Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996
Published : 22nd February 2004
I am about to start an ultra low budget super-16 feature. Honestly the production can barely afford DV but is forging forward in film. The producer gave me the choice of recanned Kodak from film emporium or brand new Fuji. I have had problems with both. I swore off recans since being sold a batch of mislabelled stock - it was Fuji 64D canned as 7298 and the results were not good. I have used Fuji (aside from the above) on small projects and shot tests with it. On one test the lab scratched the softer Fuji negative but not the Kodak. Aesthetically I found the F250T remarkably similar to then 7293 - a hair grainier but also faster. I have used the 64D on a short and loved it. In all cases the Fuji left a lot of debris in my Aaton mags and I am afraid of scratches and hairs. I am probably going to go with the 64D, F250T and a 500asa stock.
I have no experience with Fuji in this realm and there is no time, money or coordination for a test. Any comments on high speed Fuji or should I go with recanned 7218 or 7279 to fill this gap.
Go for the Fuji. I have done several low budget films with excellent results. Fuji stock is not that different to Kodak and if you are finishing tape the telecine will mask any difference. I have not had the same "debris" problem with my Aaton but if your camera assists are on the ball the camera and mags should be cleaned obsessively. The new 5ooD is excellent but Kodak is seriously pulling ahead from Fuji with the Vision 2 range so 7218 may be the go for night work if budget allows and recans are available. If the lab is scratching the Fuji negative then something is wrong with the lab not the Fuji.
Off on a tangent Fuji has a real problem when Kodak releases the full range of Vision 2 stocks next year. I like Fuji stock but if the Kodak 18 stock is indicative of the image quality of all the Vision 2 stocks Fuji will have to answer it with a new range or be in big trouble.
>I swore off recans since being sold a batch of mislabelled stock
When I started out as an assistant I worked on a lot of low budget features that used recans. It got to the point where I would tack up strips of film in the darkroom and compare emulsion colors in order to ensure that the stock in the can was what the label said it was. Once, while on a feature film, I received a call from the recan company saying a particular can was bad and we shouldn't shoot it. I was a bit surprised that they sold the can before the snip tests were processed, and even more surprised to see that the label on the can was mine--from a feature I'd worked on in the heat of the desert six months before. We'd used recans on that one too.
Recans were usually shorter than the label said as the production company got more money that way and nobody ever actually measures the size of the roll. We would habitually roll out 80-100 feet early.
Go for new Fuji over recans, every time. The only exception might be new Vision 2 stocks: they won't have been around long enough to be abused.
>On one test the lab scratched the softer Fuji negative but not the Kodak. >Aesthetically I found the F250T remarkably similar to then 7293 - a hair >grainier but also faster.
Fuji stocks never seem to be as fast as Fuji says they are.
>In all cases the Fuji left a lot of debris in my Aaton mags and I am afraid >of scratches and hairs.
As long as the assistants are paying attention this shouldn't be a serious problem.
>Any comments on high speed Fuji or should I go with recanned 7218 or >7279 to fill this gap.
I'd go with new Fuji and overexpose it 1/3 to 1/2 stop.
Art Adams, DP
Mountain View, California - "Silicon Valley"