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Grainy print?


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#1 David Bradley

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 04:47 PM

Hello.

I'm seeing alot of grain on my rushes. I shot s16mm 8643 160T so I was expecting it to be fairly tight. I've shot with this stock before and it looked amazingly clean so I'm a little confused. At first I thought I must have significantly underexposed the neg (perhaps an accidental ND here and there) but the grain was consistent in all scenes (Day/Night) and unless my light meter is broken I was overexposing by 2/3 of a stop at all times.

My only conclusion is that the neg wasn't processed properly. I actually sent my neg to a lab (which I will not name publicly) who due to an irregularity in the chemistry of their developer, had to send my neg to a third party lab.

I've heard that the amount of CD3 in the developer can affect grain levels. Are there any other factors to be considered? I don't want to sound like an absolute imbecile when negotiating for some sort of compensation from the lab.

I could post stills if that helps?

Cheers
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 04:55 PM

Short of sending part of the same roll of the neg to two different labs for processing, you aren't going to be able to prove that the lab did anything wrong in processing it unless it has some bizarre color cast and is printing at some really off numbers, and even then, they may claim it was misexposed.

The thing is, is it grainy though printing in the 30's, except for the blue record? Or are a lot of the printing lights more in the low 20's?
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#3 David Bradley

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 05:13 PM

Short of sending part of the same roll of the neg to two different labs for processing, you aren't going to be able to prove that the lab did anything wrong in processing it unless it has some bizarre color cast and is printing at some really off numbers, and even then, they may claim it was misexposed.

The thing is, is it grainy though printing in the 30's, except for the blue record? Or are a lot of the printing lights more in the low 20's?


There were a few slates that dropped below 25 (lowest was 19) but otherwise the reports came back quite consistently in the late 20's and early 30's. I'm at a loss! The lab who I sent the neg to have been pretty good about it, they've asked for the digibeta rushes back to take a look. Is there not kit that can remove the grain without corrupting the image? I'm sure it wouldn't look perfect but it actually looks distracting at the moment. Thanks David.
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#4 Dominic Case

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 05:26 PM

I've heard that the amount of CD3 in the developer can affect grain levels. Are there any other factors to be considered? I don't want to sound like an absolute imbecile when negotiating for some sort of compensation from the lab.

CD3 is the actual developing agent. More CD3 will result in overdevelopment, which (a) should show up in the lab's routine testing before it affects anyone's work but (B) would look a little like push processing (though the bath would have to be very seriously off-standard to look like more than -say- 1/3or 1/2 stop pushing.

But it's probably not useful to guess at the chemical make-up of the developer solution: you'd never be able to substantiate it. And there are many, many other off-standard conditions (other chemicals in the developer solution, time, temperature, make-up of the stop bath and all the other solutions for starters) which can affect the developed results. Not to mention your exposures, the condition of the raw stock (was it old stock, for example?).

I'm intrigued by the lab sending your neg out to a third party lab for processing. Normally a chemical problem could be fixed quite quickly (other physical problems such as a mysterious scratch, or dirt can take longer) so a lab would be reluctant to send work out - except for big productions on a tight turnaround, or with early morning telecine bookings etc. If the work from the substitute lab is just the same, all is well - but if it's better in any way, the original lab faces the reisk of losing you permanently: and if its worse, they face the risk of being caught up in the problems (as in this case).

Finally, what sort of compensation are you thinking of? Assuming you can prove that the lab (either of them) is at fault, you'd have to decide what you are to be compensated for. Is the work unuseable, needing a reshoot?
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#5 David Bradley

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 06:32 PM

I'm not sure why the lab had to send my neg to a third party. They didn't tell me about it and I only found out when I asked about the grain. They simply said that they weren't processing 16mm at the moment. We had booked a TK at the same lab so I'm assuming they didn't want us going to the competition.

I'm not looking for any monetary compensation, but there must be something they can do to minimize the impact of the grain. Doesn't Da Vinci or some other such grading device have the ability to remove or at least conceal noise / grain? We are printing to DigiBeta so I was hoping that a 2K Scan of the neg could suffer a bit of punishment if it was to be downres'd to SD.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 07:30 PM

I'm not sure why the lab had to send my neg to a third party. They didn't tell me about it and I only found out when I asked about the grain. They simply said that they weren't processing 16mm at the moment. We had booked a TK at the same lab so I'm assuming they didn't want us going to the competition.

I'm not looking for any monetary compensation, but there must be something they can do to minimize the impact of the grain. Doesn't Da Vinci or some other such grading device have the ability to remove or at least conceal noise / grain? We are printing to DigiBeta so I was hoping that a 2K Scan of the neg could suffer a bit of punishment if it was to be downres'd to SD.


So you're basing this observation on graininess on how it looks in a telecine suite or a film print? Are you sure you aren't seeing noise, not grain, if this is about how it looked in digibeta?

