Thursday, November 12, 2015

The truth behind correct film colour

One of the reason I love film are the colours it produces and how it handles light - amazingly! This past week with all my film dramas and the quest for "correct" film colour have left me even more confused. My assumption has always been, when you put film in for developing it will come back the way it's meant too. For years, I would just go down to my local shop and accept the film I got back was how it was meant to be. Finding out about professional labs, like FIND in the US, where you can put your preference in for brightness, contrast and tones, I started to wonder more. The scanning technique I now have down pat (can find it here and here) gives seemingly true to colour results in regards to film stock but a big part of the workflow has colour correcting. How do you know what colour your correcting to? Is film as annoying as digital with time demanding editing? Should we care about maintaining the "correct" colour of film? Arghhhh.

I still don't really know where I stand in all of it but for now, I'm settling on making my photos as pretty as they can be, which is what I wanted by sending them off to labs anyway :) Any film photographers, or anyone else out there who have thoughts on this whole madness? I want to hear!

Apart form rambling, I did want to share my roll of Ektar 100 shot on my canon 1000f. I'm a big fan of Jonathan Canlas who has recently been rating Ektar 100 to 400 (or higher). This is called push processing, where you overwrite the settings in your camera (telling it to shot at 400 ISO) rather than the rated 100. It's then processed at 400 which should result in photos with more contrast and colour and which was exactly the results I got and couldn't be more happier with!


You'll spy some shots from our local fair and some shots from Ben's Mum's place :)






 You might spy these guys above from this post over here.








Ektar 100 pushed to 400 - converted to b & w  
And I love that shot of Jake and Coco so I made it black and white as well :)

So that experiment with rating Ektar at 400 was a success and I currently have some portra 160 rated at 400 in my camera to give a whirl too :) Film is fun, although, I'll admit at times infuriating :P

12 comments:

  1. I used to work in a "high end" mall photo lab in the days before digital printing machines, so I know there are a lot of different factors that go into the colours that result from film. First off is the film itself, Kodak tended to be more yellow, but Fuji had better greens so I tended to prefer it. Then there's the processing chemicals themselves. The chain I worked for prided themselves on changing their chemicals regularly to keep colours truer. Next is the paper that the film is printed on... Manual printing would correct colour by using different filters, but digital printing can be much more nuanced and precise, but really because it is a chemical process it can always be a coin toss as to how "true" the colours of your photo are going to be.

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    1. Oh wow, I love this, thanks so much Mariko :) So fresh chemicals seem to be the key, I wonder then, if you can essentially ruin the correct colour of the film in the processing stage so when you get up to scanning, you're no longer kept with the company's originally intended colours? With manual printing, I guess they would have different filters depending on the film stock? Arghh so many questions, I don't even understand the modern (?) film processing machines, do they process the film still with chemicals inside that crazy machine - my brain wants to understand it all :P

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  2. Wow, that's awesome. I like to try out a lot of different film types but I think once I find one that I absolutely love, I will probably stick to it. Thanks for introducing us to Jonathan - I will check out his work :)

    Erin | http://beingerin.com/

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    1. he is sooo good!! You'll definitely be inspired :)

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  3. these are so gorgeous fee.

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  4. Me too, I am puzzled about correct film colour because like you I just dont think about it and accept my developed photos as they are. I remembered showing some of my photos to my friend who was also avid film shooter pointed out that my photos were too green on the side and told me that I should to talk to the film lab I used about that because it is "wrong". I found that a bit weird but.. I do know that the lab we send our films to need to be really good, that they do change the chemicals regularly etc. Love all the photos, beautiful colours and contrasts. I have never used push/pull technique, a bit scared even though I sort of understand how it works. x

    Katrina Sophia

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    1. The more I read the more I learn that the more expensive film labs are just editing negatives, like you would in the digital realm, which kind of shocked me to learn that! I do understand that each film carries it's own colour casts but I think there is room to play/edit within that. I honestly assumed, if we all shot the same roll of film, with the same subject and same camera and sent it off to different labs we'd all get the same colours back, or almost identical looking photos but now I'm thinking I may have been super wrong about that!

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  5. Gorgeous pics. I agree - the last one is particular poignant and sweet.

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    1. I love that photo too, they have a very sweet relationship!

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