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Emulating 60s style footage

60s footage color 35mm vintage stock

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#1 Edward Butt

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:08 AM

Hi,

 

I'm a film student based in London.

As part of a project, we've been asked to shoot a 5 minute movie using traditional methods (i.e. film - no digital).

 

I've never shot anything using film before so this should be quite an experience; if not a little daunting.

 

I'd like to try to emulate the style and quality of films from the 1960s. This is what I have in mind: 

 

Does anyone know which cameras and stock were likely used in this filming?

I'm sure finding a camera from that era shouldn't be too difficult, but I have no idea where to find the stock. Are there sellers of old Kodachrome stock?

 

Many Thanks,

 

Ed


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:24 AM

You're pretty much out of luck finding any reversal (chrome) films anymore. You're probably better served by shooting on neg and having a colorist whip up a lut for you.


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#3 Edward Butt

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:59 AM

Do you think finding an old Zeiss lens would help achieve the 'look'?

 

Best,

 

Ed


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#4 Ian Cooper

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 11:30 AM

"Wittner" in Germany still seem to be advertising the 16mm Agfa reversal film (Wittner Chrome 200D), which obviously will have the inherent contrast and natural 'look' of reversal film ('cos that's what it is!).  There are various clips and examples available to view on YouTube to suggest what it can look like.

 

For a student project you probably won't have much time or money to experiment and practice over getting the exposure right - with reversal film you have to get it right at the time of shooting in the same was you would shooting reversal (aka. slide) film in a stills camera.  Using negative film you have a bit more room for missing the mark and compensating later on.

 

You'll probably find it easier to get a higher contrast negative filmstock, then when you get it telecined tell the colourist you want it to look like reversal film.  As you're in the UK it might be worth investigating "FRAME 24", who bought up the remaining stock of Fuji motion picture film and have been selling it at very good prices ever since.   They're still showing stock of 16mm "Eterna Vivid 160T" and "Eterna Vivid 250D" at £45+VAT per 400ft can,  or if you're shooting on 35mm they have Eterna Vivid in 160T, 250D and 500T.    Fuji promoted this particular filmstock has having a higher natural contrast and punchier colours than most other negative filmstocks, so it would be a closer match to the reversal film look you're after.

 

Looking at the example you've posted above, you can see the hard edge to the shadows from the arm and body - this suggests quite a hard light souce, so pack away your soft boxes and reflectors!  Beyond that, the choice of lens will be the next to have an impact on the look of what you shoot.  The choice of camera will only influence how stable the image is, and how easy you'll find it to record sound.  If you go for a noisy clockwork camera then you'll struggle to record any speech, and depending on the camera you might find the image isn't very stable in the gate.  If you choose something from Arri, Aaton, Eclair etc.  then the image should at least stay stable, the camera will be quiet enough to be able to record sound, and you should be able to use 400ft cores of film rather than constantly feeding 100ft spools through it.

 

Good luck, and hope you have fun. :)


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#5 Mark Dunn

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 12:18 PM

 If you're actually after a reversal look, fair enough, but the Disney interview would have been shot on 35mm. Eastmancolor neg,  5251.

The look is down to the lighting, optics,art direction and print stock more than the camera stock.

The camera used has no bearing at all.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 10 January 2014 - 12:19 PM.

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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 12:24 PM

An American TV show from the 1960's was probably shot on 35mm color negative, usually 5251 in the mid-60's, a 50 ASA tungsten-balanced stock. Cameras were often some variation of a blipped Mitchell for sound work, but the camera isn't really imparting a look to the scene so you could use a modern camera.  Lenses were often B&L Baltars or Cooke Panchros of some sort, or Zeiss, or Angenieux zooms, etc.

 

You can get this contrasty saturated look by how you digitally color-correct the telecine transfer of the film negative.  But if this has to be done photochemically, you should use something like Fuji Vivid stocks and print onto Kodak Premier print stock, assuming you can find any of those things anymore since Fuji has stopped making motion picture film.  An alternative would be to push-process Kodak 200T, for example, for more contrast.  I'm assuming you are shooting in 35mm.

 

If you are shooting standard 16mm for a 16mm contact print, you'll have enough grain and softness without doing anything special, I'd just recreate the lighting.


