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Richard Hackney

Cross Processing question.

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I am shooting a film in which a large portion of the scenes are fanasty. I'm going for a very surreal look. I have weighed out different options and cross processing is looking like a very healthy choice. I have a some questions though.

 

After searching for different stocks, kodak seems to only offer 100d reversal. Fuji has two tungsten stocks but I'm not sure of the ISO. Has anyone been through this before? What's the best stock?

 

I've also read about over exposing when cross processing, but I lots of opinions on how much. Over exposing by one stop seems to be widely accepted. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Edited by manvsbear

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I am shooting a film in which a large portion of the scenes are fanasty. I'm going for a very surreal look. I have weighed out different options and cross processing is looking like a very healthy choice. I have a some questions though.

 

After searching for different stocks, kodak seems to only offer 100d reversal. Fuji has two tungsten stocks but I'm not sure of the ISO. Has anyone been through this before? What's the best stock?

 

I've also read about over exposing when cross processing, but I lots of opinions on how much. Over exposing by one stop seems to be widely accepted. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

 

 

Advice regarding cross-processing is pretty touchy. It's not the most predictable of processes. Overexposing by a stop or a stop-and-a-half will help your shadow detail a great deal. Otherwise it tends to get badly blocked up. Your best bet is to get a 100' roll and do some quick tests to see what you like best. If testing is not an option, a full stop overexposure is the closest to a safe bet with cross-processing.

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Just as a side- keep in mind cross-processing can prove to be very expensive (on a student-budget film). Make sure you check prices for lab set-up fees and all that before you decide to cross process.

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Have you talked to your lab?

 

Cross processing is not a standard process - in fact it is not a recommended process, as it contaminates the processing solutions. Most labs put a severe limit on how much they will process at one time: more than that, and they would have to change chemistry, which of course you would pay for. In any event there is an extra cost, as the film has to be processed separately, which loses machine time.

 

There is also the issue that - unless the lab adds a stabiliser solution at the end of the process, (which isn't always possible, it depends on the design of the machine, and would also involve an additional extra cost for chemicals and lost time - you pay) - you will end up with a negative that will fade over time. OK if you are just going to telecine and never touching the neg again. If you have a film finish in mind - or if you plan on going back and retransferring after the edit - you might have a problem. You won't get a guarantee from the lab or the stock manufacturer as to what the results will be.

 

Regarding exposure, have you read Mark Woods' article from ICG? Testing the limits . It's a few years old now, but worth a look.

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Have you talked to your lab?

 

Cross processing is not a standard process - in fact it is not a recommended process, as it contaminates the processing solutions. Most labs put a severe limit on how much they will process at one time: more than that, and they would have to change chemistry, which of course you would pay for. In any event there is an extra cost, as the film has to be processed separately, which loses machine time.

 

There is also the issue that - unless the lab adds a stabiliser solution at the end of the process, (which isn't always possible, it depends on the design of the machine, and would also involve an additional extra cost for chemicals and lost time - you pay) - you will end up with a negative that will fade over time. OK if you are just going to telecine and never touching the neg again. If you have a film finish in mind - or if you plan on going back and retransferring after the edit - you might have a problem. You won't get a guarantee from the lab or the stock manufacturer as to what the results will be.

 

Regarding exposure, have you read Mark Woods' article from ICG? Testing the limits . It's a few years old now, but worth a look.

 

 

Are you sure processing ektachrome in ECN 2 "contaminates" the working solution? My lab cross processes color reversal as negative at no added charge. www.fordelabs.com They do charge extra for skip-bleach.

 

Steve

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Are you sure processing ektachrome in ECN 2 "contaminates" the working solution?
It releases byproducts at a different rate and in a different balance to negative. If only small footages are processed it doesn't make too much difference (though it's the next customer's regular neg that is affected, not your ektachrome). I guess it all depends on how much footage you are talking about and how tightly the lab controls its process. Two or three rolls is one thing: arriving unannounced with four thousand feet and wanting overnight turnaround is another matter. I speak from experience.

 

Don't forget, there are no guarantees about the results of cross-processing: but the lab has to stand by its normal process for subsequent footage.

 

As for charges, I guess you are lucky with Forde.

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I have talked to labs all over LA and almost all of them do charge a set up fee.

 

But every single lab said that it does not, and has never been proved to contaminate the chemicals. Also most of them said that the negative will hold up longer than people expect. the magenta will fade a little, but nothing to drastic.

 

But this is a moot point. My reason for posting was to get othets opinions who have actually gone through this. I want to hear about, and possibly see acutal footage - and not just the hollywood stuff.

 

Thanks for the article link, that is the kind of stuff I am looking for.

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As Dominic notes, "cross processing" is a NON-STANDARD procedure:

 

http://www.kodak.com/global/en/service/tib/tib5200.shtml

 

As noted, some reversal films need to have a formalin stabilizer to reduce the fading of the dyes. Since the formulation of the films is quite different than the color negative films, with large quantities of film, the ECN-2 process chemistry may be adversely affected, requiring the lab to take corrective action or even "dump" the developer solution to maintain sensitometric control. That's why many labs charge extra, or have a "set up" fee for non-standard process conditions.

 

And just as a reminder, the Fuji and Kodak color negative motion picture films have carbon black anti-halation "rem-jet" layers on the back side that needs to be properly removed by the prebath and rem-jet removal wash in the ECN-2 process. Trying to process these films in an E-6 or C-41 or B&W process will contaminate the machine, and likely ruin other work being processed at the same time. A quick way to make enemies with your lab or other filmmakers. :rolleyes: :angry:

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...another bit of information on cross-processing that I think might be of interest to some here is a reference from the April, 06 American Cinematographer journal: (pp. 51)

 

From Matthew Libatique, ASC:

 

In reference to 5285 (ektachrome 100D) cross process AND bleach bypass

 

"The cross-process as well as the bleach bypass changes the ASA from 100 to 320."

 

 

hope this helps,

 

Steve

 

EDIT: he also says that cross-processing is "an extremely volatile technique" When shot under tungsten lights, it gets warm then

 

"the bleach bypass neutralizes the color temperature and creates a more contrast than simply cross processing"

Edited by steve hyde

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i do cross processing by hand. much less expensive. you can get the chemicals from calumet or b&h or places such as that.

 

i mean, i'm an experimental filmmaker with no money so that's why i do it...but it's proved to be a very interesting process.

 

::Ps

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Since the formulation of the films is quite different than the color negative films, with large quantities of film, the ECN-2 process chemistry may be adversely affected, requiring the lab to take corrective action or even "dump" the developer solution to maintain sensitometric control.

Thank you, John. . . .

 

But every single lab said that it does not, and has never been proved to contaminate the chemicals.
. . .but it seems that we are outvoted on this one. (Still, that doesn't mean they are right - they aren't B) )

 

Perhaps my use of the term "contaminate" was confusing. I don't think so. It is quite clear, and it is our experience, that runnng large quantities of reversal film through a neg bath does upset the chemistry to the extent that sensitometric results are affected. Yes, we can take corrective action, but that's a special operation.

 

"Dumping" the developer is not a preferred action at any time. Apart from the cost of the chemicals, and the loss of a "seasoned" solution (fresh chemistry has to be seasoned before it produces on-aim results), environmental controls make this a complex (and, again, costly) operation.

 

How much fade is "a little", how much is "not too drastic"? I don't know if you are going to throw the negative out next week, or cut it into a final cut negative, grade it, then expect to get consistent prints now and in a couple of years' time. I think it's up to the lab to advise you that your normal expectations of consistency might not be met, and can't be guaranteed - you are then at liberty to make your decision.

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