A few months ago, I decided to take a leap of faith and act on a dream I've had for years – to shoot film. I've been shooting medium format for 3 years now and 1 and a half of that with Ektachrome as my preferred stock, so when I learnt that @cameraquip had one spool left of E100 in 16mm, I couldn't resist.
With a crash course in loading from @brianflexmore, who serviced this project with an immense generosity of personal time, my partner and I raced up to our favourite beach and captured the light fading from the horizon. After 2 months of anxious waiting, the film had finished it's US roundtrip for development, and it was time to get the film scanned.
I'd heard from colleagues that scanning was a strictly out-of-the-country affair, but thanks to the recommendation of Brett Smith's at @arriaustralia, I was lucky enough to get in contact with Peter Richards at @fixafilm who agreed to scan the reel on their newly upgraded ARRIScan XT. Peter serviced the project with speed and generosity, sending screen grabs and plenty of communication throughout the period.
The quality of the scan from the XT is truly uncanny. Having shot my fair share of slide film, I know it's not a tough bargain to capture vibrant yet natural colours on E100. Capturing the film in its limited exposure latitude is. But even in highlights that had clipped, the XT was able to retain a pleasing roll-off from even ultra-bright regions in the clouds, and dig into the shadows and find detail imperceptible to the naked eye. Really powerful stuff. The colour profile (which Peter created from scratch for this film!) retained all the same colours in the scan as it did in the print, shade for shade, and both Peter and I were shocked by how tight the grain structure was on Ektachrome, with some shot reminiscent more of 35mm film than 16mm.
In retrospect, if we had more time, we may have approached this shoot more scientifically, though we were lucky enough as it was to shoot out the entire 100’ in the 45 minutes we had left! What I can say with confidence is that although this was a simple test, the results have given me the confidence to take Ektachrome seriously as a viable shooting format.
2 years ago