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Instructions you gave to the lab given your exposure (2 replies and 2 comments)

Brant
1 month ago
Brant 1 month ago

Hi Roger,

I have a first 35mm project coming up and am trying to sort through some things. When you were shooting film, say a roll of 5213 (or 5212), and you used an 85 filter for daylight scenes, you were rating the 200T film at 125 in those instances, correct? And, you've often said that you generally over exposed film by 2/3 stop. (I'm assuming that's on top of your 2/3's compensation for the filter).

So my question is, assuming the above, what did you tell the lab about how to process this roll of 5212 or 5213? Generally did you not have the lab push or pull? Or did your additional 2/3 stop over-exposure mean you told the lab to pull by the same amount?  (I'm guessing no) Thanks for helping me understand this. I'm trying to create the cleanest, highest quality, grain free image I can!

Roger Deakins
1 month ago
Roger Deakins 1 month ago

I would overexpose by as much as two thirds of a stop but it was generally less than that, especially with the most recent film emulsions. If I was working with a lab or a contact for the first time I would suggest to the lab timer where my printer light would fall. However, I was usually working with a regular timer who knew where I would be printing and what my negative would look like. If I was unsure I would send a B&W Polaroid that represented the density I was after.

Brant
1 month ago

Thanks Roger. Just to clarify something if you don’t mind, if you were over exposing by, say, 1/3 a stop, are you saying that you would you have the lab bring that down in the print, or scan, as opposed to pulling the negative during processing? I’m also curious why you found it less beneficial in recent stocks (I assume you mean Vision3) to over expose as much as you did previously. But my main concern is what I should tell the lab about the negative processing itself, if I also try over exposing by 1/3, for the purpose of producing the highest quality image possible from film. I guess this is what is meant by a “thick negative”?

Roger Deakins
1 month ago
Roger Deakins 1 month ago

I would overexpose the negative and print it down. As you say, a thick negative. My printer lights would usually be in the low 30s, though a 40 was not so unusual. A mid light, meaning the light used for a 'correctly' exposed negative, is around 27, though it varies depending on the lab. There are 7 printer lights to one stop so to overexpose 1/2 a stop would mean printing at 30 or 31. Later stocks seem to have a clearer base and better black levels, so I didn't then feel the need to overexpose as much. 

I would very rarely change negative development and only then for a particular effect. For one film I overexposed the negative by 3 stops, pulled the development by 1 stop and printed at a low to mid 40 light. A very thick negative but surprisingly grain free and low in saturation.

Brant
1 month ago

Thank you very much Roger, this really helps.

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