Fujicolor Negative A 250, type 8518
1980 – 1983
Subtractive 3 color: Chromogenic monopack
(Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.)
Bergala, Alain (1995): La couleur, la Nouvelle Vague et ses maîtres des années cinquante. In: Jacques Aumont (ed.): La Couleur en cinéma. Milan: Mazzotta, pp. 126–136, on p. 129. (in French)
Koshofer, Gert (1988): Color. Die Farben des Films. Berlin: Wissenschaftsverl. Volker Spiess, on p. 133. (in German)
“Als Kameramann Jost Vacano Szenen des Bavaria-Spiel films Das Boot unter sehr schwierigen Lichtverhältnissen zu drehen hatte, war ihm das damals (1981) höchstempfindliche Negativmaterial des Weltmarkts, Fujicolor A 250 Typ 8518, von großem Nutzen. Xaver Schwarzenberger nutzte es für Querelle sogar ausschließlich. Der Belichtungsindex (E. I.) von 250 dieses im Sommer 1980 her ausgebrachten Films bedeutete gegenüber den bisherigen Standardfilmen mit E. I. 100 eine Empfindlichkeitssteigerung um den Faktor 2,5 und damit einen größeren Schritt als die bis dahin zumeist erfolgten Verdoppelungen (Beispiele bei Eastman Color: E. I. 25 im Jahre 1953, E. I. 50 1959 und E. I. 100 1968).”
(Koshofer, Gert (1988): Color. Die Farben des Films. Berlin: Wissenschaftsverl. Volker Spiess, on p. 133.) (in German)
“Il faudra attendre 1981 pour que Fuji mette sur le marché européen la révolutionnaire Fuji 250 qui titre 250 ASA en usage normal et permettra de tourner enfin en 35 mm couleur dans les conditions qui étaient celles du noir-et-blanc au cours des années soixante9.
9 Grâce à cette pellicule, Neige, de Juliet Berto et Jean-Henri Roger, a été tourné en grande partie la nuit, à Pigalle, pratiquement sans éclairage, comme avait pu le faire Godard en noir-et-blanc au cours des années soixante.”
(Bergala, Alain (1995): La couleur, la Nouvelle Vague et ses maîtres des années cinquante. In: Jacques Aumont (ed.): La Couleur en cinema. Milan: Mazzotta, pp. 126–136, on p. 129.) (in French)
“A250 is an ultra high-speed motion picture film with an exposure index of ASA 250. It is color balanced to a 3200K tungsten light source, and incorporates colored couplers for automatic color masking.
Even with its ultra high speed, A250 provides fine grain, high definition, wide exposure latitude and natural color reproduction. It is designed for all kinds of movie use, and is ideally suitable for indoor and outdoor use under low light conditions, and for special applications such as nighttime, underwater and high-speed photography. It will exhibit excellent image qualities when printed on Fujicolor positive film or other similar color print films.
High sensitivity enables a wider range of shooting possibilities
Insufficient illumination: The high sensitivity of A250 film permits shooting under extremely low light conditions such as outdoor nighttime scenes or large-area indoor scenes.
Restricted lighting: In situations where strong lighting may damage or distort the subject, such as photomicrography, the high sensitivity of this film permits shooting at reduced light levels.
High-speed shooting: Because of A250’s great sensitivity, the user can shoot fast-action movements at extra-high speeds with significantly lower levels of light.
Picture quality of high-sensitivity A250 film
Graininess: In the past coarse grain was considered unavoidable with high sensitivity. Fujicolor Negative A250, however, has fine grain in spite of its high sensitivity, thanks to the development of multilayer emulsions and other technological innovations. Fujicolor Negative A250 has the same graininess as Fujicolor Negative Film Types 8517 and 8527 pushed to twice their normal speed.
Suited to various kinds of light sources: A250 has been designed so that it is not only balanced to tungsten light (3200K), but also it will produce good results with fluorescent light and mixed illumination. Note: When using only fluorescent lighting, a suitable filter is recommended.
A250 has a high sensitivity with normal processing, but when an even higher level is required the film can be used at an exposure index of 500 with forced processing. In this case, resolution and color balance will be sufficient for practical use. But when compared to normal processing, the results are a bit grainier. Therefore, when using 16mm film, forced processing is recommended only when placing priority on sensitivity.
Comments from cinematographers who have used Fujicolor A250
William A. Fraker, ASC
I decided to go with Fujicolor A250 in photographing Sharkey’s Machine in Atlanta because there was so much night work. We made extensive tests with the film and it proved to be everything we wanted it to be…
I’ve seen the Fujicolor A250 blown up from 35mm to 70mm (in the 1.85 format) and it held up absolutely beautifully, but there are some problems in duplication when you get into release prints that involve three or four generations. It doesn’t react as well with IPs as it does with CRIs. Therefore, while the general trend is toward IPs, with Fujicolor A250 we go back to CRIs. This lessens the grain, gives us the halftones we want, and eliminates a lot of contrast.
