Tag Archives: stock-tests

Colour Experiments in Black and White

Inspired by old Technicolor 3-Strip colour film processes, an urge to process colour images at home and a free weekend; i decided to live it large and produce some colour images using only black and white film.

The principles are simple; a colour image can be photographed and re-produced by recording luminance values of the primary colours of visible light Red, Green, and Blue. This can be done by shooting 3 frames of the same scene onto black and white film, each one filtered to isolate Red, Green, or Blue; then scanning each frame and applying them as the appropriate colour channel in a RGB image in Photoshop.  I did this using three Lee polyester filters: 25 Tricolour Red, 47B Tricolour Blue and 58 Tricolour Green. Each of these filters completely isolates the single colour by filtering out all other wavelengths. I measured the transmission levels of each filter with a spot meter and used NDs to balance them, so they needed equal exposure compensation. I then mounted these filters in a row on some card to make them a quick as possible to change.



























I shot the first test on a Hasselblad 500 with a motor winder to make the time between exposures as short as possible; i used the 5×4 camera pictured later.

I chose Kodak T-Max 100 for it’s fine grain; the final image having three layers of the emulsion i wanted to minimise the grain. The film was processed normally in Agfa Rodinal.











































After scanning the three images i created an RGB image in Photoshop and imported the three scans in as separate layers (make sure they are all separate layers and one is not the background layer). In the layer blending options (ctrl click the layer and select blending options), i assigned each image as the correct channel under advanced blending.











It is important to keep track of which image is what colour throughout the process….and that is basically it; i now had a full colour image. A little moving around of the layers to get the channel alignment as good as possible (it will never be perfect due to the time between exposing each image) and lifting the levels a bit produced the image you see here.

















4-Perf Anamorphic v 2-Perf Spherical comparison

This video is 1080p at full screen if you have a big enough display (make sure you have HD selected); you really need to see it at this resolution to appreciate the differences properly.

A side by side comaprison of a 4-perf Anamorphic standard 35mm negative against a 2-perf Spherical super 35mm negative. Explanations of the difference in resolution are explained in the previous post.

NB one can really appreciate the differences in a theatre projection; i’m afraid H264 doesn’t really do it justice.

Film Stock Comparison

This video is 1080p at full screen if you have a big enough display (make sure you have HD selected); you really need to see it at this resolution to appreciate the differences properly.

Kodak 500T (5219), Fuji Eterna 500T (8573), Fuji Eterna 500T Vivid (8547), side by side comparison 4-perf Anamorphic. I exposed all of the stocks at 500 asa and they were processed normally.

I have always favored Kodak stocks because i consider them to have a finer and nicer grain structure and better colour rendition. It is clear however that these new stocks from Fuji have adressed these issues and i think there is little between these stocks now. The Fuji Vivid is a brand new stock that aims to produce very saturated colours and deep blacks; a bold move in the modern world of film scanning. Fuji demonstrated this stock to me recently with a theatre projection of a film print; the stock did indeed show very strong and well balanced colours with deep blacks and very little grain. What these results show from my point of view are that Kodak still seems to have a slightly finer grain and possibly a little more separation in the blacks whilst retaining very good colour rendition. The differences are however very slight and i am sure it would be very hard to tell them apart once they were graded properly.

The ultimate decision then comes down to price. Fuji have always sought to sell their stocks cheaper than Kodak, and producers inevitably favour Fuji for this reason. Now with such little difference between them the onus is on Kodak to drop the price as choosing Kodak is now very hard to justify as a DP.

Film Stock and Lens Test


I have been testing film-stocks and lenses for a future feature project.

For lenses I compared the Hawk V-Plus Anamorphics with the Panavision C-Series Anamorphics. Both are 2 x squeeze lenses, projecting a full height, squeezed image onto an Academy ratio standard 35mm negative; and un-squeezing horizontally by a factor of 2 to produce a 2.35:1 ratio image.

For stocks I compared Kodak Vision 3 500T (5219) with Fuji Eterna 500T (8573) and Fuji Eterna 500T Vivid (8547), shot 4-perf anamorphic and 2-perf spherical. These are the latest 35mm stocks from Kodak and Fuji.










Reflected Exposure Values (500asa/24fps/180º)

Film Stock Comparison.

Thanks to Russel Kennedy for his expert assistance, and willingness to don that lovely necklace (to highlight chromatic aberrations…honest!)