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Using 35mm motion picture film stock in still cameras.


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#1 Rogelio

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 08:17 PM

Does anybody have any experience using film stock from motion picture film cameras in still cameras? Any tips in how to load the film into the still camera?
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#2 Thomas Worth

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 09:24 PM

I've done this quite a bit. You can really get some nice images, especially when shooting 5245 (or perhaps the new low speed Kodak stock) outdoors.

There's a couple ways you can do this. First, you can buy short ends of the motion picture stock you'd like to try out. These are really cheap, sometimes as cheap as 7 cents a foot (for older stocks). Since a 36 exposure still camera roll holds around 5 feet of film, this ends up being very cost effective. With this route, you'll need to load the film yourself onto a still camera cartridge. Buy some at a good local camera shop or order some online. And be careful when loading them. It has to be done in complete darkness. I use a changing tent, but you can do it in a dark closet, too. Just make sure you put the short end back in the can and seal it with tape to make sure it doesn't pop open later while it's in the light.

The second option is to get some motion picture film pre-spooled onto still cartridges. There used to be a place in Los Angeles that did this, RGB Color Lab, but they went out of business about a year ago. The only other option I know of is Dale Labs in Hollywood, FL. They will sell you motion picture stock and process it for you.

As a word of warning, don't ever take motion picture stock that you've rolled yourself to a drugstore to get processed. The minilabs they use are set up for C-41 processing, which is different chemistry than what motion picture stocks require. What's worse is that motion picture stock has a carbon backing, Rem-jet, that must be washed off prior to being processed. Since the minilabs at the drugstore don't have the capability to deal with the Rem-jet, running it through the machine will make a huge mess inside and probably screw it up. John can probably give you more details on that.

Check out this thread. There are a couple shots posted that I shot on motion picture film:
http://www.cinematog...wtopic=3733&hl=

And if you want to see what motion picture film looks like when processed with still chemistry:
http://www.cinematog...wtopic=8087&hl=
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#3 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 11:27 AM

Again, as has been mentioned before, it's fairly easy to "spool your own" using a daylight load spooler like the Watson or Lloyd:

http://www.bhphotovi...oughType=search

http://www.bhphotovi...egoryNavigation

As noted, the motion picture color negative films must be processed in an ECN-2 process. Trying to process in the consumer C-41 process will contaminate the machine and other films with rem-jet particles.

Motion-picture labs running 35mm ECN-2 processes are hesitant to offer services for such short still film lengths, due to the risk of the spliced short lengths breaking in the processing machine. So even if they offer the service, the film usually requires a special run, and added setup cost.

If printing services are offered, a frame-by-frame color correction is usually not possible, so a "best light" per roll is more typical.

IMHO, paper prints made from motion-picture negatives do not accurately represent the results you will get from a projected print. Paper prints made on automated printers use automatic color grading that may not represent what a lab color grader will offer.
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#4 Thomas Worth

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 06:06 PM

IMHO, paper prints made from motion-picture negatives do not accurately represent the results you will get from a projected print. Paper prints made on automated printers use automatic color grading that may not represent what a lab color grader will offer.

I agree. It's too bad RGB went out of business, because they used to offer true contact printing for the still rolls using "printer light" values. So, if you overexposed something on purpose, you could tell RGB to adjust the printer lights to compensate. This was VERY helpful in determining how a particular stock would perform at different ASA ratings, since the exact same process is used when printing motion picture material. I haven't been able to find any other place here in Los Angeles that will do the same thing for $7 a roll. If anybody knows of one, please share!
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#5 Rogelio

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 01:29 PM

Thanks for providing such great information.
Now, My idea is buying a can of 5218 short end film, I'd like to save money on the processing, I also wouln't like bringing 5 ft of film to the lab everytime, I'd love to processes all of my stills at home. I happend to have a bathrooms that's 100% light proof (no windows) in my apartment. How complicated or how easy would this be? Anyone have done this? Does anyone know a website where where explains what quemicals I'd need?

Best Regards

Rogelio
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#6 K Borowski

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 03:11 PM

I'm far from Los Angeles (Cleveland OH), but I am going to try to start offering some ECN-2 services in the near future for around that price if I see enough interested parties. I've already encountered a few. I think ECN-2 still processing is a real boon for directors on a budget that are scouting locations/testing film stock.
The hard part is adapting machinery and figuring out how to print the stuff onto paper properly. I hope to be underway this summer if all goes well.

