Monday, October 20, 2014

Motion Picture Film

Ever since Cinestill hit the market, shooting movie film in still cameras has become all the rage. Not being one to miss a passing bandwagon, I thought I would jump on and see where the ride went. However, being err... "thrifty", I did not want to pay $10/roll + s/h for 35mm film. Also, I seem to have a good thing going with expired film, so why fix what doesn't seem to be broken? With that philosophy in mind, I went searching for the cheapest movie film I could find on a reasonably sized (<400ft) roll. I want to try it, not shoot it exclusively for the next 10 years. I looked at a LOT of different sellers and emulsion numbers. I also started researching the "remjet" issue. I would have to get that layer of black gunk off the back of the film either before shooting it ("premoval") or after exposing, but before developing. The remjet layer is there for anti-halation as well as anti-static for when the film is whizzing through a motion picture camera. Anti-halation is nice and most still films have a layer of dye on the back of the film to keep light from reflecting off of the pressure plate inside the camera and making glowing "halo's" in the highlights on the film. Premoving the remjet will eliminate this benefit, but if you are going to send the film off for processing, it has to be done. The machines that process film will not remove it and when it comes off in the machine's chemistry and mechanics, the operator will be unhappy with you. Cinestill removes the remjet for you, so that is part of the price you pay (which is fair, but for me unnecessary since I dev my own C-41). So what did I do?? I did both premoval and nothing. Keep reading and I'll explain.

I rolled up one 12-exp roll just like I would for any other bulk film. This will be the "control" sample and I will not do anything special to it regarding the remjet. The other roll, I measured the length and spooled it onto a Paterson developing spool and put it in the tank for 15min with a solution of 2Tbs Borax in 500mL water. At the end of 15min, I agitated the tank vigorously for about a minute. I really shook it hard. Disappointingly, the liquid that came out was just sort of a weak greenish solution. Subsequent rinses were clear. There was no sign of black flakes, so either, my solution did nothing to remove the remjet, or the remjet was really thin. A third option is that there is no remjet on this film. I'm not sure what remjet looks like, so I can't say, but the film is Super F-Series which does appear to have a remjet backing according to the interwebz. So at this point, I just dried the film in a 'dark' place and rolled it up into a canister. Here is what the two treatments look like side by side. The premoval roll is on the left and the untreated roll is on the right. There is clearly a difference between them, but is it remjet or just anti-halation dye?

I shot both rolls at iso 400 in the same camera, mostly in cloudy daylight. For this test, I'm not so much interested in color rendition as much as just the processing workflow. I fully expected to see some black bits stuck to the film and/or floating in my developer. The developer came out clear as always, so I figured the remjet must still be stuck fast to the film and I would have to do a removal at the end. To my surprise though the film was clear. The two films were developed in the same tank at the same time and I couldn't tell which was which until I looked at the specific images. There was no sign of remjet anywhere. Here are a couple of images from the "control" roll that was not pre-treated. I scanned these on an Epson Perfection V600 using the auto color correction, but nothing else in post. The color is shifted/cast a little as you might expect with cross processing, but other than that, there is nothing notable. The grain is there and looks about how my other expired color films look, so that's that.

Fujifilm 8572 Fujifilm 8572

Here are a couple of shots from the premoval roll. It looks like the film got fogged during the drying process. I did my best to keep it absolutely dark, but probably failed to some degree. There also seems to be some damage to the film. This is either chemical from the borax or mechanical from the vigorous shaking. Hard to say without more testing. Having said that, I will probably not do any more tests since the untreated roll came out nice without any ill effects from the remjet. I will just shoot this like any other color negative film.

Fujifilm 8572 Premoval Fujifilm 8572 Premoval