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Desaturating Kodak 7218 500T Film stock for 16mm


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#1 Mialle

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 10:53 AM

Hello,
I am currently preparing a shoot and we are forced to work with the Kodak 7218 500 T Film stock. However, the director wants a very desaturated, blue tinted look. What is the best way to achieve this? Having worked with the stock before, I felt it tended to oversaturate, rather than desaturate. Also, to achieve the blue tinted effect, would an 81EF filter be a better choice than a 85B or are there better ways?

Thanks a lot,
M.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 11:05 AM

81EF is nice. Don't shoot saturated things to begin with, look into a bleach bypass in post if you'd like, but it'll increase grain. If you're finishing for video, pull down the saturation in post. Some over exposure doesn't hurt either (though test this if you do a photochemical bleach bypass as you should test anyway).

Also 81EF is a warming filter, so if you're using it with T lighting it won't make things blue. . .
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#3 Brian Rose

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 11:12 AM

Your lighting scheme could help a lot too. Perhaps some CTBs to cool everything down? I'd suggest a lot of soft light to lower apparent contrast. What about costuming? You could have some muted colors as well.

Best,
BR
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 11:15 AM

Or, on with lighting, use HMIs for the most part and "warm them up" with some CTO, to you're liking. Or just with warming filters on the camera. There are many paths to the same effect, you have to find what works for you.

What is your post workflow anyway? Something like saturation and tint can be easily achieved in any telecine suite if you're going supervised, or with something as usual as FCP's 3-way color corrector off of your transfer.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 11:28 AM

Here is an old paper I wrote on the topic:

HOW TO DESATURATE COLOR
By M. David Mullen, ASC

NOTE: there is generally a correlation between lower saturation and lower contrast and softer blacks, since the black density can affect how saturated we perceive a color to be (just as in painting - to make a color more pastel, we mix white into it.) The exception is when silver retention processing is used (see below.)

The various methods used to achieve desaturation of color in motion picture photography are:

Art direction. The best way to control color is by using less color in costumes, set dressing, wall painting, etc.

Use a less saturated film stock. Current examples: Kodak 5229 (Expression 500T), Fuji Eterna 400T.

Filters. Filters that allow bright highlights to bleed (?halate?) or wash into the shadows not only lower contrast, but soften colors. Some types of light-scattering filters: ProMist, Fog, Double Fog, Low Contrast, GlimmerGlass, Smoque, Frost, Supra-Frost, UltraCons.

Smoke. Smoke has a similar effect to filters in that contrast and color are lowered because light is allowed to wash over everything. However, smoke is dimensional and affects objects in the background more than objects in the foreground due to the increasing density of the smoke that one is viewing the object through as it recedes from the camera position.

Lighting. The general rule is that frontal lighting emphasizes color; back or cross-lighting emphasizes texture.

Developing. Overexposure and pull-process developing can lower saturation and contrast a little.

Flashing. Again, like filters and smoke, flashing lowers color saturation by adding a wash of white light over the image, also lowering the contrast. The advantage of flashing over filters is that it doesn't soften definition or produce artifacts like halos around light sources. Flashing can be achieved through the lens using an ARRI VariCon device (which fits into a 6x6 mattebox) or a Panaflasher (which fits over one of the magazine ports on a Panaflex.) Some labs will post-flash the negative before development but many do not like to get into this because of the chance of damaging the negative through over-handling, or making a mistake. You can also flash an internegative. Prints and interpositives can also be flashed, which lowers contrast by darkening the highlights, not lifting the shadows ? it also slightly softens colors but not as much as negative flashing.

Exposure. Underexposure is not really recommended, but a thin negative printed up will generally produce weaker colors and blacks, plus show a lot more grain. Some slight overexposure usually increases saturation if the denser negative leads to printing down the image ? but EXTREME overexposure will also wash out colors (and highlight detail unfortunately) because most of the picture information is placed along the flatter shoulder portion of the characteristic curve.

