Color film white balance
/forum/topic/1154347/0



Exdsc
Registered: Sep 25, 2012
Total Posts: 200
Country: Canada

In RAW processing software there are settings for white balance with its Kelvin number such as daylight, shade etc. What about color film? For example what was the approximate color temperature setting for Kodachrome 64/200? Or other popular color films?



mpmendenhall
Registered: Aug 09, 2008
Total Posts: 2034
Country: United States

Film sold in white balance varieties just like digital camera settings, though typically not with so many fine-grained choices --- usually either "Daylight" (~5500K) or "Tungsten" (~3200K). Finer adjustments would be achieved with color (warming/cooling) filters; or, commonly, "perfectly accurate" white balance was not a high priority. The distinctive quirks in color response for which particular films are known (whether that be for particularly saturated skies, pleasant skin tones, etc.) cannot be reduced to a single "color temperature" number.



Mirek Elsner
Registered: Oct 03, 2005
Total Posts: 1025
Country: United States

Most common was daylight balance, specialist and cine films were available for tungsten light. There where whole sets of conversion and correction filters that were used for the fine tuning (see #80-85 in the link below).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wratten_number

Edit: I see that LEE is making some:
http://www.leefilters.com/lighting/technical-list.html#&filter=conversion



AmbientMike
Registered: Feb 04, 2010
Total Posts: 1509
Country: United States

Pretty much everything daylight balanced. Cant remember if it was 5200 or 5500K

Most people didn't adjust for color temperature.

Did I mention how much I like digital in most respects compared to film?



I guess you could adjust it in printing. You had to have a stack of filters and a Minolta color meter to adjust color temperature with chromes if memory serves. Don't think many people did.



sirimiri
Registered: Dec 10, 2007
Total Posts: 3480
Country: United States

Mirek Elsner wrote:
Most common was daylight balance, specialist and cine films were available for tungsten light.


To expound the above - Kodak and Fuji as previously known, also produced reversal films with a 3200K color balance, and what's more...they made those emulsions to perform reliably over longer time spans (exposures) than those employed for the usual daylight-balanced film.

Essentially when you shoot a "T" reversal emulsion, you can expect that it will follow a different reciprocity curve, which Kodak and Fuji always made mention of in the packaging inserts - including charts!

I should be writing that in the past tense, as tungsten-balanced reversal film has been dead as far as I know, for some years yet.

When I think of the "hott watts" [sic] I shot architectural scale models under, back in the '90s...

Then again, labs here used to run 24-7....you could drop off film at 2 AM and pick it up by 8 AM.



melcat
Registered: Jun 13, 2008
Total Posts: 731
Country: Australia

The "data sheet" for each emulsion gives advice.

There's a download link on Fuji's page for Velvia 100F, for example.

IIRC the Kodak ones were more explicit about the actual Kelvin value.



panos.v
Registered: Dec 15, 2005
Total Posts: 4018
Country: United Kingdom

Film is generally daylight white-balanced, however over/under-exposing film will shift the white balance once you are 1 stop or more off.



Exdsc
Registered: Sep 25, 2012
Total Posts: 200
Country: Canada

Thanks for your inputs.

I especially find the comment about under exposing or overexposing the film causing a shift in color balance very interesting. For instance slide film was regularly underexposed to saturate the colors, which means if its theoretical WB was ~5000 by underexposing one stop it would become more like ~4000k +/-, which could also explain the 'blueness' in lots of slide film shots that give the image a cool feel.


For the sake of simplicity and consistency, why not just shoot with daylight WB in digital and then use photo filters accordingly in photoshop to correct color cast?

Individually color correcting each shot is not only time consuming but results in very different looking images that might not be desirable for a project. Shooting with one WB setting is very close to shooting with one film.



AmbientMike
Registered: Feb 04, 2010
Total Posts: 1509
Country: United States

It wasnt that bad. Could adjust for it with print film.

Maybe some studios had to control color and bought tons of film from the same lot. Color varied a lot with film. A different lot of film might have a little different color, one lab might give you different color, print film color depended on a good lab operator.

It was even harder to adjust color contrast.

Now I can print from different Epson UltraBrite printer/fax/scanners and get the same print! Probably other brands too.

One thing about Ansel Adams he could make consistent prints which was hard. If its cold your paper developer might cool off and give a slightly diff. print. Temperature control was harder with color.



