Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the Vision 3 films behind the creation of CineStill Film?
A: Vision 3 5219 is the 3rd generation of tungsten balanced EI 500 color negative motion picture film stock behind CineStill 800Tungsten emulsion. It is at the forefront of R&D for film technology, because the Movie & TV industry is film's #1 client. The emulsions are optimized for a hybrid workflow, ideal for scanning, with literally futuristic features (from still photography perspective). Kodak "borrowed" technology from their motion picture department for the new Portra films and Ektar. This is nothing new though, as any advances in film technology have gone to the highest bidder (we've gotten the trickle down in stills) for some time now.

Q: Is this just repackaged Motion Picture film, like the old films other companies offered years ago?
A: It is important to note that CineStill is NOT simply "repackaged" motion picture film. We utilize the same advanced emulsion technology found in Motion Picture film to create a still photography film which is modified for C-41 processing. This material is converted to a different format and suitable for C-41 chemistry. Compared to the original motion picture stock, 800T responds with a slightly increased gamma yielding an 800 ISO Tungsten balanced negative, which is optimized for digital and optical still photography processes.

"Repackaged" motion picture film CAN NOT be processed in standard C-41 film processors due to the Remjet backing present on motion picture films, which would contaminate the chemistry and damage both the machine and film inside.

Companies which "repackaged" old unused motion picture stock, forced the photographer to send the film back for makeshift motion picture lab processing, and generated a motion picture format negative that was compatible with motion picture printing. There are some advantages found in modern motion picture formats and processing e.g., anti-halation, antistatic, lubricant backing. However, the curves, lower gamma and base can prove problematic for tradition still imaging standards. CineStill Film is motion picture film, which is modified and packaged for standard still photography lab processing. It harnesses the same outstanding performance and aesthetics found in many blockbuster films produced today, plus it is optimized for still photography workflows.


Q: What is Remjet?
A: An anti-halation layer on the film's base that acts as to protect from base scratches, static, and halation of highlights in exposure. It was notably used on Kodachrome (K-14 process) originally in still photography. 


Q: What is halation?
A: Halation is the reflection of bright points of light off of the film base and pressure plate causing a "glow" in the strong highlights on some images. This is most evident when light sources are in focus in the photograph. Halation is a common characteristic of classic black and white photography and in some aerial photographic emulsions.


Q: What is the shelf-life & archivability of CineStill Film processed in C-41 chemistry?
A: Unexposed CineStill film should be stored in the fridge and shot within 6 months or frozen. Exposed film should be processed promptly in C-41 chemicals to preserve latent image latitude and color fidelity. Processed films should remain in a cool, dark place. C-41 process uses some of the most archival chemicals available for photo processing today. There have been no scientific tests for the dye stability of ECN film cross-processed in C-41 but from our tests on film processed four years ago there is no color degradation or fogging of the magenta dye layer. All current productions of CineStill have expiration dates on the packaging. If your film does not have an expiration date it is from early production and is likely age fogged.


Q: What type of light is CineStill 800Tungsten made for?
A: 800Tungsten is designed for difficult low light tungsten situations. It may be used in many different lighting situations to achieve a variety of looks but due to it's cool color balance and halation some situations will have a more stylistic look that may or may not be desirable.

Use CineStill 800Tungsten when photographing:
   - tungsten/incandescent light
   - candle light
   - fluorescent light
   - mixed tungsten and fluorescent
   - mixed tungsten and limited daylight

Avoid using CineStill 800Tungsten (or expect a unique look) when photographing:
   - open shade
   - cool light
   - daylight overpowering tungsten
   - heavily backlit images
   - strong window light
   - content including intense points of light (christmas lights, chandeliers, neon signs, bright windows)    

Q: What is different about CineStill 50Daylight film?
A: 50Daylight is a ISO 50/18° speed daylight balanced (5500K) motion picture emulsion, prepped and rolled for clean safe C-41 standard development as an ISO 50 film. Boasted to be the world’s sharpest and finest grain color film! It is ideal for shooting in bright light at wide apertures and for producing high resolution, low grain images. The exposure latitude of this film is beyond anything digital and even most other films can hope to achieve.

Q: What is the CineStill BWXX black and white film emulsion and how do I get it?
CineStill BWXX is Eastman Kodak Double-X 5222 professionally rolled and packaged in 36 exposure cassettes for still photography. It is a high speed, classic black & white film emulsion, with an EI of 250 under daylight and 200 under tungsten lighting. 

Our initial release of BWXX was a limited run (only 2000 rolls available) that sold out fast due to high demand. We hope to make BWXX a regularly stocked, widely available CineStill Film emulsion. 

Double-X is a classic black and white film stock left relatively unchanged since it's release in 1959 for still and motion picture use. Some of the movies using the classic Eastman double-x film stock (5222) include: Schindler's List (1993), Memento (2000), Kafka (1991), Casino Royale (2006), I'm Not There (2007), and many many more.

Recommended development in Kodak D-96 developer, but is compatible will all black and white film developers. An extensive list of developing times for this film may be found at Project-Double-X.org & ishootfilm.org & The Massive Dev Chart form DigitalTruth.com


Q: Is there anything I should do differently when shooting CineStill Film?
A: CineStill 800Tungsten is extremely sensitive to light leaks! Be sure your camera's light seals are in good condition and if you have a film check window on the back door of your camera it would be a safe idea to tape it off. Earlier difficulties have now been resolved since going into larger production with factory staked cans.


Q: How do I rate CineStill 800Tungsten?
A: This film has LATITUDE! The ISO that one chooses to rate this film is dependent on what the permissible light available is. If you overexpose it (100 or 200) it will still retain highlight detail and fine grain. If you underexpose (up to 2000) you will still retain most shadow detail. So long as the shadow detail is preserved, the negative may be scanned to retain the good color and dynamics. Remember, grain separation becomes more severe with less exposure, and less prevalent/smoother the more exposure a color negative film receives (due to overlapping of T-grain technology and the tonal blending of the dye cloud). 

From our tests and user feedback, CineStill 800T best rated at EI (Exposure Index) 800 in tungsten light when processed in standard C-41 chemistry. Though the original stock (Kodak 500T 5219) is recomended to be rated at EI 500 in tungsten light, many cinematographers and filmmakers regularly rate this film at 1000 speed with no push, due to this film's amazing shadow latitude, but the ideal ISO/EI to rate this film at will always be somewhere between 400 and 800 without push processing. CineStill 800T is designed C-41 processing though, which causes a slight push in development, resulting in a more dense negative so we have found 800 to be right in the middle of the ideal Exposure Index range.

Q: How do I rate CineStill 50Daylight?
Good results can be achieved rating this film anywhere from EI 12 to EI 100 without push processing. This means you can set your camera meter anywhere from ISO 12-100 and change it mid-roll without special processing and get beautiful results! No matter how you meter, you will see almost no grain but color, contrast, shadow detail and highlight rendering will be affected by the chosen ISO you meter at. If you expose at a lower ISO you will get warmer images with greater halation in the highlights. 



Q: Why is the speed rating of motion picture camera films given in Exposure Indices rather than ASA or DIN values? 
A: There is no ANSI standard to determine the speed of these films. The speed of motion picture camera films and the suggested filtrations are determined on the basis of practical picture tests. Suitable safety factors have been included to allow for differences in cameras, variation in lighting, etc. The exposure index values should not be regarded as numbers which express the absolute speed or sensitivity of the film, neither should they be regarded as fixed values which can not be changed if the results of repeated tests indicate the need for such changes.


Q: When should I push CineStill 800Tungsten?
A: We recommend push processing for anything over ISO 1600. Treat this film as an ISO 800 speed film  when processing in C-41 and push process whenever needed up to ISO 3200.


Recommended ISO and acceptable exposure for push processing:

   ISO 800 - No push - EI 200-1000
   ISO 1250 - 1 stop push - EI 800-1600
   ISO 1600 - 2 stop push - EI 1250-2500 (added contrast)
   ISO 3200 - 3 stop push - EI 1600-3200 (most contrast)

Test it yourself and see how you like it exposed!


Q: Should I use a filter on 800Tungsten in daylight?
A: You do not have to, but if you wish to cut down on exposure while helping to create a warmer image with more accurate color a 85 or 81 filter is recommended for shooting in daylight. All negative film is color balanced while the professional scans are made so there is some forgiveness. If you will be shooting mostly in daylight we recommend using a standard daylight film like Kodak Portra 400.


Q: Should I use a filter on 800Tungsten under fluorescent lights?
A: Fluorescent lighting is one of the most difficult lighting sources to shoot under. Technically, what should be used is a "FL-W" filter to convert fluorescent light to tungsten balance, which is an amber colored gel. That said, it is more difficult nowadays because "fluorescent" lights can have numerous color casts...and they're often mixed together (e.g. "Daylight" tubes mixed with old-school ones, along with "warm" ones closer to tungsten)... making it very, very difficult to balance when shooting. The other challenge is that fluorescent lights flicker on a cycle, so if you shoot with any shutter speed over 1/45, you will get inconsistent exposures and color balances.

The good news is that if you shoot with CineStill 800T without any filter and overexpose a stop or two, it is not too difficult to color balance while scanning if proper care is taken. We recommend shooting 800T in Fluorescent light, meter as if your film is ISO 200 or 250 with a shutter speed of 1/45 or below. If the light seems especially "cool" balanced, use an 85B filter. This will give you more information in your negative to pull out good color when scanning or printing by adding the correct amount of magenta and balancing your yellow/blue.


Q: Can I use CineStill Film for flash photography?
Yes! Be sure to use a CTO (Tungsten) gel on your flash if you are shooting 800T and adjust exposure accordingly. 


Q: How should I meter for CineStill Film?
A: Always meter negative film in a way that you are sure the shadow point of your images preserve some detail. Highlights can be overexposed by a dozen stops and still be scanned to retain detail. With a handheld incident meter, point your meter away from the main light source and make a minimum exposure reading. With in camera or spot meter take your minimum exposure reading from the darkest tone in your scene. Anything exposed under that should be expected to remain void of detail. 


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Q: How do I take beautiful pictures with CineStill Film?
A: Expose beautiful subjects, in beautiful lighting and have it processed and scanned/printed at a reputable professional lab!