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Rajendrabiswas 9:38am, 20 October 2009
hi iam fasinated by film and love it...but admire the modern technology of digital in other ways too...

iwanted to know why cinema uses negative film and pphotography uses positive film, the postive is better for photography but not for cinema?

negative film technology is powerful in cinema
Amanda Tomlin PRO 9 years ago
Cinema film stock is reversal film. Filming produces a negative, that, through processing, produces a positive image--thus the name "reversal".

You can use either negative or positive film in a camera--you get prints with negative film or slides with positive film.
Rajendrabiswas 9 years ago
yeah but you dont hear e6 films in cinema.. thanks..
Amanda Tomlin PRO 9 years ago
I guess I don't understand your question. Cinema film is positive; negative film would not work projected on the screen. It is not developed using the e6 process because the film is different, but the result is the same. Still photography can use either positive or negative film.
Rajendrabiswas 9 years ago
thanks...what i meant to say was that e6 film is god in photography white for motion picture it is e6 technolgy used in negative
Nikkormat prashanth 8 years ago
for movies, they shoot negs and while projecting it in theaters they print those negs onto slides.
toknowjoyman 8 years ago


I think that both slide(e6) film and reversal film are very similar, if not the same, technologies.

I do believe that not many movies these days are shot on reversal film (positive). Although, one example would be the film 'Pi' directed by Darren Aronofsky - This was shot on b/w reversal film and then cross processed as a negative.

Both cinematography and photography are able use to both positive and negative film in the camera, but this choice depends upon which is more suitable for the project.

In cinema, the film is projected as a positive (although this technology is probably very different from the reversal film in the camera). Between the camera and the projector, the movie goes through a few steps – a couple of conversions (inter-positive, inter-negative) or a digitization. But, whether it was shot on reversal film(positive) or negative film, it still needs to end up as a positive. Which is called a 'Print'

There may be various reasons why most movies these days are shot on negative rather than positive/slide/reversal. One of these reasons may be that negative film is known to have more latitude and range than reversal film. (I have not yet verified this).
Another may be that the reversal film is not able to uphold quality in the numerous steps between the original film from the camera and the final print that is projected.

I hope this response answers your question.


See you on the Film India group, i just joined up.
Mark Waldron 8 years ago
One reason movies are not normally shot on reversal film is exposure latitude, but an equally important reason is the printing process that reversal film skips. If you imagine that in any given movie scene there are several different shots which need to match each other in terms of luminance and colour. This can only be achieved with negative film in post-production. The process is called 'grading' and cannot be done with reversal film. Reversal is 'what you see is what you get', with no options in post-production.
Reversal film was used a lot for news-gathering before video came along because it can be developed more quickly than negative film and because news footage is not usually graded.
Like E6 film, if the exposure is not perfect on reversal, you're in big trouble! And nobody in their right mind is going to bet tens of millions of dollars that the DP is going to be perfect all day every day. It would also mean using a different f-stop (or T-stop) for each shot in a sequence, which is not the way cinema works generally.
I hope this answers your question, along with moviefilm, above, who offers good advice.
inetjoker PRO 8 years ago
Depends..... Even Digital is printed to a Negative then to a positive ....... THis is why Kodak is still making so many different Negative films for the Movie Industry. I doubt you ever will see 100% digital as the cost to convert to all digital is more than even if Microsoft ran every movie house. The reason stated above about making a master Negative from the Digital then printing Positive copies is because Positive to Positive creates too much contrast and loss of detail.
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