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Flashing; Varicon and Panaflasher, where?


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#1 benjamin aguilar

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 01:28 AM

Hello everyone,

I would like to flash some film for an upcoming project. I've learned that many labs do not offer this service and flashing it myself is not practical at this point. The varicon and panaflasher are my next options. I live in Los Angeles, so there must be somewhere here that will do this for me. Would I be able to have Panavision do this for me? I haven't been able to find a varicon anywhere in LA, if anyone could point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated.

-Benjamin
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 03:53 AM

Would I be able to have Panavision do this for me?


Have you tried Otto Nemenz? Of course in the case of a Varicon or Panaflasher, the flashing is done via an accessory attached to the camera at the time of exposure, different from "pre-flashing" or "post-flashing" in the lab. I'm not sure if this is what you're asking about, from your post.
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#3 benjamin aguilar

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 11:28 AM

Have you tried Otto Nemenz? Of course in the case of a Varicon or Panaflasher, the flashing is done via an accessory attached to the camera at the time of exposure, different from "pre-flashing" or "post-flashing" in the lab. I'm not sure if this is what you're asking about, from your post.


Thanks Michael. Yeah I'm looking to get my film flashed before I actually shoot anything. I figured the two would be the best way, though I think the varicon might be more practical as I would just need to attach it to a matte box, run the film. I'm going to give Panavision woodland hills a call to see if the panaflasher might be available for this service. But anymore suggestions as to where I get find a varicon would be great.

-Benjamin
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#4 benjamin aguilar

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 11:35 AM

Have you tried Otto Nemenz? Of course in the case of a Varicon or Panaflasher, the flashing is done via an accessory attached to the camera at the time of exposure, different from "pre-flashing" or "post-flashing" in the lab. I'm not sure if this is what you're asking about, from your post.


I will also try Otto Nemenz.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 03:12 PM

If you are going to pre-flash the film yourself, you don't need a Panaflasher or Varicon, you just need to shoot a grey card out of focus, filling the frame, exposed for the amount of flashing you want.

The only problem with doing this, or with a Varicon too, is that you flash only the 4-perf frame area (or 3-perf if shooting that) so you have to rethread the film with the exact 4-perf sequence lined up as with the original pass -- you can't be a perf or two off. So draw a box around the frame with a sharpee marker right onto the emulsion, through the lens port, before you shoot the roll, and hope you can find this box when you rewind and then rethread this roll in the camera.
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#6 benjamin aguilar

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 03:47 PM

If you are going to pre-flash the film yourself, you don't need a Panaflasher or Varicon, you just need to shoot a grey card out of focus, filling the frame, exposed for the amount of flashing you want.

The only problem with doing this, or with a Varicon too, is that you flash only the 4-perf frame area (or 3-perf if shooting that) so you have to rethread the film with the exact 4-perf sequence lined up as with the original pass -- you can't be a perf or two off. So draw a box around the frame with a sharpee marker right onto the emulsion, through the lens port, before you shoot the roll, and hope you can find this box when you rewind and then rethread this roll in the camera.


Thanks David. Much appreciated. My concern with this method, is having to try and find that spot in a trial and error manner. I'd like to either have it done on the fly or have panavision do this with there mags and reverse it. It would just take less time if I didn't have too much time to begin with. If I had mags with reverse capability it would be much easier, but unfortunately I do not. If I get the film early enough and have time I will try this method.
Do you have general stop(5-10%flash) for this method of DIY flashing? I might just have to go this route. I'm looking to test some chocolate filters/gels and mercury vapor light as well. Thanks.

-Benjamin
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 04:40 PM

It's absolutely essential you do a basic test to determine the flash amount you want -- numbers like "10%" are somewhat meaningless.

If you flash on a Panaflasher, which is an internal light inside the camera, you don't have to relign to the original frames but if you do it with a Varicon, you do.

I don't see why looking at a black card and setting the Varicon level by eye to pre-flash is going to help you - the Varicon wasn't designed to pre-flash film (nor was the Panaflasher) it was designed so you could set the level while looking at the scene through the viewfinder.

Setting the Varicon level is no easier than setting an exposure for a grey card in front of the lens -- either way, you see a greyness through the viewfinder. I don't think the numbers on the Varicon are going to mean much to you without a subject to shoot at.

I don't know what flash level a grey card would be normally exposed and then double-exposed over the scene -- maybe it's like a 20% flash. This is why you shoot a simple test, and double-expose it over someone holding a color chart and grey scale with a black & white reference in the frame so you can determine the amount of flashing you like.
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#8 benjamin aguilar

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 05:51 PM

It's absolutely essential you do a basic test to determine the flash amount you want -- numbers like "10%" are somewhat meaningless.

If you flash on a Panaflasher, which is an internal light inside the camera, you don't have to relign to the original frames but if you do it with a Varicon, you do.

I don't see why looking at a black card and setting the Varicon level by eye to pre-flash is going to help you - the Varicon wasn't designed to pre-flash film (nor was the Panaflasher) it was designed so you could set the level while looking at the scene through the viewfinder.

Setting the Varicon level is no easier than setting an exposure for a grey card in front of the lens -- either way, you see a greyness through the viewfinder. I don't think the numbers on the Varicon are going to mean much to you without a subject to shoot at.

I don't know what flash level a grey card would be normally exposed and then double-exposed over the scene -- maybe it's like a 20% flash. This is why you shoot a simple test, and double-expose it over someone holding a color chart and grey scale with a black & white reference in the frame so you can determine the amount of flashing you like.


Thanks for the info David.

-Benjamin
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