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Andrew Reid

Kodak celluloid film saved by studios - oh and by the way - what's the point?

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The more I think about it the more I think celluloid motion picture film really is an environmental disaster.  Leaving aside the chemicals required to make it, processing it requires huge amounts of a witches brew of toxic chemicals - the bleach contains potassium ferricyanide, potassium bromide,ammonium thiocyanate and various acids.  The developer contains formaldehyde; the fixer ammonium and sulfur compounds.  All of these chemicals are further contaminated with heavy amounts of silver waste washed away from the film during processing.  And loads of clean water have to be consumed at each rinse step.  An 120 minute 35mm film requires at least 36,000 feet of camera negative processed (at a conservative 3:1 shooting ratio).  Back when movies were released on celluloid to theaters it took a staggering 24 million feet of release prints processed (12,000 feet per print times 2,000 theaters) for just one movie!

For digital, you need toxic chemicals to make the storage mediums, but in far smaller amounts; making a tiny memory card consumes just a drop in the bucket compared with the amounts needed to process just two hours of celluloid (12,000 feet of 35mm).  And digital storage mediums can be reused hundreds or even thousands of times, compared with the one-time use of celluloid.

 

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I recently read this (old) article on "Mad Men" switching from 35mm to the Arri Alexa in season 5, and why the DP and Matthew Weiner came to prefer the Alexa to film, and I thought it was interesting:

http://www.hdvideopro.com/film-and-tv/tv/rebranding.html#.VNivcUfF-Sp

Film is great, it's the benchmark of quality I want to achieve, and I also love using a DSLR. I feel like it helps my creativity, and if you feel like film helps yours, good for you. I don't see or really care about the difference these days. There are a few recent films that were so clean and sharp I could have sworn they were digital. I didn't even really notice Nightcrawler was shot on a mix until I saw the credits, but maybe I was too sucked into the story and Jake Gyllenhaal's performance to notice.

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I've started shooting celluloid with Canon Scoopic and Beaulieu (16mm and S8) for fun and I like the effect on screen. Kodak short ends are quite cheap and I've tested 13 years old GPX with great results. I like film especially with PMT scanners - superb match, see my drumscan samples various films light same scenes:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

I wish I could use photography films in cine cameras. When I watch old S8 films brought by people for telecine I always smile. I like digital too for different tasks.

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I think the switch from 35mm to Alexa really hurt the aethetics of Mad Men - but then again the show lost me midway thru season 2.  But I still will argue any day that film still looks the best - the most organic, the most natural, the best motion.  And it handles tungsten light sources much better than the Alexa - it's golden and richer color.

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Let's remember all the wonderful things about celluloid:

1. The lovely "bob and weave" in the image, as each frame never lands exactly in the same place as the previous one as it goes through the camera or projector gate.

2. All the sparkling dust and dirt in the image which gives it that nice "real world" feel.

3. The fine lines of scratches that appear if you dare to run your film through a projector more than once.

4. The fun of having no idea how your shots came out until a day or two later when your film comes back from the lab.

5. The marvelous megatons of toxic waste generated by photochemical processing.

6. The joy of your footage turning yellow or pink if you store it in a hot place. The fun of having to store film stock in refrigerators to stop it from going bad.

7.   The ecstasy of spending about what a Canon 5D costs to buy thirty minutes of film stock and get it processed (workprint or video transfer not included).

​I love this.  

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I've started shooting celluloid with Canon Scoopic and Beaulieu (16mm and S8) for fun and I like the effect on screen. Kodak short ends are quite cheap and I've tested 13 years old GPX with great results. I like film especially with PMT scanners - superb match, see my drumscan samples various films light same scenes:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

I wish I could use photography films in cine cameras. When I watch old S8 films brought by people for telecine I always smile. I like digital too for different tasks.

​Where can I find that negative inverter program, I want to try it :D

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This very basic inverting plugin for Photoshop (not CS6) that preserves film character for possible grading. Just write orange mask RGB, define image Gamma, white point and middle tones brightness with sliders:

 

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByP8kkW_h00uN3pPNGZZR2hIZU0/edit?usp=docslist_api

New GUI:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByP8kkW_h00uRTROeHFMU3UtN2M/edit?usp=docslist_api

it's 10 years old :)

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It's written in Filter Meister. Not compatible with recent apps. Must be rewritten. With this app you can export results as look up table - Photoshop .amp file.