Regards.

~Karl Borowski

Thanks for providing such great information.
Now, My idea is buying a can of 5218 short end film, I'd like to save money on the processing, I also wouln't like bringing 5 ft of film to the lab everytime, I'd love to processes all of my stills at home. I happend to have a bathrooms that's 100% light proof (no windows) in my apartment. How complicated or how easy would this be? Anyone have done this? Does anyone know a website where where explains what quemicals I'd need?

Best Regards

Rogelio


You're better off to let a lab do it. At least in still photography, the advice I've heard is "you're fine with black and white, but let the labs do the color." I personally disregarded that advice since I do RA-4 printing by hand (that's color photo paper), but I don't have very good consistency. Since I'm just making prints, that isn't that big of a deal since I'm not ruining any originals. I assume you are referring to doing it by hand. With the proper equipment, you can get very good results.

Regards.

~Karl Borowski
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#7 Thomas Worth

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 05:21 PM

I also wouln't like bringing 5 ft of film to the lab everytime, I'd love to processes all of my stills at home. I happend to have a bathrooms that's 100% light proof (no windows) in my apartment. How complicated or how easy would this be? Anyone have done this?

The biggest obstacle is obtaining the ECN-2 developer in small quantities (John? :)). I've used C-41 developer, but it renders the image with a green cast -- not desirable when you're trying to judge how a stock renders color.

Basically, you need the following chemicals to hand-process color film:

1. Developer (must use Kodak's)
2. Stop
3. Fixer
4. Bleach

You can pretty much use the chemicals other than the developer from other manufacturers, as they are pretty generic and aren't directly responsible for forming the image (well, stop does play a part in the formation of the image, but it is a simple solution that ceases the action of the developer). All the fixer and bleach do is remove the silver from the film, both "unexposed grains" (fixer) and "exposed grains" (bleach). In color photography, the silver does not form the image like it does in B&W photography. That's why there's no "bleach" step in B&W processing.

The hard part is adapting machinery and figuring out how to print the stuff onto paper properly. I hope to be underway this summer if all goes well.

Forget printing motion picture film onto paper without scanning it and color correcting it first. It's way too low-contrast. A better idea would just be to scan the film, color correct it yourself and then print it on a high quality inkjet printer. That's what I do.
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#8 K Borowski

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 06:19 PM

Forget printing motion picture film onto paper without scanning it and color correcting it first. It's way too low-contrast. A better idea would just be to scan the film, color correct it yourself and then print it on a high quality inkjet printer. That's what I do.


Well, to be honest, the only way I have of digitally outputing digital pictures that I have right now is an old film recorder. Everything I do originates on film. Anything that I need retouched or manipulated, I usually leave to a lab. That would be a very awkward setup developing ECN-2, scanning it, manipulating it, outputing it to C-41, developing that, and then printing it. I COULD get an inkjet, but they're SLLLLOOWWWWW, and I still don't think the results are very good; it also comes out to be more expensive inkjetting than just outputting it all to RA-4; hence the reason why 1 Hour Photos still use the chemical method. I suppose I could work something out with a local lab using a Frontier and have them make 4x6s from my scanned files. Surely though, there's a way to pump up the contrast on RA-4 paper. I think it'd honestly be less of a hassle for me to go that route. It eliminates the need for scanning, and either inkjetting or outlabbing. Modifying RA-4 might be as simple as swapping the color developing agents from RA-4, and replacing them with some variant of the ECP chems or just adding some quantity of citrazinic acid for every gallon of RA-4(mod.) developer. I'm going to give Dale Labs in Florida a call on Monday and see what they can tell me about ECN-2 printing. I think they print that to paper optically so maybe they know a trick on how to do it.

Regards.

~Karl Borowski
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#9 Filip Plesha

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 06:24 PM

Thomas

Can you post some more images done this way, the more the better?
Those looked really interesting
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#10 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 08:49 PM

I'm going to give Dale Labs in Florida a call on Monday and see what they can tell me about ECN-2 printing. I think they print that to paper optically so maybe they know a trick on how to do it.

