Vlad's take on the current campaign to promote “Euphoric 100” film from Atlanta Film Co.

Here is my take re: the current campaign to promote “Euphoric 100” film from Atlanta Film Co. (https://www.atlantafilmco.com/product-page/euphoric-100 )

The availability of Kodak EKTACHROME 100D in 36 exp rolls at the lower price is a very good news

For certain, the availability of Kodak EKTACHROME 100D in 36 exp rolls at the lower price is a very good and healthy development. So it’s a bit counterintuitive that offering the top shelf color reversible film at a lower price point is not what Atlanta Film Co is spotlighting.
Instead, they are trying to reach the souls and wallets of the film geeks on almost subliminal level: here is the deep purple can, the Euphoric name, charming models in what appears to be bomb shelter setting, and bootleg-movie contrast and colors style.

Enticing film photographers with the distinct style the cross-processed EKTACHROME

The press release and the review in 35mmc.com by Molly Kate (https://www.35mmc.com/.../atlanta-film-co-euphoric-100-a.../) are trying to entice new-to-film and born-again film photographers with the distinct style the cross-processed EKTACHROME (CPE) has to offer. Color shifts, high contrast and coarse grain should apparently appeal to those whose creativity is racing to leave the realms of our dull, digitally smoothed, perfectly photoshopped reality. In our new world snapping a less than technically perfect picture is a challenge by itself, what once was the reason to (verbally) attack a lab technician, now is the sought after “look”.
So let’s take a closer look to see if CPE is good for at least some projects and what it would take to produce images one can show her/his peers without people rolling their eyes.

What is missing from the Atlanta Film Co press releases...

Unfortunately, what is missing from the Atlanta Film Co press releases and Molly’s review are the specific guidance and recommendations on how to use the film in its negative incarnation (and as a classic reversal film as well). There is no mention of what to do if one wants to scan film at home with either a flatbed scanner or DSLR. I don’t have access to the film itself as it is out of stock, but my previous experience, the sample shots and a bit of internet searching suggest the following.

Kodak blog post “Marcell Rév adopts an EKTACHROME...

First of all, the most interesting and actionable info comes from this Kodak blog post “Marcell Rév adopts an EKTACHROME approach for 'Euphoria' in pursuit of a nostalgic view“ (https://www.kodak.com/en/motion/blog-post/euphoria). The piece discusses specific aspects of shooting the movie and the great lengths and huge costs and labor which went into the production. To me, the most important part of the article was the one where the peculiarities of lighting during the shoot were discussed. After all, the most amazing feature of that particular movie shoot was that the camera crew and lighting crew should have been ready to switch from Vision 3 500T stock to EKTACHROME 100D and back on the director's whim. Not only the amount of light and its white balance had to be switchable, but EKTACHROME- as-negative required the light to be more of a flooding fashion to compensate for the elevated contrast. That aspect is actually an important clue to anyone who is going to shoot CPE - so I would say get your flash ready even when shooting in the broad daylight (like like wedding photographers ).

Cross-processed _slide_ film is that it does not have the ubiquitous orange mask

Now, suppose the film is processed as negative and one holds the strange looking pink’n’green strips. Why are they strange? The rather unusual aspect of cross-processed _slide_ film is that it does not have the ubiquitous orange mask found in regular negative film. Folks scanning film themselves take a note! By itself this fun fact may not be the reason for celebration, but it has a number of implications.
Of course the orange mask in negative film is there for good reason - namely to compensate for the inherent spectral imperfections of the dyes comprising the color film emulsions. Some ancient stocks like Soviet DS-4 (ДС-4) did not have mask and produced sort of subdued colors in print. But today, I cannot name mask-free negative emulsion. Obviously for the color prints the mask was the part of the deal and we all know it worked quite well 😉.
But the presence of the orange mask is something which gives folks scanning color negatives and inverting images at home quite a headache - especially to folks on tight budgets or with the limited conversion experience.
Technically speaking, the orange mask absorbs a significant fraction of the blue light used to illuminate the negative during scanning. That happens to such a degree that the blue channel becomes visibly noisier in the scanned images as the higher gain (amplification) is required.
On the post-processing side, one would need a Negative Lab Pro and Lightroom combination to deal with the orange mask while inverting negative captures. Certainly, experienced users know how to use, say, Darktable or other free image editing software to make inversion fast and efficient, but this note is concerned with the folks who need some reference points.

The absence of the orange mask in CPE makes it much easier to invert.

The absence of the orange mask in CPE makes it - at least in theory - much easier to invert. Of course the color disbalance caused by the cross-processing complicates color grading, but that may be less of a challenge then inverting masked film. Besides, isn’t having weird colors the whole point of employing CPE? If one would need true to life colors they would simply process film as reversible in E6 chemistry and enjoy exceptional colors right off the tank.
I was having trouble deciphering the statements in the press release and Molly’s article about greenish cast which is easy to fix. My understanding is that the CPE inversion process should have green cast removal as part of the process. As long as a negative image is being transformed digitally, why are we talking about fixing something after the inversion? Are they talking about the lab scan which produces inverted, but not corrected images? If that is the case, I would never pay for such a scan to begin with. I understand we may continue to alter /color grade fully corrected image for some specific look, but that is a separate step IMHO.

ECN-2 cross-processed EKTACHROME vs Vision 3

In fact, Kodak Film Lab Atlanta did a bit of research already and produced the video https://fb.watch/gEhJu8x_cJ/ which compares ECN-2 cross-processed EKTACHROME vs Vision 3 stock. To be honest, the comparison is not favorable to CPE, but today we are not looking for color de jure - so let's note the fact that such a comparison exists and can be perused as needed.
There is also the third document from Kodak. ( https://www.kodak.com/.../Cross-processing-EASTMAN... ). This is the technote dealing with the potential deterioration of ECN2 developer itself when EKTACHROME is processed in it. That may be of interest to folks who will process film at home. Another point Kodak is noting is that the stability of dyes may be compromised in cross-processed EKTACHROME as there is no stabilization bath in ECN2 , but present in the E6 process..

Perusing this stock as negative requires very good planning

Anyway this note is becoming TL;DR. Let me make few points:
- The fact that EKTACHROME reversible film becomes available at a lower price point is very good news indeed. Shooting classic slide film teaches photographer exposure measuring discipline, instills respect to the white balance and rewards with unbelievable colors.
- Based on the sample pictures attached to the press release and Molly’s review I would say that perusing this stock as negative requires very good planning in terms of lighting, careful choice of subjects, a good deal of previsualization and conceptualization. Honestly, those outdoor pictures with pumpkins did not trigger in me any excitement. In fact they look more like the stock expired eon years ago and subjected to some sort of chemical CPR ;-( . Of course one can always come up with the cumbersome story for which those pictures will be perfect companion pieces. But if a picture requires some fancy narrative to shine, it means that the picture itself is lacking.
Actually I specifically asked a friend of mine to give me half-an-hour of HBO access so I can quiz myself if I can tell which cuts in the Euphoria Season Two shot on which stock. Certainly the difference in film stocks was in your face and was obvious to the degree of being didactic. I was shocked by this sort of “Hillbilly Elegy” on drugs, and will not be surprised if the next season just for the sake of enticing the viewers will come both on celluloid and in red and blue 3D. Sorry, I digressed.

The hype around ECN2 processed EKTACHROME

-IMHO, the hype around ECN2 processed EKTACHROME is what it is - the hype with the goal of reaching film-shooting hipsters who shoot film for bragging rights and who consider the cassette with a film not a blank canvas for them to create, but another weird filter to spruce up their unnecessary pictures.


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