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When Will Kodak 5254 Come Back?


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#1 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 10:57 PM

I know I sound like something of a broken record always talking about the 1970s, but I truly believe that films like "The Godfather" (1972), showcased in its original color timing on the original DVD release along with its sequel, are true works of art.  

 

I have much directing experience and not as much photography experience, but I would like to think I have an eye for taste and I ask myself why wouldn't any studio want to bring back this look from 1968-1977?  Now obviously it encompassed a wide range of "looks" or styles, yada yada yada.  I just want to see beautiful film again.  And when will projection become widespread again? 

 

When will big-budget film become an artform again?  Sequels and reboots are getting old.  I'm 25 and I want something new.  Or more importantly, something GOOD.


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#2 Simon Wyss

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 05:51 AM

You want something old. That is not automatically good by itself.

 

Get in touch with people who project films. Search for people who are experienced with carbon-arc light. Perhaps one day you find someone who has even projected films with limelight.

 

That’s how many early films were shown, in limelight. It’s a whole different thing in comparison with electric light.

 

So you have limelight, incandescent lamps, the low intensity carbon arc (simple rods), the high intensity carbon arc (rods with core and copper sleeve), the xenon high-pressure discharge bulb, and the halide metal iodide high-pressure discharge bulb. You have black-and-white films, prints or reversal originals, Technicolor imbibition prints, and a multitude of colour films.

 

The 1970s are only ten percent out of 100 years of movies. Black and white outdates color because it is still around, silver images will continue to serve the preservation of colours.

 

The Godfather was one movie. I’m trying to make you step back a little to broaden your horizon. Today we have discussions about the look of Ultra-Panavision 70mm but the common 35mm print is no more in play with cinemas. We have lost Technicolor, we have lost carbon-arc light, we have let go decent black and white altogether. Light emitting diodes, liquid cristal displays, L. A. S. E. R., all that has nothing to do with the photochemical film. The ones are used additionally, the other works in subtraction from white light. In this respect I’d like to add that it is a mistake to judge a film picture by the image of an analyzer that has an additive display, red-green-blue instead of cyan-magenta-yellow.

 

There were no solid-state transistors before 1945. Sound films of before actually should be heard through tube amplifiers. And so the list goes on. Art, by the way, has only little to do with the means but much more with the content.


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#3 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 06:41 AM

I will admit I'm a little bit obsessive with regards to the 70s-I have issues from "American Cinmetographer" from the 1970s, most of my movie collection is from the 1970s, and I have often fantasized about bringing the old technology back.  But when you have a soul behind the camera who knows what he is doing artistically, I don't care if you have an all-digital movie-it's going to turn out well so agree 200% with that statement.  But anyway...thank you for your detailed reply and also, I adore films of the 1940s for their cinematography...such nuance and deep blacks and etc.


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#4 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 06:47 AM

Get in touch with people who project films. Search for people who are experienced with carbon-arc light. Perhaps one day you find someone who has even projected films with limelight.

I used to go to a theater that projected films (actual celluloid) in college...that's how I really know what I am missing.  It is a truly different feeling...magical.  It makes you want to cry if you really love the artform.

 

Edited: And by that I mean it was a throwback theater that showed well-preserved prints actually from the 1970s or the 1940s (mostly).  Every once in a while they would show something in digital and the difference would be very obvious to the extreme.  This was my training!  Differentiating between good and not as good.


Edited by JosephKHansalik, 23 February 2016 - 06:52 AM.

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#5 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 07:33 AM

One more post and then I'll stop: What makes me the angriest is that DVD companies have been steadily erasing the difference between movies and celluloid so that now you go to buy a 1970s movie at the store (or online) and the color timing is all off, the image is razor sharp instead of 4th generation, the grain is gone instead of a rich texture, and I know better because I've seen these films as well as in many cases their earlier DVD releases!  They are criminalizing the art form, to put it mildly. Now younger generations don't know what film is like unless they saw it in a theater for themselves.  

 

Done ranting now!  It should be said of course that the objective for a studio should be to make money...but why throw away the biggest asset you used to have, which was the differentiation between film and home video (or TV?)  That's why we have widescreen in the first place!  

 

JKH


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#6 J. Winfield Heckert

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 12:40 PM

One more post and then I'll stop: What makes me the angriest is that DVD companies have been steadily erasing the difference between movies and celluloid so that now you go to buy a 1970s movie at the store (or online) and the color timing is all off, the image is razor sharp instead of 4th generation, the grain is gone instead of a rich texture, and I know better because I've seen these films as well as in many cases their earlier DVD releases!  They are criminalizing the art form, to put it mildly. Now younger generations don't know what film is like unless they saw it in a theater for themselves.  

 

Done ranting now!  It should be said of course that the objective for a studio should be to make money...but why throw away the biggest asset you used to have, which was the differentiation between film and home video (or TV?)  That's why we have widescreen in the first place!  

 

JKH

 

I'm not sure we will see old stocks brought back to life. I myself am waiting for Kodak to bring back a color reversal, 100D hopefully.  If you want a 70's color stock check out Agfa 200D.

 

I don't know where you are in the North east but In the Philadelphia area projected celluloid can still be found. Exhumed Films an exhibitor of International and American Horror movies has showings about once a month at the international House in Philly. The Colonial theater in Phoenixville Pa also shows a many older Films on 35mm.

 

If you want the greatest cinematic retro experience check out the Mahoning Drive-in theater in the Poconos. They only show 35mm films April-October. Many cult classics and horror films. It's a blast and worth the trip for sure. 

