Very odd colour casts on Digital files from film, Is it me or the Lab?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by OwenMorgan, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. OwenMorgan

    OwenMorgan Member

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    Hi there,

    I just got a roll developed at Jessops 1 Hour straight to CD service and they look absolutely awful. I'm certainly not expecting pro lab stuff, I'm just a hobbyist and nothing on the roll was important. The film itself is also the cheapo trueprint stuff you get free, but either way I'm astounded at HOW bad they are.

    I am open to the suggestion that I messed up badly and under exposed (no meter at the moment so I'm just guestimating around sunny 16) but some of the photos are very green and the only time I've seen this before is also when using a similar cheap straight-to-cd service. Could this just be very bad colour matching at Jessops? Also, the grain is horrific, never seen it that bad so I'm sure its a scanner thing! Either way I'm going to put them through my friends negative scanner when I get the chance but I'd like to know in the meantime whether I really am THAT bad, or if its the lab :wink:

    On the last one there is also a pair of blue lines on the right, this gets a lot worse by the end of the film!

    Thanks for any help, heres a few example pics...
     

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  2. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    I've had the same experience from a very cheap lab that I tried in the Philippines. Think $5 for 5 rolls of C-41. The scans had huge grain and very flat colors. I re-scanned those negatives here and they look much better, specially the grain issue which was reduced drastically. So I guess the problem lies in the scanner.
     
  3. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

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    The green probably comes from the lamps. Some lamps does that to film. The eyes and the brain does colour correction very efficiently and subconciously.

    You can try to enhance magenta in photoshop, or when you scan them again.
     
  4. edp

    edp Member

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    What is the film like? Did you get prints, if you did what are they like?

    Chances are it's just crap scanning; you're much better off scanning it yourself (but if you want to talk about scanning go to http://www.dpug.org/forums/home.php )
     
  5. OwenMorgan

    OwenMorgan Member

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    Thanks for the replies guys,

    ColdEye, ok thanks, thats encouraging, but Jessops charge £6 for one (24exp) film for this service, so thats like $10 for one! A bit cheeky...

    Erik Petersson, thanks, that had crossed my mind as its at its worst when energy saver bulbs and the like are involved in the shot. I tried pulling up the magenta in Lightroom but theres none there anymore :smile: Seems a shame though that modern artificial light can look so bad on film. I'll have a go when I rescan.

    edp, Thanks, the negs look ok as far as I can tell, didn't get any prints done but I might take them to the more expensive lab I send more important stuff to and see what I get back...

    Owen
     
  6. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    The green lamps are just el cheapo energy saving bulbs, nothing will fix that, except replacing them. :sad:
     
  7. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    The second two look a tad underexposed too, which will make C41 grainier.
     
  8. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    The light source can definitely affect the color of your images. I assume you used daylight balanced film with different types of artificial light. Generally, with fluorescent bulbs: cool white tend to give a green cast, warm white a pink to orange cast and daylight (bulbs) a blue cast. That along with the other factors you mention, there are too many variables to single out one. It's best to standardize your technique as much as possible so when something is not to your liking it's easier to make a correction.

    I would start with a light meter and a roll of a film known to give good results. Shoot in daylight and have it processed where some pride is taken in their work. Another thought is to take a roll of transparency film which is not very forgiving. That would be a check on your metering technique. Once you have a properly exposed and processed roll, you can determine if the scanning and/or printing is up to speed.

    Hobbyist or pro or somewhere in between if you are going to take the time and effort to make photographs you want decent results.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  9. OwenMorgan

    OwenMorgan Member

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    Thanks for your help everyone, I'm keen on the idea of standardising my setup, probably with slide film as to be more revealing of the quality of my exposures etc!

    I studied photography years ago but I've evidently forgot most of it, I'm running into all sort of problems that I was never even aware of in those days. Perhaps I was lucky enough that my local lab where I grew up (the only place I've ever used till now) was good, for one thing!

    Interesting stuff about the flourescent lighting, do you guys recommend getting a few daylight balanced bulbs for practicing indoors? I'm kind of confident I can get it right in 'easy' light but I'd love to learn how to get good shots in some trickier situations as well.

