Jump to content


Photo

Film Test


  • Please log in to reply
59 replies to this topic

#1 Tom Hepburn

Tom Hepburn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 341 posts
  • Other
  • Chicago-land

Posted 04 August 2008 - 10:22 PM

Hello All,

I just got my film back from being transferred. I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed in the results. They don't seem as clear or as sharp as I expected, almost out of focus. If you could take a look at them and give me your assessment I'd appreciate it.

Eclair ACL II super16 camera (modified by Les Bosher).
ANGENIEUX 17-68mm zoom (no fungus, appears in great shape)
200 ft magazine
24 fps
I bought this off of Ebay and it has not been looked at by a camera technician.

The indoor shots were 9' away and zoomed in and used 7222 Kodak black and white
The outdoor shots were 25' away and zoomed in and used 7231 Kodak black and white

I'm very confident in my distances as I used a tape measure. I measured from the film plane to the subject.

The film was scanned at 1920 x 1080 and then sized down to 50% resulting in the images (960 x 540) here:

Eclair Stills

I was hoping that this Eclair and Angenieux combination would offer more professional results. Am I expecting too much here? I have a Cine 100 that seems to take crisper images with the same stock.

Thanks in advance for any help. The only other variable I would add is that I'm close to a beginner.

Tom

Edited by Tom Hepburn, 04 August 2008 - 10:24 PM.

  • 0

#2 Saul Rodgar

Saul Rodgar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1682 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 04 August 2008 - 10:58 PM

Tom: Pictures 2 & 3 are sharp, the kid is anyway, I can tell you that. ACL's have the shutter separate from the mirror and it is the closest to the actual film plane than any other camera I know- this produces the sharpest possible image- so the camera is not at fault, not that way anyway. The camera seems to be working fine from what I see from here.

The grain is what seems to be more of an issue here. Who did the transfer? Was it fresh stock? Did you push it? Who processed it?

I would perhaps do a collimation test on the lens . . .


I would look more at the film being fresh, exposure, and processing, than at the camera.

Here is an example of 7217 run through a very similar camera, with the same lens you have. This scene was purposely underexposed 1 1/2 stops (which would make grain more apparent), the stock rated at 200 ASA and processed normally. The film was scanned on a Spirit 2K with grain reduction software (DaVinci) This still came off a HDCAM dub to ProRes HQ 1080 24 to DVCPRo 720p and more compression later as it was uploaded to the web.


http://www.flickr.co...57604091065100/

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 04 August 2008 - 11:01 PM.

  • 0

#3 Saul Rodgar

Saul Rodgar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1682 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 04 August 2008 - 11:29 PM

I know the Vision stocks have much less grain than 22 and 31, but those clips had more grain I had ever seen on 16mm let alone S16. It reminded me to S8 grain.

To be sure, film will always be softer than video. The clips you posted didn't seem particularly soft to me, but they really looked like S8 film in terms of grain, texture and overall quality.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 04 August 2008 - 11:30 PM.

  • 0

#4 Matthew W. Phillips

Matthew W. Phillips
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1792 posts
  • Other

Posted 04 August 2008 - 11:56 PM

I will agree with Saul that the frames are very grainy, perhaps worse than some better S8 I've seen. However, I have no idea where you're getting the idea that it's soft. That looks rather crisp to me. If you're used to digital then I can see where you're coming from but I think for your focal length, it looks fine. Might want to find out why so grainy. Maybe use a slower stock with ultra fine grain. I've never been a fan of B/W stock anyways. I always thought it looks grainer than it's color counterparts.

Napolean Dynamite's prequel short "Peluca" comes to mind.
  • 0

#5 Tom Hepburn

Tom Hepburn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 341 posts
  • Other
  • Chicago-land

Posted 05 August 2008 - 12:04 AM

Thanks Saul,

I'm sorry, I meant to say grainy or "chunky" not soft.

