Saturday, February 23, 2013

CineStill is ALIVE!

We are now selling the amazing technology of motion picture film, prepped and rolled for still photography on ETSY! Thank you all initial pre-order customers for your patience. The official release date for Cinestill 500Tungsten is March 11th, 2013.

Our very custom Premoval (patent-pending) process makes motion picture ( ECN2 / ECN-2 ) film safe to process in standard C-41 photo lab chemicals or at home, and the results are beyond that of any other films available to photographers.

Cinematographers have been spoiled with film technology for years before still photographers got their hand-me-downs in the form of "new" emulsions. No longer! We have mastered the process of the ECN2 film technology and brought it to the next level for stills, processing it in your everyday C-41 lab chemistry with unbelievable results (normal or pushed)! The key to the greatness of this film is the vision 3 technology and Tungsten color balance. It is especially great for low light documentary work. We still photographers can now shoot film in the lighting situations that new blockbuster movies and TV shows (such as Inception, Argo, Lincoln, Batman -all of them-, Django Unchained, Mission Impossible, Les Misérables , The Master, Cloud Atlas, Jack Reacher, all Wes Anderson's films, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Castle, True Blood, and the list goes on and on and on... not to mention a vast majority of well produced commercials) are captured on. No more switching to high ISO digital or on camera flash in tungsten lit rooms.

Beta testing for this newly available film began in late 2012 but the concept and original tests to develop it started years before when we first began shooting Kodak Vision 3 500T 5219 for our own personal work. Our solution for a long time was based on a special relationship we had with a local motion picture lab and shooting with our Nikon F3 with a 33' 250 exposure back. We did this because of the high minimum lengths required by motion picture labs and processing ECN-2 in long roll machines results in the loss of nearly 6 inches on either end of each length of film from splicing; the more splicing that occurs the more damage and contamination occurs to the film. We were content with shooting long rolls for quite some time but with the combination of so manny photographers contacting us wanting to use this film and or love for other cameras and lenses like Leica M-mount, we eventually came to the conclusion that we had to find a way to make it usable in standard 36 exposure lengths.

Cross processing these amazing film stocks in C-41 was unachievable until the hurdles of rem jet and continuous long roll processing were conquered. Starting a lab that would process ECN-2 in short lengths, either with a custom roller transport machine with a rem-jet step incorporated into it or by hand rem-jet removal (messy) followed by a dip and dunk process, was a possibility but that would have taken away the photographer's choice of using their favorite local and national labs that they love. The few labs that have offered ECN-2 processing in the past have either not survived the digital revolution or were not able to sustain the process due to low awareness of the virtues of motion picture films. We made certain that the production and use of this film would be sustainable beyond the success of any one lab. Now, with our custom patent-pending "Premoval" and prep system in which the rem-jet (carbon anti-halation backing) is removed prior to rolling and exposure, we can share this advanced technology with our fellow artists and alchemists!

Along the way the question inevitably came up, "Has anyone tried this before?" As it turns out at least one major motion picture has done something similar. In 1995 the feature film "Virtuosity" commissioned a lab to remove the remjet backing from their raw stock prior to exposure and replaced the camera's pressure plate with a mirror, to achieve an exaggerated halation special effect, in an intense flashback scene. This process was done with an old ECN stock, in a sloppy wet process, that naturally introduced contamination, fogging and slowing of the native ISO of the film. The final result made for a really interesting experimental look but their process, though simple and effective at removing the rem-jet layer, would not produce satisfactory results for using these films for still photography. Our unique process retains the original qualities of the emulsion, without compromising the integrity of the final image.

Cinestill film is safe for C-41 processing machines and produces sometimes even better results than ECN-2 processed film when scanned in our experience and testing. CineStill Film can still be processed in ECN-2 chemistry by hand without worrying about remjet. In the future we plan on offering other films and services but currently we are only offering Cinestill 500T (5219 without rem-jet).