Jump to content


Photo

Recreating the Aged Film Look


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 gustavius smith

gustavius smith
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts
  • Director

Posted 01 September 2005 - 07:08 PM

I used the advice I got from this post and shot my short black and white poltical satire using a 16mm film camera with expiried stock and at a higer speed than normal. I want the film to have the look and feel of an aged slightly damaged Charles Chaplin or Charles Bowers film.

We shot between 1000-1500 feet of film. I was thinking that I would hand edit the film usijnga steambeck in order to add the "damage" to the workprint. However I don't know any true techniques if there are any for doing this.

I have heard that the digital effects programs are not natural looking but again what are the rules for damaging your film on purpose?

Sincerely
Gustavius Smith
  • 0

#2 Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 873 posts
  • Sound Department
  • Minneapolis

Posted 04 September 2005 - 11:59 PM

If you are wanting to get the look of a film that's gone through a dirty projector or editor many times, you can run it thru a dirty projector or editor. The problem with that technique is that the film is then permanently scarred; if you decide it's too damaged, it's too late, you can't roll back one iteration of damage.

You might consider getting a print of your original and experimenting on the print (sounds like that's your plan anyway), which will be contrastier and degraded one generation anyway. That way, the original is still usable if you don't like what you've done.

Rules on damaging film? Save the sprocket holes, otherwise anything goes - photo chemical spills, razor blades, india ink, brillo pads, coffee grounds, human waste, etc. You'll probably want to clean the film before you put it thru a projector or telecine, though - you don't want to be accused of transferring a crappy film!

Edited by Robert Hughes, 05 September 2005 - 12:09 AM.

  • 0

#3 Dominic Case

Dominic Case
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1357 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 05 September 2005 - 01:24 AM

I want the film to have the look and feel of an aged slightly damaged Charles Chaplin or Charles Bowers film.

photo chemical spills, razor blades, india ink, brillo pads, coffee grounds, human waste, etc.


It's not clear to me how the above damage will produce the effect of an aged slightly damaged Charles Chaplin film.

Making a print and mislacing it a couple of times on almost any machine (rewind, projector, telecine etc ) so that the surface of the film rubs against a surface would probably be enough for a subtle effect.

However I do like the "Steambeck" idea.
  • 0

#4 Steven Budden

Steven Budden
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 347 posts
  • Other
  • San Francisco

Posted 05 September 2005 - 02:14 AM

I have similar ambitions. To start I'm hand processing my negative and the editing workprint. Then I'm going to cut my own negative. That is bound to put a few specks here and there.

I love the look of aged film because it calls attention to the film medium instead of polishing it all away. After the current short I'm going to shoot reversal and project and edit the original. I'm not sure I'll urinate on the film for the age ole look. Perhaps I'll leave that to the critics!

Steven
  • 0

#5 Luke Prendergast

Luke Prendergast
  • Sustaining Members
  • 491 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Victoria Australia

Posted 05 September 2005 - 03:15 AM

They had Steambecks before electric flatbeds were invented.
  • 0

#6 Dominic Case

Dominic Case
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1357 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 05 September 2005 - 09:41 PM

To start I'm hand processing my negative and the editing workprint. Then I'm going to cut my own negative. That is bound to put a few specks here and there.

Anyone who does this immediately gains new respect for the professionals who handle original negative in the labs and the neg matching rooms.
  • 0

#7 gustavius smith

gustavius smith
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts
  • Director

Posted 06 September 2005 - 11:50 AM

It's not clear to me how the above damage will produce the effect of an aged slightly damaged Charles Chaplin film.

Making a print and mislacing it a couple of times on almost any machine (rewind, projector, telecine etc ) so that the surface of the film rubs against a surface would probably be enough for a subtle effect.

However I do like the "Steambeck" idea.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I will try this tonight because we have a porjector. Thanks
  • 0

#8 gustavius smith

gustavius smith
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts
  • Director

Posted 13 September 2005 - 09:45 AM

I will try this tonight because we have a porjector. Thanks

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Some expired color stock just bit me hard. We shot about 1400 feet of expired stock tryign to duplicate the look and feel of an old Charles Chaplin film on 16mm. Guess what...it worked? The film looks grainy and old but it came out severly underexposed. The lab is blaming it on the film stock my DP admits to not checkign all of the rolls. We made a black and white workprint from the color negative so I could go ahead and damage the film some more but it was way to dark, the color negeative is a bit better but not by much. My last ditch effort to salvage the film is to lighten it in the transfer. Any suggestions for correcting underexposed footage. My first film and murphy's law....

Thanks
Gustavius Smith
718 300 7163
  • 0

#9 John Pytlak RIP

John Pytlak RIP

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 3499 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Rochester, NY 14650-1922

Posted 13 September 2005 - 10:43 AM

Some expired color stock just bit me hard. We shot about 1400 feet of expired stock tryign to duplicate the look and feel of an old Charles Chaplin film on 16mm. Guess what...it worked? The film looks grainy and old but it came out severly underexposed. The lab is blaming it on the film stock my DP admits to not checkign all of the rolls. We made a black and white workprint from the color negative so I could go ahead and damage the film some more but it was way to dark, the color negeative is a bit better but not by much. My last ditch effort to salvage the film is to lighten it in the transfer. Any suggestions for correcting underexposed footage. My first film and murphy's law....

