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Stephen Perera

Kodak Vision3 16mm stock characteristics

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Hi all....soon will embark on shooting super16mm....so, my learned friends, could you give me your views on the following 'modern' Kodak Vision 3 stocks....

 

50D, 250D, 500T and Eastman Double-X 250D B/W negative:

 

1. do you rate at box speeds or 1 stop over e.g. rate the 500T and 250asa (always do this with photography Kodak stock on my Hasselblad)

2. characteristics of the stocks - 'you can overexpose freely 3 stops on this one' and such comments....

 

anything and everything will be helpful...yes of course I have to test the film etc but I want starting pointers if possible? thanks in advance

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'19 (500T) is just about the most amazing stock ever made. I have seen it underexposed and pushed two stops, looks fab. I have seen it overexposed 2/3's stops and this generally is the preferred method, producing a very nice, dense, negative.

 

Some people prefer '13, 200T pushed over 500T. I suppose that might lessen the grain present, but I have never seen this projected. I know it was tested for Saving Private Ryan but I don't know if they used that process in the film.

 

50D looks gorgeous just about any way, as long as you have the light. I would love to see this overexposed, but I guess I'll have to do that test myself.

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...you say to 'reduce the grain'.....in my experience with Kodak photographic films like T-Max and Portrait I always rate the film at half box speed....thus overexposing one stop and that gives me the detail in the shadows whilst the highlights stay controlled....surely its the same for moving images??? the last thing u want is to push film no? i.e. rate 200asa at 500asa or whatever

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It's common practice to over expose motion picture stock by 2/3 stop. This pushes the image information upwards on the curve, away from the larger grains. It's popular because the smaller negative size of motion picture film (relative to full frame 35mm) naturally means more grain.

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S16 is often rated one stop over. I think the 13 to be the sharpest of the lot. All of the stocks have huge latitude in both exposure and color. Ie....250d under tungsten light does not look that bad. Same in reverse, tungsten in daylight. Either can be corrected with beautiful results.

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Double-X is certainly not a modern Vision3 stock; It is a very classic B&W stock, first launched in 1958 if I remember correctly. You don't want to overexpose Double-X since it will increase grain and make scanning more difficult; Aim for printing lights around 20 for Double-X.

The real Vision3 stocks can be exposed at about 2/3 more open than rated. Aim for printing lights of around 27-32 (green channel).

You should shoot a few test rolls and see how it compares with your photographic experience. Talk to the filmgrader in the lab.

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Honestly on the '19 I keep it at 500, however on the older '18 I would go 2/3rds over with great results. However, if you're coming from a stills background, you may well be very surprised by the grain on 16mm. As such you might be better served by going with 200T over 500T and also rating it at 125 to minimize granularity. However, you'll need quite a bit of light then. . .

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My last feature was shot on super16 using 50D, 250D and 500T. All day exteriors were shot on 50D rated a full two stops over, day interiors were shot on 250D also rated two stops over but filmed using only natural light from windows and bounce, and the few night exteriors were shot on 500T rated normally. The trailer also features some day for night on 50D with visual effects involved.

 

You can get a taste of what 50D looks like overexposed two stops in all of the daytime footage in this trailer:

 

https://vimeo.com/152268039

 

I personally love the look from the overexposure. It further reduced the grain and still never clipped any of the highlights.

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Jeff, those exteriors look fantastic, at least on my 23" 1920x1080 screen. Makes S16 look great ! The night INT were too cool looking for me. Sensual love I like better warm. But that may have been a decision down to someone else. Anyway, well done...

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Looks really great Jeff, congrats! And completely different from pretty much everything else out there today in the same genre and budget range. I'm really into the rich saturated image, moderate depth of field, and composed shots.

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Aww, thanks guys, making me blush.

 

If I could go back I would've absolutely rented some Vantage Hawk V-Lite 16's and shot it anamorphic since the bulk of production was done in Paris right where they have headquarters. It didn't occur to me until after production though.

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Brilliant trailer Jeff. Very much looking forward to seeing the film. But that music sounds like Hanan Townshend's score from 'To The Wonder'..?

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i do not understand the lingo ....what does 'aim for printing lights of around 20 for Double-X and......Vision3....aim for printing lights of around 27-32 (green channel) mean

 

Double-X is certainly not a modern Vision3 stock; It is a very classic B&W stock, first launched in 1958 if I remember correctly. You don't want to overexpose Double-X since it will increase grain and make scanning more difficult; Aim for printing lights around 20 for Double-X.

The real Vision3 stocks can be exposed at about 2/3 more open than rated. Aim for printing lights of around 27-32 (green channel).

You should shoot a few test rolls and see how it compares with your photographic experience. Talk to the filmgrader in the lab.

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My last feature was shot on super16 using 50D, 250D and 500T. All day exteriors were shot on 50D rated a full two stops over, day interiors were shot on 250D also rated two stops over but filmed using only natural light from windows and bounce, and the few night exteriors were shot on 500T rated normally. The trailer also features some day for night on 50D with visual effects involved.

 

You can get a taste of what 50D looks like overexposed two stops in all of the daytime footage in this trailer:

 

https://vimeo.com/152268039

 

I personally love the look from the overexposure. It further reduced the grain and still never clipped any of the highlights.

really enjoyed the trailor and will watch it somehow for sure...has a Terrence Mallick vibe to it for sure in the editing of the trailer with the music....loved it....great to see real work on this forum not all the garbage on youtube etc

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i do not understand the lingo ....what does 'aim for printing lights of around 20 for Double-X and......Vision3....aim for printing lights of around 27-32 (green channel) mean

 

Printer lights are the method by which you control exposure and color on a contact print from motion picture film. It's similar to darkroom printing in stills.

