Posted on March 14 2019
When Kodak released the highly anticipated new Ektachome 100D in November of 2018, we were excited to receive our test rolls just a few weeks prior to the launch. We shot the film as a beta test and shared some select shots of our early results.
We decided to hold back on selling this product to give Kodak a chance to enjoy the glory of reintroducing it to the market. It is nothing short of a miracle that this has happen and we applaud all the huge hurdles both technical and political that they had to overcame in the process of bringing color reversal movie film back to market.
As a company, we at Pro8mm are committed to the technology of Super 8 and not just selling a product. There are a number of things we feel our customers should understand before jumping into the new Ektachrome Super 8 film stock. It would not be responsible for us to just put it on the shelf and sell it without doing our best to insure we could assist you in maximizing the results.
History: Super 8 Ektachrome has been around since 1965, and we have seen many versions of it over the years. In some respects it has been unfortunate that all the different versions have been called Ektachrome, and we have seen this result in a lot of confusion the market. Each Ektachrome has required different processing chemistry and delivers very different results. Some of the Ektachrome legacy of stocks include 7242, 7244, Type A, Type G. These older Ektachormes are so different then this new Ektachrome that we can not even process them in the new chemicals. We often refer to the new stock as E-6 Ektachrome as this is the chemistry processing that is used.
E-6 was pioneered by Fuji as a competitive process to Kodachrome. It was easier to process and with years of technical effort Fuji made with stocks like Velvia and Provia it proved out to be a winner. We have been processing in E-6 for over 15 years now starting with the Fuji stocks then evolving thru all the newer versions of this material by Kodak. In many ways this new Ektachrome is more like the old Kodachrome stock in terms of the look of the film, which is very sharp, with rich blacks and lush colors.
The Film Stock: Unlike color negative film which has 11 to 13 stops of latitude, color reversal film such as the new Ektachrome has only 2 to 3 stops of latitude. This effects many things in the super 8 film shooting experience. If you have been working with negative you have probably become accustom to the luxury of this latitude and the ability to shoot under varied conditions of exposure and color temperature, and then simply fixing it post. With the new Ektachrome this will not be the case. You will have to be more precise with your exposures and pay attention to the color temperature. On the plus side, the Ektachrome does not have Rem-Jet, (a black carbon backing on the film base that must be removed before the film is developed.) This will make the film naturally cleaner than negative film. Since Ektachrome is positive, any dirt particles on the film are black and will hide where ever the film is dark.
Camera Exposurers: Just like in the old days, if you are going to use the new Ektachrome film you need to become more aware of how your camera is exposing the film. If the film is over exposed or underexposed it will not be possible to just fix it in post. All super 8 film cartridges are notched. This notching system allows for the camera to expose the film correctly by reading the correct ASA of the film. Each type of film has a notch specific to that exposure. For the new Ektachrome, Kodak has put the same ASA camera notch in this cartridge as they do for the color negative 200 ASA. How your camera responds to this willed to be tested. So, if you are planning to rely on the auto exposure system of your camera for a big project, it might be a good idea to do some testing before hand. You will probably need some form of lights if you are shooting indoors. Since Ektachrome is daylight balanced film, you are going to need color correction filters to get the colors right under what ever light conditions are present (for example fluorescent or tungsten light.) The colors in the Ektachrome film are strong which will create a great look when done right, but if done wrong, you will not be able to recover the correct color like you do with negative film.
Scanning: For several years now we have been promoting the use of Log Scanning of negative film which gives you the best digital file to do post color correction. This works very well because negative film is very low contrast and a low contrast scan will maintain all the information of the low contrast negative. With the new Ektachrome stock, it is by nature high contrast with a higher dynamic range. For this reason it will be better to use a high dynamic range scan. We have recently installed a new HDR scanner for just this purpose which produces Higher Dynamic Range scans. One benefit of using a HDR ( High Dynamic Range) film and HDR scan is there is less need for post color correction. If the film is exposed properly, the scan should render an image that is ready to use without post processing.
Projection: One of the most interesting aspects of the new Ektachrome Super 8 film is that you can directly project the image on a traditional film projector. Just like there are millions of used Super 8 cameras, there are millions of used projectors just waiting for a second chance! There is magic in projecting reversal film and having the ability to experiment with this process again with color film is nothing short of a miracle. Film projection has many uses including special effects or just the joy of watching the way light is transformed into images. The new Ektachrome stock gives you the ability to make your own projectable movie, or purchase one of the vintage commercially produced super 8 films in the used market, including everything from adult fare to cartoons. A great way to kick up you next film party.
Kudos to Kodak for taking on the challenge of bringing back color reversal film and reaffirming their commitment to both film basics and to the future of film. We are grateful that we continue to have the opportunity to support the Super 8 Film Community with all the tech we have learned working with the medium for over 45 years. We especially welcome the questions of all the newcomers so curious to learn analog best practices.
Ektachrome 100D/7294 is now available for purchase in limited quantity at Pro8mm for $70 a roll, including the prepaid processing, or get it with digital scanning starting at $98 a roll. Super 8-94 100D Ektachrome Super 8 Film Packages
Please call one of our team members at 818-848-5522 to assist you with your order.
(C) Rhonda & Phil Vigeant, Co-authors 3/19