When I have goten Slides made latly at Dale, the images have a clear border all arround, which leads me ot belive that they are printing digitaly. They offer a CD with developing which is higher resultion than the CD I can get at the Wal-mart Minilab. I bet the scan for that is also used in making slides and prints.

AS far as C-41 prints, the local Minilab seems to scan the negs and then use the same laser output unit as a digital shot. Even their manager was surprised when she found out that they could print one of the rolls from my Half frame camera. The manager said they would have to send it out, but when I brought it in, the part-time tech said that he knew how to print it. I picked it up the next day from the manager, and complemented the tech, she insisted on taking one of my Negs and sticking it in the machine to see how he did it. (she also asked why I had shot half-frame - did I do it deliberatly?)

If you were to run ECN2 Neg, and contact print it in a motion picture printer you can get good "One light" slides, which SHOULD be useful for experimenting. I suspect that the Noritsu paper printer, could either be set to make good prints themselves or could make prints for a scan, that had been "procesed".
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#11 Thomas Worth

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 11:40 PM

Everything I do originates on film. Anything that I need retouched or manipulated, I usually leave to a lab. That would be a very awkward setup developing ECN-2, scanning it, manipulating it, outputing it to C-41, developing that, and then printing it.

As far as I know, nobody does optical prints from film anymore. Everything is scanned, and then laser output to photo paper. Of course, the machine performs color correction in the process. You can bring in your own scans and have the Frontier output them for you. I don't know if you can turn the color correction off or not. I believe there are varying "levels" of hardware or software options for the Fuji Frontier. Drugstores, no doubt, have the cheapest and least configurable. A professional photo lab may have better options, like the ability to completely turn off any color correction and just output the scans directly to paper.

If you were to run ECN2 Neg, and contact print it in a motion picture printer you can get good "One light" slides, which SHOULD be useful for experimenting.

This is what RBG Color Lab used to do, and it was great! You could even specify printer points if you had deliberately overexposed / underexposed. That, in my opinion, is the best option. But now that RGB is gone, how would I get this done for short rolls?

Can you post some more images done this way, the more the better?
Those looked really interesting

Filip, the images I posted were from a short roll that were all shot under the same conditions. Those were the best of the bunch. I would of had more, but my camera (without me knowing at the time) was having a problem with high shutter speeds, so some of the images didn't come out right. It wasn't due to the processing, however. It was simply a mechanical problem. It's fixed now. :D

I'll post some more the next time I get a chance to experiment.
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#12 Filip Plesha

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 07:13 AM

As far as I know, nobody does optical prints from film anymore.


Pro labs still do it with an enlarger, but they have both digital and optical printing services.

Using an enlarger is still the simples and most efficient way of doing it.
There is no noise, if the lens is good, the resolution is only limited by the paper.
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#13 K Borowski

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 06:37 PM

This is probably the method that I would use, an enlarger coupled with a Nord roll easel. But again, I'd have to tweak the process somewhat to handle the ECN-2 source material. I frankly don't like 4x6 digital proofs. They're proofs, so what good are they for proofing if under a magnifying glass, all you see are a grid of pixels. THe good 4x6 opticals were capable of showing you detail you'd see under greater enlargement if you held them under a magnifier. Anyway, my quandary is what equipment, if any, I should devote to a modified chemical process. I'm pretty sure that I want to convert an old KIS film processor to ECN-2, but I'm not sure if I want a machine to do ECP-2, and a separate photo processor to do RA-4(mod.forECN), or possibly just use spiral tanks for ECP-2. I still have to give the matter some thought. It might also be possible to just do a quick tweak of a standard RA-4 processor, swapping the developer for standard RA-4 runs and replacing with a higher-contrast one. I'd have to study the impact, if any that would have on doing normal RA-4. I don't know if it'd be possible to completely clean out the developer tank cheaply and effectively so that one machine could handle both workflows.

Regards.

~Karl Borowski
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#14 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 07:16 PM

I still have to give the matter some thought. It might also be possible to just do a quick tweak of a standard RA-4 processor, swapping the developer for standard RA-4 runs and replacing with a higher-contrast one. I'd have to study the impact, if any that would have on doing normal RA-4. I don't know if it'd be possible to completely clean out the developer tank cheaply and effectively so that one machine could handle both workflows.

