Even as digital image capture continues to become dominant in filmmaking, Eastman Kodak is pushing the limits of film. The company has added a new daylight stock to its Vision 3 Film family. The new stock, Vision3 50D Color Negative Film 5203/7203, integrates the company’s advanced Vision 3 imaging technology into a fine-grained, daylight-balanced film intended to give filmmakers more options and flexibility for shooting on location.

“This addition to the Vision3 Film portfolio is designed to give extraordinary creative latitude to cinematographers working in daylight conditions,” said Kim Snyder, prexy of entertainment imaging and VP, Eastman Kodak Co. “This new stock – the finest-grained negative on the market – offers a combination of unmatched resolution, reliability, and proven archival capabilities.”

50D is a low-speed film optimized for capturing images in natural or simulated daylight conditions. The new stock incorporates Vision3 technology advancements, like Dye Layering Technology and sub-micron imaging sensors in order to deliver extended highlight latitude – as much as two stops of additional overexposure – as well as better signal-to-noise performance, especially in over- and under-exposure. It also offers improved color consistency over the entire exposure range, per Kodak, which added that all these features provide cinematographers with the ability to shoot challenging high-contrast exteriors, and follow the action into bright highlight scenes without loss of image discrimination.

Cinematographer Blake Evans (“The Middle”), who tested the film, said: “I wanted to stress-test the contrast capabilities of new 50D stock, so we shot a few scenes in a high-contrast exterior situation that included bright whites and shadows. I exposed normally, and followed the actors’ faces as they moved from the sun into the shadows. The negative was processed normally, and when I saw the footage as DVD dailies, I found the grain a tiny bit tighter in the dark toe of the shadows.

“That says a lot, considering the 50D emulsion was already a super fine grain,” he added. “This new 5203 stock dug deep into the shadows and maintained neutral colors, especially in the skin tones. There was also no biasing of the whites in the bright highlights.”

Vision 3 stocks have also demonstrated clear benefits to the post-production process, per Kodak, in that their ability to render finer-grain images in underexposed areas produces cleaner film-to-digital transfers. The emulsions also process light more efficiently and record greater detail in the highlights, the company added, which enables cinematographers and their colorists to extract more image information during digital post-production without introducing artifacts.

According to Kodak, 50D possesses all the necessary qualities that allow a color negative film to perform well in film recorders, including its extremely fine grain, high resolution, excellent latent image keeping and reciprocity characteristics, as well as a low level of unwarranted crosstalk between the color channels.

“We understand that digital cameras are improving, but the industry holds film as the benchmark by which they are all judged,” says Snyder. “This new emulsion is another example of Kodak’s dedication to filmmaking technology and ongoing innovation.”

* * *

Kodak also underscored its commitment to film by naming Benedict Salazar Olgado as recipient of the 2011 Kodak Fellowship in Film Preservation, an award established to foster and support the next generation of preservationists and archivists in the industry.

Olgado receives a cash scholarship from Kodak that is administered by AMIA (Association of Moving Image Archivists), in addition to a four-week summer internship next year, organized by PRO-TEK, a Kodak company that operates world-renowned film and video preservation vaults, and provides inspection and restoration management consultation services. The internship will include a comprehensive agenda with training at PRO-TEK, Chace Audio by Deluxe, and FotoKem’s digital and photochemical lab.

Kodak initiated the program 12 years ago, and 11 of the past recipients are now working in the field at such organizations as the Library of Congress, NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

“We designed the Kodak Fellowship program to augment the education that future preservationists and archivists receive,” says PRO-TEK veep Rick Utley. “They gain exposure to the industry, hands-on experience and the opportunity to meet many people in a thriving and passionate community. It’s a great way for Fellows to evaluate next steps for their careers.”

A native of the Philippines, Olgado will receive a master’s degree in moving image archiving and preservation from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in May 2012. He gained experience as a senior administrator at the Southeast Asia Pacific Audiovisual Archive Association and worked on projects with UNESCO and the Anthology Film Archives. His long-term goal is to become an active part of the international preservation community and safeguard audio-visual legacies.

“This recognition affirms and strengthens my dedication as a budding audio-visual archivist,” said Olgado. “I’m looking forward to developing my skills this summer, and am honored to belong to a roster of individuals who have gone on to become key players in the field.”