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An unrelenting crush on B&W 16mm


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#1 GeorgeSelinsky

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 01:04 AM

I know I'm not the only one here. I've shot 35mm color negative, and I thought I'd never go back. But after having done a short film on 16mm black and white negative just now, it's like falling in love all over again. I just LOVE the stuff. That gritty look and feel is just unbeatable!

Okay, so that this is not a totally useless posting, I'll say my favorite B&W stock is Double X negative, followed by Plus X reversal (two totally different looks)...your turn?
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#2 Nate Downes

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 06:56 AM

Hey, my one piece in a festival to-date was on Super8 Tri-X, so I fully understand the love of the B&W gritty look. I just shot a roll of 16mm PXR and am loving it. Flying out to Seattle friday for it's processing.
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#3 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 08:01 AM

I've always loved the look of Plus-X. I've recently shot Vision3 500T for a black and white transfer. Our tests looked great. The stuff actually looks better in black and white. You just have to be willing to push the contrast ratios a bit but it has a gritty texture that you might like. The speed is definitely an advantage over 50asa plusx. Outside though, I'd be willing to shoot PlusX. That was the very first 16mm film I'd ever shot my first year in film school. PlusX and TriX. I preferred the PlusX.
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#4 Will Montgomery

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 08:23 AM

I'd have to agree about Double-X (why no triple-X stock I wonder? :rolleyes: )

I just finished a shoot with 7231 Plus-X negative and was disappointed. Low contrast but also low grain. I'm sure Kodak spent many dollars researching how to minimize grain in their stocks, but this Plus-X negative didn't have the character I was used to from Double-X; Plus-X negative was almost too smooth for my tastes. I probably need to filter more for more contrast.

I've also found Fomapan to be a really interesting retro look although it's hard to find someone to process it properly these days.
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#5 Richardson Leao

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 08:59 AM

I'd have to agree about Double-X (why no triple-X stock I wonder? :rolleyes: )

I just finished a shoot with 7231 Plus-X negative and was disappointed. Low contrast but also low grain. I'm sure Kodak spent many dollars researching how to minimize grain in their stocks, but this Plus-X negative didn't have the character I was used to from Double-X; Plus-X negative was almost too smooth for my tastes. I probably need to filter more for more contrast.

I've also found Fomapan to be a really interesting retro look although it's hard to find someone to process it properly these days.


fomapan is No.1!

then ORWO NP4 and Plus X are drawn in 2nd place.
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#6 Nate Downes

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 10:08 AM

I'd have to agree about Double-X (why no triple-X stock I wonder? :rolleyes: )

Um... Tri-X?
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#7 Chance Shirley

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 10:15 AM

I actually wrote a short black and white segment into my currently-filming feature just so I'd have an excuse to shoot some 16 mm Double-X.
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#8 Will Montgomery

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 10:16 AM

Um... Tri-X?

Good point, I stand an idiot. Although it doesn't quite have the same ring as "triple-X".
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#9 Will Montgomery

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 10:20 AM

I must say that I also have a slight crush on Ektachrome 100D in 16mm. It almost looks like someone painted each frame rather than an accurate representation of reality. Of course this was more pronounced with Kodachrome.
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#10 GeorgeSelinsky

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 01:45 PM

I'd have to agree about Double-X (why no triple-X stock I wonder? :rolleyes: )

I just finished a shoot with 7231 Plus-X negative and was disappointed. Low contrast but also low grain. I'm sure Kodak spent many dollars researching how to minimize grain in their stocks, but this Plus-X negative didn't have the character I was used to from Double-X; Plus-X negative was almost too smooth for my tastes. I probably need to filter more for more contrast.


Those emulsions are all old, we're talking late fifties technology here.

I actually like the low con look of unfiltered B&W. For negative it's an interesting look. For reversal you really don't need to filter for contrast because the stuff is so darn contrasty to begin with! The one stock I'm not too crazy about is Tri-X (at least the old stuff I used to shoot). The high con thick black charcoal grain look just doesn't do it for me, I prefer the gray sandy Double X instead.
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#11 Will Montgomery

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 02:27 PM

So is the consensus that B&W stocks are still useful in a world were losing color in post is so easy? (rhetorical question perhaps)

I have to say that I really loved the look of "Good Night and Good Luck" even though it was V2 500T with color removed in post. It could however have benefited from more grain in my opinion but perhaps theatre goers aren't quite ready for that.

