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Help set me straight on exposure when pull processing


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#1 Brian Rose

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:11 PM

Okay, I think I have this worked out, but help me if I'm mistaken.

Now, per an earlier discussion, the general concensus of opinion is that film should be overexposed around 2/3 of a stop to ensure fine grain and good colors. Makes sense.

Now suppose I want expose film with the idea of pulling 2 stops. So for arguments sake I'm using 100 ASA film. I would therefore rate it as 25 ASA. But would I still want to overexpose that additional 2/3 stop I would if I was using film normally rated 25 ASA? Would I therefore rate for 3 stops slower, or 12 ASA, pull two stops, and arrive at film that has been properly shot with around 2/3 overexposure?

Or when pulling the film, would you discard the 2/3 rule, and expose per the meter for a given reading?

Ultimately I will do camera tests to see for myself, but if any of you have done this, I'd sure appreciate it to hear what you did.

Thanks!

BR
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#2 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:30 PM

Okay, I think I have this worked out, but help me if I'm mistaken.

Now, per an earlier discussion, the general concensus of opinion is that film should be overexposed around 2/3 of a stop to ensure fine grain and good colors. Makes sense.

Now suppose I want expose film with the idea of pulling 2 stops. So for arguments sake I'm using 100 ASA film. I would therefore rate it as 25 ASA. But would I still want to overexpose that additional 2/3 stop I would if I was using film normally rated 25 ASA? Would I therefore rate for 3 stops slower, or 12 ASA, pull two stops, and arrive at film that has been properly shot with around 2/3 overexposure?

Or when pulling the film, would you discard the 2/3 rule, and expose per the meter for a given reading?

Ultimately I will do camera tests to see for myself, but if any of you have done this, I'd sure appreciate it to hear what you did.

Thanks!

BR



First, I would just keep the meter set to the film's correct ASA. I never understood why people set their meters to different ASAs when pushing or pulling. Just adjust the f-stop to what you want. Second, 2 and 2/3 stops of overexposure is going to start to look a bit blown-out on most film stocks, but it depends on what you are shooting and what kind of look you are going for. I would probably just go for the 2 stops which has a tendency to produce nice bright highlights, especially in some Kodak color stocks.

But like you said, you won't know what 2 and 2/3 looks like unless you try it.

Edited by Bill DiPietra, 17 January 2011 - 11:33 PM.

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#3 Justin Hayward

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:45 PM

First, I would just keep the meter set to the film's correct ASA. I never understood why people set their meters to different ASAs when pushing or pulling. Just adjust the f-stop to what you want.


Well, that’s true if you’re only pulling a couple of shots, but if you’re doing it all day it’s just faster to reset your ASA.
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#4 K Borowski

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:48 PM

A two stop pull (or push!) is pretty extreme. You're running into underdevelopment to the degree the image may not develop at all. I'd recommend you test at this speed. . .
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:58 PM

I will always change my meter to whatever ASA i've "assigned," a stock. normally it's just the 2/3rds over for a 500T or the like, but if I were to be pulling 2 stops on 500T, for whatever reason, i'd set my meter at 125, just to make sure I don't forget to change the F stop on my own, and also avoiding having to do any extra math etc. Just meter and set to what it says (or what I think it should've said).
Now that's just how I do it.
Were I going to be pulliing processing 2 full stops, I'd probably avoid the other 2/3rds over exposure, unless testing says it still works. I don't know if it would or not, but when you're already pushing the film pretty hard, I'd be more inclined to err on the side of caution.
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#6 K Borowski

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 12:18 PM

I agree with Adrian on the light meter. Yes, it's easy to convert stops in your head.

It's also easy, in the heat of a tense shooting schedule, to forget to convert and under- / overexpose your footage two stops.



In a pull situation, I'd leave the 2/3 overexposure. Any little bit helps at such a low development/contrast level. With pushing, you may not have the two thirds of light necessary for that luxury; I'd still leave it in if I had it.

