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Black & White Reversal 16mm + Filter Tests


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#1 Luca Rocchini

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 08:31 PM

Soon, I'm going to make tests with tri-x and plus-x films (first time) for a low (no) budget feature (fiction). We are going to test with the russian K3.

Any ideas for a standard interior/exterior test for reversal? How much over-under expose? Push and under develop? Possible to bleach nowadays?
I'm interested to test filters, but I couldn't find any tips for black and white 16mm film. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance for your time.
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#2 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 11:58 PM

http://motion.kodak....66/tech7266.htm

http://motion.kodak....65/tech7265.htm

http://www.tiffen.co...bw_filters.html
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#3 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 02:52 AM

I would probably shoot a regular over/under test to see what level of exposure looks best. In a nutshell, you set up a scene in a controlled environment with an 18% grey card, a black subject (like a piece of duvetyn), a white subject (like a piece of foamcore), and a person for skin tone reference. Light it to key, then shoot the scene for about 10 seconds at 2 stops under, 1.5 under, 1 under, etc. all the way through normal up to 2 over. Make sure you have a slate in each shot labeled with the exposure. Then process the film and project or transfer it to see what looks good. You would do this for each stock.

If you want to test pushing the stock, I would shoot the same test again on a separate roll, can it out, and mark it for push processing. Have that roll push processed by whatever amount you want to test and then compare it to the normally processed film. You would do this for each level of push/pull you want to test.

For a filter test, I would set up a shot outside on a sunny day with blue sky, white clouds, and green foliage. Put a person in the frame for skin tone reference. Typical B&W filters would be yellow, orange, red, deep red, and green. The yellow-to-deep red filters selectively filter out progressively more blue, so blue subjects like your sky will get progressively darker causing the white clouds to pop out more in contrast, while red subjects like caucasian skin will get progressively lighter. A good example of this is the film "Fort Apache" (1948), shot by Archie Stout, ASC.

The heavier the effect, the more you have to compensate for exposure and open up the aperture, refer to the links Michael posted above for how much. A green filter will cause green subjects like foliage to get lighter, approximating an infrared film look. Also, don't forget the B&W film is faster under 5500K light than 3200K light, so rate accordingly. The ratings should be on the Kodak box and on the website.

You can't bleach-bypass B&W film because there is no bleach process in B&W developing. Bleach-bypass processes only work on color negative. The bleach process happens at the end of processing to remove the silver from the film. The idea is that by leaving the silver in (i.e. bypassing or skipping the bleach process), you get a B&W image overlaying the color image which causes the desaturation effect and increase in grain that you see in movies like "Saving Private Ryan", etc. In B&W, the silver that makes up the picture stays in, so there's no need for bleach.
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#4 Chris Millar

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 03:02 AM

You can't bleach-bypass B&W film because there is no bleach process in B&W developing.


There is in reversal as the OP mentioned they were going to test - that being said, as far as I've played with it its not much of a useful variable.
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#5 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 03:11 AM

There is in reversal as the OP mentioned they were going to test - that being said, as far as I've played with it its not much of a useful variable.

Ok, thanks for the correction Chris. Good to know.
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#6 Richard Tuohy

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 05:47 AM

There is in reversal as the OP mentioned they were going to test - that being said, as far as I've played with it its not much of a useful variable.

Yes, quite right - there is a bleach step in BW reversal processing. It bleaches out the silver that was developed in the first developer. This first developer image was a negative image. Once it is bleached away, all that is left on the film is an un-exposed and hence un-developed 'positive' of the image directly in proportion to the negative silver image that has been bleached away. To skip this bleach step would result in a perfectly black roll of film (ie the silver would be fully developed evenly all over). This is of course no use. Bleach by-pass works with colour films because in addition to the silver image there is a dye image.
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#7 Tom Jensen

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 10:53 AM

If you shoot filter tests, I would also try a combination test of the red and the green. Also pola test.
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#8 Luca Rocchini

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 02:19 PM

Thanks everybody for the kind help! I assumed all above -apart from the bleaching process. Filter process all looks as for still photography, which I have done in the past. I would also try to have some panning movement for the exterior test, just to get the feeling from a wide to a close up movement (an old car is involved in the story). Thanks again for your precious tips :)
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