Jump to content


Photo

Question about (S) 16mm B&W stocks

Super16mm film black & white

  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 Christian Schonberger

Christian Schonberger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 161 posts
  • Sound Department
  • Lisbon

Posted 01 December 2016 - 11:04 AM

Hello Group,

 

Planning on a short film in Super 16mm B&W. Did some first B-Roll shots as a test with Kodak Tri-X 7226 reversal, waiting for the scan to return. I happened to have two 100ft rolls (one still in the freezer). The idea is to evoke a 1940s-50s period feel. Not sure about excessive film grain in S 16mm though. I have seen a lot of recent footage (excellent digital scans) of Tri-X reversal, Double-X neg, Orwo UN 54 and FomaPan R 100. The latter seems to suffer from unpleasant round white spots (like air or gas bubbles during processing) frequently. Other than that I really can't tell the difference, since it heavily depends on grain management during scanning and grading. The Tri-X reversal is actually the most expensive, but I have seen Double-X and even Orwo UN 54 with about the same amount of grain - all looking very good. Sharpness seems great on all film stocks.

 

Seen Vision 3 de-saturated. Doesn't work for me: it's somehow too milky and the gray values seem off. IMHO a Black&White film should be shot (if possible) on genuine B&W stock. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

 

I am asking because if the Tri-X reversal turns out too grainy in the scan (will have it scanned with a 2K Muller scanner, it's used by the most inexpensive lab I can find where I am located (EU) and the results are always great) - I might switch to Double-X neg and if it works, mixed with the Orwo (when I don't need 200/160 ISO/ASA). 

 

I am not after the "near grainless" 35mm look from the late 1940s and '50s. A little grain is just fine as long as there are no digital artifacts (I have seen Tri-X reversal scans in 16mm/S 16mm ranging from "unusable, gritty and very grainy" to excellent with fine detail in the highlights (one wouldn't expect with reversal). I guess some labs apply sharpening with the wrong settings that brings out the grain (especially in darker areas) way too much. 

 

Any input and tips very much appreciated,

 

Cheers,

Christian


Edited by Christian Schonberger, 01 December 2016 - 11:04 AM.

  • 0

#2 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3071 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 01 December 2016 - 01:56 PM

I've shot a lot of stuff on Plus-X, Tri-X and B&W negative. If your goal is to scan back to digital, you'll find the finer grain negative stock to work the best. It's less noisy, but it also has more latitude then the reversal stocks. I was never truly happy with the Tri-x and Plus-x stuff I've shot over the years, it was always too noisy and muddy for my taste. I like a more glass-like look with depth to the image, which is what you get with negative.

From the Orwo stuff I've seen, it's WAY noisier then the Kodak 7222 double-x negative. I don't know the ISO of the Orwo, but I rated the 7222 at 70 ISO and it was really nice looking. I'm not a fan of over-exposure, so I like to protect my highlights a bit, especially with B&W.

I made a few short films over the years where I used reversal mixed with 500T that I've turned B&W to match. Well... it doesn't look like B&W reversal or negative, which have very distinct looks. So I agree that shooting color may not be the right option. Plus Kodak 7222 is a lot cheaper to work with then color. I'm sure if you call them up, they'll give you a killer deal, they've probably got boat loads of it sitting around.

In terms of scanning, especially super 16. It's wise to go a bit higher then 2k. You'll get less digital noise when you scan at like 2.5 - 3k because the silver granulates will be more complete vs half or quarter. This is what causes a lot of the digital noise with scanned material. Then you can add a softening mask in post, which gives yo more control over the grain, then scanning with less resolution. Obviously if the only machine at your disposal is the 2k one, you don't have a choice. But I've done quite a few tests and I'm a firm believer at scanning higher and softening, then scanning low and preying. :)
  • 0

#3 Kenny N Suleimanagich

Kenny N Suleimanagich
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 900 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York

Posted 01 December 2016 - 03:50 PM

I did a 16mm shoot for a fashion brand recently, was very pleased with the black and white results. The references were 1960s-era documentaries with very spotty, single-source lighting. 

 

Orwo N74: 

 

Expired 7222: 

 

Both are 2K Prores 4444 scans from Metropolis in NYC. 


