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Popular film stocks of the 70s...


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#1 cal bickford

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 06:29 AM

What were the most widely used color neg 35mm stocks in the 1970s?

I'm interested in manipulating hd video to mimic a film stock from this period and am looking for information - gamma curves, histograms, and basically any other kind of spectrographic data I can find to use as reference. Anyone know any good sources for this kind of data?

From digging through kodaks website i've come up with 5247 and 5254, neither of which I can find much information about.

Did stock back then show an increased/decreased sensitivity to certain colors? etc. etc.

Any information is greatly appreciated.
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#2 Brian Pritchard

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 08:59 AM

What were the most widely used color neg 35mm stocks in the 1970s?

I'm interested in manipulating hd video to mimic a film stock from this period and am looking for information - gamma curves, histograms, and basically any other kind of spectrographic data I can find to use as reference. Anyone know any good sources for this kind of data?

From digging through kodaks website i've come up with 5247 and 5254, neither of which I can find much information about.

Did stock back then show an increased/decreased sensitivity to certain colors? etc. etc.

Any information is greatly appreciated.

i have a fairly large collection of data sheets of film stocks from this time, I will have a look and see which ones I have.

Brian
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 12:42 PM

Until the 1980's Kodak usually only made and sold one 35mm color negative motion picture stock at a time, but the exception was the tumultuous transition in 1974-76 to ECN2 processing and the introduction of 5247, which used the new ECN2 process.

Cinematographers complained that 5247 100T was brittle & harsh-looking and tended to go green when pushed. 5254, the previous 100T stock, was creamier, with more neutral (less red) fleshtones and less contrast / more pastel. But also a little more grain and softness. But it pushed well.

In Europe and the U.K., Kodak sold the new 5247 starting sometime in 1974, but in the U.S., cinematographers could still buy & use 5254.

When Kodak came out with an improved 5247 (Series 600) in the late spring of 1976, they stopped selling 5254 and the transition to ECN2 negative processing was completed.

This means that movies made in 1975-76 could have been shot on either stock. Traditionally, "Star Wars" was considered one of the first to use the improved 5247, but since it started shooting in March of 1976, I'm not sure if that was possible. Maybe they used some of the old and new 5247.

"Close Encounters" started shooting by mid-May and used the new 5247 for the 35mm anamorphic footage, but the old 5254 for the 65mm effects photography. Also the air traffic controller scene was shot in December 1975 (for tax reasons!) and would have used 5254.

"Barry Lyndon", which started shooting much earlier in 1973 I believe used 5254 for the whole movie. "Jaws" was shot on 5254.

Some cinematographers liked the new 5247 for being sharper, higher-contrast and finer-grained, particularly those who did a lot of soft lighting and used diffusion filters, like Geoffrey Unsworth.

Others who shot clean tended to like the softer look of 5254. For awhile, it was popular to soften 5247 with Fog, Low Con, and other filters.
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#4 cal bickford

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 05:07 PM

Brian - thanks, that's great!

David - very informative, was kodak the main 35mm stock used back then or were here other brands available?
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 07:00 PM

Brian - thanks, that's great!

David - very informative, was kodak the main 35mm stock used back then or were here other brands available?


Kodak dominated the market worldwide for 35mm color negative motion picture stock. Fuji had a stock, I think Agfa-Gevaert (Gevacolor), Orwo, etc. but nothing came close to the usage of Kodak then. It wasn't until the 1980's that Agfa and Fuji were used more significantly.

Some exceptions were "Farewell, My Lovely" (DP John Alonzo) and the period scenes in "Somewhere in Time" (DP Isadore Mankovsky), both of which used Fuji. Some U.S. television shows might have been using Fuji too in the 1970's to save money.
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#6 Brian Pritchard

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 06:50 AM

Cal ,
The other thing to bear in mind is at that time there were a number of print stocks available. Although the camera stock might have been Kodak, the print stock could have been Fuji, 3M, Orwo, Technicolor or Gevaert. This of course will have a bearing on the final result on the screen. Similarly they might have shot on Fuji and printed onto Gevaert and so on. And also the duplicating route can come into it, whether an interpos/ dupe neg was made or a CRI or Technicolor Matrices. It gives an awful lot of combinations. I will try to go through my datasheets this weekend.

Brian
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#7 Mark Dunn

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 12:54 PM

Apparently '47 was so different from '54 that Kodak reintroduced '54 for a time.
http://www.visual-me...1a/bl/page1.htm
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#8 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 03:41 PM

Kodak dominated the market worldwide for 35mm color negative motion picture stock. Fuji had a stock, I think Agfa-Gevaert (Gevacolor), Orwo, etc. but nothing came close to the usage of Kodak then. It wasn't until the 1980's that Agfa and Fuji were used more significantly.

Some exceptions were "Farewell, My Lovely" (DP John Alonzo) and the period scenes in "Somewhere in Time" (DP Isadore Mankovsky), both of which used Fuji. Some U.S. television shows might have been using Fuji too in the 1970's to save money.


A nonKodak stock had to be compatable with Kodak processing, else where can it be processed.

I had to evaluate and set up for printing some ABC Movies of the week, they were Fujicolor.

