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New Super 8 cartridge - and Ektachrome 100D from Kodak?


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#1 Jurgen Lossau

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 07:44 AM

Here is an excerpt from smallformat 3/2007. The new issue will be shipped in 2 weeks. The Editorial will be published free for every cinematography.com reader. Hope you are interested in subscribing to smallformat ;)

Do fairy tales come true?

Some fairy tales are cruel. The big bad wolf eats the grandmother ? as in Red Riding Hood. Or a girl is held prisoner and must serve the bad witch ? like The Wizard of Oz. One does not wish these fairy tales to become true at all.

Another fantastic tale is the quest for a better Super 8 cartridge. A cartridge that does not jam, does not stick, which simply never causes stress. Nonetheless, this story seems too good to be true. Now the tale of a newly designed Super 8 cartridge is being told once again. And the storyteller is Gottfried Klose from Bielefeld (Germany). He once loaded Fuji Velvia 50D under the Cinevia name into Kodak Super 8 cartridges ? and had only misfortune. One or another complaint was always raised, because the film did not always run perfectly through the cartridges. Is it because of lubrication? Is it because of film stiffness? Does the difficultly lie with the awkwardly designed cartridge in general? No matter, now a new approach is being tried. Klose and his GK-Film company promise to bring an improved Super 8 cartridge to market before the year?s end. It will be a new design, which leads the film more smoothly through the coaxial cartridge and therefore always guarantees a flawless run. One can register at www.cinevia.eu to be informed by e-mail when this fairy tale comes true.

Another dream in Super 8 communities worldwide is Kodak Ektachrome 100D, which many see as the best alternative to our dearly departed Kodachrome 40. Unfortunately, Kodak has only offered Ektachrome 64T in Super 8 up to now. They left it to other companies to cut down Ektachrome 100D and load it into Super 8 cartridges. Pro8mm (USA) offers this stock as Super 8/85 and Wittner Cinetec (Germany) as Wittnerchrome 100D.

Now it seems there is a glimmer from Kodak that fairy tales can still come true in the house of the (once) yellow giant. That is, if a customer is willing to place US $50,000 on the yellow giant?s table. The yellow giant would then pace back and forth a little, grumble, and consider whether he could ? maybe, maybe ? load Ektachrome 100D into the Super 8 cartridge. And look at this: Someone is willing to step into the clutches of the yellow giant. Daniel Wittner of Wittner Cinetec found himself wondering why he should continue to make a great deal of work for himself packaging the film if Kodak can do it much better and less expensively. His company indicated to Kodak that they are willing to place an order of over US $50,000 to purchase Super 8 cartridges loaded with Ektachrome 100D.

The time has arrived to see whether this fairy tale about the yellow giant and the fine-grained Super 8 reversal film will come true.

J├╝rgen Lossau
www.smallformat.de
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#2 Terry Mester

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Posted 15 June 2007 - 10:52 PM

Other than having a smoother Pressure Plate -- perhaps made of a polished Metal or Chrome, there is no improvement that can be made to the S8 Cartridge. Keep in mind that the Silent Cartridge is designed for 18 f/s -- not faster. The higher Sound Cartridge was designed for 24 f/s. You shouldn't have jamming problems at 18 f/s. I'm pretty certain that Velvia is a thicker Emulsion, and this would explain the stiffness problems with Velvia Carts -- although 24 f/s would be worse than 18. Remember that Velvia is not a Motion Picture Film.

Rather than Kodak cutting into the independent sales of E100D, it would be better if they made Kodachrome 64 and 200 available through intermittent orders. I'm going to suggest to them that they start taking "pre-paid" orders for S8 Cartridges with K64 & K200, and then only run off the production when they have reached a desirable number of Carts from their perspective -- perhaps 1000 or 2000 Carts. Since these Carts would all be pre-sold, this would be very beneficial to Kodak. If they care about their S8 customers, they should welcome this profitable practice of offering more Reversal Stocks. Perhaps they could extend this practice to intermittent production of K25 which would also be offered to 16mm users and their 35mm Slide Film customers. Customers could purchase a one year supply to keep in their freezer.
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#3 Sam Wells

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Posted 16 June 2007 - 10:25 AM

. Keep in mind that the Silent Cartridge is designed for 18 f/s -- not faster.