 

I'm sure there are more theaters showing film prints you may just have to dig a little.


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#7 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 01:03 PM

 

I'm not sure we will see old stocks brought back to life. I myself am waiting for Kodak to bring back a color reversal, 100D hopefully.  If you want a 70's color stock check out Agfa 200D.

 

I don't know where you are in the North east but In the Philadelphia area projected celluloid can still be found. Exhumed Films an exhibitor of International and American Horror movies has showings about once a month at the international House in Philly. The Colonial theater in Phoenixville Pa also shows a many older Films on 35mm.

 

If you want the greatest cinematic retro experience check out the Mahoning Drive-in theater in the Poconos. They only show 35mm films April-October. Many cult classics and horror films. It's a blast and worth the trip for sure. 

 

I'm sure there are more theaters showing film prints you may just have to dig a little.

 

Thank you Mr. Heckert.  That excites me not just as a filmmaker, but as a film enthusiast!  

 

I am based in New England, but I have family in New York and may well find myself in PA before too long...I will certainly give your suggestions a try if I do!  

 

Have a great day,

JKH


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#8 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 06:38 PM

Given that Kodak very nearly got out of the film making business permanently back in 2011, and was only convinced to continue manufacture by an agreement with the major studios, I think it's extremely unlikely that we'll ever see 5254 again. We should be grateful that ANY stocks are still available.


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#9 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 06:52 PM

Given that Kodak very nearly got out of the film making business permanently back in 2011, and was only convinced to continue manufacture by an agreement with the major studios, I think it's extremely unlikely that we'll ever see 5254 again. We should be grateful that ANY stocks are still available.

 

It seems like a bleak situation, but I'm sure if customers demand something better, companies will step up and provide something good.  What confuses me the most is what the point of using film even is if it now looks so similar to digital, which nobody can accuse the 70s of being.


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#10 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 08:24 PM

 

It seems like a bleak situation, but I'm sure if customers demand something better, companies will step up and provide something good.  What confuses me the most is what the point of using film even is if it now looks so similar to digital, which nobody can accuse the 70s of being.

There won't be enough people to demand such a product for it to be set into production again. 


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#11 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 09:32 PM

There won't be enough people to demand such a product for it to be set into production again. 

 

Well, I don't have a crystal ball, but you may be right!


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#12 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 09:37 PM

 

It seems like a bleak situation, but I'm sure if customers demand something better, companies will step up and provide something good.  

 

Really the only company capable of producing stock in high quantities is Kodak, and they are unlikely to resurrect a vintage stock without huge demand, and that means Studios. If the formulation for 5254 were to be made public, it's conceivable that a boutique operation might manufacture it in small quantities, but the cost per foot would most likely be prohibitively expensive for low budget productions.


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#13 J. Winfield Heckert

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 10:24 PM

film ferrania is attempting to make a 100 ASA color reversal in super8 and 16mm. Based on a 1990s Italian reversal stock scotchchrome. If it goes well they plan to release other stocks. So there is hope but it's a complex process to reserect an old film stock.
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#14 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 05:45 PM

5254 did not use the same process as all the later ECII films that followed it.

 

Thus in addition to '54 film stock,  the processing will need to be reintroduced, along with modified processing machines.

 

& ECII is hotter process,  so expect the '54 emulsion to melt off in an ECII bath.

 

 

---LV


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#15 Freya Black

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 05:33 AM

If they bring back anything it should be EXR 50D (5245) which was a really popular stock they had a hard time getting rid of.

 

It's also ECN II so no problems processing.

Such beautiful colours!

 

Freya


Edited by Freya Black, 27 February 2016 - 05:34 AM.

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#16 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 01:56 PM

I've said it many times before...

 

 

 

PLUS-X!!!


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#17 Bruce Greene

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 03:49 PM

I think it all started going downhill when they introduced the "T" grain stocks...


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#18 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 10:29 PM

If you want to know the truth, I really love Technicolor tremendously, but that seems very unlikely right now and also very different aesthetic than the best modern film stock, IMO-Kodak 5254 (and I am aware that the processing system was changed for the new late 70s film also-it is telling that cinematographers were very, very slow to use 5247 and shot every last foot of 5254 they could because they so loved the creamy tones, the way that it pushed, etc. etc.)

 

If I were really pushed to choose a 3rd aesthetic (Technicolor and Kodak 5254 representing pinnacles in my mind), it would be digital on whatever "Skyfall" was shot on as this was in my mind pretty impressive.  I wish all 3 were available to choose from at a reasonable budget.


Edited by JosephKHansalik, 27 February 2016 - 10:29 PM.

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#19 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 10:37 PM

I am less knowledgeable when it comes to black and white films, but the films of the 40s look absolutely remarkable in a theater on film, as does "The Twilight Zone" restored and on a large TV, just beautiful.  I was shocked when I saw my first black and white film up-close and in-person in the theater, "Gaslight" (1944) in 35mm.  Stunning.  I am glad there are still black and white films available because it is a truly wonderful aesthetic.


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#20 Freya Black

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 04:36 AM

I've said it many times before...

 

 

 

PLUS-X!!!

 

 

Yeah, was a crime they got rid of that and yet kept the nasty looking double-x, presumably because 35mm films went with the faster stock. I just want to shoot the stocks that look great!

 

Yeah Plus-X for sure. In the mean time I'm planning to crank through a load of tri-x. :)

 

Freya


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