Since I started shooting film 2 years ago, I have wanted to shoot Motion Picture Stock and have it processed in its native ECN-2 chemistry. I’d shot a tonne of CineStill in the past and was feeling jaded that my pictures had a similar look and feel to everyone else’s (and that halation!). Then, after months of searching for a lab that could process ECN-2 I came across Quiet We’re Dreaming lab in Philly who sell and process cine stock in ECN-2. Happy days!
I immediately bought 5 rolls of both the high-speed tungsten stock (VISION3 500T 5219) and the saturated daylight sister, (VISION3 250D 5207) – which has since become my favourite stock ever – and shot the 500T at EI 1600. As a (mostly) night photographer, descriptions like “cinematic” and “Blade Runner vibes” (ugh) get used often when shooting with strong artificial light – particularly neon, so I was really curious to see how the shots would compare and whether they would indeed look like a motion picture still.
Shooting at EI 1600 and asking QWD Lab to push process it 2 stops meant I could walk around nearby suburbs shooting hand-held with my Nikon FA and 50mm f/1.4 lens with no motion blur or issues.
The first thing I noticed when the scans came into my inbox was how low the contrast of Kodak VISION3 500T film naturally is and how cool and blue/purple the main tones are. It’s meant to be graded to your personal taste, but honestly, I was thrilled with the look as is. I made some minor adjustments in Lightroom – mostly bumping contrast, shadows and the highlights but left the scans mostly as they came.
I have since done some major colour grading on a few photos, but I keep coming back to the original scans.
The difference between processing these stocks in C-41 (effectively cross-processing) and developing in ECN-2 is immense! Next time I will definitely overexpose a stop and see what the 500T can do with overexposure.
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That’s correct, Cinestill is awful except if you like its “Chinatown effect”. Removing the Remjet layer was a fatal error that causes glow and promote static discharges.
Kodak VISION3 500T is the good candidate to replace the defunct Ektachrome 320T for night and interior scenes.
There are more and more labs developing films using the ECN-2 process.
Really like the consistency of the reds and blues in this set – great work!
Far better than Cinestill …