Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

Kodachrome Look

>Curious and tricky:

>I shot something for a friend a year ago in S16. We wanted an old Kodachrome look, but because of a variety of circumstances, it made more sense to shoot color neg and get the look in post than to shoot Kodachrome to begin with. There was never any intention of finishing in film, so that seemed ok at the time.

>But of course, now it MUST go back to film, and the look needs to be maintained.

>In video, we accomplished the look by transfering with extremely saturated colors and high contrast (plus limiting the lattitude by crushing blacks and burning highlights) and then decreasing the saturation and contrast in editorial (I was also the editor). The effect on the colors was that saturated areas of color took on that look where it's more a shape of color than a textured colored object. I also limited the blacks and whites so that they're both dirty (especially the whites).

>My best guess for traditional photochemical proces is:

>-make a timed answerprint.

>-make an interneg of that answer print (on stock designed for IP to cush latitude, dramatically increase the contrast and bring the color sat way up)

>-make a flashed interpos from interneg (flashing to lower the overall contrast and color sat and muddy up the blacks a little)

>-make a flashed interneg from the interpos (this time, the flashing will grey up the whites)

>-make a dupe B&W interneg from same intpos. (maybe won't need this step)

>-print color and B&W internegs together in an approx. 80%/20% ratio to lower the color saturation for a print that will be in the ballpark.

>Doing this digitally is obviously a good option, but FotoKem's pricing is still twice that of the photochemical (mostly in the recording back to film), so it seems a viable option to do the datacine and digital conform here and send it to Europe to be recorded.

>Frazer Bradshaw

>DP San Francisco


>I may be mistaken but those steps you are describimg are not looking like the Kodachrome kind of look I recall from my student years (when I used it for stills).

>Grey the whites and mud the blacks? Are you shure this is Kodachrome? Still I may be wrong.

>Argyris Theos

>DoP

>Athens Greece


>I'm a little confused because what you describe as "extremely saturated colors and high contrast (plus limiting the lattitude by crushing blacks and burning highlights)" and " ...limited the blacks and whites so that they're both dirty (especially the whites)." doesn't describe Kodachrome itself at all - unless you mean the look of poorly duped Kodachrome ?

>(High contrast I'll accept, but burned and dirty whites, dirty blacks ???)

>Anyway, now you say that having exaggerated the contrast, you next Ð as you did in the video post-production previously - wish to reduce this contrast you built up by flashing an IP or A/B printing B&W dupe etc.

>This sounds interesting but I'm confused as to the look that you want. Maybe I'm misreading.....

>-Sam Wells

>film/nj/usa


>Maybe find an old reduction printer, and do your interpositive on super8 kodachrome then blow it back up? They used to make release prints for features on S8, if you could find a lab in LA that still had the gear to do it. It would give you the contrast, grain, and blockyness your looking for. It in fact might work a little to well.

>Maybe just a really well timed internegative onto some reversal camera stock?

>Mike Prevette

>Seattle AC


>Grey the whites and mud the blacks? Are you shure this is Kodachrome? Still I may >be wrong.

>My experiences with 16mm Kodachrome and memory of my Dad's 1950s and 1960 Kodachrome slides, was clean white whites and crisp, deep, neutral blacks. Sort of "heavy" on the chroma, with reds and yellows accentuated.

>Jim Dollarhide

>Director of Photography


>Argyris wrote:

>Grey the whites and mud the blacks? Are you shure this is Kodachrome? Still I may >be wrong.

>I guess you're probably right, but the video product I've got is pretty convincing.

>I should be more specific, an older (maybe 50's) faded Kodachrome look (I'm kinda basing it on the 8mm home movies my dad shot in highschool). Basically, compressing the dynamic range to 5 stops or so (less than the video monitor can reproduce).

>Frazer Bradshaw

>DP San Francisco


>print - interneg on IP stock - flashed IP - flashed IN, and BW masking dupe >combined print ?

>Sounds like a lot of generations and degradation to emulate Kodachrome, which is usually best characterised by its pristine quality and saturation. As this material started life as S16, you don't want too many generations of duping or the grain will start to intrude. I don't think it will give you a Kodachrome look. I do think that the generations will all add up in cost, and since you are planning either bipack or superimposed images in the last stage, your second IN, the BW dupe and the final print would all need to be done on a register pin step printer. More cost.

>The photochemical route I'd try would be a little shorter. Graded print (possibly on low contrast print stock) then a flashed IN from that on 5242 stock. Print from that.

