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Photograph Editing

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Hey y'all,

I was wondering if someone could point me in the direction of an editor application that can fix the glare on the headlights on this photo. Thanks. If I'm in the wrong for making this topic, I apologize.

20190316_210355.jpg

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I was going to suggest downloading The GIMP and giving that a try since it's free open source software and you won't be out any money if it doesn't work out.  It's also cross platform so it'll run on whatever type of computer you're using. What you'd want to do is select the glare areas and pull down the contrast.

Unfortunately though, I think it's going to be a long shot with any software to tame those headlights because they glare areas are really hot. If they aren't clipped, they're damn close and there won't be much information to recover in the image. For areas where one or more of the RGB channels are clipped, there won't be any information to recover or work with.  Those new headlights are brutal.  Night photos are tricky since you want to get a decent exposure on most things without having to much clip out into over exposure or end up buried in darkness and noise floor. It's tough splitting it down the middle and some digital cameras are better than others for sure.

Back in the film days, it was great using Kodachrome because of its legacy of starting out as a movie film. It had an anti haltation backing which kept a lid on the bright areas blooming and bleeding.  I used to love cranking up exposure on cloudy days or night pictures on whatever my subject was knowing the antihalation layer was going to keep anything that went over in check and I used to bury headlights well into the film's Dmin.  Negative film was not quite as good since there wasn't that antihalation layer unless you were shooting repackaged ECN type movie film but with the dynamic range negative film has, you could still crank up exposure and make seriously dark dense headlights on the neg into the film's DMax.  E6 slide film wa salways the trickiest to work with for night shots I found and led to lots of the dreaded "Fuji Headlight Blob" and digital media, whether it's audio, still photos, or video, clipping is the end of the world because it's merciless and unforgiving. When you hit the top of the dynamic range of your digital system and run out of bits, that's it, you're done. It isn't like film or analog tape where it overloads gracefully and you get some gain compression as you head into saturation and you have some room to play with.  So yeah, for digital photography, you need to watch your histogram or zebra patterns or waveform monitor because there's no headroom at all above full scale on any part of the system starting with the sensor behind the lens.

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On 3/30/2019 at 5:19 PM, Wayside Observer said:

Negative film was not quite as good since there wasn't that antihalation layer unless you were shooting repackaged ECN type movie film but with the dynamic range negative film has, you could still crank up exposure and make seriously dark dense headlights on the neg into the film's DMax.  

I didn't exactly expect to read something like that on this board, but, it was well timed as I just ordered a couple of rolls of respooled Kodak Vision 3 film.

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Yeah, it's a bit of a departure from the normal stuff you find around here.

I didn't go into it intending to write a diatribe but the limitation with digital systems hard clipping is one of those things in life I really don't like.  It's fine as long as you respect that aspect of them and leave yourself enough headroom but it's something that's not very well or widely understood.  So many manufacturers leave people on their own to figure it out for themselves, which is why a lot of people end up with disappointment instead of the results they were hoping for and because of how the hard clipping works where highlights (in the case of photography or video) get completely sheared right off once the range of the system's been met, it isn't really recoverable after the fact.

If you don't mind me asking, which Vision 3 stock did you order?

I've never personally used the respooled cine neg film for still photography but when the 50D came out, I was seriously looking at picking up a Bolex H16 or a Krasnogorsk-3 and shooting 16mm movies.  50D under broad daylight would be great and 250D or 500T for nighttime work would be fun to try out as well but good ones were either insanely expensive or I wasn't in the right place at the right time, and anything affordable was clapped out junk.  At the time, I had access to a pair of Rank-Cintel Ursa telecine machines so all I would've had to pay for was film stock and processing since I'd have been able to scan the negative myself.  I'd have just borrowed an IO box, plugged it into my laptop, run SDI from the output of the signal chain after the Ursa in order to have the full waveform monitor, vectorscope and a reference monitor to get everything adjusted just right, into the box and captured straight to Final Cut Pro.  Unfortunately that place junked the Ursas not too long after I had that idea.  Now I'd have to eat the cost of film transfer too, and there's not necessarily any guarantee it'd be done the way I want too.  Plus a lot of places use line array CCD machines too that don't make pictures as good as those Ursas did with the flying spot scanner that had absolutely 100% correct colour registration and full colour bandwidth on all three channels at all times no matter what.  You look at some of the film transfer jobs that people have gotten for 16mm/8mm/Super 8 stuff they've shot on Youtube and a lot of it's flat, or the exposure's not that good etc. etc. and they've settled for it without sending it back to be redone.  The worst is historic silent material that's been run at 24 fps and not been given a 1/3 speed reduction after the fact to compensate it because most old silent stuff was shot at a nominal 16 frames per second, not the 24 fps that was a 50% speed-up to give optical soundtracks decent frequency response when sound came out.  Archives of Ontario, I'm looking at you here, for one.