In terms of processing, I used a place here in Illinois, but to be honest the results there have varied. It was not pushed or pulled as far as I know, I certainly didn't request that. It was transferred on a spirit in Downtown Chicago here and they were kind enough to comp me (just for prep) as they knew it was only a (200 ft) test. It was stock (factory sealed) ordered within the last few months and has been refrigerated since. And I agree with you on the quality. I have shot super 8 before and this seem comparable. It doesn't seem like it's benefiting from the larger format. I know it's a question of narrowing down the problem.

I'll wait for a few more posts, but perhaps some more tests are in order. I'm shooting black and white so Vision 3 is a ways off yet. I've got to get some control on my skills and where it goes after it's shot.

Tom
  • 0

#6 John Brawley

John Brawley
  • Sustaining Members
  • 834 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Atlanta Georgia

Posted 05 August 2008 - 12:58 AM

Thanks Saul,

I'm sorry, I meant to say grainy or "chunky" not soft.

I'll wait for a few more posts, but perhaps some more tests are in order. I'm shooting black and white so Vision 3 is a ways off yet. I've got to get some control on my skills and where it goes after it's shot.

Tom



It's sharp in terms of the transfer because the grain is sharp. The images look pretty sharp to me, but the film is grainy.

It was after all, invented in 1959 ! (um..sort just when they were getting around to inventing video tape)

Vision 3 is a LOOOOONG way on from that...

http://motion.kodak....ilm/chrono2.htm


I reckon it looks great for stock technology that's 50 years old !!

jb
  • 0

#7 Tom Hepburn

Tom Hepburn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 341 posts
  • Other
  • Chicago-land

Posted 05 August 2008 - 01:07 AM

Hi John,

Thanks for the response. I just uploaded (the same link above) two stills that were taken with my Kodak Cine K-100 with the same film stock as the outdoor shots using the Eclair. To me they look different and much better in terms of smoother grain. Same stock.

Thanks for the responses thus far.
Tom
  • 0

#8 Saul Rodgar

Saul Rodgar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1682 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 05 August 2008 - 02:19 AM

Hi John,

Thanks for the response. I just uploaded (the same link above) two stills that were taken with my Kodak Cine K-100 with the same film stock as the outdoor shots using the Eclair. To me they look different and much better in terms of smoother grain. Same stock.

Thanks for the responses thus far.
Tom


Yeah Tom, definitely the last two (Cine acquired) examples show tighter grain than the ACL ones; which is what I would expect from those two stocks, however vintage their technology may be.

At the risk of being too hasty in reaching conclusions, I would be looking at either older film stock and / or film that was subject to some heat at some point (left out in the sun for a while?) as the reason for the unusually high grain on your latest ACL tests. It could also be that the developing mix at the lab was past its prime? Hard to tell.

I would suggest using (newer technology, low grain) Kodak B/W or color reversal stock for tests. That way you could project the tests, as opposed to paying top dollar for a high end video transfer. A good 16mm film projector will always be cheaper than a telecine transfer. ;) Eiki made some nice slot load projector models. Just make sure to scratch-test the projector before you run a print through it!

You can always make a print of your negative-originated footage as well. There is nothing quite like seeing (your) film projected, and the kids will love that!

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 05 August 2008 - 02:21 AM.

  • 0

#9 Tim Terner

Tim Terner
  • Sustaining Members
  • 340 posts
  • Producer
  • Prague, CZ

Posted 05 August 2008 - 05:05 AM

The stills from the footage don't look underexposed Tom, but does the original negative look underexposed ?
  • 0

#10 Tom Hepburn

Tom Hepburn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 341 posts
  • Other
  • Chicago-land

Posted 05 August 2008 - 08:04 AM

Hey Guys,

I'm in "acceptance" mode and quickly moving to "fix it" mode. I thought I should clarify a couple of things:

I had 14 rolls of 100 ft. (various stocks) film which were all sent to the lab here in Chicagoland on the same day. 11 of those were shot on my Cine 100 and 4 on my Eclair ACL Super16. The results of the (Spirit scanned) Eclair S16 shots were way grainy. So I shot 2 more and sent it to a different company to scan on a different Spirit. Same results as seen here:

