We are the Brothers Wright, the photographers and creators behind CineStill. Ever since the beta tests of CineStill 800T processed in C-41 chemistry, and especially once we began designing simplified chemical processes, we have been asked many technical questions about motion picture processing and still photography.

Over the years, we have done our best to point people in the right direction, but some of the mythology on the internet has perpetuated regarding motion picture film. From flawed processes to poorly executed “side-by-side” tests, many misconceived notions have prevailed in regards to both the process and the film. Often times the questionable results are a byproduct of a poorly produced positive rather than the negative itself.

Since we have access to all of the resources in the industry to perform the practical testing and produce the sensitometric data for every variation of the process, we recognize the pitfalls and reasons why many have had a bad experience trying to unlock motion picture technology.

In the interests of definitively demystify the most common controversies which remain mere conjecture on the internet, we decided to perform another series of tests and share them here with you via EMULSIVE. In this article, you will find data, examples and comparisons of CineStill and Kodak VISION3 motion picture films developed in CineStill’s existing Cs41Color Simplified C-41 kit, our brand new Cs2 Cine Simplified ECN-2 kit, and native ECN-2 chemistry.

Here’s what we cover:

Let’s start with an important and often asked question:

CineStill originally released Cs41 Color Simplified C-41 Kits. why not ECN-2?

We need to get a bit technical here. The motion picture process involves a specific mechanical and chemical process for motion picture labs to produce long lengths of motion picture negatives, which print consistently on ECP-2 print film for projection. C-41 processing was designed for darkrooms and mini-labs alike, for printing on RA-4 color paper.

Although the formulations have varied slightly between manufacturers (whether it be Kodak C-41, CineStill Cs41, Fuji CN-16, Konica CNK-4, AGFA AP-70, etc.), it is by far the most accessible color film process. Proper ECN-2 processing requires special laboratory equipment and additional safety measures that can’t be attained at home.

We only release quality products that we believe in and can back up. Successfully processing film with all of the troublesome ECN-2 steps, or at a motion picture lab, still results in a much thinner, flatter contrast negative, ideal for the motion picture workflow. C-41 chemistry produces a denser, more dynamic negative with greater tonal range and color separation for printing accurately on RA-4 color paper and scanning. We are bridging the gap between motion picture and still photography, making motion picture technology accessible and compatible with still photography processes.

Above left: Photo by Henry J Keith on CineStill 800T processed with Cs2 Cine Simplified.
Above right: Photo by The Brothers Wright on Kodak Portra 400 processed with Cs2 Cine Simplified
.

Motion picture processing machines use caustic chemicals that you don’t want in your home, such as sodium hydroxide (lye) and sulfuric acid (battery acid), which can cause chemical burns from handling. In addition to PPE, industrial exhaust vents are needed to carry away dangerous vapors and provide for the safety of the lab operator.

Emulsion acts like a sponge and carries color developer into the acidic color stop bath, generating poisonous hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide fumes. Heat and any acid added to the ferricyanide bleach can liberate highly toxic cyanide gas, along with the forming of Prussian Blue deposits on film, reels and tanks.

Simply bypassing the hazardous color stop bath and going into the ECN-2 bleach will oxidize the color developer remaining in the emulsion, and cause severe staining to the film. Safer B&W stop baths (e.g., citric or acetic acid) introduce byproducts that cause leuco-cyan dye problems in the red-sensitive emulsion layer (i.e., green images) and interfere with the bleaching step. Additionally, bleach carryover into the separate fixer causes the film to be mottled with smears of color.

This is why the ECN-2 process also specifies Solution Crossover Devices with multi-stage countercurrent washes between steps. If you are going to follow the ECN-2 Specifications for Processing KODAK Motion Picture Films you must use all of the proper equipment as well.

Above: RA-4 darkroom prints.
Left: Cs41 processed CineStill 800T, 8 second RA-4 print, with zero color correction.
Right: Cs2 processed Kodak VISION3 500T 5219, 1 second RA-4 print, heavily corrected for red and yellow.

When designing CineStill Simplified Cs2 chemistry we didn’t simply repackage the published Eastman Color Negative chemical formulas for at-home use, because chemical recipes are only one aspect of the ECN-2 process.

After years of research & development with motion picture chemistry, we believe we have formulated the only safe and consistent way to process stills with the same characteristics Hollywood expects, from the comfort of your home with the Cs2 “Cine Simplified” ECN 2-Bath Kit.

