Pushing Kodak Ultra Max 800

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by WGibsonPhotography, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    I was taking pictures of a christian band at a church last night. I shot three rolls of Kodak Ultra Max 800 at 3200. I'm not very optimistic about how they'll turn out. I did push some Ultra Max to 1600 in October when I took some pictures at Big Spring Jam (a local weekend long music event) for a color class, and they came out pretty good. Of course, it wasnt Kodachrome quality, but I think it came out fairly well. If the prints look fine, I'll post some scans of the prints. If they look like crap, I guess I wont post anything :D

    Just a question: Has anyone ever pushed Ultra Max 800 (or any other color film) two stops? I did a google search for Ultra Max 800 pushed to 3200, but didnt find anything. I was hoping to find some comments or scans, but came up with nothing. I guess I'll find out soon enough. :smile:
     
  2. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Yes I've pushed it two stops. The results were quite good considering. I shot indoors at a wrestling meet.

    Was it tungsten light?
     
  3. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I have never pushed color neg film as I don't usually shoot it but good luck with using Ultra Max 800 for anything!! If you need speed try Kodak Portra 800!
     
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    WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    The lights were those lights with gels over them that are used for lighting stages. I cant remember what they're called, though.
     
  5. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I shoot Ektachrome 200 on stage for recitals and such and the lights don't have any gels on them and I have had good luck. No filters, usually no flash.
     
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    WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    Ultra Max 800 was a last minute thing. A few days ago,I was driving to a neighboring city to talk to the people at the photography store about what color film to use. I really had no idea what to shoot because I'm normally not a color shooter. On my way over there, I had a wreck and totaled my car. Everybody was fine, which is what really matters. I ended up getting a friend to drive me to the church and to stop at wal mart on the way so I could get some film.
     
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    WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    really?

    these lights were fairly dim, and my camera meter said I was still underexposing a good bit even pushing two stops. I'm sure my meter was being fooled by the dark background and such. Maybe I can get away with shooting slower film. I dont shoot enough concerts to really know what to do. I'd rather be outside on a nice day or in the studio. Concert photography isnt my strong point, but i'm trying to branch out a little. I'll know how I did here in a few days when I get my film developed :smile:
     
  8. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Gee...Sorry to hear about your car...Hope you are alright....I can certainly understand having to do something like that last minute!!!. When this happens, if you are near a CVS/Pharmacy try to get some Kodak HD400. It is a better than gold (!), but not as good as Portra.
     
  9. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I don't shoot too many concerts/recitals, but I have had my fair share of lighting in them. I have plenty of family that is always in something... I usually try to use E200 and I push it one or two stops. I haven't done it in a while, but I just shot some E200 shot at 800. We'll see how it works out. I think(sometimes you really never know...) that I got some great shots.
     
  10. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Your pictures will look orangeish like ones taken indoors with regular daylight film.

    Good luck.
     
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    WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    I think I got some decent shots, but I'm not gonna be too hopeful until I see the prints.

    What makes me the most nervous is I'm not actually processing these negatives. I developed and printed the Big Spring Jam film myself. I'm dropping these off at a lab because I dont want to buy the Tetenal kit to develop three rolls of film :smile:
    The store I'm dropping it off at is a locally owned photography store, and the people that own it are photographers, so everything should be fine

    It's times like these that I wish I would have bought the 70-200mm F/2.8 instead of the F/4 :smile:
     
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    WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    Most of the lights had colored gels over them, but I understand. when I shot the Big Spring Jam pictures in the fall (Of Sister Hazel, one of my favorite bands), I picked a shutter speed fast enough for me to hand hold a 70-200mm lens and let the colors fall where they fell. Turned out fairly well considering it was Ultra Max :smile:
     
  13. nyoung

    nyoung Subscriber

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    Stage/concert shooting is where the spot meter or the spot metering option on your camera pays for itself. Stage shooting is always,also, the domain of manual exposure control.

    I would suggest in the future, spot meter the performer(s) face or something else of a medium tone on the stage at or near the brightest area within the lights.

    Set your camera to manual mode and shoot the exposure you metered for the faces. Let the shadows fall where they will.

    This strategy will often let you shoot 400 speed or slower films with good effect.

    If you don't have a spot meter you can turn your camera meter into a spot meter by putting on a long telephoto and metering the areas you want.
     
  14. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    As others have already mentioned, concert photography is tough, very tough sometimes. I don't have much experience in this field, but it certainly helps if you have a spot meter. The problem is that many folks (like me) use ancient cameras with center weighted meters. Spot lights *will* fool these meters, because of the very dark background. So, a quick and dirty aproach to this problem would be to uprate your film by one stop and process it normally. Say, if you have an 800 ISO film use it at 1600. I did this at a concert. Actually, I tried some shots at 1 stop underexposure in the same roll. They turned out just fine. Lastly, the cheap 50mm f/1,8 lens can be your friend if you can get close enough. Even if it's soft at f/1,8, having a soft photograph is much better than having a blured photograph...
     