AmbientMike
Registered: Feb 04, 2010
Total Posts: 1509
Country: United States

Exdsc just saw your post. I usually shoot in daylight wb outdoors. Shade causes blue. 1 stop off is a big deal. You're done with 1 stop overexposure too bright. 1 stop underexposed is too dark, 1/2 stop normal.



sirimiri
Registered: Dec 10, 2007
Total Posts: 3480
Country: United States

Exdsc, are you talking about pushing the film in development or just plain underexposing it? Because a one stop "judgement" on normally-developed reversal film in any direction, looks bad. I did use to shoot the original Velvia at ASA 40 but that's a relatively benign shift.

As to perceived coolness or blueness of slide film versus prints, so much depends on how you view the reversal film, in my opinion. On a proper light table, a transparency should reflect the conditions under which it was shot, and the vividness of viewing an original capture medium is what stands out, to my eyes.

Exdsc wrote:
...For instance slide film was regularly underexposed to saturate the colors, which means if its theoretical WB was ~5000 by underexposing one stop it would become more like ~4000k +/-, which could also explain the 'blueness' in lots of slide film shots that give the image a cool feel.



panos.v
Registered: Dec 15, 2005
Total Posts: 4018
Country: United Kingdom

Exdsc wrote:
Thanks for your inputs.

I especially find the comment about under exposing or overexposing the film causing a shift in color balance very interesting. For instance slide film was regularly underexposed to saturate the colors, which means if its theoretical WB was ~5000 by underexposing one stop it would become more like ~4000k +/-, which could also explain the 'blueness' in lots of slide film shots that give the image a cool feel.


You can underexpose slide film by maybe 1/3 or at most 2/3 of a stop to get the saturation up. That wouldn't cause any significant shift in colour balance. If you underexpose slide film any more than you are degrading the image quite noticeably and you probably won't recover much.

What I was talking about is more than 1 stop of over/under exposure. Not that the shift cannot be corrected in printing but if you are scanning it can be noticeable (but then can be corrected). In any case, modern negative films can be shot at pretty much anything and you will still get something very good. Slide film remains sensitive to exposure errors.



For the sake of simplicity and consistency, why not just shoot with daylight WB in digital and then use photo filters accordingly in photoshop to correct color cast?

Individually color correcting each shot is not only time consuming but results in very different looking images that might not be desirable for a project. Shooting with one WB setting is very close to shooting with one film.


If you shoot RAW the WB is purely a convenience so it is irrelevant once you get it in Photoshop or whatever else you use for RAW processing. However if you shoot JPG with the wrong white balance you have already discarded the info that could be used to recover so once you start adjusting in Photoshop you are constantly reducing the quality.

Shooting with one WB is like shooting with one slide film, however negative films can be manipulated quite a bit both at the scanning and printing stage. Also some films do mixed lighting much better than others (say Portra 800 looks really good in mixed lighting).

Also bear in mind that film response to light is less linear than digital sensors, so a film will respond to certain colours (say red) more in certain light levels (say dark) and will pick up other colours (say yellow) better in other conditions (say bright light). Which is basically what causes the colour shift once you start under/over exposing a lot. A digital sensor will simply go darker/brighter until it blocks/burns (although you do get colour shifts due to blooming or other side effects depending on the sensor, particularly in cheaper P&S cameras).



douglasf13
Registered: Apr 09, 2008
Total Posts: 6108
Country: United States

Whenever I'm in natural light, I use daylight WB with my digital, so that I have a consistent starting point, and I adjust WB to taste in raw, if need be.



Exdsc
Registered: Sep 25, 2012
Total Posts: 200
Country: Canada

Here is a question for color film shooters, which RAW converter do you prefer for your digital work? I like RPP but at the same time I hate its limitations.



weezintrumpete
Registered: May 18, 2005
Total Posts: 2280
Country: United States

So, if one were to want their digital photos to more closely mimic the look of color daylight film, should they keep their WB set at 5500K all of the time? I may try this and see what it looks like...



e6filmuser
Registered: Oct 11, 2008
Total Posts: 2439
Country: United Kingdom

AmbientMike wrote:
Most people didn't adjust for color temperature.


Filters were/are widelty used.

Most people adjust for overcast or shade with a Skylight filter (1A, 1B, 1C ).

As "Daylight" means 50% blue sky, an 81 series is used when the sky is cloudless.

For sunsets, the excess red is dealt with by an 82.

UV filters are mainly needed for high altitude use and used to be used as protection filters. At one time, many other filters also dealt with UV.

http://www.garryblack.com/filters-1.htm

Filters for monochrome are a quite different matter.

Harold