Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Cross Processing

I have to re-shoot a dream sequence that was lab damaged. Im replacing the original DP who is booked. it is the only color scene in a B&W feature shot on 16mm. I suggested cross processing as an approach and the director loved it. He ordered fuji 500EI reversal.

I've never shot cross process and dont know a lab that does it. The director has run the rest of the show thru Allied in dallas.

He wants it to be grainy, so rather than mess with the non- compliant reversal latitude i plan to shoot loose (leave room on the edges) and magnify the grain with a zoom crop in TK. I plan to shoot about 10mm loose. I'm hoping the 500 does the rest.

but as for the handling of exposure I need advice. the only thing I could find through a web search on infoseek is that still photographers overexpose by 2 stops (doesnt say what format) when crossing.

should i follow this rule in 16mm? anyone help on this? I checked the web page also but didnt find this subject.


Caleb Crosby

500 ASA in 16mm, and zooming in on that ?

Sounds grainy to me.


Thats actually what the director is wanting - I just dont know how to expose for cross proc.


Can anyone help out with tips on cross processing reversal?

I was just hired to shoot a low budget horror film (not as cheesy as that might imply) and in the script there are several flashback sequences that the director wants different and intense look to them. I suggested crossprocessing reversal since that seems to give intensely saturated reds and high contrast. I talked to a guy at duArt, but about all the information he could pass on was that they do handle crossprocessing which didn't help me much.

Am I correct in the assumption that you shoot reversal, and develop it as negative, therefore getting a negative? Will this give you a thinner negative? Will it become some sort of issue when they have to conform the negative? What about exposure? are there any recomendations? I know that richardson used it on UTurn and dickerson used it on Clockers, and I've seen what I assume is crossprocessing on a number of music videos and commercials, any recommendations on films to watch that have this process? Finally, does anyone how the eclipse flashback scenes in Dolores Clayborne (excellent cinematography and an underappreciated film in my opinion) were done?

Spike lee's clockers dp was malik sayeed. To get more information on cross processing in that film refer american cinematographer sep. 95 issue cover story. few sequences in Steven soderbergh's film The Underneath used this process. I heard that experts at kodak are doubtful about the life time of the cross processed negative,because of potential problem with the fixing process. Someone pl. explain how to overcome this problem. when you process ektachrome reversal film in a ECN-2 negative bath, will this unusual process affect or contaminate the developer? Can we use the same bath for normal processing and crossprocessing.? thanks

kv anand.

Check out the film "Fallen". They had some scenes that might be of interest to you. The scenes are when the demon character is pursuing it's next host. I would be interested if anybody know's how these scenes where shot, processed and timed. Also looks like anamorphic distorsion was added. The shots are really effective.

Joseph McDonnell

class="c363" >Can anyone help out with tips on cross processing reversal? Am I correct in the >assumption that you shoot reversal, and develop it as negative, therefore getting a >negative? Will this give you a thinner negative? Will it become some sort of issue >when they have to conform the negative? what about exposure? are there any >recomendations?

I shot some cross processing tests a few months ago, comparing 7248 with '40 & '50. I shot scenes in a studio, under fluros and day exteriors.

I won't try and explain the differences in the 'look' here, suffice to say, there is an increase in contrast and an extra vibrancy in some colour, with colour shifts. Anyone in Sydney (Tom & Toby) lurking on the CML is welcome to come in to Atlab and have a look and judge for themselves.

However, what I can tell you is that we exposed the reversal stocks as per the rating on the can and processed as normal negative. Over exposure made the stock ungradable and under exposure made the blacks milky. We had two (2) choices during grading/timing - either grade the orange base into the stock (reversal stock DOES NOT have orange masking) or print with a 50 red/50 yellow filter. As we were comparing reversal with negative and wanted to get as close a match as possible, we opted to print with the filter, which gave us more favourable printing lights and subsequently more control with the grading. Grading the orange base into the reversal pushed the printing lights to the limit and left us with no room to move.

So how do you conform the negative? I would suggest that the cross processed reversal footage is made up on a seperate roll, and that would then give you and the grader/timer the option to either grade in or print in the desired 'look'. By cutting the reversal and negative together will limit this option and may conclude in an undesirable result.

Ultimately, like anything else, do a test first. Good luck.

class="c363" Simon Wicks

class="c363" Atlab Australia

Kv Anand asked how to overcome the problem that cross processed negative may have a limited storage life. Probably the safest thing to do is to make an extra interpositive from it, and treat that IP as if it were your original. Let it be your most senior archival element. That's what we're doing on a feature that, for reasons intrinsic to the story, was shot on a mix of Super 16 and Super 8. We regard the blowup IP as if it were the original, but we also archive everything else. It's similar to making safety fine grains from nitrate.

-- J.S. -------

Some labs simply refuse to process anything but negative through their ECN II baths, due to the potential contamination of the developer. We will cross-process small amounts of reversal (max 1,200ft) on a daily basis as and when required, although I can't recall ever cross-processing more than about 800ft in one day, and never over a continuous period ie; 5 days straight.

As for the longevity of the cross-processed footage - it varies depending on storage conditions, but we do know that it's certainly not for long, because the stock hasn't been through the correct process - it could go off in a matter of weeks or months. If it's being used for a film finished production, we recommend that the required shots be cut and duped as quickly as possible. If it's being used for commercials or music clips etc, then do your tk transfer ASAP.


class="c363" Simon Wicks

class="c363" Atlab Australia

We are thinking of trying cross processing for a film and want to get hold of all possible references. Motion Pictures, Commercials, Music Videos, etc. Any place I can go for a list or can anyone name off what comes to mind?

Eric Swenson

The current (July) issue of the english still photo magazine "Practical Photography" has an article on cross processing still color neg and slide films. They show examples of 8 different neg stocks and 8 different slide stock being cross processed. Especially with the negative stocks the results vary dramatically among the different films. Some films lost sensitivity, others actually gained speed.

In general they say that (still) color neg films processed in E-6 produced slides that exhibited off white highlights, and overall casts varying from pink to blue, depending on the film, processing time and speed that the film was rated. In general it was advisable to push process to boost contrast. In general punchier, directional lighting was "better."

The comments on push processing and hard light i believe come form the fact that most of the sample shots looked somewhat muddy. The normal, unmanipulate shot of the same young lady against a neutral gray background showed "good" normal contrast and tonal range, even though she was shot with a soft box and reflector for fill.

btw. The slide films processed in C-41 were generally contrasty with a warm shift.

The article points out that for a more extreme look (no sample shots) use Infrared Ektachrome slide film processed in C-41.

The new David Samuelson's "Hands-On" Manual for Cinematographers also has a good section on "custom processing." I won't quote from that excellent reference book since every member of this group should have their own copy by now ...

... Mako


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