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Using 5203 (Kodak Vision 2 50D) film to copy an old 35mm print


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#1 Ari Michael Leeds

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 01:48 PM

This has kinda fallen on my lap:


I have access to a Mitchell and bipackign equipment.  A certain theatre that is one of the lucky remaining few that can show 35mm has  an old print, only surviving copy, and it is on the verge of wearing out.

By print, I mean only 30-35 seconds, a 35mm commercial, from 30 years ago.


To save money, basically just my time and the cost of film and the cost of the lab processing and shipping it, I've offered to bipack it and then scan, 12 frames at a time, the cut negative copy to make a 4K scan.


Can anyone recommend a starting recommended exposure time and any flashing required or pulling required to get optimal results?

How close in color and in density to I need to be in terms of the neg stock's latitude?


What sort of grain buildup can I expect?  Dedicated IN film is 88c a foot and these guys have no money, or I would use that.  I know camera neg has higher contrast and larger grain than is optimal, but you can't beat free.

How do you METER for this?  I can't say that this is something I have ever done, though I have a basic knowledge of how contact prints are made from negative film, and I know that 50D is probably three or four stops faster than IN assuming I have a daylight source of illumination.


Finally, as these guys have no money, and I'll doubtless be out nearly 100 hours of my time scanning and cutting half-second strips of film, can anyone recommend free or cheap software to automate lining up the film frame by frame after it has been scanned as stills?



Thanks, and I'd appreciate no derogatory comments about this being like a dinosaur or a WWII tail gunner doing this.

These guys probably don't have the $500 to do this and get a proper transfer (which isn't designed with a high-contrasdt print in mind anyway) and they are at the point where the thing is just sitting there unplayed because they don't want to ruin their one and only copy.

I suppose if I go through the trouble of making a new negative, and I A and B roll it AFTER I scan it, I could even make newer (albeit grainier prints) if I take care to control the contrast when I make the initial bypack.

Hell this may be the last time anyone ever attempts this sort of thing. . .


Edited by Ari Michael Leeds, 24 February 2016 - 01:51 PM.

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#2 Jay Young

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 02:57 PM

Well, 18% grey card needs an average of 200 footcandles at T2.8.

 

So get your Mitchell, throw a 50mm 2.8 on there, bipack emulsion to emulsion, and put  a large diffuse source in front of the lens that will get you 200fc at the film plane. 

 

If you're worried about tearing perfs, you could under crank the camera, reduce the light intensity, and you'll still be able to contact print the roll. 

 

40 seconds is about 60 feet of film.  If you've got a 400' load of 50D, you could in theory run 6 different tests, or light for 200fc at T5.6 which will give you a way to bracket over and under.

 

Surely someone more wise than me will have a better answer...


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#3 Mark Dunn

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 03:13 PM

Bipacking isn't without risk. Assuming you can avoid cutting it, what about scanning the original, running it from one spool or core to another? It's not as if it is undamaged, you're not going to wreck it. 40' isn't a huge amount of film to handle.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 24 February 2016 - 03:14 PM.

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#4 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 03:15 PM

The old internegative stock, 7271 was high contrast to be used with Ektachrome commercial low contrast reversal. The current IN stock is similar to 5203 and needs pull development plus flashing to work properly. It is not a trivial task, just read the instructions on the Kodak website;


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#5 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 03:46 PM

Why not get an archival HDR scan of the original and do a film-out? Would the cost savings really be bigger doing it this way? Not trying to be disparaging, just trying to think of the time spent for similar result.

Edited by Kenny N Suleimanagich, 24 February 2016 - 03:47 PM.

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#6 Ari Michael Leeds

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 06:24 PM

I'm doing this for what amounts to (the 5203 is a short end I got for free) $30 bucks for the processing and shipping, maybe $35.  Can't beat that for a 4K scan.
 
Yes, ideally, we would want to just scan the print, although I have heard that not a lot of scanners are equipped for either reversal or prints, as that is something usually confined to stills and slide shooters.


 
Appreciate the responses, unlike my AC question with jokes and sarcasm.

 
Interesting they have a new IN stock.  I wonder if it's just disguised '03 or something similar to the Vision negative films if it requires a flash and a pull!
 

Real internegative film should require none of that, should be either preflashed or formulated by the manufacturer to produce the correct response right out of the can.



 

Also, use a LENS?  I thought bipacking was done with the bare gate.  Keep in mind I've never actually done it, just read about it and seems simple enough.
 

Not too concerned about damage.  Have plenty of 35mm print film laying around, as well as scrap negative to test the gate for both scratching as well as the proper tension when two strips of film are travelling through in tandem.



 

This print is the last one they have, negative probably lost/destroyed, thrown out, so they want a permanent copy, and are afraid to run it.
 

They still have 35mm changeover projectors and ran 35mm film four days ago on them :-D

Of course, they also have a 4K digital projector, so, for this sort of thing, even as a film purist, for something that will see long-term play before every show, this seems to be the way to go, have a scan instead of a print.

