60's color 120

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by 2WK, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. 2WK

    2WK Member

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    Strange request, but I'm shooting a clothing catalog/lookbook next month and the owner wants me to shoot medium format film in the studio, which is exciting for me! (All previous catalogs have been digital 5D/D3)
    He wants it to look like it is from the 60's, regarding the color tone and amount of grain. Obviously, modern film will not do, so does anyone have any recommendations for a film that will render like that? Perhaps slide chromes?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    Slides or prints? Printing you can do either.
    Either way you go the images will become "digital" anyway when the are screened / scanned for the catalog.

    I had a client insist on me shooting 4x5 of a football coach, I told them we would just shoot in MF. The coach would not have the patience for a 4x5 session, well I didn't get the job, and they got a stale photo of the coach from another photographer.

    Comes down to is the client making a reasonable request for the desired outcome. BTW this 4x5 request was within the past decade, and I still stand by my answer that photographing more exposures on the Hasselblad would have given better results that would have reproduced just as well.

    I say this "retro look" is just what the 5D is for. Not having shot much color film as of late, the best I could reccomend is some older Agfa product if you can dig some up.. it had a "restrained" look to the color.
     
  3. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Well shooting a paying gig on an expired and vintage film sounds like a risky proposition.

    If I had to make a suggestion, I would suggest finding a roll of reasonably new (last 10 years expiry date) Kodak EPP. It has a kind of vintage palette to it, and might fit the bill.
     
  4. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Who knows less: the client or you? Get some Fuji 400H or Portra 400. Rate it at box speed or 1/3 over. Scan it and start researching how to get old Ektachrome looks in PS, start checking out current fashion mags, too. That look is everywhere now--faded postcard, over-exposed, color-shifted print/slide looks are the new X-processed and getting old fast. "Old" film will give you headaches, no consistency, and no good basis for post-exposure manipulation towards the look you want to deliver.
     
  5. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Over-expose Portra. This seems to be a trend in Japan recently as seen in CL - Camera Life magazine for using Portra and over-exposing it and getting a very 60's retro look to the color in the images.
     
  6. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I started colour printing in 1973, back then there were two main dealers of paper that we used, kodak and agfa. When we used agfa and the look was warm and rosey, Kodak paper seemed to be much more cold ... The film back then had a very noticeable grain , and I would suggest a 400 or 800 colour negative, in PS bias towards the warm.
    just my 2cents
     
  7. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    @ CGW
    Unfortunately for me at least whenever I stick my neck out from my professional point of view I seem to get shot down.
    In my case it wasn't that I couldn't shoot this coach with a 4x5, it's just these coach types show up and want to go in 10 minutes or less.

    More recently I photographed a days worth of product photography with my Leaf Aptus on the Sinar.
    The young art director went back to the agency complaining about the goofy slow antique camera I was using.
    Last I heard they are using a guy that shoots products with a DSLR for half my day rate.
    They just don't "see" what a little lens swing can do for a product.
    I hate this market I am in where price drives. If were up the road 120 miles in Chicago, I would still be working with folks that appreciate and understand what I am doing with a view camera.

    Thanks to all for the info on the film... I might give it a try. I did love the AGFA films and papers from the late 1990's.
     
  8. Plate Voltage

    Plate Voltage Member

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    This is what I don't understand though - how come overexposure is equated with 1960s catalogue/advertising photography? I don't think technical quality problems like incorrect exposure would be acceptable for print use in the 60s any more than out of focus photographs would be.
     
  9. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Heresy to this forum, but use digital. By adjusting contrast curves, selective desaturation by channel, additional of grain in photoshop on a grey layer in overlay mode, make it sharp or soft, smooth or clumpy, and use blend if to keep the grain out of the shadows and highlights. Split the sliders in "blend if" to soften the transition into and out of the middle tones.

    Do some test samples and present them ahead of time to see what your client likes. Maybe he could give you same samples of his expectations ahead of the real shoot.

