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KODAK VISION2 STOCK
DELIVERING ON PROMISES
by Bob Fisher

The first member of a “new generation” of color negative films from Kodak is getting high marks from cinematographers. The new negative is the result of a confluence of advances in T-Grain and other emulsion technologies and techniques for designing and building films. Kodak Vision2 film 5218/ 7218 is rated for an exposure index of 500 in 3200K tungsten light and 320 in daylight.
“We believe it is a quantum leap forward,” says Eric Rodli, president of Kodak’s Entertainment Imaging division. “The silver halide crystals make more efficient use of light which enabled us to design a fast film with less apparent grain. Other Vision2 films with specialized imaging characteristics will be introduced later this year.”
Allen Daviau, ASC was among the first cinematographers to test the new film. He filmed a redheaded actress against a black-and-white night sky backing using Lightning Strikes to create very contrasty backlight. “Her skin tones were right on the money,” he reports. “There was good shadow detail with strong blacks that didn’t feel crunched. The most impressive thing is the color space. The colors aren’t over saturated or compressed, and it has a wonderfully rich tonal scale.”
Daviau is using the Kodak Vision2 5218 film on Van Helsing, which he is currently photographing in Prague. Other early adapters include NFL Films, Dean Semler, ASC, ACS on The Alamo, John Schwartzman, ASC on Seabiscuit, and Johnny Jensen, ASC on Dragnet.
“This film sees things in the dark that your eyes can’t see,” says Bill Bennett, who has used it on high profile commercials. “It records a tremendous range of contrast, including subtle details in shadow and highlight areas. It also gives you enormous flexibility in telecine where you can decide what you want the audience to see, and what you don’t want them to see.”
Bennett cites a tire commercial where the agency wanted to see details in the tread.
“I’ve used it for commercials in every conceivable situation,” says Curtis Clark, ASC. “One spot included scenes in New York’s Grand Central Station. We shot in daytime with mixed, available light. I rated it at 500, and took advantage of the film’s wide dynamic tonal range to effectively render clean shadow detail that would not have been possible other high speed negatives. The images were sharp with no apparent grain and true colors.”
Clark also shot a spot in a casino in Las Vegas, and night exteriors outside the New York, New York hotel/casino where he pulled deep backgrounds with rich blacks and subtle detail of buildings. The foreground was lit one 4Kpar to simulate a street lamp and just a few Kino Flo fluorescents for a car interior. Clark was particularly impressed with the richness of images and nuances in details in a spot filmed in Super 16 format. He predicts that the convergence of advances in film and hybrid digital mastering technologies will make the Super 16 format an affordable creative alternative for lower budget features, narrative TV programs and documentaries.
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