Why does Hollywood still use ECN-2? I heard that it was more advanced technology…

ECN-2 chemistry is not any more advanced than C-41. In fact, the color developing agent used in ECN-2 (CD-3) is the predecessor to the advent of C-41 (CD-4). Our new Cs2 formula is actually more advanced than either, utilizing chemical compounds and technology which didn’t exist before, resulting in an improved safer process.

ECN-2 and C-41 processes were originally formulated back in the mid-1970s with the available technology of the day, to produce negatives for different purposes. Large scale ECN-2 processing was designed to produce consistent, thin negatives for quick printing on high contrast ECP-2 film with short exposure duration, to save time and money. Denser C-41 negatives could take up to 8x as long to print or scan, and time is money when printing 24 frames per second.

Above: Left, Developed negatives (unconverted).
Right, converted using CineStill Film Conversion Filters.

The more advanced technology is found in the VISION3 emulsions used in Hollywood and CineStill films, whichever way they are processed. The primary difference between C-41 and ECN-2 negatives is the contrast curves produced in development, not the color quality or the size of the halides. Despite misinformation found around the internet, there is no incompatibility between the silver halides and dye couplers. The developing agent reduces any exposed silver halides in emulsion into metallic silver, oxidizing the dye couplers incorporated within each layer to produce color images. The dye couplers are in the emulsion not the chemistry, so you can’t mismatch halides and couplers, because they are already matched in the coatings.

Motion picture film technology has advanced by leaps and bounds through the improved emulsions, even though the process hasn’t changed in 40+ years.

No correction RA-4 contact print exposure test, 1-32 sec. 

From left to right: CineStill 800T with Cs41, Kodak VISION3 500T 5219 with Cs41, Kodak VISION3 500T 5219 with ECN-2 Kit, 5219 with Cs2 Kit, Kodak VISION3 5219 500T machine processed ECN-2 by FotoKem Motion Picture Lab.

Above: No correction RA-4 contact print exposure test, 1-32 sec.
From left to right: CineStill 800T with Cs41, Kodak VISION3 500T 5219 with Cs41, Kodak VISION3 500T 5219 with ECN-2 Kit, 5219 with Cs2 Kit, Kodak VISION3 500T 5219 machine processed ECN-2 by FotoKem Motion Picture Lab.

Some of this advanced motion picture technology has even been handed down to still photography films like Portra 400. Whatever emulsion you use, any film processed with ECN-2 or Cs2 will exhibit much lower color contrast and muddy whites and blacks when printed on RA-4 color paper.

Conversely, films processed in Cs41 have too high of contrast and density range to be compatible with ECP-2 motion picture printing. When it comes to making a photograph, cross-printing is more of an issue than what some would call “cross-processing”.

Isn’t processing CineStill color film with C-41 chemistry technically cross-processing?

That’s like saying that processing Kodak Tri-X with T-MAX developer is a cross-process, or using any developer other than D96 for BwXX (Kodak EASTMAN Double-X 5222) is cross-processing. Traditionally, cross-processing is processing one type of film through a process intended to produce a different type of film (e.g. negative film as a positive and vice-versa, or color as B&W), not simply using different solutions intended to produce the same type of processed film.

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If you have color negative film and you process it to be a color negative it’s not really a cross-process. Alternative formulations can be used for each process to successfully produce the same film type with different characteristics, just like with black and white film. Although each process type is designed specifically for a film type (i.e. B&W, color, negative, reversal, etc.), more importantly, each process is designed for a specific presentation output.

Below: Photos by Henry J Keith on CineStill Film processed with Cs2 Cine Simplified.
Click to view in full screen

Just as motion picture printing and presentation requires a negative with different characteristics from C-41 processed negatives, still photography color negatives should be processed with a CD-4 developing agent (C-41, Cs41, CN-16, etc.) to be compatible with RA-4 photographic printing and photo lab scanners. 

This is because ECN-2 negatives have an optical density range of around 1.6 (6 stops), while C-41 film is about 2.2 (8 stops), inherent of the process rather than the emulsion itself. This equals up to a 30%+ increase in tonal and contrast range. The target contrast gamma of the Cs41 process is between .6 to .65, but ECN-2 film is only .45 to .55.