 

With motion picture printing, the processed negative and a fresh roll of print stock are pressed into contact together and fed through the printer. This is done in total darkness. When both pieces of film pass thru the gate area, they are exposed to a controlled amount of light that passes thru colored filters. Those filters produce precise amounts of red,green, and blue light on the print stock.

 

If the negative is dense, then you need more light to pass thru it and expose the print stock. And if the negative is thin, you need less. You can also vary the amount of RGB light, and thus affect the color balance of the print. The printer lights are generally calibrated (or trimmed) to a scale of 0-50, with 0 being no light, and 50 being the maximum. One stop of exposure is usually either 6 or 8 printer points depending on the lab, so you can think of each printer point as 1/6 to 1/8 of a stop of exposure difference. A 'normally' exposed negative should print around the 25-25-25 range.

 

Because there are color biases in the negative stock, this is never exactly the case. But you can use these numbers to judge how dense the negative is, and if you are in the right range of exposure. Most people like to print in the mid to low-30s just to be safe. This produces rich blacks, tight grain, and more color saturation. Once you go below the 20s with color neg, the blacks start to look thin and lifted, there's more grain, the color is thinner, and you might start to see some color in the blacks.

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Satsuki,

 

Your explanation is correct.

 

On B&W film you have to be careful with negatives that are too dense (over 25). The grain increases with density on B&W and the negative becomes harder to scan if too dense (silver in the emulsion) leading possible to more digital noise in the scanner that can combine in an ugly way with the increased grain.

 

The best advice to the OP is to do some tests and talk to the lab.

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I feel a little late to the party but I enjoyed the trailer as well. Congrats Jeff. Is a Blu Ray or DVD available? I would love to see the full movie.

 

I've handed over the sales/distribution end of things to the sales agent who bought the rights to both of my films at last year's AFM. They did just sell my first feature 'Shadow of the Lotus' in its first territory this past week, so hopefully 'Wandering Hearts' will be available to be seen in some capacity soon. I'll post about it here if/when that happens.

 

In the mean time, there are a few select clips from the film you can see on Vimeo. All of these clips in particular were shot on Kodak 7203 50D in various conditions. Cheers!

 

Clip 01 (Mont St. Michel dancing): vimeo.com/165077527/4bedc36aab

Clip 02 (under the stars): vimeo.com/184452026/68e1044e10

Clip 03 (Mont St. Michel photos): vimeo.com/184474566/c1859d6e87

Clip 04 (Eiffel Tower): vimeo.com/184635390/f083b126b9

Clip 05 (Cafe meeting): vimeo.com/184754702/a0b1bfb92c

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was the "under the stars" scene shot day for night?

 

Beautiful work by the way. Lots of people ask about budget for a S16 feature compared to a digital camera. So for their benefit, what was your budget and what ratio did you shoot at?

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Printer lights are the method by which you control exposure and color on a contact print from motion picture film. It's similar to darkroom printing in stills.

 

With motion picture printing, the processed negative and a fresh roll of print stock are pressed into contact together and fed through the printer. This is done in total darkness. When both pieces of film pass thru the gate area, they are exposed to a controlled amount of light that passes thru colored filters. Those filters produce precise amounts of red,green, and blue light on the print stock.

 

If the negative is dense, then you need more light to pass thru it and expose the print stock. And if the negative is thin, you need less. You can also vary the amount of RGB light, and thus affect the color balance of the print. The printer lights are generally calibrated (or trimmed) to a scale of 0-50, with 0 being no light, and 50 being the maximum. One stop of exposure is usually either 6 or 8 printer points depending on the lab, so you can think of each printer point as 1/6 to 1/8 of a stop of exposure difference. A 'normally' exposed negative should print around the 25-25-25 range.

 

Because there are color biases in the negative stock, this is never exactly the case. But you can use these numbers to judge how dense the negative is, and if you are in the right range of exposure. Most people like to print in the mid to low-30s just to be safe. This produces rich blacks, tight grain, and more color saturation. Once you go below the 20s with color neg, the blacks start to look thin and lifted, there's more grain, the color is thinner, and you might start to see some color in the blacks.

 

I'm going to be shooting 16mm for scanning only....not for projection at all.....any advice for that based on what you wrote so kindly for me......

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Honestly, I don't really light any differently for film vs video. I still protect the highlights. I control my mids and blacks if possible. I focus on generating a consistent image IE: proper exposure. This way when it comes time for grading, you have a better chance of it coming out good.

 

With scanning, generally it's done 'one light' meaning the machine simply scans the film and you fix it later. If your exposure is all over the place, you're now dealing with the dynamic range of the scanners imager, rather then the just dynamic range of the film itself. So you'll get some material that simply can't be brought back to life due to digital tearing in the imager on the highlights or fixed pattern noise in the blacks. This is rare I admit, but if your exposure is all over the place on one roll of film, it can happen. Now you can pay an operator to do a scene by scene scan and/or telecine, but it's generally a lot more money. I'd recommend it on your first project, just to make sure you get what you're looking for. I just had a client who was scared about what it was going to look like, so we did a "supervised" telecine and of course, it looked great. The operator only did some minor color changes, but the exposure was right on the nose.

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