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Kodak B&W 5234 vs 5222 outdoors

film b&w processing film stocks

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#1 Thomas Aschenbach

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 12:05 PM

Because the demise of Kodak B&W Plus-X emulsion (31), shooting B&W film outside is challenging. 5222/7222 is the only Kodak B&W camera stock. Outside it is has an exposure index of 250. In the test described below the daylight was metered at 8,000 foot-candles.  At 24fps this would require a f stop setting of around f64, or a very dark ND filter. Most lenses are sharpest at about 2 stops from open, this is impossible for 22 outside without using an ND15 or ND18 to get f5.6 or below. The contrast of direct sunlight & shadows is a struggle for any photographic medium. 5234 B&W duplicate negative is an intermediate film and is quite slow. 34 has a gamma less than one making it suitable to shoot and print. It is also panchromatic and available in acetate 16mm or 35mm. For the test it was rated at EI 6 for D96 processing.

 

Test Information
Film Information

5222 Kodak B&W 35mm DOUBLE-X Negative             $0.444 per foot
Exposure Index: EI 200(Tungsten) 250(Daylight)
5234 Kodak Panchromatic B&W Duplicate Negative    $0.391 per foot
Exposure Index: Rated EI 6 for test.
Lighting
Direct mid day sunlight -  Metered @ 8000 fc
Camera Setup
Mitchell Super 35mm High Speed 4 perf  75mm prime lens
5222:  f11 ND9 @ 24fps 1/48sec
5234:  f5.6 @24fps 1/48sec
Processing
Kodak D96 B&W Negative Process
Transfer
Spirit 2K HD 1080P 23.98 1.78 extraction
da vinci 2K+ DVNR2K
Settings constant for both transfers.

 

The results of the test were the following: The grain structure and response of 5234 is clearly finer. It is a very smooth image and out performs the 5222 outside. It is availible from Kodak in both 35mm and 16mm. We will do a test of 16mm soon, I am sure the diffrence will be even more dramatic. While this stock would be hard to shoot indoors, outside it is beautiful. If processed D97 is would have an exposure index of about 18 allowing for less direct sunlight. It is also cheaper 5222 $0.444 vs 5234 $0.391 per foot.

Please right click and save as to see the test video. Youtube upload didnt show a good comparison.


Edited by Thomas Aschenbach, 03 March 2013 - 12:07 PM.

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#2 Roy Cross

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 02:48 PM

Great test and great results, Thomas.

 

I've not tried the 5234 before.  In days of old, I'd shoot sound stock. Agfa had a product ST8. It was used in striking optical sound tracks. It was 4 or 5 cents a foot and I'd shoot miles of it.  Lack of edge coding proved a bit of a problem when considering the negative conform but there were ways around that.

 

But this print stock test is quite wonderful. The 5234 is a low contrast stock that was designed to build contrast from the original neg during contact printing if memory serves me.

 

Stacking on the ND is a bit of a nuisance but in the end I think I prefer the grain and contrast of the 5222. Here is a link to a short film I made a few years back with 5222. 

I shot it on a heavy overcast day.

Konvas 7M.

24 and/or 30 fps.

f:11 or 16. No ND.

 

For some shots I popped the lens out of its seat a little and created a poor man's macro, which is why I was able to get so close on some shots. Also, I was turning the camera on and off during shots to create a flicker. There is one interior shot that was probably shot at around f: 2.8 but I can't confirm.

 

I have about 5000 feet of 5222 and I think I will try my hand at some anamorphic cinema before everything vanishes.

 

 

thanks for sharing your results,

 

Roy


Edited by Roy Cross, 09 March 2013 - 02:50 PM.

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#3 Thomas Aschenbach

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 10:11 AM

Roy,
Thanks for your comments. Your film looks great, the overcast day really made it have a wide range of details from shadows to highlights. I actually also shot this test on ST8.  It also works well and is about the same exposure index maybe a little faster and a lot more contrast. The problems I have with it is in its stability in camera. The stock is so thin that the pressure plate on some cameras does not make contact and it can have a movement/flutter issues. Depending on what type of camera you use this may or may not be a problem. Also everyone should be very careful when using a polyester stock in camera. It is incredibly strong and if jammed can easily damage a camera.
I wanted to show the 34 comparison because I miss the clean look of Plus-X(31). 5234 is a duplicate negative. B&W is different than the color photochemical workflow stocks. In color, interpositve and duplicate negative are the same stock. (42 emulsion orange base). IP/DN 42 has a unity contrast. The gamma is ~1. When it goes Camera Neg -> IP -> DN, the dupe neg has the same contrast as the camera original. With B&W IP and DN are different stocks. Fine grain masters (66 emulsion) are the interpositves. They are low contrast clear base positives. While a lower contrast than B&W print stock (02 emulsion), FG masters adds some contrast relative to the camera negative image. So in B&W, camera neg ->FGM->DN,  the dupe neg(34) should have the same contrast curve as the original camera neg. Because the FGM(66) adds contrast, the DN(34) reduces it back down. This is why 34 DN's gamma is lower than 1 and it can work in camera and still be printed/scanned with full tone range.
 


Edited by Thomas Aschenbach, 10 March 2013 - 10:12 AM.

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#4 Roy Cross

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 10:51 AM

Hi Thomas,

 

I stand enlightened. Thanks for this explanation. I had a look at your company's site, impressive. Are you still stamping out optical sound tracks for film releasing on 35mm?

 

You have quite a range of services and I like your ingenuity around maintaining your equipment. I am envious of the filmmakers in and around Maryland. Here in Montreal we have but 1/2  a lab. They process colour negative only. Down the highway in Toronto there is a custom lab: Niagara Custom Lab.  They do just about everything on the emulsion side of production.

 

I am head of a Film Production Program at Concordia University and we recently mothballed our Steenbecks. Until this year students cut on 16 and edited sound on Protools and then back to magnetic film for double system projection. It became nearly impossible to find 16mm workprinting which forced us to evolve to a digital post workflow (the 16mm mag stock was challenging to find as well).

 

Anyway, I am happy to see you running a great business model. I'm somewhat reluctant to ship exposed but unprocessed film across an international boarder but I'd like to take advantage of your business in some way. Thanks for your post and I'm curious to hear about those who are striking release prints with optical tracks.

 

Sincerely,

 

Roy Cross


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#5 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 11:53 PM

I would also take a look at the orwo UN54 stock as a xx31 replacement it is very nice and similar to 31 in many ways, I have had some issues with orwo's perorations in my Aaton LTR but they say they have adjusted their manufacturing. I had no problem running Orwo in my Arri 2C but I would like to do a test in a Panaflex or Mitchell to see how it transports.

 

-Rob-


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