Below: photos by Koltin Sullivan of Lauren Lākin & Henry J Keith on CineStill 50D processed in Cs41 (top) and Cs2 Cine Simplified (bottom). Grab and drag the slider to compare.

Koltin Sullivan - CineStill 50D processed in Cs41Koltin Sullivan - CineStill 50D processed in Cs2 Cine Simplified
Koltin Sullivan - CineStill 50D processed in Cs41Koltin Sullivan - CineStill 50D processed in Cs2 Cine Simplified
Koltin Sullivan - CineStill 50D processed in Cs41Koltin Sullivan - CineStill 50D processed in Cs2 Cine Simplified

Basically, ECN-2 processed negatives are thinner and flatter, and aren’t ideal for the analog photography workflow. Even if you adjust the processing time to get a denser (pushed) ECN-2 negative there will still not be enough of an increase in contrast or color separation to match the curves of a C-41 negative, since it also lifts the base density of the film (especially with formulas omitting the proper antifoggant). This has been observed for many decades now, and we actually had to repair this bad reputation among photographers, who mistakenly assumed that our color films would turn out thin and flat looking, even when processing C-41 as intended.

The color developing step controls the contrast curves but leaves the dynamic range of the negative unaffected because the density range is increased with the contrast. The limit to dynamic range would only be in the cross-printing but not when scanning. Color developer pH and temperature shifts color from colder to warmer, because as it increases (from 102-106ºF) so does the depth and activity of the developer on the lower green and red-sensitive layers. The Cs2 process is warmer than the Cs41 process, and it also yields a warmer color temperature. Color temperature and density can easily be corrected in printing but contrast cannot.

21-step Sensitometric Characteristic Curves

Above: 21-step Sensitometric Characteristic Curves.
Top left: CineStill 800T with Cs41, Top right: CineStill
800T with Cs2, Bottom left: CineStill 800T with Cs41 vs Cs2 neutral density curves, Bottom right: Kodak’s target curves for 5219 match CineStill 800T with Cs2.

The CineStill Simplified Cs2 process can perfectly match the published sensitometric curves for a motion picture negative, designed to be accurately printed as a positive on ECP-2 film or log scanned as a digital intermediate for color grading.

Developing CineStill color films in Cs41 chemistry as intended yields contrast curves, color separation and density range that compliments chromogenic printing and scanning for still imaging, making it easier to make beautiful photographs.

I’m not printing my negatives in the darkroom. What does it matter if we are scanning our film?

You can always scan any type of film, processed by any method you prefer. You can’t however go back and make an ECN-2 negative into a C-41 negative for printing, or vice versa. Both can be scanned with a density range suited for the respective process, but ECN-2 negatives require added contrast and care. Cs2 processed film will exhibit a more flat, linear curve, whereas Cs41 will render a higher contrast S-curve with more color separation.

The characteristic curves produced by each process are designed to match the target densities for printing. The Cs2 process is great for extremely high-contrast scenes or to achieve that “flat cinematic look”. A lower density range (below 2) logarithmic scan of a Cs2 processed negative and further color grading is recommended to create a pleasing still photograph.

Above: Fuji Frontier mini-lab scans.
Left: Corrected Cs41 Processed CineStill 800T
. Center: uncorrected ECN-2 (top) & C-41 (bottom) negatives cut in half.
Right: Corrected Cs2 processed Kodak VISION3 500T 5219.

Even when scanning, the narrower density range of ECN-2 negatives can limit control and how much bit depth is utilized within the wider dynamic range of the digital sensor. Film scanners have a range of density from 3 to 4, to capture the optical density range of positive films from about 3.2 to 3.6. This means that a 14 or 16bit linear raw scan could need more than half of the information to be clipped, resulting in a less than 8bit image after adding the necessary contrast. Negative film is very forgiving, but the process of creating a positive is not so much.

Then why not just process motion picture film with Cs41?

Rem-jet backed motion picture film was designed for continuous machine processing and will contaminate any C-41 chemistry. Even with an added alkaline prebath step, the rem-jet adhesive wax will not be fully dissolved without mechanical or manual removal. This black carbon silt will not only contaminate your developer, but also your tank, reels, precious film and everything else it touches. If you don’t like dust, you are going to hate rem-jet on your film.