For Sharkey’s Machine we shot on the streets of Atlanta with no lights at all – just the existing “available” light – and it worked magnificently. It’s a beautiful film. Everybody who has seen it has said that.
Gayne Rescher, ASC
Bitter Harvest was the first picture I photographed with Fujicolor A250. We were shooting in Northern California and had a lot of bad weather (which actually pleased me, because it went with the “look” I was after). I hadn’t anticipated using such a fast film outdoors, but we were shooting in the rain on very dark days and it turned out to be a great help there.
We shot a lot of stuff inside barns, where the interior was dark and moody and the exterior was “hot.” I wanted to see what was outside, but I didn’t want to burn it out. The range of the film proved to be very surprising. It had terrific latitude and I found that it dug into the shadows to an amazing degree.
We had quite a bit of night work and this stock is marvelous at night. I normally rated it at ASA 400, because at night you are looking for lower values on your skin tones. It is underexposed, but you want it underexposed.
On the last picture that I did, The Princess and the Cabbie, I had some running shots at night which involved having a camera in the back seat of a car with a wide angle lens shooting two people in the front seat who were having a conversation – and then covering it with a couple of closeups. I used a key of four footcandles on the faces, because I wanted the outside streetlights and lights from the passing store fronts to play on their faces. It was marvelous, because the light from outside was real. I was shooting at T/1.4 and the outside read beautifully. It still read like night, but it wasn’t black. There was detail even where there was no light that you could see – such as in between streetlights, where you hit a dark patch.
I figure that four footcandles at T/1.4 meant rating the Fujicolor A250 at ASA 600. I didn’t read what was coming in from outside; it just added on to what I had lit as a basic image.
There are subtle lighting techniques that this faster film makes possible. It has a great “unlit” kind of look – which is what I am constantly trying to achieve.
John McPherson, ASC
I’ve used the Fujicolor A250 stock on the last eight films that I have photographed and am planning to use it on another one that will start in approximately three weeks.
I use the stock on all interior sets and all night exterior scenes. I’ve used four different laboratories on these films and each one has done a fine job.
I rate the Fujicolor A250 stock at ASA 500 normal with a 200° shutter and ASA 400 with a 175° or 180° shutter. It’s just psychological on my part, but it works for me.
I force one stop when necessary, rating the film at ASA 1000 with a 200° shutter and ASA 800 at 175° or 180°. I personally don’t like the quality of a one-stop push, because the black tends to slightly milk out. I have forced two stops and rated the film at ASA 2000 in full moonlight at the beach and the results were very acceptable for documentary-style photography.
In every show on which I’ve used the Fujicolor A250 for interiors and night exteriors, I’ve also used Kodak color negative 5247 for all exterior day scenes. The two seem to match and cut in extremely well together.
John Alcott, BSC
When I was first approached to photograph Vice Squad, I was told that it would consist totally of night shooting in the streets of downtown Los Angeles (the entire action of the story takes place during the time period of a single night).
With that in mind, I was asked to test the new Fujicolor A250 film, which I wanted to do because I had seen a demonstration that promised some great effects. I shot some tests on the streets of Los Angeles and, by giving the film one extra stop in development, I found that I was printing at the light that I really desired – about 30–32.
I was able, at the same time, to stop down to about T/2.8, depending on the street, and sometimes T/4. This gave me added depth and quality – plus extra detail in the shadows, which was quite unforeseen.
What the true ASA rating of Fujicolor A250 is can only be determined by making tests, taking into consideration the laboratory that is going to be used for processing the negative. I was processing at CFI and they gave me absolutely excellent results all the way through the filming.
The Fujicolor A250 stock gave me something else which I had never experienced before. When I was doing running car shots with the camera on a hood mount, I would use a small amount of light on the faces of the people driving the car, but instead of using artificial means to get the effect of street lamps passing overhead, the street lamps were creating the effect themselves. This was quite exciting.
There were times when I had to shoot in the warehouse district of downtown Los Angeles where the street lights are very sparse and I found that with two 4K and three 2.5K HMI lights mounted on the top of a building (with supplementary lights of a different caliber in the foreground), I could light up one square mile of area. We are talking about lighting a vast expanse of area with very minimal light, so that one could do a pan of 180 degrees.
The skyline of Los Angeles would help to create the background light and I found that this, with the streetlighting, plus forcing the Fujicolor A250 one stop, added up to a powerful combination. I think that this is getting back to what filmmakers should really strive for – and what the film manufacturers are helping us strive for – namely, getting full reality in natural light. We’ve got it in daylight, and now we’re getting it in nighttime light, as well.”
(Anonymous (1981): The New Fujicolor Negative Film A250. In: American Cinematographer, 62,12, pp. 1254–1255, 1269–1270.)
Anonymous (1981): The New Fujicolor Negative Film A250. In: American Cinematographer, 62,12, pp. 1254–1255, 1269–1270.