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Fuji Vivid 160T / RDI intermediate stock demo


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#1 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 11:23 AM

I saw the demo at Raleigh Studios last night of these stocks. My impressions:

Vivid 160T looks beautiful. It's not, however, Velvia-looking. The contrast is still in a workable color negative range, not super high-con. It looks more like a snappier version of the old EXR 50D (5245) stock.

It's definitely more saturated than the Eterna 250T stock; they also compared it to the old F-125T stock, which is somewhere halfway in contrast and saturation. What was interesting, though, is that while the saturation is boosted with the Vivid 160T, it has absolutely neutral fleshtone representation -- the old F-125T tended to go reddish in the faces in comparison.

Vivid 160T is also very sharp and clean looking. Some shots in a 1.85 short film made in India on the stock reminded me more of anamorphic photography. It would be a great stock for Super-16 shooters, if they don't mind the contrast.

So while I'm a bit disappointed that it's not over-the-top in color saturation & contrast, like a reversal stock, I also see that it is a lot more usable for most people by sticking within a color negative contrast range that is manageable. Definitely a useful stock for people who have gotten tired of the softer, pastel look of Vision-2 and regular Eterna, or want a sharper image.

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RDI (Film Recorder Digital Intermediate) was an interesting demo, with a lecture by an Arri rep who works on the Arrilaser / Arriscanner technology, plus some tests done by Josh Pines of TDI.

Basically Fuji has optimized an intermediate stock for the characteristics of laser recorders, which allow improved sharpness, color saturation, finer grain and better contrast for film recordings. They had frame enlargements and even electron microscope photography to show the improvements. Not super-dramatic improvements (intermediate stock is pretty good these days) but definitely an improvement over both the existing Kodak and Fuji normal intermediate stocks when a laser recorder is used. We saw slightly better shadow detail but better blacks, and richer colors, in the tests. The stock is a little faster, which allows the power output of the lasers to be reduced, which reduces flare. It has smaller, thinner halide crystals, which improve sharpness, plus the development characteristic of the individual crystal formed is sharper-edged, and the dye clouds formed have less scatter, all of which improve sharpness. There is also less cross-talk, improving saturation and color accuracy.
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#2 John Holland

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 11:35 AM

David this was a projected print ? photo-chemical ? not via a DI ? .
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 11:46 AM

Yes, it was a print. I don't think it went through a D.I. -- the intercuts between the stocks were pretty basic and there was no text overlaid or anything, just a straight neg cut and print. It wasn't the official demo film, just some comparisons tests shot in Japan, which I prefer in some ways. There were MacBeth color charts, for example, full-frame, where you could really see the improvements.

They had a power-point presentation separately with frame enlargements to show improvements in sharpness.
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#4 Dan Goulder

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 11:50 AM

David, having just seen demonstrations of the latest state-of-the-art technology, both in terms of electronic capture (RED) and the newest generation of both negative and D.I. technology, are you amenable to making any subjective qualitative comparisons between the two where current feature production is concerned?
(Thanks for such detailed reviews.)
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#5 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 11:51 AM

This Vivid 160T stock sounds very interesting. I think perhaps it's probably a good thing that the contrast is not too great. As you say it has a "color negative contrast range that is manageable." As all film projects end up on video, perhaps this is indeed a good thing.

Out of curiosity, how would the grain structure compare to slow speed stocks like Fuji 64D or Kodak Vision 2 50D? In still slide film photography, Fuji are certainly ahead of the game in the fine grain department. Their latest Velvia 100 and Provia 100F emulsions are finer grained than the original Velvia 50 film.
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#6 John Holland

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 12:02 PM

Fuji continue to impress me , i love their strong support for film , need i say more ?
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 12:29 PM

The projection at Raleigh Theater is OK but not great, so unfortunately one of my thoughts was that I'd like too how this stock looks scanned and projected at 4K, like the RED demo was shown -- but then you introduce the extra layer of digital color-correction into the mix, which would negate the demo. You need to see the saturation of the stock minus any post saturation increase techniques other than the choice of print stock (in this case Fuji XD.)

Plus while a Sony 4K projected image would look cleaner, sharper, less grainy, and more stable -- it would have poorer black levels compared to the Fuji print.

The "problem" with the RED demo, to some extent, is that you can't separate the experience of the camera format from the quality of the projection format -- watching 4K projection, your mind wanders to what else would look good projected at 4K. This is why A-B and side-by-side comparison tests would be good to provide a frame of reference for more critical evaluation. Also, it is questionable how many RED features would get shown in 4K projection. On the other hand, I'm also a firm believer in the "if it looks good, shoot it" principle, since people don't look at charts and comparison tests in a movie theater.

I've heard rumors that Kodak's next stock will be an improvement to 5218 500T. So film continues to be a moving target.

However, the improvement for laser recording digital files to intermediate stock benefits both film and digital projects going out to 35mm for theatrical release.

Grain-wise, I'd put Vivid 160T in the same camp as Kodak 5212 100T probably, or somewhere between 100T and 200T (not having shot a test) which is perhaps an obvious thing to say. It was finer-grained than the old Fuji F-125T and noticeably sharper. It would be interesting to compare Vivid 160T against Kodak 5217 200T.
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#8 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 06:22 PM

Vivid 160T looks beautiful. It's not, however, Velvia-looking. The contrast is still in a workable color negative range, not super high-con. It looks more like a snappier version of the old EXR 50D (5245) stock.


David,

If its not as contrasty as a reversal film do you think it would push well or would the blacks clog up?
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#9 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 01:49 AM

Very cool, David. I'm intrigued to see some of this footage myself.

Anyone know who I should call to try and get a few 100' of sample virgin stock?
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#10 Sam Wells

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 10:00 AM

David,

If its not as contrasty as a reversal film do you think it would push well or would the blacks clog up?


I'm hoping it would have the "zip" without having to push it. I pushed all the 45 I shot for the "E6" look, maybe that's built in ? (I did not have any problems with blacks clogging up as you put it)

(per David: "It looks more like a snappier version of the old EXR 50D (5245) stock.")

Maybe pushing wd. show little difference as in Vision 2. (I have no experience with the Eterna stocks)

But you should try it ! I will sooner or later, it sounds like it was made for me. I might have to think twice about getting a 4K camera now :lol:

-Sam
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