Do not drop off motion picture film at a photo lab! Standard motion picture film will contaminate other customers’ film, and chemistry tanks in the processors. Rem-jet can be removed in a motion picture lab machine or manually removed under running water after hand development in Cs2. Bleach/blix or stop bath will re-adhere rem-jet to the film, but it can still be manually removed after processing by hand. Due to the presence of residual backing material and the chemical by-products it liberates, one shot processing is recommended. Do not process rem-jet backed films in the same solutions with other films.

If rem-jet removal is attempted prior to development, by soaking film in a borax or baking/washing soda bath (at pH ~10) and washing the rem-jet off by hand under running water, it must be done in complete darkness. Attempting rem-jet removal manually in the dark may result in insufficient removal, damage to the emulsion and premature exhaustion of developer. A rewash may be necessary to fully remove rem-jet backing after processing.

Above: Camera scans with Skier Sunray Box and corrected with Negative Lab Pro.
Left: CineStill 800T processed Cs41, Right: Kodak VISON3 500T 5219 processed Cs2 with rem-jet removed manually.

The rem-jet is designed to be removed prior to processing. CineStill films are coated with Kodak Vision3 motion picture emulsions, but have undergone our proprietary “premoval” process which converts it to be safe and compatible with mini-lab, pro-lab or at-home processing, while preserving the inherent motion picture qualities. CineStill films do not require rem-jet removal and are perfectly safe to process in any color chemistry with other films.

Would I be better off just trusting in standard photo lab processing and CineStill Film?

It would seem so. After all, professional photo labs do the best job when it comes to processing and scanning film. On the other hand, who are we to argue with do-it-yourself ingenuity? For those of you who wish to dabble in the motion picture workflow we have formulated some original at-home solutions, designed to match Eastman Kodak sensitometric standards for motion picture film. Whether you prefer the more saturated look of Cs41 or the flatter contrast of Cs2, we are here to support more opportunities to shoot film in more environments, to not only keep film alive but to stimulate its renaissance.

Cs2 Cine Simplified - ECN-2 Bath Kit

The Cs2 “Cine Simplified” Kit simplifies the original 10+ step ECN-2 process to only 2 chemical baths, with uncompromised quality and accurate characteristic curves, while making it safe and foolproof for at-home use. Our Cn2 “COLOR NEGATIVE” developer is combined with the prebath accelerant (which kicks off development) to produce proper ECN-2 density.

The bleach and fixer baths are combined with the stop and wash baths in our single Bf2 “BLEACH&FIX+STOP” bath, to reduce risks to health & safety and processing defects caused from chemical carryover. After a final washing of your film you will have CineStill negatives matching Kodak’s characteristic curves for proper motion picture processing. It may be a less complicated process than ECN-2, but Cs2 is actually more advanced chemistry, formulated with components that didn’t exist when ECN-2 was originally designed.

Cs2 Cine Simplified ECN 2-Bath components

Even though it is simplified and safer, we didn’t skip or compromise any of the designed functions of the ECN-2 process. Whether it be with the color developing agents or the combined baths, we don’t settle for incomplete formulas that omit essential active components (e.g. Antifoggant to prevent base-fog buildup, Anti-Calcium to prevent precipitate and contamination, Ammonium Thiosulfate to fully clear silver and dyes, Development Stop to prevent color staining, etc).

Proper ECN-2 negatives. No compromises. No BS. We’ve got you covered.

~ Brian & Brandon Wright

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The Brothers Wright

We're the photographers and creators behind CineStill Film

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18 Comments

 

  1. Yooo. This ain’t even ECN-2 and you just said that and you’re calling it ECN-2. Thats messed up for sure.

  2. Hey Dan, Thanks for your reply. I agree with you, for commercial work, it’s not as much a problem as you factor your costs in your quote I suppose. As a hobbyist, it’s getting a bit much for my taste and I’m ready to accept a bit more preparation. I guess I best try bulk loading a bit in b&w as I already process my b&w and see how much the bulk loading annoys me and work from there. Next step would be trying this cs2 kit…who knows. Greetings,

  3. — A story of COST CONTROL aka how can we deflate prices if one is patient —

    Hi,

    Lately, I’ve been looking a lot into how movie film stocks could be a solution to the ever increasing “staybrokeshootfilm” trend.

    Figure this, it costs 240€* or so for 122 meters (400ft) of state of the art Kodak Vision3 500T – that’s 2€-3€ a roll (very roughly, depending on how you bulk load, type of cartridges, time, …) where a roll of portra 400 is now an extreme and ridiculous 11,80€* – yeah, I’m pissed. There are of course cheaper negatives but they’re assaulted everytime they hit shelves.

