Frequently Asked Questions

Film Shooting Questions:

Film Processing Questions:

 

Q: Is this just repackaged Motion Picture film?
A: It is important to note that CineStill is NOT simply "repackaged" motion picture film. We utilize the same advanced emulsion technology found in Motion Picture film to create a still photography film which is optimized for C-41 processing. This material is converted to a different format and suitable for C-41 chemistry. Compared to the original motion picture stock, 800T responds with a slightly increased gamma yielding an 800 ISO Tungsten balanced negative, which is optimized for digital and optical still photography processes.

"Repackaged" motion picture film CAN NOT be processed in standard C-41 film processors due to the Remjet backing present on motion picture films, which would contaminate the chemistry and damage both the machine and film inside.

Companies which "repackaged" old unused motion picture stock, forced the photographer to send the film back for makeshift motion picture lab processing, and generated a motion picture format negative that was compatible with motion picture printing. There are some advantages found in modern motion picture formats and processing e.g., anti-halation, antistatic, lubricant backing. However, the curves, lower gamma and base can prove problematic for tradition still imaging standards. CineStill Film is motion picture film, which is converted and packaged for standard still photography lab processing. It harnesses the same outstanding performance and aesthetics found in many blockbuster films produced today, plus it is optimized for still photography workflows.

Q: What are the Vision 3 films behind the creation of CineStill Film?
A: Vision 3 5219 is the 3rd generation of tungsten balanced EI 500 color negative motion picture film stock behind CineStill 800Tungsten emulsion. It is at the forefront of R&D for film technology, because the Movie & TV industry is film's #1 client. The emulsions are optimized for a hybrid workflow, ideal for scanning, with literally futuristic features (from still photography perspective). Kodak "borrowed" technology from their motion picture department for the new Portra films and Ektar. This is nothing new though, as any advances in film technology have gone to the highest bidder (we've gotten the trickle down in stills) for some time now.

Q: What is Remjet?
A: An anti-halation layer on the film's base that acts as to protect from base scratches, static, and halation of highlights in exposure. It was notably used on Kodachrome (K-14 process) originally in still photography. 


Q: What is halation?
A: Halation is the reflection of bright points of light off of the film base and pressure plate causing a "glow" in the strong highlights on some images. This is most evident when light sources are in focus in the photograph. Halation is a common characteristic of classic black and white photography and in some aerial photographic emulsions.

Q: Where can I process CineStill Film? 
A: CineStill can easily be processed at any standard photo lab or at home.


Q: Is C-41 or ECN-2 process better for CineStill Film?
A: CineStill is designed for sill photography C-41 processing, to be compatible with RA-4 photographic printing and scanning. Motion picture color film was originally designed for the ECN-2 process, to be compatible with ECP motion picture print film. CineStill may still be processed using ALL of the ECN-2 steps, resulting in a motion picture negative with lower gamma.
Although there is no remjet adhesive layer to contaminate and exhaust the chemicals, skipping the additional accelerant pre-bath will under-develop the film when just using the ECN-2 developer. Tests show consistent results in standard C-41 processing and printing when compared to ECN-2 motion picture lab processing performed by professional labs. Expectations for archival longevity should be somewhere between Kodachrome and most C-41 films. 


Q: What is the shelf-life & archivability of CineStill Film?
A: The new boxed CineStill film has a 2 year shelf life, and should be stored in the fridge and shot within 6 months of purchase to achieve optimal results. Exposed film should be processed promptly in C-41 chemicals to preserve latent image latitude and color fidelity. All current productions of CineStill have expiration dates for two years from manufacture date on the box. If you have earlier productions of 800T (no retail box) or your film does not have an expiration date, it is likely age fogged. 


Q: What type of light is CineStill 800Tungsten made for?
A: 800Tungsten is designed for difficult low light tungsten situations. It may be used in many different lighting situations to achieve a variety of looks but due to it's cool color balance and halation some situations will have a more stylistic look that may or may not be desirable.