A guy I know at that place that had the Ursas and I went into their parts room a few years ago and both of us were astonished to see the full spare parts inventory for those long gone machines including complete spare boards and a full set of Hammamatsu photomultiplier tubes still in sealed boxes.  I didn't see spare CRT for the flying spot scanner and I couldn't find the load bank for testing the 5V power supply on those machines back when I used to service them.  That was just a bunch of lightbulbs really.  The 5V supply for the ton of TTL logic in those machines could deliver up to 100 amps even though the machine normally drew 'only' 50.  Shame really.  I hope they weren't cut up for scrap and sent to an e-waste recycler because the film transports are (or were - it's been a long time since I've looked out of curiosity) worth serious money on trade in to Rank-Cintel for a new machine.

What I'd like to get my hands on and try out this summer is the new Ektachrome film.  It's been hard to get ahold of and I don't know anybody that's been able to obtain any and try it out yet.

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2 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

Yeah, it's a bit of a departure from the normal stuff you find around here.

I didn't go into it intending to write a diatribe but the limitation with digital systems hard clipping is one of those things in life I really don't like.  It's fine as long as you respect that aspect of them and leave yourself enough headroom but it's something that's not very well or widely understood.  So many manufacturers leave people on their own to figure it out for themselves, which is why a lot of people end up with disappointment instead of the results they were hoping for and because of how the hard clipping works where highlights (in the case of photography or video) get completely sheared right off once the range of the system's been met, it isn't really recoverable after the fact.

If you don't mind me asking, which Vision 3 stock did you order?

I've never personally used the respooled cine neg film for still photography but when the 50D came out, I was seriously looking at picking up a Bolex H16 or a Krasnogorsk-3 and shooting 16mm movies.  50D under broad daylight would be great and 250D or 500T for nighttime work would be fun to try out as well but good ones were either insanely expensive or I wasn't in the right place at the right time, and anything affordable was clapped out junk. 

What I'd like to get my hands on and try out this summer is the new Ektachrome film.  It's been hard to get ahold of and I don't know anybody that's been able to obtain any and try it out yet.

For a moment I was thinking it would be neat to shoot 16mm.... but then yeah, transferring it would probably be more hassle than I want to deal with. To clarify, what I bought was respooled for using in 35mm film cameras.

I believe I have actually have 50D, 250D, and 500T coming. The 50D is from Cinestill and has the remjet removed (and I honestly can't remember now if I did order it). The 250D and 500T are from The Film Photography Project. The 500T I bought is expired and was cheap, so, why not? My intention with that is outdoors at night. Not sure how tungsten balanced film would work with typical street lighting, I suspect ok, but the problem is "typical" these days is a lot more LED streetlights in much cooler tones than sodium vapour lights, hence whey I just went with the expired in case I get weird colour casts anyways. Apparently a 85A filter will give good result under daylight with 500T, so I kind of wish I had bought more of it now.

I was blown away to find McBain camera in Edmonton with Ektachrome. It's been nice to be able to walk in an buy a roll of slide film again. I've only been stockpiling to this point (3 rolls) until I make sure my camera doesn't have any light leaks or anything, but, each time I've picked up a roll the amount in the fridge has gone down since I was last there, so there are other people in Edmonton buy the Ektachrome.

