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Thread: 60's color 120

  1. #1
    2WK
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    60's color 120

    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. #2
    vpwphoto's Avatar
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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.

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    holmburgers's Avatar
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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.

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    CGW
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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. #5
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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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.
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

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    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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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

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    vpwphoto's Avatar
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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.

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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.

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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. #10
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plate Voltage View Post
    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.
    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/...photographs/#1

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