Report on the New Eastman Color Print Film

By Waner, John | American Cinematographer, April 1982 | Go to article overview

Report on the New Eastman Color Print Film


Waner, John, American Cinematographer


Motion Picture and Audiovisual Markets Div. Eastman Kodak Company

All about Eastman color print film 5384/7384, which retains original color values approximately 10 times longer, and what it means to you

A new color print film with vastly improved dye-stability characteristics will help make sure that the public sees motion pictures the way they are perceived by producers and directors and exposed by cinematographers. This should hold true whether the film is projected in a theater one month or 10 years after it is printed.

This development should go a long way toward meeting both the current needs and future expectations of filmmakers. Eastman color print film 5384/7384 is the culmination of many years of research and development efforts in the areas of dye stability, film lab productivity, ecology practices, and image quality.

The new stock will replace Eastman color print film 5381 /7381, Eastman color SP print film 5383/7383, Eastman color LFSP print film 7379, and Eastman color LF print film 7378. The last two of these films offered superior cyan dye-keeping capabilities, and very stable colors. However, because of higher manufacturing costs, they carried a price premium of around 10 percent.

The new print film retains the best image-structure characteristics of 5381 / 7381 and 5383/7383, such as fine grain and sharpness. Because of substantial improvements in dye-keeping stability, it should be able to retain original color values approximately 10 times longer. This improves the long-life benefit which was previously available with the LF films, only now there is no price premium because technological advances in manufacturing have eliminated the need.

We believe that prints made on the new stock will be usable for generations before there is any detectable change in color, as long as film is processed under recommended conditions and not stored for long periods under extreme temperature and humidity conditions.

For cinematographers, there are other enhancements in addition to improved dye stability. There is slightly more blue in the skies, and slightly more yellow in grass and foliage. There is also slightly more saturation in yellows, and slightly more cyan in cyan-greens. All told, we believe that it will yield an image with slightly more realistic colors.

There are also significant benefits for labs inherent in the new print film and a modified process -ECP-2A-for handling it. The new print film has reduced sensitivity to process variations, and the modified process provides more efficiency in chemical recycling. Because of less bromide release during development, more of the overflow can be reconstituted as color developer replenisher. There are also improved ecological considerations, since persulfate bleach is recommended for the new process, though ferricyanide bleach is still an acceptable alternate choice. In the long term, persulfate bleach is likely to become the worldwide standard.

An even more significant consideration for labs is reduced sensitivity to such process variations as temperature and certain chemical levels. This should improve both productivity and quality assurance. For example, we anticipate better timing correlation between answer prints and prints from full-length, one-light duplicate negatives since 5384 "sees" all preprint materials essentially alike.

We have been working with technical societies and labs all overthe world during the past several years to establish uniform standards and procedures involving the use of process ECP-2A. The goal is to be sure that every print made from the same master will look the same. This is becoming increasingly important with the emergence of broad global markets for entertainment and informational films.

At the same time, labs will have considerable leeway for customizing contrast of the final print to match the needs of the producer, as well as the wishes of the director and filmmaker. …

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