    The problem is he knows what film looked like in 1960 and you do not. And you really can not match it with modern film. You will have a difficult time matching something that exists in his mind.

    If you do not like these ideas, then Portra 160 NC is the flatest lowest saturation film available today. The pro films from then were flat and low contrast and had relatively unsaturated color.
     
  10. CGW

    CGW Member

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    It's an interpretation of faded, discolored ad copy and snapshots from 50+ years ago with no reference to or knowledge of what the originals looked like. These sure weren't washed out:

    http://lightbox.time.com/2011/11/01...red-herzogs-early-color-street-photographs/#1
     
  11. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    I tried Rollei CR200 once and it did have this retro faded look. If you are willing to experiment, try CR200 or CN200 film and see if it gives you the look they are asking.
    But for a commercial shoot, I would agree with the other posters that Portra + photoshop sounds like a safest approach, at the minimum as a backup roll.
     
  12. 2WK

    2WK Member

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    Wow, thanks for all the responses! About the digital... I do know how to mimic old film quite nicely, and I have a ton of plug-is that do just that. Honestly since he wants it, I would just much rather shoot my hassy or mamiya 7ii. I figure if I shoot 10-15 shots per look I should be alright. I'm going to do a dry run in the studio before to text the exposure with my strobes...since I have never shot film like this before!
    I will try Portra 160NC and over-expose it a bit. I'm actually looking forward to this shoot! Thanks again!!
     
  13. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Shoot Kodachrome.
     
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  15. CGW

    CGW Member

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  16. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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  17. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    That would be Portrait 160. I've bid on rolls on eBay a couple of times but it always went to more than I'm willing to pay for expired film.
     
  18. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    You may get the "faded look" no matter what film you shoot these days if you dont have a good lab :sad:
     
  19. 2WK

    2WK Member

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    I thought there was no place that still process' Kodachrome?
     
  20. onepuff

    onepuff Member

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    I'm sure you are right. The last lab definitely closed and no-one else processes it even if you get some film. I loved Kodachrome. I don't think there is any current film with the realistic skin tones and blues also with the punchy reds it had. A real shame. Portra 160 would be closest but not as good in my view - and it's print film. All the modern slide films are either over saturated or under saturated and none have the balance.
     
  21. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    He's taking the piss.
     
  22. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    ... and anyone believing him is pulling a boner.
     
  23. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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  24. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Damn, I pull boners all the time.
     
  25. Plate Voltage

    Plate Voltage Member

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    I guess if it's an interpretation, then it may not be the best thought out interpretation there is because one look at some vintage catalogues or magazines would clear that up pretty quickly. A couple National Geographic magazines or department store catalogues from the sixties would provide working examples of the state of colour photography and colour printing at the time and put the idea that the washed out overexposed look was typical for the time to rest.

    That said, if washed out/over exposed film is the look being sought now for its appearance in and of itself, that's fine from an artistic point of view but I don't think it should be taken to represent the technical quality of photography of that time.
     
  26. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I don't get the idea that overexposed negative film results in washed out, unsaturated color. This is true only if straight machine prints are made (and presumably automatic scans as well) that don't compensate for the greater negative density. When I did my own color printing I routinely "overexposed" most color neg film by maybe 1/3-1/2 stop, and it certainly didn't lower saturation. If anything it increased it, while improving shadow detail, lowering apparent grain (opposite of black and white, due to the overlapping dye clouds in color neg and chromegenic black and white) and somewhat decreasing contrast.

    I haven't done any color printing in about a dozen years,though. Are modern films different in this regard or are they just using lighter scans that don't compensate for the higher negative density?

    I would actually like to find a way of printing more subdued color saturation without "washed out" tonal values - in other words, less saturation without lighter tonal values. If there's a way to do this in wet printing I don't know what it is, other than to choose a less saturated film and there really aren't any anymore. There are moderately highly saturated films and very saturated films.