Use CineStill 800Tungsten when photographing:
   - tungsten/incandescent light
   - candle light
   - fluorescent light
   - mixed tungsten and fluorescent
   - mixed tungsten and limited daylight

Avoid using CineStill 800Tungsten (or expect a unique look) when photographing:
   - open shade
   - cool light
   - daylight overpowering tungsten
   - heavily backlit images
   - strong window light
   - content including intense points of light (christmas lights, chandeliers, neon signs, bright windows)    

Q: What is different about CineStill 50Daylight film?
A: 50Daylight is a ISO 50/18° speed daylight balanced (5500K) motion picture emulsion, prepped and rolled for clean safe C-41 standard development as an ISO 50 film. Boasted to be the world’s sharpest and finest grain color film! It is ideal for shooting in bright light at wide apertures and for producing high resolution, low grain images. The exposure latitude of this film is beyond anything digital and even most other films can hope to achieve.

Q: What is the CineStill BWXX black and white film emulsion and how do I get it?
A: CineStill BWXX is Eastman Kodak Double-X 5222 professionally rolled and packaged in 36 exposure cassettes for still photography. It is a high speed, classic black & white film emulsion, with an EI of 250 under daylight and 200 under tungsten lighting. 

Our initial release of BWXX was a limited run (only 2000 rolls available) that sold out fast due to high demand. We hope to make BWXX a regularly stocked, widely available CineStill Film emulsion. 

Double-X is a classic black and white film stock left relatively unchanged since it's release in 1959 for still and motion picture use. Some of the movies using the classic Eastman double-x film stock (5222) include: Schindler's List (1993), Memento (2000), Kafka (1991), Casino Royale (2006), I'm Not There (2007), and many many more.

Recommended development in Kodak D-96 developer, but is compatible will all black and white film developers. An extensive list of developing times for this film may be found at ishootfilm.org & The Massive Dev Chart form DigitalTruth.com


Q: Is there anything I should do differently when shooting CineStill Film?
A: CineStill is more susceptible to light leaks and static discharge than most other films so care should be taken when handling.

Static discharge can show up as blue or red marks on the film caused by advancing or rewinding the film at too great a speed, especially in cool dry environments.

Light leaks, which may not show up on other films, may show up in CineStill due to it's extra sensitivity to low light and what is called "light piping" which is where light can travel through the acetate causing light leaks inside or outside of camera. Be sure your camera's light seals are in good condition and if you have a film check window on the back door of your camera it would be a safe idea to tape it off. The key to avoiding light leaks outside of camera is to first, "load in subdued light" as directed on the packaging and second, to keep the rolls in their light tight packaging or other light tight container, before and after shooting, whenever possible.

It is also important to note that since CineStill is based off of sensitive motion-picture emulsion, environmental conditions can play a part in prematurely aging your film. Please take care when shooting in areas of extreme cold, heat, moisture, and dryness. For best results, we strongly recommend: cold-storing your film, shooting your film well before listed expiration and within 6 months of purchase, and processing your film promptly after use. Do not use if expired. Fresh film is best!



Q: How do I rate CineStill 800Tungsten?
A: This film has LATITUDE! The ISO that one chooses to rate this film is dependent on what the permissible light available is. If you overexpose it (100 or 200) it will still retain highlight detail and fine grain. If you underexpose (up to 2000) you will still retain most shadow detail. So long as the shadow detail is preserved, the negative may be scanned to retain the good color and dynamics. Remember, grain separation becomes more severe with less exposure, and less prevalent/smoother the more exposure a color negative film receives (due to overlapping of T-grain technology and the tonal blending of the dye cloud). 

