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Kodak v Fuji


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#1 Michael Collier

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 06:56 PM

I was wondering what the difference in look was between kodak and fuji film.

I have heard that fuji favors greens and blues and kodak favors yellows and oranges. Any truth to this, or is color reproduction basicly the same. Are there any differences in gama or grain? Also are there any major US films that have been shot on fuji in the last 5 years that I can watch and judge for myself? (David, I know you know the answer to that one. and if you dont, I'm sure your wife knows. the two of you are like IMDB.com on steriods.)

Oh, and a quick one, is fuji any cheaper to shoot on in the US?
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#2 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 08:37 PM

I suppose there was a slight thruth to that before. Today, I don't know. This is what I know - Fuji and Kodak is indistinguishable from each other except in a A and B comparison. Tons of films intercut Fuji and Kodak without anybody seeing any difference. Film people like to think there is a huge difference, but there isn't.

Both make fine films. And yes, Fuji is normally slightly cheaper.
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#3 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 05:37 AM

Not sure if this is still the case or not, my undertsnading was that Fuji tend to have more *real* colours. Kodak tries to enhance them.

I think "A Beautiful Mind" was shot on Fuji, you can probably see what I mean from watching that.
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#4 K Borowski

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 10:13 AM

Not sure if this is still the case or not, my undertsnading was that Fuji tend to have more *real* colours. Kodak tries to enhance them.

I think "A Beautiful Mind" was shot on Fuji, you can probably see what I mean from watching that.


You're probably referring to Fuji's proprietary "4th color layer" technology. As far as I know, only one of their MP stocks has this, their 500ASA I believe. Scientifically speaking, it isn't a true 4th layer, it is a cyan-sensitive sublayer. The only benefit this sublayer has is in its ability to handle flourescent lighting better. For movies with controlled lighting, this doesn't make for a hoot in hell. In terms of consumer 35mm film, Kodak is grainier and probably not as high-res as Fuji's line. Kodak is contrastier than Fuji I'd say, but that's the only benefit that Gold has over Fuji's consumer series, which is why Kodak discontinued all of it's press film when faced with Fuji's lineup. When it comes to pro films (all of which also applies to MP stocks of course), I feel Kodak makes a better quality product. Skin tones are better. Whether this is more accurate or not, I am not certain. Kodak is slightly higher resolution, lower grain, but because of the slightly snappier look Kodak stocks have the grain is more visible, although it's smaller. Also, I would completely agree with Kodak being better with yellows and reds and Fuji being better with blues and greens. Come on, the boxes and cans they come in are a dead giveaway ;-) ! Really, I'd have to say the stock you use is a matter of personal taste. THere is no "better". It is a matter of personal preference. Best way to figure out what you like is shoot a test, with 100 foot rolls or even in a 35mm still cassette.

Regards.

Karl Borowski
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#5 Filip Plesha

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 10:57 AM

Also, I would completely agree with Kodak being better with yellows and reds and Fuji being better with blues and greens. Come on, the boxes and cans they come in are a dead giveaway ;-)


You gave me quite a laugh there. It's not that you are wrong, but there has been so much controversy over the box colors and it always makes me laugh

The whole idea of blue/green and yellow/red probably started because of box colors, and then someone said that it's a myth , and in reality, at least for E6 it turns out that the statement that the original idea is a myth is actually another myth. A myth inside a myth

E6 Fuji films indeed have greens like no Kodak films can make, so I guess the green box color is justified.
Provia..Velvia, you can't get deeper greens that that, cold and thick greens.
As for blue, well blues are great, but Ektachrome films can make great blues too, in fact sometimes they get a bit too blue. It seems that whenever there is a little blue in the image, Ektachrome grabs it and turns it into a blue monster that. Sometimes skylit shadow sides of rocks can appear actually BLUE in sunlit images with Ektachrome.

On the other hand, Kodachrome red is unmatched by other films, and Ektachromes are good with reds too (even though they are a bit warmer shades of red)
You you might say that some reversal Kodak films justify their yellow-red color.

As for negative films, newer Kodak negative films, consumer and professional tend to have warm greens leaning toward yellow while Fuji keeps them colder and deeper. Specially visible in the new Gold 100 film that seems to have gotten its green tweaked to yellowish puke-green compared to previous Gold 100.

I think the whole box color thing is just a coincidence that turned out to be partially true
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#6 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 02:28 PM

The biggest difference I always see between brands is in the blacks. Kodak's black is much deeper and richer, whereas Fuji's black is just a bit greyer with a hint of green in there.

In my own humble opinion, Kodak creates a much truer color image that isn't too different from what MY eye sees. But Fuji, because of the extra silver, does lean more towards the grey/green/blue colors.