From the Film Photography Project I also have some "Retrochrome" on order. It's Ektachrome 400 that expired in 2004 but has apparently been kept insanely well. They have the backstory behind it on their website which was an interesting read.

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Ah sorry, yes, I understood you meant repackaged for use in 35mm cameras while I was talking about my unfortunately close-but-no-cigar plan to use some of the Vision 3 stocks for movie use.  Sorry for the confusion there.  Yes, film transfers are expensive.  Even if I was to pick up a movie camera and some film, I'd have a hard time paying good money for an ok transfer after having the run of fabulous top of the line equipment for free.  Well, actually, on the clock for testing and adjustment.

You've got most of the current lineup of Vision 3 represented in your stash.  The pre-removed remjet is good from a processing perspective because some people do it themselves using the Kodak ECN starter chemical set but the antihalation material turns into a goopy mess in daylight tanks if not removed before processing and going off the top of my head it's water soluble but the official Kodak process calls for the film to be buffed to make sure it's completely removed before it's processed.  The downside of it being pre-removed is that it's not there to help keep highlights in check when it's being shot.  Do you remember Seattle Filmworks?  They'd repackage cine negative film and you'd get back prints, slides, and negatives.  The slides were notoriously crummy though because they'd just print the negative onto release print film to make the positive for the slide, but without doing any colour timing on it so the results were mediocre.  On the other hand, any of the Vision 3 stocks printed onto release print film with properly timed colour and exposure correction would probably blow away any direct positive slide film in every respect unless you're going for sheer contrast.  I haven't tried it but it could probably be done by putting the Vision 3 negative down on top of release print film and contact printing them but using a colour enlarger head as the light source to handle the colour correction and exposure control in order to get good 35mm slides out of the deal.

Night photography's turned into a real mixed bag of different light sources with spectral emissions and colour temperatures that are all over the map.  It might be worth banging off a frame or two of the area you're photographing with the calibrated white side of a Kodak 18% card sitting under the average lighting you're shooting under either before or after your actual photography because that'll give you an accurate profile of how the lighting's shifted off-white and you can use that to work backwards and compensate the colour correction when you scan or adjust in photoshop or work up a base setting of CC units on a colour enlarger if you're printing optically.

Getting slide film hasn't been a problem in Toronto.  Several of the camera stores have always sold various Fujichrome films and more recently the Ektachrome but it sells out as soon as it arrives and I haven't been able to get any yet.  The processing though, that's a problem.  There is no pro lab in this city still running an E6 machine.  It's unbelievable to me that there's not enough of a market in the GTA to support one E6 machine in one pro lab, so the stores send the stuff out to a lab in Montreal or a lab in Vancouver and I know a couple of people that started sending their E6 rolls to Dwayne's in Kansas just like everyone did with Kodachrome near the end of that.  I don't shoot enough E6 to make it worth  tooling up to do it at home.  I do my own black and white but I don't have anything to maintain the fine temperature control over the first developer baths to do any kind of colour work at home though, so between having to sort that out and the cost/short life of the chemicals, I don't really have a sane case to do E6/C41/ECN2 at home.

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5 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

Ah sorry, yes, I understood you meant repackaged for use in 35mm cameras while I was talking about my unfortunately close-but-no-cigar plan to use some of the Vision 3 stocks for movie use.  Sorry for the confusion there.  Yes, film transfers are expensive.  Even if I was to pick up a movie camera and some film, I'd have a hard time paying good money for an ok transfer after having the run of fabulous top of the line equipment for free.  Well, actually, on the clock for testing and adjustment.