From our tests and user feedback, CineStill 800T best rated at EI (Exposure Index) 800 in tungsten light when processed in standard C-41 chemistry. Though the original stock (Kodak 500T 5219) is recommended to be rated at EI 500 in tungsten light, many cinematographers and filmmakers regularly rate this film at 1000 speed with no push, due to this film's amazing shadow latitude, but the ideal ISO/EI to rate this film at will always be somewhere between 400 and 800 without push processing. CineStill 800T is designed C-41 processing though, which causes a slight push in development, resulting in a more dense negative so we have found 800 to be right in the middle of the ideal Exposure Index range.

Q: How do I rate CineStill 50Daylight?
A: Good results can be achieved rating this film anywhere from EI 12 to EI 100 without push processing. This means you can set your camera meter anywhere from ISO 12-100 and change it mid-roll without special processing and get beautiful results! No matter how you meter, you will see almost no grain but color, contrast, shadow detail and highlight rendering will be affected by the chosen ISO you meter at. If you expose at a lower ISO you will get warmer images with greater halation in the highlights. 



Q: Why is the speed rating of motion picture camera films given in Exposure Indices rather than ASA or DIN values? 
A: There is no ANSI standard to determine the speed of these films. The speed of motion picture camera films and the suggested filtrations are determined on the basis of practical picture tests. Suitable safety factors have been included to allow for differences in cameras, variation in lighting, etc. The exposure index values should not be regarded as numbers which express the absolute speed or sensitivity of the film, neither should they be regarded as fixed values which can not be changed if the results of repeated tests indicate the need for such changes.


Q: When should I push CineStill 800Tungsten?
A: We recommend push processing for anything over ISO 800. Treat this film as an ISO 800 speed film  when processing in C-41 and push process whenever needed up to ISO 3200.


Recommended ISO and acceptable exposure for push processing:

   ISO 800 - No push - EI 200-1000
   ISO 1250 - 1 stop push - EI 800-1600
   ISO 1600 - 2 stop push - EI 1250-2500 (added contrast)
   ISO 3200 - 3 stop push - EI 1600-3200 (most contrast)

Test it yourself and see how you like it exposed!


Q: Should I use a filter on 800Tungsten in daylight?
A: You do not have to, but if you wish to cut down on exposure while helping to create a warmer image with more accurate color a 85 or 81 filter is recommended for shooting in daylight. All negative film is color balanced while the professional scans are made so there is some forgiveness. If you will be shooting mostly in daylight we recommend using a standard daylight film like CineStill 50D or Kodak Portra 400.


Q: Should I use a filter on 800Tungsten under fluorescent lights?
A: Fluorescent lighting is one of the most difficult lighting sources to shoot under. Technically, what should be used is a "FL-W" filter to convert fluorescent light to tungsten balance, which is an amber colored gel. That said, it is more difficult nowadays because "fluorescent" lights can have numerous color casts...and they're often mixed together (e.g. "Daylight" tubes mixed with old-school ones, along with "warm" ones closer to tungsten)... making it very, very difficult to balance when shooting. The other challenge is that fluorescent lights flicker on a cycle, so if you shoot with any shutter speed over 1/45, you will get inconsistent exposures and color balances.

The good news is that if you shoot with CineStill 800T without any filter and overexpose a stop or two, it is not too difficult to color balance while scanning if proper care is taken. We recommend shooting 800T in Fluorescent light, meter as if your film is ISO 200 or 250 with a shutter speed of 1/45 or below. If the light seems especially "cool" balanced, use an 85 filter. This will give you more information in your negative to pull out good color when scanning or printing by adding the correct amount of magenta and balancing your yellow/blue.


Q: Can I use CineStill Film for flash photography?
A: Yes! Be sure to use a CTO (Tungsten) gel on your flash if you are shooting 800T and adjust exposure accordingly. 


Q: How should I meter for CineStill Film?
A: Always meter negative film in a way that you are sure the shadow point of your images preserve some detail. Highlights can be overexposed by a dozen stops and still be scanned to retain detail. With a handheld incident meter, point your meter away from the main light source and make a minimum exposure reading. With in camera or spot meter take your minimum exposure reading from the darkest tone in your scene. Anything exposed under that should be expected to remain void of detail. 


