Author Topic: BW film speed in the past  (Read 4712 times)

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2016, 08:30:01 am »
I remember using a film I pushed to 1600ASA, to photograph a candlelit dinner. Can't remember the film name,

I might as well have made artwork with rolled oats  ;D
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2016, 10:32:21 am »
Played with HP5 at 1600 (and heated developer :) and Tmax P3200. The results were suitably artistic.

"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Adam

  • It'll soon be summer
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Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2016, 06:49:52 pm »
I thought this thread would be about a different thing, which I've always wondered about.  So I'll hijack it anyway.

Whenever they show very old B&W archive film on TV, it shows people moving too quickly.  I've always assumed it was due to hand cranked films or a different film spool speed 100 years ago, but surely there's a simple way to show for example some of the original film coverage of WW1 at the modern display rate?
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” -Albert Einstein

Kim

  • An appetite for the epic, but no real stamina
Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2016, 07:09:40 pm »
That's a good question, actually.  There are various strategies for converting framerates, some of which work better than others depending on the ratio of the rates involved.  With modern equipment, this sort of thing is a lot less of an arse than it would have been historically, when pull-down would be more practical than interpolation[1].

I suppose one complicating factor is that often the old film is sourced in some intermediate format (eg. modern 24/25/30FPS colour film, analogue video) and the artefacts of the conversion process remain.

Obviously if the camera wasn't recording at a consistent framerate (eg. hand-cranked, or clockwork/battery running down) and there's no time reference to correct it, it's always going to be a bit of a fudge.


Oh, and there's a circle of hell for documentary makers deliberately add artefacts to old footage in order to emphasise its age.


[1] Notable counter example: The video from Apollo 11.  That was 10FPS SSTV, crudely converted at the time to NTSC by the camera-pointed-at-a-long-persistence-CRT method, hence all the motion blur.  I'm sure most of the time we see that footage it's a copy of the live broadcast (presumably via 30fps film, amongst other things), not derived from the un-converted NASA tapes.  (Indeed, there was plenty of high-quality colour film shot during the moon landings, but we hardly ever see that on the telly.)
I do find anything involving ball bearings oddly satisfying

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2016, 10:45:46 pm »
The high quality (still) coverage from the Apollo missions was copied then archived away. Most of the images you have seen will be first, second or third generation copies.

The desire to protect the original films was strong, but Michael Light was given access to the originals and published a book in 1999, Full Moon. He also produced exhibition quality prints that toured the world. The quality was outstanding.

If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2016, 01:05:33 pm »
I pushed FP4 to 1600 often enough.

I suppose it was grainy if you looked hard enough but back then we didn't zoom in to 1000% and check pixels.

Likewise digital noise isn't the problem on paper that it is on a monitor.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

fuzzy (retd.) AAGE

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Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #31 on: November 03, 2016, 02:04:13 pm »
The high quality (still) coverage from the Apollo missions was copied then archived away. Most of the images you have seen will be first, second or third generation copies.

The desire to protect the original films was strong, but Michael Light was given access to the originals and published a book in 1999, Full Moon. He also produced exhibition quality prints that toured the world. The quality was outstanding.

I have a half size copy of Full Moon and damned good it is too. I'm a sucker for looking at pictures.
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T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2016, 02:31:59 pm »
Oh, and there's a circle of hell for documentary makers deliberately add artefacts to old footage in order to emphasise its age.

A documentary I saw a couple of years back had sepia'd shots from the '70s.
I dare eat all that may become a man.

But hold the oysters.

Kim

  • An appetite for the epic, but no real stamina
Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2016, 02:49:21 pm »
Oh, and there's a circle of hell for documentary makers deliberately add artefacts to old footage in order to emphasise its age.

A documentary I saw a couple of years back had sepia'd shots from the '70s.

Exactly.

Similarly, I saw one recently where they felt the need to add 8mm film grain, dust and vignetting to early 80s camcorder footage.  As if it wasn't full of authentic tube camera/PAL/VHS artefacts that make it look exactly as dated as it actually was.

I suppose it's film-maker speak for "Look!  This is old!", in the way that overlaying a mocked-up viewfinder display is supposed to say "Look! This was recorded by someone who isn't a professional camera operator!"
I do find anything involving ball bearings oddly satisfying

Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2016, 05:31:42 pm »
A particular thing I don't like is the orangey-yellow flash that you get in the middle of mocked up 'old' footage. That comes specifically from standard 8mm, which is 16mm wide film that's taken out from the camera, and than run through again. So often has a bit of light bleed in the middle of the film you get back from the developers, where the two bits of film that are cut down the middle are spliced together.
Standard 8 is pretty low definition, so the yellow flash on higher definition is just annoying.

Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #35 on: November 03, 2016, 10:10:31 pm »
Tri-X (admittedly the formulation has changed over the years) was often pushed to 3200 ASA.  For newspaper photography you didn't need much of an image.
Never tell me the odds.

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2016, 11:27:16 am »
Yeah.  I'm pretty sure I remember low-res wire photographs in 1950s papers.

[Confession: in the 50s my parents took the Daily Mail.  Mitigation: it was different then, and Flook was great.]
I dare eat all that may become a man.

But hold the oysters.

Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2016, 09:26:58 pm »
If you google images for stand-developed Tri-X at 3200, the pictures are pretty good.  Not much shadow detail, of course, but the tones are OK.
Never tell me the odds.

Kim

  • An appetite for the epic, but no real stamina
Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2016, 10:14:47 pm »
Yeah.  I'm pretty sure I remember low-res wire photographs in 1950s papers.

The facsimile process used would have been the bottleneck there, rather than the original photograph.  Scanning images and keeping the sending and receiving apparatus in sync were non-trivial problems with the technology of ...however long before that it would have taken for it to have been readily available to newspapers.
I do find anything involving ball bearings oddly satisfying

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2016, 08:10:39 am »
The first A.P. wire photo is in this article: http://new.time.com/3650882/associated-press-photowire-80th-anniversary/

Remarkably good compared to some of the pics I remember, which were decidedly pointilliste.
I dare eat all that may become a man.

But hold the oysters.

Zipperhead

  • The cyclist formerly known as Big Helga
Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2016, 03:26:09 pm »
Diverting slightly (but it does involve BW film speed in the past), watching the program last week about the first television broadcast from Ally Pally, 80 years ago, it seems that the Baird system was using 35mm film which came out of the camera immediately and then went through a processing machine underneath and 50 seconds later was scanned (presumably with a nipkow disk) and then broadcast.
Our son does know who Boz Scaggs is, we've done ok as parents.

Kim

  • An appetite for the epic, but no real stamina
Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2016, 03:30:56 pm »
Diverting slightly (but it does involve BW film speed in the past), watching the program last week about the first television broadcast from Ally Pally, 80 years ago, it seems that the Baird system was using 35mm film which came out of the camera immediately and then went through a processing machine underneath and 50 seconds later was scanned (presumably with a nipkow disk) and then broadcast.

It was exactly as bonkers as it sounds.  The EMI system had the overwhelming advantage that you could trundle the camera around on the end of a cable.

Perhaps if a bundle of optical fibres had been available things would be very different...
I do find anything involving ball bearings oddly satisfying

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #42 on: November 10, 2016, 04:54:23 pm »
Diverting slightly (but it does involve BW film speed in the past), watching the program last week about the first television broadcast from Ally Pally, 80 years ago, it seems that the Baird system was using 35mm film which came out of the camera immediately and then went through a processing machine underneath and 50 seconds later was scanned (presumably with a nipkow disk) and then broadcast.

British Telecom use a similar system for Internet Broadband in my parents' village in Hampshire*

*Although they have been promised an upgrade to a Morse-code terminal in the new year.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #43 on: November 11, 2016, 09:38:25 am »
Diverting slightly (but it does involve BW film speed in the past), watching the program last week about the first television broadcast from Ally Pally, 80 years ago, it seems that the Baird system was using 35mm film which came out of the camera immediately and then went through a processing machine underneath and 50 seconds later was scanned (presumably with a nipkow disk) and then broadcast.


Now that is wonderful.

Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #44 on: November 11, 2016, 05:50:41 pm »
Very cool (for Heath Robinson values of cool). Straying OT even further, it reminds me of a Simon Starling artwork I saw a couple of years ago, D1–Z1 [22,686,575:1]

The Zuse Z1 was an early (1930s) electro-mechanical digital computer, which used 35mm film as its punch tape. Starling created a 30-second CGI reconstruction of the Z1's mechanism*, then had it copied onto 35mm film, and used a modifed mid-century German film projector to loop the film on the gallery wall.



*The digital animation was 22,686,575 times larger than the Z1's memory, hence the piece's title.

(For more info, see http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/starling-d1-z1-22-686-575-1-t13241/text-summary )

Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #45 on: January 01, 2017, 01:07:52 pm »
Surely you've seen the film "Blow-Up"

I watched it yesterday, thanks for the tip.

I was impressed that they used a yellow light in the darkroom scenes, instead of the usual MovieOS red light - surely filmmakers, of all people, will have been in an actual darkroom?

Also  the five second exposure when shooting with a couple of 200W floods, and the fact he didn't attempt to photograph the body in the park with only the light from the neon advert and the moon.
Quote from: tiermat
that's not science, it's semantics.

Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #46 on: January 02, 2017, 11:31:16 am »
Yellow light (actually a special dark amber) is only good for multigrade papers, surely?  For normal orthochromatic paper you need a red light.
Never tell me the odds.

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #47 on: January 02, 2017, 12:00:38 pm »
The safelight colour depends on the paper in use. Multigrade is more sensitive than standard papers. Some papers/films use green safelights.
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #48 on: January 02, 2017, 12:30:39 pm »
Yellow light (actually a special dark amber) is only good for multigrade papers, surely?  For normal orthochromatic paper you need a red light.

Normal black and white photographic paper is not orthochromatic because (a) there's no need for it to be, you are not exposing to a coloured source; (b) it's more difficult/expensive to add green sensitivity; and (c) you wouldn't be able to use them under orange/yellow safelights. This applies to both multigrade and fixed contrast papers.

There are ortho films, such as Kodalith, which you can develop by inspection under a red safelight. They are normally used for graphic arts rather than pictorial photography.


Quote from: tiermat
that's not science, it's semantics.

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: BW film speed in the past
« Reply #49 on: January 02, 2017, 12:36:59 pm »
My darkroom light was Olive Green.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.