You've got most of the current lineup of Vision 3 represented in your stash.  The pre-removed remjet is good from a processing perspective because some people do it themselves using the Kodak ECN starter chemical set but the antihalation material turns into a goopy mess in daylight tanks if not removed before processing and going off the top of my head it's water soluble but the official Kodak process calls for the film to be buffed to make sure it's completely removed before it's processed.  The downside of it being pre-removed is that it's not there to help keep highlights in check when it's being shot.  Do you remember Seattle Filmworks?  They'd repackage cine negative film and you'd get back prints, slides, and negatives.  The slides were notoriously crummy though because they'd just print the negative onto release print film to make the positive for the slide, but without doing any colour timing on it so the results were mediocre.  On the other hand, any of the Vision 3 stocks printed onto release print film with properly timed colour and exposure correction would probably blow away any direct positive slide film in every respect unless you're going for sheer contrast.  I haven't tried it but it could probably be done by putting the Vision 3 negative down on top of release print film and contact printing them but using a colour enlarger head as the light source to handle the colour correction and exposure control in order to get good 35mm slides out of the deal.

Night photography's turned into a real mixed bag of different light sources with spectral emissions and colour temperatures that are all over the map.  It might be worth banging off a frame or two of the area you're photographing with the calibrated white side of a Kodak 18% card sitting under the average lighting you're shooting under either before or after your actual photography because that'll give you an accurate profile of how the lighting's shifted off-white and you can use that to work backwards and compensate the colour correction when you scan or adjust in photoshop or work up a base setting of CC units on a colour enlarger if you're printing optically.

Getting slide film hasn't been a problem in Toronto.  Several of the camera stores have always sold various Fujichrome films and more recently the Ektachrome but it sells out as soon as it arrives and I haven't been able to get any yet.  The processing though, that's a problem.  There is no pro lab in this city still running an E6 machine.  It's unbelievable to me that there's not enough of a market in the GTA to support one E6 machine in one pro lab, so the stores send the stuff out to a lab in Montreal or a lab in Vancouver and I know a couple of people that started sending their E6 rolls to Dwayne's in Kansas just like everyone did with Kodachrome near the end of that.  I don't shoot enough E6 to make it worth  tooling up to do it at home.  I do my own black and white but I don't have anything to maintain the fine temperature control over the first developer baths to do any kind of colour work at home though, so between having to sort that out and the cost/short life of the chemicals, I don't really have a sane case to do E6/C41/ECN2 at home.

Since I can confidently now say that I'll be doing my own C-41, from what I've seen it's no problem just removing the remjet with gloved hands under water once developed.

As for Seattle Film works... my only experience was their C-41 coming through my lab in their later years. I might have had one incident with one of their cine films going through a film processor. Not good. I couldn't find the offending canister so I don't know for sure if it was SFW or some Kodachrome. I did have the same thing happen with a roll of Kodachrome that went through the processor when I wasn't at work. Not fun to dump chemicals and clean out all of the black gunk. Unfortunately, not all grocery store minilab employees pay as much attention to odd and unusual film canisters. 

So yes, as my adventures continue back into doing some film, today was mixing up powdered C-41. The biggest challenge of sorts is indeed the temperature control, and for that, there is this: https://ca.shopatshowcase.com/products/power-precision-cooker-sous-vide?variant=13964589563970&gclid=Cj0KCQjws5HlBRDIARIsAOomqA1-D914gYSbwQmfCoqWfeOg_k3NkBwmt44UwsKrGTssiSLqRFefYUIaAn5cEALw_wcB

I had to mix the chemicals at 110F, and since I wanted to use distilled water for the developer and stabilizer, I had to get the distilled water up to temperature. So, I used that device to heat up a water bath to get the distilled water up to temperature very successfully. I do have something smaller that isn't as deep since the recycle bin is really a bit excessive.

The cost I have found so far to be reasonable for C41. We'll see how many films I get out of this kit. The catch here however, is that during my move last summer I found a lot of old film I had kind of forgotten about from the mid- late 2000's (procrastination at it's finest). So, I have a lot film I can process in a short time. I'm taking precautions like a dark glass container for the developer, and removing air from the container with the blix.  Even with some equipment costs, I can get the cost per roll lower than even the local developing only cost so in my specific case it works out as I can probably exhaust the developer easily within a week, but, I have taken enough precautions I gather I could get a decent shelf life out of it. If I don't exhaust the developer this week I might hold some aside for testing as it ages.

I do have the E-6 kit and the economies seem to be there as well. That might be a project for next week or the week after.

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