The opening of the last James Bond movie was shot on Double-X from what I understand; I was secretly smiling when I saw it in the theatre because I was hoping that's what it was.

Those emulsions are all old, we're talking late fifties technology here.

All the flaws that Kodak tried to fix over the years is what makes Double-X so great... it still retains that 50's look.
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#12 Sam Wells

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 06:31 PM

Plus-X negative was almost too smooth for my tastes. I probably need to filter more for more contrast.


Push for more grain & contrast.

-Sam
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#13 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 07:50 PM

I have a short i just (finally??) finished cutting from workprint on a steenbeck, mostly 7222, some 7231 and Hi-Con and 7266 X-Processed to neg (for one 370fps shot) I am actually stupid enough to be cutting my own negative right now. Soundtracks 50% done and 16mm prints to follow..no really..

I guess it's more than a crush..?


-Rob-
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#14 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 08:34 PM

I'd have to agree about Double-X (why no triple-X stock I wonder? :rolleyes: )


At one time there was a 4X negative, but it was extermely grainy and so only was used for documentaries and the like.

I've also found Fomapan to be a really interesting retro look although it's hard to find someone to process it properly these days.



I belive that Foma pan is optomised for teh "old" reversal process. The only place I have had it done was Black and White Film Factory in Toronto, where it has a real 1930's feel. especialy if I use the lens from my old DeVry.
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#15 Will Montgomery

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:39 AM

I am actually stupid enough to be cutting my own negative right now.

Stupid, no... brave, yes.

I'm sure you have access to some great editing equipment, that's a big plus. I've considered renting time (maybe for some beer or something) at my local lab to use their editing setup, but I know my lack of experience in actual film cutting would be a problem.
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#16 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 10:57 AM

Stupid, no... brave, yes.

I'm sure you have access to some great editing equipment, that's a big plus. I've considered renting time (maybe for some beer or something) at my local lab to use their editing setup, but I know my lack of experience in actual film cutting would be a problem.



I probably have a slight advantage because I handle film all the time working at the lab here, however I cut the short on my friends broke down steenbeck (even though we have a nice S16 8 plate at Cinelab) and all it takes to cut negative is a Maier&Hancock hot splicer, a clean setup and mucho patience. As much as I like beer, I do not recommend mixing it and negative cutting.

-Rob-
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#17 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 02:48 PM

At one time there was a 4X negative, but it was extermely grainy and so only was used for documentaries and the like.


It replaced Tri-X cine-negative. Supposedly the same grain, but a tad faster, 320=>500.

'Mirage' 1965 with Gr.Peck was shot on 4XN on NYC locations.
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#18 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 02:55 PM

I actually like the low con look of unfiltered B&W. For negative it's an interesting look. For reversal you really don't need to filter for contrast because the stuff is so darn contrasty to begin with! The one stock I'm not too crazy about is Tri-X (at least the old stuff I used to shoot). The high con thick black charcoal grain look just doesn't do it for me, I prefer the gray sandy Double X instead.


Using color filters for contrast is a different look than increasing the gamma in processing.

The soft edge of 16mm DXN grain gives it a mushy look, whereas TXR's hard edged grain gives it a very snappy look. It's the perfect film for black leather jackets.
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#19 K Borowski

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 09:47 AM

It is really unfortunate that Kodak and Fuji continue to resist making their B&W T-grain films available with MP perfs.

Not that T-Max, Delta and Acros films are new. T-Max (except T-Max 400-2, just introduced last year) will be old enough to drink in the States this year :blink:

But anyway, there are about 5 generations of improval that aren't being showcased with cine stocks and should. All they have to do is punch the stuff with different perfs and rate it a third of a stop less. . .
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#20 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 01:24 PM

I know I'm not the only one here. I've shot 35mm color negative, and I thought I'd never go back. But after having done a short film on 16mm black and white negative just now, it's like falling in love all over again. I just LOVE the stuff. That gritty look and feel is just unbeatable!

Okay, so that this is not a totally useless posting, I'll say my favorite B&W stock is Double X negative, followed by Plus X reversal (two totally different looks)...your turn?


I hear ya, George! I've shot plenty of color 16mm film, but it just doesn't have the same effect on me. My personal favorite is Plus-X (especially since I'm shooting something on it now!) I look at the prints and I feel like I'm back in the 60s...
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