    So … “It can’t be so hard to put movie film in in 35mm cartridges right?” & “But how about the remjet, stupid ! Can’t be so hard, … etc…”

    Well now in retrospect, it looks like it’s exactly what Cinestill guys must have been telling themselves at the time they started : “how can we shoot high tech color for little money” and it turns out that they came up with a genuinely great business idea and a lucky byproduct adding to its lovely colours : the famous red glow ! (this is just my personal fantasized view on the events ;-))
    I love it so much that I backed the 120 kickstarter and was happy to shake hands with some of the crew at photokina. Cool project and I salute them for introducing an excitingly looking film. The problem is that the price is out of control : a roll is now priced 14,99 € and frankly, I just don’t buy them anymore. So much for backers’ support 🙂

    So I went looking for ECN-2 labs in europe and asked if they’d process from photo cartridge. Some will at prohibitive prices (labor to stitch the film), some will at decent price, minimum 30 meters at around 1€ per meter + labour to stich films… So there’s that to control your prices… For reference a typical C41 dev in brussels is 5€ nowadays and with this bulk loading & ECN2 labs, I imagine feasible to compete or in the worse case equal the 5€ barrier.

    Portra 400 + C41 (lab) = 16.8€
    Cinestill + C41 (lab) = 19.8€
    Vision3 + ECN2 (lab) = don’t know yet but if we settle even on a 4€ cost per film, anything less than 12.8€ for dev will be competitive…

    An attempt to go the cheapest possible would then be : source Vision 3 film, bulk load, shoot, send over to ECN-2 labs and I’m guessing you can reach decent prices, like really decent. I haven’t gone this way yet as I’m pondering many options (C41 at home with manual remjet removal, …) etc etc… In this regard, this announce is interesting, but not to develop Cinestill 🙂

    I can’t estimate the actual costs of Cinestill : premoval, packaging, personel, operations, etc…and it’s a business employing people who need to eat but one is allowed to respectfully wonder if the price increase is all so justified knowing the price of the reference material of that movie stock : kodak vision 3.

    I’ll be happy to get my prejudice countered or anything that can help justify this constant inflation on film stocks (other than a lecture on supply & demand). Better yet, a better idea to keep shooting without going broke and without waiting in the starting blocks to get my hand on “cheap” colour film ?

    Thanks in advance !

    *(all price as of 11/1/2021 VAT included from a belgian film store)

    1. Yes if you crunch the numbers, you can get quite low costs here. I was shooting Vision3 + locally made B&W 1000ft rolls, spooled down to 100ft, bulk loaded, home processed.. of course this is the cheapest way to go. BUT, you also spend quite a bit more time dealing with all that extra work. Time is money after all! If you’re doing commercial work then Portra makes perfect sense at 11,50 a roll. Small price to pay for irisk free, huge lattitude, get-the-shot quality controlled film.

  4. “We” are people who work in motion picture film for a living. “We” do things differently with every job we work, as no two are the same. Finding solutions to dynamic situations to make a film within a collaborative environment.

    Aside from this article and your responses that are borderline condescending; most if not all information you have put out in the past is heavily geared towards once again, shifting the blame off of a sub-standard product with fundamental issues and then directing someones attentions towards something else.

    Please do not write a “technical” article without expecting some technical questions as to why you words and products never match up.

    What you are doing is called virtue signaling. Please, no more crocodile tears.

  5. Alex, I answered all of your questions directly, and we fully stand behind our products and will openly admit any issues that may occur with our films or other products. CineStill films don’t have an anti-halation layer, and C-41 processing increases gamma and contrast. Please read the article more carefully without a prejudiced perspective, and we encourage anyone to contact us directly with any specific technical questions you or “we” may have. I’m not sure what language or other articles you could be referring to. We try to be very clear rather than convoluted, even with technical topics. Just because something is done differently doesn’t mean it is wrong. We are used to doubters when we are making analog more accessible, but you have to honestly try it for yourself…

  6. Please, no more articles. The concern is your reputation of always putting marketing first and a product second with a good amount of language in the middle that is always convoluted.

    This article is filled with double speak as are most of the previous articles you have wrote, shifting the blame with the many fundamental issues in your films onto something else. This didn’t help any movements.