I've heard rumours that Fuji made their film this way to make Asian skintones more "attractive" to the eye. Is there any truth to this?
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#7 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 06:05 PM

The remake of 'The Thomas Crown Affair' with Pierce Brosnan was shot on Fuji film. I believe the tv show Ally McBeal was as well. There is a new movie currently in production which I worked on as an extra recently (a comedy starring Toni Collette called 'Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger) which is shot on fuji film and will be released in 2007.
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#8 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 06:15 PM

Ive just found a list of some other tv shows besides Ally McBeal which originated on Fuji. Some of these include Boston Legal, Ballykissangel, Charmed, Stargate SG-1, Angel and Beverly Hills 90210.
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#9 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 06:41 PM

Don't forget the recent "Science of Sleep" was famously shot on Fuji Eterna stock as well.
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#10 Kim Sargenius

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 12:02 AM

In my own humble opinion, Kodak creates a much truer color image that isn't too different from what MY eye sees. But Fuji, because of the extra silver, does lean more towards the grey/green/blue colors.



That's funny - I'm the EXACT opposite! Shooting Kodak means a split second of mental 'translation' whereas I Fuji 'sees' much more the way I see :)

Having said that, with the new Fuji Eterna stocks the gap is narrowing - I feel both Kodak and Fuji are moving towards the centre, and add on top of that increasing use of DI's and soon the stock choice will be made on $$$ rather than look... :(



cheers,

Kim
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 01:19 AM

Since I overexpose both Fuji and Kodak color neg stocks by 2/3's of a stop generally, I don't have much problem with the blacks on either. And Fuji has a new higher-con print stock (XD) that will give you really deep blacks even when using the low-con 400T stock.

The new Fuji Eterna line-up has become slightly more low-con and pastel compared to the Kodak Vision-2 -- more like the look of Expression 500T. That's the main difference these days between Kodak and Fuji color neg. And being lower in contrast, this also means that the Fuji stocks don't look quite as sharp (or sharpened, depending on your taste.) Again, printing onto higher contrast print stocks can mitigate this effect though.

I find that Kodak generally gives me the most "neutral" look -- it's hard to explain, but Kodak does a slightly better job at just reproducing what's in front of the camera. Fuji, to me, adds a certain look, maybe you could call it "painterly", I don't know. But it's a pretty subtle difference... and I think the major difference is what I described regarding contrast and sharpness, and even that's not so major.

But I think if you want the most edge-sharp image, Kodak generally does that a little better, which is why I tend to favor Kodak for Super-16 work. But otherwise, I think it's more of a subtle thing regarding the "palette", and the truth be told, most of the differences are obliterated by any digital color-correction, in which case graininess is the main thing you want to choose a stock for, and I don't think the new Fuji stocks are any grainier than the matching-speed Kodak stocks. Certainly Fuji Eterna 500T is not any grainier than 5218; if anything, it's slightly finer-grained. But I heard that Kodak is coming out with a replacement for 5218 that will be finer-grained.
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#12 Matthew Buick

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 05:55 PM

I'm going to test some 35mm Velvia against the competing Kodak Vision stock, what would that be?

I want to test 100 ASA film.
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 06:00 PM

I'm going to test some 35mm Velvia against the competing Kodak Vision stock, what would that be?

I want to test 100 ASA film.


Velvia is an E6 color reversal film; the only competing E6 motion picture stock from Kodak is 5285 (Ektachrome 100D). Neither is part of the Fuji Eterna or Kodak Vision-2 series, which are ECN2 color negative stocks.
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#14 K Borowski

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 06:01 PM

Keep in mind I've never shot either Vision2 or Eterna films, but, as a still photographer using their professional C-41 stocks, and from movies I've seen (I compulsively sit in theatres until films roll out, so I have a good idea what most films are shot on), I tend to agree that Kodak does a better job with skin tones all around (at least in terms of caucasian skin tones) but isn't as good with blues and greens, while Fuji film is better probalby with oriental skintones, but is weak with yellows and reds. Fuji's C-41 (still) films definitely have a green-magenta bias that is hard if not impossible to cancel out optically, i.e. you cannot get a picture that is perfectly neutral; there will always be either a too green or too magenta hue. I'm not the best color printer, but if you compare Kodak with Fuji, with Kodak you can get dead-on skintones, or at least skintones that are pleasing, which, IMHO are still miles ahead of what digital gives you. It's not about resolution, it's about accurate rendering of flesh.

