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Colour chart/grey cards/white balance advice pls


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#1 Timothy Fransky

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Posted 30 August 2018 - 12:34 PM

I'm going to shoot some of my brother's wedding on Sunday with some expired Ektachrome 160G. It may work out, it may not. I'm prepared for that. He'll have a professional photographer there anyway. I'm just doing this because it's fun.

 

Could you guys advise me on whether I need a colour chart/grey card? If so, how? The finished product will be scanned, not projected, so colour correction will be important.

 

 


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#2 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 30 August 2018 - 01:47 PM

Hi, first off, unless this cartridge of EKTACHROME 160 Type G has been stored in the deep freeze since new, it is now well over 3 decades old and will have lost contrast, film speed, have severe color dye shift to virtually mostly all green.  Another crux in the  mix depends on which of the 3 process types this film requires:  Process ME-4(thus no mention on cartridge label as to process type, ran 1970 to 1981 requiring emulsion prehardening, very rare to get processes correctly now), Process EM-25 (a short lived one year approximately intermediate process which still required film emulsion prehardening but had a major developer change, ran 1981 until introduction of Process EM-26 in Sept 1981), or Process EM-26 which was the final of that generation of Ektachrome films, and had prehardened film emulsions for high temp processing and ran from Sept 1981 to Sept 1995 when manufacture of those Ektachrome movies films ceased (being replaced by Ektachrome VNF 7240 (requiring Process VNF-1) to be replaced by Ektachrome 64T and at the end Ektachrome 100D (both of those requiring the revered long living Process E-6) with Ektachrome 100D soon to return.

 

  Not to burst your bubble, but again, IF this film has only been stored at room temp, the quality will be terrible in color, and still pretty poor if processed in B&W (but if doing it that way, then you'd be better off just using a nice fresh roll of TRI-X film for B&W).  Considering the higher cost to process the film in color, only to yield low contrast mostly all green color with no real shadow detail etc, you'd be far better off getting a good roll of either Ektachrome 100D which some are still selling, or the previous EK64T, or one of those Fujichrome Provia or Velvia custom loaded films, all which will yield you predictable results worth the time and cost to film, process, and have a great film of the special event!

 

One more thing about Ektachrome 160 Type G, which many of us referred to as "G for garbage" back in the day.  It was only color balanced to about 4400K cooler than normal color daylight reversal film, since it's design for intended for an all around and mixed lighting film.  So, where there was daylight, flourescent light, and tungsten, it faired okay.  Daylight was too cool, unless you filtered it warmer, and Tungsten was awful mostly orange due to the way off color temp range.  As it aged well past it's expiration date, due to the original color layer packing, it would shift more radically, so harder to predict without some testing.  With it being so old now, the only version I would trust is my own cache of frozen film.  Please consider all this BEFORE you risk your time and effort in filming this special day and in the end, wish you just hadn't wasted your time, energy and money.  As I have said sometimes before to others, would you eat a can of soup that was 30+ years old?  Maybe if it was boiled well and was all you had after a zombie apocalypse.  Same for film.  Use that old roll to goof around with in testing a camera's transport system or something where it wouldn't be so sad to have it all come out ruined in the end. 

 

Oh yes, do include a color chart and grey chart, and then you'll see that all mostly green, so even that attempt will not help really, sorry.  However, it will show you have severely the film has aged, which can then be measured on a Densitometer and plotted out graphically.

 

Just my two cents here.  Good luck though!


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#3 Timothy Fransky

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Posted 30 August 2018 - 03:03 PM

Thanks for your insight, Martin, and your concern. The guy I bought from assured me it had been stored in the freezer, for whatever that's worth. I have no real way of verifying that, other than my gut feeling about him. So yeah.

 

I was worried myself about the quality of these cartridges, as they're dated 1984/85. But I've seen some interesting results on vimeo that are acceptably weird for me to at least try.

 

 

The whole idea of filming this on super 8 is that this particular brother was born right at the demise of the format. So many family memories before him are on Kodachrome. There's no super 8 of him. I felt it would be interesting to dovetail that gap in the family with this wedding film.

 

The fact that it's a wedding is not really my interest. Rather it's trying to bridge the gap between the two eras of my family. Most of the surviving film from my childhood isn't horrible quality, but it's at least as good or bad as the above link. To wit:

 

https://drive.google...iew?usp=sharing

 

My father still has his B&H 1206. I have an Elmo Super 106. So we plan to both shoot a roll, then assemble all the use-able images in post. I won't be terribly disappointed if it doesn't work out. If I were simply trying to record the best visuals of the day, then I wouldn't even consider expired film. I'm not the official photographer anyway. It's just a fun experiment.

