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Kristin Davis

Polaroid Effect?

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I'm interesting in experimenting and creating a "Polaroid Look" for an upcoming student film.




My initital thoughts are:


lots of diffusion to create softness (nets/promist/double fog?)

using a softer lens

pre-flashing the stock (with maybe pastel greens/pinks in the shadows)

using a warmer light


But I'm still not sure about what stocks and/or developing processes to test though, and was wondering if anyone had any thoughts or ideas?


Thanks in advance!



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Look into a Varicon if you can as you can flash as you record and color pretty easily in the shadows. Sounds like it's perfect for you!


Another option might be the Reala 500D from Fuji which is very grainy or an older Kodak stock like the '79


those two being the oldest two on the market at the time.


If you really want grain you can under expose and push in developing; but you really should test all of that.

Diffusion filters will help as will using a softer lens; perhaps a Classic Soft.



you'll really need to do tests for this, though.

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Before going off on an attempt to mimic a Polaroid, actually SHOOT ONE (expired Polaroid, its successor, or Fuji Instax).




The Polaroid process is similar to one of the original photographic processes. The Daguerrotype was like slide film. The paper negative and its successors were like modern negative film.



Instant films are far closer to reversal in characteristicss than to negatives. The contrast is high. It's almost like high speed slide emulsion coated onto photographic paper with an instant developer.



The "look" of Polaroid has more to do with its instancy (and therefore your ability to compare it to the scene you shot) than actual characteristics.

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I think you're looking for high red/brown balance. If you're color correcting you can nail this during a scan. That's more "aged" polaroid though. If you shoot with instant film it doesn't really look like that. In fact, the loss of blue dye over time is/was a sign of cheap film... exactly what you're trying to recreate yeah?




Pro8 put this clip up where they cross processed reversal. I don't think this is exactly what you're looking for as it's REALLY saturated, but maybe if you dropped the blues it might work. I've seen some color corrected 100D that felt very "instant film"-ish to me.


Don't discount the effect of a good "spotlight* camera-mounted light to purposefully create a vignette and blow out the center a bit, especially when shooting inside. Maybe a bit like the american apparel style shoots.

Edited by Adam Garner

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