Where do you get this stuff besides making it up ?

Way back when - when I shot S8 I shot lots of silent carts at 24 fps, sometimes faster - Leicina & Nizo cameras with no problems.

-Sam
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#4 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 16 June 2007 - 11:50 AM

Rather than Kodak cutting into the independent sales of E100D, it would be better if they made Kodachrome 64 and 200 available through intermittent orders. I'm going to suggest to them that they start taking "pre-paid" orders for S8 Cartridges with K64 & K200,

100D is already an MP stock... a good thing. And it's a lot better than Kodachrome... And it's E6 processed anywhere, K14 process is dead except for Dwaynes. Anyway, it will never happen. 100D might and that would be more fantasic than anything.
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#5 Terry Mester

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Posted 16 June 2007 - 10:50 PM

Where do you get this stuff besides making it up ?

Way back when - when I shot S8 I shot lots of silent carts at 24 fps, sometimes faster - Leicina & Nizo cameras with no problems.


I never said that the Silent Cartridges wouldn't work at 24 f/s. I merely pointed out the obvious: you're less likely to suffer problems at 18f/s than 24f/s. Many others have complained about jitteriness problems. If you never suffered this, that is good.
When Kodak Engineers designed the S8 format in the early 1960s it was intended for 18f/s. They could not have envisaged -- in the early 60s -- the fancy Cameras that would be released in the 1970s, nor could they envisage how the S8 format would be used in semi-professional and even professional use. It is wonderful that the Carts will run well at 24f/s or faster, but it is also lucky given that the Cart has 3 corners at 90 Degrees which the Film must go around. If the Camera were equipped with two vertical Sprocket Arms it would be much more stable at 24f/s and higher.
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#6 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 12:23 AM

Rather than Kodak cutting into the independent sales of E100D, it would be better if they made Kodachrome 64 and 200 available through intermittent orders. I'm going to suggest to them that they start taking "pre-paid" orders for S8 Cartridges with K64 & K200, and then only run off the production when they have reached a desirable number of Carts from their perspective -- perhaps 1000 or 2000 Carts. Since these Carts would all be pre-sold, this would be very beneficial to Kodak. If they care about their S8 customers, they should welcome this profitable practice of offering more Reversal Stocks. Perhaps they could extend this practice to intermittent production of K25 which would also be offered to 16mm users and their 35mm Slide Film customers. Customers could purchase a one year supply to keep in their freezer.


Please don't waste kodak's time with such a crazy idea, it will just encourage them to quit making super-8 all together. It may be a romantic idea, but it's an incredibly dumb one at this point in time.

The introduction of another Super-8 stock can only survive if every super-8 lab out there can easily process it. End of story. Kodachrome stocks DO NOT meet that criteria.

I don't even understand what prompted you to be concerned about Kodak "cutting into the independent sales of E100D", I am afraid to go back and read the earlier posts to find out.

(the next afternoon)........Ok I went back and figured out your concern. I guess you are concerned that it is unfair to whomever makes the initial investment to get Ektachrome 100D distributed that if Kodak then starts competing with them they could be stuck with their inventory of film. That is a valid concern, however, Ektachrome 100D might rekindle the interest of thousands of older German Super-8 filmmakers who loved Kodachrome and basically became disenfranchised when Kodachrome 40 was terminated.

The price might be higher for Ektachrome 100D, but getting the film processed same day might prove to be a nirvana to Wittner and they may do really well with the European market, assuming the majority of Super-8 cameras will read it correctly in the auto-exposure mode.

