Some of you may have seen the recent news about the new 35mm motion picture reversal film released by Atlanta Film Co, Euphoric 100. In that news, I mentioned a review was coming soon and here it is!
To recap, Euphoric 100 is Atlanta Film Co’s release of Kodak motion picture colour reversal film we know as Ektachrome. The film was initially discontinued but made a comeback thanks to the power of HBO. In an interview about making Euphoria’s Season 2, Sam Levinson (Writer/Director) said they asked Kodak to remake the film for them. Along with cinematographer Marcell Rév, Sam wanted to use it to achieve a different look from Season 1. However, instead of using the film’s intended E6 development process, Marcell Rév cross-processed it in ECN-2. This was to further differentiate the look of Euphoria Season 2 and became the inspiration for Atlanta Film Co.’s Euphoric 100 release.
Earlier in the year, we had reported on another release from Atlanta Film Co. of motion picture films including 250D, 500T, and 200T. Shortly after, Bill Manning (@studio.c41), the lead man behind the brand, sent me a couple of rolls of the unreleased Euphoric 100 to test out. Which I was more than happy to do.
Now, I don’t shoot a lot of reversal films. Instead of the familiar warm generous hug of colour-negative films, Euphoric 100 was an enjoyable adventure but a little tense as I didn’t want to mess things up. Echoing in the back of my mind was the advice one reads often on the internet for reversal film…unforgiving lack of latitude, expose for the highlights, etc. I was glad for the advice which Bill gave me before shooting the film. Showing me some samples he had taken, he mentioned that window light was excellent for this film.
So, let’s dive in.
Euphoric 100 Film Details
Specifically, Euphoric 100 is Eastman Kodak Color Reversal Film 5294/7294 which is a 100-speed, reversal motion picture film intended for use under daylight (5500K). Recommended exposure for under tungsten lighting (3200K) is ISO 25 (with an 80A filter).
Kodak’s datasheet says, ‘It is excellent for advertising, nature cinematography, documentaries, music videos, and is especially good for telecine transfers and television filming.’
That is, with the recommended development process of E6, used for colour reversal motion picture film.
Using E-6 chemistry will produce moderate colour saturation, a neutral grey scale, and accurate skin reproduction characteristics as described by the manufacturer. (Source: Kodak Datasheet for Color Reversal Film 5294/7294)
It’s a different story altogether with ECN-2.
Using ECN-2 chemistry to develop this film is a cross-process, processing the film in chemistry for which it was not intended. When film is cross-processed, it tends to increase contrast and create strong colour shifts. In this case, cross-processing Euphoric 100 results in a strong green cast, which is easily corrected during the scanning process or afterwards in photo editing software.
ECN-2 is a standard process for color negative motion picture film, involving a pre-bath which removes the remjet layer. This layer is a protective technology created for film that is run through cine cameras at a fast pace which can easily produce static discharge or scratching and ruin the film. In my experience, the motion picture film feels thicker thanks to this layer. It’s also a sticky process to home develop as I can attest to. My AP reels have never been the same since!
Kodak Film Labs
One of the best things about the Atlanta Film Co. release of this film is that they didn’t just hand-roll Kodak motion picture film for still photographers, they also championed ECN-2 processing which is done at Kodak Film Lab Atlanta through Dunwoody Photo. Bill told me that the film is hand-delivered to the Lab. Now that’s TLC if you ask me.
There aren’t many Kodak Film Labs out there, so to have this opportunity is quite special. Specifically, there are three: London, New York, and Atlanta. These labs handle commercial-level motion picture film processing so their set-up is specifically tailored to this type of customer. I would wager without risk this means an excellent top-of-the-line process without hiccups or mistakes that has been perfected to a point. Imagine messing up The Walking Dead? That would not be good.
Indeed, Bill told me that while they were testing out the processing of the shorter still 35mm rolls with KFLA, it was so smooth which made it an easy decision to move forward with bringing the films and the ECN-2 processing to the market.
For interest, a few of the films that have been processed by Kodak Film Lab, Atlanta are The Walking Dead (all seasons), Hidden Figures, I Tonya, The Florida Project, The Front Runner, The Banker, and Devil All the Time.
With two rolls of Euphoric 100 burning a hole in my film bag, I debated the best place to shoot them for awhile. Bill’s advice of finding window light meant finding somewhere indoors or with strong but diffused directional light. It was also harvest season in New England, which meant a few things: orchards, apple picking, corn mazes, fresh apple cider doughnuts, fresh apple cider, pumpkin picking, etc. My favorite season! With luck, there was a farm nearby that hosted a Harvest Festival each weekend during the fall. Exciting and fun but also offering a variety of lighting situations indoors and outdoors, this was a good place to start.