Sure, there are digital grain & noise reduction processes. NAB demonstrated quite a good one from the Digital Film Central in Vancouver, BC. You can read about it here:
http://www.digitalfi...CMagFeb2009.pdf
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#7 David Bradley

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 06:17 AM

I am basing my observation on the digibeta print yes. I'll have to ask the lab to project the positive so I can be sure but I'm almost certain that its grain not noise. I shot another project on the same film stock (8643 160T RN:521-122) a week later and had it processed at Ilab London and then sent for telecine at the lab I'm having trouble with. The print of that project is amazingly tight, practically no grain can be seen. That would rule out the telecine, the film stock etc and pretty much leaves me with the processing?

I had completely forgotten about that ASC article, thanks for pointing it out David. If the processing is at fault theres not really much I can do so DSGR seems like my only option. Anyone now of a lab in London who offer DSGR?
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#8 K Borowski

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 07:27 AM

I am basing my observation on the digibeta print yes. I'll have to ask the lab to project the positive so I can be sure but I'm almost certain that its grain not noise. I shot another project on the same film stock (8643 160T RN:521-122) a week later and had it processed at Ilab London and then sent for telecine at the lab I'm having trouble with. The print of that project is amazingly tight, practically no grain can be seen. That would rule out the telecine, the film stock etc and pretty much leaves me with the processing?

I had completely forgotten about that ASC article, thanks for pointing it out David. If the processing is at fault theres not really much I can do so DSGR seems like my only option. Anyone now of a lab in London who offer DSGR?


Yes, you shouldn't trust digital scan results. They often mar the look of the original, especially if the scans aren't performed correctly.

Then again, I have heard that the Fuji 160T stock is very grainy compared to its Eastman equivalent. Ever consider 100T or 50D Eastman instead? 100T is a sharp, sharp, sharp, sharp stock. . .

Rate 100T at 50 or 40 and you will be blown away.
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#9 John Holland

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:37 AM

Yes, you shouldn't trust digital scan results. They often mar the look of the original, especially if the scans aren't performed correctly.

Then again, I have heard that the Fuji 160T stock is very grainy compared to its Eastman equivalent. Ever consider 100T or 50D Eastman instead? 100T is a sharp, sharp, sharp, sharp stock. . .

Rate 100T at 50 or 40 and you will be blown away.



Hey Karl !! you have heard wrong Fuji 160 T isnt [ grainy ] please lets not go through this grain crap again !!!!!!!
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#10 John Holland

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:38 AM

Yes, you shouldn't trust digital scan results. They often mar the look of the original, especially if the scans aren't performed correctly.

Then again, I have heard that the Fuji 160T stock is very grainy compared to its Eastman equivalent. Ever consider 100T or 50D Eastman instead? 100T is a sharp, sharp, sharp, sharp stock. . .

Rate 100T at 50 or 40 and you will be blown away.



Hey Karl !! you have heard wrong Fuji 160 T isnt [ grainy ] please lets not go through this grain crap again !!!!!!!
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#11 Simon Wyss

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 01:28 AM

CD-3
3-Methy1-4-Amino-N-Ethyl-N-(2-methanesulfonamido ehtyl)Aniline Sesquisulfate(monohydrate).
Molecular Weight: 436.52
Use: It's used for developing oil-soluble color Positive at high temperature and quick speed, as well as developing color film.
Melting Range: 126—131ºC

CD-4
3-Methy1-4-Amino-N-Ethyl-N-(2-Hydroxyethyl)Aniline Sulfate(Monohydrate)
Molecular Weight: 292.34
Use: It's used for developing oil-soluble color Positive film at high temperature and quick speed, as well as developing color film.
Melting Range: 152—257 ºC

Could it be that they employed CD-3 instead of CD-4 ? Check.
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#12 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 11:43 AM

Simon,

CD3 is what should be used in ECN2 process, not CD4 (is used in C41). It is unlikely that a motion picture lab would have anything else but CD2 and CD3 in house.

CD3 oxidises quickly and a pump drawing air in the solution will rapidly exhaust the CD3 level giving loss of speed and more grain;
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#13 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 10:13 PM

CD3 is what should be used in ECN2 process, not CD4 (is used in C41). It is unlikely that a motion picture lab would have anything else but CD2 and CD3 in house.

home developing folks have been known to use C-41 developer with ECN-2 film the results will probably not be as "good" as the right solution. The two developing agents have slightly different activities and their is an adjustment in quantity needed to substitute one for the other, although a Dirk says it is unlikly that a Movie lab would have any CD4 on hand.

As for the apparent grain, do you have a respected third party to examine the negatives? reticulation can look like grain, and can be caused by a processor or a film dryer that needs service for example.
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#14 Simon Wyss

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 11:00 AM

CD3 is what should be used in ECN2 process, not CD4 (is used in C41). It is unlikely that a motion picture lab would have anything else but CD2 and CD3 in house.

Should have stayed away from a color discussion.

I stick with black-white alone now, promised.
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