Do Slides = Better Scans and Other Qs
I am doing a project that is going to mix slides, 8mm motion picture film together and I plan to use a computer to finish on (sorry no choice; no one uses VHS or movie film anymore). Anyway, I want to know if there's any real tangible benefits to slides other than them scanning better and my incompetance at printing color neg's (haven't even started yet, but I am not too hot with B&W and color should be 3x as hard). I have heard that color negs don't scan well or are inconsistantly scanned, but I assume that an 8x10 print will scan just as well as a slide on a reasonably priced film scanner in the 3-4000 dpi range (keeping in mind that I don't have a $20,000 drum scanner). For the shots I have on negative that I want to include, would I be better off using the print film Kodak has that makes slides from negatives? I'm going for a cheap, economical approach again, so I figure that since the stuff can be processed at a local one hour photo just like regular negative film (or can it?) it'll be cheaper than making prints and more consistent looking. Has anyone ever made slides from negatives? Are they excessively grainy? Then there's the question of Kodachrome. I love Kodachrome, but I'm worried that it won't scan as well as the Ektas do. I've shot some K25 in 8mm and I must say that it is very contrasty and very saturated. Are there any techniques in making Kodachrome scan better? Would making E-Dupes of my good K-14s provide for better scans? Or does E-Dupe not work well with Kodachrome? Am I just crazy for not using negs?
wow.. lots of Q's in that lot!
Point form in no particular order
- the only process I've heard of (never done it myself) to purposely turn negs into slides is for B&W. You can cross-process E6 & C41 but I don't think what you end up with is a true reversal.. just weird colours.
- Kodachromes can require more post scan work to get accurate colours if you're scanner can't chew thru the density (like mine!) I'd imagine a decent film scanner would breeze though Kodachromes these days.
- Negs scan fine. I wouldn't be printing colour negs just to scan them.
- Prints can be scanned fine, but you need to be aware of final resolution required. Scanning a 6x4 print at 'lots of dpi' to get the file size uo doesn't always work well, you end up getting chararteristics of the paper into the scan.
I think you can scan from whatever the source you have material you want to use in. For stuff you've already got you don't have a choice! You need to decide whether the benefits neg film gives (less fussy about exposure, harder to colour balance, cheap to buy and get processed without prints) are more favourable over the benefits of slides (accurate colour if exposed correctly, better scanner required usually).
Here are lots of generalisations:
With my experience of film scanners I've found that colour negs generally scan better than slides - they certainly have a much longer scene tonal range, and allow more tweaking. A film scan with a desktop scanner can bring things out of a neg that you won't see in a machine print. That's just my opinion, of course.
Personally I wouldn't bother to use Vericolor slide film - it's been discontinued anyway, though there seems to be plenty of stock available. I'd say that it was much easier to learn how to do a good neg scan than to learn how to use Vericolor properly, but that's just my opinion. This isn't a digital forum, so I'll refrain from going any further on the subject. However, it is a C-41 film, so it can be developed at the local one-hour lab.
When you refer to scanning 8 mm movie film, do you want frame grabs or full motion?
If you want full motion then transfer to DV (or now/soon HDV?) might be the best answer - either by a standard projector and camera 'film chain' with contrast control or by a dedicated 'Workprinter' - a modified projector. All kinds of variations are possible (cutting blades off your projector's shutter, filing out the gate...).
For still frame grabs I prefer to copy the Kodachrome to a good 35 mm neg film, in which case the whole tonal range of Kodachrome can usually be captured. I wouldn't use E-Dupe - can't see any need in this case. I know that other people just scan the film, and get good results - but even 4000 ppi doesn't give you much from one of those tiny frames. Depends on what you want for your final resolution. Kodachrome can be a bit more difficult to scan than E-6 films, mostly because of the higher D-max in my opinion.
If you can afford it, you can get it done at a good telecine house. I guess that the charge would be in the order of 300 to 500 dollars per hour. Multiply your film running time by three to get a rough estimate for the basic time required. Buying your own 'Workprinter' begins to look attractive.
You could shoot on 8 mm colour neg instead of Kodachrome - but I don't know which camera you have. With Standard/Regular 8 you should be OK (if you can get the reperforated stock) but not all Super 8 cameras will run neg film flawlessly. Super 8 neg stock is a lot easier to get than Standard 8 neg stock though.
There are just so many variables that it is difficult to give a good answer. Good? Quick? Cheap? Pick any two. As usual.