>Duping from a print typically shows greatly increased contrast and colour saturation, usually blocking up the highlights and shadows. Flashing the dupe negative stock will increase its latitude and improve shadow gradation.

>If what you want is to emulate the look you got with digital video grading, the better course would surely be to go for digital film grading. Shop around for best film recording prices, but when the colour and contrast "look" are critical, I usually believe its best to keep the digital grading and the film-out stage under one roof.

>Dominic Case

>Group Technology & Services Manager

>The Atlab Group


>Frazer Bradshaw wrote:

>I should be more specific, an older (maybe 50's) faded Kodachrome look

>That's an oxymoron... Kodachrome is notorious for not fading!


>kinda basing it on the 8mm home movies my dad shot in highschool).

>Well there seem to be many opinions on what Kodachrome used to look like. Depends on the format, the subject, and the memory among other things I guess.

>To me, "Kodachrome" is best described as the "National Geographic" look (that's the print version, not the cableTV version). Exremely rich colours, wide tonal range, fine grain.

>It sounds as though you are trying to emulate the look of small-gauge Kodachrome transferred to tape with its consequential loss of range Ð rather than making film look like film. If you want the same look as you got on video, I think you should use similar methods - i.e digital. If you want a "film look" then forget the video result you got and start again.

>Dominic Case

>Group Technology & Services Manager

>The Atlab Group


>I was going to speculate using 5285 as a kind of "CRI" - didn't Steven Soderbergh do that for some of "Traffic" ? - but I suspect he had a *bunch* of money to spend...

>How about S16 OCN > 5245 > IN > Print, partial bleach bypass on the 5245 ? You would have contrast build up on the '45, skip bleach wd. desaturate.

>I don't know how much trouble filtering around the masking issue would cause...... Dominic ?

>BTW what stock did you shoot on ?

>Sam Wells

>film/nj/usa


>Howabout S16 OCN - 5245 - IN - Print, partial bleach bypass on the 5245 ? You >would have contrast build up on the '45, skip bleach wd. desaturate.

>You can trace the contrast build-up or loss when duping, by checking the gamma of each stage. More than 1.0 means increase in contrast. 5242 intermediate stock used for IP and IN has a gamma of 1.0. 5245 which is camera neg has a gamma of around 0.55. Bleach bypass increases this because of the retained silver, to a different value for each dye layer Ð but generally it's about double normal - i.e. just over 1. So overall you'd get slight increase in contrast, but odd colour crossovers, possibly hidden by the desaturation effect. Using 5245 without bleach bypass would give a very flat, unpleasant low contrast result.

>Bleach bypass in the positive stages tends to block up the shadows more than the highlights, you might get a different result with a normal IP on 5242 stock then duping that to IN on the bleach bypassed camera negative stock.

>I'm not a fan of partial bleach bypass. Because half the time in the bleach doesn't mean half the amount of bleaching (normally it's a process that is taken to completion), you don't get such a controllable or repeatable result.

>Interesting pathways. Not much to do with Kodachrome though.

>Dominic Case

>Group Technology & Services Manager


>So overall you'd get slight increase in contrast, but odd colour crossovers, possibly >hidden by the desaturation effect.

Does this mean I shouldn't suggest cross-processed 5285 as the internegative

>KODACHROME DOES NOT FADE...

>>Steven Poster ASC

>Well, if you really tried...I once found a 100' roll of 16mm Kodachrome in my grandmother's attic; the temperatures in there had probably gone up to 115 degress in the summer... this roll was from 1936 (around the first or second year Kodachrome was made in 16mm I think). It was shots of my mother and her sister when they were young girls. The entire dmax of the film was a kind of deep burgundy color, with everything having that burgundy tone - all monochromatic *except* a hair ribbon in my mom's hair, which stood out as the pink it had been.

>(I managed to get a decent contact print made from it onto Gevachrome reversal stock, despite the fact the film was kind of scallopy... The film actually had a pretty neat and unique look to it !)

>-Sam Wells

>film/nj/usa


>the film was kind of scallopy...

Isn't film wonderful. Put "scallopy" into your digital effects machine and see what it can do.

>Dominic Case

>Group Technology & Services Manager


>I seem to have confused everyone sufficiently. Obviously Kodachrome isn't the right word, and how would I know anyhow, I'm only 29.

>Must be something other than Kodachrome I'm after (pre Kodachorme? something I made up?)

