? Is it because no one makes B&W films anymore?

so for more context, I'm planning on making a 2-reeler feature length film < 55 minutes runtime; originally in B&W because I had thought that making B&W films is cheaper; if previous statement proves to be wrong, this changes things for me, a broke film student.

Why am I looking to release print films for a student film? hehe cause I want to distribute it imma win Palme d'Or & Best Picture

color.PNG

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  • Sustaining Member

B&W was always a niche product, and so might be more because of that, also it MIGHT require more silver as the image in B&W is silver, while the colour stock may use less.

You may also want to note that it looks like they will sell ONE CAN of the Vison Color, But you need 3 cans worth to get the 3302.  {16mm print film is almost always only sold as two rolls in a 35mm can.}

you might want to inquire with the Filmotek- ORWO folks.  to see what they offer as an equivalent.

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Thank you for the explanation Charles!

I am quite insistent on using the 16mm Tri-X reversal film because our uni has a 16mm projector that I want to use so bad, however I guess I should now seriously consider using Double-X negative film [im also very stubborn on making it B&W] instead so that I could print it on the cheaper Vision Color.

34 minutes ago, Charles MacDonald said:

you might want to inquire with the Filmotek- ORWO folks.  to see what they offer as an equivalent.

I had not seen the alternatives to Kodak, so thanks imma take a look at them!

Once again, thank you Charles for the reply; this is some really rad info 🥺

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3 hours ago, David Mullen ASC said:

In film school we used to print b&w reversal to b&w reversal to make prints -- it got very high in contrast of course.

Oooohhh thanks David I had not known that this was possible 😮😮😮, however upon checking on the prices per foot (image attached), the print films were still cheaper than the reversal films 😞; that said, I might use this method if I'm looking to do a really special screening where the amazingness of the reversal film could shine (I think this classifies as showprint? I can't seem to find the Eastman 2393 showprint stocks anywhere).

Also, this is a very beginner question, but does this mean that reversal films can be cut and spliced just like print films (im hella excited if this is true!!)? I am sorry for my lack of knowledge because truthfully, I have never operated any film cameras in my life and have never seen actual film aside from Polaroids and Instax :((((

Thanks again David for the cool info!!! :)))

reversal.PNG

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I think there might have been a b&w reversal print stock back in the late 80's.  Later CalArts switched to shooting those beginner projects on b&w negative so I guess the option to print onto reversal disappeared. But in theory it should still be possible, I just don't know about soundtracks, plus it would be an acetate print, not Estar.

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6 hours ago, David Mullen ASC said:

it would be an acetate print, not Estar.

I've strayed away from chemistry since high school, but it's come to haunt me again 💀💀💀

Thank you David again because I had the wrong idea that films were spliced and worked on the ESTAR polyester print films; rather, it seems that the splicing happens on the weaker acetate negatives/reversal films!

I'm learning something new everyday thanks David (see attached image)!

david based.jpg

Edited by Joshua Robert Dy
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