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skip bleach vs. the stock you use


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#1 Ian Coad

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 12:33 PM

i'm currently prepping for a thesis i will be shooting in mid february, the story is about a young boy living in a trailer park and his search for spiritual stability against the odds of an unsupportive, decaying family. we are interested in doing full skip bleach from deluxe, the format/ar is 2.40 super 35.

i'm curious as to the results of how bleach bypass mates with various stocks, 5229, 5217, 5212 - do the low contrast, slightly desaturated characteristics of the 5229 remain after processing? are they heightened? does 5217 become even more saturated and rich in certain colors? certainly bleach bypass washes out some of the color, but i've also seen deluxe's processing heavily saturate blues and greens, turning them rich and oily.

i'm also looking into shooting Fuji stock - which i have never used - particularly the eterna 250 & 500. can anyone tell me what i might expect to encounter when these stocks recieve skip bleach.

obviously i'm going to test this stuff, but i would very much like to hear what you guys have encountered, so i have some navigation points.

thanks very much guys.

- ian.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 01:36 PM

You're adding black silver into the colors, increasing the density in the highlights (when done to the negative). So the same effect is applied to whatever the starting point is -- if a stock is more pastel and low in contrast, it remains that way relative to another stock even after the skip bleach.

The one thing to keep in mind is that you are leaving in the silver grains, and faster films have bigger grains. And if you underexpose to compensate for the huge increase in highlight density from leaving the silver in, you are only exposing the larger grains in the stock. So it helps to start out with a slower film stock, which is fine since you can rate it faster anyway.

Black silver is neutral in color so it shouldn't change the color biases of the stock, except for how it affects your printer lights.
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 05:32 PM

Black silver is neutral in color so it shouldn't change the color biases of the stock, except for how it affects your printer lights.


In general this is quite true, but I *have* seen one instance of color interaction, where the final image shifted, I want to say to green (so was somehow interfering with magenta dye on the neg.), on a partial silver retension.

I'm assuming this may have had something to do with the film being scanned as usual, without the scanner operator knowing, and the way that silver will be bleached out of the different layers at differing rates (I forget now which layer is the top dye layer, going back and forth between prints and negatives, but the TOP layer of a film probably gets the silver rehalated and then removed by the fixer first).

*Edit* I just remembered there was also a problem with Digital Ice registering the silver as noise. Don't know if the newer scanners have solved this issue. . .


As to the original question, I don't see why you'd bother using a low-con stock with a BB. Seems like heightened perceived contrast of a full BB and lowered contrast native to a stock are just a good way to waste your money on extra processing fees by canceling these two effects out.

Also, you should beware of saying that a certain lab "saturates the blues and the greens" in the actual processing. I assume you are finishing to video, in which case the film scanner (and of course, the timer/grader) has far more to do with saturation than processing; most labs (that are any good) try very very VERY hard to keep processing to within tight tolerances, not to produce more saturated results, as this would cause color crossover issues and cause the stocks to drift from what the scanner manufacturers design their profiles for anyway. . .

The best standard negative processing is a stock with consistent color curves across the three dye layers that produces a neutral grey card as the same shade of neutral grey (mask color notwithstanding) on the film.


My personal recommendation would be either to go all-out with upping contrast and saturation augmented by a BB and contrasty stocks, or opt to do this in post instead. I'd recommend 5260 (stocks I personally used for B aren't made anymore) as probably the most contrasty 500T Kodak stock out there now, or the Fuji equivalent, which I can't really speak for.

Edited by Karl Borowski, 11 December 2009 - 05:34 PM.

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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 06:50 PM

As to the original question, I don't see why you'd bother using a low-con stock with a BB. Seems like heightened perceived contrast of a full BB and lowered contrast native to a stock are just a good way to waste your money on extra processing fees by canceling these two effects out.


Well, it's just a way of controlling / modifying the effect. Remember I flashed the negative on "Northfork" to counteract the contrast increase of a skip bleach to the print. The net result was even more desaturation but not a big increase in contrast. "Munich" had some scenes both pull-processed and skip-bleached -- the pull-processing in effect takes away the need to underexpose to reduce density from the skip bleach, and also reduces some of the contrast increase. But the look is still affected, it's just not as extreme.

Skip bleach is pretty dramatic so using a lower-con stock like Expression of Fuji 400T isn't going to really cancel the effect.

I did a short film on low-con Fuji F-400T where I did a skip-bleach as well -- here are some frames grabbed from a DVCAM copy:

Posted Image

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#5 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 05:14 PM

Not to hijack this thread, but wanted to post on the topic concerning doing a BB on 7285 E6 process. Considering for an abstract look for a music vid. My goal is to have a contrasty steely look but with the colors still popping out. I'm assuming with reversal I would have to overexpose, but by how much?
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#6 Dominic Case

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 09:43 PM

...wanted to post on the topic concerning doing a BB on 7285 E6 process. ...My goal is to have a contrasty steely look but with the colors still popping out.....

You can't do bleach bypass in a colour reversal process.

After first developer and colour developer, there is silver in both the exposed and the unexposed areas of the image. The purpose of the bleach is to re-convert the silver back to silver bromide, which the fixer will then remove. If you skip the bleach, the entire image will be covered in silver - I guess it would be like looking at the film through a 2.0ND filter. No gain in contrast either, even if you could see the image properly.

PS

Not to hijack this thread,

but that is exactly what you have done.
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#7 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 04:49 PM

I had some doubts cause I never heard of anyone doing it with reversal, but never heard you couldn't either- Good thing I hijacked the thread :rolleyes:
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#8 Ian Coad

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 06:07 PM

very interesting stuff. i'm pretty sure that a full bleach bypass might be a bit too stylized for what we're looking for - nonetheless i want those rich blacks. the pulling could be a great call - my only concern is that as students we can test a full spectrum of the scenarios of what i'd be shooting. perhaps it might be possible. thank you for the insight.
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