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I'm very new to film. I've been shooting on digital for a while, but recently I've been making the move into film. I've been experimenting with super 8 film recently, and when I process it, there's a push/pull option for an additional $10. What exactly is this, and what are the benefits?

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It's processing the film as if it were a different speed than what was shot. Say you shot on ASA 400 but didn't have quite enough light for good exposure, you could "push" it one stop (equivalent of a doubling of speed w/ each "stop") at the lab with a longer developing time as if you shot it on ASA 800. Results in increased grain, contrast, and saturation, some possible color shifting.

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Since you're just getting your feet wet in filmmaking, you'd probably be better off shooting normal exposure for your chosen stock. Get to see and understand what normally exposed film looks like. You can spend years learning the basics without ever having to worry about push or pull processes.

 

If you are in a bind with lighting and you just can't get enough exposure normally, then push processing has its uses. But you might just be better off getting more lights.

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Remember, a "push-1" process doesn't really give an added stop of true speed. It just allows the negative to print/transfer more like a normally exposed and processed negative. A push-1 ECN-2 process normally gives added contrast and a bit more graininess.

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