It's intersting, Kodak actually makes a C-41 film in India called "Optima" ASA 100 that is designed for the darker skintones of that country's people, so this is not idle speculation, there is actually established data that films are designed for different demographics based on their renditions of flesh tones. There was an article in a photography magazine several months back (I think "Popular Photography") that actually compared this Optima film with film from the states in photographing a black subject, and they found her skin photographed better on the Optima, I forget exactly why, maybe something to do with different contrast.

Regards.

~Karl Borowski
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 06:08 PM

One reason people find a color bias in Fuji is that the post chain is heavily optimized for the particular shade/density of the brick-orange color-mask of Kodak negative. You can neutralize a telecine for Fuji's base, and you can use Fuji lab stocks, etc. but most post people work with Kodak and thus it takes a little more tweaking to get Fuji to be neutral when the machines are set-up for Kodak and all the lab stocks are Kodak. Of course, Fuji is designed to work with either Kodak or Fuji lab stocks, but you know that the neg stocks were designed as part of a Fuji series of neg, intermediate, and print stocks.
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#16 K Borowski

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 06:14 PM

I'm going to test some 35mm Velvia against the competing Kodak Vision stock, what would that be?

I want to test 100 ASA film.


If you're shooting reversal, you had best make sure you are damned good at metering for it. I have shot a lot of VNF and K40A (K25 prior) with good results, but I have a very strong still photography background. You have to understand how a light meter works, and you have to expose for the highlights with reversal, and light for the shadows unless you want them to go to black. I wouldn't trust a built-in meter with reversal stock, as it is averaged, rather you need a handheld meter that you can get up close to the subject with and meter your key light with. THen you need to determine the latitude of your reversal stock and make sure your fill light is within the range of the stock's exposure latitude. I haven't shot E100 in stills I don't think (maybe some 200 here and there a while back) but I believe that the latitude is at most 3 stops, I'd make sure you have no more than a 4:1 ratio between key and fill were you to shoot with that stock then, unless you want a dense, maximum black on one side of an actor's face.

Frankly, I"d shoot several dozen rolls of still slide film or perhaps even polaroids as tests before you commit to filmmaking with reversal. THere's a reason pros work with negative film for both still and cine work except in the most controlled of lighting environments; I read an article that says that the average lighting setup for Playboy, where they're probalby shooting a lot of E100, in 6x7cm, uses over a dozen light, IIRC, it was 17 for the setup they were talking about. That's how that magazine overcomes the latitude fallbacks of slide film. National Geographic and other magazines still shoot a lot of slides, but they bracket almost everythign (i.e. shoot 3-5 shots with different f-stops for each), and they're damned good at what they do. You do not have the luxury of reshooting a tense romance scene in your film at three different exposures five times in a row.

Anyway Matthew, from what you've posted before, you're shooting in S8, which only has Ektachrome 64 officially available. You can get recut Velvia and E100, even K40 still, but they aren't standard issue products, and as such willl cost more (which, as a newbe you can probably NOT afford) and I've heard they've had issue with jitter, which will just cost you more money and hardship. I'd recommend you learn with a cheap 16mm if you want a gigantic stock selection. YOu can get synch-sound Auricons for quite cheap here in the states, not sure about in the UK, and i'd say 16mm still has the widest selection of available stocks in the MP arena. If you've moved ot the point where you're shooting a feature film, use 16mm ECN-2 negative, tha't's your surest, safest way of getting a good film. The exposure latitude of negative film, especially when you underrate it a stop, will save you many a time. Even pros make exposure mistakes, and you don't want to have to go back and reshoot things.

Regards,

~Karl
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#17 Matthew Buick

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 06:20 PM

Velvia is an E6 color reversal film; the only competing E6 motion picture stock from Kodak is 5285 (Ektachrome 100D). Neither is part of the Fuji Eterna or Kodak Vision-2 series, which are ECN2 color negative stocks.


Damn, I should have known that. <_<

Right, in the reversal section it's Velvia 50D vs Ektachrome 100D.

In the negative section I'll try Eterna 100 vs Vision 100.

Thanks for the correction, David. ;)

Anyway Matthew, from what you've posted before, you're shooting in S8, which only has Ektachrome 64 officially available. You can get recut Velvia and E100, even K40 still, but they aren't standard issue products, and as such willl cost more (which, as a newbe you can probably NOT afford) and I've heard they've had issue with jitter, which will just cost you more money and hardship. I'd recommend you learn with a cheap 16mm if you want a gigantic stock selection. YOu can get synch-sound Auricons for quite cheap here in the states, not sure about in the UK, and i'd say 16mm still has the widest selection of available stocks in the MP arena. If you've moved ot the point where you're shooting a feature film, use 16mm ECN-2 negative, tha't's your surest, safest way of getting a good film. The exposure latitude of negative film, especially when you underrate it a stop, will save you many a time. Even pros make exposure mistakes, and you don't want to have to go back and reshoot things.