I offered to come up with a large chunk of money a year ago as an investment for the Vision 50 in Super-8 and Kodak wasn't interested. Kodak might have been doing me a favor however because the Vision 50 doesn't seem to do to well once it has expired. If I could be assured of being the sole supplier for the American Market and got a good price on Ektachrome 100D from Kodak, I would seriously consider investing. It would be a serious business venture and I would only attempt it because I would make a enough profit to warrant risking that kind of money in the first place.

So if Wittner wants to split that 50 grand investment in half I'll go in with the other half, provided Kodak gave both of us enough time to sell off our inventory before they started selling it themselves. Although I would have to make sure the Euro Dollar isn't killing the American dollar to the point where I couldn't compete with Wittner's price in the U.S. even with them having shipping costs to deal with!
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#7 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 10:55 AM

Where do you get this stuff besides making it up ?

Way back when - when I shot S8 I shot lots of silent carts at 24 fps, sometimes faster - Leicina & Nizo cameras with no problems.

-Sam

This guy has bizarre philosophies on everything... from daylight filters, beam splitters, now frame rates. 24fps is just fine for any cart. If anything, it comes out less jumpy than 18fps.
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#8 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 02:05 PM

Very true 24fps is fine for any cartridge. I do believe that sound cameras had motors designed for shooting at 24fps and are more reliable than silent cameras.
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#9 Terry Mester

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 03:02 AM


Alessandro, as the author of the idea for Kodak to produce a new Super16 Camera, and then give them away for free, I don't think you should go around accusing other people's ideas of being "crazy" or "incredibly dumb". That being said, you haven't understood my idea correctly. I only proposed that they offer their existing Kodachrome 64 & 200 Stocks on a pre-paid intermittent basis. Kodak would only go to the trouble of running off such Carts when enough advanced orders have been paid for -- probably once every four months or so. This way they wouldn't have to keep it in their inventory, and they could fill the orders in a few days of running the S8 assembly line at full speed. You obviously don't know how beautiful K64 is, or you wouldn't dismiss the prospect of getting it for S8. It blows away E64T! As for processing, Dwayne's can handle the extra business, and if necessary Horiuchi can return to processing Kodachrome. Most people don't worry about waiting a few weeks to get back their processed films.

You clearly are not appreciating the needs of amateur S8 users who will never use a Negative or B&W Stock, nor are you considering the needs of S8 users outside the United States. Amateurs are only interested in a Reversal Stock that works under Automatic Aperture exposure. E64T is not a very good Stock, and E100D probably will have problems under Auto-exposure. Since Spectra and Wittner sell E100D in S8, why would you want Kodak to cut into their business? Cut-throat competition will not benefit the S8 market -- it will run it out of business!
Another factor which will run S8 out of business is the loss of Amateurs. E64T will not retain amateur users, and they won't pay high amounts of money to buy Carts from Spectra and Wittner. Beautiful K64 can retain Amateurs!

This guy has bizarre philosophies on everything... from daylight filters, beam splitters,

I'm afraid Anthony that you know nothing whatsoever about the physics behind light, and you continue to exhibit this fact with this statement. You also have peculiar views about Kodachrome which Professional Photographers don't share.
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 03:21 AM

Alessandro, as the author of the idea for Kodak to produce a new Super16 Camera, and then give them away for free, I don't think you should go around accusing other people's ideas of being "crazy" or "incredibly dumb".


Well if you're going to quote a previous idea of mine, at least quote it accurately. The idea was for a current film production that was spending a LOT of money on a 35mm feature film would enable Kodak to allocate 10 percent rebate of the gross purchase towards paying for a Super-16mm camera.

This would either make the super-16 camera free to the film student or very affordably priced at under 10,000 (when the 10% rebate was added in), but only because an existing production had bought a LOT of 35mm film. The final sales price of the super-16 camera would depend on how much it would cost to make the camera. Something nobody even bothered to hazard a guess at because it was easier just to ridicule the idea and act above it.

