Posted 12 June 2006 - 06:17 PM
And are the effects similar to when you push/pull the negative?
And a subquestion:
The prints we see in cinema, if we ignore the fact that they are 4th generation, and concentrate on the print material itself, is that as good as it gets, or is there some kind of compromise done in printing for speeding and cheapening things up? I ask because I've herd the term "high speed printing" used a lot, what does that mean?
If print film has a fixed ISO, and you have a certain lamp wattage, isn't there only one speed at which you can print?
Posted 12 June 2006 - 06:27 PM
Super-slow-speed lab intermediate stocks and print stocks tend not to show the effects of pulling and pushing as well as camera negative stocks, plus the whole point of them is to process them to very tight and repeatable standards. Anyway, I'm not sure that the FCP processors at labs can even do push or pull processing to print stock, compared to the ECN2 processors for negatives & intermediates (I think intermediates are ECN2, not FCP...)
Some people have flashed prints or IP's before to reduce contrast -- this will lower contrast by darkening the highlights/whites as opposed to lifting the blacks as when done to a negative or IN. The prints for "Reds" were apparently individually flashed and went through the ENR process at Technicolor. Owen Roizman wanted to try that on "Tootsie" (print flashing) but had to settle for flashing the IP.
Posted 13 June 2006 - 10:36 AM
High speed printing can be sharp and have good steadiness. Even "off the shelf" BHP panel contact printers can run at 960 feet per minute, and many labs have even faster proprietary printers:
A direct contact print from the original negative is usually the most steady and sharp. Continous contact printers are optimized for printing a "short pitch" original (e.g., BH-1866 perforation with a pitch of 0.1866 inches) to a "long pitch" print (e.g, KS-1870 perforation with a pitch of 0.1870 inches). When labs make duplicate negatives, they need to first make a master positive, and then duplicate negatives for release printing. If they try to print all stages of duplication on continous contact printers, they cannot maintain the optimum short-pitch to long-pitch printing for all steps, and some slippage can occur as the films are wrapped around the printing sprocket, causing unsteadiness and some sharpness loss. The correct (but much slower way) of printing is to make a long pitch master positive (DH-1870 perfs), then use a pin-registered step printer to make the required short pitch duplicate negatives (BH-1866 perfs) for release printing. Unfortunately, today's tight production schedules often don't allow the lab to use the much slower pin-registered printers to make the duplicate negatives (labs may get the final cut negative only a week or two before thousands of prints need to be in theatres). The Kodak website has some good tutorial information:
Optimum Pitch for Printing.
Continuous printers used for motion picture film are designed so that the original film and the print raw stock are in contact (emulsion-to-emulsion) with each other as they pass around the printing sprocket, with the raw stock on the outside (Figure 43). To prevent slippage between the two films during printing (which would produce an unsharp or unsteady image on the screen), the original film must be slightly shorter in pitch than the print stock. In most continuous printers, the diameter of the printing sprocket is such that the pitch of the original must be 0.2 to 0.4 percent (theoretically, 0.3 percent) shorter than that of the print stock. With nitrate film and early safety film, this condition was achieved by natural shrinkage of the original during processing and early aging. However, the substantially lower shrinkage of present safety films makes such a natural adjustment impossible; therefore, film used as printing originals is now manufactured with the pitch slightly shorter than the pitch of the print film For 35 mm film, the pitch dimensions are 0.1870 inch (4.750 mm) on print film and 0. 1866 inch (4.740 mm) on original film; for 16 mm film, they are 0.3000 inch (7.620 mm) on print film, 0.2994 inch (7.605 mm) on most camera film.
With digital intermediate, a "film-out" directly to the duplicate negatives used for release printing can produce excellent steadiness in release printing. (I suspect the very excellent prints of "Cars" were made from duplicate negatives done this way). But again, productivity often dictates doing a "film-out" onto a single master positive, from which the multiple duplicate negatives are made using much faster continuous contact printing --- the short-pitch to short-pitch printing may introduce some unsteadiness and loss of sharpness.