    This is not ECN-2 and “Dye couplers are very sensitive to every step of the process” yet you build a reputation of cross processing.

    That answered all the questions we had.

  7. The kit is rated for 16 rolls or 100ft of 35mm film. Rem-jet will contaminate any chemicals, but it will not destroy their ability to process film. You must determine what is acceptable for you. Preserve your chemicals and they will last longer.

  8. Only ferricyanide bleach can produce cyanide gas and is bad for the environment. We only avoided the pitfalls of the original ECN-2 process, not to slight ALL other processes. I’m sorry that you took it that way. We want more options not less.

  9. Hi Alex! Happy holidays! Glad to hear that people in the film industry are having discussions regarding this!

    At the risk of repeating myself or writing a whole new article, I will try to tackle the points you have brought up, but short of testing for yourself, you will have to believe that we are not deceiving the industry. That would be very bad business and counterproductive for the movement.

    “Is this Cs2 kit technically ECN-2?”

    No, it is not. The ECN-2 process involves a specific mechanical and chemical process for motion picture labs to produce long lengths of motion picture negatives, which print consistently on ECP-2 print film for projection. Rem-jet removal should always be performed mechanically before development, like at a motion picture lab or with CineStill films. The Cs2 process is intended for safely hand processing at home, producing motion picture negatives matching the same sensitometric standards as ECN-2 machine processing.

    “At what point does ECN-2, the Motion Picture Standard for all color negative motion picture film process no longer remain ECN-2 and loose the true process and design and integrity when combined into a simplified 2 bath process with what seems to be a blix…. Is there a reason Kodak or any film lab has not adopted this as a consideration for processing films and movies in large processors? Or why are all of these steps necessary in true ECN-2 to produce proper negatives but not necessary in Cs2?”

    Assuming that your question lies in the combined baths and not the mechanical aspect of ECN-2 specifications, the answer is one word, “Replenishment”.
    Separate chemical baths appeal to professional labs because of the economics of chemical replenishment when processing large volumes of film. For instance, labs will add small concentrations of developing or clearing agents to the developer or fixer baths to replenish their activities as they exhaust from each roll processed. This can be repeated indefinitely if control strips are charted and pH is carefully controlled to maintain quality. The amount of replenishment depends on the amount of film developed, in what manner and how long the chemistry is stored, what contaminants have entered the system, and how far can the results deviate from ideal before they are deemed unacceptable. Additionally, when overexposed film is processed the developer, and bleach will be overworked and exhaust more rapidly. Chemical replenishment is a balance of improvisation and complicated science which saves labs money. Combined baths simplify the process and avoid processing hazards.

    “Can you explain a bit more about dye and color shifts with acetic acid using C-41 with acetic acid in it already as a chemical component built into it while processing motion picture film?”

    Dye couplers are very sensitive to every step of the process, not only the color developer Especially the cyan dyes. Leuco (colorless) dye can be formed in solutions other than the developer or bleach. The fixer can cause leuco dye to form for example, if the pH is off or if it is exhausted/contaminated. Pure acetic acid (even diluted) will form leuco cyan dyes. It can also carry over into the other baths without solution crossover devices and countercurrent washes. This is why you won’t find a color stop bath manufactured today, except in ECN-2 chemistry. It would need utilize sulfuric acid in order to not interfere with the dyes. Small amounts of acetic acid may be used to control pH of solutions, without influencing the color dyes. That is why it can be found in color film processing solutions, but should not be used as a color stop bath.

    “What is considered to be real ECN-2? Why are all movies and films processed with all of the extra steps as you put it with ECN-2, yet Cs2 doesn’t require them. Motion picture film is designed around ECN-2 with a very standardized, globally accepted set of steps. The same process since the 70’s. Literally ALL Hollywood films shot on color negative have been processed with a standard process. Is Kodak and Hollywood and all the labs wrong?”

    The labs are not wrong at all. Real ECN-2 follows all of the ECN-2 Specifications for Processing KODAK Motion Picture Films. All of the extra steps and equipment are required to process large volumes of film in a standardized way to ensure consistency. Cs2 is intended for hand processing at home. This is why you can’t simply plug Cs41 or Cs6 chemicals into a minilab machine, and you shouldn’t simply copy the Eastman Color Negative chemical recipes and ignore the ECN-2 Specifications for equipment and handling.

