It’s been two years or so since we set out to discover what could be done with films such as the highly acclaimed Vision3 series by Kodak and similar stocks from Fuji.
Initially playing with some out dated Vision2 stocks to cut our r&d costs but immediately getting some encouraging results. See our first blog and second blog on this subject if you haven’t already!
Throughout we have found improvements in all areas of dealing with these amazing films:
We’ve learned and tried various methods the cut down the small amounts of Remjet that is left after processing….we have learned that Fuji remjet is easiest….it just goes away with a prewash!
Washing a film under running water prior to stabilising can also be a bit of a masterstroke, and using a big (2.5lt plus) tank of stabiliser as a final rinse…all helps to minimise remjet remnants. (Ask us for our guide on remjet removal or, see previous blogs on the matter!)
Without the industrial strength mohair buffers the massive specialist labs use to get rid of it means that we shall always have something left over but generally we get nice clean results…you can get worse in terms of dirty negatives just from poor drying to be honest.
All good stuff…
Our biggest breakthrough has been to drop C41 developer and replace it with RA4…What a difference!
RA4 dev mixes up pretty much like C41 dev but due to it having the same base CD chemical as ECN2 it means that we’re using a developer that is not so much different to the specified developer that the massive motion picture labs are using.
So, straight away we see that the blue caste C41 causes has gone! This affects the Fuji films much more where that caste can make colour correction extremely difficult or impossible depending on the age of the film.
Contrast is also pulled back into natural looking bounds with improved acutance and much nicer detail.
All this means that finishing photographs is much easier and results are startlingly lovely!
The rest of the RA4 stuff: Since Bleach and Fix or Blix usually far outlives developer adding RA4 to your repertoire just means you carry on using your C41 kit as per normal and swap the dev as and when you need to. The C41 chemicals will absorb the extra rolls easily, we certainly find that to be the case anyway
We’re still contemplating the use of RA4 bleach fix but do not yet know what formula will work best…instinct alone says that it should perhaps be 3.5 to 4 times the normal strength as used for papers. We don’t know just yet but….it’s fine as the C41 stuff covers it anyway and RA4 is really inexpensive to buy.
Have a quick break at this point and enjoy this small gallery of results using RA4 developer on these films…
A quick word about Fuji motion picture films…. Much of the Fuji stock out there now is old stock and thus outdated so we presume this is where the difference lies. Eterna 250D in particular…no sorry, all of them in particular respond so well to RA4 we do not advise processing these in C41 developer anymore! Most of us using the stocks we have left do find that compared to the Vision3 films, Eterna and Reala motion picture films process to what seem to be really thin negatives…but scanned results are gorgeous and these films seem to adjust to lower light levels much more readily for some obscure reason.
So there we have it…a pretty much finalised procedure that will give you great results. For the home developer, with care, there is certainly no more risk of unsatisfactory results than with any other colour films. Those that scan their films, of course, a scanner having Digital Ice also gains good advantage with these films as well as any other colour films. To help you make the most of our experiences with these films we now offer a small range of RA4 chemistry. We also offer Kodak Professional stabiliser as an extra too…it helps with all colour films in terms of reducing dust and particles. For us the end results is lovely. We see very happy customers for one thing but notice in our own behaviour that these films are now often used by us in favour of C41 film! The whole range of Kodak Vision3 films are available from us ready to us….Fuji stocks will be available while they last.
The above findings are all based on experience – testing, testing, trial and some error but loads and loads of testing. There are no presumptions, just the experience we have gained by actually doing….