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Recreating the look of defunct stocks


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#1 Marty Hamrick

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 04:31 PM

Ok it seems that Kodachrome along with those that died off before such as ECO 7252 and the VNF families as well as the ME 4's that bellied up over two decades ago.Then you have those Agfa stocks that had a unique look, now gone forever.If you're given a project and the director wants to emulate a certain look,let's say a simulated Vietnam era newsreel, possibly even intercutting real footage with staged, or say you want the look of Agfa stocks, 16mm or 35mm.I've heard several ideas on recreating the looks of kodachrome and ECO, namely using '45 and timing it for either color saturation or some desaturation depending on what stock you're trying to emulate.

Let's hear some ideas.
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#2 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 04:55 PM

Ok it seems that Kodachrome along with those that died off before such as ECO 7252 and the VNF families as well as the ME 4's that bellied up over two decades ago.Then you have those Agfa stocks that had a unique look, now gone forever.If you're given a project and the director wants to emulate a certain look,let's say a simulated Vietnam era newsreel, possibly even intercutting real footage with staged, or say you want the look of Agfa stocks, 16mm or 35mm.I've heard several ideas on recreating the looks of kodachrome and ECO, namely using '45 and timing it for either color saturation or some desaturation depending on what stock you're trying to emulate.

Let's hear some ideas.


If you are trying emulate a color reversal "look", the logical place to start would be with KODAK EKTACHROME 100D Color Reversal Camera Film 5285/7285 :

http://www.kodak.com...1.4.4.6.4&lc=en

Overexposing a reversal film by about a stop will give a "faded" look, as old ME-4 type reversal films might look if they were stored improperly for 30-40 years.


The VISION2 negative films offer great flexibility, but you have to work harder to emulate the toe and shoulder of an old projection contrast reversal film.
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#3 Sam Wells

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 08:28 PM

Trying to emulate a low contrast stock like ECO with 7285 seems kinda backwards.

It's also important to see this in terms of real world telecine suite in real world situations with real world time and budget constraints.

That said I'm not sure what the point of emulating ECO would be - maybe you can explain, Marty. After all ECO was a reversal stock designed to complete it's look so to speak by printing on a higher contrast print stock like Kodachrome 7387.

Yes you can emulate higher con rev materials with 45 - I can certainly fake 7285 itself this way & pretty much have done so - but soon you can't get 45. So more work now.

Last week with a good colorist in a Spirit HD transfer we got very close to what I woulld call a Kodachrome II look - very interesting. But time & money; someone on a budget is up against this, and someone on higher budgets may not be able to indulge these whims...

Kodachrome definitely means more than just overall saturation, you really have to go into the primaries one at a time...

Will try more of this when I have time but my pocketbook is not deep..



-Sam
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#4 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 11:29 PM

The whole idea of low contrast reversal stocks like ECO 7255 and 7252 was to allow duplication through an internegative (7271 or 7272) to produce 16mm release prints that had acceptable quality. The development of finer grain films and the ECN-2 process, beginning with 7247, provided a superior alternative with much more flexibility, latitude, and speed.
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#5 Marty Hamrick

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 02:01 PM

ECO had a pastel look that I have never seen duplicated.Particularly in blues and cool shades.Warmer tones tended to go a little more saturated, reds particularly a light warm shadow in afternoon sun tended to give very interesting results on skin tones.Maybe it was the lab I was using at the time.I've noticed 7245 with a slight over exposure can get close in terms of contrast and grain.

I understand time and budget constraints (I work for a TV station for goshsakes) but I've seen several movies where old newsfilm and documentary footage was intercut with "faked" stuff.Except for a few films in particular such as American Graffiti and Forest Gump, the differences were very jarring.Some films today I've seen use "faked " period newsy type shots where they were either using super 8 or seriously push processed 16mm where apparently the director felt that huge grain meant period look.One such film that comes to mind was the recent remake of "Helter Skelter" where there were sound bites of actors staged as man on the street interviewees.It looked like quasi avant garde newsfilm,but maybe that was the effect they were going for, a perception of how 60's newsfilm would look moreso than a more literal interpretation.I dunno.