They don't have the original negative from which to strike new, lossless copies.


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#7 Ari Michael Leeds

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 06:26 PM

The old internegative stock, 7271 was high contrast to be used with Ektachrome commercial low contrast reversal. The current IN stock is similar to 5203 and needs pull development plus flashing to work properly. It is not a trivial task, just read the instructions on the Kodak website;

Sorry, disregard my response, thought you were referring to the IN film optimized for the likes of 5240 and 5285, not the earlier locon stuff.

Even still, wouldn't that be something that didn't need any flashes or pulls?  Even if it was flashed, you'd think the manufacturer would do that themselves.


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#8 Karim D. Ghantous

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 09:23 PM

I have a cunning plan (albeit a naive one). You could set up the print between two reels, with nothing else except a diffuse light source behind the film. What you would do then is to set up a decent camera and photograph each frame at a time. You would then use auto-alignment software to correct your manual frame advance.

 

I'm no expert on film printing but the best results are obtained with the use of fluid between the source and target films.

 

It would take over an hour, which is not that bad. If you took 5 seconds to set up each frame, that's 24x35x5 = 4,200 = 70 minutes.


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#9 Ari Michael Leeds

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 10:50 AM

Karim:  Thanks for the tip, but scanning is definitely better than rephotographing through a lens.  Any time you go through a lens you lose a TON of resolution.

Scanning is always better.


However, I'll still have registration issues with scanning.  Any software you can recommend that's the easiest for this?  That's not really my area.


As to fluid heads, that's really only necessary for scratch removal.  There may be some scratches on this thing, but I think they want to keep those as part of the vintage, worn feel of the thing, so it won't really be an issue.


Unfortunately, compared to the camera, this scanner will probably take 20x as long it is SLOWWWWWWW.  I plan on just doing it when I have some down time, basically the scanner does all the work while I'm typing or watching movies on Netflix, or something.


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#10 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 11:27 AM

Fun fact:

 

All film scanners use lenses.

 

Very good ones in most cases, but still lenses.


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#11 Ari Michael Leeds

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 11:51 AM

You're right of course, but isn't it just a spot or a line through the lens's sweet spot, as opposed to a sensor imaging the frame all at once, with falloff and optical characteristics of the lens edge to edge?

In any case, it's night and day, like the difference between an optical Super35 blowup and a scanner, even if a DSLR would be a lot faster.


Worth the extra time for the extra quality that a dedicated film scanner will give.


You're from Cinelab:  Do you know anything about labs that are even set up to scan prints/reversal and punch through all that extra contrast?  It seems like a lot of the labs can't cut through the very high OD of print film and reversal film, seeing as how motion pictures are so heavily shot on negative and lower-contrast reversal back in the day.


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#12 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 12:23 PM

Line array scanners use a lens and so do area panel scanners, i.e. a Spirit 4K is a line array and a Arriscan is an area panel.

 

If you use a high quality 50mm or 85mm lens and something like a Canon 5D maybe at a 2.8 or a 4 and have the camera setup in an animation stand style setup you could individually photograph each frame if you made a jig to hold the film over a light box.

 

I wouldn't bi-pack a one of a kind original in a Mitchell unless you had a shrinkage movement, and I wouldn't run that Mitchell at faster than 1-2 fps if you really insisted on trying to do this that way.


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#13 Ari Michael Leeds

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 12:29 PM

Thanks for the tip.  It's a print from the '80s, and they have two, if I recall correctly, one being damaged.

Bipacking produces some slight generation loss, but wouldn't those scanned results (think it's 4K) be far better than a DSLR?



What sort of shrinkage have you encountered with acetate prints from the '80s?

The film doesn't have any vinegar syndrome at least, and runs fine in a projector.  I'd assume that is minimal because it has been out and allowed to breath and seen active use, although maybe I am wrong.  I will have to examine the print more closely.


Just checked and it's a 4000DPI scanner, 4-perf frame with an optical soundtrack, so pretty close to 4K.


Edited by Ari Michael Leeds, 25 February 2016 - 12:30 PM.

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#14 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 05:06 PM

Making an Internegative does have some small loss but considering that the original is a print it will be negligible. The two things I would say about doing it this way are 1. How to light it? Film printers have light boxes with adjustable YCM balance. 2. Will the shrunken print go through the Mitchell? And what frame rate would you run the Mitchell at?

 

I would say that from a print from the 80's a 4K ish direct copy with a DSLR will look pretty good if you use a good lens, manual exposure for inter frame consistency and a decent diffused light source.

 

Al 'Real' film scanner like our Xena Dynamic Perf 4K or the Scan Station (etc) use a 4 or 5K CMOS Bayer sensor and RGB Lighting. Using a DLSR isn't a bad thing to do it's just tediously slow and requires allot of manual work. The print you want to scan might take you hours to do but on a film scanner it would be realtime.


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