    Thanks again, invaluable help!
     
  10. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    The green is from the (vapour-discharge lamp, i.e. fluorescent) light source as per previous posts. Not much you can do about that except apply an "FL-D" (fluorescent to daylight) filter to your lens, which will cure the problem for some fluoros, not for others and overcorrect with yet others - bit of a potluck. Colour balance is no problem if you shoot B&W :smile:

    The muddy shadows are a combination of slight (but not necessarily extreme or problematic) underexposure combined with really bad scanning that has auto-adjusted the levels and brought what should have been near-black up to mid/dark grey.

    If you re-scan them competently, you're likely to get decent images, particularly from the second one. I don't see the blue lines you're talking about, but can you see a matching yellow streak on the negative? If not then it's a scanning artifact.
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    its not you,
    scans are messed up !
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I'd agree, except to say that the combination of light sources in some of your scenes are quite challenging, so it isn't particularly surprising that an "auto" scan would mess them up.
     
  13. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I disagree. I think they look pretty typical for the kind of light sources in the shots.
     
  14. OwenMorgan

    OwenMorgan Member

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    Thank you, and thanks everyone else who has replied, lots to learn but at least people agree that the scanning is certainly bad :smile:

    The blue lines are actually on the 2nd one, not the 3rd as I said, and they do appear on the negative. By the end of the film its very bad. Could this be a mechanical thing, damage caused by winding on or similar? These were shot using a Rollei 35, but my previous rolls in this camera seemed fine...

    To be certain though, I think I should start off with buying some new, decent film and ignore the big pile of cheap stuff I have aquired for now!
     

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  15. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

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    This could very well be mechanical damage to the film. Can you see it if you inspect the film strip closely? Perhaps it is the scanner, and then the store should refund you, shouldn't they?

    I am sure the cheap film can used, just give it enough exposure and it should not be too bad.

    Myself I tend to tilt my Rollei 35, you have managed to avoid that.
     
  16. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

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    There is also a chance that the lines is because of a dirty scanner.
     
  17. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    As Erik says, have a look at the negs closely (with a magnifier if one is handy)...if it's physical damage, like a scratch, it could be grit in the camera, or (more likely) careless handling at the lab. FWIW, I've never been totally satisified with cheapy develop-and-scan packages for either negatives or transparencies. Scanning is like printing, needs care and skill for the best results.

    Cheap film is another matter (if it's in date) ....I don't think there are any bad films about, as all own-label color now comes from either Fuji or Kodak (maybe Ferrania?), and none of these companies supply rubbish. Truprint used to be from Agfa (also good), and (I believe) is now Fuji. Even if the film is an "earlier version", it should be fine with good quality processing.
     
  18. OwenMorgan

    OwenMorgan Member

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    Thanks everyone,

    I had a good look at the negative and while the orange strips are just about noticeable on the negatives there is no sign of physical damage and the neg surface SEEMS flawless. It looks like the blue strips (as they appear on the scans) are a part of the image as it appears on the negative. Could this still be a case of a dirty scanner? Or maybe a bad film? As I say, previous rolls with the same camera have been fine, but I've only shot it in bright daylight until now...

    Thanks for the info re cheap film, good to know. The reel I shot was completely unmarked, date wise so could well have been way out of date, it was part of a super cheap ebay bulk buy of old film and I have no idea where it came from, if it had been stored well etc. That said, I've got great results from other films of the same type from the same pack, but I did send them to a much more discerning lab...
     
  19. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Do the orange strips continue between the frames? If so, your camera (or maybe the lab) had a light leak.

    A scanner can't really cause that effect (extra density) on the negative; worst it can do is scratch it, which would result in a thinner section which would appear darker in the images.
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i agree with part of what you said xldude
    yes ... it is a combination of mixed lights and
    bad scans
     
  21. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I think the lab did fine. Not to my liking but I think they did fine. I would not expect much more.
     
  22. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Oops. Now I get that you were talking about the other issues. Sorry.
     
  23. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    no worries, i am kind of obtuse sometimes :smile: