best slide film to shoot art?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by tilt-shift, Jan 16, 2005.

  1. tilt-shift

    tilt-shift Member

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    I need to shoot a friend's pastel art work. What does everyone recommend for a good neutral film? I am going to light the art with strobes and was thinking of using Kodak's 100G. Just figured I'd ask if anyone has info or preferences to using a different film for art work. Thanks for all your help. jeff
     
  2. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    For oil paintings (not that there should be too much difference), I have used Fuji Astia F, but only in soft overcast conditions outdoors with the correct warm up filter. The artists have preffered this because it depicts the texture of the paint so long as the orientation can be made to match the lighting direction of the painting itself. Of course you become dependent on waiting for the correct weather before you can proceed, not usually a problem here in the UK!

    Colours and contrast seem pretty accurate, most importantly the artists and gallery owners have been happy with the results. I Blu-tack either an Opticard (White, grey, black) or Kodak test card onto the edge of the frame as a reference. Thus should it need to be scanned or sent for repro, any deviation of colour or contrast can be corrected. I shoot 2 sheets for each and push/pull second one if necessary.
     
  3. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I have always used either provia or astia when we were working in the studio for art work.

    Dave
     
  4. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    There is a standard colour chart (bar) (probably the one Baxter is referring to) that art photographers put under the painting so that the picture can be developed with these colours correct. The idea being that if these colours are correct, so will be the colours of the painting. Unfortunately the name escapes me. Mc something-or-other. :confused:
     
  5. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Kodak sells them and they are indispensible for shooting art work, I see them show up on ebay quite often, but any good photo store should be able to get one for you, they come in small size and large size models.

    Dave
     
  6. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Macbeth chart?? Useful thing to have for any kind of reproduction.

    I use film from yellow boxes myself; I've never liked the colours from Fuji.
     
  7. pelerin

    pelerin Member

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    Shooting art

    Hi,
    The color separation guide and gray scale is either a Q13 or a Q14 (i.e., short or long). I like 64T. I suppose it is one of those personal preference things but it has been my experience that consistency (what if they want more?) and lighting quality are both improved by shooting flat art w/ lights. I would suggest one shoot a test for color balance before committing the whole project to film. A good E6 lab will run one sheet (gray card) for you, read it with a densitometer, and give you a suggested filter pack. Goodluck.
    Celac.
     
  8. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    There is no perfectly "neutral" film. Any good studio always tests film for a given setup and the current film emulsion and lab combination. Stay away from the overly saturated films, such as Fuji Velvia and the Kodak "high color" films, and shoot with the Q-14 or Gretag-Macbeth color checker (not the digital version), and stay away from "portrait" films that tend to mute colors or emphasize skin tones. Run one sheet of film or a "clip test" or same-emulsion roll of film, then check for color balance and exposure and adjust with color correction filters on your final shoot. There's a small (a few inches on a side) version of the Gretag-Macbeth color checker for inclusion in the scene when doing art copy work. It costs about the same as the larger version. I haven't shot a lot of the current color transparency films, so I don't have specific suggestions there.

    Lee
     
  9. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    I also use 64T for artwork. I use Kodak, but the current Fuji emulsion is on a par with it - the old Fuji 64T was not nearly as good.

    For colour accuracy when the silde is not intended for projection to an audience, I include a grey scale and colour scale (Kodak 'Color Separation Guide and Gray Scale', Q-13 small and Q-14 large as mentioned above).

    Most of the time I use more than one light, so I adjust the colour temperature of the lamps to be uniform, using fractional CTB (colour temperature blue) or, rarely, CTO (... orange) gels.

    In extremis I also resort to the old crossed polarising filters trick (one on each light in use, one on the camera) but that really is a last resort.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  10. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Another thing to keep in mind, although there isn't much that you can do about it is that as good as modern color films are, they don't neccessarily react in the same way as a human eye, especially with some dyes and pigments. It is possible to get the best, most accurate color rendition of a piece except that a certain Olive Green might go Brown or a Brown might come up Orange.
    This is rarely a huge problem but there are some very finicky clients out there (especially artists). Kodak used to have a publication that photographers could hand out to clients who couldn't understand why every subtle color in a painting may not photograph exactly as seen.
     
