This is something I have to admit I do a lot and I was wondering is others are so inclined. I will often see an image and a song, lyric or song title pops into my head. This is very much the same feeling with one liners from tv or films and I was wondering how much this has to do with the way that these have been instilled in our heads. We listening to music and if it’s something we like we often something we play over and over again. How many of use can sing every word to an old Beatles song or are they still getting no satisfaction (Rolling Stones). This repeats it self with films we watch with classics like “We will always have Paris” or I’ll never go hungry are” and Michial Caine is “Still blowing the bloody doors off”. So the question I ask is often is this the trigger for an image title, puts a music worm into your head for the rest of the day or the image is the trigger to other things…
Whether you’re a filmmaker, videographer, or just a stills shooter, there’s a lot that can be learned from some of the greats of cinematography.
“Every frame a painting” is a phrase often associated with great cinematography, and for many, is what one ought to aspire to when shooting. Few films ever breathe such rarified air, but even having a few scenes in which those words could be uttered will likely have the film immortalized by fans.
Although I have studied films to a lesser degree, I’m certainly a rank amateur in knowledge of the craft. However, I can remember the film that sparked my interest in both cinematography, and unconsciously, photography — or rather composition of frames. That film was Amélie. It became a popular film to say you loved some years later, though I suspect it’s now gone the other way with experts in cinematography. However, I knew I loved it without pretense because I was a young teenager, and I hid that I watched it from everyone through embarrassment (though I can’t recall why.)
The first time I watched it, I really enjoyed the film but I couldn’t understand why. Yes, like most, I was enchanted by, and besotted with, Audrey Tautou. But it was more than that. I watched it a second time in reasonably quick succession and I discovered that what I was attracted to wasn’t just Tautou, it wasn’t a quaintly depicted Paris, but color. The use of color to tell some of the story had me hooked on how color can play the role as a character in a picture or scene.
What are the best examples of cinematography to you?
In order to blind the viewer of which stock is which while the photographs are being presented, they randomly assigned a letter to each film stock which maintained the same label through each example. I must admit, I found the the process of going through the examples and taking notes of my favorites and least favorites to be a lot of fun. Having experience with all but a couple of the stocks used in this comparison, I had an idea of what my results would be and for the most part, I was spot on. There was one stock, however, which I haven’t used in a long time and found that it consistently showed up on my list of favorites. I look forward to giving that stock a go again.
This comparison looked at only color negative film, leaving out color reversal film (a.k.a. slide film). If you’re unsure what the difference is and would like to read more about the different kind of film stocks available, please refer to a previous article detailing the different kind of film stocks offered in 35mm, 120, and large format.
If you watch the video and keep track of your favorites and least favorites, let me know in the comments. I’m interested to hear your thoughts!
Interested in discovering 35mm film photography, or keen to get back into it after an absence? Film supplier Analogue Wonderland is starting a new subscription service – you fork out £50 and get every two months you get six different 35mm analogue film emulsions to try. The company has over 200 different films in stock, and the first ‘Wonder Box,’ to be sent out this month includes: Dubblefilm Bubblegum, Bergger Pancro 400, Ilford Pan F, Lomo Metropolis, Rollei 400S and Kodak Ultramax. We caught up with Paul McKay from Analogue Wonderland (below) to find out more.
Why did you decide to launch the subscription service for analogue film now and what exactly does it involve? Ever since we started Analogue Wonderland in May 2018 we’ve had customers ask us for ‘a regular delivery of different and fun films’ so the idea’s been there from the start. There are obviously some logistical issues when you incorporate a subscription service into a regular retail business: website code, payment providers, the warehouse set-up… there were changes in all three.
But we had done this work and originally intended to launch the subscription in March this year. The pandemic had other ideas, and we had to delay to cope with the wave of regulations and supply issues on the business. So we are thrilled to get back on track and finally go live. With every subscriber receiving six films every two months – along with some exclusive goodies and discounts – it’s a perfect way for folk to learn and experiment with films outside their normal shooting experience.
Can people choose which analogue films they get or do you choose for them? We choose! With over 200 films available on our site, there has always been the opportunity for people to ‘pic-n-mix’ their way across brands, formats and types of film – but with the Analogue WonderBox we’re looking to help people methodically learn the differences between different emulsions. We have a community of other folk on the same journey who help, and we release tips and tricks every week.
Why did you decide to arrange for delivery every two months, rather than every month? It gives people much greater flexibility to shoot the film at their own pace. We know that some folk will happily shoot three films in a week or a month, but for others who are fitting their hobby around many other things in their lives they might not be able to do anything for five weeks, then have a fortnight to shoot away happily.
It’s also more economical for us. Paying less postage each year means we can afford to include better films in the WonderBox at the same cost for subscribers, and it’s more environmentally friendly. All our film ships fresh and with many months on their lifespan so there’s no concern that holding onto a film for a few weeks will risk the quality of the results.
Do you also advise people with getting their analogue film developed? I’m definitely not an expert in film development – I leave that to the wonderful people who run labs! – but I know enough to be able to help people just starting out. The development, and scanning, of films can also drastically impact the final results of certain emulsions. Where that’s the case (like with DubbleFilm Bubblegum) we will highlight that in the week’s ‘Tips and Tricks.’
Are most of your customers returning to analogue film photography after a lay-off, or trying it out for the first time? A real mix. Broadly speaking there are the ‘youngsters’ who are discovering film cameras, the film aesthetic, the joy of taking a physical photograph – all for the first time. And then there are also people who used to shoot film, moved across to digital and experienced all the benefits and convenience of shooting like that, but ultimately miss the tangible nature (and smell of chemicals) that they got with film. Ultimately everyone these days tends to be a hybrid shooter – I myself take a lot of photos of my young family on my iPhone as well as my Canon AE-1.
Did you see an upsurge in interest in film during the lockdown, as people had more time on their hands, or has business been quite stable? It’s hard to say conclusively. For the past two years we’ve experienced lots of new customers coming to us and talking passionately about (re)discovering a love of film – and obviously a lot of that is down to us being a new company. At the same time we invest heavily in advertising to folk who we think might be interested in film.
This does not have a great return in the short (or even mid) term but it’s an important part of what we’re trying to do – to build the film community for the future, and to empower photographers with the right information and inspiration to feel comfortable adding film to their shooting toolbox. That can only come with new people entering the market and helping drive it forwards. All of this is definitely helping create interest in film which will hopefully benefit the entire industry.
Further reading The essential guide to shooting film Best used film cameras revealed
Analogue Wonderland has just announced Analogue WonderBox, a new subscription service that sends a curated set of 35mm films to analog photographers every month.
“Every week we get questions from folk getting into film photography – either for the first time or returning after a couple of decades in the digital world – asking for film recommendations and expressing amazement with the range available,” the online film shop says. “We want to capture this enthusiasm and join together as a community to help people learn and enjoy new films, while shining a light on some of the lesser-known jewels of the analog world.”
Photographers who sign up for Analogue WonderBox will have three rolls of 35mm film delivered to their door every month. For example, the September box gives subscribers a roll each of Dubblefilm Bubblegum, Ilford Pan F, and Rollei 400S (with extra goodies comprising a cyanotype kit, a free development for a roll, and an exclusive piece of AW merchandise).
Subscribers will receive information about the films along with tips and tricks for getting the best photos from each film’s unique look. Subscribers can also participate in an ongoing photo competition that offers prizes every month for photographers who share their photos and experiences with the films.
A two-month subscription (for 6 rolls total) costs £50 (~$65), which averages out to about $10.80 per roll. While this is a discount for some films offered by Analogue Wonderland — a roll of Bubblegum costs £12 (~$15.50), for example — it’s a higher cost for other rolls that would be cheaper to buy individually (e.g. Rollei 400S costs £5.50/$7.13).
However, as a subscriber, you do get the convenience/excitement of receiving a brand new set of films to try every month as well as surprise goodies in the box.
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