Using incorrect color-balance. When shooting in daylight on tungsten-balanced film, removing the 85B color-correction filter will create a very blue-ish image on the negative that tends to reduce the saturation in reds, including skintones. However, blues and greens will get more exposure and possibly more saturation. By leaving the final timed image on the cold side, you can keep skintones desaturated. In some color-correction software, trying to compensate for a missing 85B filter can add a brownish cast to the image.

Silver-retention processes. Generally done to the print, but some techniques can be applied to the negative. A certain amount of black silver normally removed in the developing process is left in the image, increasing contrast and blacks, but also softening colors. Skip-bleach / bleach-bypass, CFI's Silver-Tint, and Deluxe's CCE process are the most extreme techniques, leaving all or most of the silver in the print; Technicolor's ENR and Deluxe's ACE processes are more subtle, allowing the degree of silver retention to be modified. The greater the level of silver left in the film, the greater the desaturation.

NOTE: Often a contrast-lowering technique like flashing, pull-developing, or filtration is used in conjunction with a silver retention process on the prints to keep the black levels and contrast to normal levels but also desaturate the image even further.

Optical printing. From the original color negative, both a color interpositive and a b&w positive are struck and then both elements are recombined (overlaid) in two exposure passes to create a new, desaturated dupe negative. How desaturated the image is depends on what percentage of the total exposure came from the b&w or the color I.P. "The Sacrifice" and "Sophie's Choice" (the flashbacks) used this technique; so did the opening scenes of "The Natural", which rephotographed the color record out-of-focus over the sharp b&w image, creating a diffusion effect.

Digital color-correction. Color is easily manipulated in the digital realm. This is done all the time for film material transferred to video for television presentation; it can also be done for film that is scanned to a digital data format, color-corrected, and then recorded back to film (i.e. a digital intermediate.)

CONCLUSION

All of these techniques can be combined in various ways ? and usually are. Most productions trying to create a softer color palette always begin with the art direction and costuming. One reason is that it is always better to use the simplest means to achieve a goal. Another is that primary colors tend to desaturate less noticeably than pastel colors when using some sort of desaturation technique ? and since skintones are generally pastel, they will lose their color much faster than a primary color in the frame. So controlling those colors in front of the camera is very important and allows you more options to alter the color with special techniques or processing without affecting the skintones too much.

Some examples of these techniques in use:

"Saving Private Ryan" was shot on 5293 pushed one stop to 400 ASA, flashed with a Panaflasher (generally), and used the ENR process on the prints. Some shots used filters or just foggy skies to wash out the image, plus the lens were stripped of their coatings to increase flare, and of course, the subject matter was naturally low in color saturation (overcast weather on a beach, actors wearing army costumes, etc.) Also, exterior scenes were shot with the less-strong 81EF filter instead of the 85B filter, creating a colder image.

Looking at DP Darius Khondji?s work, we see that "Seven" used negative flashing combined with Deluxe's CCE printing process. "Evita" used a VariCon and diffusion filters combined with a 30% ENR printing. "Alien Resurrection" used a 50% ENR printing.

"Ronin" used pull-processing of the neg combined with CCE printing.

"Heaven?s Gate" used negative flashing and print flashing together to soften the colors and contrast ? plus a lot of smoke and dust in the scenes. "McCabe and Mrs. Miller", also shot by DP Vilmos Zsigmond, used underexposure, push-processing, negative flashing, and diffusion filters (mostly Double-Fogs).

"Kansas City" used Kodak?s EXR 5287 stock combined with CCE printing. (5287 has since been updated to 5277.)

"High Art" was shot on Kodak?s VISION 320T (5277) and flashed with a VariCon ? but no silver retention printing techniques were used.

"Payback" used the CCE printing process, combined with shooting without the 85 filter outdoors on tungsten stock, and using a blue filter indoors ? the overly blue image on the negative ensured that skintones would be consistently desaturated. This was combined with careful color control in the art direction ? even yellow taxis and red fire hydrants were painted down. The print was timed to the blue side to keep any reds from becoming more saturated.