I once shot a TV promo for a news series about desegregation.The talent's standup was intercut with 70's newsfilm of desegregation issues such as school busing.I didn't want the promo to look like the news series,video intercut with old film,acceptable imo for a news story, but not for a promo.At the time I had some free samples of the higher speed Agfa neg (350 I think?This is going back a few years).The standups matched close enough to where the transitions weren't jarring and as I recall the piece was very moody, which is what we were after.

The whole idea of low contrast reversal stocks like ECO 7255 and 7252 was to allow duplication through an internegative (7271 or 7272) to produce 16mm release prints that had acceptable quality. The development of finer grain films and the ECN-2 process, beginning with 7247, provided a superior alternative with much more flexibility, latitude, and speed.



I remember, John.We used 7252 at the lab I worked for back then as a master positive as well.Particularly when reversal originated opticals were done.

I remember when 7247 came out,customers were divided amongst themselves over whether or not they wanted the extra speed and flexibility or the ease of handling reversal on the bench without the issues of white dirt.I suppose that's a moot point now.
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#6 Sam Wells

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 06:53 PM

ECO had a pastel look that I have never seen duplicated.


Sure, and having cut ECO original I'm familiar with it. But my point was, this 'look' was designed to translate to a more-or-less 'normal' contrast when the ECO was printed.

FWIW I've seen recently 70's ECO blown up to 35mm via 2272 IN and printed on Vision stock, it looked very good although a bit grainier than I would have expected.

What you're saying is you want to preserve somehow the characteristic of ECO original for it's ownn sake ?

..I don't know, shoot 7229 & pull process maybe ? You'd have more grain, but...

-Sam
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#7 Daniel Stigler

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 07:34 PM

but soon you can't get 45. So more work now.



Seems like **45 already is gone. I had two shootings this year (one in South Africa, one in Germany) where my DoP wanted to use 5245, but it was gone in both countries. I didn't quite get why Kodak gave it the boot. To me it seemed there still was a high demand for **45, especially in commercial work. Maybe i only work with the weird guys, but we exposed a LOT of 5245 last year.
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#8 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 11:04 PM

Seems like **45 already is gone. I had two shootings this year (one in South Africa, one in Germany) where my DoP wanted to use 5245, but it was gone in both countries. I didn't quite get why Kodak gave it the boot. To me it seemed there still was a high demand for **45, especially in commercial work. Maybe i only work with the weird guys, but we exposed a LOT of 5245 last year.


Although the 5201 has the VISION2 "look" with slightly lower contrast than 5245, the tone scale and color are not that different than 5245, such that a bit of overexposure will give just enough more "snap" to the images. The grain improvement is significant, especially for Super-16.
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#9 Marty Hamrick

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 10:18 AM

FWIW I've seen recently 70's ECO blown up to 35mm via 2272 IN and printed on Vision stock, it looked very good although a bit grainier than I would have expected.

What you're saying is you want to preserve somehow the characteristic of ECO original for it's ownn sake ?

..I don't know, shoot 7229 & pull process maybe ? You'd have more grain, but...

-Sam


I'm guessing the extra grain was picked up in the blowup.You're right, that's my point.ECO and other defunct stocks had their own signature so to speak and once that's gone, there is a "feel" or "mood" that goes with it.There are other characteristics of an image that can evoke similar moods and feels,but it always involves going back to the drawing board and experiementing and testing.All of this can be fun, sure,I love experimenting with different looks and such, but like you said time and budget constraints don't always allow it.

There was a great post on here a while back about achieving the look of a certain peroid, say 1940's black and white.Someone mentioned that "duplication" of a look was not really possible as no one today really has the same perception of what a 1940's black and white film looked like because they were never going to see it in the same original form as it was shot,printed and exhibited.



Although the 5201 has the VISION2 "look" with slightly lower contrast than 5245, the tone scale and color are not that different than 5245, such that a bit of overexposure will give just enough more "snap" to the images. The grain improvement is significant, especially for Super-16.


Just out of curiousity,John, what are the deciding factors on determining when to replace a given stock?
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 04:35 PM

Some filmmakers used to print ECO onto Kodachrome, a unique look (which also meant that the colors lasted longer in their prints than the original...)