Thanks
Gustavius Smith
718 300 7163

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Not much you can do to salvage severely underexposed footage after it's already been processed. Hopefully, you can do do some correction in post production.

In the B&W still world, there were techniques for "intensification" of low density silver images, such as "selenium intensification":

http://www.photo.net...g?msg_id=002ZNL

If you shot color negative, no techniques are available to increase the dye density.
  • 0

#10 Dominic Case

Dominic Case
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1357 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 13 September 2005 - 05:49 PM

We made a black and white workprint from the color negative so I could go ahead and damage the film some more but it was way to dark

If the lab has just made a black and white work print on 7302 print stock, then it is simply a record of the yellow (blue sensitive) dye layer of the negative, and would be lower contrast than a colour print anyway. (B/W print gamma is around 2.5, colour print is about 3.8).

So your colour neg may not be as badly underexposed as you think. Can the lab tell you how bad the problem is? Have they graded (timed) the negative? What are the lights?

You haven't mentioned your plan to use colour negative stock before in this topic. Now, since you are aiming for a black and white image, your options are rather limited. You may be able to get a much stronger image if you can persuade the lab to print on panchromatic sound negative (if it exists in 16mm). It's much contrastier, and will capture the red and green records as well.

But you mention "transfer". So you are finishing in video? Make a colour print (bound to be better than the b/w print), do your damage to that, and then drain the colour at the transfer session. Problem solved.
  • 0

#11 gustavius smith

gustavius smith
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts
  • Director

Posted 15 September 2005 - 09:23 AM

If the lab has just made a black and white work print on 7302 print stock, then it is simply a record of the yellow (blue sensitive) dye layer of the negative, and would be lower contrast than a colour print anyway. (B/W print gamma is around 2.5, colour print is about 3.8).

So your colour neg may not be as badly underexposed as you think. Can the lab tell you how bad the problem is? Have they graded (timed) the negative? What are the lights?

You haven't mentioned your plan to use colour negative stock before in this topic. Now, since you are aiming for a black and white image, your options are rather limited. You may be able to get a much stronger image if you can persuade the lab to print on panchromatic sound negative (if it exists in 16mm). It's much contrastier, and will capture the red and green records as well.

But you mention "transfer". So you are finishing in video? Make a colour print (bound to be better than the b/w print), do your damage to that, and then drain the colour at the transfer session. Problem solved.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Right you are Dominic! The lab suggested that I make a color print bumped it up a but and it was better. I ended up with two options, a grainy (due to the expired stock) milky look or when pushed on the telecine a grainy hi-con look. Both work well for a 1920's old film look. Why my DP suggested a b&W print is beyond me and it was $300 I could have used to buy food : ) I will probably end up with a look that is a cross between milky and hi-con. Word to the wise, EXPIRED FILM STOCK MUST BE THOROUGHLY TESTED AND YOUR METHODS FOR OBTAINING A PURE AGED FILM LOOK MUST ALSO BE TESTED BEFORE YOU START SHOOTING.
The film was so bad there is no need to ruin the print I got the look I wanted and there simply is no more time to hand edit if I am hoping to make SUndance short film deadline.
  • 0

#12 Dominic Case

Dominic Case
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1357 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 15 September 2005 - 10:36 PM

The film was so bad there is no need to ruin the print

When I read your post at the start of this thread " how can I damage my film?" I was tempted to say " no worries, just send it to the lab". But it seems you have managed to do the damage before it even got to the lab ;)

All in all, though, your advice to TEST BEFORE YOU START SHOOTING is indeed wise. Usually you end up savinga lot of money if you do that, even though it might appear that the tests will cost you something to start with.
  • 0

#13 Boone Hudgins

Boone Hudgins
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 123 posts
  • Other
  • Toledo, OR

Posted 16 September 2005 - 06:30 PM

Robert Wise aged the newsreel film on Citizen Kane by rubbing it against the concrete floor of the editing room.
  • 0

#14 Steven Budden

Steven Budden
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 347 posts
  • Other
  • San Francisco

Posted 16 September 2005 - 11:03 PM

Robert Wise aged the newsreel film on Citizen Kane by rubbing it against the concrete floor of the editing room.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


If you're looking for scratches, simply run the negative through the projector. Voila!

Steven
  • 0

#15 Michael Nash

Michael Nash
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3330 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Pasadena, CA

Posted 17 September 2005 - 03:44 PM

I'm coming into this thread late, so the damage is literally already done. :(

But I don't understand why on Earth you would try to screw up the camera original. It's much, much safer to shoot "clean" and make a print or dupe negative and screw that up instead. In fact, this would allow you to try out different techniques until you get the one that works best for you.

It's not like it costs too much money to make a print, because the risk of not having useable footage by a damaged original is SO much more costly!
  • 0


CineLab

Metropolis Post

Ritter Battery

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

Opal

The Slider

Glidecam

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Visual Products

Technodolly

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

Paralinx LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

CineLab

The Slider

Visual Products

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Opal

Wooden Camera