​I'm on CC too, too bad. I find the Colorneg plugin counter intuitive and complicated... I would be very interested in this one, especially if it can export some sort of LUT ! I actually would pay for if it were proven useful and CC compatible ! I had never heard of it.

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I shot on film for a few years when I started out. I've shot on a variety of video formats for quite a few years. I'd definitely choose to shoot celluloid if I could on my next film. I worked differently on film. It made me think differently about how to approach what I'm doing. I think shooting on digital has taught me heaps of bad habits, to be sloppy, and not value the moments I shoot. 

And that quote from Andrew Wondlan regarding Kodak Vision 2 could be equally applied the progress of HD/4K and the pursuit of more pixels and dynamic range. I don't give a ****. GH4 looks like garbage no matter how many pixels it has, and I have never felt my pulse quicken when I look at it. I remember the first time I saw 4K projected, at a test screening of King Kong in Auckland. it made me feel sick. I feared for the future because I doubted that a beautiful film would ever be made on 4K. Nothing has changed my mind. So yeah, cheer for the democracy of digital. But I'll shed a tear for the beautiful films that made me want to pick up camera in the first place.

cavallotorino.jpg

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The more I think about it the more I think celluloid motion picture film really is an environmental disaster.  Leaving aside the chemicals required to make it, processing it requires huge amounts of a witches brew of toxic chemicals - the bleach contains potassium ferricyanide, potassium bromide,ammonium thiocyanate and various acids.  The developer contains formaldehyde; the fixer ammonium and sulfur compounds.  All of these chemicals are further contaminated with heavy amounts of silver waste washed away from the film during processing.  And loads of clean water have to be consumed at each rinse step.  An 120 minute 35mm film requires at least 36,000 feet of camera negative processed (at a conservative 3:1 shooting ratio).  Back when movies were released on celluloid to theaters it took a staggering 24 million feet of release prints processed (12,000 feet per print times 2,000 theaters) for just one movie!

For digital, you need toxic chemicals to make the storage mediums, but in far smaller amounts; making a tiny memory card consumes just a drop in the bucket compared with the amounts needed to process just two hours of celluloid (12,000 feet of 35mm).  And digital storage mediums can be reused hundreds or even thousands of times, compared with the one-time use of celluloid.

 

​You make a lot of good points but if you're concerned about the environment as a whole, you also have to consider the amount of carbon produced to keep all the - always on or charging - servers, devices and infrastructure running 247, since that's the macro environment that has made digital viable and also how it will be consumed. As more people come online with broadband, our media consumption has gone through the roof, which takes more servers and more electricity to deliver. I know there's no going backwards, but I just want to emphasize that digital is not clean, you just don't see the pollution when you create it. 

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I can only speak as an enthusiast and nonpro but there is so much more about film which is so artistic in other directions. I know people who process with strange fluids (coffee...)
 and manipulate the image in severeral ways. In that way art becomes also sort of craft instead of just hitting a keyboard. Using, knowing and caring of your gear for decades is good for the environment. BTW every search on Google consumes as much energy as an electric bulb for one hour. So just imagine streaming and cloud computing. If nothing changes in 2023 the whole electricity will be spent for the internet. Buy one or two camera every year is also not the best thing for the environment either.

Cutting the film and adding a sound stripe with old machines... doing this with your own hands... and finally projecting your own movie. No digital projection comes close.  Trying to make video like film is adding vinyl crackles and lofi sound to your music: You just want to give it a littly bit more soul and atmosphere. Make the digital more pleasing for us analog humans. Cause that is how mother nature still works

However I also enjoy video and producing digital music very much. And it definitely gives the people with less money more options and possiblities

PS I am looking very forward for my films from Ferrania who will produce film again (hopefully April) :)

 

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from a practical and professional standpoint...(in L.A.)  using kodak film results in more high paying work in advertising...I think the topic of Kodak film needs a sub forum...so members can experiment...(and learn cheap ways to shoot with it)

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The more I think about it the more I think celluloid motion picture film really is an environmental disaster.  Leaving aside the chemicals required to make it, processing it requires huge amounts of a witches brew of toxic chemicals - the bleach contains potassium ferricyanide, potassium bromide,ammonium thiocyanate and various acids.  The developer contains formaldehyde; the fixer ammonium and sulfur compounds.  All of these chemicals are further contaminated with heavy amounts of silver waste washed away from the film during processing.  And loads of clean water have to be consumed at each rinse step.  An 120 minute 35mm film requires at least 36,000 feet of camera negative processed (at a conservative 3:1 shooting ratio).  Back when movies were released on celluloid to theaters it took a staggering 24 million feet of release prints processed (12,000 feet per print times 2,000 theaters) for just one movie!

