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Reversal vs. Negative for color saturation


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#1 Katherine Bauer

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 01:51 AM

(btw this project is for 16mm which I will probably edit digitally and then mirror my digital edit with a steenbeck)
I am starting out on a larger project than I have embarked on in the past. I usually shoot short films in Kodak color reversal. Now I am going to buy 2 hours of footage for a film I am shooting in the desert. I want to have the saturation of reversal but I am tempted to use negative because of the difficulty getting to my location (I will not be able to get back to film in this place again for a while - if ever) so basically the footage is more precious. SO I am trying to decide whether to shoot in reversal and then have an internegative made and a print made to edit on OR whether I should shoot in negative and have work prints made.

Can you achieve the same color saturation with having a negative printed with a color specialist compared to reversal. I have only ever had work prints printed from negative and I was wondering how expensive (compared to shooting with reversal and getting an internegative and print made of all the footage shot) it would be to work with a lab on printing for saturation.

Also in terms of color negative stock I have only ever used or seen Kodak Vision negative film. I just on this website was introduced to some discussions about Fuji Vivid 500. I am excited about getting some fast film so I can shoot late into the evening. Even if I do get reversal for most of the day shoots I will also combine with Negative footage for the evening shoots.
two questions about that - how is Fuji Vivid film compared to Kodak color negative in terms of color saturation and also is there a problem in combining prints of negative film and prints from a reversal internegative into one reel?

Any help with any of the myriad of questions I have posed would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
Kat

Edited by Katherine Bauer, 14 May 2011 - 01:53 AM.

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#2 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 02:22 AM

You are going to make it quite difficult if you use reversal film for anything else but direct projection or maybe telecine.
Making internegatives from projection contrast reversal stock is not easy and you will be fighting the contrast. The original Kodak 7272 internegative stock was intended for Ektachrome Commercial low contrast reversal stock, discontinued since about 20 years or more. Nowadays labs tend to use camera stock pulled one stop to make occasional internegatives.

For printing 16mm negative to positive stock your options are:

daylight stocks: Kodak 7201 50ISO, grainless, wonderful stock but not overly saturated
Kodak 7207 250ISO, very good speed, too much for daylight desert shoot, good for late evening and interior, not highly saturated
Fuji Vivid 250D, same as above but much more saturated
Tungsten stocks: Fuji Vivid 160T; more saturated, needs 85 filter for daylight
Fuji Vivid 500T: same as above, very good for interior and nights, more saturated.

There is no high-saturation print stock Kodak Premier available in 16mm, maybe Fuji has something similar, Agfa CP30 is halfway between the Premier and the normal Vision print stock.

It is best to speak to your local lab to see what options are still available before ordering any stock.
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#3 Katherine Bauer

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 02:29 AM

Thank you. That was very helpful. I didnt realize that it would be that hard to predict the results of getting an internegative made from the reversal stock - I realize I should have run tests for all of this - but alas I am going to have to make a decision without the time to make the tests. The whole film will be a test. :) experimental cinema!

when you say Ill be fighting contrast do you mean that it could get too dark - loss of detail?
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#4 John Holland

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 03:30 AM

Dirk means the contrast will be very high and you would loose details in either the highlights or the shadows or both !
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#5 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 12:40 PM

Reversal can have a cool cartoonish look with the right telecine, the right conditions and subject matter when finding that sweet spot in exposure, so it's pretty risky. With negative, you will have a much easier time getting a sweet look with less "luck". I love the look of reversal too, so I tend to overexpose my negative by 2/3rds for more density and apparent saturation from a telecine or print. If you shoot the newer negs at box speed they tend to be low saturated and low con when compared to a projected reversal, and reversal can be too contrasty and muddy on a telecine. So unless your projecting the camera original, your best bet would be negative 2/3rds over and printed down would give the best results for your taste. The 7201 will look amazing in bright daylight, and the 7207 would be great for twilight or shaded terrain.

Edited by Anthony Schilling, 15 May 2011 - 12:45 PM.

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#6 Katherine Bauer

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 02:10 PM

When you say rate 2/3rds over - for example if the box speed is 250D what would I rate it at on my meter?

Also is telecine the only way that labs color correct for quality prints other than work prints? I am going to call my lab monday...

but dont you make internegatives without telecine - or isnt that possible.
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#7 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 03:08 PM

160ASA. If your output is digital then a telecine transfer colorist will make the adjustments... you can inform them of the look you are going for. For a workprint you will want a color timed print, inform the lab of what you want for density and saturation. The over exposure will help them get a denser more saturated image, it also tightens up the grain.
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