Film Photography Podcast Episode 127 – June 15th, 2015
Notes By: Alex Luyckx
It’s June and summer is here! So it’s our big ‘Chrome show, that’s right, join Michael Raso, Leslie Lazenby, and Mat Marrash in discussing E-6 Films, VU Filters, Colour Temperature, and so much more!
Slide Film, or E-6, Transparency, Positive (Super Positive?) was one of the first forms of colour photography as it produces a positive image unlike C-41 which produces a colour negative. Some of you may remember those slide presentations that you sat through when a relative came back from vacation (I know I’ve sat through a few myself). But you don’t need a projector; any light source will do which is what makes them so great. But there are some things to watch out for. Unlike B&W and Colour Negative film, you really have to watch your exposure; Mat explains you want to be within five stops difference between your shadows or highlights. Now these days there’s a lot less slide film being produced new. Fuji is pretty much king with their Velvia line, available in 50, 100, and 100F which gives a nice saturated contrasty image, or for more realistic results the Provia 100F. There’s a line of Agfa film as well, and Lomography’s XPro. Plus our friends at Film Ferrania are working hard to produce new E-6 stock.
The term E-6 comes from the process that is used to produce the positive image, there are those who like to cross-process or XPro their film that is getting the film processed in C-41 chemistry to produce whacky results. Now there is plenty of older film stock out there for sale, like Mat’s favourite, Kodak Ektachrome E100G. Unlike B&W and Colour Negative, if not stored properly can produce strange colour shifts. That’s exactly what listener Max Lamdin writes in about. Max asks if you should cut the speed of the film the older it is. While there is no hard and fast rule on the matter, most people recommend cutting the film in half for every decade expired. So your 2005 expired ISO-100 film should be shot at ISO-50, and your 1995 Expired ISO-100 speed film should be shot at ISO-25 (100/2 = 50, 50/2=25). But you really don’t have to, but you will experience increased grain and wild colour shifts. The only thing you really have to avoid is getting film that uses older film processes like E-4 or C-22, in that case you’ll want to send it to Film Rescue International, but they will process it in B&W only.
Mat has a new toy with shooting his colour E-6 films, and that’s a graduated neutral density filters, but VU Filters, the Scion line. Most people know what a neutral density filter does, but a graduated one as Mat explains darkens the top of the frame and slowly goes to clear, this helps darken the highlights while leaving the shadows intact. These are great for colour slide films as you do have a limited range of latitude. Of course the VU line is top of the line, so does come with a price, but it is an investment and the filter will last a lifetime and can be used with any lens using a Cokin or Lee filter holder.
Of course back in the day most professionals doing studio worked with E-6 films, as Mat continues to at Midwest Photo Exchange and that involves working with lighting. These days there are three different light sources, Mat works with strobes which is like the flashes you’d find with your camera just on a larger scale. Then there are the traditional hot lights which uses either tungsten bulbs or CFLs. The new player on the block is LED lighting panels which provide adjustable light intensity and temperatures. Of course the trouble with lighting is that you do have to worry about colour temperature. Leslie explains that colour temperature is a characteristic of any visible light. That means that your white shirt will be rendered differently depending on the source. Your E100G will captures the shirt as white under sunlight at noon, but under a tungsten bulb with a yellow/orange cast, and green under florescent. Many who have done a lot of photographic work can easily tell the temperature off hand, but there are meters that are designed to tell you the temperature in units of degrees Kelvin. The best in Leslie’s view is the Minolta IIIF, but Sekonic still produces the C-500 new (if you have 1,300$ to spare). Now there are a couple ways around this, when using film most are daylight balanced, but you can still find Tungsten balanced film indicated by a T in the name, such as Kodak Vision3 500T film or Fuji CDU-II. The other way around it is to filter the film, for shooting Daylight balanced under tungsten light you’ll want an 85 (a,b,c) filter, or if shooting tungsten under daylight an 80 (a,b,c) filter.
For florescent you’ll need an FL-D or FL-B filter for daylight/tungsten respectively. If your camera doesn’t have Thru-The-Lens (TTL) metering you’ll want to take filter factor into consideration while metering the scene. Of course if you’re in mixed lighting, you’ll also need to filter the flash as well in the same way you’d filter the lens. For those who shoot digital as well, you’ll know all this as White Balance.
If you’re itching to give slide film a try, why not give it a go with an inexpensive option, the new FPP Retrochome, cold stored, government surplus Kodak Ektachrome in RetroChrome ISO-320 or RetroChrome ISO-160 flavours now available in the store at a great price!
Super 8 Madness! As you heard at the beginning of the shoe Michael Raso is going to be in Texas at the end of July promoting his 1989 feature film, The Basement, shot on Super8 Ektachrome and finally making it to the big screen after many years of work! The film will be shown at The Alamo Drafthouse’s Ritz location in Austin Texas on July 28th and at the Aviation Cinema in Dallas on July 30th! And if you’re interested in supporting such projects, check out JR Bookwalter’s Indiegogo campaign to fund a full HD restoration of the film The Dead Next Door! (J.R. Bookwalter pictured below – image courtesy of J.R.)
That’s it for us! But we’ll be back in a short two weeks, in the mean time if you have any questions or just want to say hi, drop us at line at firstname.lastname@example.org!