For digital, you need toxic chemicals to make the storage mediums, but in far smaller amounts; making a tiny memory card consumes just a drop in the bucket compared with the amounts needed to process just two hours of celluloid (12,000 feet of 35mm).  And digital storage mediums can be reused hundreds or even thousands of times, compared with the one-time use of celluloid.

 

​That is a strong point, which I would Agree totally.

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The more I think about it the more I think celluloid motion picture film really is an environmental disaster.  Leaving aside the chemicals required to make it, processing it requires huge amounts of a witches brew of toxic chemicals - the bleach contains potassium ferricyanide, potassium bromide,ammonium thiocyanate and various acids.  The developer contains formaldehyde; the fixer ammonium and sulfur compounds.  All of these chemicals are further contaminated with heavy amounts of silver waste washed away from the film during processing.  And loads of clean water have to be consumed at each rinse step.  An 120 minute 35mm film requires at least 36,000 feet of camera negative processed (at a conservative 3:1 shooting ratio).  Back when movies were released on celluloid to theaters it took a staggering 24 million feet of release prints processed (12,000 feet per print times 2,000 theaters) for just one movie!

For digital, you need toxic chemicals to make the storage mediums, but in far smaller amounts; making a tiny memory card consumes just a drop in the bucket compared with the amounts needed to process just two hours of celluloid (12,000 feet of 35mm).  And digital storage mediums can be reused hundreds or even thousands of times, compared with the one-time use of celluloid.

 

Good theory.. but essentially incorrect.  While early photography did use a number of seriously dangerous chemicals, they were replaced in the early 1900s by much more benign chemistry. All of the materials you mentioned are listed as "low toxicity".  Manufacturing computer gear is highly toxic... hence why you're not supposed to throw those old electronics in the trash.  None of this is anywhere near as much of a environmental disaster as automobiles (and including electric cars BTW) and the biggest ED is humans (Chuckle)  We should seriously hold on making them for awhile.  

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The added "what's the point" by the OP seems a bit troll-ish to me...

I bought a killer super-8 camera for music videos - I've yet to find someone who wants to pay the added costs though. But man, pushing tungsten reversal film about three stops - magic, gorgeous.

But as a still shooter - I only do digital for work and have restored my wet darkroom. There are things film and paper can do that photoshop simply can't even approach. And every time I get a beautiful process dialed in, seems like one of the elements needed for it gets discontinued and I want to go have a good cry. So you go, Kodak.

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Good theory.. but essentially incorrect.  While early photography did use a number of seriously dangerous chemicals, they were replaced in the early 1900s by much more benign chemistry.​

​I got the list of chemicals used for film processing straight from an EPA white paper on pollution issues with film labs. They do not consider these chemicals to be "benign", as you put it.

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​I know this is definitely an issue, but it seems like it won't be so bad as long as you are aware of it and take the effort to update your files as the years go by.

It's definitely not a set-and-forget type of thing like a film master.

That said, I dunno about the rest of you but I've been making random stuff on digital for officially 15 years now. I still have my old master files from 1999-2000 that I can play today. Mjpeg was the codec back in those days. Some have been updated to different master codecs since then, but I've been able to maintain files for 15 years with little effort. 

I think it's definitely an issue that most be given attention, but as long as you do... it's not as complicated as it's made out to be. 

​Sure, it's manageable! And I'm pretty sure there will be tools how to "convert" your footage to newer formats/codecs. Bigger issue for me is "how to make it survive". Since OneDrive has unlimited storage I try to save all my footage to the cloud. We'll see.

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Epilogue...

I have just read this below article and I remembered this thread here :-)

http://www.nzz.ch/mehr/digital/glasfaser-statt-filmdosen-1.18474027

For you, who don't understand German, this is about the famous Berliner Film Festival, which is going to be almost without film...

In this year, 97% of the 1100 films, would be digitally projected!

Like it or not, this is the reality. This is a decision from professional people.

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