    “In regards to your Fotokem test. What corrections would be needed for: Scanning motion picture film with say the correct process (ECN-2), Scanning motion picture film crossed processed in C-41?”

    Scanning motion picture negatives requires a lower density range (or a higher contrast curve) and preferably logarithmic scans based on the data produced by Kodak for each film. Scanning motion picture film processed in C-41 (see the cross processing section in the article) results in negatives which are compatible with RA-4 paper and normal color negative corrections. “Properly” processed ECN-2 motion picture film does need to be corrected, either in the telecine or grading in post. “Best light”, and “one light” are still corrected scans, and require logarithmic data to be accurate. They are just doing the work for you to correct the scans to be what you desire. This is why we can sit in on a telecine session to give input on the color grading.

    “Did you scan these Fotokem tests with a motion picture film scanner? What scanner was used and when you reference Log profiles, can you cite an example of what someone would use on a consumer level and then also from an industry level and how these compare. Do you think that if dealing with Log profiles, optimized for motion picture film, cross processing is actually the issue?”

    We printed the FotoKem tests direct to ECP-2 print film (yielding the results of a great motion picture film scanner ideally). The negatives can be scanned any way you choose. Motion picture scanners are designed to capture an image that renders well at 24 fps. The log profiles are engineered based on the data Kodak releases and the lab’s testing. You would need to create your own, tailored to your scanner. If you try to scan C-41 processed negatives with a motion picture logarithmic profile you will get similar results to ECP-2 printing of C-41 negatives.

    “What were these sample photos scanned with for this article? What level of correction was done to them? Why do 800T and 50D have respective blue and green color casts with most images posted online yet they ones that you provided do not.”

    All of the sample photos should have captions describing the process and the scan. Most were scanned with a Fujifilm Frontier and corrected for “best light”. The corrections were pretty normal for any pro lab. We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. You should check out our instagram for features of good scans of CineStill film, but you cannot rely on other peoples scans to determine what yours would look like. Bad processing can produce color casts but so can scanning corrections or negative inversions. You really have to try for yourself. anyone can make film look bad, but only you can make it look the way you want. That is the beauty of having choices to control your process.

    Feel free to contact us directly with any specific technical questions you may have. We even may turn it into another in depth article for everyone to enjoy. 😉

  10. How many rolls can be processed with this? I saw a review that says remjet makes the developer exhaust quicker and contaminate the film. If you cannot re-use the developer and a 2 reel jobo tank is almost 1L, does this mean you can only process 2-3 rolls with a $30 kit?

  11. Working in the film industry, this had been a topic of discussion within a film industry group. I/We actually have some big questions in regards to what was laid out with both this article and also the testing vs what we know within our careers.

    Is this Cs2 kit technically ECN-2?

    It seems to say ECN-2 is a separate process from Cs2. At what point does ECN-2, the Motion Picture Standard for all color negative motion picture film process no longer remain ECN-2 and loose the true process and design and integrity when combined into a simplified 2 bath process with what seems to be a blix.

    Is there a reason Kodak or any film lab has not adopted this as a consideration for processing films and movies in large processors? Or why are all of these steps necessary in true ECN-2 to produce proper negatives but not necessary in Cs2?

    This article states that acetic acid as a stop bath (added to the ECN-2 process as a stop bath) is a big disservice to motion picture film. There is acetic acid listed in your Cs41 kit which you are heavily recommending using that to process motion picture film and also your own films. Even further that is not the correct process and there is acetic acid in it. Built into the kit itself.

    Can you explain a bit more about dye and color shifts with acetic acid using C-41 with acetic acid in it already as a chemical component built into it while processing motion picture film?

    What role both of those play combined, considering that processing motion picture film in C-41 is both the incorrect process and ALSO the addition of acetic acid.

    This seems to be much worse that using acetic acid stop bath with ECN-2

    By this article itself, possibly even worse when processing motion picture film in C-41.

    Question summary:

    Is this really ECN-2 and if not where does it stop being ECN-2. What is considered to be real ECN-2?

    Why are all movies and films processed with all of the extra steps as you put it with ECN-2, yet Cs2 doesn’t require them. Motion picture film is designed around ECN-2 with a very standardized, globally accepted set of steps. The same process since the 70’s. Literally ALL Hollywood films shot on color negative have been processed with a standard process. Is Kodak and Hollywood and all the labs wrong?