  15. 2F/2F

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    First of all, your film is fine. It is a "film for general picture taking", as Kodak calls amateur films. It does mean that it is a low-quality film. It just means that the color balance is set "wrong" at the factory with the idea that it will age to the proper balance on the shelf, in your cupboard, in your camera, etc. for who knows how long. It can be more stubborn and have more grain when you push it, and has other mild differences. (See: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/e6/e6.pdf.) My most commonly-used 35mm color neg. films are "amateur" emulsions, and I like the results fine normal or pushed. Portra 800 is a nice film, but mostly just because it looks different than amateur 800 and is available in medium format, not because it is "better", or capable of doing a bunch of magic stuff that the amateur films cannot. Amateur Kodak and Fuji films often give crummy results not because of the emulsions, but because of the ways and conditions in which they are normally used, stored, etc.

    Next, Kodak recommends increasing the C-41 developer time by one minute for a two-stop push of Portra 800. I would start by trying that and see what happens. Maybe add a bit more time to that if you want. Works well enough for a starting point on any C-41 film I have tried it with.

    I would go ahead and push two stops just to see what happens. If it ends up being too much development, no big deal, as you just have to print the pix down a bit, and will lose the shadows, which are usually irrelevant anyhow in live band shots, IMO. Then you have an idea of what this film can do, and how to approach exposing and developing for similar situations in the future.

    Your color balance will be more than good enough even though you shot under gelled tungsten lamps, if you have quality prints made or print them yourself.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2009
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    WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    Not saying it's a bad film. Just saying it's probably not what I would have bought if I had made it to the photography store :smile: I have gotten some decent pictures pushing it one stop, so I'm hoping pushing it two stops will give me something similar.

    I may end up scanning the negatives. the lab I use scans the negatives for prints, so I'm going to have d*****l prints either way. If I had the time, money, and patience for color printing, I would let the lab develop the negatives and I would print them at the school darkroom. May get around to doing just that when I'm not so busy with school :smile:
     
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    WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    An in camera spot meter would be pretty handy. I'm not sure my handheld spot meter would work too well. The lights were constantly flashing on and off and different colors, so the readings wouldnt be identical every shot. i just opened my aperture wide open and shot at 1/250 If I remember correctly. That's what I did last time I tried shooting at a concert, and my results came out pretty good. Hopefully i'll have the same luck this time. :smile:
     
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    WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    I got my prints back today, and got mixed results. I did get some shots I like, more than I expected, anyway :smile:

    I have one complaint, however. The guy that developed my film and made the prints refused to push the film, arguing that "with this lighting, the meter in the camera will be wrong." He insisted that the film be developed at 800 even though I said I didnt expose based on meter readings. Because of that, a good bit of the shots I thought would be nice were dark.

    I did get some pictures that were spot on exposure and development wise, which is good. I guess it's a trade-off: Some I would have liked were too dark, but others were perfect. If I would have had my way, the dark ones would have came out better, but the perfect ones would have been overdeveloped. That's the nature of this kind of photography, I guess. I think my complaint is I'm a control freak and the people at the camera store didnt do what I wanted :smile:

    Overall, i'm happy with the results, and I have an idea of how to shoot better next time :smile:

    I'll post some pictures tomorrow if I get a chance. My computer is being fussy tonight :smile:
     
  19. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I would say it is time to find a new place to bring your film. If that was something that was extremely important and they did not do what you asked...I think a few problems might arise....I would be totally BS if this happened to me!
     
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    WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    I think it's time I did my important color prints all the time :smile: I was optimistic, though, and waited until I got a chance to sit in my car and inspect each print and the negatives.

    if all the prints looked like crap, I would have had one of my rare redneck fits (I am from Lawrence County, Alabama. If you dont know where that is, think of all the redneck stereotypes you know, and you wont be too far off :smile: ). I got enough good prints for my purposes: The band wanted some pics, and I wanted some more prints for my portfolio.

    I'm wondering if some of the prints came out bad was because the contrast of the black background with the people in the foreground caused the scanner to act up? If that was the case, they all should look bad, right?
     
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    WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    Ok, so I uploaded a few print scans to Photobucket. Here are my favourite:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  22. B&Wpositive

    B&Wpositive Member

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    I have only pushed Fuji color neg film, and it worked well.

    Is Max 800 even still available (outside of single-use cameras)?
     
  23. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Max 800 is readily available at CVS in 35mm rolls.

    Those were some pretty good shots but the color was certainly off. Not your fault, as you were planning to have it pushed.
     
  24. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    I believe pushing is best done yourself. Yes, manual exposure and spot metering. It can be difficult. You can always make liberal use of the AE-lock

    It's hard to tell what's what because the minilabs can compensate for a roll that would be impossible to print at home.

    Also many times "correct" color balance won't look good because our eyes only partially compensate for the warmer incandescent lights. Less correction makes a more believable result and loses less light.
     
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    WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    they were lit by lights with gels, too, so that's part of the color problem.

    The underexposure and underdevelopment probably caused the muddy colors in some of the prints, though