STILLS


The variables here are (unless I'm missing something) :
2 different cameras (Eclair and Cine 100)
2 different formats (regular 16 and super 16)
2 different Telecine processes (regular SD and Spirit)

Constants:
Same stock
Same processing company

I'm going to say Saul that I don' t think it's the stock as all the rolls were processed at the same place. In would really be something if the 2 rolls that I randomly picked out of the refridge, both were substandard. BUT, maybe I'm wrong. When I loaded the film, I covered it will black tape, shot it, and removed, then sent to process within 24 hours.

"I would suggest using (newer technology, low grain) Kodak B/W "

In terms of a more modern stock, I believe there are only these choices in black and white:

Negative
7231, 7222

Reversal
7265, 7266

All of the outdoor shots were using 7231 which I thought was supposed to have a reasonably fine grain. I have quite a bit of editing/post experience, so I could shoot color and remove it to appear black and white, but part of the reason for black and white is the cost.

All of your input is really appreciated.

Tom
  • 0

#11 David Rakoczy

David Rakoczy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1579 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • USA

Posted 05 August 2008 - 09:01 AM

Looks extremely underexposed.

1. Retest overexposing one full stop. Rate 7222 at 100.

2. Check your Light Meter against someone else's to be sure you are getting accurate readings!

3. VERY IMPORTANT.. shoot a Gray Scale at the head of each/ any Test Roll... overexposing as well. Tell them to lay down the Chart and DON"T TOUCH IT AFTER THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4. Also, Check your Lens for your 'own' piece of mind. Place an object 20 ft away.. 'EYE' Focus on it... does the Lens read 20ft?? Now place the object 18ft away... EYE Focus... does the Lens say 18ft??? etc etc... I would do this at 17mm.... 25mm...50mm...68mm. This you can obviously do at no charge and frankly, should be the first thing you do besides making sure the movement is working.

I believe once these are done (correctly) you will see a substantially better Image!
  • 0

#12 Stephen Williams

Stephen Williams
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4708 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Europe

Posted 05 August 2008 - 09:06 AM

Hi,

Spirits can be quite noisy depending the noise reduction in use, if those are data scans from an original Spirit then there is no noise reduction being done. I have had noise from 35mm 100 asa stock using that post path. If you overexpose the Spirit needs more gain, you get more noise!

Stephen
  • 0

#13 Paul Bruening

Paul Bruening

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 2858 posts
  • Producer
  • Oxford, Mississippi

Posted 05 August 2008 - 10:47 AM

I shot about a gazillion miles of 16mm reversal for Ole Miss Football back in the early eighties.

Your Plus-X looks a little grainy. The Tri-X looks about normal. Tri-X is pretty grainy stuff. I've seen it look better but I've also seen it much worse. Tri-X is pretty heat and age sensitive as well (compared to it's related stocks). As well, exposure and processing times can drive the grain way up as fellas here have already mentioned.

I wouldn't cast negative remarks on your lab. It's just that I ran the B&W lab back at Ole Piss. Your footage looks like the sloppy stew we often ran in our processor. The thing about B&W is that the chemistry is way more forgiving than color lab, so, there's a tendency to let it stew in the tanks longer. Especially in this day and age where a B&W lab may have to wait longer for work to get the most out of the chemical batches. I don't know anything about your lab. I'm just thinking back on my long-ago experiences.
  • 0

#14 John Holland

John Holland
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2248 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London England

Posted 05 August 2008 - 11:06 AM

Just looks really underexposed to me , get hold of the neg and check . Is it thin or dark-ish ?
  • 0

#15 Max Jacoby

Max Jacoby
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2955 posts
  • Other

Posted 05 August 2008 - 11:24 AM

Just looks really underexposed to me , get hold of the neg and check . Is it thin or dark-ish ?

