Alternative methods for Reticulation
Out of extreme and warranted curiosity, is it possible to induce reticulation in a negative before it is processed?
E.g., if a negative is heated and then rapidly cooled (or the reverse) will this yield a reticulated grain structure? And if so is it comparable to the temperature variances found in the processing method?
Some years ago I experimented with reticulation.
At that time the most effective method I found was to pre-soak the film in very hot, about 130-150 deg F, water followed by development at normal temperature. This was not always a sure thing and I never attempted it on a negative for which I didn't have a duplicate, but it did work.
Whether or not the films of today have been manufactured so as to prevent reticulation at these temperatures I don't know.
I have heard of people who soften the emulsion in a warm caustic solution prior to development, but I have never tried this approach.
[FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]
Let me be a little more specific about my situation, for it is rather unique.
I'm a Cinematographer (as well as a still photographer) and I would like to induce reticulation on approx. 2,400' of 16mm color negative motion picture film stock. I have six cans of film at 400 linear feet each. Obviously these rolls are just a little bit longer than what is commonplace in the still photography realm so any form of self or hand-processing is not an option.
In theory I could have my lab adjust the temperature of one of the processing baths to achieve reticulation in the standard photochemical method. This has its drawbacks however. Since this is a non-standard processing method and is willfully destructive most labs are loathe to do this to a customers neg even if they request it. Even if I could get my lab to agree to it, it would come with a hefty price tag since they have to alter their chemistry. Additionally, I am already having this film processed in a non-standard way, I am having it pulled +1 and bleach bypassing it. Adding yet another extreme to this already skewed processing method would be difficult for the lab to agree to and it would definitely strain an already modest budget. Since reticulation is a still photography effect/aberration, most motion picture film labs are not experienced with it.
So, back to my question, is it possible to induce reticulation before processing? From everything I have read it seems that it is the thermal shock (rapid heating and cooling) that causes reticulation and not the presence of photochemistry.
For example, if I were to manually unspool my film (in a darkroom obviously) and heat it -via a steamer or other method- and then rapidly cool and dry it before it is rewound, would this provide me with adequate (if any) reticulation? Or perhaps even if the film was refrigerated and then rapidly heated and then cooled.
If anyone has any related exprience with this I would appreciate hearing about it. Also if anyone can disprove my theory I would greatly appreciate that as well. I do have a looming deadline to try this so the sooner the better...
Hi. You must have your reasons for wanting to achieve reticulation before processing, but I'm curious as to why you are not willing reticulate the film post processing ?
Could you make a inter neg and perform the reticulation on that. It seems really risky todo it on your master. And I would be worried about the emulsion flaking in the camera or projector. The more I think ab out the more I would be worried about the emulsion getting damaged further with the way most movie film is processed and handled.
You could pick up a 100ft load and try various ways of causing reticulation on that. I would be leary of anything that causes the emulsion to get wet or damp. Maybe PE can comment on some of my worries.
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Time is the enemy
Their are several reasons why I need to apply or attempt to apply this method beforehand.
The most pressing reason is the turnaround time. After the film is processed I need to transfer it to a professional video codec asap. A film transfer is another service offered by most film labs wherein 16mm, super-16mm, 35mm or 70mm film is either scanned or recorded -via a datacine or telecine machine- onto Standard-Definition or High-Definition video for editing or broadcast purposes. Real-time color-correction is also done at this time.
I need this material asap to begin editing since I have another project immediately after this I must prepare for. The typical minimum turnaround time for processing/telecine is typically two days from the lab's receival of the negs until you can walk out with a video master. Since there are only a few facilities in my state that are equipped for this, ground shipment of the negs and travel time to supervise the transfer eat up an additional day.
After motion picture film is processed you need to specify to prepare the film for transfer/telecine. The original camera negatives are then specially cleaned and put onto specialized cores and leader film is applied for this process. This is typically done immediate after the processing where it is fastest and most economical. If I opt to skip this and immediately reacquire the negs I would still need to revisit this process before the negs are transferred which would probably eat up an additional day. Alternately it is possible to get the negs returned after they have been prepped for transfer and "do with them as I wish" and then return them transfer, but they would then require an additional cleaning which is an additional charge.
In short, it is by far more time-efficient and cost-effective for me to attempt this well before the negs reach the lab.
p.s. If my original theory is sound I will attempt this technique AFTER the film has been shot. I will not be running film through my camera that has been subjected to extreme temperature variances, for obvious reasons.
you want to reticulate all 2400' of film? i dont know if reticulation is reliable enough to transform all of that film (especially on your master reels) without some undesirable results. With that much physical film, it seems like it would be hard to control the variables and in the end you might lose a chunk of footage.
you have to decide if reticulation is really that important to you.
i'd be interested in seeing some of your project or at least hearing what its for?
Chainsaw, I don't think a lab in the World will do what you want for a number of reasons;
1. Probably won't work consistently on all of your film.
2. You probably won't be willing to pay what it costs to take a machine out of spec and dedicate it to your small section of film. It would take a day and about 2 operators minimum to bring it up and back down again.
3. They won't want to risk floating emulsion off into their system and thus entailing a full dump of all chemicals, breakdown and clean out of solution tanks and refilling and seasoning of baths. That alone would set you back about $6K USD (only their cost , tag 100% on for their bother). You ready for that?
I would be really surprised if you are going full film post anyway, so why don't you put it in via a After Effects Plugin?
Don't mean to rain on your parade and always encourage experimentation, but somehow I don't think your idea will be well received...
Intermittent results would be more than adequate.
The project in question is a music video. At the moment I cannot go into specifics about the band or song due to contractual obligations. Once the piece is edited all bets are off.
"A living tangible nightmare" is the best way to describe the visual look we require for this project. Our production design has the feeling of a Hieronymous Bosch painting. I am shooting through heavily tinted camera filtration, oscillating frame rates (with no exposure compensation), pinhole lenses, mattes, heat distortion, and an oddball lighting scheme. We are also rotoscoping the sky and replacing it with custom photographic plates.
This is a rare instance where the entire crew and myself are making it up as we go along. We have yet to find a single frame of footage that comes close to resembling our desired look. At the moment we feel that we are about 85% of the way there with our approach but there are a few things still lacking.
As far as any form of reticulation goes, I doubt that that we could push it too far. In fact we are planning on chemically and physically abusing the negs in other ways. If our reticulation leads to some emulsion chipping and cracking you would hear nothing but cheers from us. This look is far more important than any of the risks involved.
I have actually drawn up plans for a simple machine that will wet (steam), heat, cool, and dry the negs in a predictable and repeatable manner. It only has to transport 400' at a time. I am also meeting with a mechanical engineer to help me build said machine. I also have a few thousand feet of film I plan on testing with first.
Obviously I do not want to pursue this if it will not work. If a rapid heating/cooling in lieu of photochemistry will only waste my time and film I'd sure like to know now...
p.s. We have no desire to attemp to create our look digitally.
hate to say it chainsaw....
but that kind of sounds lame.