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kodak vision 320T (pre-expression)


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#1 Gunnar Kaergaard

Gunnar Kaergaard

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 05:25 PM

hi! i'm a student. fortunate enough to expose 8 rolls of kodak vision 320T.
the story goes like this:
i wanted grain in my picture, i wanted a beautiful grain, a brilliant one, not just noise and blur, no, a "photographic" grain. so i made some tests, i pushed the kodak exr 50D by 3 stops. there was some nice grain there, but it wasn't really worth it. pushing by 3 stops is very expensive in berlin, and it didn't look cool enough for me to make the decision to shoot the film like this. also because the telecine couldn't keep up with the contrasts in the material. i also pushed fuji eterna 250D by 2 stops. there might have been a grain there, but it wasn't particularly obvious on the telecine-monitor. and the contrast seemed a bit out of control as well.
so i was stressed:
i want a cool grain, but i can't force the material because it'll be too contrasty for the digital postproduction, it'll look like video.
so i kind of decided not to push the material, to do my lighting (the parts i can control, anyway) fairly "mild", not too hard, so that the telecine won't turn the material into video immediately.
i asked my teacher which material is the grainiest, he said: fuji f400 and the old kodak320T.
so now i have a grainy material with low-contrast, so that i can crank it up a bit in the post, hopefully without turning into video immediatly.
now, my worries grow as the shooting comes closer. there's no more time nor money for tests. what kind of grain does this material have? is it a "sharp"/crusty grain or a bad blurry one? and what happens if i push it, just one tiny small stop, will the grain run amok, or become excactly what i want? and what happens to the contrast in this low-contrast material, will it still be telecine-compitable?? will i ruin the entire film, just because i want to push and play?
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 06:17 PM

Unfortunately there's no way to tell you what the grain will look like, other than to perhaps compare it to another stock and/or process that yields similar grain. And you seem to have a very specific idea of the kind of grain you're looking for, which we can't really see! It's sounds like you want A LOT of grain but without the altered density from push-processing. Underexposing and "printing up" (or boosting in telecine) will reveal the grain from the larger, less light-sensitive grains on the negative, and will have mild contrast. But if you underexpose too much, you just lose shadow detail into murky, muddy blacks.

I'm also guessing that you're dealing with 16mm, not 35mm since you're a student. 16mm grain will always be more apparent by virtue of size.

Any fast stock will have more grain than a slower stock from the same manufacturer, because it uses more of the larger, more light-sensitive grains to capture the image. Smaller, tighter grains are less light-sensitive and are used to capture highlight detail. Fast stocks have more large grains, slow stocks have more fine grains. This is probably why you didn't get the look you wanted from 50D pushed 3 stops.

Fuji has always had a touch more grain than Kodak for stocks of the same speed (and vintage). Older emulsion types (Kodak's EXR and Fuji before Eterna) had more grain than the modern Eterna or Vision/Vision 2. If you're talking about Kodak 7277 320T, then 7279 500T would be grainier. And 7289 800T even more so. Lower contrast stocks will also reveal more grain, and can handle push-processing better (maximizing the grain) without getting too contrasty. This may be why your professor suggested Kodak 320 and Fuji 400; they are more mild in contrast to start with. You might also consider Kodak Expression 7229 500T.

There are some things you can do in telecine to maximize the grain and control the gamma curve (to avoid the higher contrast you equate with video). Adding a mild amount of sharpening will make the grain look a little more crisp and not so "blurry," but if you go too far the grain/noise will start to look electronic and not photographic.

Unfortunately you just HAVE TO test to find the look that suits you. Not only are there many variables, but only YOU know what quality of grain you're really looking for.
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