Exposing a “heavy negative” on film

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  • #214629

      Hi Roger!

      During your podcast episode with Bev Wood, you talk about how you liked to get a “heavy negative” when exposing on film, and that your printer lights usually were around 29, which I take it means that you are intentionally overexposing the film and then printing it back down. I was curious what this meant you were rating your film at.

      On Vision 3 film for instance, I know many DPs who feel that the “box speed” ASA is too high and that rating 500T at 320 or even 250 ASA will produce more accurate results. Similarly I’ve heard that 250D is better exposed at 160 or 125ASA. On something like “No Country for Old Men,” which I believe you’ve said was shot entirely on 500T, what did you tend to rate the film at?

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    • #214631

        Articles at the time mentioned 100T film being used for day exteriors on “No Country for Old Men”.

        You can get a denser-than-normal negative by either rating the film ISO slower or just increasing the exposure after your meter reading, it’s the same thing. Or by extended development.

        Roger Deakins

          I would only use the 500 stock when I really needed to. I much preferred the lower speed stocks and used both the 100 and 200 Tungsten balanced emulsions. I rarely used the daylight emulsions as I felt they were a little saturated.

          I would only set my meter to the rating suggested by Kodak. I would then under or overexpose depending on what effect I was after and where I wanted my exposure to lie relative to the range within the frame. But, either changing the rating or adjusting your exposure after taking a normal reading is basically doing the same thing. Overdeveloping is different. You can change the contrast by doing this, shift the colors  and also add grain.


            Roger, when you were still using an optical process for Super 35 would you expose it any differently versus regular 35, or go through a different post-process like double-printing the dupe or using silver-retention? Did your approach to stocks and exposure change at all when you started using a DI?

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