"Sleepy Hollow" used smoke on the sets and the CCE process in printing, plus a very monochromatic design.
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#6 Brian Rose

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 11:28 AM

Or, on with lighting, use HMIs for the most part and "warm them up" with some CTO, to you're liking. Or just with warming filters on the camera. There are many paths to the same effect, you have to find what works for you.

What is your post workflow anyway? Something like saturation and tint can be easily achieved in any telecine suite if you're going supervised, or with something as usual as FCP's 3-way color corrector off of your transfer.



Good point Adrian. I didn't even think of that. I just assumed it would be tungsten.

What kinds of lights do you have access to?

Brian
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 11:31 AM

Yeah, for myself, Brian, I much prefer CTO to CTB because CTO takes away less light and sadly in the budgets I run in more-often than not, I'm always struggling for every watt and foot-candle. (plus i bought 4 rolls of 1/2 cto off of ebay for $60 awhile ago. . .)

David amazing article there and very easily laid out.

Edited by Adrian Sierkowski, 30 August 2008 - 11:35 AM.

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#8 Brian Rose

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 11:59 AM

Yeah, for myself, Brian, I much prefer CTO to CTB because CTO takes away less light and sadly in the budgets I run in more-often than not, I'm always struggling for every watt and foot-candle. (plus i bought 4 rolls of 1/2 cto off of ebay for $60 awhile ago. . .)

David amazing article there and very easily laid out.


I hear ya there. I've been using a bit of CTB lately on a doc shoot. I've only had access to an assortment of Arri fresnels balanced for tungsten, and since a lot of my interviews are situated in offices with limited space, I've had to resort to using them to match the daylight fill. Though they do come in handy to create the effect of a lamp. I love mixing warm and cool..one side daylight, the other warmer tungsten. I love how they interplay. Anyways...

Cool article David.

Brian
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#9 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 12:49 PM

David, your dedication to help others learn cinematography is exceptional. For that, I thank you.
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#10 Mathew Collins

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 09:03 PM

Here is an old paper I wrote on the topic:

HOW TO DESATURATE COLOR
By M. David Mullen, ASC

NOTE: there is generally a correlation between lower saturation and lower contrast and softer blacks, since the black density can affect how saturated we perceive a color to be (just as in painting - to make a color more pastel, we mix white into it.) The exception is when silver retention processing is used (see below.)

The various methods used to achieve desaturation of color in motion picture photography are:

Art direction. The best way to control color is by using less color in costumes, set dressing, wall painting, etc.

Use a less saturated film stock. Current examples: Kodak 5229 (Expression 500T), Fuji Eterna 400T.

Filters. Filters that allow bright highlights to bleed (?halate?) or wash into the shadows not only lower contrast, but soften colors. Some types of light-scattering filters: ProMist, Fog, Double Fog, Low Contrast, GlimmerGlass, Smoque, Frost, Supra-Frost, UltraCons.

Smoke. Smoke has a similar effect to filters in that contrast and color are lowered because light is allowed to wash over everything. However, smoke is dimensional and affects objects in the background more than objects in the foreground due to the increasing density of the smoke that one is viewing the object through as it recedes from the camera position.

Lighting. The general rule is that frontal lighting emphasizes color; back or cross-lighting emphasizes texture.

Developing. Overexposure and pull-process developing can lower saturation and contrast a little.

Flashing. Again, like filters and smoke, flashing lowers color saturation by adding a wash of white light over the image, also lowering the contrast. The advantage of flashing over filters is that it doesn't soften definition or produce artifacts like halos around light sources. Flashing can be achieved through the lens using an ARRI VariCon device (which fits into a 6x6 mattebox) or a Panaflasher (which fits over one of the magazine ports on a Panaflex.) Some labs will post-flash the negative before development but many do not like to get into this because of the chance of damaging the negative through over-handling, or making a mistake. You can also flash an internegative. Prints and interpositives can also be flashed, which lowers contrast by darkening the highlights, not lifting the shadows ? it also slightly softens colors but not as much as negative flashing.

