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What's you favorite filmstocks and why?


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#1 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 08:40 PM

I was wondering what is your favorite film stocks and why they are your favorites. You can have more than one but just to make it interesting lets go in decending order from favorite to least favorite and why some stocks just plain suck B)
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#2 Joe Taylor

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 10:18 PM

Back in '97 I was using a Eastman stock (Forgot the number) that they advertised as having a "Stonewashed" look. I loved it for it's almost pastel palette. This stock also had a very unique grain structure that sort of reminded me of the autochrome.

Kodak discontinued the stock just as I dosvered it but I was lucky enough to but several thousand feet to shoot my thesis film (which was rewarded, ironically enough, by Kodak for the cinematography.)

If I can find the stock number I'll post it.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 11:01 PM

5287. See:
http://www.kodak.com....1.6.26.8&lc=en

It came out at the time that many DP's were trying Agfa XT-320 for a low-con look. By coincidence or not, a year or so later Agfa got out of the business of making motion picture negative.

'87 had a tendency, like all low-con stocks, to get grainy in the highlights. It was replaced by Vision 320T, 5277. Then Kodak came out with two more low-con stocks, SO-63 (later 5263) and Expression 500T (5284). 5263 was super low-con and was used for "Elephant", "Sunshine State", and "Lost in Translation". It was obsoleted recently.

Expression 500T 5284 was somewhat grainy in the highlights, and was updated into Vision-2 500T Expression (5229). With the grain now equal if not better than 320T 5277, with better sharpness, Kodak eventually dropped 5277.

Anyway, you can thank Agfa for starting the ball rolling on wide-latitude emulsions...

Nowadays, all the neg stocks are somewhat low-con, although technically the only ones labelled as such are Kodak's '29, plus their "HD" stock '99 -- and Fuji's F-400T ('83).
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 11:13 PM

I like them all, depending on the look I am trying to achieve.

Everyone loves and shoots 5218, which almost makes me want to be contrary and shoot something else like 5217 or 5229 or Fuji Eterna 500T... but I can't really fault 5218, it's become pretty much the industry workhorse standard.

I love 5245, always have. Hope it doesn't go away.

I also love shooting interiors on Fuji's 250T when possible. Haven't done it in awhile though.

I liked EXR 5248 and 5293.

I miss Agfa XT-320 and its short-lived replacement, XTR-250. I wish Fuji hadn't decided to pull Velvia from their 35mm motion picture catalog. I wish Kodachrome wasn't going away and that it were practical to shoot it in 35mm (that it had keycode and an L.A. lab to process it...)

I even wish that the crummy old VNF Ektachromes were around because they were the quickest way to get a period filmstock look since they were 1970's emulsion technology.

I wish we had a higher-saturation, higher-contrast negative stock.

Conversely, we also need a slow-speed version of Expression 500T as a companion stock (same for Fuji F-400T.) Maybe a low-con 100T or 100D stock.

I wish the b&w negative stocks were improved, along with the processing.

I think it's time for Kodak or Fuji to bite the bullet and make a 1000T or 1600T stock.
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 11:30 PM

52/7279 was always my favorite, although it did have some grain. 52/7218 solved the grain but flattened out the shadows, and doesn't seem to have as much "character." I always had a hard time finding a slower-speed mate for '79 that I could coax into the same gamma curve and saturation.

Never cared for 5289. Rather "ugly" most of the time.

My only lament is there aren't more low-con, slow speed daylight films. '45 is gorgeous as a stock, but just so contrasty. Fuji 64D appears a little gentler, but I haven't had ocassion to try it.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 11:44 PM

5201 isn't too contrasty, but it's not a low-con stock either. But for general day work, I think it has the right balance.

I used to think of Fuji F-64D as being pretty moderate-to-low in contrast but the new Eterna 250D stock has much more latitude / lower contrast, enough to make F-64D look more high-con in comparison. If Fuji ever puts out Eterna 64D, I think you'll have your low-con slow-speed stock.
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#7 Filip Plesha

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 09:29 AM

I love 5245, always have. Hope it doesn't go away.


Isn't 5245 discontinued?

5201 isn't too contrasty, but it's not a low-con stock either. But for general day work, I think it has the right balance.


I thought all of these new vision2 films are supose to look almost indistinguishable in terms of color and contrast, are there visible differences?
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 11:07 AM

That's why I said it's not too contrasty but it's not a low-con stock either -- it fits into the look of the regular Vision-2 series. It's not a low-con stock like Expression 500T but it's not as contrasty as a EXR stock like 5245.
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#9 Filip Plesha

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 04:35 PM

That's why I said it's not too contrasty but it's not a low-con stock either -- it fits into the look of the regular Vision-2 series. It's not a low-con stock like Expression 500T but it's not as contrasty as a EXR stock like 5245.



So, If someone gives you a side by side test of all vision2 filmstocks exept expression, at such enlargement where differences in grain and sharpness are not visible, would you as a DP se no signs of which is wich?


Also, I'm still having trouble getting a general picture of just how saturated are these new stocks and how much contrast they really have.
Is the color saturation of all colors reduced or just the red saturation as mentioned somewhere? (compared to vision stocks and EXR films) Can you still make a decent vivid nature documentary with any of them (in print)?

And, as I've asked, isn't 5245 discontinued?
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 06:31 PM

5245 is being obsoleted (I think) right now, but there are still some stocks in existence.

It depends on who you talk to regarding the Vision-2 stocks. I've tested 5212, 5217, 5205, and 5218 next to each other and I was hard-pressed to see a difference, color and contrast-wise, but in conversations with other DP's, you hear different reactions.

Jack Green told me that he found that 5218 has more latitude than 5217, which he thought was too contrasty -- but I've projected the two stocks side by side and it's hard to see a difference.