Testing Euphoric 100 was exciting but also a learning experience. Analyzing my two rolls, I can see where things went right and also where they went wrong. Wanting to get a variety of subjects to gauge the capabilities of the film, I shot the second roll over the next few days, finding different types of subjects including the classic gas station shot at night. My sister and parents obliged for a portrait as well so I could get a sense of skin reproduction for their specific type of skin tones, which will be different for everyone.
Overall, I think this film is fantastic. Not only because of the film’s characteristics but because of the price too. While Kodak E100 is now reaching new heights of GBP 23.50 a roll, the USD 13.49 to spend for Euphoric 100 is incredibly attractive.
With the ECN-2 processing, the colours reproduced are dramatic, saturated, and true to life. I would describe many of the images as moody which is perfect for cinema and drama. Seeing the samples from other testers who shot portraits, both in the studio and outdoors, I’m convinced it’s perfect for this situation. Strong directional diffused lighting seems to be the sweet spot, whether this is through a window or a strobe. The shadows fall off quickly and there isn’t too much wiggle room concerning film latitude, consistent with advice for shooting reversal or slide film.
Detailed Roll Review – Highlights
I’ll start with my favourite images and what I love about this film. These are the scenarios where my choice of subject, lighting, and location worked well with the film’s properties to produce pleasing images. As most things are, photography is subjective so opinions might differ, but you can see the results and conclude your own thoughts. I’d love to hear some of these in the comments below!
Let’s start with one of the best lighting scenarios as recommended for this film, window light. These are the images I shot with window light that seemed to have worked out well.
I love the strong shadow falloff in these images (above). It draws the eye directly to the subject and there is no question of where to look. The colors are beautiful and strong making a powerful impact on the viewer.
Images where the subject of my photograph was in full sun also worked well. The colours are very saturated and seem to sing drenched in the sunshine. This scenario works well with the film especially as it does need a decent amount of light being a 100-speed film. In the portrait of my dad below, his skin tone remains neutral while all the other colors around him are very saturated.
Ok, next up were images that I took at night. For these, I exposed about one or two stops above the meter reading for the highlights. I will share a little bit later how exposing only for the highlights didn’t work out due to the fast shadow fall off with this film. But here, the classic gas station at night shots are pleasing. Grabbing a portrait of my sister as we were filling up on gas also works as well because her face is flooded with light. I didn’t use an 80A filter and thought the colors still looked good.
Detailed Roll Review – Challenges
Ok, so here are a few scenarios and images that didn’t work out the best. So perhaps if you are interested, this might save you some time. Of course, you can shoot the film however you like, but I’ll share these in case you want to know what to avoid.
Since this film is very punchy when processed in ECN-2, when a scene involves patchy sunlight, the subject can become unclear. The high contrast and alternating pattern of sun and shadow can also be distracting to the eye as it might not know where to start first.
In the bowling alley (image below), I metered using my Leica CL for the highlight of the screen only. Mainly this was also because I was shooting handheld and didn’t want to have too low of a shutter speed. I did the same thing for the Car Wash image as well (see below). You can see this did not work out as well as I would have liked and could have used at least one more stop of light. Shooting in this scenario would have been much better with a cable release and tripod so that you can use higher apertures and let more light in without the blur.
Here are a few images taken in overcast weather with very flat lighting. There is a stronger green in the shadows compared to the sunnier images. These also feel underexposed to me so perhaps next time in cloudy weather, I would add a little more light. They are not my favorite images but also not the worst. The vibe is very moody which I enjoy but wouldn’t be my intended result next time I shoot this film. I’d probably wait for the sun if outdoors or shoot with windowlight on overcast days.
To begin my conclusion, I want to thank Bill at Atlanta Film Co. for sending the rolls to test as well as for the advice in shooting the film. Euphoric 100 is an exciting product. It makes colour reversal film not only more available to still shooters but more affordable. The additional layer of ECN-2 processing completed by Kodak Film Lab Atlanta through Dunwoody Photo differentiates this film from anything else on the market at the moment.
My results varied, but this is to be expected from trying different lighting situations in testing the film. I shot images that make me hungry for more of this film. On the flip side, I learned some things to avoid when shooting this film as well. The ultimate conclusion? Yes, I’m a fan of this film. Personal preferences aside, you can decide for yourself what you think of the film from the samples and images and perhaps even test it first-hand.
We have become accustomed in the last few years to the removal of remjet from motion picture colour film. Halation has been normalized. With the success of companies like Cinestill, the word remjet echoes in the back of my subtly conditioned mind as something to be taken away. With Atlanta Film Co.’s motion picture film (kept whole) releases and recommendation of ECN-2 or E6 processing, they are jumping on the other end of the remjet seesaw, bringing in a healthy balance. Feel free to debate the merits of my seesaw analogy there. Bottom line, it’s nice to have options.
Find out more information about Atlanta Film Co. and Euphoric 100 on their website here.
Last thing, I also made a Youtube video review so if you’d like to watch that, click here!