Exposure. Underexposure is not really recommended, but a thin negative printed up will generally produce weaker colors and blacks, plus show a lot more grain. Some slight overexposure usually increases saturation if the denser negative leads to printing down the image ? but EXTREME overexposure will also wash out colors (and highlight detail unfortunately) because most of the picture information is placed along the flatter shoulder portion of the characteristic curve.

Using incorrect color-balance. When shooting in daylight on tungsten-balanced film, removing the 85B color-correction filter will create a very blue-ish image on the negative that tends to reduce the saturation in reds, including skintones. However, blues and greens will get more exposure and possibly more saturation. By leaving the final timed image on the cold side, you can keep skintones desaturated. In some color-correction software, trying to compensate for a missing 85B filter can add a brownish cast to the image.

Silver-retention processes. Generally done to the print, but some techniques can be applied to the negative. A certain amount of black silver normally removed in the developing process is left in the image, increasing contrast and blacks, but also softening colors. Skip-bleach / bleach-bypass, CFI's Silver-Tint, and Deluxe's CCE process are the most extreme techniques, leaving all or most of the silver in the print; Technicolor's ENR and Deluxe's ACE processes are more subtle, allowing the degree of silver retention to be modified. The greater the level of silver left in the film, the greater the desaturation.

NOTE: Often a contrast-lowering technique like flashing, pull-developing, or filtration is used in conjunction with a silver retention process on the prints to keep the black levels and contrast to normal levels but also desaturate the image even further.

Optical printing. From the original color negative, both a color interpositive and a b&w positive are struck and then both elements are recombined (overlaid) in two exposure passes to create a new, desaturated dupe negative. How desaturated the image is depends on what percentage of the total exposure came from the b&w or the color I.P. "The Sacrifice" and "Sophie's Choice" (the flashbacks) used this technique; so did the opening scenes of "The Natural", which rephotographed the color record out-of-focus over the sharp b&w image, creating a diffusion effect.

Digital color-correction. Color is easily manipulated in the digital realm. This is done all the time for film material transferred to video for television presentation; it can also be done for film that is scanned to a digital data format, color-corrected, and then recorded back to film (i.e. a digital intermediate.)

CONCLUSION

All of these techniques can be combined in various ways ? and usually are. Most productions trying to create a softer color palette always begin with the art direction and costuming. One reason is that it is always better to use the simplest means to achieve a goal. Another is that primary colors tend to desaturate less noticeably than pastel colors when using some sort of desaturation technique ? and since skintones are generally pastel, they will lose their color much faster than a primary color in the frame. So controlling those colors in front of the camera is very important and allows you more options to alter the color with special techniques or processing without affecting the skintones too much.

Some examples of these techniques in use:

"Saving Private Ryan" was shot on 5293 pushed one stop to 400 ASA, flashed with a Panaflasher (generally), and used the ENR process on the prints. Some shots used filters or just foggy skies to wash out the image, plus the lens were stripped of their coatings to increase flare, and of course, the subject matter was naturally low in color saturation (overcast weather on a beach, actors wearing army costumes, etc.) Also, exterior scenes were shot with the less-strong 81EF filter instead of the 85B filter, creating a colder image.

Looking at DP Darius Khondji?s work, we see that "Seven" used negative flashing combined with Deluxe's CCE printing process. "Evita" used a VariCon and diffusion filters combined with a 30% ENR printing. "Alien Resurrection" used a 50% ENR printing.

"Ronin" used pull-processing of the neg combined with CCE printing.

"Heaven?s Gate" used negative flashing and print flashing together to soften the colors and contrast ? plus a lot of smoke and dust in the scenes. "McCabe and Mrs. Miller", also shot by DP Vilmos Zsigmond, used underexposure, push-processing, negative flashing, and diffusion filters (mostly Double-Fogs).

"Kansas City" used Kodak?s EXR 5287 stock combined with CCE printing. (5287 has since been updated to 5277.)

"High Art" was shot on Kodak?s VISION 320T (5277) and flashed with a VariCon ? but no silver retention printing techniques were used.

