Earlier in the year, Kodak emerged from chapter 11 bankruptcy, thus preserving the future of film as a capture medium, at least for the time being. While a vast majority of us don't have the resources to be able to shoot celluloid on a regular basis, or even at all, it's still an incredibly viable capture medium in both high-end filmmaking and independent filmmaking alike. For that reason, it's still important for modern cinematographers to have a grasp of not only how to shoot film, but also to know the subtle aesthetic differences in various film stocks. For most of their modern stocks, Kodak has produced in-depth comparison videos to showcase the abilities and differences of the new stocks against their older counterparts. Here are a few of my favorites.
Here are a few comparisons for Kodak's Vision3 line of film stocks. In this first one, Daryn Okada, ASC compares the Vision3 500T Color Negative 5219 stock to its predecessor, the Vision2 5218:
In this video, Fred Murphy, ASC compares the Vision3 250D Color Negative 5207 stock to the Vision2 5205:
And in this final video, Kodak cinematographer Christopher Hart, compares the Vision3 200T Color Negative 5213 stock to the Vision2 5217:
What becomes immediately evident after watching these videos, which are a few years old at this point, is that film is still an absolutely gorgeous capture medium that provides an incredible amount of image flexibility. Many would be quick to say that digital technology has finally caught up to celluloid (especially with the DRAGON sensor), and that there's little reason to choose film anymore. However, modern film stock technology, which is still progressing, has managed to keep film as relevant as ever due to the fact that these stocks are wildly versatile and powerful in the hands of a good cinematographer.
Additionally, for budding cinematographers who might not have had a formal education in shooting with film, videos like these help to build a foundation for creating knowledge of the subtle aesthetic differences in these various stocks. Just like Sony, Canon, and RED cameras all produce slightly different aesthetics through their various sensors and image pipelines, film stocks each have their own unique image characteristics that can be used to better serve the story that you're trying to tell.
Even if you're not planning on shooting film any time soon, a knowledge of the aesthetic differences in these stocks can still come in handy, especially considering that digital film emulation technology is pretty advanced these days. With programs like FilmConvert that allow to choose the stock that you want to model, a basic knowledge of film stocks can help you understand what's happening to your digital images as you make them look more like film.
What do you guys think about these comparison videos? Do you still shoot film, and if so, what are some of your favorite stocks, and why? Is it important for cinematographers to still have knowledge of the aesthetics of these various film stocks? Let us know down in the comments!