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Achieving (something close to) the Kodachrome look.


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#1 Steven James 87

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 04:57 AM

I feel lucky to have shot on Kodachrome (super 8), although at the time I probably didn't realise how much i'd miss it. Finding myself working in digital now make me think about it even more.

 

Im going to be doing a short soon, set in a hot, dusty landscape. I wondered if there was a good stock available to help me mimic Kodachrome? I realise there will be a fair bit of grading needed - so this is just a springboard essentially. 

 

I'd have to shoot on 16mm/S16 - due to the budget. 

 

Thanks guys!

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Edited by Steven James 87, 12 November 2014 - 04:58 AM.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 07:56 AM

Vision-3 50D color negative would work fine, it's mostly a matter of tweaking the contrast and colors for that Kodachrome palette.


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#3 David Cunningham

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 08:39 AM

Vision-3 50D color negative would work fine, it's mostly a matter of tweaking the contrast and colors for that Kodachrome palette.

 

Very rare that I would ever disagree with Mr Mullen, but although Vision3 50D may be gradeable to look like Kodachrome, the dead give away will be the grain and dust color.  If it were Kodachrome, the grain, dust, scratches, etc would all be dark (except deep scratches into the emulation which would be bright white).

 

I think the only viable solution is Ektachrome E100D. The problem there, of course, is it's discontinued and being held for ransom at a premium by those who still have supply.  The coloring is a bit different and it's not quite as contrasty, but the grain, dust, scratches, etc will be the right color.

 

It always drives me nuts when I see movies or commercials where someone is supposedly watching an old "home movie" and the footage is clearly a transferred negative.


Edited by David Cunningham, 12 November 2014 - 08:39 AM.

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#4 David Cunningham

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 08:42 AM

In fact... despite it's chunky grain and low saturation you might have better luck making Wittner 200D (AGFA 200D) look like Kodachrome footage.  You'll certainly have a challenge getting it to look as pleasing as Kodachrome, but at least you'll be starting with a reversal image.

 

...  of course... all this is only if I am missing/not aware of a trick/effect to invert the color of the grain, dust, scratches, etc. of a negative.


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 12:09 PM

If E100D / E6 development were an option, I would have recommended it.  He didn't say he wanted dirt, dust, and scratches so I assumed that wasn't part of the Kodachrome look he was referring to.

 

It would be interesting to see if doing a skip-bleach process to the 50D would give you those silvery blacks that Kodachrome seemed to have, though it would add to the costs and to the graininess.


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#6 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 12:28 PM

David, skip bleach on the negative will give you blocked highlights. I agree that a properly exposed and graded 50D would give the closest result to Kodachrome but with more saturation and shadow detail. Modern lenses are also partially responsible for this look.
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#7 David Cunningham

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 10:56 PM

If E100D / E6 development were an option, I would have recommended it.  He didn't say he wanted dirt, dust, and scratches so I assumed that wasn't part of the Kodachrome look he was referring to.
 
It would be interesting to see if doing a skip-bleach process to the 50D would give you those silvery blacks that Kodachrome seemed to have, though it would add to the costs and to the graininess.


True... But even if no dirt or scratches, the grain still looks entirely different in color reversal vs negative. There is no doubt Vision3 50D is a superior film to AGFA 200D, but I think it will be easier to make "look" like old K40.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 11:37 PM

Depends on the look you want, his example was from a large format Kodachrome still, so using a grainier stock isn't going to give him that clean look. But if he's trying to make it look like 16mm Kodachrome from the 1940's, then the Agfa 200D might be the better choice.

Or he could try making a print of the 50D and transfer that.
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#9 David Cunningham

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 06:20 AM


Or he could try making a print of the 50D and transfer that.



Now that's something I hadn't considered. That's a great idea!
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#10 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 03:44 PM

Whenever I hear Kodachrome, the first thing that comes to mind is deep saturated colors.  In that sense, wouldn't 50D be the best option if he's shooting on 16mm? 


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#11 David Cunningham

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 10:56 PM

If he can find enough of it, Fuji Eterna Vivid might be better for those extra saturated colors.
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#12 Steven James 87

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 04:46 AM

Depends on the look you want, his example was from a large format Kodachrome still, so using a grainier stock isn't going to give him that clean look. But if he's trying to make it look like 16mm Kodachrome from the 1940's, then the Agfa 200D might be the better choice.

Or he could try making a print of the 50D and transfer that.

 

Thanks for the input everyone. The 50D seems like a good way to go, so thanks David! My knowledge of stocks outside of Kodak is pretty poor i'm afraid  :unsure:

 

To clarify - I'm not trying to ape Kodachrome exactly. I was just keen to know what the closest option would be.

 

The film itself is set in a near future England that is suffering from drought. Grass is dying. The air is dusty. It doesn't have to feel vintage - but it certainly shouldn't look too clean. I actually found this still from 'Wake In Fright' which could be a good aesthetic to approximate. I suppose this might be more to do with using the right gels and filters.

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