Q: Is cinestill 120 converted 70mm?

A: CineStill 120 is manufactured from a large special order material which is why it does not have perforations. For Beta Testing our prototype process we converted and slit down 65mm material. The rolls of film we produced this way are the Beta Test rolls we are giving away before fulfillment of our IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign. 


Q: How do I take beautiful pictures with CineStill Film?

A: Expose beautiful subjects, in beautiful lighting and have it processed and scanned/printed at a reputable professional lab!


Q: What is a "Monobath"?
A: Df96 is a single-step solution with no need for stop bath, fixer, or any other chemicals. Monobath solutions were first proposed as far back as 1889, but only recently have the difficulties associated with their formulation been overcome. Our monobath is unlike home concoctions or old technology that failed years ago. The main problem has been the loss of emulsion speed that results when the exposed silver halide is dissolved by the fixation process, before development can take place. Df96 uses a more effective processing technology that buffers fixing during development, and archival fixing agents that are more solvent and aid in breaking down the silver while redepositing it, to achieve crisp uniform grain and wide development latitude. Many of the pitfalls and hazards of a multi-bath process are eliminated with this ready-to-use single-step solution, such as improper dilution, over-agitation, bubble marks, surge marks, etc. Over-processing is impossible, because the fixing action overtakes chemical development while aiding physical development, creating better image uniformity and finer grain negatives.


Q: What are the compromises with a monobath vs multi-bath processing?
A: Due to the long history of multiple bath processes being the only ones available, many may wonder, "What are the compromises with a monobath?" Well, we can tell you that it is not compromised quality with Df96. We are standing on the shoulders of giants, and the reason monobaths weren't popular before is most likely because of economies of scale and cost, in addition to shorter shelf life. In the past, there was more profit in just producing the large volume photochemicals for film to be processed en masse. After all, back then everyone had to process film to capture a photo. Now that craft film manufacturing is being tooled for smaller batches, lower volume products can be more viable. Small batch, on demand, chemical manufacturing works just like craft beer. Fresher product with more characteristics. Thus the modern monobath was born, formulated to be produced at a craft scale.


Q: Do all film types take the same amount of time to process in Df96?
A: Df96 monobath easily processes any standard black and white film at any room temperature, while revealing that some specialty films benefit from added exposure or development (added time in standard developers equals added temperature in Df96). With tabular grain films containing color dye technology, like Tmax, you should double the recommended processing time to eliminate residual dyes in the emulsion. Development self-completes within 4 min with intermittent agitation, but feel free to extend processing time to ensure full fixing of film and removal of color dyes. Time does not affect development.


Q: If times are minimum for self-completion, can I over-process?
A: Much like Blix, which combines Bleach & Fix baths in color processing, you cannot process too long with Df96 monobath, since the chemicals react with the silver until the processes is finished and all of the silver halide is dissolved.


Q: How do I push film in Df96 if the process is self-completing?

A: You can easily push process by increasing the temperature of Df96 by +10°F (6°C), just like extending the development time with any other developer. High speed films like P3200 and Delta3200 can be processed at their native ISOs between 1000-1600 by the instructions on the label, or at 3200 by adding 10°F (6°C). 


Q: What is the best temperature for processing with Df96?
A: Any room temperature between 68-82°F (20-28°C) will produce good results. Development is increased more than fixing by temperature. Fixing and completion is accelerated by agitation, while decreasing development. So as temperature increases you can compensate with increased agitation. Processing over 82°F (28°C) will result in pushed negatives with higher contrast and more pronounced grain. Below 68°F (20°C) renders pulled contrast negatives. 

Native ISO development: Constant agitation at 80°F (27°C) for at least 3min, Intermittent agitation at 75°F (24°C) for at least 4min, or Minimal agitation at 70°F (21°C) for at least 6min. 