If it's indeed underexposed, then one culprit might be the zoom lens. I noticed that you said you were zoomed in for these shots, well most zoom lenses do not have a constant t stop (despite what iris ring says), as one zooms in, they get darker.
  • 0

#16 K Borowski

K Borowski
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3905 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • I.A.T.S.E. Local # 600 Eastern Region

Posted 05 August 2008 - 12:37 PM

If it's indeed underexposed, then one culprit might be the zoom lens. I noticed that you said you were zoomed in for these shots, well most zoom lenses do not have a constant t stop (despite what iris ring says), as one zooms in, they get darker.


Right on Max. Remember the good rule of thumb: T-stops for exposure, F/stops for depth of field characteristics. In general, T-stops are slower than their F/ counterparts because they take into account light loss due to the glass inside of the lens, things like scattering, light bouncing, refraction, and the like.

It is good practice, even with modern neg stocks, to overexpose when possible to reduce objectionable grain, especially with 16mm. So with these older B&W stocks, you want to overexpose even more. Usually it's recommended to overexpose 1/2 to 2/3 stop with modern 16mm neg., so I'd say one stop or more overexposure with '31 and '22 should cut down on the grain.

Not much you can do with the '65 and the '66, unless you do your own processing, in which case you want to rate the Plus-X at 50, not 100, and you want to shorten developer times as much as possible and shoot at as slow a speed as possible for good exposure to cut down on grain with those stocks.

Hope this helps!


Regards,

~KB
  • 0

#17 David Rakoczy

David Rakoczy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1579 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • USA

Posted 05 August 2008 - 12:54 PM

Paul,

I believe he shot Plus-X and Double-X.... not Tri-X... but yes, even that Plus-X looks like Tri-X...

Underexposure.
  • 0

#18 Paul Bruening

Paul Bruening

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 2858 posts
  • Producer
  • Oxford, Mississippi

Posted 05 August 2008 - 03:05 PM

Paul,

I believe he shot Plus-X and Double-X.... not Tri-X... but yes, even that Plus-X looks like Tri-X...

Underexposure.


I misread his post. In that case... it's pretty grainy. While it's difficult to analyze a webbed-down image, it looks a little like grain clumping, which is an old stock or processing problem. I've shot underexposed Plus-X as-neg and while it was thin, it didn't produced such large chunks of grain like these images indicate. Push processing can make grain clumping. Yet, this is the kind of grain you'd get from two or three stops push.

Just a thought. I can't even read a post correctly. So, don't take it as gospel.
  • 0

#19 Ira Ratner

Ira Ratner
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 558 posts
  • Other
  • Coral Springs, Florida

Posted 05 August 2008 - 09:43 PM

Is it possible that in the processing, the lab notices something--that it's way underexposed in the first place--and let's it soak longer to save the reel? Hence that grain?

Edited by Ira Ratner, 05 August 2008 - 09:44 PM.

  • 0

#20 Mike Panczenko

Mike Panczenko
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 324 posts
  • 2nd Assistant Camera
  • Philadelphia, USA

Posted 05 August 2008 - 11:03 PM

Is it possible that in the processing, the lab notices something--that it's way underexposed in the first place--and let's it soak longer to save the reel? Hence that grain?


No, because the lab can't notice that it's underexposed until it's developed and they can look at the image. Before soaking it in the bath, the exposed film looks the same as unexposed film (but then again, how could you tell, since you can't look at the film without exposing it, a little Shroedinger's cat there? :P ) It has a "latent image" on it, which basically means that there are a few choice areas where photons have changed the composition of the silver compounds. Only after you soak it in the developing bath does that latent image allow for that process to happen to the rest of the film. Oversimplification, but you get the idea.

Mike
  • 0


Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

CineLab

Glidecam

FJS International, LLC

Opal

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio

Abel Cine

CineTape

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

Metropolis Post

Technodolly

Ritter Battery

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post

CineTape

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

Abel Cine

Glidecam

The Slider

Paralinx LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

Opal

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab