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Choice of film stock for Maysles "Gimme Shelter" (1970)


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#1 Marc Roessler

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 06:48 AM

Hey everyone...

Some time ago I got the book "A Maysles Scrapbook" (a must for a any doc film buff btw) and according to that book (reprinting the Article "Gimme Shelter: Production Notes" from Filmmakers Newsletter December 1971), for their documentary "Gimme Shelter" the Mayseles brothers used the following stocks:

7255 (Ektachrome Commercial, 25T)
7242 (Ektachrome EF, 125T)
7241 (Ektachrome VNF, 160D)

They used Angenieux 9.5-95 T2.2 lenses.

In the article, the Maysles state
- 7241 and 7242 have better quality than color negative (sharper and less grain)
- they suggest to push 7241 two stops to an EI of 620 (unclear if they did it with "Gimme Shelter"; concerning the T-stop of the Angie and the lighting conditions I'd think so..)

This left me somewhat puzzled...
Knowning how 7240 VNF looks (muted color, soft, quite grainy) I'm wondering how they came to that conclusion. Was 7241/7242 better than 7240? Or was color negative that bad back then? Did VNF push easier than the current higher-contrast reversal (or neg) stocks? Would pushing the current Ektachrome 100D 7285 two stops (i.e. 400D) look better concerning grain and sharpness than 7219 a neg exposed and processed normally? Better or worse than 7241/7242?

Would be great if someone could shed some light on this...

Greetings,
Marc

P.S.: "Gimme Shelter" seems to be availble on youtube
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#2 John Holland

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 07:14 AM

US labs really didnt know how to handle 16mm colour neg then [ unlike here ] so they pushed the use of reversal stock then a inter-neg and prints on Eastman Colour either 16mm or Optical Blow Up to 35mm or even 70mm in the case of " Woodstock "
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#3 John Woods

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 05:34 PM

What was the speed of the available colour negative stocks? I imagine it was a regular choice for them to get film pushed and it could also be that the film just pushed better.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 09:37 PM

What was the speed of the available colour negative stocks? I imagine it was a regular choice for them to get film pushed and it could also be that the film just pushed better.


From 1968 to the mid 1970's it would have been 72/5254, which was a 100T stock.

The advantage to negative stock was that it was and is designed to be duplicated; most reversal stocks were very contrasty and made very harsh prints. The downside was that dust on negative comes out as white specks in a print, whereas dust on a reversal image comes out black when copied from -- and white specks are considered more visible than black specks -- so 16mm labs that handled negative processing had to be very clean. Also, reversal stocks being contrastier were somewhat sharper and less grainy-looking than negative stocks of the same speed range.
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#5 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 05:48 AM

When I started my career, 7255 was just being replaced by 7252 ECO-3 process. This was a low contrast low speed tungsten reversal stock with an ISO of 25. When printed onto 7271 Internegative and then onto normal positive print stock, a very nice contrast was obtained. This was the normal 16mm documentary production method (mixing ECO with preflashed Ektachrome 7242) for making 16mm positive prints. 7252 was a beautiful stock if you had enough light.
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