Temp tolerance is +/-2°F (1°C) and times are minimum. Feel free to extend processing time to ensure full fixing of film or removal of color dyes. Time does not increase development

Q: What are "agitation methods" and why does it matter?
A: Agitation helps produce evenly developed* exposures, and prevents over-processed, under-fixed negatives.
Constant Agitation = Fluid inversions and/or rotations, while changing direction.
Intermittent Agitation = 30 sec constant agitation, then 10 sec every min.
Minimal Agitation = 10 sec gentle agitation, then 5 sec every min. 
*Bromide drag lines can occur if left to stand for any more than 1 minute. 


Q: What's the difference between "Bromide Drag" and "Surge Marks"?
A: Bromide drag lines are a byproduct of development with no agitation. High concentrations of bromide is produced around the perforations and overexposed areas. Without agitation it slowly slides down the surface of the film, inhibiting development and creating drag lines. Surge marks look similar but are cause from the opposite, over-aggressive agitation. Surge marks will appear as lines going the same direction as your agitation. Bromide drag will appear as vertical lines because they are caused by gravity.


Q: How do I reuse chemicals?
A: Certain reusable solutions are potent enough to not be exhausted after a single use. Depending on the activity of the processing agents and chemistry dilution, it is simply a matter of extending processing times to compensate for the weakened chemistry.

From the user’s viewpoint it may seem that chemistry manufacturers are somewhat arbitrary about the number of films which can be processed before the chemistry must be discarded. This stems from the manufacturer not knowing - only guessing - four essential things: how many films will be processed in freshly mixed chemistry; in what manner and how long will the chemistry be stored before processing again; what contaminants have entered the system from either the water supply or from unintentional chemical intermixing; and how far can the results deviate from ideal before the user deems them unacceptable. 

If you accept the role as the final arbiter of acceptable results it is easily possible to process 25%, 50%, or even more rolls of film. There is only one rule in this exercise: process film until you no longer like the results.

With self-completing chemistry, like Df96, Bleach & Fix, etc., you can err on the long side rather than too short. You can simply start with much longer process times or recombine each liter of used chemistry and extend the process by at least 5% for each roll previously processed. If a film does not appear fully cleared, process for longer in Df96. It will not affect development. 

Whenever reusing color developer, combine all used and unused color developer to make 1000ml of weakened developer solution then add 2% to the recommended development time for each 135/120 roll, 8x10 sheet and every four sheets of 4x5 previously processed. 

If you take full responsibility for quality of results, it is possible to process more film over a much longer time span. This procedure is somewhat risky unless you process some film every day or so to monitor chemistry performance. Otherwise, partially used working solutions left untouched for a week or more might have changed so significantly that you would suffer a dramatic decline in results. If you choose to operate under these conditions, our best advice would be to process a small piece of test film, and on the basis of these results, decide whether or not to commit valuable pictures to the chemistry.


Q: How do I dispose of photographic chemistry after exhaustion?
A: Although photochemical concentrates may have clear hazard warnings on packaging and in MSDSs, once diluted and exhausted their toxicity to the environment is also diluted and exhausted. They should still not be carelessly released into your local environment. Since we love this analog world that we live in, we should be sure that photo-processing waste is disposed of through responsible channels. Read more...


Q: Does Cs41 require Stabilizer?
A: Up until the mid 90's, the final rinse bath was called a "Stabilizer" bath, since it contained Formaldehyde or Formalin for hardening emulsion and stabilizing the color dyes. Cs41 is formulated without compromise for modern color films, not requiring Stabilizer. Modern emulsions were designed so that one-hour-photo labs wouldn't need hazmat training for handling formaldehyde, and have built-in dye stabilizers and hardeners that are released through this simplified 2-bath process. 

Currently, the final rinse for all color film uses a surfactant and may contain Hexamine or Miconazole, anti-fungal agents. Dye-stabilizers and hardeners are no longer required for color film, but it's not a bad idea to prevent organisms for growing in your emulsion, since processed color film does not contain silver. While not required, any final rinse will work fine with the Cs41 kit.