It's stupid to advocate a reissue of kodachrome film stock when it is an incredibly complex film to process. Super-8 Filmmaking needs to distance itself from the horse and buggy view of it as taking a long time to process. Kodachrome 40 just didn't seem to look as good as it did back in the late 80's and early 90's. I have kodachrome footage transferred back then that actually looks like 16mm. I think the rumors that Kodak just froze a ton of the stuff and pulled it out as needed might be true and might help explain why it doesn't look as good now as it did in the 80's, either that or less sophisticated Kodachrome processing machines not doing as good a job now as the kodachrome processors back then could do. Kodak Hollywood on Las Palmas had the primo number one Kodachrome processor in the world, it was ripped out of the place when Qualex bought into Kodak and from then on the kodachrome never looked as good as it used to look.

But you should approach Dwaynes with your idea, maybe they could convince Kodak to do a run exclusively for them, assuming that enough kodachrome still exists to do such a run, which I doubt. If Dwaynes approaches Kodak with your idea, that is one thing. So convince Dwaynes and see if they will ask Kodak to do a run for them.
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#11 Terry Mester

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 05:49 PM

Kodachrome 40 just didn't seem to look as good as it did back in the late 80's and early 90's. I have kodachrome footage transferred back then that actually looks like 16mm. I think the rumors that Kodak just froze a ton of the stuff and pulled it out as needed might be true and might help explain why it doesn't look as good now as it did in the 80's, either that or less sophisticated Kodachrome processing machines not doing as good a job now as the kodachrome processors back then could do. Kodak Hollywood on Las Palmas had the primo number one Kodachrome processor in the world, it was ripped out of the place when Qualex bought into Kodak and from then on the kodachrome never looked as good as it used to look.


Are you referring here to how your K40 looked on telecined Video? If so, this is no way whatsoever to judge a Film Stock. You need to view a Film naturally via Projection in order to correctly assess it. Also, you need to shoot a Film without a Filter to properly assess it. A Filter automatically compromises a Film's colour accuracy. As for freezing, this prolongs the freshness of the Film, but I doubt very much that Kodak would engage in a practice of selling old Film. Processing is very intricate with Kodachrome, and some American S8 Carts were sent to Dwayne's instead of Switzerland. S8 Kodachrome is not Dwayne's specialty.
Can you offer a specific opinion on the quality of K40 Stock which you shot without a Filter, and viewed via Projection?
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#12 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 11:36 PM

Are you referring here to how your K40 looked on telecined Video? If so, this is no way whatsoever to judge a Film Stock. You need to view a Film naturally via Projection in order to correctly assess it. Also, you need to shoot a Film without a Filter to properly assess it. A Filter automatically compromises a Film's colour accuracy. As for freezing, this prolongs the freshness of the Film, but I doubt very much that Kodak would engage in a practice of selling old Film. Processing is very intricate with Kodachrome, and some American S8 Carts were sent to Dwayne's instead of Switzerland. S8 Kodachrome is not Dwayne's specialty.
Can you offer a specific opinion on the quality of K40 Stock which you shot without a Filter, and viewed via Projection?


I don't agree with your presumed bias against high quality rank cintel transfer work. While a projector can blast a ton of light through the small frame, it has nowhere near the fidelity of color correction range that a high quality transfer facility has, it kind of has zero actually. I suppose if you shot the contrastiest of contrasty shots and had just a bare bones amount of detail in both the darker blacks and the whiter whites, the projector would do a fine job of preserving that. But other than that scenario, and a very dimly lit frame, the Rank should be able to reproduce what is there with the additional advantage of color correction.

I recall outdoors super-8 kodachrome footage that was shot in the early 90s without an 85 filter, (I was just helping out), and in transfer it looked horrible. We didn't project it because the idea was to preserve it in as pristine a condition as possible for the transfer. Adding in the warming tones in post just made the white clouds in the sky go orange.

Maybe you're using warmer than normal projector bulbs and that is masking the ghastly blue color that would normally accompany a tungsten balanced Kodachrome film that was shot outdoors with no filter. Some people have emphatically stated that Kodachrome 25, which was balanced for daylight, is/was a superior film to Kodachrome 40, which was balanced for tungsten. Are you presuming that Kodachrome 40 WITHOUT A FILTER could come anywhere near in quality to daylight balanced Kodachrome 25?