The only time I tried a two stop pull the lab dissuaded me from doing so. I got a one stop pull instead. Even at one, the contrast is significantly lowered. If you are doing a two stop pull out of necessity, Brian, I wouldn't bother with neg. Just use the overexposure latitude of the film. I think you can go five or six stops of overexposure before you get halation of the back with ECN-2. The rem-jet is very effective. Not so much with B&W (3? 4? stops before you get halation).

Reversal, extreme pushes give you "brown scales" instead of grey scales. Don't know what a pull of this nature would do. Probably even worse than a two stop push. Since the alterations are in the first (B&W) developer in reversal processes, think of it as a print made from an inadequate high-contrast B&W negative for the approximate effects of E-6/old VNF film. You have very little latitude with reveral.

Interestingly enough, though, back before negative films were available in high speed varieties (just a standard 50- 80- or 100 speed stock and nothing else), reversal was the most flexible film line available, and there was a process that could get grainy but very useable images from Ektachrome 100 (Think it was EPN) at EIs of 10,000 (not a typo) through a process of standard B&W development instead of the high contrast version. Think of developing a print in B&W negative film developer instead of a high-contrast print developer. You get a very flat image, but there is more detail and latitude there than with the standard high-con developer. This is all anecdotal and derived from still photography where you can get away with a lot more, but a lot more is possible when one is using digital to fix images up at the final stage.
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#7 Tom Jensen

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 01:33 PM

Question! Why are you doing this and what do you hope to achieve?
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#8 Brian Rose

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 05:29 PM

Question! Why are you doing this and what do you hope to achieve?


Hi Tom,

My apologies for not contextualizing why I'm keen on pull processing. I'm preparing for my next documentary project, which will involve interviews, reenactments, archival footage, the whole nine yards. I want to shoot 16mm BW for the 60s sections, but since Kodak has discontinued its finer grained BW stock, I'm stuck with using the double x. I've shot with this in the past, and while the grain has a very interesting texture, I don't feel it's right for this project. I want something crisper. So my thought was pulling the film, to tighten the grain. On youtube, a fellow posted footage of some 50D color which he pulled 2 stops, and it was remarkable in its clarity and richness. If the same could be done in monochrome, fine grain and deep blacks, that would be a nice result. Hence the inquiry.

Ultimately, I plan on doing some tests so we'll see what happens.

Thanks all!

Best,

BR
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#9 K Borowski

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 06:06 PM

Brian, you are going to get the same grain, and milky, low-contrast images. Unless you're trying to fix that digitally, your imagess will be flat.


Weren't you able to find a source of low-speed film stock from Fuji, Orwo, Svema, or Foma? I'm certain that one of them will provide a product that meets your needs for a fine-grained stock. If you really want to get crazy, you can always run ECN-2 film (like '01) through a B&W machine.

But don't get crazy. . . Manufacturers are out there. You may have to get through a Russian, Japanese, or German language barrier, but there is a supply of film that will suit your needs without having to go through elaborate processing procedures.


To summarize in a sentence: Pulling two stops will not turn Double-X into Plus X.

Edited by K Borowski, 18 January 2011 - 06:07 PM.

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#10 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 06:59 PM

Brian, you are going to get the same grain, and milky, low-contrast images. Unless you're trying to fix that digitally, your imagess will be flat.


Weren't you able to find a source of low-speed film stock from Fuji, Orwo, Svema, or Foma? I'm certain that one of them will provide a product that meets your needs for a fine-grained stock. If you really want to get crazy, you can always run ECN-2 film (like '01) through a B&W machine.

But don't get crazy. . . Manufacturers are out there. You may have to get through a Russian, Japanese, or German language barrier, but there is a supply of film that will suit your needs without having to go through elaborate processing procedures.


To summarize in a sentence: Pulling two stops will not turn Double-X into Plus X.


Brian,

Have you thought about throwing a yellow or red filter on the lens to increase the contrast? The Tiffen Yellow 12 does a nice job.
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#11 K Borowski

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 01:09 AM

Brian: I've been advised that Foma 100 reversal won't emulate the look of Plus-X either. According to my source, it's grainy on the level of XX.


I honestly think your best bet is Fuji 80D specially imported from Japan, or the Russian Tasma or Orwo films. I've also heard a rumor that ORWO is all old stock. Fuji or Tasma sound like your best source of a slow, 16mm B&W neg. stock. Looking, both of these companies have U.S. Representatives. I was curious myself about Tasma. I can read Cyrillic, but my Russian isn't good enough to decipher the tech. pubs' technical scientific terminology.

I sent them an e-mail myself, this having piqued my interest, and will let you know if they reply.


I have some color negatives that were pull processed just one stop. I can e-mail them to you (if I can find them!) if you'd like to see the contrast effects I am talking about. . .
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#12 Simon Wyss

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 11:40 AM

Dear Mr. Rose

Let us presume you were the cinematographer guest in my film lab, having explained this to me, and I’d have attentively listened to you, like I always do, my reaction were without hesitation:

What are you after, Sir ? Why overexpose the stock by two stops ? Do you think you won’t get enough color saturation by following the manufacturer’s E. I. ? Do you think that all the others exposing for their films’ speed as neatly as possible are on a wrong trail ?

Since I haven’t got a film lab right now, I’m speaking to you as a friend. And what does a friend say ? You better expose right. Pull processing is risky and should be reserved for mishaps, say First Assistant forgot to set iris with an irreplaceable shot, and it got noted. You are after something in fashion, almost indigestible for a technician. Even if I were absolutely polite and said nothing I’d shake my head afterwards.

There are hundreds of fashion trends. We have had extra coarse grain, colours drowned in a brown-greenish sauce, low-key till extinction, shaky camera dogma, lollipop sugar candy overkill colors gone with the wind now, saturation for the colour blind in Fujiyama cherry blossoms, série noire with black and white, boldest sound mixage, earthquake rumble to say nothing of toot, whistle, plunk and boom from all sides.

Listen to the experienced. The biggest laud I got was for the photography of a six minute 16-mm. black-and-white movie many years ago, for which I lit with what I had. Meter was set at film’s nominal speed.

If interested in some other black and white try to see Welcome in Vienna.

Take it easy, Brian, but take it !
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#13 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 11:55 AM

I dunno Simon, I have to respectfully disagree. There is nothing wrong with a fashion, per say, and even if there is, I don't see anything wrong with just playing around with what a medium can get us; pushing it till it breaks because it is in those breaks we learn what is possible. I don't think I'd be as good a DoP as I am now-- whatever that means-- had I not been in situations where I've thrown away the rule book, or where I've, in a moment of confusion or insight, totally disregarded what my meter has told me, what the Gaffer has suggested, and what the Producers thought they wanted. Perhaps I have been lucky in my time that these issues have never cost me a job, though perhaps a few call backs, but it was only in really screwing up, and really screwing around that I learned what I can and cannot do. So it is in that vein that I say, if this is for, and excuse the foul moment, sh!ts and giggles, then by all means go for it. If this is for a project, test it, but by all means don't just not do it because it's not done often. So long as it's for you, for your growth, why not just give it a go.

I of course mean no disrespect to you Simon, just I differ on opinion.
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#14 K Borowski

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 01:50 PM

I don't understand what is wrong with goiong with an off-brand B&W film.


Just because they don't have marketing departments that are eating up 40% of their MP division's budget doesn't mean they don't amke good product.

Some of the best labs I have worked with don't even have working websites, don't answer e-mails. You have to call them up on a (shock!) land line!




There's no need to reinvent the wheel when you can import stock that matches Plus-X's characteristics pretty well. Simon: You of all people should be bringing up B&W alternatives to Kodak. You seem to be one of the biggest B&W afficionados on these fora. Why aren't you suggesting alternatives to Double-X with a two stop pull here to Brian? I think a modified Microfilm might be the perfect option here if Brian can't obtain stock from Fuji, Orwo, or Tasma that suits his needs. . .

This discussion is starting to remind me of the discussions about cross-processing print stock. YES you can do it, but why reinvent the wheel needlessly?
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#15 Simon Wyss

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 03:41 PM

Mind the reconcilement truck !

Sure I am for the experiment. But where is the experiment? Brian only asks questions. How many feet did you expose in this context? Papa, feed me!

Sure I am for black and white. Here’s my offer: 100 feet of Gigabitfilm 40 in 16 mm, perforated one edge, US$ 50.00. For the time being you’d have to send it to Germany for processing unless someone in Manhattan or Lebanon does it as well. Else, why not give the Ilford-Harman folks a k* in the a% that they’d turn out a few hundred foot of Pan F plus. These woodpeckers have a renamed film but don’t sell it. No peace with the English, I fear. I don’t get it.

And sure I am for screwing up. Learning by doing and making mistakes, of course.

One of the major obstacles we silver birds have is the lack of paragon. Schindler’s List wasn’t true black and white at all, it is color negative and color positive. Period. Unfortunately. Almost no silver production in Hollywood any more. They lost the art. Let it down the drain, am I tempted to say.

No fresh black and white on the telly. No more film in classroom. Frightening loss of touch and knowledge in monochrome motion pictures with the archival world. Really frightening. No more carbon arc lamps, no limelight anywhere. Pordenone? Do you laugh. New York? Doubtful.

Why match Plus-X? That is something I can’t understand, either. Imagery must never be an industrial standard. Like its granularity was a measure for the cinema. Uhm, struggle with the words, like Utrillo’s brush stroke was a caliper over impressionists. No grain can be a goal. Sorry, that’s my point of view.

Brian alone can judge on the stock to be used. Again, this I do with pleasure, first comes the content. What is it I want to express?
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#16 Chris Burke

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 05:53 PM

how about 7266 and pull it one stop. It is finer grain than the negative stock and sharper. With proper filtration outdoors, it can look great
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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 07:37 PM

One of the major obstacles we silver birds have is the lack of paragon. Schindler’s List wasn’t true black and white at all, it is color negative and color positive.



That's not true, most of "Schindler's List" was shot on Double-X and Plus-X b&w neg.
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#18 K Borowski

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 12:47 AM

That's not true, most of "Schindler's List" was shot on Double-X and Plus-X b&w neg.


We've probably gone over this film at least a dozen times on here :-)


I thought all of it was B&W, with hand-spliced color print stock for the colorized portions of the film (want to say tinted by hand on the negative), then, due to complaints about the splices coming apart, later runs were on standard color print stock instead of the B&W print.

Funny, I was discussing this very movie as a comparison of REAL B&W versus "Good Night and Good Luck" B&W, using this film and "Raging Bull" as recent examples of the different look of a real B&W negative compared to a color neg. no more than three hours ago. Must be the Hollywood rule of "threes."




As far as shooting B&W neg. is there any reason why so many alternatives to just calling up these manufacturers are proposed? I normally bleed Kodak Red and Yellow. But it doesn't get any simpler than shooting an analog to Plus-X. Wasn't "Good Night and Good Luck" or one of the other recent digitally desaturated "Black and White" movies commenting how even 500T stock was quite fine-grained even in relation to Plus-X? Granted that was 35mm. . .
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#19 Simon Wyss

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:39 PM

Yes, let’s leave Schindler in the mist.

7266 overexposed a stop and underdeveloped a stop as compensation leads to finer grain and lower contrast. TXR is already finer grained than comparable negative films due to reversing the image. Why not.

If I can give this as food for thought: Each film bears its own chemophysical structure. A given emulsion can be processed to the best — or not. Some reliable experience has been published about practically every make, and most labs apply that knowledge in order to best serve their clients. What bothers me is that so many young filmers do not attempt to produce technically best pictures first but try to know better. Only, how can one know better without any experience for oneself? I mean, don’t we have to know how Railway Station is written before playing with the words? Something is rotten in the state of North Korea. Danish railway stations!
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#20 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 03:21 PM

Yes, let’s leave Schindler in the mist.


What, you're not going to even acknowledge that you were incorrect?
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