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Double X Neg grain reduction


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#1 Brian Rose

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 12:48 PM

Hello All!

Like many of you, I was dismayed when Kodak discontinued Plus-X negative. I absolutely adored its silky texture with that pleasing, though not distracting grain.

I'm contemplating shooting a new doc in 16mm black and white, which in this post Plus-X world means I'm stuck using Double-X.

However, I'm not as keen on the grain structure. I've shot it before, and I always found it to be rather distracting and ugly looking.

So what do to? The first thought was to shoot low speed colour and simply convert to monochrome in post. However, one of the reasons for shooting black and white was budgetary, and the added cost of colour seemed a needless expense since it won't be finished in colour. Not to mention, I've always thought it was cheating a bit (i.e. "Good Night and Good Luck).

But then to reduce grain in Double X, it seemed to me I'd have to over expose and then pull process, which would add cost to processing which would seemingly negate the savings of shooting black and white over color!

So I'm rather in a quandary.

What do you all think?

Best,
BR
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#2 K Borowski

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 03:11 PM

Hey Brian!


Why don't you try to scrounge up enough Plus-X to shoot with. Just a cursory glance of Film Emporium shows it still in stock, though that might not be the case. I'm sure you can find enough lying around if you are clever enough about it.

I'd say you'd be better off shooting color (ends to save money?) and desaturating than digital noise removal on Double-X. ICK! Actually, I might have 400' of '31 in the freezer if you're interested. . .


Also, consider getting Fuji or some other B&W manufacturer's stock, even if it means importing it, if Kodak isn't giving you what you want.

Doesn't FOMA still make 16mm film (may only be reversal though)?



Keep your options open, and GOOD LUCK!
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 04:04 PM

Being curious myself, I was able to find this list of 35mm B&W films that are still being made:

Tasma (TACMA in cyrillic) http://www.tasma.ru makes a 400-speed B&W neg. film, but unfortunately it appeard that it is only offered in 35mm. I could be mistaken though.

Orwo films (now made by FilmotechGMBH) http://www.filmotec....glish_site.html are offered in both 100- (type 54) and 400-speed (type 74) varieties. Available in 16mm in 400-foot (122m) lengths.

Fuji RP is a 16mm 80D/64T film that you could conceivably import.

Foma, unfortunately, only makes reversal film, 16mm 100-speed. I think it is only offered in 100-foot lengths, though you could probably get 400-foot rolls if you had a big enough order.

Svema and Efke are out of business.

Dupont, Ilford MP films are history.

Honestly, ORWO UN and Fuji RP seem like your best bets, unless you want to go reversal. Reversal will produce a finer image, but you know the hassles of the low latitude.


Hope this helps!

Edited by Karl Borowski, 11 September 2010 - 04:08 PM.

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#4 K Borowski

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 04:12 PM

One other thing Brian: You may want to test with labs as to development times as other manufacturers aren't necessarily standardized to the Kodak D-96 developer and the same chosen gamma for "normal" development. I think Tasma had it listed at 0.85, which sounds about right, but you may want to double-check the PDFs for these films and run tests with labs to determine the desired gamma for your camera system.

As I recall this used to be standard practice anyway back in the days of B&W for labs and crews to tweak the times and choose a standard gamma for shooting.

Dominic Case would know more about this than I though. I have to admit, I'm not as up on B&W as I should be. I've gotten pretty lazy with color and the standards that the companies hammer out so as to avoid color crossover. B&W doesn't have this problem so there is a lot more latitude on what is a "correct" exposure.
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#5 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 05:26 PM

I'd say you'd be better off shooting color (ends to save money?) and desaturating than digital noise removal on Double-X.


Absolutely agree. Grain/noise removal will add a lot of time and money in the post end, I've also found dirt to be an often significant issue when dealing with black and white film. Every time I scan a roll at work, the rollers on the scanner always get gunked up and dirt clean-up is always involved. My belief is that most labs that still process black and white aren't kept as clean as their color negative chemicals/tanks, as it has been an issue I've seen with multiple labs. You may end up saving more money in the long run by shooting color neg and desaturating. Good luck.
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#6 Brian Rose

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 05:26 PM

Karl, wow! Thanks for going the extra mile to help me out. You've given me a lot of options!

Sadly, I don't think buying plus-x leftovers will work for me, because I won't start shooting before 2011, and I need a fair amount of it.

Ultimately, as is the answer in almost every film related situation, I need to do some camera tests!

BR
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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 07:02 PM

They needn't be very complicated with B&W. There are a lot of still photographers I know that swear by this film, that film (more so with papers, developers toners). But, to be honest, I could never tell the difference, say between one manufacturers' 400 film and another's. Sure newer films had finer grain, but it wasn't like there was some ground-breaking difference between Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP5 400.

So much of these "preferences" were akin to alchemy, if you will. There was no testing done, and no understanding of the science.

The most important thing is just making sure that your E.I. for the film, developed in standard D-96 at B&W cine lab, is getting adequate exposure of an 18% grey in the Kodak standard (or as close as the lab bothers to come) B&W process.


Not as much can be done about the contrast, unless you can talk the lab into altering their times slightly if these other films don't interact exactly the same way as '31 and '22 are designed to with D-96. But if you're shooting enough B&W film, I'm sure a lot of labs would love your business right now.

Out of curiosity, how much film are you looking to use for this project. I think you'd be surprised (obviously this can't all be from the same emulsion batch) that there is a lot of Plus-X out there if you buy it up from all of the different sources. . .
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#8 Brian Rose

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 07:14 PM

How much footage? Quite a bit. It's a feature length biopic of sorts, heavily centered around the first person interview of the individual involved. Think "Mr. Death" or "Fog of War."

I know, shooting film is crazy, crazy, but I've already accumulated the gear I need in the past years, and when I started crunching the numbers to buy or rent camera gear, I started to realize it wouldn't that much more to go film.

Because of the time frame in which the film is concerned, for reasons of style, 16mm black and white seemed a very natural and appropriate choice for me.

On top of that, with EVERYONE with a high def camera going out and shooting docs, I think shooting on film (and stark black and white to boot) would really set the film apart. And with prices going way down for high def transfers, I just figure on going for it!

Anyways, nothing is set in stone yet, and God knows what could happen between now and then, but at this point, I sure do want to shoot film! Hopefully I can make it happen.

Thanks Karl!

Best,

BR
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#9 Tom Jensen

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 07:20 PM

Shoot digital.
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#10 Chris Burke

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 08:45 PM

have you tested any 7266? It may be finer grained than the 22
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