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#7 Edward Butt

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 12:57 PM

 

You can get this contrasty saturated look by how you digitally color-correct the telecine transfer of the film negative.  But if this has to be done photochemically, you should use something like Fuji Vivid stocks and print onto Kodak Premier print stock, assuming you can find any of those things anymore since Fuji has stopped making motion picture film.  An alternative would be to push-process Kodak 200T, for example, for more contrast.  I'm assuming you are shooting in 35mm.

 

 

I think we've been asked to do color-correction digitally. Would the result be significantly better if we took the traditional approach of chemical coloring? If so, I could ask if we'd be permitted to take a different route.

 

Is anyone selling 5351 anymore?

 

Best,

 

Ed


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#8 Ian Cooper

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 01:03 PM

 

I think we've been asked to do color-correction digitally. Would the result be significantly better if we took the traditional approach of chemical coloring? If so, I could ask if we'd be permitted to take a different route.

 

Is anyone selling 5351 anymore?

 

Best,

 

Ed

 

Kodak 5251 was introduce in 1962 and replaced in 1968 by 5254  (link)

The chances of finding any 46 years after it was replaced is all but none, and even if you could you wouldn't want to try exposing it for anything important.

 

 

IC.


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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 01:26 PM

You wouldn't want to light for 50T stock even if you had it...

 

I think 200T pushed one-stop (but don't compensate completely for the push, rate it 250 ASA for example, and then correct it in timing) would get you close to the grain and contrast of 5251.

 

Real 5251 would be too old to be usable and modern ECN2 processing wouldn't work right with it anyway.

 

Don't get too hung up on using an old camera and old stock, what's important is that you break down the look into its components and address them -- grain, sharpness, flare, contrast, lighting, etc.


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#10 Edward Butt

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 02:10 PM

You wouldn't want to light for 50T stock even if you had it...

 

I think 200T pushed one-stop (but don't compensate completely for the push, rate it 250 ASA for example, and then correct it in timing) would get you close to the grain and contrast of 5251.

 

Real 5251 would be too old to be usable and modern ECN2 processing wouldn't work right with it anyway.

 

Don't get too hung up on using an old camera and old stock, what's important is that you break down the look into its components and address them -- grain, sharpness, flare, contrast, lighting, etc.

 

Ok, this is starting to make sense now. Thanks for putting it into perspective for me.

 

When you say that I shouldn't compensate for the push, I presume you mean that I shouldn't underexpose the film too much. Is that right? What would be the standard ASA rate for an indoor scene using 200T?

 

Apologies for my lack of knowledge on the subject. I have a lot of reading up to do.


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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 03:53 PM

Well, normally you'd rate 200T stock at 200 ASA in tungsten light (or rate it a bit slower for more density in the developed negative, i.e. rate at 160 ASA and develop normally, so you'd have 1/3-stop extra density (exposure) on the negative and then print or time this to look normal in brightness rather than leaving it looking a 1/3-stop too bright (which is pretty minimal, in fact, a 1/3-stop is within a margin of exposing error even if you are experienced.)

 

So most people who push film one-stop will compensate by rating the stock one-stop faster, i.e. underexpose by one stop and then the push adds back one-stop of density to end up with normal density.  But in this case, I'm suggesting pushing one stop for the extra grain and contrast but only underexposing minimally or not at all, so you end up with a negative that is almost one-stop overexposed, and then correct this in timing the print or in the telecine transfer.  So take 200T stock, rate it at 250 ASA (1/3-stop underexposure), push one stop (so the final negative ends up 2/3's of a stop overexposed) and then correct out the extra brightness in color-correction.

 

Of course, even this is probably not necessary, you could just shoot 500T stock for the extra grain over 200T stock, and add more contrast in the digital color-correction.

 

One reason you see a certain amount of harshness in those old 60's color TV programs is that they used to transfer them to video from a print struck off of the negative.  So an old show like "Star Trek" from the 1960's where they went back to the original negative for transfer looks a lot smoother, cleaner, and lower in contrast than it did in the original broadcast where a print was used in what was called a "film chain" transfer device at the TV station.  And DP's back then lit the sets with this in mind, meaning that they used a bit more fill light than normal to compensate for the contrast of the print stock and the transfer device.


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#12 Edward Butt

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 08:20 AM

Thank you everyone for your wonderful suggestions.

I'll probably shoot with 200T and then push process it, as David suggested.

 

Best,

 

Ed


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