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Old October 20th, 2007, 06:31 AM   #1
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Film Stock Help

I realize this forum specializes in digital video, but I have looked elsewhere and cant find any answer to a question that has been bugging me.

When talking about film stocks one might refer to the Kodak Vision2 250D 5205 as a good film to use in an outdoor day light environment. Can anyone tell me what each part of the name means? I have a crude understanding of the meaning of the sections, but I would appreciate a good explanation.

Thatís for the help.
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Old October 20th, 2007, 07:45 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Alan James View Post
Kodak Vision2 250D 5205
The manufacturer of the stock is usually listed first. In this case it's made by Kodak (one of the most popular stock manufacturers.)

Think of this as the product-name or "edition" of the stock. Manufacturers constantly refine their stocks in attempts to make them faster (more sensitive to light), respond better to colors, make the grain less visible, and increase the dynamic range.

The ASA/ISO rating of the stock, or the rating of how sensitive it is to light.

D or T
D = Daylight
T = Tungsten
Film stock is sensitive to the color temperature of the light used to model the subjects. If you are lighting with tungsten ("normal" film lights) you would use a T stock, and if shooting outside where the sun is your key light, you would use daylight.

Kodak's internal reference number for the stock. Each film stock has a designated number. If you change any quality of the stock (higher/lower ASA, color balance, product-name, etc.) it will have a different number. 52xx are 35mm stocks, while 72xx are 16mm stocks.

If anything is wrong or could be explained better, please correct me. Hope this helps answer your question :)
Titus Films | Lawrence, Kansas / blog
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Old October 20th, 2007, 08:14 AM   #3
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Thatís what I thought everything meant. Exactly what I wanted.

I have heard DPs refer to film stocks just by the manufacturers internal reference number (52XX). By that number they seem to know if the stock is super35 or regular 35. They know the ASA/ISO. They know the color temp of the stock. They know everything about it.

Is this just their ability to remember all the numbers and what stocks the numbers correspond to? Or is there a system to the numbers where you can decipher what ASA,color temp, and aspect ratio the film has?
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Old October 20th, 2007, 08:49 AM   #4
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DPs just remember the Kodak number, it's something that's been done for years. They'll have read the Kodak's spec sheet for each stock and will shoot tests.

The 35mm neg stocks remain physically the same, the aspect ratio and Super 35 (or if shooting with anamorphic lenses) etc depends on how the selection of camera gate and the framing marks on the viewfinder's ground glass (for example you can have a 1.66 gate in the camera, but you're framing for an aspect ratio of 1.85).

For 16mm can have double perf or single perf stock. Although, with most 16mm productions being shot Super 16 on single perf these days, you have to specially order the double perf stock.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 12:17 AM   #5
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As far as the stock numbers, you basically just have to memorize them or look them up -- it's not that hard (I've memorized every Kodak stock number, ASA rating, and sensitivity, going back to 1950 with the introduction of 5247, a 16 ASA daylight-balanced stock, not to be confused with the 5247 introduced in the 1974 and then re-introduced in 1976, replacing 5254, blah, blah, blah... I have a head for numbers I guess.)

And I know the Fuji stock numbers too. There's only about six or so color negative stocks made by Kodak & Fuji each.

But the truth is, you can order stocks by names like "Kodak Vision-2 250D" or "Fuji Eterna 250D" without knowing the stock numbers. Or look them up online.
David Mullen, ASC
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