"Payback" used the CCE printing process, combined with shooting without the 85 filter outdoors on tungsten stock, and using a blue filter indoors ? the overly blue image on the negative ensured that skintones would be consistently desaturated. This was combined with careful color control in the art direction ? even yellow taxis and red fire hydrants were painted down. The print was timed to the blue side to keep any reds from becoming more saturated.

"Sleepy Hollow" used smoke on the sets and the CCE process in printing, plus a very monochromatic design.

 

>"Saving Private Ryan" was shot on 5293 pushed one stop to 400 ASA, flashed with a Panaflasher (generally), and used the ENR process on the prints. Some shots used filters or just foggy skies to wash out the image, plus the lens were stripped of their coatings to increase flare, and of course, the subject matter was naturally low in color saturation (overcast weather on a beach, actors wearing army costumes, etc.) Also, exterior scenes were shot with the less-strong 81EF filter instead of the 85B filter, creating a colder image.

 

David,

Is there any mistake in my observations?

 

5293 is tungsten-balanced color negative.

81EF filter converts 3850K  to 4140 K.

85B    filter  converts  5500K to 3200K.

 

81EF and 85B perform conversion in opposite directions. In this case how could we compare 81EF and 85B?


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#11 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 10:02 PM

81EF and 85B convert in the SAME direction. An 85B is used to correct Tungsten stock when used in Daylight. An 81EF is a weaker correction, which would leave Tungsten stock still looking slightly cold in Daylight.


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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 10:39 PM

As Stuart says, both the 81EF and 85B are warming filters and shift color temp in the same direction, but the 81EF is weaker, so it won't fully correct 5500K to 3200K, unlike the 85B filter.  If you use the MIRED values to calculate the shift in color temp, knowing that the 85B filter has a shift value of +131 and the 81EF has a shift value of +52, you end up calculating that the 81EF will convert 5500K to 4274K.  So on tungsten film, a daylight shot will still have a cool cast if you use the 81EF instead of the 85B.


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#13 Mathew Collins

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 11:58 PM

As Stuart says, both the 81EF and 85B are warming filters and shift color temp in the same direction, but the 81EF is weaker, so it won't fully correct 5500K to 3200K, unlike the 85B filter.  If you use the MIRED values to calculate the shift in color temp, knowing that the 85B filter has a shift value of +131 and the 81EF has a shift value of +52, you end up calculating that the 81EF will convert 5500K to 4274K.  So on tungsten film, a daylight shot will still have a cool cast if you use the 81EF instead of the 85B.

 

I had a look on the following link before posting the about question.

 

http://www.tiffen.co...&itemnum=5881EF

 

Here in the bottom of the link,it is given that

81EF   3,850 to 4,140 K


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#14 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 12:28 AM

Unfortunately, that is incorrect. It appears to be a misinterpretation of a table in the ASC manual. An 81EF converts 3850K to 3200K and 4140K to 3400K. The actual Kelvin figures aren't really important, it's the MIREDS that count


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#15 Mathew Collins

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 12:49 AM

Thank you David and Stuart.

 
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 11:16 AM

Probably just have the numbers flipped, a warming filter would always correct to a lower color temperature balance.


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#17 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 11:33 AM

Pg 230 of my ASC manual lists those two numbers alongside the 81EF, but it doesn't convert one to the other, but rather to 3200k and 3400k respectively. I think someone at Tiffen just read the table wrong.


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#18 Jay Young

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 01:43 PM

Pg 230 of my ASC manual lists those two numbers alongside the 81EF, but it doesn't convert one to the other, but rather to 3200k and 3400k respectively. I think someone at Tiffen just read the table wrong.

 

My ASC manual has so many misprints in it I'm gonna take a heavy magic marker and many post-it notes to it when I get a free weekend.


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#19 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 01:57 PM

If anyone sees something in the manual that needs correcting, send it to me.


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#20 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 02:00 PM

To clarify, the ASC manual table is correct, I just think whoever created the Tiffen website mis-read it.


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