Special Effects with film and not Photoshop

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by Nicole, Oct 3, 2004.

  1. Nicole

    Nicole Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    Multi Format
    Firstly, I'd like to apologise for this is a digital photo! As some of you know, I am a 'convert' from digital to film and would like to know how I can achieve similar effects with film, filters, etc... without photoshop manipulation.
    Any suggestions are most welcome.
    Thank you and kind regards from West Australia,
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2007
  2. Helen B

    Helen B Member

    Jul 1, 2004
    Hell's Kitch
    Multi Format

    That looks a bit like the 'Imitate Ektachrome P1600' filter. Ektachrome P1600 (also designated EPH) is a 400 speed slide film designed to be pushed to EI 800 or EI 1600. On the slight chance that as a convert you don't know: ISO ratings should only be used for film speeds that have been determined by the ISO standard method (or maybe a slight variation of it - this is a brief explanation and there's a lot missing from it), all other speeds should be called EI for 'exposure index'. A film has only one ISO speed. Kodak have the convention of prefacing the 'box' speed of still film with a 'P' if it isn't the ISO (or, strictly, the Kodak standard method) speed - the other current example is T-Max P3200, TMZ. Enough, I hear you say.

    Anyway, back to the story. P1600 is one of the grainiest colour films left, and is not particularly saturated, but the skin tones can be magic. It gets even more grainy if you push it to EI 3200. I have some examples somewhere, and I'll post one if I can find it. Even grainier, lower saturation, lower contrast films used to be available, like Scotch 640T and Scotch 1000. I can't understand why there wasn't sufficient public demand for grainy, washed out film to keep them alive. Or maybe I can.

    Combine P1600 with careful lighting and exposure and you'd get something like the shot you've shown.

    There are processing and darkroom techniques to get that kind of effect, but you'd need to be doing your own processing, I guess. 'Bleach-bypass' comes to mind.

    So there's one interpretation. I'm interested to read others.

  3. bjorke

    bjorke Member

    Aug 17, 2003
    SF & Surroun
    Medium Format
    What did you do to the photo in PS? That in itself will reveal a lot to indicate how to proceed. The grain, well -- fast film. Slide washes out. changes in exposure change saturation.

    Remember, any effect you've seen in most any book or magazine prior to 1995 or so was almost certianly done in a darkroom (at which point the tide began to change -- not suddenly, but slowly. There are a few computerized manipulations before that time too, of course)
  4. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Jan 31, 2003
    Multi Format
    Kodak had a film called pro 1000 (PMZ). I have had success pulling it 2 or more stops on exposure and processing it with a 2 stop pull. The negs had huge grain, were very flat and desaturated. The film started life out with a large grain, vary neutral, narrow pallette, and low contrast.

    I have been intending for the past few years to do a series of photo's using this technique with this film, but kodak discontinued the film. A few years, I guess, turned into many.

    It may work with newer fast films. The problem is that pulling doesn't always desaturate and newer fast films don't have the big beautiful grain of pro 1000. It might be worth a try though -- or at least I will be trying it.

    Bjorke has good advice about investigating techniques used in the pre PS days.

    As a rule if you push film (underexpose it and over develope it) you will gain contrast and if you pull film (overexpose it and underdevelop it) you lose contrast.

    Saturation is a bit trickier. Pushed film can have a good deal of saturation in the upper end (highlights and brighter mid tones) and not a lot in the mid and lower areas (midtones and shadows). Pulled film can become pretty saturated across the tonal range, especially if the film starts out being a fairly juicy film. Both techniques can enhance grain with pulling doing the better job of it (pushing produces grain mostly in the mids to shadows).

    I generally don't shoot fast films so I am not too knowledgeable about which to use. As I recall, it used to be that NPH was very neutral (read dull to my eyes), NPZ had a good deal of punch and that the portra 800 was a neutral film. All these films (or at least the portra and NPH) have been updated since I've last used them.

    Playing with the amount of overexposure and under development is how i would try to achieve what you are after. I would start with a neutral film and vary the combinations. You really can't pull process beyond 2 stops, but you can overexpose 1,2,3 or 4 stops and under develope 1 and 2 stops and see what you get.

    If you shoot 35mm the grain may not be an issue. You could plan on higher magnification when making prints.

    Sorry for the long winded reply.