The positive response to the ETERNA Vivid 160 has been overwhelming. Loyal Fujifilm shooters have embraced it wholly to achieve a wide variety of looks while others are just learning about Fujifilm's attributes after testing this unique emulsion to achieve the kind of rich, bold look offered by no other film stock available today.
Now, Fujifilm has introduced the same rich, bold approach to a 500-speed stock and the company invited three highly esteemed cinematographers — Dion Beebe ASC, ACS, Kramer Morgenthau ASC, and Phedon Papamichael ASC — to test this new emulsion. The response was very positive.
The three cinematographers were given free rein to conceive and design individual spots using the stock in some challenging situations while also showcasing the film's ability to accurately record the entire range of human skin tones. Moreover, they were designed to showcase ETERNA Vivid 500's ability to intercut with its sister stock ETERNA Vivid 160, and were finished entirely traditionally, photochemically, at FotoKem with the timer who goes simply by the name Mato.
Beebe explains his approach, saying he set out to explore the stock's ability to handle extreme shadow and highlights, especially focusing on the fall-off into shadows. For his big night city exterior shot of a car and its headlights coming towards the camera, he simulated a sodium vapor light using a large movie light and Rosco gels, helping him to augment the existing street light. There was no fill; it was all about keys and highlights, the cinematographer explains. Upon viewing the finished results, he said, “There was a nice amount of detail in the shadow but I still got a very rich black. The stock really held up under these quite extreme lighting conditions. I was very happy with just how the Vivid 500 handled the highlight and the deep shadows.”
In contrast to Beebe's “modern noir” style, Papamichael took his crew to a dry lakebed in the middle of the Mojave Desert for an entirely different look. “I was interested in exploring how the stock would handle wide expanses of solid color in the sand and sky to help better understand the grain.” Papamichael shot three sequences; a day exterior using the Vivid 160, a dusk exterior using the Vivid 500, which was lit only with the sky of the setting sun and a large campfire, and a full-on night exterior, which was lit with just the campfire and one rim-light to illuminate the smoke.
In discussing the final result he says the Vivid stocks have “very natural skin tones, despite the slightly higher saturation and contrast, and the quality of the blacks is great, very solid, very little grain; and especially for a 500 stock. They have a very rich color rendition overall, rich, but very natural.”
Morgenthau took his test in a third direction. Inspired by Photographer Melanie Pullen's work in a book called High Fashion Crime Scenes, Morgenthau's piece followed several detectives on a highly-stylized crime scene investigation. Set in a basement as the detectives search about, it was lit partially with flashlights and swinging light bulbs. “The color rendition is very, very full,” Morganthau says, adding that he found the images gave him “very healthy, beautiful skin tones. One of my favorite things about the film stock is the graceful way that the highlights roll off into the world of over-exposure.”
All of the cinematographers agreed they'd definitely use the Vivid stocks again, with Morgenthau emphasizing, “I would not hesitate to choose it for a wide variety of projects, especially something where you are looking for a very powerful intense look.” Beebe and Papamichael echo Morgenthau's praise, adding, “I think it's an exciting stock and really suited to my approach.” And “I'm looking forward to using it!” Respectively.
Morgenthau adds “I think its quite gutsy of Fujifilm to come out with a stock like this at this time because it sort of it goes in a different direction than other film stocks are going. It has a look to it. The Vivid 160 and the Vivid 500 have a look built into them already. If a cinematographer really knows what they want and is willing to go for it and everybody else is onboard, both these two stocks are great choices.”
Phedon Papamichael received the Best Cinematography Award at the 1990 Cork Film Festival for Spud, and also earned the Best Cinematography Award at the Avignon Film Festival in 2000 for 27 Missing Kisses. His television credits include the pilot for White Dwarf and the critically acclaimed miniseries, Wild Palms, which were both nominated for American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Awards. His recent credits have been for The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), 3:10 to Yuma (2007), and W. (2008) among others.
Kramer Morgenthau earned Emmy® and ASC Outstanding Achievement Award nominations in 2005 for the television film The Five People You Meet in Heaven. He has also compiled many credits for television and cinema including Feast of Love (2007), The Express (2008) and others. Out Here in the Fields, the series opener for Life on Mars, was nominated for an ASC Award in 2009.
Dion Beebe earned an OSCAR® nomination for Chicago in 2003. The following year Beebe received his second Golden Tripod Award from the Australian Cinematographers Society for In the Cut. He and Paul Cameron shared an Outstanding Achievement Award nomination from the American Society of Cinematographers and received the Best Cinematography Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) for Collateral in 2005. He was honored with OSCAR® and BAFTA Best Cinematography Awards for Memoirs of a Geisha in 2006.
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High-speed film that inherits the saturated color, high contrast and superior sharpness of ETERNA Vivid 160. Ideal for night scenes and other challenging conditions.
A dramatic new palette for motion pictures or TV. High color saturation, high contrast and exceptional image sharpness.