Velvia: How do you know when it has been processed poorly?
I have a "new to me" Rolleiflex that I have primarily used to shoot B&W. Recently I bought a few rolls of Fuji Velvia film.
I took 2 exposed rolls to a local photo lab and they returned with a terrible color cast to them.
My question is: is the color cast a function of poor exposure? or did the photo lab fail to do a good processing job?
I am just trying to get a handle on the variables to be managed before I try to shoot another roll.
In anything other than clear daylight or electronic flash, all daylight-balanced color film - positive or negative - has a color cast. It is balanced to be neutral under these light sources alone. The more saturated and contrasty a film is, the more severe this cast appears. As such, Velvia exaggerates these casts.
If you shot your film in clear sunlight or with electronic flash, then I would look at the processing, or age and/or storage conditions.
At any rate, the exposure does not significantly affect the color cast when compared to the other factors that do so, so I would rule that out.
When shooting negatives, you don't often see the cast unless you are doing your own printing (meaning that you know your neutral daylight filter pack for the film you are using), or examining your negs with a color densitometer. This is because you are looking at prints, which are always (and very easily) altered to get them into positive form. With a transparency, you get the same casts as you get with negatives, but you are looking at a positive image right on the film, without any printing adjustments.
Going back to my first statement about the color of light in which you shoot affecting your picture, FYI, the same applies to black and white film. The difference is that you do no see the results as a color cast (obviously), but as an apparent difference in spectral response, similar to using colored filters in front of your camera lens. For instance, shoot a b/w shot in open shade, and your film will be more exposed by blue and green light than it will be by red light. Therefore, it will respond to color similarly to the way it would in the Sun with a cool color balancing filter (such as a #82A) in front of the lens.
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Could you describe the color cast?
Did you shoot daylight film in tungsten light?
There are many variables that can change the looks of your picture.
Thanks for the input.
A couple more details, the first of which is flat out embarrassing:
It wasn't color negative film. The film came back from the lab positive. The shot that hit me as having the color cast was shot late in the day...approximately 30 minutes before sunset. Unsurprisingly, it had a harsh yellow/orange color cast. I didn't shoot any exposures with a flash.
Thanks for the detailed input 2F/2F. I'll have to re-read it a couple of times before it penetrates my 1" thick skull though
I think 2F pretty much answered your questions. During the middle of the day the color temperature is pretty much spot on daylight (5500~5600K), but as you go on into late afternoon/sunset, the color temperature is roughly 3200~3400K. This is almost spot on tungsten color temperature (same as shooting with hotlights), and unless your shooting tungsten balanced films (discontinued) or use some sort of color correction/wratten filter, your image will have a very "warm" cast to it.
If my explanation doesn't help here are some examples;
Hawaii 1992 - Fujichrome 100 - Nikon 801
Taken in the middle of the day:
Taken during sunset:
You can clearly see the "warm" (yellow) color cast on the last piece film. This can be very pleasing if your trying to get this type of look, but it can be annoying if your not expecting it.
Hope this helped!
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Thanks Alex. Appreciate the feedback.
color temperature is something I always tried to be aware of when processing digital shots. I guess I just failed to recognize that the laws of physics would not be suspended just because I am shooting film.
I will continue to shoot color film but only when I can anticipate the preferred lighting conditions.
Also with Velvia 50, be aware that it will give a cast with exposures longer than about 4 seconds.