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Any advice for shooting B&W 16mm negative.


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#1 Morgan Peline

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 06:35 PM

Hi,

I'm in the process of going through the records for all info on B&W film but I thought I would post a few questions just in case anyone had any pointers.

We are in pre-production fro our grad film 'Moog' which is the story about a young boy who gets sent to wait outside the headmaster's office in a school corridor during the day and gets forgotten about. He sees the world pass him by and feels loneliness for one of the first times in his life.

At the moment the idea is maybe to shoot in 16mm Black and White (1.79 aspect ratio) first of all 'cos we quite like the look of B&W but also because the location we have found, a private girl's school, is perfect except some of the walls are pink and we most likely won't be able to re-paint the walls.

I am starting investigating the issues at hand.

I have shot with Kodak 7222 in the past and found it quite grainy (presumably because it is old technology).

I have also shot with Ilford HP4 in the past and quite liked it, but I understand it is no longer manufactured.

Questions:

1. Would be a better option to shoot in colour (with Vision2 200T for example) due to modern stocks' finer grain structures and then make it B&W in telecine? To begin with we will most likely only transfer to DigiBeta or HD.

2. However there is always a chance the NFTS might make make a 35mm blow-up (if the film is good enough!). If we shot in colour. How easy would it be to make a B&W 35mm optical blow-up? Would we have to do a DI or could we simply print to B&W print stock eventually?

Any ideas?

Thanks a lot for the advice!
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#2 Jan Weis

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 07:14 PM

IF you want to save costs, and you want less grain than Double-x 7222, and if you dont shoot in the dark then I guess Plus-x 7231 should do the job rather well.


//Jan
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 07:26 PM

I think the argument for shooting modern color neg for a b&w image is a little stronger for 16mm than in 35mm because graininess is a much bigger factor to deal with in 16mm. And if you don't have the lights for Plus-X and Double-X is too grainy for you, then Vision-2 200T is a good alternative. Even 500T is less grainy than Double-X.

You can also consider b&w reversal, especially if this is for telecine only, which looks a little less grainy, plus looks sharper, than the b&w negative stocks, but you'd have to be precise and accurate in terms of exposing -- and deal with the higher contrast.

In terms of a blow-up to 35mm using an optical printer, there are a couple of methods for converting the color neg image to b&w. You could make one your dupe elements (IP or IN) a b&w stock, or print the color image onto 35mm b&w print stock, or do what "Man Who Wasn't There" did, which was to print onto b&w soundtrack hi-con stock and process to a lower gamma.
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#4 Morgan Peline

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 07:47 PM

Yes, the spaces are too big for the slower stock.

DSC00084.jpg
DSC00105.jpg
DSC00107.jpg
DSC00112.jpg
DSC00078.jpg

Thanks!
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#5 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 02:09 AM

In Super-8 BW, about a year and a half ago the black and white reversal stocks were either reformulated and/or the processing soup definitely was, and I have read comments that the Tri-X looks almost as degrained as older Plus X and that Plus X looks almost grainless.

Did this reduction in Black and White grain also take place in 16mm as well and if so might Tri-X be less grainy than it's negative counterpart?
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#6 Morgan Peline

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 11:09 AM

Hi,

I just phoned them up to check. Nope, it's the same old B&W stock that it has been for ages.

Thanks.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 12:05 PM

Hi,

I just phoned them up to check. Nope, it's the same old B&W stock that it has been for ages.

Thanks.


The b&w negative stocks are the same, other than some physical improvements to make them less prone to static, etc. -- the b&w reversal stocks (16mm & Super-8) were the ones that were improved. Plus-X reversal is even faster than it used to be.

Current Plus-X and Double-X negative stock formulations really date back to the late 1950's, and the first Plus-X was released in 1938.
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#8 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 12:54 PM

Hi,

I just phoned them up to check. Nope, it's the same old B&W stock that it has been for ages.

Thanks.


That's strange because apparently in Super-8 there was a grain reduction when it comes to Tri-X and Plus-X.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 12:57 PM

That's strange because apparently in Super-8 there was a grain reduction when it comes to Tri-X and Plus-X.


You guys are confusing the b&w negative and reversal stocks, both of which have a product called "Plus-X", to add to the confusion.
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#10 Alex Ardenti

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 08:58 PM

I think the argument for shooting modern color neg for a b&w image is a little stronger for 16mm than in 35mm because graininess is a much bigger factor to deal with in 16mm. And if you don't have the lights for Plus-X and Double-X is too grainy for you, then Vision-2 200T is a good alternative. Even 500T is less grainy than Double-X.

You can also consider b&w reversal, especially if this is for telecine only, which looks a little less grainy, plus looks sharper, than the b&w negative stocks, but you'd have to be precise and accurate in terms of exposing -- and deal with the higher contrast.

In terms of a blow-up to 35mm using an optical printer, there are a couple of methods for converting the color neg image to b&w. You could make one your dupe elements (IP or IN) a b&w stock, or print the color image onto 35mm b&w print stock, or do what "Man Who Wasn't There" did, which was to print onto b&w soundtrack hi-con stock and process to a lower gamma.


If he were to shoot the Vision 200T outdoors in sunlight would it have to be corrected if the final product would be made into B&W in telecine?

If he were to shoot the Vision 200T outdoors in sunlight would it have to be corrected if the final product would be made into B&W in telecine?

Sorry, by that I mean does it have to be filtered for daylight regardless? Or just shoot as is and desaturate to get B&W in telecine?
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 09:20 PM

It's not too important to use the correct 85B filter when shooting on 200T outdoors (you'll still need ND anyway though) if the image will be turned b&w. Some of the contrast may shift, blue skies may get more overexposed compared to faces, so you may want to use the correction filter anyway just to balance things better before turning it into b&w.
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#12 Mark Dunn

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 03:32 AM

David, surely B/W print stock isn't panchromatic, so printing colour neg onto it would muck up the tonal rendering? Skin tones would print dark, that sort of thing.
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#13 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 05:44 AM

David, surely B/W print stock isn't panchromatic, so printing colour neg onto it would muck up the tonal rendering? Skin tones would print dark, that sort of thing.


Normally, a B&W image is obtained from a color negative by use of a panchromatic intermediate film (e.g., 2238), or by use of a Digital Intermediate. Yes, Kodak B&W Print Film 2302 is blue sensitive, so you would not normally print a color negative directly onto 2302.
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#14 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 05:54 AM

Printing color negative onto 5369 Panchromatic High Contrast stock gives very good results but the stock is very expensive, making it suitable for a very limited number of prints.
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#15 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 07:57 AM

You guys are confusing the b&w negative and reversal stocks, both of which have a product called "Plus-X", to add to the confusion.


You're right, at first I was.

But, is it possible that 16mm Tri-X Reversal stock might be a viable option?

I found the link about the improved Super-8 Tri-X Reversal, here it is... I'm assuming if they improved Super-8 Tri-x then they also improved 16mm Tri-X Reversal as well.

http://www.cinematog...n...ic=9612&hl=
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 12:12 PM

Printing color negative onto 5369 Panchromatic High Contrast stock gives very good results but the stock is very expensive, making it suitable for a very limited number of prints.


That's what "The Man Who Wasn't There" did for some prints, processing that stock to a lower gamma.
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#17 Morgan Peline

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 10:26 AM

Hi,

I'm testing tomorrow by shooting some shots in the location with natural light.

As the school is such a big space, and also we are shooting a day in studio where we will mock up the headmaster's office I have decided to either shoot on Kodak Vision2 500T or Fuji Eterna 500T, both with the 85 for day light scenes and make the film black and white in post.

We won't be going to print but will transfer to HD.

At the moment I am thinking that the Fuji will be a better option because it has a wider contrast range so will therefore give me more information to play with in post.

We did a side by side latitiude test a while ago with the Kodak and the Fuji. I remember that the Kodak seems to burn out in highlights much faster than the Fuji and also it sees less well into shadows as well. I will have to review our tests again to be more precise, but all round the Fuji seemed to have a wider contrast range.

My only worry is that the grain seems much softer and less sharp than the Kodak, which might not help when I make the film black and white in post. Also the image does seem less contrasty so I might have to light with more contrast.


Recce photos of location:

http://homepage.mac.com/morgan_peline/

Any ideas/suggestions?


Thanks!
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#18 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 12:08 PM

At the moment I am thinking that the Fuji will be a better option because it has a wider contrast range so will therefore give me more information to play with in post.

We did a side by side latitiude test a while ago with the Kodak and the Fuji. I remember that the Kodak seems to burn out in highlights much faster than the Fuji and also it sees less well into shadows as well. I will have to review our tests again to be more precise, but all round the Fuji seemed to have a wider contrast range.


That result doesn't agree with tests that I've seen. If you want lower contrast and even more shadow detail, consider the Kodak VISION2 Expression film:

http://www.kodak.com...s....4.14&lc=en
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#19 Morgan Peline

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 04:40 PM

Hi,

It's not necessarily that I want to see more in the shadows but that I don't want the highlights to burn out too easily. As the space is quite big, I'm not sure how well I will be able to fill, so I don't want any of the really hot highlights to burn out completely. The Expression is an option but I feel that would be too soft a look, though of course I haven't tested it.

The test we did was between 16mm Eterna 500T and Vision2 500T (7218). What we have found (also with Vision2 200T/7217 on a different test when comparing Vision2 200T and Vision2 500T) is that the Kodak stocks stocks seem to burn out in the highlights much faster than expected.

If you did a side-by-side comparison between 7218 and Eterna 500T, like we did, you would definitely see the difference in contrast range. Fuji sees slightly more into the highlights, definitely.

And if I remember rightly, slightly more into the shadows as well.

Thanks.
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