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kodak filmmaking and cinematography basicsdouble 8mm color film i double 8mm bw

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the kodak film professional�s
guide to motion picture film
film basics:
eastman kodak currently manufactures many different motion picture films. these
products vary by "film code," that is, the emulsion type, and format; the width
of the film. lengths of camera films range from fifty to two thousand feet.
camera film types include "negative," which is the general choice among
professional users, and "reversal" film. negative film cannot be projected after
processing. it must be printed in the laboratory or be transferred to videotape
on a "telecine" for television applications. reversal films can be projected
immediately after processing because they duplicate reversal film. kodak
manufacturers a whole series of materials for reversal film applications. more
on this later.
choosing a film:
there are very definite reasons for selecting a negative or a reversal camera
film. special applications aside, a reversal film is generally used when:
* there will be no need for more than one copy of the film.
* time between photography and projection (or transfer) is critical (as in
* economy. it is less expensive to shoot reversal film and develop than to shoot
negative and develop and print.
* black and white reversal films tend to be a bit sharper for their given speed
than he negative / positive process.
disadvantages of reversal films include:
limited selection of products available
limited number of laboratories that process reversal film
reversal films generally require very accurate exposure techniques
if the original is damaged in handling or projection, there is no negative
from which to reprint.
prints (duplicates) made from reversal originals tend to vary in contrast from
the camera originals.

negative films offer a wide selection of products and a choice of several

different "looks." the concept behind the kodak "family or films," especially in
the vision series, is to provide a consistent "look" across a large range of
film "speeds."
a quick review of film "speed":
"speed" is an old photographic term that relates to how quickly a photographic
material reacts to light during exposure. this meaning dates from a time when
exposures were measured in terms of minutes, not fractions of a second. the
description of "timing" a print has the same origin. in either case, we are not
really discussing the movement of anything, but rather an amount of light
striking the film. as in still photography, the volume of light that reaches the
film is controlled in part by the camera�s "shutter speed" setting.
in a typical movie camera, the "shutter speed" is usually about half of the
frame rate; that is, if the camera is running at the standard 24 frames per
second, the shutter speed is about 1/50th of a second.
a typical shutter consists of a rotating disc in the path of the light with a
"cutout opening" of almost 180 degrees. while the solid part of the shutter disc
is covering the light path, the film is brought into place in the "film gate,"
where it will be exposed. once this happens, the continuing rotation of the
shutter brings the cutout area in front of the film gate, letting light strike
the film. once the cutout passes, the light is blocked, and the next frame of
film is moved into place. this process is repeated 24 times per second under
ordinary circumstances. since the cutout is about half the disc area it is equal
to about half the time, or 1/48 of a second. by making this cutout larger or
smaller, the shutter speed can be varied. unless the camera operator
specifically changes this shutter speed (on cameras that have this ability), or
changes the frame rate of the film, such as in "slow motion" cinematography, the
1/50th of a second stays the same.
as in still photography, the amount of light striking the film is also
determined by the "f-stop," or lens opening selected, and of course, the actual
lighting condition.
the idea behind kodak�s offering so many choices of color negative film is to
provide a film that is ideal for every lighting situation. decades ago, when
there was only a single type of color negative, the cinematographer faced with a
low-light situation would have to have the laboratory "force develop" the film
to increase its speed. this can be overheating the chemistry being used. this
practice offers limited success and sometimes-unpredictable results.
force-develop film tends to have increased contrast and graininess, degrading
the image. the current color negatives from kodak offer a range of speeds from
e.i. (exposure index) 50, to e.i. 800; suitable for conditions ranging from
bright sunlight to night exteriors.
the "color" of light:
the source of light will determine the color of the light. the color of light
will influence the color of subjects photographed in that light. the color of a
table lamp will appear more "warm" than light from a morning sky. candlelight
will look "warmer." although the human eye readily adapts to different types of
light, film will record the colors of a scene very accurately. what we consider
"daylight," that is, the mix of light from the sky and sun from two hours after
sunrise until two hours before sunset is very different in its "color" than
typical household lighting. florescent lighting has its own pallet of colors.
the color of a given light is expressed as its "color temperature." simply put,
the redder, or "warmer" a light source is, the lower its color temperature. the
bluer, or "cooler" the light source is, the higher its color temperature.
household light typically measures at about 2,900 degrees kelvin on a color
temperature meter, and is considered "warm." what we consider "daylight" is
about 5600 degrees, and called "cool."
