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Film Stock and Heat


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#1 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 02:40 PM

This month I will be travelling to the desert to shoot a music video on 5217/5219. I will be outdoors in plus 30 degrees celsius heat for 3-4 days with little to no shelter, our van being the main "depot" for film and gear. Eg. no fridges for the film. It will most likely be kept in the back seat or trunk, about 7000ft worth.

1)I feel that I have read in the past that when Roger Deakins was shooting out in Africa he would use a space blanket on top of the film to reflect the sun and keep it relatively cold. Is this correct? I guess I was always under the impression space blankets are meant to retain heat and that this wouldn't be ideal? Either way -- can anyone please suggest the best method to keep the stock cold?

2) Follow up -- I know that Harris Savides baked the film for a short amount of time (under 15 min?) for the film Birth. From what I recall he did this along with 2 stop underexposure and a 2 stop pull to "break the black" of the film and create a grainier, more muted and painterly color pallete without a true black ala classical painting, which used deep blues violets and reds instead of true black. My question is, aside from undergoing serious testing myself which I can't afford, what does exposing film stock to high amounts of heat actually do for the film? And is there a dramatic difference between cooking the film slowly (eg. in the back of a hot trunk for a month) compared to quickly baking it at 500 degrees in an oven for 15 minutes?

As always, THANKYOU! Looking forward to the responses,

Evan
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#2 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 09:37 PM

I think that you will find that having the film in the desert and using basic precautions of not leaving it in the direct sun to bake will not visibly change the look of the film. High speed stocks do tend to age more rapidly in heat but the process takes months or years to happen.

Physically distressing the film can lead to very interesting things and 15min at 500deg. is basically cooking a frozen pizza a few days at 110deg. will not have the same effect, i.e. Lawrence of Arabia looked pretty good.

-Rob-
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#3 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 09:51 AM

I think that you will find that having the film in the desert and using basic precautions of not leaving it in the direct sun to bake will not visibly change the look of the film. High speed stocks do tend to age more rapidly in heat but the process takes months or years to happen.

Physically distressing the film can lead to very interesting things and 15min at 500deg. is basically cooking a frozen pizza a few days at 110deg. will not have the same effect, i.e. Lawrence of Arabia looked pretty good.

-Rob-

Good to know the desert should be ok. Do you agree using a spaceblanket with the reflective side up would be a necessary precaution?

Could you please elaborate what the "very interesting things" baking the film does? At what heat for how long? What are the changes? Are you familiar with savides process?

Thanks very much
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#4 Chris Burke

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 07:53 AM

can you have a large cooler and a space blanket?
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#5 Chris Elardo

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 12:40 PM

I live/shoot in Arizona and I keep my film stock out of the sun in my camera case. I have also used a soft cooler with frozen gel packs in it to store my rolls until I need them. Just keep it out of the sun and it should be o.k.
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#6 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 05:51 PM

can you have a large cooler and a space blanket?

Yes I believe so, only problem is even a large cooler won't hold 7000ft of film. My worry is that the space blanket will hold in heat as opposed to holding in the cold? From the sounds of it though this shouldn't be a problem?

Anyone that can provide more info regarding the effects you get from distressing film to heat would be much appreciated, Rob??
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#7 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 03:16 AM

Yes I believe so, only problem is even a large cooler won't hold 7000ft of film. My worry is that the space blanket will hold in heat as opposed to holding in the cold? From the sounds of it though this shouldn't be a problem?


Do you need to take out 7000' every day - even on 4 perf that feels quite a lot. Or are you living out there the whole period, like camping etc. If then, can you not get a number of coolers?

What colour is the van? hopefully not a dark colour!
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#8 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 08:05 PM

Do you need to take out 7000' every day - even on 4 perf that feels quite a lot. Or are you living out there the whole period, like camping etc. If then, can you not get a number of coolers?

What colour is the van? hopefully not a dark colour!

Thats a good point. We'll make sure to rent a light colored van!

No we are shooting 7000ft total. But we aren't going to have room to bring multiple coolers unfortunately, thus my worry.

It seems like the consensus is even if the film gets hot its not going to get damaged due to the low duration of heat it will actually see. Is this correct? I'd feel much better having some sort of conclusion...

Would also still love to hear back regarding my questions about heat/film for effect eg. savides/birth
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#9 Rex Harris

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 07:36 AM

It seems like the consensus is even if the film gets hot its not going to get damaged due to the low duration of heat it will actually see. Is this correct? I'd feel much better having some sort of conclusion...


It should be fine to store the film in your van providing you don't leave it in the window in full sun etc (common sense obviously). The space blanket sounds like a good idea. You can also get covers to put on the windscreen of a car to prevent the heat from turning it into a sauna, you could use one of those perhaps.


Would also still love to hear back regarding my questions about heat/film for effect eg. savides/birth


If memory serves me correctly baking the negative can result in lower contrast, with blacks turning slightly more blueish, also note an increase in graininess of the film. I wouldn't do it without testing first.

Good luck!
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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 07:50 AM

Keep it in the shade, in the van-- with the windows open for air flow, and honestly, you should be fine for such short durations. Now if you were leaving it in there for 6 months, that'd be another story.
If you really get worried, you could add something like 1/2 a stop to your exposures towards the end of the shoot, and crush back down in post.
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#11 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 11:41 PM

Thanks very much everybody. I feel safer about the shoot now.

If anyone has some time, I'd love to kindly point you in the direction of the Arri Film forum where I ask about how to properly take care of a 435ES in the desert dust/heat. Still trying to figure out the best way to be prepared for lens/mag changes and general upkeep! Cheers and thanks very so much as always,

Evan
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