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Increasing apparent sharpness on 7222


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#1 Gabriel Cortez

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 05:04 AM

I'll be shooting some 7222 and from the initial tests I found it to be hugely grainy, boiling all over the screen, especially in the midtones of course. Well everybody knows it's a grainy stock.

Now, how can I get around that and come to as sharp an image as possible?

A couple of things that come to mind are:

- sharper lenses
- deeper DOF (as much of the frame in focus)
- more contrasty lighting? (avoiding having too many continuous midtone surfaces)

Are these correct? Please give me some advice about this.

Also, is there any exposure trick that could help ? I mean, like the widely accepted color approach "slightly overexpose and then print down", but for the b/w stock?
Any lab processing manipulation?

Thank you very much!


Cheers
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#2 Jon Kukla

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 03:29 PM

Don't know how much this will actually affect sharpness per se, but on the grain front I'd definitely overexpose a moderate amount. If it really is a concern, then pulling the film should also help you out to a degree. However, if you're pulling a stop (with exposure compensation), as well as slightly overexposing, then you're effectively using a working stop close to 7231 anyway. On the other hand, this could be a virtue, as you'll still have the option to develop normal if you need an extra stop.
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#3 Gabriel Cortez

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 03:44 PM

Thank you very much Jon Kukla, but are you saying that based on personal experience with the 7222? Just want to make sure; I haven't quite understood what are the particularities of the b/w stocks from an exposure/processing point of view, I mean if same general rules apply from color.
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#4 Jon Kukla

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 03:50 PM

It's all silver, as far as exposure goes.
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#5 Gabriel Cortez

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 03:55 PM

Yes I know that, but I was thinking of the final print, which is silver in b/w and color dye in color film; there's also the "Callier effect" with the b/w, and I'm wondering what other "tricks" are to this.
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#6 Jon Kukla

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 04:10 PM

Well, there's what you can do to the negative and what you can do to the print. I've shot 7222 and 5222, but it's always been out to b/w print stock. The basic exposure characteristics and properties are equally applicable to b/w and color. Now as for printing b/w neg to color print stock? I've never done it myself, so I can't speak from experience, but I have heard that the problem tends to be that a color print will never really give you "pure" b/w, so there can be problems with slight tinting/shifting. Of course, then you have to factor in the projection bulb color temperature variance, as well as the print's color decay, etc...

If it were up to me and I were shooting b/w neg, I'd want to print to b/w. As far as the Callier effect goes, IIRC, it requires the use of optical printing, which will only occur if that's part of your post route. Contact prints and DI should be immune to it.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 08:16 PM

I've always found 7222 to be a soft-looking stock anyway so I don't have any solutions other than to try pushing 7231 instead. More contrast, whether through pushing or lighting, always gives the illusion of greater sharpness. As for lenses, obviously one should make sure that you are using them at their optimal f-stop.

Overexposing and printing down may help, but remember than unlike with color neg stocks, b&w stocks can get grainier when exposed more, not less grainy, since in b&w, density = silver grains.
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#8 Gabriel Cortez

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 02:58 AM

Thank you for helping here, Mr. Kukla and Mr. Mullen.


What about shooting at a higher light level (higher f/stop) for as much DOF as possible? Would that make a difference on the apparent overall sharpness of the image, and would it be worth the cost? (higher f/stop - more light - more money :) ).

By higher f/stop I mean 4 or 5.6 (it's a studio shoot).
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#9 Sam Wells

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 11:08 AM

Well you could argue that shooting at a wide stop & therefore softening backgrounds could give you sharper apparent focus so to speak... but sometimes having great DOF in B&W gives a good feeling of sharpness -- everything looks kind of sculpted (a snappy contrast would help here - and I'd tend to avoid pull processing Double X, it looks pretty flat then...) anyway if your lenses are less than stellar performers stopping down some is sure to help.

Re grain and hard v soft lighting, if you have good tonal variety (avoiding large even midtones) and/or hot highlights offsetting dark areas you can maximize your assests so to speak..

Then again if you have the resources to light the Double-X in the studio to a 5.6 you can consider Plus-X and a wider stop instead..

-Sam
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