ECO was only "low contrast" in relation to other reversal stocks, not compared to color negative. I suspect that ECO printed to 16mm Ektachrome print stocks or blown-up to a 35mm IN and printed exhibited more contrast than color neg-to-print.

Considering it was only 25 ASA, I don't think a lot of people are desparate for it to come back. If you read American Cinematographer from the early 1970's, so see a lot of documentarians wishing that lab work for 7254 (100 ASA color neg) was clean enough so they could use that instead of ECO.
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#11 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 09:31 PM

Just out of curiousity,John, what are the deciding factors on determining when to replace a given stock?


Lots of factors go into deciding a "business case" to continue an older product. Having too many film types can raise the cost of manufacture and inventory, so there is a limit on keeping lots of old films for "niche" uses. Newer products often have better optimized emulsion formulas that improve quality, and make the films more manufacturable, and incorporate environmental improvements.
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#12 Larry Wilson

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 07:27 PM

Ok it seems that Kodachrome along with those that died off before such as ECO 7252 and the VNF families as well as the ME 4's that bellied up over two decades ago.Then you have those Agfa stocks that had a unique look, now gone forever.If you're given a project and the director wants to emulate a certain look,let's say a simulated Vietnam era newsreel, possibly even intercutting real footage with staged, or say you want the look of Agfa stocks, 16mm or 35mm.I've heard several ideas on recreating the looks of kodachrome and ECO, namely using '45 and timing it for either color saturation or some desaturation depending on what stock you're trying to emulate.

Let's hear some ideas.


If it weren't for the fact that '45's going away, you could use that to ape Kodachrome. Shane Hurlburt, the cinematographer for "The Greatest Game Ever Played" chose it specifically for that kind of look.

From what I understand, '01's supposed to be the same, except with a little less contrast, less grain and way sharper (if that's at all possible).

I've actually shot '45 in both Super-8 and 16mm, but I wasn't able to develop either one (the K-3 I was using to shoot the 16mm popped the spring halfway through the roll, and the Pro8 cart just never got developed), but I'm making up for that somewhat. I'm finishing up a second cart of '45 in Super-8 now, and I should be trying out the '01 fairly soon.
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#13 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 07:53 PM

I've actually shot '45 in both Super-8 and 16mm, but I wasn't able to develop either one (the K-3 I was using to shoot the 16mm popped the spring halfway through the roll, and the Pro8 cart just never got developed)


You could not send the half roll in to the lab? I know that Naigra Custom Lab in Toronto will accomidate such orders. The last roll I sent them was 65 feet of Fuji Eterna on a camera spool. (the postage starts getting as much as the processing for that sort of order. Just open the camera in the dark, Cut the film at the supply side and Untread the camera. If you CAN't Untread, cut the film as close to the gate as posible and send the spool anyway, with a note explaining what happened so they cut as little as posible from the end.
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#14 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 02:16 PM

ECO was only "low contrast" in relation to other reversal stocks, not compared to color negative. I suspect that ECO printed to 16mm Ektachrome print stocks or blown-up to a 35mm IN and printed exhibited more contrast than color neg-to-print.


---ECO had a gamma of 1.2 or1.1. The I/N stock had a gamma of 0.55 which would give a final gamma of around 0.66 which is in line with color negatve of the time.

As you pointed out elsewhere current color negs are less contrasty than older stocks.

'Pink Flamingos' has a bad blowup. & I think a few overcast exterior scenes, including the coprophagy might be EF. But 'Female Trouble' has a better blow up.

Color is diferent than negative. Colors aren't as rich & fleshtones can be too red.
But contrast wasn't that different.

The 25ASA was the big problem.

---LV
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#15 John Holland

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 03:26 PM

When i started in this industry age 17 in a small documentry company in London , they shot everything on a 25 asa stock 7255 i think ,that changed to 7252 still 25 asa, printed onto a Kodachrome stock , you had to light it totally flat and i mean really flat to get a decent print . Remember shooting first medical film , need to stop down to about f4 for a bit of depth of field . Had to use so much light the blood in the wound started steaming , not nice kept having to kill lights to let everthing cool down yuk . It was wonderful when we switched to E/colour 7254 , luxury . never have shot any reversal since ,never want to again but i do know how to light for it , so Hd, is right up my street . john holland , london .
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