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#1 Tommi Murshed

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 01:11 PM

Hi there everyone, I'm Tommi Murshed from the Northern Film School in Leeds, UK, and I was wondering if anyone might be so kind as to help me with a small matter.

Please forgive me if I have put this incorrectly, or used a few misnomers. I'm writing a my final year dissertation on how the evolution of film stock and its relating technology had a lasting impact on cinema over the years. I'm struggling to find the information I need, which relates to the ever changing cost of film stock and lab processing over the decades, how much of that accounted for budgets, and whether there were any particular genres such as western or horror movies, or lower budget productions, that came to benefit from any new developments in the technology.

I've only got a week left, and despite all efforts, the information I so desperately need has been hard to come by; if there's anything anyone can do to point us in the right direction, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again,

Tommi

mynicehead@hotmail.com
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#2 Simon Wyss

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 03:02 PM

Hello, Tommi

You are touching an almost secret and at the same time neglected subject. To help you further let me establish some common knowledge about the first film manufacturers. There was Hannibal Goodwin in 1887. There were the Celluloïd Co. of New York, John Carbutt, Blair and Eastman. Victor Planchon startet regular film manufacture at Lyons end 1895-beginning 1896. Eastman achieved endless base manufacture by the heated drum method in 1899.

The emulsions were of different qualities already from these pioneers on. The Lumière sold miles and miles of their “étiquette bleue” emulsioned stock during the MPPC banning, and it was very much appreciated. So development was in bits and pieces among the concurring enterprises.

Change came when Eastman hired the Englishman Charles Edwin Kenneth Mees as head of a research laboratory in Rochester. Agfa of Wolfen also did a lot of investigative work. They had the first specially designed sound stock in 1929.

The next big thing was colours. You know: Gasparcolor, TC, Kodachrome, Kodacolor, Agfacolor, and others. Eastmancolor came only in 1950 as direct successor (with improvements) to Agfacolor after the forced publication of the German patents.

The last major step can be seen in conjunction with aerial photography, high resolution black and white films for reconnaissance in the 1960es. New ways of sensitisation were found. Everything we have today has actually been prepared around 1960-61. From 1925 to 1965 almost no improvement to black-white cinematography

Let's not forget Fuji Photo Films. A completely different approach to industrial engineering allowed them to arrive at a level of colour balancing unknown to the occidental competitors in the 1980es.
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#3 Jim Carlile

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 02:34 AM

What libraries are you close to?

The best magazines to look at are International Photographer, American Cinematography, and the SMPTE Journal.

Copies of the SMPE Journal are available for free online at the Internet Archive, from 1930 to about 1950. They are invaluable in this area-- the full name is something like the Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers.

The classic example of technological developments influencing movie production is the French New Wave in the 50s. Hollywood was pretty static until the late 60s.
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#4 chris descor

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 12:24 PM

This is quite fascinating.
Almost undiscovered covert thoughts and reminicences. - Like you said "secret".
Is there perhaps any books on this subject?
I would love to hear more information regarding what has been mentioned already in this topic.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 01:06 PM

You should spend some time looking at this list:

http://motion.kodak....ilm/chrono4.htm

The 1980's were perhaps the most significant decade for new developments in motion picture color negative stock, and the first decade where Kodak saw real competition from Fuji and Agfa.

Fuji came out with the first higher-speed stock (i.e. faster than 100 ASA) in 1981, followed by Kodak in 1982 (5293 250T). Then Agfa came out with the first high-speed stock (XT-320) to use a T-grain-type technology around 1984 (T-grain is Kodak's name -- officially, the first stock to use T-grain in a layer was Kodak 16mm 7292 320T, in 1986)

Then Fuji came out with the first 500 ASA stock (1988?), followed soon by Kodak in 1989 with EXR 500T 5296.

But I'd have to dig through a stack of material just to get the exact dates.

Also look at:
http://en.wikipedia....ves_.281980s.29

Since then, each new generation of stocks tries to improve the grain, consistency, latitude, etc. of the previous stocks. There have also been some special-look stocks, mostly low-con ones.

In the 2000's, you saw a movement to increase the contrast of print stocks while lowering the contrast of negative stocks, partly to improve their ability to be scanned to digital or transferred to video. Some people miss the snappier look of the original Kodak EXR stocks that came out in 1989 originally, the first series to use T-grain in all the layers for all the speeds.
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#6 grant mcphee

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 01:43 PM

Why not pop into filmlabnorth / thefinishingschool. They are only a few minutes away. I'm sure they will be able to help you out in changes relating to processing/telecine and costs etc.
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#7 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 03:24 PM

Then Fuji came out with the first 500 ASA stock (1988?), followed soon by Kodak in 1989 with EXR 500T 5296.

But I'd have to dig through a stack of material just to get the exact dates.


Here's Cinetech's motin picture stock time line:

http://www.cinetech....ngTimeline.aspx

They used to have a printer friendly & maybe more comprehensive timeline.
But web sites require flashier gee whizz graphics these days.

Fuji had a history of their stocks on one of their sites, but I'm have trouble finding it.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 08:26 PM

Fuji had a history of their stocks on one of their sites, but I'm have trouble finding it.


I can't find it either...

Looking back at my 1980's American Cinematographer issues (a nostalgia trip for me, I bought them when I was in college), I see:

Dec. 1981: article on the new high-speed Fuji A250 8518 (250 ASA, tungsten)

Jan. 1985: announcement of the new Fuji 500 ASA stock, AX 8514. It says it is replacing Fuji AX 8512 320T stock.

But I can't find when 320T 8512 came out -- I suspect that this was the stock used for "Legend".
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#9 Brian Pritchard

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 11:45 AM

I can't find it either...

Looking back at my 1980's American Cinematographer issues (a nostalgia trip for me, I bought them when I was in college), I see:

Dec. 1981: article on the new high-speed Fuji A250 8518 (250 ASA, tungsten)

Jan. 1985: announcement of the new Fuji 500 ASA stock, AX 8514. It says it is replacing Fuji AX 8512 320T stock.

But I can't find when 320T 8512 came out -- I suspect that this was the stock used for "Legend".


8512 was introduced in April 1983 although there was an earlier 8512 introduced in 1958. The first feature to be shot on Fuji stock was on the earlier 8512 and called 'Narayama Bushiko'. The first American feature to be shot on Fuji was on 8516 (100ASA) in 1973. This information came from Fuji. I don't know the title.
Brian
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