"tungsten" studio lighting is about 3200-3400 degrees kelvin. there is a type of
studio light called "h.m.i.," which is designed to have the color temperature of
daylight. kodak manufactures films that are balanced for either "daylight" or
"tungsten" light sources.
"tungsten" films can be shot easily in daylight with the use of an "85 filter,"
an orange piece of glass or plastic that changes the quality of the light
entering the lens to "tungsten" color. there is a slight loss of speed, about
because about 1/3 of its overall speed has been lost. 1/3 total value. thus, a
film with an e.i. of 200 must be rated at e.i. 125 with the filter in daylight
"daylight" films can be shot in tungsten light with the use of an "80a" filter,
but this is not recommended because this technique reduces the amount of light
striking the film by about two-thirds! an e.i. 250 daylight film, like kodak
vision 250d then loses so much speed that it must be rated at e.i. 64 with the
80a filter in tungsten light.
applying the film to the situation:
when choosing or selecting a film, the first question must be, "what is the
lighting situation under which the film will be exposed?"
how much light is available?
what is the color of the light?
generally speaking, these two issues will be the determining factors of the film
selected. just as in operating a car, the proper gear is the one will that
provide good power and speed at the proper engine revolutions. thus, the film�s
speed should allow exposure that is comfortably within the range of the camera
lens for a given lighting situation. under normal circumstances, the
cinematographer does not want to have to open the lens all the way nor close it
down all the way, as these settings usually diminish the quality of the picture.

looking at the numbers:

lenses are marked according to the amount of light that is allowed to enter.
these are referred to as the "f-stop" or "t-stop" numbers, and they are
mathematically related. typical "stops" include f: 2, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, and 22.
for each "stop," or change in lens opening, the amount of light allowed to reach
the film is either doubled or halved. the larger the "f" value, the smaller the
amount of light that may pass. thus, "f-11" allows half as much light to pass as
would "f-8."
the speed rating of the film is related in a similar fashion; each doubling of
the film speed means twice the sensitivity to light. this means that if a film
with a speed of e.i. 100 requires a setting of "f-8" for a given situation, a
film rated at e.i. 200 would call for the setting of "f-11," which is one "stop"
more closed. conversely, a film rated at e.i. 50 would require a "stop" of
"f-5.6" for that scene.
the difference in e.i. 50 to e.i. 100 is one stop. from e.i. 100 to e.i. 200 is
also one stop. from e.i. 200 to e.i. 400 would be one stop, also.
in the chart above, the bar at the top represents typical lens openings. the bar
below shows the film speed (a.s.a. or e.i.) that would provide the corresponding
correct exposure. for example, for a given light situation, the use of a
200-speed film would require f 5.6. if 100-speed film were used, the lens would
be set at f4. the use of a film with a speed of 500 would require setting the
lens betweenf8 and f11.
slower is finer:
all things being equal, the "slower" the film, the finer the grain and the
better the sharpness of the image. vision technology has minimized the
differences in quality between film speeds, but for cinematographers who desire
the best overall image quality, the film with the lowest e.i. than can be used
is the best choice.
bigger is better:
the first rule of image quality is that the bigger the negative area, the higher
the quality of the image. this rule assumes that the quality of the cameras and
lenses used are equal. that is not to say that a 16mm film cannot look quite
good. but the use of 35mm film under identical circumstances will almost always
yield a sharper, finer-grained picture with better contrast.
filters and image quality:
modern precision filters generally do not detract from the quality of the image
being photographed. still, it is usually desirable to avoid unnecessary layers
of glass or plastic in the light path. as a result, the use of "daylight" film
in daylight or h.m.i. light is preferred to the use of "tungsten" film with an
"85" filter.
sometimes, the added flexibility of using a single film, a "tungsten" balanced
type, in all situations may override the difference in quality a "daylight"
product might offer. the outstanding performance of a film like "5/7274" in many
different light situations with proper filtration is one reason for its
there is a color negative product that differs somewhat from the rest of the
product line, and warrants discussion here. kodak vision 320t, 5/7277. this film
is designed to have a lower overall level of contrast and color saturation,
which will provide:
*greater exposure "latitude," that is improved ability to handle extremes of
brightness and shadow in the original scene.
