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Old 08-19-2015, 05:06 PM   #1
morganstudio
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Film digitizing

Hi !

I know that since the digital has come, films have been digitized in order to edit them on computers.

It's possible to digitize positive films and negative films, my questions are the following :

Is it better in terms of quality to inverse and calibrate the colors chemically, or to digitize first the negative then invert it and calibrate the colors with a software on a computer ?

Does one of this process bring a better image quality ? Maybe chemically the colors are better but perhaps we lose a bit of data when doing a positive by a contact print...

Well, that's question I've been asking me, so if anyone can help, please feel free !

p.s. : I am French and it's a bit hard to talk about a very specific subject in a non native language so if I made some mistakes I'm sorry and don't hesitate to correct me (on vocabulary or even grammar mistakes) !

Thank you !

Last edited by morganstudio; 08-19-2015 at 06:27 PM. Reason: Mistake in my first question
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Old 08-19-2015, 05:33 PM   #2
FilmmakerJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morganstudio View Post
Hi !

I know that since the digital has come, films have been digitized in order to edit them on computers.

It's possible to digitize positive films and negative films, my questions are the following :

Is it better in terms of quality to inverse and calibrate the colors chemically then digitize the positive by a contact print, or to digitize first the negative then invert it and calibrate the colors with a software on a computer ?

Does one of this process bring a better image quality ? Maybe chemically the colors are better but perhaps we lose a bit of data when doing a positive by a contact print...

Well, that's question I've been asking me, so if anyone can help, please feel free !

p.s. : I am French and it's a bit hard to talk about a very specific subject in a non native language so if I made some mistakes I'm sorry and don't hesitate to correct me (on vocabulary or even grammar mistakes) !

Thank you !
I think you're descriptions of your questions were clear.

I am no expert on this matter. But I am inclined to believe that once the negative has been developed, it remains a negative, and only through a secondary process is it then turned into a positive.

So whether or not you digitize and invert the colors or you chemically invert them into a positive strip of film, you still have to develop the film to lock in the image so that the image isn't lost.

Now when it comes to the 2nd task of inverting the colors, I would think going straight from the source--with the negative film--retains much more detail and original colors and artifacts. So digitizing straight from the negative and inverting the footage with software will likely keep more information than chemically inverting it. Because if you digitize the positive copy, you are digitizing a 2nd generation image, rather than a 1st generation. Because the negative had to be photographed by a camera, and then chemically inverted on a positive strip of film, which means the grains will all be different, you run the risk of the re-photographing camera being out of sync or being out of focus, and you introduce the possibility of new bits of dust and dirt coming onto the old film that will show up on the positive copy.

So whatever amount of difference there is between a negative and a positive copy of a film, I think you will likely get a better result and a more "true" result with a digitized negative rather than a positive. Because with film, there's so much dynamic range that you can almost pull any colors and quality out of it that you want, as long as it was photographed well to begin with. And your final image will be that much more beautiful.

Last edited by FilmmakerJ; 08-19-2015 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 08-19-2015, 06:24 PM   #3
morganstudio
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Oh sorry, I just realized that I made a mistake !

I know that once the negative has been developed, it remains negative. But you can either turn it into a positive with a contact print which works the same way as a printing in analog photography or turn the negative into a positive with a computer.
As you said, the positive is obtained after a secondary process.
Sorry for my mistake !

But you answered my question, it makes sense that maybe we lose data when using a film that is the copy of another.

However, I still would like other minds on the subject !

So if anyone has thorough knowledges about it, please give us your opinion !
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:46 AM   #4
morganstudio
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Well, maybe people didn't understand me.

I'll try to be more specific.

When you use film cameras with negative films.

You can digitize directly the negative, then turn it into a positive with your computer, then do the color grading.

But you can also get a positive out of a negative by doing a contact print. There are machines to do it, it works the same way as printing in analog photography.
And you do the color grading during this contact print (chemically). Just as you would do it when you print a colored picture in analog photography.

So my question is : In terms of quality, is it better to digitize directly the negative and treat it informatically, or to treat the negative chemically then digitize it ?
Which technique gives the best colors and the best image ?
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:57 AM   #5
directorik
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Every lab I've used processes the camera negative and then does the
transfer from that. I do not receive a "negative" image. So I can't really
help with the which is better question.

Perhaps you could ask your lab to do a test for you. Process a few scenes
and deliver both a negative and positive image to you. Then you can try
both methods.
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