If I were to establish a quality order, it would be Kodachrome 25 outdoor balanced, Kodachrome 40 tungsten balanced with no filter for indoors, Kodachrome 40 tungsten balanced with a filter for outdoors, then Kodachrome 40 tungsten balanced with no filter for outdoors.
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#13 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 02:08 AM

Speaking of K40, 100D is ten times better. Even if Kodak doesn't package it, places like Spectra and Wittner will be. I'll be shooting it as much as I can this summer from whomever sells it it. I still have Kodachrome in the freezer, but I'm only hesitant to shoot it only because 100D is always the better choice... K40 just flops in comparison. I've been keeping myself stocked with it from Spectra and Schwind.

Edited by Anthony Schilling, 20 June 2007 - 02:09 AM.

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#14 Terry Mester

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 02:30 AM

I don't agree with your presumed bias against high quality rank cintel transfer work. While a projector can blast a ton of light through the small frame, it has nowhere near the fidelity of color correction range that a high quality transfer facility has, it kind of has zero actually. I suppose if you shot the contrastiest of contrasty shots and had just a bare bones amount of detail in both the darker blacks and the whiter whites, the projector would do a fine job of preserving that. But other than that scenario, and a very dimly lit frame, the Rank should be able to reproduce what is there with the additional advantage of color correction.


Colour alteration on a Projector is the "size" of the projected picture. The smaller the picture, the more intense the colours. A 40 ISO Film would likely provide about 4000 Shades for each Primary Colour (RGB). If your Telecine transfer is 24-bit colour (8-bit per Primary Colour), then you only have 256 Shades per Primary Colour. This provides you more "consistent" colour simply because you have "less" colour. When you're dealing with a few thousand Shades of colour on a Positive Image, you don't have room for tinkering around. Any minor change is detectable -- whereas it's undetectable on Video. I'm interested to know how much of your K40 footage have you ever viewed on a Projector?

You mentioned Telecine providing the advantage of colour correction. Are you referring to Negative Stocks, or are you including Reversal? There's not a lot of colour tinkering that you can do on a Positive Image. It's sort of like making a photocopy darker. The white part of the page turns gray.

Some people have emphatically stated that Kodachrome 25, which was balanced for daylight, is/was a superior film to Kodachrome 40, which was balanced for tungsten. Are you presuming that Kodachrome 40 WITHOUT A FILTER could come anywhere near in quality to daylight balanced Kodachrome 25?


Of course not. Haven't you ever shot K40 INDOORS? That's what this Stock is intended for. K25 would have been superior by virtue of being a finer grain Film, and 25 ISO would provide more saturated colours. I think that under-exposure is the main cause of any colour problems you and Anthony Shilling would complain about. S8 K40 (different from 16mm K40) was intended for 1/30th Second exposure which you get at 18f/s. You and Anthony seem to prefer 24f/s which causes under-exposure of K40. Kodachrome is a very sharp Film that requires very accurate exposure. It's very easy to get spoiled by the Negative Stocks.
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#15 Nate Downes

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 09:42 AM

Of course not. Haven't you ever shot K40 INDOORS? That's what this Stock is intended for. K25 would have been superior by virtue of being a finer grain Film, and 25 ISO would provide more saturated colours. I think that under-exposure is the main cause of any colour problems you and Anthony Shilling would complain about. S8 K40 (different from 16mm K40) was intended for 1/30th Second exposure which you get at 18f/s. You and Anthony seem to prefer 24f/s which causes under-exposure of K40. Kodachrome is a very sharp Film that requires very accurate exposure. It's very easy to get spoiled by the Negative Stocks.


Actually, that is a point. How does 64T look indoors?
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#16 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 11:22 AM

Actually, that is a point. How does 64T look indoors?


How can it be a point if it was already addressed in a prior response?

