Cinestill, Film, Leica

Shooting Cinestill Film

I’ve been playing with Cinestill 800T film on and off for a while now. It’s a newer film made from Kodak Vision3 motion picture film, but altered for use in still photography. The non technical difference is the remjet layer is removed so it can be processed in normal c-41 color negative chemistry. Anywho… What I love about it is it’s a gritty 800 iso color film that is tungsten balanced for use with indoor lighting!

What I love most about it is the imperfect and random results you get with it. Most noticeable are the weird orange flames or ghosts you get when using it. You never know when or if they’ll show! Some people might be adverse to getting inconsistent results, but in this case I accept them and know that’s part of the game when shooting Cinestill films.

As an 800 iso film, you also need to love grain. If you need super tight contrasty shots, you want 100 iso Kodak Ektar! The grit and grain is part of the joy of shooting 800T. I don’t use it a lot, Kodak Portra 160 is my daily shooter, but for a change of pace now and again, I find the Cinestill really shines.

These images were shot inside Union Station in Los Angeles. It’s gotta be in my top 5 locations to shoot. There’s a little bit of a game to be played since it’s regularly rented out for professional shoots and big Hollywood productions, but I’ve never been hassled just wandering around by myself with a camera. Just be smart about it.

Although I didn’t include any examples, it can be used outside in daylight as well with reasonable color balance of the scanned negs.

Recently I’ve been keeping up on progress at Blue Moon Camera and Machine, who are trying to perfect small batch ECN-2 processing which is the standard processing for Kodak Vision3 motion picture movie stock. If they perfect that, I’ll be able to buy bulk 35mm Vision3 films and reload them for still shooting! People already do that but they are essentially doing what Cinestill does by removing the remjet layer and processing it C-41. I don’t have the patience to do that myself and there are still differences in the outcome. I’d love to be able to shoot Vision3 and have it processed properly as intended by a pro lab. There are few places that currently do that.

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