  • 0

#4 Christian Schonberger

Christian Schonberger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 161 posts
  • Sound Department
  • Lisbon

Posted 01 December 2016 - 04:18 PM

Kenny,

 

Thanks for posting. Looking great! The Orwo (400 neg) isn't available here in Europe as far as I know. The expired Double-X looks great also. Here comes the obligatory question: is it Super 16mm or cropped regular 16mm? 

 

Anyway: love the look of both film stocks - excellent grain management, adds a lot of character. Nice creative focus work!

 

Thanks for sharing!

 

Christian


  • 0

#5 aapo lettinen

aapo lettinen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 855 posts
  • Other
  • Finland

Posted 01 December 2016 - 04:28 PM

The Orwo (400 neg) isn't available here in Europe as far as I know

 

did you ask from Orwo directly? they have a minimum order quantity of about 10 or 20 rolls if I remember correctly but it should be available if they still manufacture it ( I mainly shoot 35mm so don't know the current 16mm stock availability)


  • 0

#6 Christian Schonberger

Christian Schonberger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 161 posts
  • Sound Department
  • Lisbon

Posted 01 December 2016 - 04:40 PM

 

did you ask from Orwo directly? they have a minimum order quantity of about 10 or 20 rolls if I remember correctly but it should be available if they still manufacture it ( I mainly shoot 35mm so don't know the current 16mm stock availability)

Thanks for the tip. Well I won't need the N 74. I'm more than fine with 200 and 100 ISO B&W stocks. Let's see how the Tri-X 7266 reversal turned out. Had to zap the film at 48 fps through the gate for some shots because 200 was too fast and my humble Zenitar 16mm lens doesn't have an ND filter. If I had the $$$ for stock, processing etc. I'd very likely get a nice classic 35mm camera such as the Arriflex 35 IIC (4-perf - ouch!).... thanks for the reply.

 

Christian


  • 0

#7 Kenny N Suleimanagich

Kenny N Suleimanagich
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 900 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York

Posted 01 December 2016 - 04:58 PM

It was Super 16 on MkII Super Speeds. Just an example of a good scan with good compression rendering grain a bit better. 


  • 1

#8 Christian Schonberger

Christian Schonberger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 161 posts
  • Sound Department
  • Lisbon

Posted 01 December 2016 - 05:24 PM

It was Super 16 on MkII Super Speeds. Just an example of a good scan with good compression rendering grain a bit better. 

Thanks for the information.

 

Christian


  • 0

#9 Christian Schonberger

Christian Schonberger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 161 posts
  • Sound Department
  • Lisbon

Posted 03 December 2016 - 08:12 PM

I've shot a lot of stuff on Plus-X, Tri-X and B&W negative. If your goal is to scan back to digital, you'll find the finer grain negative stock to work the best. It's less noisy, but it also has more latitude then the reversal stocks. I was never truly happy with the Tri-x and Plus-x stuff I've shot over the years, it was always too noisy and muddy for my taste. I like a more glass-like look with depth to the image, which is what you get with negative.

From the Orwo stuff I've seen, it's WAY noisier then the Kodak 7222 double-x negative. I don't know the ISO of the Orwo, but I rated the 7222 at 70 ISO and it was really nice looking. I'm not a fan of over-exposure, so I like to protect my highlights a bit, especially with B&W.

I made a few short films over the years where I used reversal mixed with 500T that I've turned B&W to match. Well... it doesn't look like B&W reversal or negative, which have very distinct looks. So I agree that shooting color may not be the right option. Plus Kodak 7222 is a lot cheaper to work with then color. I'm sure if you call them up, they'll give you a killer deal, they've probably got boat loads of it sitting around.

In terms of scanning, especially super 16. It's wise to go a bit higher then 2k. You'll get less digital noise when you scan at like 2.5 - 3k because the silver granulates will be more complete vs half or quarter. This is what causes a lot of the digital noise with scanned material. Then you can add a softening mask in post, which gives yo more control over the grain, then scanning with less resolution. Obviously if the only machine at your disposal is the 2k one, you don't have a choice. But I've done quite a few tests and I'm a firm believer at scanning higher and softening, then scanning low and preying. :)

Tyler,

 

Thanks a lot for the detailed reply and information. Where I am located (EU) I can't get good deals on film stock. It's gererally more expensive here. I fully agree: as much as I like that retro and nostalgic feel of good reversal stock (such as the Kodak Ektachromme 100D), I prefer negative because it has much more depth to it and draws you into the picture - just enough in 16mm. Bought the Tri-X a while back because I could have it hand processed (with ace results!) at about half the price, but it will be split and re-spliced around the 50ft mark because of the tank size. 

