Kodak unveils the Visioni3 250D 5207 Color Negative Film

Kodak film canister

Kodak Cinema and Television

On Monday, April 20th, cinematographers, members of the ASC, film developers, and other invited guests gathered at the Kodak Screening Room for the unveiling of the Kodak Vision3 250D 5207 Color Negative Film.

After guests were treated to light refreshments including maki sushi, fire-roasted veggies and wine, a presentation was given where the technical aspects of the stock were discussed, the physical nature of the film explained, and a presentation of footage shot in both 16mm and 35mm, the two formats this film will be available in, were screened to a full house.

Kodak’s goal in developing new and superior stock is not to divide the production community into a film world or a digital world, but to bring together these different applications and create “allies” in developing high quality content.  It took Kodak roughly a year to develop and perfect the Vision3 250D 5207 stock, and as this product is being released, another stock is currently being reviewed and potentially redeveloped.  The highlight of this film’s development is the ability to capture details in shadows and highlights the way the human eye sees them.

Ben Nott, ACS, created a sample film that challenged the boundaries of the Vision3 250D 5207 in the 16mm format.  His darkly comic short followed two elderly gentlemen as they race their respective red scooters, chasing after the affections of a tarty widow who meets her fate when the two speeding carts collide into her.  His goal with this short was to “provide an argument for superior quality achieved quickly on a limited budget.”    He wanted to present situations where a cinematographer may be working with little to no lighting, and the inability to balance interior and exterior light levels.  He was particularly interested in testing the film’s ability to “render images of depth and quality across a high-contrast range.”

The short featured the two gentlemen on a race through areas such as a bright, sunlit suburban setting, a dark, fluorescently lit library, a minimally lit flower stand, a parking lot with mixed lighting, and a “rainforest” at a zoo that was dark and full of shadows.

Nott was very pleased with the performance of the film.  He was very happy with the 5-6 stop latitude difference between interior to exterior.  “I was very impressed with the way that the 7207 dealt with the global correction of the fluorescents, while maintaining the integrity of the exterior.”   In the rainforest environment, Nott added smoke to enhance the contrast ratio of the background.  He felt the film stock was able to keep the details of the actor’s face and eyes, as well as maintain the subtleties in the background.  “Digital just wouldn’t deal with it,” said Nott.

The final project was passed through a digital intermediate and color corrected without noise reduction.  The images were then output to 35mm film.  “We looked at the work print projected on the big screen, and it was remarkably good.”  During the presentation, both the original shots and those passed through the DI were shown in comparison to witness the stock’s ability of handling light, color, and detail.

Fred Murphy, ASC, shot a test film on 35mm.  His piece consisted of a loose narrative that followed a flexible young man who desires to prove his abilities as an “amazing performer” to a traveling circus.  His film included mixed light situations like a back alley, bright light situations like a daylight flooded motor home, and a circus environment that consisted of bright jewel-tone colors, occasional fire, stained glass windows, and actors moving in and out of light.

“I wanted to see how much you can underexpose the negative without noticeable grain, and how it handles skin tones, colors and contrast in different kinds of light,” said Murphy of his test film.  He felt that the film looked natural in both under and over-exposed settings, which were illustrated during the presentation with a split screen of the same scene in a different exposure; large amounts of background detail was clearly visible.  He felt the film allowed the capturing of highlight and shadow details.

“Truthfully, I’m not a very technical person,” said Murphy.  “I just know what looks and feels right to me.  I believe this new film will give us more freedom to underexpose the negative in mixed lighting, when necessary.  I also believe this new stock will be especially useful when we are shooting urban, exterior scenes that run a little later in the day, or when clouds dim sunlight.”