Kodak preems new films

Products heighten filmmakers' control

Kodak has broken new ground in film technology with the introduction of an advanced generation of color print films and a camera negative film faster than anything previously available.

For the first time, Kodak is offering filmmakers a choice between two print stocks with different imaging characteristics. The two versions that the company has introduced — Vision Color Print Film 2383 and Vision Premier Color Print Film 2393 — are designed to enhance the moviegoing experience by giving filmmakers more control over the “look” of images projected on cinema screens. The former produces denser blacks over the previous stock, and the latter offers more contrast and richer color saturation.

“It is important for audiences to experience films the way they are meant to be seen, with all of the nuances and richness in the visual content,” said Richard Aschman, prexy of Kodak’s Professional Motion Picture Imaging division.

Kodak’s new 800 speed negative film — Kodak Vision 800T Color Negative Film 5289 — has shattered what was once considered an unbreakable speed barrier. The new film stock is the fastest color negative motion picture film now in existence, at two-thirds of a stop faster than 500, the previous top film speed.

The faster film stock is a “tremendous help” to cinematographers in achieving greater depth of field in lower light conditions, according to director of photography Stephen Burum (“Carlito’s Way,” “Hoffa”). “The real issue is being able to get to an f-stop that gives you a better depth of field, because in movies you always stage your actors in depth.”

Since the style of motion picture photography has changed in the direction of a softer, more northern light look, it takes large numbers of huge lighting units to reproduce that effect. “So having a faster stock means you’re going to use less units if you’re going to do a soft light kind of picture, which is an economic advantage,” according to Burum.

Director of photographer Vilmos Zsigmond (“The Ghost and the Darkness,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”) has already chosen the Kodak Vision Color version to print “Dancing About Architecture,” which he shot for Miramax. He said the film “gives the look that the picture is sharper because of the deeper blacks.”

Burum also didn’t waste time using the new film stock. He chose the Kodak Premier Vision for printing “Snake Eyes.” “Having this kind of print stock so I could really have solid blacks was a terrific help,” he said.

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