    Every single guideline by Kodak states the exact opposite and that it should be removed in the first step. Why was this done? Not only elaborate on removing steps, but combining steps never meant to be together like remjet in with developer.

    Why are you using essentially a C-41 blix and how that is different from ECN-2 bleach and fix steps. We dont want to know why you chose to combine with Blix, we want to know why ECN-2 has separate processes for bleach and fix and why.

    Can you also elaborate on the contradictions above with acetic acid actually being a chemical component built into a C-41, why if its detrimental, you recommend any motion picture film including CS to be processed with negative results. Can you also possibly explain the these two dye issues coming together with BOTH acetic acid and also cross processing?

    Can you elaborate more on the change of color on the film base with C-41 cross processing of motion picture films designed for ECN-2 and do the referenced above issues play a factor in this?

    Second:

    In regards to your Fotokem test. What corrections would be needed for:

    Scanning motion picture film with say the correct process (ECN-2)
    Scanning motion picture film crossed processed in C-41?

    Properly processed ECN-2 motion picture film doesn’t need to be corrected. It needs to be graded if using a low contrast log scan. Within that, there is a best light, one light, ect which gives you accurate colors at 1:1 like motion picture film should be. In scanner. Especially today, less and less people are getting Log scans or flat passes and they are getting a best light with immediate results. This is why native chemistry for film is important to people in the film industry.

    If above is the standard for motion picture, what exactly is wrong with C-41 cross process that it needs to be fixed or corrected. You imply that there is NO corrections needed when using C-41 and that is the advantage, you dont have to get a “low contrast” look. Yet there seems to be possibly fundamental issues beyond what is considered “grading” coming from the integrity of the film itself.

    Did you scan these Fotokem tests with a motion picture film scanner? What scanner was used and when you reference Log profiles, can you cite an example of what someone would use on a consumer level and then also from an industry level and how these compare. Do you think that if dealing with Log profiles, optimized for motion picture film, cross processing is actually the issue?

    What were these sample photos scanned with for this article? What level of correction was done to them? Why do 800T and 50D have respective blue and green color casts with most images posted online yet they ones that you provided do not.

  12. I will be interested to try out the Cinestill ECN2 kit when I get my hands on it. I really do prefer the look of the scanned ECN2 developed negatives, that flat look just seems very realistic and pleasing 🙂

  13. So ALL other ECN-2 is cyanide gas and burns children and destroys the earth but not yours? But your kit is not actually ECN-2 after all? Or is it? You gentlemen, really outdid yourselves on this one. Very desperate. Cheers to another “simplified” kit!

  14. We decided to offer this product because we solved many of the problems and hazards associated with the motion picture process. The C-41 process still will produce accurate contrast curves and saturation for photographic printing, but some people want lower contrast negatives. We aren’t here to limit the option for film photography.

    Remjet is still an issue, because it is meant to be removed mechanically, but that’s why we make our film and this kit can be used with any color film to produce lower contrast negatives.

    Check out the instructions if you want to understand how this kit works. The remjet is even addressed.
    https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0339/5113/files/Cs2_powder_instructions.pdf?v=1606784127

  15. Really curious why you went this direction! It doesn’t seem to make sense why you would offer this because you have gone on record many times stating how C-41 is superior and how remjet is bad. Even within this article there are many contradictions against everything CineStlll represents.

    You didn’t explain the process or how this kit will work. You just interjected negativity into this process and are basically saying “Just use C-41, its better”.

    Why offer this product?

  16. Yes, any color negative film processed with Cs2 will have the same characteristics of motion picture processing. About 8 years ago we spliced a dozen different films together and had them processed by FotoKem motion picture lab. After they were processed ECN-2, we then spliced half a dozen C-41 processed rolls to the same reel and submitted them for ECP-2 print dailies. All of the ECN-2 processed films produced beautiful film prints (including Portra and Ektar), but the C-41 processed rolls were too saturated and contrasty for motion picture printing.

    All of the negatives scanned great, with the appropriate corrections for each process. This is why some, using logarithmic scanning profiles for the motion picture workflow, think that C-41 films have inferior color quality, and why motion picture negatives aren’t ideal for RA-4 darkroom printing.

    It works both ways.

  17. So can any color negative film be processed in these chemicals and receive this same effect? Or is this mainly for Cinestill and ECN color film?