*more room for "error" in exposure
*a "softer," look, with less brilliant colors
this film might be the choice for the cinematographer who seeks an "alternative"
color reversal films:
color reversal films in the past fifteen years have found their prime usage in
student, government, consumer, and industrial markets. originally the only color
product in 16mm, reversal films have not enjoyed the technical advancements of
their negative counterparts. there are two major types: kodachrome and
ektachrome, and within these categories, some variations according to color
temperature and speed.
kodachrome was the first practical full-color film, introduced in 1935. it was
designed to be a consumer product first and foremost, although for some years it
had some commercial applications. with several refinements, kodachrome is the
same film as that of over sixty years ago; very sharp with excellent grain and
outstanding, bright colors. the chemical design of kodachrome ahs made it an
excellent "archival" color material as well. while this film has not been used
for many commercial applications: it is made in one super-8 (kodachrome 40), and
in two 16mm forms: (kodachrome 25 daylight and kodachrome 40 tungsten).
its high level of contrast works well for direct projection, for example in a
"home movie" situation, but this characteristic makes it difficult to
duplicate- a necessity for commercial use.
processing is complicated and most independent laboratories do not offer this
service. limited processing availability can mean a longer turn-around time.
the speed of kodachrome movie film is limited to e.i. 40, at most.
ektachrome was designed to be a user (local laboratory) process film. the
current ektachrome motion picture films, called "v.n.f." were designed to be
used for newsgathering; (video news film). there is only one 35mm color reversal
film; called "7239" (contrary to typical protocol). there are four 16mm versions
of v.n.f. (and one "e-6" "new" film, available in 35mm only).
7239, a "daylight" balanced film, e.i. 160
7240, a "tungsten" balanced film, e.i. 125
7250, a "tungsten" balanced film, e.i. 400
7251, a "daylight" balanced film, e.i. 400
5285, a "daylight" balanced film, e.i. 100
these films can serve many purposes:
they are suitable for direct projection.
they can be duplicated using eastman 5/7399 reversal print film.
color intermediates can be made on eastman 5/7272 intermediate stock (for
subsequent printing).
they can be used with an "electronic intermediate" and then printed.
they are suitable for telecine transfer to videotape.
far more laboratories process ektachrome than kodachrome. generally speaking,
the quality of the v.n.f. images does not approach that of eastman color
negative films. where image quality is secondary and practicality and economy is
primary, vnf color reversal films may be the proper choice.
the 5285, ektachrome 100d is essentially a "slide film" made in "motion picture
form." this film is designed for "e-6" processing, which differs somewhat from
vnf. consult your laboratory listing for the most current information about
processing this film. it is essential that the customer know that this is not an
ordinary film, and that special processing (e-6) is required.
living black-and-white:
eastman black-and-white films are more than just the industry standard; they
created the industry. eastman plus-x film, 5231, is the direct successor to its
"ancient" relative, 1231, the nitrate film on which most of the "classics" were
shot. there are two negative films in both 35mm and 16mm, and two reversal
black-and-white 16mm products.
black-and-white negative films include plus-x and double-x. plus-x has
exceptionally fine grain and excellent sharpness. interestingly, it has two
speed ratings; ei 80 in daylight, and ei 64 in tungsten light. both of these
ratings are for use without a filter. the reason for this is the additional blue
light present in daylight, to which the film is most sensitive.
double-x is plus-x�s high-speed cousin. while not as fine-grained as plus-x, it
is quite sharp for its speed, again with two ratings; ei 250 in daylight, 200 in
tungsten. generally speaking, double-x is unsuitable for daylight use without
significant filtration because it will be overexposed. it finds its chief
applications in the studio when lighting is limited, or in low-light exterior
kodak also manufactures black-and-white reversal films, plus-x reversal, and
tri-x reversal. these films are only available in 16mm and super 8 formats.
unlike their negative counterparts, these films yield a positive image, suitable
for projection or telecine transfer following processing. kodak also
manufactures intermediate and print films to compliment these reversal films.
frequently asked questions:
aren�t "grain" and "sharpness" the same thing?
while grain and sharpness are both measure of image quality, they are really two
separate characteristics. grain refers to the image smoothness, and is
especially noticeable in broad areas of a solid color like sky or fleshtones.
sharpness refers to a film�s ability to resolve actual detail in the picture.
both of these aspects contribute to the overall look of the picture.