I thought 5205 (Vision 250D) was similar in look to the tungsten stocks, but Daryn Okada tells me that he and other cinematographers recommended that Kodak make it more contrasty because it was mostly likely to be used in overcast weather, etc. -- he told Kodak "otherwise, if it looks the same, I might as well just use 5218 with the 85B filter." And he implied that Kodak took his suggestion. But honestly, again, it looks like the other Vision-2 stocks to me.

There are plenty of movies shot on Vision2 stocks to be seen in theaters, some of which were posted photo-chemically, not through a D.I. -- "Batman Begins" and "Phantom of the Opera" for example. Or "Brokeback Mountain" (some 5245 for the mountain scenes, but the rest was Vision-2 stocks, 5217 and 5218 I think.)

Personally, I think the Vision-2 line-up is probably more closely-matched than any previous series of stocks that Kodak has made, which is great although it also is the reason why so many people are opting to just shoot everything on 5218 - in 35mm, the improvements from the slower stocks seem to be not high enough to be worth carrying extra stocks. Now in this case, I can see the improvements in grain from using the slower stocks -- I can even see the improvement from shooting day interiors on 5205 instead of 5218 -- so maybe I'm more grain sensitive than color/contrast sensitive.

The colors are slightly more pastel than the last Vision series, but most noticeably in reds like in fleshtones. The other colors haven't changed too much.

The easiest thing if you want to learn about how the stocks look is to shoot a test. Short of that, have Kodak run their demo films in a theater (if you get into a city with a Kodak motion picture stock sales office.)
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#11 Filip Plesha

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 07:13 PM

Thanks, that's very interesting.


And what about 100T and 50D? What do other people say about them?
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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 08:00 PM

50D (5201) is too new to have heard much on the grapevine. Everyone who shoots 100T is impressed with its sharpness; otherwise, color and contrast are the same as the other Vision-2 stocks. I used 100T (5212) for a lot of the day work in "Akeelah and the Bee".
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#13 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 08:20 AM

My favourite filmstock is the one that saves the production most money and can enable me to shoot more or step up in format.
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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 09:30 AM

What if they said "we got a great deal on some outdated 800T with a heavy base fog"? Or you wanted a super fine-grained look for a day exterior Super-16 theatrical feature and all they would buy was some 500T?

I remember after spending a week testing flash percentages combined with silver retention levels in the print for "Twin Falls Idaho" on the 250 ASA Fuji stocks I picked, the day before production the producer said "hey, Kodak will give us 30,000' of outdated 500 ASA stock in their warehouse for free if we shoot on Kodak." He was upset that I wouldn't take the deal. Sometimes it's possible to cut corners too much. I mean, would you let the production save money by transferring everything to video only on some $50/hour film-chain from the 1970's?

Maybe since what I shoot tends to be for projection, I'm a little pickier about the stocks I end up with. For telecine transfer, you have more leeway if you are shooting in 35mm.
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#15 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 02:19 PM

The problem is that on most projects I do - especially music videos - the budgets have gone down so much that 35mm is not even an option. It's always 16mm. Even on the "big budget" videos here it's a hard sell with 35mm - you'd think a $100.000 music video could afford 35mm, but not a chance. And when you're constantly beaten back all you wish for is the opportunity to be able to swing the odds in your favor (since my name is on that stuff, too).

As you pointed out, you work more for the big screen and have less leeway for grain and such (although with
DI becoming all-prevalent that point is getting less important). For me, yes I'd say yes to old 800T over 16mm any day. In fact, I've even tried to get 35mm by cutting my lights down to almost zero rather than have to do 16mm with a juicy light list. Because it looks just that much better. No takers.

All I hear now from producers is how "good HD" is and "why would you want to shoot on film when nobody can tell the difference?" and all that (so they can pocket the money, basically). Getting real annoying. The fight for 35mm is already lost - now it's a fight between HD and 16mm at best.
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#16 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 04:56 PM

From the 16mm Vision2 line, I like the 100T best, but have not shot the 01 yet. very nice colors and fine grain. HD still looks like a mexican soap opera to me, it doesn't please the brain like film... even if the average consumer can't explain the difference I'm sure they still feel it. But the thing is, I have yet to meet a non film maker that knows most movies are still shot on film.
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#17 Chance Shirley

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 05:54 PM

I think it's time for Kodak or Fuji to bite the bullet and make a 1000T or 1600T stock.


1600T motion picture film -- that's what I'm talking about!

I have yet to meet a non film maker that knows most movies are still shot on film.


I read an interview with Bryan Singer in a recent issue of WIRED magazine. The interviewer made a remark about Singer being one of the last Hollywood directors to give up on film and go digital. Huh?
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#18 Filip Plesha

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 08:30 PM

From the 16mm Vision2 line, I like the 100T best, but have not shot the 01 yet. very nice colors and fine grain. HD still looks like a mexican soap opera to me, it doesn't please the brain like film... even if the average consumer can't explain the difference I'm sure they still feel it. But the thing is, I have yet to meet a non film maker that knows most movies are still shot on film.


well, here I am
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#19 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 11:35 PM

1600T motion picture film -- that's what I'm talking about!
I read an interview with Bryan Singer in a recent issue of WIRED magazine. The interviewer made a remark about Singer being one of the last Hollywood directors to give up on film and go digital. Huh?


Dude, the name of the Mag is "Wired". Come on, what do you think they're gonna say
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#20 Filip Plesha

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 04:38 PM

Dude, the name of the Mag is "Wired". Come on, what do you think they're gonna say



something resambling truth?

This is not a matter of opinion or twisting words. Talking about future alows that, but when you talk about today then its either a lie or misinformation.
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