Let's see how my Tri-X B-roll footage turned out (had it machine processed by a top notch lab with no splice). I have a feeling that I will switch to Double-X negative, which is cheaper anyway. The Orwo is 100 ISO at daylight and I might need it (it seems to mix well with Double-X since it is also a negative stock that can also be processed as reversal but I won't need that) for daylight shots. 

 

About scanning: Since it's a short film project I am planning on using the inexpensive but great 2K scan for a first final edit. I will keep the film footage cool, dry and sealed and have 4K overscans made for a frame-by-frame re-edit when I have the $$$, including a fast computer, software and data storage. This way I also can apply noise reduction, grading, image stabilization and accurate framing. But I'll save that for later to get a true high quality version.

Well I am fully with you here: I like depth and clarity in the film image. 16mm provides just enough grit and softness to make it look "finished" (for lack of a better word, but that's what I see in well shot film: it looks polished, silky, classy, finished and with just the right amount of distance to the viewer to never have that last hint of "TV" look). There's a fine line between that nice organic grain pattern, providing the right feel and patina - and "too much, too coarse", the latter drawing way too much attention to itself in Super 16mm. 

 

Thanks again,

Christian


  • 0

#10 Nicholas Liang

Nicholas Liang

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts
  • Other
  • Winnipeg, Canada

Posted 14 April 2017 - 11:39 AM

Hello all,

After some time as an avid reader, I thought I would join the forum as it has been a great resource. This thread seems to be a good place to start as it is discussing quite a few questions I have regarding shooting on 7222. Throughout my searches, I've been observing mixed responses in regards to how problematic the lack of rem-jet backing on the film is for shooting on the SR3. Some say that the reflective back plate in the film gate can cause extreme halation effects, whereas others have had no problems. Furthermore, perhaps some advice can be provided for the following short-film I will be filming:

I will be filming a short, approximately six minutes in length, on an Arri SR3 in the early summer. The majority of the shots will be exteriors, ideally on a somewhat diffused overcast day. The camera will be making a few large dynamic movements, so I was thinking of using a fairly wide angle lens (9.5mm Zeiss Prime Super Speed). Though, I am concerned with focus pulling while the camera makes a few of these longer movements. My thoughts on this problem are that pull focus issues can be minimized by maintaing a deep focus with the wider lens. Finally, from the many online examples I've seen, there seems to be a large variance in the sharpness, contrast, and grain of the film stock. I would expect this as there is a large variance in the intention and skill of film makers, but it is making it difficult to assess the limitations of the stock. I may do some tests on a 100' roll, but I thought I would see if anyone had thoughts on how to retain a sharp, low grain, image on the stock (maybe not possible!) I will likely be purchasing about 500' of film for approximately six minutes. That amount of film does not afford a great deal of latitude as it is about a 2:1 shot ratio. I know that in order to achieve a gamma slope coefficient of 0.65, Kodak recommends exposing at an ISO of 250 for exteriors. In practice, has this proven true?

 

Kenny, you seem to achieve a very nice grain with a sharp contrast between the subjects and the background. From the looks of it, you are using a single light source from behind the camera to keep the subjects lit, correct?

Finally, here are a few examples of films that achieve a similar effect. Although all of these cinematographers were shooting on 35mm, I would like to approximate the richness of detail as close as possible. Thanks for taking the time to indulge me and I look forward to reading your recommendations. 

 

František Vláčil, Bedrich "Beda" Batka - Marketa Lazarová 
 

zdenek-liska-marketa-lazarova1.png
marketa%20lazarova.jpg

 
Mikhail Kalatozov, Sergey Urusevsky - Soy Cuba

soycuba1.jpg
soy_cuba_5.jpg
 

Andrzej Wajda, Jerzy Wojcik - Popiół i diament

Ashes-and-Diamonds-2-1140x600.jpg


Edited by Nicholas Liang, 14 April 2017 - 11:40 AM.

  • 0



rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

ZoomCrane

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly

Tai Audio

The Slider

Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Abel Cine

Pro 8mm

CineTape

Quantum Music Works

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

ZoomCrane

Abel Cine

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery

The Slider

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

FJS International, LLC

Pro 8mm

CineTape

Quantum Music Works

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

Metropolis Post