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Kodak 50D bad batch/recall


Tyler Purcell
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Hey guys, so I have some disappointing news to report. 

I shot my last short film, nearly entirely with a bad batch of Kodak 50D.

The batch number in question is 091-15 of 50D stock ONLY. There are NO OTHER issues with other stocks at this moment. 

Not all rolls are bad, but it's seemingly more than one as most of our film was damaged. 

According to Kodak, the first sign there was an issue was on the Super 8 cartridges. They were jamming in the cameras and Kodak couldn't figure out why. Turns out, they changed something related to the anti-scratch coating, who knows what, but it made the film have much more friction in those cartridges and caused them to jam up. We don't know exactly when it happened, it may have been before the 091-15 batch, but that's the only batch they know is bad. I had a lot of issues with the 089-12 batch of Super 8 not long ago, but currently they don't think the issues went back that far. 

The symptoms are generally the same; the film looks scratched. The scratching I've seen is "micro" scratches. Possibly damaged during the manufacturing process. Depending on the density of the image, the scratches will show up as "rain" across the screen, vertically always, generally only seen against solid colors. It's nearly impossible to see through Vimeo or a compressed image, so it's very hard to analyze remotely. We also can't see it on the film with a magnifying glass. Many people have complained from all over the world, so it's absolutely not an isolated issue to our cameras or lab of course. 

Kodak are replacing film with the batch numbers 091, pretty much across the board. if you have any, please contact your local Kodak rep and explain the known issues. It doesn't matter if it's S8, 16 or 35, it seems to effect all formats of course because they come from the same facility. Also and very important, the issue comes and goes. We have some shots which are flat out perfect and some shots which needed digital cleanup. So even if you have exposed film from this batch, don't think you'll have similar issues and of course the narrow the gauge, the more it'll be seen. 

Here is a Pro Res file with the issue in motion. It must be downloaded to play properly and see it. The "compressed" online version you will never see it. : https://www.dropbox.com/s/jge850bbc05vuvq/Kodak 091-15 50D bad batch raw.mov?dl=0

 

First grab is a full-frame, notice the vertical scratching: 

1902047137_Wideshotwithrainscratches50Dkodak.thumb.jpg.2caa9cbce9407dbdafc296a7db17c600.jpg
 

This is a punch in shot of the station, so you can see the scratches in more detail

944287873_Stationshotwithrainscratches50DKodak.thumb.jpg.ef58a39f37dbdb4ebb44ff32350671ce.jpg

 

This is a punch in shot of the sky, same thing, you can see the vertical scratches.

 

1500823650_Skyshotwithrainscratches50DKodak.thumb.jpg.2821fa31d5a1a1012f2a817775185fef.jpg

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Thank you for the infos Tyler, I've been wanting to ask here for a while because I have the same issue on a music video I shot with 50D, at first I thought the lab didn't clean the film properly...

Could you explain how you managed to clean it ? I know a lot of it is not going to be visible when exporting but still, you can see some.
 

From the project : https://drive.google.com/file/d/13aVLYnUB6L1wPFG3BTic_zhocsTrJNYJ/view?usp=sharing

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6 hours ago, Antoine Pret said:

Could you explain how you managed to clean it ? I know a lot of it is not going to be visible when exporting but still, you can see some.

I used DVO Phoenix demo on our Windows workstation. The automated dust tool did a great job. It just takes the edge off. Then with some sharpening, I was able to bring it back where it should be crispness wise. A lot of the issues my particular film has, won't be present in everyone else's film. For some reason the lab just didn't clean it well. They may have not run it through the cleaner. We have a wet gate so we ran the worst stuff through that and it fixed the majority of the added dirt issues. Then I used Resolve's "dirt" tool to manually select larger blotches that weren't caught on the wet gate. 

Over-all I'm happy with the clean up result, but the negative is permanently damaged, which does make me upset. 

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35 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

the negative is permanently damaged, which does make me upset. 

Something which happened recently pointed up to me that the current generation of film-makers who only occasionally use film just don't regard the OCN as sacred in the same way we do.

I was hired for a 16mm. music video shoot with the Steenbeck. The performance had already been shot and scanned, so I was filmed actually running the neg on the Steenbeck. It was S16 and my machine is R16, so some scratching was guaranteed.

Then there was the scene of my actually cutting and splicing the neg on a CIR. I asked the directors if they minded where I cut it- could have been at the slat. They didn't mind. As far as they were concerned the neg had done its job. The scan was holy writ. Things move on.

I even had to grit my teeth when I cut up some old neg left by a client into loading rolls. He didn't need it anymore either.

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2 minutes ago, Mark Dunn said:

As far as they were concerned the neg had done its job. The scan was holy writ.

Yet, unless you store the scan on multiple hard drives and renew them regularly or pay for cloud storage, the scan will eventually be lost. The neg will still be there.

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29 minutes ago, Mark Dunn said:

Something which happened recently pointed up to me that the current generation of film-makers who only occasionally use film just don't regard the OCN as sacred in the same way we do.

Tell me about it. I have stacks of unpicked up negative from clients, currently we are scanning our 2nd feature this year and they don't want the negative. 

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53 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Tell me about it. I have stacks of unpicked up negative from clients, currently we are scanning our 2nd feature this year and they don't want the negative. 

Presumably you have something in your contracts about disposal. Of course neg used to stay at labs for a while, but the scan is the equivalent of release printing now as far as you're concerned. So you should either be charging for storage or- out it goes. (I have 20 years of client still negs, and near 30 of my own scanned, neg and slide, but have I actually thrown any away? Of course not. We don't. Someone will do it for us, later.

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2 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Tell me about it. I have stacks of unpicked up negative from clients, currently we are scanning our 2nd feature this year and they don't want the negative. 

this is insanity. one of the best upsides to shooting film is you have an analogue offline master (the negative). Sometimes I wonder how people seem to not comprehend that hard drives die faster than film... hell LTO tape can die faster than film depending on each's storage conditions... 

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4 hours ago, Karim D. Ghantous said:

Those scans are less grainy than a lot of 8-perf scans from photo labs. Imagine how good 35mm, delegated as a miniature format in photography, could be with proper scanning.

Silbersalz in Germany have been doing this for a number of years now. They recently built a motion picture film scanner which scans your 35mm Vision 3 stills at 16k and the results are spectacular.

https://silbersalz35.com/

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