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Cross process - never done it


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#1 hugovillasmythe

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 11:30 AM

I'm about to shoot a shortsubject for a talented director. It's my first collaboration with her and I want it to be as good as I can make it. The script calls for two completly different visual environments. One, a lower class, stagnant and bleek "permanent twilight" shot in interiors. Pretty much straight forward. 35mm, some handheld work, standard develop, maybe some flashing... the second environment needs a lotta punch. It involves a kidnapped (horribly, painfuly, eyes shut with duct tape, hands tied with wire, etc) child. The first environment intercuts with isolated shots of the child in captivity. In the end he is rescued, his captors trown in jail and there's a bitter plot twist that shall remain secret (go see it). Anyhow, I was thinking on ways we could visually transmit the horror and pain of the child (essential to the plot twist). I was thinking of using a handcrank camera, maybe shoot the kidnapped child on pro8mm and then I remembered "Three kings". Since I've never shot cross process I need to know: 1) Which stocks to shoot? 2)Does Kodak make them in super16? 3)Are there "levels" of cross processing? Can I tell the lab "go this far"? or is it a 100% thing, once you're in, you're in for keeps? 4) If I go pro8mm will cross process be "way too much" grain on the film for it to be discernible? 5) Do I flash the cross process stock or not? 6) Any and all relevant info you may want to volunteer.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 11:55 AM

Generally "cross-processing" refers to developing a color reversal film (usually meant to be developed using the E6 process, but until recently there were the old VNF-process reversal stocks) in a color negative process (for stills, that probably means C-41, but for motion picture work, usually that means the standard ECN-2 process.)

So what results is a color negative instead of a positive. So there is no "halfway" process -- either you are processing it in a negative bath or a reversal bath.

Nowadays, the most common, if not the only, color reversal film sold for motion picture cameras (other than Super-8) is Ektachrome 100D (100 ASA, daylight) under the stock number 5285. Apparently it is available these days in Super-16 as 7285, I assume. Meant to be processed in E6. So actually, if you want to cross-process it in ECN2 color negative chemistry, that may be easier than limiting yourself to labs that do E6 motion picture work. But talk to your lab to make sure that they will cross-process 72/5285.

You get more contrast (and reversal is already very contrasty) plus strong "off" colors (with a green bias) and more grain, although the grain is not as bad as it was with the old VNF stocks, since 100D Ektachrome is a pretty fine-grained stock to begin with. Some people will push-process it as well as cross-process it to increase the grain & contrast even more.

You really need to shoot a test to determine the workable exposure range, which you'll find to be quite narrow.
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#3 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 12:00 PM

I'm about to shoot a shortsubject for a talented director. It's my first collaboration with her and I want it to be as good as I can make it. The script calls for two completly different visual environments. One, a lower class, stagnant and bleek "permanent twilight" shot in interiors. Pretty much straight forward. 35mm, some handheld work, standard develop, maybe some flashing... the second environment needs a lotta punch. It involves a kidnapped (horribly, painfuly, eyes shut with duct tape, hands tied with wire, etc) child. The first environment intercuts with isolated shots of the child in captivity. In the end he is rescued, his captors trown in jail and there's a bitter plot twist that shall remain secret (go see it). Anyhow, I was thinking on ways we could visually transmit the horror and pain of the child (essential to the plot twist). I was thinking of using a handcrank camera, maybe shoot the kidnapped child on pro8mm and then I remembered "Three kings". Since I've never shot cross process I need to know: 1) Which stocks to shoot? 2)Does Kodak make them in super16? 3)Are there "levels" of cross processing? Can I tell the lab "go this far"? or is it a 100% thing, once you're in, you're in for keeps? 4) If I go pro8mm will cross process be "way too much" grain on the film for it to be discernible? 5) Do I flash the cross process stock or not? 6) Any and all relevant info you may want to volunteer.


Today, the stock that would normally be used for cross-processing would be 7285, as the older color reversal films for the VNF-1 process were discontinued some time ago.

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

7285 is available for Super-16 (perforated 1R-2994).

"Cross Processing" usually means running a reversal film through the ECN-2 process. Any additional variations would be the ones your lab might normally offer for the ECN-2 process (e.g., push, skip bleach). Check with your lab. This is a NON-STANDARD processing condition, so results may vary, and pre-testing is highly recommended. Not all labs offer cross-processing of color reversal films, especially if the quantities are high and risk changing the process "seasoning":

http://www.kodak.com...4.15.4.14&lc=en

http://www.kodak.com...b/tib5200.shtml

Effects on graininess may vary with both exposure and processing conditions.

Flashing typically will reduce contrast in the shadow areas of the image. Again, you are on your own, and pre-testing with your lab would be highly recommended.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 12:13 PM

If the point of cross-processing is to get the oddly intense colors and contrast, I wouldn't flash the film, thus muting the effect -- I'd just control contrast through lighting, adding more fill. But I sometimes do add diffusion like ProMist on the lens when cross-processing; this reduces the contrast slightly, but I do it more to get the halation around lights.
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#5 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 02:28 PM

I want to cross process some 85 this week too. I'm thinking of overexposing by maybe 1/2 stop? does that sound about right?
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 12:56 AM

I want to cross process some 85 this week too. I'm thinking of overexposing by maybe 1/2 stop? does that sound about right?