Fuji really caught on when they brought out 8518 (250T) in 1980. it was the fastest color neg then availiable.

Technically 1980 is still part of the 70s. There was no Year 0, so centuries and decades have to begin on year ---1.
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#9 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 12:33 PM

"The Towering Inferno" used the first version of 5247 in May 1974 for its special effects shots. Prior to start filming, cinematographers Fred Koenekamp and Joe Biroc tested the new stock together with photographic effects supervisor L.B. Abbott. They liked it for its finer grained texture, but since only a small amount of stock could be processed at the time, 5247 was only used by Abbott for shots involving blue-screen and opticals (Koenekamp used 5254 and pushed it one stop for the rest of the film).
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#10 John Holland

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 12:53 PM

Still remains as the worst shot film ever to win an Oscar for Cinematography ,well thats what i think anyway .
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#11 Matthew Buick

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 04:47 PM

Well I haven't seen Towering Inferno, so I couldn't comment.

I'm surprised 5247 was a 1974 stock, I always though it arrived in 1976. I'd also be interested if anyone out there has a side by side test shot, perhaps from a photographic magazine.

John, you win 5254 is much better tonally, good enough I think for Kodak to revamp and release as a cheap counter to Fuji Vivid 160. Or perhaps a new 5248...
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#12 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 05:48 PM

Still remains as the worst shot film ever to win an Oscar for Cinematography ,well thats what i think anyway .


John,

I don't like it as much in terms of cinematography as "The Godfather II", "Chinatown", "The Parallax View" or "Pelham 1,2,3" (just to name some 1974 films), but I think Joe Biroc's second unit work was outstanding. John Guillermin's classical & elegant camera work on the first unit doesn't hurt either (I still miss wide-angle lenses and big sets on modern blockbusters), though I've never been a fan of Fred Koenekamp and his lighting remains "too" old fashioned for my tastes ;)

Back to 5247 and "Close Encounters", Spielberg told AC how much he hated the upgraded version of the film stock, and even claimed that he would have shot the entire film in 65mm just to avoid it (I think he also said that they used some coral filters throughout the film to warm up the images).
It's also interesting that around 1977 some people thought Kodak wouldn't produce a 65mm version of 5247 because the fine grain of the 35mm version made 65mm obsolete (as if 35mm 5247 was better than 65mm 5254!).
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#13 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 03:39 AM

This is interesting... because for me and many others i'm sure, the look of the filmstocks during a certain time period have a great effect per how you reflect on, or imagine that time period. "Jaws" 1975 and "Close Encounters" 1978, are two good examples that differentiate the aesthetics of the early and late seventies. "The Shining" 1980, probably started filimg in 78? And maybe used the 5247? But definately has a different look than any 69-73 classic. I find the "creamier" look and colors of the early seventies more pleasing than the late seventies, early eighties. It seems like the next aesthetic change came in about 1983. Every erra has its film look, and it just comes down to the technology and design the stock at the time.
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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 12:34 PM

"The Shining" was all shot on 5247, with no pushing for the most part, for a pristine look.

Remember that not only did stocks change in the mid-1970's, and the processing, but tastes changed, clothing and furniture changed, architectural design changed, etc.

Also, to a lessor extent, the experiments in flashing, diffusion, underexposure, was an attempt to knock down the rich look of Technicolor dye transfer printing, plus it was a reaction against the studio style of the 1950's & 1960's. But dye transfer printing also dissappeared in the mid-1970's and people were starting to reject that soft look of the early 1970's.

Also, better lenses were showing up or being used by the mid-1970's. People were over-enamoured of the 25-250 zooms in the early 1970's.
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#15 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 04:09 PM

I'm surprised 5247 was a 1974 stock, I always though it arrived in 1976. I'd also be interested if anyone out there has a side by side test shot, perhaps from a photographic magazine.


It was also a 1949 stock, 16T. The first Eastmancolor stock.

So it makes sense that they would recycle that number fot the first Eastmancolor II stock.
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#16 Matthew Buick

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 05:11 PM

Oh, so 5247 was Eastmancolor II. Shame it didn't last (Vision).

16T! :wacko:
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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 05:25 PM

Oh, so 5247 was Eastmancolor II. Shame it didn't last (Vision).


EXR, then Vision.
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#18 Brian Pritchard

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 11:55 AM

Apologies for the long delay, I have located data sheets for Eastman Color Negative 5254 and Eastman Color Negative II 5247. I also came across the datasheet for Eastman Color Negative 5248 introduced 1952 replaced by 5250 in 1959. I will scan these to a PDF file. If anyone wants the file emailed, please email me at mail@brianpritchard.com with the subject 'Datasheets' so it does not get lost in the spam filter.

Brian
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#19 John Holland

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 01:33 PM

Come on everyone ECN 11 was introduced because it was a higher speed high temp. developing process , yet another money making scheme so labs good get more through put and it seems to me never mind the quality , begining to bore myself on this subject . <_<
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#20 Matthew Buick

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 04:59 PM

EXR, then Vision.


Oh, of course! Eastmancolor II sure didn't las long.

Eastmancolor (1949 - 1976), Eastmancolor II (1974 - 1994), Eastmancolor Extended Range (1989 - 2004?).
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