Regards,

~Karl


I dunno, 16mm seems a little expensive unless you can get short ends, and there's still Telecine costs, thanks very much anyways. ;)

Edited by Matthew Buick, 26 December 2006 - 06:21 PM.

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#18 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 06:23 PM

In the negative section I'll try Eterna 100 vs Vision 100.


Fuji hasn't gotten around yet to replacing Super-F 125T with a new Eterna 125T. Probably next year. Eterna 250T and 250D are the slowest-speed Eterna stocks so far.

High-speed stocks like 500T make up the majority of sales so all the time, money, research, etc. goes into updating those stocks -- the slower-speed a stock is, the lower the sales. Of course, the slower-speed stocks tend to not need as much updating since grain & sharpness are generally less of a problem to begin with, which is why Kodak took so long to update their 50D neg stock.
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#19 K Borowski

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 06:26 PM

One reason people find a color bias in Fuji is that the post chain is heavily optimized for the particular shade/density of the brick-orange color-mask of Kodak negative. You can neutralize a telecine for Fuji's base, and you can use Fuji lab stocks, etc. but most post people work with Kodak and thus it takes a little more tweaking to get Fuji to be neutral when the machines are set-up for Kodak and all the lab stocks are Kodak. Of course, Fuji is designed to work with either Kodak or Fuji lab stocks, but you know that the neg stocks were designed as part of a Fuji series of neg, intermediate, and print stocks.


David, I'm probably overstepping my bounds here. I've never been in a telecine suite, only having worked with VNF-1 and K-14 when shooting movies. I've shot plenty of B&W too, but that obviously doesn't need to much color correction ;-)

In the stills work that I do, I print my own color, which I'd assume is something similar to what you're doing during color timing. You have a cyan (hardly ever used) yellow, and magenta dial which you time out the orange mask with, or in some rare cases additive systems which consist of blue, green, and red exposures. Anyway, these filters are pretty much standardized in a given system. They aren't designed for Kodak or Fuji per se, although the initial Wratten filters upon whihc they are based were probably an origin of the British Wratten company, which was bought in the early 20th century by Kodak. Optically printing, either onto photographic paper or onto film, there really aren't any biases towards either Kodak or Fuji. Printing Fuji film onto Fuji paper using 3rd party chemicals for both film and paper, I've found that I encounter this green-magenat bias with caucasian skintones, whereas with Kodak it appears absent.

When you're doing telecine, I assume that you are working with some kind of color look up table (LUT) for a given stock. Indeed, when Kodak or Fuji changes stock, there is often an adjustment period where you have no lookup table for the new film, and it often takes a bit of tweaking to figure out a new filter pack. I still think the proportions of dye built into Fuji's film stocks aren't optimized for caucasian skin, and therefore aren't going to depict it right no matter what LUT you use. It's subtle, but it's almost not as creamy as Kodak's, a little pinkish when optimally balanced. Kodak's film is generally cripser, so I normally don't describe their film as creamy, but there's this kind of pop that Kodak's skin tones give you that I find very pleasing, whereas I can never get Fuji's to look just right. IDK, maybe it's just me, but I think this is something that is inherent to the stock itself, not your telecine or your print stock, although I'd agree that if you shoot Fuji, you generally want to print to Fuji, and that if you shoot Kodak, you would likewise probalby want to print onto Kodak, as they surely aren't testing Fuji negatives when designing their next set of Vision Print films over there in Rochester.

~Karl
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#20 K Borowski

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 06:41 PM

Sorry, let me add one more thing in: Kodak's orange mask is much more consistent, from film to film, emulsion batch to emulsion batch, than Fuji's is. When printing Kodak films, which, with what some people send me go back to amateur films of the early '80s, I will start out with a color filter pack of 20Y 20M, sometimes going up to 30Y 30M. Kodak film, exposed in the proper color temperature seldom strays outside of this range. Fuji film has been all over the place, showing no consistancy whatsoever. IDK if this is as much a problem with their ECN-2 line of films, we'd probably have to ask Dominic Case to answer that, but I"ve had really oddball packs with Fuji, sometimes as low as 0Y 10M or as as high as 40Y 65M with the same lens! I've printed Kodak negatives from nearly 40 years ago, starting with 20Y 20M and gotten perfect prints the first time! I've heard Fuji has improved on this with their latest generation of films, but that is where I got the roll with the 0Y 10M exposure pack. A one filter pack is almost unheard of.

Regards,

~Karl
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