>Anyhow, in an attempt to be more objective, I've posted three stills :

>http://seaworthy-cine.net/Kodachrome-ish-sorta.html

>Seems like I'll push to spend the money for the digital route, as testing extensive processes for a 2.5 minute experimental piece isn't financially viable.

>Thank you all for your input, if nothing else, it's now clear to me that this can't be done without a good bit of testing.

>Frazer Bradshaw

>DP San Francisco


>Here's a wacky thought. Make a 35mm IN of the original Neg, by shooting on Kodachrome (It's reversal, so you should get a negative image - perhaps the color mask will also come through) Then print from that? Might be easy enough to test, Shoot a couple of frames of the neg from Out takes, and then contact, or shoot those 35mm frames to a slide (or Print stock if possible).

>I think Dwayne's does Kodachrome in the states. Should be a quick and fast test.

>Steven Gladstone


>Maybe find an old reduction printer, and do your interpositive on super8 >kodachrome then blow it back up?

>The Dogme95 film "Julian Donkey Boy" was originated on video, then output onto 16mm or 35mm reversal stock with the image super 8mm size (I'm not sure who did the transfer) and then blown up to 35mm on an optical printer. It doesn't look like Kodachrome, but it does look like the idea of 8mm reversal, with lots of grain, and some of the colors very saturated. What he's describing sounds more like Ektachrome... Does anyone know if Ektachrome fades?

>Ted Hayash

>Los Angeles, CA USA


Perhaps the 'faded' look that Frazer is talking about is due to erroneous exposure? Do you mean washed out and sort of pastel? I think that there is probably a pretty simple way to achieve this without going through six film generations, a telecine and an Arrilaser

>Anders Uhl

>Cinematographer

>New York


>Does anyone know if Ektachrome fades?

>Some of my old Ekta 7242 has faded, but the last house-cleaning of old workprint etc I did, it seemed the 7240 had not, really. I don't think any color emulsion is going be as fade-resistant as Kodachrome, though...

> What he's describing sounds more like Ektachrome...

>The images Frazier posted on his web site seem somewhat reminiscent of the Ektachrome 40 Super 8 stock, FWIW.. or maybe, Frazier, you are associating with a look more like Anscochrome than Kodachrome ?

>I'm still curious though, what stock did you shoot on ?

>-Sam Wells

>film/nj/usa


>If it's just 2.5 minutes long (or did I misinterpret something) you might consider telecine to HD (24P D5) and not 2K, do your color correction there and go to DuArt or someone else with an Arri Laser Recorder. I believe the cost for output will be under $500 per minute in 35mm, not sure if that only gets you to an IP or not. HD isn't 2K, but your coming from S16, so that might mitigate things. Of couse 4:2:2 will limit post-transfer tweaks, so try to get the look you want in telecine.


>Frazer Bradshaw wrote:

>Anyhow, in an attempt to be more objective, I've posted three stills:

>http://seaworthy-cine.net/Kodachrome-ish-sorta.html

>>"...and how would I know anyhow, I'm only 29."

>Your stills remind me of Kodak Reversal 7251, Daylight, 400 ASA. If you're blowing-up to 35 you might want to try 7239 same as 7251 but 160 ASA. Shoot a test, both these stocks should be available and I think with a little tweek in printing (and maybe a Low-Con filter) you should get you both the colors and contrast you're after. Do the new shots need to be intercut?

>If you'd looking to shoot some 16mm Kodachrome, in San Francisco there was a shop that carried (although somewhat outdated and unrefrigerated) 16mm Kodachrome 40 as recent as 4-5 years ago, and it was cheap. The place was called "Photographers Lighting" and they were on Bryant (I think). You might want to check with them. 100' of Kodachrome from them was about $10 as recent as 1997!

>My earliest film school projects (College of Marin) were on Koda & Ektachrome.

>Illya Friedman (also 29)

>Still Photographer/AC/and sometimes DP

>Van Nuys, CA


>Sam asks:

>I'm still curious though, what stock did you shoot on ?

>Fuji 8622.

>...you are associating with a look more like Anscochrome than Kodachrome ?

>I may very well be confusing it with Anscochrome, but I'm not sure what Anscochrome looks like.

Truth is, I don't really care what it is my final product looks like, only that it looks like it--what ever it is AC

>Thanks Sam and everybody else.

>Frazer Bradshaw

>DP San Francisco