Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Fuji Velvia


Hi everyone,

I am shooting a spot which includes a brief glamour / fashion piece with a female model. I am considering using Velvia in this section of the spot. I am looking to say "High Fashion" and don’t have time (or cash) for tests. Has anyone out there have experience with the stock in this regard? Any suggestions and warnings?


Mark Eberle

> Has anyone out there have experience with the stock in this regard?

We used the stock in an Arri 435 shooting a fashion spot on the beach in cold, damp weather (Naturally, it was a Summer clothing spot). The Velvia got very "sticky" and the 435 didn't like it one damn bit. Repeated jams and shut-downs as the camera thought the film was jammed even if it wasn't, just very sticky going through the gate. Traded the 435 for a 535B and continued the day but I had to pull the 535's gate every 3 or 4 takes and scrape the emulsion off of the gate and pressure pad with my thumbnail. Vawwy skawwy!

Footage looked gorgeous. No scratches or bad thingies. It's very expensive to purchase and process.

Rod Williams
Motion Picture First Camera Assistant
Petaluma, California

So how dead on do you have to be with this stock if you take it to telecine?

Art Adams, DP [film|hdtv|sdtv]
Mountain View, California - "Silicon Valley"

Try to be as consistent as possible, the stock is not very forgiving(after all, it's reversal) I would take incident readings and be careful not to overexpose. Underexposing starts giving your model a tan.

In a bind, bracket to be sure. Looks nice when cross processed and skip bleached at the same time. I believe in that case you underexpose 1 to 2 stops( if I remember correctly) Kodak's '285 is nice too, available in S-16.

I just shot cross processed Fuji Provia 35mm stills-give that a try if you can. (Why didn't they make a MP version?) And Kodak has a new 100 very saturated 35mm stills stock I'd like to try.

John Babl

WE have seen quite a bit of Velvia and the Kodak 5285 reversal.

The Velvia is one stop slower, (ASA 50) and to my taste has a bit of a red bias in the skin tones. Especially when you underexpose. I think the 85 has more neutral and for me, pleasing skin tones. It is also ASA 100. You do not have any more than 2 stops latitude in either direction, for either film. If you overexpose by more than a stop and a half, because it is reversal, you are left with clear film, no detail, no nothing. I remember the common wisdom with still film slides was to under expose 1/3 of a stop.

We worked with one cameraman, shooting Velvia, who took his incident reading, spot metered the sky, and pegged the sky two stops over key, and lit accordingly, (for exterior on a LA overcast day at the beach.) It worked very well. IN telecine, you are transferring a positive image and it is a bit different.

Again, when you have overexposed, hot areas, you can not get any detail, but it is not clipped, has its own look. The shadow areas also block up with no detail at 2 stops under, one and a half is better. We are able to crank up the chroma however (or not) and can give the reversal a very unique look. We can emulate that look with negative, but it takes a lot more work, and doesn't quite match the contrast curve. Both are beautiful when treated correctly, and can be horrendous when not.

Ed Colman - SuperDailies
Cinematographer Supervised Video Dailies

It's so much fun to play with. My own preference is to rely mostly on spot readings (and the zone system) to make sure key elements land where you want them to be. If there's time and money to test and experiment, I'd go for it (unless you expect high humidity per Rod Williams' post.) Otherwise, I'd take the '45 stock and jam it on the Spirit.

Rick Wise

>The Velvia is one stop slower, (ASA 50) and to my taste has a bit of a >red bias in the skin tones.

I've gotten some nice results in stills on Velvia with the skin tones about 1/2 stop over, actually...

But as the man says, you're kind of walking a tightrope then, Also, when it sees red, it "Sees Red" oh yeah...

It does *beautiful* turquoise skies...

Sam Wells

>It's so much fun to play with. My own preference is to rely mostly on spot >readings (and the zone system) to make sure key elements land where >you want them to be.

What are the limits? 1.5 or two stops over to white, and 2 stops under to black? I'm just guessing. I'd think there'd be a little more exposure latitude than that but not much.

Art Adams, DP [film|hdtv|sdtv]
Mountain View, California - "Silicon Valley"

I love Velvia for stills...For my money, the best thing to do is buy a few rolls and experiment with stills first - you'll get a much better feeling for the exposure latitude, and when/if you are able to do real tests, you'll be fine-tuning.

George Hupka
Downstream Pictures
Saskatoon, Canada

The only reason the stills won't give you the full answer is that you need also to go on a Spirit and see what you can do there -- with a great colorist. As to the question about latitude, I don't know how to answer that in an intelligent way. To me, there is no such thing as "over / under exposed." The issue is, what do you want your image to look like? Sometimes it's just great to have all the whites blown out and just a fragment of detail in the image. Sometimes it's great .... etc. If you want a "normal" image, go with normal stocks. If you want to push the envelope, then try Velvia and other extreme stocks.

Dare to be wrong.

Rick Wise

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