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Fuji and Kodak film stock presentations


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#1 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 01:35 PM

Every time that Kodak and Fuji have one of those "here is a new emulsion" presentations, I find the "demo" films are really, really bad. They are sometimes shot by AFC and ASC DP's yet they are never, ever interesting and a far cry from flattering to their products.
I would think that especially with the so called "digital revolution" they would want to make the best, yet often most expensive capture medium as attractive as possible.
Frankly, I would appreciate seeing something more impressive than just lifeless sensitometric curves. If the marketing people think that what they are presenting is some kind of lowest common denominator, then I believe they are quite wrong. It's even lower than that.
Just my opinion and I am curious about how other DP's feel about these things.
Am I the only one cringeing?
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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 01:59 PM

I think the problem is that Kodak and Fuji are trying to combine "story" with meaningful tests and neither approach is well thought out, so we have the worst of both worlds. The content/story is bland and the "tests" don't tell us very much about the stock.

If they just want to show the technical improvements, then I'd rather see straight side-by-side tests between the old and new stock. If they want beautiful show reel stuff, they should consider just giving filmmakers like Ken Burns, Steve Sabol, etc. some rolls and letting them take it out into the field. Maybe ask them to shoot the same material with the old stock and the new stock, so everyone can see the improvement side-by-side.
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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 03:44 PM

I agree.

I assume most scan houses worth their salt have a high res scan from different stocks of the same images. A 6K Arriscan of every stock processed under optimum conditions, provided in full res on a DVD would be excellent. Blow it up uncompressed in Pshop and see it right down to the 6K pixels. Put 'em side by side. A good flatbed could get higher than 12K.
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#4 Paul Bruening

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 04:07 PM

Hey, fellas,

I was thinking maybe we could come up with this. I've got a Nikon FM2 with pristine lenses, Epson 9600dpi flatbed scanner, 4.5K Bayer scan head and cassette bulk loader. If we could scrounge a full sampler (10 feet or so) of every stock we could do this ourselves. The processing wouldn't be much. It's getting our mitts on all that film that I can't do.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 06:19 PM

Have you ever done one of these demo tests? I've been asked a few times to do one and generally bowed out -- mainly because reactions like Dan's. If it's too slick and commercial, with a lot of money spent on production design, then it's fairly meaningless for most shooters who won't be working at those budget levels, and if it's too dry and technical, people complain that they are boring. So you are never going to please some people with these demos.

What's possible for most of these demos is to get some attractive person standing in some interesting location and shoot some shots of them in mood lighting. That's about it. There isn't the budget for something more elaborate, nor the time.

Not to mention, commercial shooters have unrealistic expectations that these tests will look as slick as a commercial when presented on a large screen in theatrical release conditions, from a print. Whereas on an HD monitor, you can make 35mm material look super-slick, but it's also near impossible to see any of the relative flaws in the product.

This is one reason why I like modest tests, neither too technical nor too slick. I just want to see what the stock looks like when pointed at a subject, without a lot of effort to make it "look good". I don't want the skill of the DP and the post people to compensate too much for the inherent nature of the stock, I just want to see something shot in average conditions, outdoors and indoors, meat-and-potatoes stuff, not a slick presentation shot a beach in Fiji with super models, or something that looks like a perfume or car commercial. I don't consider stuff like that "embarrassingly bad". The only thing that gets embarrassing in these demos is silly plots and bad acting, but that's hardly the point of these demos anyway, the writing and the acting.

I think some people are under the impression that these corporations spend millions on these demos when the truth is that the budget is on the level of a student film, not a commercial.
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#6 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 06:51 PM

I understand the time and budget constraints but frankly these demo films are not as a good as many student films I have seen with similar budgets. I consider a DP to be more than just a technician that can put some lights up, twiddle some knobs and get an image.
I feel these films are insulting to the cinematographers and far from flattering to their (Kodak and Fuji) products.
I would rather see tasteful still lifes of flowers to show colour rendition, contrast, saturation, etc. than some feeble, tacky attempt at a narrative.
Sorry for the bit of a rant but it's sad that at these things, the catering looks better than the demo films.
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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 04:38 PM

What's possible for most of these demos is to get some attractive person standing in some interesting location and shoot some shots of them in mood lighting. That's about it. There isn't the budget for something more elaborate, nor the time.

Not to mention, commercial shooters have unrealistic expectations that these tests will look as slick as a commercial when presented on a large screen in theatrical release conditions, from a print. Whereas on an HD monitor, you can make 35mm material look super-slick, but it's also near impossible to see any of the relative flaws in the product.

This is one reason why I like modest tests, neither too technical nor too slick.


David, you should do a demo test. I'm sure you could do some excellent work.


Why wouldn't it be in the budget to do a high-end test? Having a limited budget for a product, like a 500T film stock that will make Kodak hundreds of millions of dollars seems incredibly foolish.

When you are selling film stock, my opinion is that you should provide as much results, in as many situations as possible to the client. . . unless there is something to hide.

Why not have something for everyone? Have something technical, something for commercial shooters, something for TV and theatricals guys too?

Obviously it isn't possible to show the strengths (or weaknesses) of a stock in one shot. Therefore, why not have something to interest the decision-makers in every aspect of the business?

To some extent, think it was with the '18 demo, Kodak *has* done some marketing to a specific area of the business, the music video field, with a test of V2 500T against the older Vision, but the demonstrations were limited by standard definition. I wouldn't be inclined, personally, to go with one over the other for reasons of improved granularity at that resolution anyway.

And, they kind of struck out with the 35mm in music video segment anyway. Bad way to put all of your eggs in one basket Kodak. . .


So, I think the most important thing Kodak needs to do is use the resolution necessary to even see any difference in one product over another: 720p minimum.

All I have ever seen, at least with feature cinematographers, is for them to make an aesthetic decision between a newer and older stock based on contrast and color reproduction in a specific situation.

I don't think granularity has ever been a deciding factor.


Kodak needs to target the competition: HD & to a lesser extent FujiFilm.

They need to sell based on color reproduction, contrast, and to a lesser extent the technical details such as granularity. DPs also want to see, understandably, how their films handle in underexposure situations and via the DI process.
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#8 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 04:53 PM

I saw Fuji's demo of their new Vivid 500T tonight and i thought it looked absolutely stunning. I thought the demos that the respective DPs shot were well thought out and really showcased the stock - check it out if you can, well worth a look.
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#9 Ian Jackson

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 09:14 AM

I saw Fuji's demo of their new Vivid 500T tonight and i thought it looked absolutely stunning. I thought the demos that the respective DPs shot were well thought out and really showcased the stock - check it out if you can, well worth a look.


Are they online at all?
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#10 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 02:57 PM

I picked up DVD at Panavision last week.
And also I guess they will be in Fuji office on Poland st.
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