Kodak Vision3 500 – a Capture One -study

The topic for this study is Kodak Vision3 500 Tungsten balanced film. It’s a movie film that has been taken into photography use widely. At least Cinestill has commercialized the use of the film for photography. The look it gives appeals a lot for reasons that aren’t probably logical but more about feelings. You could use a filter to daylight-balance the film but many live with the blue hues it gives in mixed lighting and even in daylight.

When I started using Capture One this particular film was one of my first goals to replicate, or get the aesthetics to my arsenal of possible looks to be used in digital photography. I wasn’t much after the blue colorscape, or the halos that are the side-effect of taking away the Remjet -layer of the film before exposure (like with Cinestill film). When I searched for images taken with this film using a daylight balance-filter I fell in love with the look. And I made and published couple of Capture One -styles of this film then.

My idea has never been to only replicate films. I have, have to admit, used quite a lot of time for that anyway. The goal though is not making the same process as everyone else is doing, but learning during the process. And my real goal is achieved when I get over with the replication process and start to produce some looks of my own. And then I hope to have benefited of the time learning about colors used in different films. The side-product luckily is that I get some useful styles during the replication.

The latest published version definitely looked “original”, very different from anything else and as such I happily used it to get a certain “look” for my images. That version kind of replicated some blue or cool hues (color balance). And for my photos I even tuned the white balance towards the blue slightly as it just looked, well, cool.

Don’t look into horse’s mouth, Kodak Vision3 500T Capture One -style

This time I tried to replicate the colors and look of the film more faithfully, though again without the blue color cast. I used two different sources to make it happen. The other was using the “wrong” method of developing in C41 chemistry (this method is the norm nowadays as people can even do it at home) and the other used “proper” ECN2-chemistry. The one with ECN2-processing actually uses a real take of colorchart with “movie-set”. The scanning affects also, but I guess the one I chose to use in the end is giving very nicely the colors I expect the film to look like without color grading.

What I did was matching the film scan of an x-rite colorchart towards an x-rite colorchart in Capture One. This is my usual method of making Capture One -styles resembling film. The tuning I did, as always, by eye as I have developed a method of getting the approximately right colors in less than an hour. After this fast tuning I spend a lot of time checking the results and fine-tuning the colors with many types of photos, especially ones with color gradations. With this study, when I finally got a satisfactory match, I intentionally got rid of some color-shifts of shadows, middle-tones and highlights that I also had replicated at first. And after this I was ready to start making the final look.

Waiting for meal, Kodak Vision3 500T Capture One -style

This style is based on a movie film that definitely is supposed to be color-graded. Thus the original is very de-saturated and quite flat. What I did for this style was adding some slight RGB-curve enhancement that didn’t change the hues of the colors but makes the colors more rich and I also created grain that is convincingly looking like the film grain, tuned the clarity and sharpness to my taste and finally I decreased the whites and highlights slightly (with the HDR-tool).

The result is a style that is made after the Kodak Vision3 500T -film, and hopefully is also found looking such. The look is more universal without the colorshifts and should be useful for many subjects, but without any color-grading the look is probably quite dull for many. Mainly I think it could be used for people photography, but feel free to test it to your other subjects.

Without further ado, another addition to the styles offered here. Give a comment below if this look is useful as is or if there is a direction the look of this style could be taken.

PhaseFinal version
Colorscape or what I tried to emulateKodak Vision3 500 Tungsten balanced movie-film taken into photography use as daylight-balanced
ContrastLow contrast
SaturationVery low saturation
Author’s notesOne of my favorite looks now getting a new approach and direction. Though the low saturation does limit it’s use. One has to decide carefully how the white balance should be set as this gives a wide variety of looks and this style should not be judged based on the decision to use 5600K as a starting point.
Best used for (genre of photography)Experimental, lifestyle, night-time and portraits.
Download linkhttps://drive.google.com/file/d/1bs96C9f1fHCQe__gOEgp3gMRz7N30RbF/view?usp=sharing

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