Some people say that cross-processing actually increases the speed. When I did it, I used the recommended ASA rating and it definitely came out well-exposed if not slightly overexposed. On the other hand, if you underexpose to compensate, you'd definitely need a ton of fill light. Either way, there is a small margin for correct exposure, with areas either plunging to black or burning out.
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#7 Filip Plesha

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 05:07 AM

I think Ektachrome 100D is already a very saturated and contrasty film, almost like Velvia. In fact it's the second most saturated and contrasty film in E6 world, so you might want to test to see how it looks processed in normal E6 before you decide you want even more contrast and saturation
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 11:53 AM

If he's shooting 35mm to make a contact print, he'd have to cross-process the reversal to get it into a negative form for intercutting, or else he'd have to make a dupe neg (in an optical printer to get the image on the "correct" side of the emulsion) or use a D.I. process.
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#9 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 12:43 PM

... For a recent cinematic reference - David O Russell's THREE KINGS contains a large amount of footage shot using cross-processing...

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#10 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 12:58 PM

... For a recent cinematic reference - David O Russell's THREE KINGS contains a large amount of footage shot using cross-processing...

Rupe Whiteman


Sorry Hugo - I'd missed your reference to this movie... I've done a small amount of cross-processing in the past on stills work and have had wildly different results. It's important to test and inparticular to play with the colour palette of your sets/wardrobes and lighting units....

Rupe
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#11 Joseph White

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 01:35 PM

cross-processing can be very beautiful, and it sounds appropriate for what you're describing. My favorite cross-processing recently would have to be "Clockers" and "Man on Fire", both used it pretty effectively. 5285 is very contrasty and fine-grained, I would reccomend rating it at 125asa as opposed to 100asa, which is only a slight difference i know, but that's just my experience. in terms of hand-cranking, Arri has a new hand-crank device that's compatible with 435a's and extremes and i think the 235 - looks pretty awesome - hard to believe there's new hand-crank technology emerging, I guess we can all thank Dan Mindel for that...
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#12 Jason Debus

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 05:33 PM

Some people say that cross-processing actually increases the speed. When I did it, I used the recommended ASA rating and it definitely came out well-exposed if not slightly overexposed. On the other hand, if you underexpose to compensate, you'd definitely need a ton of fill light. Either way, there is a small margin for correct exposure, with areas either plunging to black or burning out.

I think what David is saying here is very true. I haven't shot reversal motion picture stock, but my experience with still slide film (cross processed) agrees with what he is saying.

For example these shots (Kodak Ektachrome 64t) I took this last weekend I exposed normally on a cloudy day (burnt tree) which turned out great. But the next day it was sunny and I underexposed by 2 stops. Everything in the sunlight was exposed normally but everything else is too dark (I'm thinking a 1 stop underexposure would have been better in the shot of the truck). But then again 2 stops underexposed was perfect for the shot of the tree.

Posted Image

Posted Image

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EDIT: A couple of more shots from the beach (2 stops underexposed):

Posted ImagePosted Image
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#13 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 05:02 PM

Thats strange, I was under the impression that you treat it like a neg, and over expose to increase density.
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#14 Sam Wells

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 06:13 PM

For example these shots (Kodak Ektachrome 64t) a.jpg[/img][/url]


Jason - I love the look of these though, "under" or not.

This is EPY 64 T processed in C-41 ? (I want to make sure I'm understanding...)

-Sam
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#15 Jason Debus

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 06:38 PM

This is EPY 64 T processed in C-41 ? (I want to make sure I'm understanding...)


Thanks Sam, most of the shots didn't turn out very well and of course I only post the ones that do! I'm still learning how to expose this stuff, it's quite difficult with the narrow latitude.

Yes, that is correct on the film & processing. I believe this is the film I used (35mm format):

KODAK EKTACHROME 64T Professional Film (EPY)

I should mention that I also used a .6 grad on the top for most of these shots so the sky is underexposed a little more.
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#16 Sam Wells

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 10:07 PM

I should mention that I also used a .6 grad on the top for most of these shots so the sky is underexposed a little more.


Yeah, on a second and more careful look -- still, I think this stuff is very bold. Yet does not have the over-the-top look of 52/7285

Wonder if (when) we will see this emulsion in 16mm, and what ECN-2 will do to it.

Thanks !

-Sam
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#17 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 11:02 AM

Yeah, on a second and more careful look -- still, I think this stuff is very bold. Yet does not have the over-the-top look of 52/7285

Wonder if (when) we will see this emulsion in 16mm, and what ECN-2 will do to it.

Thanks !

-Sam


Although E64T (7280) is available for Super-8, there are currently no plans to offer it in 16mm or 35mm.
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#18 Alexis Mayer

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 11:57 AM

I was hoping someone could offer some examples of films that were cross processed other than Three Kings.
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#19 Jason Debus

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 12:09 PM

Check out The Cell & Domino. Also I think Man on Fire has some as well.
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#20 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 12:12 PM

I was hoping someone could offer some examples of films that were cross processed other than Three Kings.


Spike Lee's "Clockers", lensed by Malik Hassan Sayeed.
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