 

I've not been able to locate affordable expired Tri-X or any other stock, for that matter. Guys who have stored this stuff think it's made of Cuban wrapper leaf onto which Castro or Churchill personally farted. I don't personally think any expired cartridge should be more than $10 in any currency. But I digress.

 

I've not heard of the Fuji stock you mention. I'd like to hear more. Frankly, I'd like to hear about any caches of expired super 8 that isn't being horded like dragon gold.

 

(I do have a roll of brand-new 50D in my freezer, but I was saving that for a narrative film I'm planning.)


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#4 Roger Haney

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Posted 30 August 2018 - 04:15 PM

Generally, grey cards are used for metering and white balance is only for video and digital photography. Have you ever seen the single color frame of the lady on film leader? Ever wonder why she is in there? She was a reference for colorists to color time film properly. Everybody does color correction in digital post these days(which is why it takes so long to edit video.)
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#5 Timothy Fransky

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Posted 30 August 2018 - 06:21 PM

Generally, grey cards are used for metering and white balance is only for video and digital photography. Have you ever seen the single color frame of the lady on film leader? Ever wonder why she is in there? She was a reference for colorists to color time film properly. Everybody does color correction in digital post these days(which is why it takes so long to edit video.)


I haven't seen the lady. Only "K O D A K." But that's excellent info!
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#6 Timothy Fransky

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 02:32 PM

Update: I only used my Elmo Super 106 to shoot one roll of the Ektachrome. It has manual exposure, so I opened it to what I assume is f20. The ttl exposure meter is a bit confusing. There's also no dial for film speed. That must be auto only.

 

Anyway, the camera worked very well. I'm surprised by how quiet it runs. I'm planning to send to Film Rescue for processing and scan. Although, if there was a member who enjoyed hand processing and wanted a crack at this emulsion, I'd gladly it send his/her way. It will definitely be a challenge, even for the Film Rescue people, I expect.

 

@Roger Haney, say I didn't know those leader ladies were called "china girls." I've never seen one on a film leader, but then I was born in 1980. I never got a good look at any motion picture film. Do they still make leaders with china girls? That would be helpful for colour correction of fresh stock. I can't imagine it would help with the 160 G though.


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#7 Timothy Fransky

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 09:01 PM

I finally got the 160G back from film rescue. I definitely underexposed the wedding. I wasn't aware it would be so dark in the gazebo. I should've metered better. What would you do in such a situation? Honest question.

It was a great learning experience all in all. I was able to pull out some detail in post, but the stock is super grainy.


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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 11:10 PM

Metering wouldn't help if you simply didn't have enough light to shoot, other than to tell you that.


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#9 Todd Pinder

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 12:17 AM

Better would have been buying a fresh roll of 500T, then send it some where for a 'Rank a roll' transfer. But not sure if your camera could even take advantage of that film speed according to how it reads the cartridge.


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#10 Nick Collingwood

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 11:00 AM

You say you "opened up" the aperture to f20... If you were manually exposing at f20, then you did the opposite of what you wanted. You stopped DOWN to f20. The rule is, smaller the f-stop number, the more light is let in, the shallower your depth of field. 

 

Either way, I speak from experience myself, using very expired stocks on a day like a wedding day is not a good choice. Did it once for a friend with some very expired Tri-X and barely was able to pull out a usable image. Better than your results but only slightly. Regretted not just buying fresh stock. Color negative stock is much more forgiving if you find expired stuff. Shot the below wedding for my sister on expired Vision2 500T but exposed it at 160 to help with the increased grain. Came out great.

 

Also... shooting interiors with Super 8 always is a challenge. And your venue looks pretty dark or perhaps it's just the film. But as mentioned above, using fresh 500T would've gotten you a very usable image. Plus 500T handles bright lights very well so you could shoot it outside as well. You don't really have to worry about how you camera meters it THAT much as it can handle a crazy amount of overexposure. I've shot fresh 500T in my Nizo 801 at 160 and the results were perfect (albeit grainy as 500T is). Also get a nice 2K scan. Will help a LOT with saving the shadows vs a normal telecine.


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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 12:19 PM

I think he meant f/2.0.


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#12 Nick Collingwood

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 12:31 PM

I think he meant f/2.0.

 

Ah ya I didn't think about that possibility haha. Looks like his personal camera he shot with is an f1.8 lens and his father's is only an f2.8.

 

Adrian Cousins on the Facebook group regularly shoots very expired E160G but he shoots it at something like 40ASA and then has fine tuned his home processing techniques to get halfway decent results. With expired film you really have to blast it with as much light as possible. And... be very open to the results. haha.

 

Also Tim, except for a few very high end cameras, Super 8 cameras automatically read the cartridge ASA via a notch system on the cart. It's pretty ingenious and sometimes confusing. But that's how your camera knows what film you put in there so when shooting fresh stock, ideally you wouldn't have to mess with manual exposure if you didn't want to.


