Color Film and that Pastel Color

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by SoulfulRecover, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. SoulfulRecover

    SoulfulRecover TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I've always heard you should over expose your color film by a stop or two and bring it back down to the right exposure when scanning to get that pastel color people seem to get (specifically with Portra). Having done a little reading the other night randomly, I think I have the wrong idea about it. It seems if you over expose then pull process the film, you get that color. Am I way off base here? Does this even make sense? hahaha

    So I guess my question is, how the hell can I achieve this color tone correctly.


     
  2. limr

    limr Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'm not sure about dialing back scanning or development, but here are two pictures I took, one ofter the other, when I was experimenting with getting that pastel look. Can't tell you what film or camera because it was a while ago and wasn't tagging my Flickr photos yet. The only difference is exposure - I didn't develop them myself so the development was exactly the same for both (same roll) and I didn't really do any adjusting in the scans (perhaps a few very small tweaks, but nothing to 'correct' exposure.)

    Here's the shot at the recommended exposure:

    [​IMG]
    Day 289 - Flowers
    by limrodrigues, on Flickr

    Here is is probably 2 stops overexposed:

    [​IMG]
    Day 289 - Abstract flowers
    by limrodrigues, on Flickr
     
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  3. limr

    limr Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Simple over-exposing doesn't work with Ektar. Couldn't tell you how to get that pastel look if you're using that. Portra is probably the film of choice if you're trying this.
     
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  4. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I have found that Portra is definitely the pastel type film. On 160 portra, if I want that look, I shoot it at 100 and develop normally. I shoot 400 at 200 for the look. 800 is nice for pushing but haven't had very much experience with it, shot like 1 roll only and I under exposed it (1600). As far as scan, it seems that Silverfast software and negative lab pro get it right. Haven't tried vuescan. Epson software is inconsistent on color shifting.

    I haven't tried adjusting developing times with the 160 or 400 as I was happy with the results shooting it the above speeds. It gave a nice subtle desaturated look. I suppose the pastel look would be elevated, slightly more over exposed.

    For what it's worth, the film has a lot of latitude. I just shot some fall colors metered at box speed to get a richer color. It is a really fantastic film, very flexible. Wonderful skin tones on anyone. I shoot primarily 35mm, Nikon F2 with non metering prism. I have always metered the film with a hand held meter.

    Keep in mind, a lot of the you tube hipsters are doing the majority of this in post. Nothing wrong with that but it is not where you should start. I prefer getting it from the emulsion. You can figure this out in short order using a 35mm camera. Take notes, adjust your ISO's on a roll. 9 frames at box, 9 frames -1 stop, 9 frames -2, etc.... develop normally or just send it out with no instruction. It should answer your questions. If your still not happy with the look, send off another similar roll and tell them to pull it a stop ....
     
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  5. SoulfulRecover

    SoulfulRecover TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Thank you for all the info. Ill try shooting some 35mm at various exposures like suggested and go from there so Im not wasting a bunch of 4x5.
     
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  6. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I miss the old VPS 160......the best wedding (pastel-look) film ever made. Portra is the replacement but I found it's not as close to the old VPS as people say.
     
  7. compur

    compur Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Vericolor III VPS back in the 1980s
     
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  8. cgw

    cgw Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    One factor not mentioned so far is variation in processing. Tight, C-41 lines seem but a memory. Pro labs could once push/pull process with precision. Now? I've had a few too many rolls--same film, same lot#, same session, same lighting, same subject, same processing day, same lab--show annoying variance. Not happy.

    With respect, that "look" you're after is more likely from scanned negs and PS/LR plug-ins.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020
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  9. cgw

    cgw Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    BTW, the first generation Nik plug-ins are still free for download and well worth a try.
     
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  10. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    At my job we still offer push/pull (pull only one stop) with a control strip monitored well maintained Noritsu QSF-V50.
     
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  11. cgw

    cgw Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Some shops still get it--thankfully. Not unhappy to see sloppy mini-labs and lazy pro labs bite the dust over the past decade. Will happily pay a premium to have it done right consistently.
     
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  12. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Darkroom just did some color for me not long ago and it had faint scan lines in it. I was a little dissatisfied, especially since I had them process 15 rolls with enhanced scan... it wasn't cheap. I think I can do better myself, just finding the time. I scan for some people at times and I so want to clean their negatives but I am afraid to mess up their negatives.
     

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