My worry would be getting a version of RA-4 Developer that is both "Hot" for higher contrast and YET manages to have all three curves lined up. I think that getting that sort of thing to work is the workload that takes most of Kodaks enginering talent's time. Other ises you get the sort of thing where Hilights shift one way ,a nd shadows shilt the other, and you can''t get both to show the right colour.

Clearing the Developer _Should _ not be a problem. You would need to flush it with a couple of changes of water, and dry the tank between uses. In fact you might get away with less, as the two products would probaly be simalar except fo r the propostions of 2-3 ingreedeints, and so they would be compatibile - ie WOuld tolerate a certian amount of cross contamination.
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#15 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 01:43 PM

If you are trying to set up and control your own ECN-2 process, you really should use process control strips to measure the sensitometry of the process compared to Kodak's aims:

http://www.kodak.com...talog/mps04.pdf

KODAK VISION2 Color Negative Control Strips / ECN-2 / for Negative Type Films / 16 mm x 100 ft roll CAT 1520444
KODAK VISION2 Color Negative Control Strips / ECN-2 / for Negative Type Films / 35 mm x 100 ft roll
CAT 1520469


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#16 K Borowski

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 02:16 PM

If you are trying to set up and control your own ECN-2 process, you really should use process control strips to measure the sensitometry of the process compared to Kodak's aims:

http://www.kodak.com...talog/mps04.pdf


Yes, I am a firm believer in plotting and leveling curves in any color process. I was either going to buy strips from Kodak or make my own from some of the 35mm ends I've accumulated. So, as opposed to C-41 control strips, ECN-2 strips are on an uncut 100-foot roll that has each frame exposed with a test grid? Are the control strips for the ECP-2 process sold in the same fashion (100 feet, uncut)?

Regards.

Karl Borowski
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#17 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 02:30 PM

Yes, I am a firm believer in plotting and leveling curves in any color process. I was either going to buy strips from Kodak or make my own from some of the 35mm ends I've accumulated. So, as opposed to C-41 control strips, ECN-2 strips are on an uncut 100-foot roll that has each frame exposed with a test grid? Are the control strips for the ECP-2 process sold in the same fashion (100 feet, uncut)?

Regards.

Karl Borowski


Each 100 foot roll has 21-step sensi exposures spaced at 9.5 inch intervals. So cutting about 20 inches of film will assure one complete control strip gets processed.

Do you have a sensitometer? What kind of densitometer? For ECN-2, you should read Status M densitometry.
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#18 K Borowski

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 02:54 PM

Each 100 foot roll has 21-step sensi exposures spaced at 9.5 inch intervals. So cutting about 20 inches of film will assure one complete control strip gets processed.

Do you have a sensitometer? What kind of densitometer? For ECN-2, you should read Status M densitometry.


I have a pair of densitometers. I haven't calibrated either yet. Hopefully by the end of the month I'll have that all taken care of. "For ECN-2, you should read Status M densitometry." What do you mean here?

Regards.

~Karl Borowski
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#19 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 10:03 AM

I have a pair of densitometers. I haven't calibrated either yet. Hopefully by the end of the month I'll have that all taken care of. "For ECN-2, you should read Status M densitometry." What do you mean here?

Regards.

~Karl Borowski


A densitometer with "Status M" response "sees" the densities in the negative very much like print film, so the readings correlate well with the effect on a print. "Status A" response is a bit more like that of the eye, so it is normally used to evaluate films that are projected, like print film.

http://www.tpub.com/...s/14209_283.htm

There are several sets of filters incorporated in the head of the densitometer. When you are reading black-and-white materials, the yellow filter must be in place. When color materials are read, there are two different sets of filters that are used. They are Status A and Status M filters. Status A filters are used to read color transparencies and prints. Status M is used to read color negative film that has an orange mask



http://www.cromemco....cbeth/photo.htm

http://www.serranore...rand_xrite.html
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#20 bridgett roh

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 06:57 AM

Does anybody have any experience using film stock from motion picture film cameras in still cameras? Any tips in how to load the film into the still camera?

i don't understand why you would want to anyway when there are so many great still films available. motion pic film is great but for movies only. ok if you like slides on mp print stock but not very archival. c 41 is so easy to process at home but believe me ecn will be a nightmare in a bathroom. c 41 negs are made to be printed on paper so easy but mp films are not they look terrible. you will not save any money in the long run. i don't mean to put you off but tell me why you want to use mp negs, regards.
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