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#13 Timothy Fransky

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 01:29 PM

 

Ah ya I didn't think about that possibility haha. Looks like his personal camera he shot with is an f1.8 lens and his father's is only an f2.8.

 

Adrian Cousins on the Facebook group regularly shoots very expired E160G but he shoots it at something like 40ASA and then has fine tuned his home processing techniques to get halfway decent results. With expired film you really have to blast it with as much light as possible. And... be very open to the results. haha.

 

Also Tim, except for a few very high end cameras, Super 8 cameras automatically read the cartridge ASA via a notch system on the cart. It's pretty ingenious and sometimes confusing. But that's how your camera knows what film you put in there so when shooting fresh stock, ideally you wouldn't have to mess with manual exposure if you didn't want to.

 

I had spoken with Adrian before shooting this, actually. He'd recommended shooting at 20ASA.

 

I shot manual exposure because I knew the stock was rough to begin with. I definitely would've had better results with auto exposure. Hindsight is 20/20.

 

And, yes, I actually did shoot at f22, which is indeed the opposite of what I wanted. I don't know how I got the numbers backwards, but I did. Stupid mistake. The smaller the number, the wider the aperture. I knew that. Dumb.

 

And with all due respect, "use better/fresher stock" is the least helpful comment I've ever read. I had this available. I was pretty certain I'd be making mistakes, so why waste good stock?

 

It was meant as an educational exercise, not a proper wedding film. In that sense, I feel this was a positive experience. I made some major errors, but that's why we practice.

 

No one's "special day" was ruined by a bad film. The couple had professional photogs that captured everything properly.

 

No one had asked me to shoot the wedding. I felt it was a useful event to get my feet wet in super 8.

 

Finally, let me say that no one learned anything by not trying. You can't hit a home run if you don't swing away.


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#14 Todd Pinder

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 01:52 PM

Didn't think you were shooting with the lens stopped all the way down! From what you mentioned in you post and looking at the results we though you were shooting at f2.0 in low light, hence the suggestion.


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#15 Nick Collingwood

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 01:52 PM

Hey... we're just giving some free advice. No need to get defensive. I covered your other points regarding exposure of expired stock and general tips when using expired stock. I just also was saying that if it's something worthwhile, use fresh stock. If you don't care about the results of filming with expired stock and, like I said, are open to the results, then by all means shoot away. I shoot that expired Tri-X I have at protests or when goofing off with friends or family a lot. I'm not against expired stock. I'm all for experimenting my friend and encourage your efforts.

 

I realized I forgot to link the wedding I shot for my sister on expired Vision2 stock before. It's below. Pretty solid results considering the film is 10+ years old.

 

 

Also I will say one more thing about fresh stock though. You say "I was pretty certain I'd be making mistakes, so why waste good stock?" to which I'd say: fresh stock is SO SO forgiving of mistakes. You can make a lot more exposure mistakes with fresh stock and still get a good image compared with expired which has much less latitude due to aging. But maybe less fun.  ;) 

 

ANYWAYS... Not sure what meter you were using but honestly, the free app "Pocket Light Meter" for iPhone works great! Set the ISO and the shutter speed of your cam and it'll take care of the rest.

 

Glad nothing too important was lost. and hopefully the next time you film with the E160G it'll rival dear Adrian's results. haha


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#16 Timothy Fransky

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 02:17 PM

Not defensive, Nick. Sorry if it came off that way. I was just venting.

 

This was such a good learning experience for me. I'm a hands-on kinda guy. I need physical experience with something before I learn anything.

 

I actually have LightMeter by David Quiles Amat for my android. It's going to come in really handy with my 16mm camera.

 

It's really grey weather in my local area, but I don't want to stop taking pictures. So, I need to learn to shoot in poor light. Head first is the best way I know how.


Edited by Timothy Fransky, 19 November 2018 - 02:20 PM.

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#17 Nick Collingwood

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 02:47 PM

Ha I get it. I am similar. When I've taught people S8 before, sometimes I tell them it just boils down to "JUST GO SHOOT. EXPERIMENT!" haha. Asking questions will only get you so far. I've learned so much in my time shooting film/S8 just by shooting then getting the film back and being like OH... should've done that other thing instead.

 

Another tip if you really need that extra bit of light is to shoot at 9fps. This will give you a slightly lower shutter speed therefore more light. Of course you'll have to correct the speed in post by slowing it to half if you're shooting at 18fps and shoot with an incredibly steady hand or else you'll get crazy motion blur. But it's worked for me in a pinch when it was super low light.

 

Looking forward to your future results.


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#18 Timothy Fransky

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 07:06 PM

I shot this on my Dad's B&H 1206. It came out much better than the wedding. It was a super sunny day also, so that helped.

 


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