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rating kodak stocks in term of contrast


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#1 Thomas Cousin

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 04:26 PM

hello,
today i count almost 10 negative stocks from kodak. as they are presented on their website. the older exr stocks, the vision ones and the later vision 2.
In my works as a young cinematographer, i am often obessesed with the idea of "contrast" : how to handle it, how to increase it, how to manage it the best way to serve the story.... this is one of the element in cinematography that fascinates me the most , and (working in film) frightens me also a lot !
During my first shootings on film, i learnt to respect and trust the negatives, because they offer you the most incredible results and texture, and they are very often surprising.
today with the telecinema, scan and other digital tools, we can control a lot more the contrast and the kodak vision 2 offers a flexibility for the post process and tend to make all stocks able to capture a wide tonal range.

But since we still got access to vision stocks and some exr stocks, i would like to "rate" all this new and old stocks in terms of contrast range. to help me choose among this huge palette of products.
so can you help me ? from the less contrast (maybe something like vision 320T) to the more contrast stock (the exr 100T or the exr 50D)?
and i speak of course for normal process and normal exposure, just to make some comparisons on the same level.
thank you

thomas
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 05:25 PM

Well, excluding the low-con stocks, as you've noticed, basically the contrast has gone down with each generation (EXR, Vision, Vision-2) -- but we're not talking about a huge change in color/contrast reproduction, otherwise movies couldn't mix them.

I mean, look at David Tattersal's work -- for awhile, he was shooting EXR 50D for exteriors and low-con Vision 320T for everything else (Con Air, Green Mile, Phantom Menace, etc.) The difference was not as extreme as you would think.

Vision 320T is probably still slightly lower-contrast than the normal Vision-2 lines, but not by much.

Truth is, I doubt there is more than a stop and a half more exposure range difference between the lowest and highest contrast color neg motion picture stock Kodak makes -- except for the new wide-latitude 7299 perhaps.

Now that intercutability of stocks, because they are within a similar range of looks, is both a good thing and a limitation, if for example, you wanted a color neg stock with an E6 slide film look and had no plans of using digital post to get it. However, most movies want a consistent look from beginning to end, so the fact that they match pretty well (especially the Vision-2 line-up) is considered a good thing.

Same with processing effects: to make the stocks behave more consistently, they are designed to withstand processing variations from lab to lab, but that also means that they don't change as much with pull or push processing in terms of look.
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#3 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 09:13 PM

As you know, the Kodak technical data for each film has a description of the film's characteristics, as well as a representative sensitometric curve. As Mr. Mullen notes, the films across the EXR/VISION/VISION2 generations are close enough in contrast that they can be used creatively, and cut together well when you want a slightly different "look", as you might when the story progresses through time or place. Of course, the "Expression" type stocks are deliberately designed for a lower contrast "look" with a more subtle color palette.
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