a film can be sharp yet have moderate levels of graininess like double-x
negative. a film can also have micro-fine grain yet not be as sharp as another
film with more visible grain. actual measurements of these items for each film
may be found in the kodak publication h-5.
since kodak has reduced grain and improved sharpness so much with the new vision
films, why not just use a fast film all the time?
the use of a high-speed film can often be a hindrance to the cinematographer if
it is used in a bright-light situation. the most obvious problem is that of
overexposure. given enough light, it may not be possible to stop-down enough; a
stop of f22 may not suffice. remedies such as additional filtration can detract
from the image quality and darken the viewfinder image, making it difficult for
the operator to frame the picture. additionally, many cinematographers prefer a
larger opening to add a feeling of depth.
i know that super 16 filming requires film perforated on just one edge. what
about super 35?
super-35 is a format, which utilizes exactly the same film as regular 35mm
cinematography. the super-35 format simply uses a part of the frame area, which
ordinarily goes to waste.
can i use color film for black-and-white cinematography? i may change my mind
about the finished film later.
yes. for television applications, it is simple task to drop the color out during
telecine transfer, should a black and white image be desired. it is also
possible to achieve this for theatrical projection by using black and white
intermediate and/or print films. examples of this include the features, dead
again and pleasantville. it is obviously more expensive to use color materials
than black and white materials, however, and the contrast of scenes may appear
isn�t it less expensive for me to shoot my feature film in 16mm and blow it up
to 35mm later?
from a raw-stock standpoint it is obviously less expensive to shoot on 16mm
film. the real issue becomes the cost of the laboratory work necessary to blow
up the 16mm film of the image may be acceptable, it is generally recognized that
it will not approach the sharpness and clarity of 35mm-originated images.
much of the quality associated with 35mm film can be attributed to the class of
lenses and the mechanical superiority of the larger film. while the new film
emulsions from kodak offer superb images even in 16mm, the use of 35mm camera
film provides an image that is four to five times larger than the 16mm frame.
the costs associated with the blow up often offset the rawstock savings.
another drawback to super 16mm photography for theatrical release is the
inability to project super 16mm film with a soundtrack. the area on a 16mm print
has been used for the additional picture area of the larger frame, prohibiting a
composite print (sound-on-film) in super 16mm. a 35mm blowup, telecine transfer
to video, or a special optical reduction print must be made to project a super
16 feature.
film speeds and shooting ratios:
here is a handy quick reference relating to film travel and usage:
35mm film travels at 90 feet per minute
16mm films travels at 36 feet per minute
there are 16 frames in a foot of standard 35mm film
there are 40 frames in a foot of 16mm film
400 of 16mm film is equal in running time to 1000 feet of 35mm film
normal us film speed for sound pictures is 24 frames per second

some european countries shoot at 25 frames per second for television
applications if their broadcast system is pal type
film is occasionally shot in the us at 30 frames per second for television if
it is desired that the film frame rate match exactly the ntsc television frame
special applications, like slow-motion cinematography will use higher frame
a shooting ratio is simply the footage shot divided by the length of the final
cut film. for example, if a typical feature film is cut to 10,000 feet and
250, 000 feet were shot, the shooting ratio would be 25 to 1. there is no
standard shooting ratio, though we receive many telephone calls from neophyte
filmmakers asking us what is typical.
let�s discuss sound for a moment. nowadays, a device other than the camera
records sound. it may be a specialized portable tape recorder, like the nagra, a
precision on the tape along with the sound record. by doing so, if the tape
speed varies slightly during the recording, the crystal signal records this
information, making it possible to correct it later. prior to the nagra
recorder, sound had to be recorded on magnetically coated film stock on a much
larger machine with cables running from the camera to the sound recorder for
sound sync information.
another modern way to record sound is with a dat; a digital audio tape recorder,
whose internal clock mechanism makes ancillary timing devices unnecessary.
after the film is developed, the sound record is transferred to magnetic film of
the same width as the camera film (16 or 35mm), to allow for physical cutting in
a synchronizer, a device with two or more sprocket wheels locked together by a
metal shaft, to maintain synchronization. there are many variations on this
theme; some sound tracks remain in their digital form throughout production, and
are edited electronically.
s. garfinkel revision 6/00
� copyright 2002, 8mmfilmstock. com, p.o. box 480311, hollywood, ca 90048