If I were to establish a quality order, it would be Kodachrome 25 outdoor balanced, Kodachrome 40 tungsten balanced with no filter for indoors, Kodachrome 40 tungsten balanced with a filter for outdoors, then Kodachrome 40 tungsten balanced with no filter for outdoors.


Terry has insisted for months that one should shoot Kodachrome 40 with no filter when shooting outdoors.
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#17 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 12:43 PM

As much as I enjoy the sillyness of Terry's and Alessandro's exchange. They raise an important question: How do we really know what a film stock looks like? Or how do we know what we are actually going to get when we shoot a certain stock?

For less experienced filmmakers Terry and Alessandro are both right and wrong. First, Terry is correct that watching film on a projector with a good bulb is commonly considered the best way to really know what you have on the actual film in terms of color, contrast, grain, tonal range etc. When we look at these things on video we are seeing an electronic representation of the actual film strip and there are going to be differences. Keep in mind the old joke that says NTSC means "never twice the same color" Even on high end, well tuned monitors the image will always be different from monitor to monitor because its the nature of the NTSC standard. Alessandro is right that in telecine you can see how far you can push a stock but that's only on video. If you finish all your projects to video that's good to know but it does not tell you what can be done in timing a print which takes a different test.

Concerning filters, Terry is wrong. We always test a film under the conditions we are going to be using it. If you are going to need to use filtration then, the stock needs to be tested with that filter. looking at an unfiltered stock does not tell us all that much about how a stock will look when using filters.
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#18 Sam Wells

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 03:07 PM

S8 K40 (different from 16mm K40) was intended for 1/30th Second exposure which you get at 18f/s. You and Anthony seem to prefer 24f/s which causes under-exposure of K40.


Well gee if you meter for the shutter speed at 24 fps then you won't be underexposed !

NB In the past I shot (16mm) Kodachrome 40 (filtered w/ an 85) at all kinds of frame rates from time exposure to 48, 64 fps, looked great. I think the differences between this and Daylight balanced Kodachrome were / are negated in printing (Never easy from Kodachrome anyway).

At one time I shot portfolio slides for a few painters; I used the Tungsten balanced Kodachrome 35mm still film - great stuff - (I rember shooting 6 of each painting for one artist so she wouldn't have to make dupes).

-Sam

ps what Douglas Hunter says.
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#19 Terry Mester

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 04:33 PM

Terry has insisted for months that one should shoot Kodachrome 40 with no filter when shooting outdoors.


NO! I did not say that! :o What I said was that you shouldn't experience excess Blue in a "contained" outdoor setting like your backyard. The exception would be in the shade or a cloudy day. If it's sunny outside, your backyard shouldn't look Blue. I'm also speaking for the average S8 user, and not someone doing professional-type work like yourself. When you're working for someone else, you obviously have to be very scrupulous about colour quality. However, don't think that a Filter is "magical" in transforming Daylight to Tungsten Light. When light passes from a thinner medium (like Air) through a thicker medium (like a Filter or Glass Prism), some of it reflects off the surface of the thicker medium, and some refracts as it passes through the medium. Thus, the colour, contrast and clarity of the original light is diminished after it has passed through a thicker medium. Be aware of these facts if you're going to use a Filter.

We always test a film under the conditions we are going to be using it. If you are going to need to use filtration then, the stock needs to be tested with that filter. looking at an unfiltered stock does not tell us all that much about how a stock will look when using filters.


I completely agree with you. The point I've tried to make regarding Filters is that a Tungsten Film (with a Filter) cannot look the same as a Daylight Film (without a Filter). Anthony complains that K40A (with a Filter) does not look as good as E100D or Velvia (without Filter). This is an unjust comparison. You would need to compare the two Films either both with or without a Filter. You cannot accurately compare two Films when only one of them is used with a Filter. This is comparing apples and oranges.
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#20 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 05:19 PM

Since most if not all films are doing digital intermediates, then what one can do on a rank cintel in terms of color correction will have validity, no?
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