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Ben Brahem Ziryab

Emulating the look of a traditional color film print

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As most of us here, I primarily shoot with digital cameras. Occasionally I get a chance to shoot a project on film.

 

One thing I still love about film is the traditional film print. The quality of the image is intimate and naturalistic. There is also a distinct quality to the light on the screen, a kind of "3D effect", highlights glow and the blacks are deeper than most digital projectors (with the exception of laser). Colors can be truly gorgeous. For instance, I watched "The Love Witch" and I loved how colors popped off the screen.

 

I know how to achieve this with traditional printing (e.g. high printer lights, exposing a dense negative, costume design etc.)

 

However, in most cases, even when I get to shoot on film, I won't be finishising on film. The reasons are obvious: cost, titles, VFX, color grading limitations, most festivals accept only DCP's, general audience can't tell the difference, it doesn't sell more tickets or make the story better, etc.

 

So if I shoot on film but finish digitally, what are some ways to emulate the look of a traditional print?

 

One idea I have, but never tried, is to print from the camera negative, then digitally scan that. In other words, scan the print instead of the negative.

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As most of us here, I primarily shoot with digital cameras. Occasionally I get a chance to shoot a project on film.

 

One thing I still love about film is the traditional film print. The quality of the image is intimate and naturalistic. There is also a distinct quality to the light on the screen, a kind of "3D effect", highlights glow and the blacks are deeper than most digital projectors (with the exception of laser). Colors can be truly gorgeous. For instance, I watched "The Love Witch" and I loved how colors popped off the screen.

 

I know how to achieve this with traditional printing (e.g. high printer lights, exposing a dense negative, costume design etc.)

 

However, in most cases, even when I get to shoot on film, I won't be finishising on film. The reasons are obvious: cost, titles, VFX, color grading limitations, most festivals accept only DCP's, general audience can't tell the difference, it doesn't sell more tickets or make the story better, etc.

 

So if I shoot on film but finish digitally, what are some ways to emulate the look of a traditional print?

 

One idea I have, but never tried, is to print from the camera negative, then digitally scan that. In other words, scan the print instead of the negative.

 

I'd love to see those results.

 

Tarantino did something similar on Death Proof, at least for the first segment. The only difference is that they probably had to copy the prints back to negative stock, in order to intercut with the rest of the film. When you look at the first segment on bluray, I'm not sure how many generations is that removed from the original print (you might be looking at a telecined duplicate negative of the print, or maybe even a positive made from the duplicate negative), but it has an interesting hyper-analog look to it. Contrary to what stories might circulate in the media, all the damage and splices are REAL; they are not a digital effect.

 

I have been thinking about doing the same thing that you propose. The only problem for me is cost.

Edited by Edgar Nyari

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As most of us here, I primarily shoot with digital cameras. Occasionally I get a chance to shoot a project on film.

 

One thing I still love about film is the traditional film print. The quality of the image is intimate and naturalistic. There is also a distinct quality to the light on the screen, a kind of "3D effect", highlights glow and the blacks are deeper than most digital projectors (with the exception of laser). Colors can be truly gorgeous. For instance, I watched "The Love Witch" and I loved how colors popped off the screen.

 

I know how to achieve this with traditional printing (e.g. high printer lights, exposing a dense negative, costume design etc.)

 

However, in most cases, even when I get to shoot on film, I won't be finishising on film. The reasons are obvious: cost, titles, VFX, color grading limitations, most festivals accept only DCP's, general audience can't tell the difference, it doesn't sell more tickets or make the story better, etc.

 

So if I shoot on film but finish digitally, what are some ways to emulate the look of a traditional print?

 

One idea I have, but never tried, is to print from the camera negative, then digitally scan that. In other words, scan the print instead of the negative.

 

You can use a film print emulation LUT (look up table).

 

https://jonnyelwyn.co.uk/workflow-for-post-production-film-editors/download-free-davinci-resolve-film-print-emulation-luts/

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