  11. Wally H

    Wally H Member

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    Assuming one wants no "enhanced" color to the slide, Kodak's EPN slide film is the most neutral film I found, however, I have not shot art work for a couple of years, so I've no experience with any of the newer films. Most new films seem to promote themselves as some version of a saturated or color shifted film which in most cases would not be approriate for accurate color reproduction. Color bars are only going to give the printer a reference point. The printer will generally not be able correct any oversaturation issues, even with color bars.
     
  12. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I'll add a second for the tungsten film.

    My wife was in grad school a few years ago and took two advanced degrees in painting. We took a lot of slides of both her work and other students'. Experimented with everything. One can make almost anything work, but using controlled lighting reduces some of the variables.

    Whatever you use, beware of glare, shadows, and make sure everything (camera and artwork) is level and square. Crop in camera as much as possible, and mask the slides (there is tape made for just this purpose) for what can't be cropped in the 2:3 format.

    Hanging the art on a flat black background helps, too.

    Good luck.

    David
     
  13. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Jorde makes some excellent points.
    Steady lights make it easier to identify some problems before shooting.

    Also, give plenty of attention to balancing your illumination. Meter the center, corners, top, bottom, left, right and adjust the lights to get the readings as close as possible. I like to use a flat disk on an incident meter but a reflected meter and a grey card works just as well. Uneveness that is almost imperceptable by eye can be very noticable in the slide.
     
  14. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    'Steady lights make it easier to identify some problems before shooting.'

    I've never even considered flash...

    But what about tungsten film vs daylight film with a filter?

    Tungsten films for still cameras were usually designed for long-ish exposures without reciprocity failure. Remember the old 'Type L' Vericolor? L for long, S for short. Ektachrome 64T (EPY) needs no correction up to 10 seconds, and only a little correction between 10 and 100 seconds. EPN, on the other hand, isn't recommended for exposures longer than 1 second, and even then Kodak recommend a CC05M filter for a 1 second exposure.

    Portra 100T, which would have been worth considering if you had required prints, needs no correction up to 5 seconds - so that just goes to show that tungsten still films aren't always designed for long exposures in comparison to their daylight stablemates.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  15. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have struggled with copy work. In my struggles I have found 2 sets of defused tungsten lights set at an angle to each side where the spread of the light is even and the angle does not create glare in the view finder and shot with epy works very well.
     
  16. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    You're not alone there.

    The Leitz (for it was Leitz in those days, not Leica as it is now) Reprovit adds two black curtains to that arrangement: each goes from a pair of lights to the lens.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  17. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    But, if you need prints you're better off still shooting slides as each step in the developing/printing process can introduce color shift/errors depending on the lab tech.
     
  18. DanG

    DanG Member

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    best slide film to shoot art

    In my experience, Fuji 64T with tungsten lights is the best choice for photographing 2D artworks.
    DanG
     
  19. tilt-shift

    tilt-shift Member

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    thanks for all the resposes

    just gotta ask, why Tungstein? It seems two strobes outside the angle of reflection on either side would be a no brainer both for ease(not having to worry about shutter speed or lights on in the room reflecting) What am I missing about tungstein film?
     
  20. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    For me...
    It is easier to identify problems with continuous lighting, it can allow for a greater variety of aperture settings and exposure times and finally I find EPY to be very neutral and to have a very long tonal range (more shadow and highlight detail) for slide film.
     
  21. sergio caetano

    sergio caetano Member

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    I suggest Kodak EPY 64 (tungsten). Take care with color temperature; Kodak EPY is 3200 K, Fuji 64T is 3100 K.
     
  22. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I usually use two strobes with plain reflectors and modeling lights at 45 degrees to the work. I check the center and the corners with a flash meter and a flat diffuser.

    I wouldn't cross polarize for work that doesn't have much texture. For something like a heavily textured oil painting, polarization might be desirable.

    I usually prefer EPN for accurate color with copy work.
     
  23. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    EPN is the best film if you need correct gray tones with flashlight or other light with 5500Kelvin!
    But it is an old film with not so fine grain then todays films!
     
  24. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    EPY is the best color film made. For anything. EPY and Azo are the best products Kodak manufactures for the photographic artist. There are no green boxes around here. Big Yellow rules!

    (But please don't take my word for it. Until they went to scanning digital backs, the National Gallery of Art used EPY to photograph all their art work. If they're not experts, who is?)