Film Bros Interviews CineStill Film Founders 🎥🎞
Film Bros is not the only analogue photography entity that was founded by two brothers, in fact the founders of CineStill Film did it first. Brian and Brandon Wright founded CineStill in all the way back in 2012 and they haven't stopped since then. The popularity of their films across the globe have even led to a shortage of supply at times and their team has grown; you can view all their products that we stock here.
We caught up with the CineStill team a little while back and asked them some questions about past, present and future.
-Firstly tell us a little about yourselves.
At the moment, the CineStill team is composed of Brandon and Brian Wright, Matthew Manus, Daniel McDonald, and Andre Domingues. We all came to film photography from different walks of life, but we all share a passion for capturing memories on film, engaging with the film photography community, and developing products that not only we desire to see on the market, but that seek to solve many of the pain points that modern film shooters experience.
-For those unfamiliar, what is CineStill?
CineStill Inc. is a craft film company that started out converting Kodak motion picture film into easy to use still photography film that is able to be processed by any standard still photo lab or easily at home in C41 chemistry. We've since expanded our product portfolio to include color and black & white home chemistry kits as well as an affordable temperature control system dedicated for at-home film processing.
-How did the idea for converting motion picture film to still film first come about?
The idea formed about seven years ago, when most of us who were in LA were already pursuing analog photography or filmmaking in some way. There was always recognition that motion picture film emulsions were beautiful and special, but they were limited to the motion picture world. Cinema film, especially the tungsten balanced kind, always seemed to handle mixed and low-light scenarios very well, which were environments we often found ourselves in when shooting music, weddings, etc. We set out to find a way to adapt motion picture film so that we could use it to shoot stills in our favorite film cameras. I guess you could say it began quite selfishly! After a lot of trial and error, beta tests, and experimentation, we realized that other people wanted to shoot it too. That’s when the light bulb moment happened. Fast-forward seven years and here we are!
-How does the adaptation of motion picture film to still film happen?
It all starts with a small team of highly trained wizards... But on a serious note, it essentially has to do with removing the remjet layer, a protective coating that creates added protection to the film as it moves through a motion picture camera at high speeds. Remjet is not compatible with standard still photography processing so we remove the layer before packaging. That is just the basic explanation but if we told you more, we might have to kill you.
-In terms of the overall look of using converted motion picture film stock, what characteristics do they have over the standard film stock someone may already be used to?
Each of our film stocks have unique characteristics. The T in 800T stands for tungsten. It is the only tungsten-balanced film in production today, perfectly suited for low light, mixed light, and of course tungsten-lit scenarios. It’s also gained some popularity for its characteristic halation effect, caused by the removal of the remjet layer. We think it’s quite cool. That and its remarkable latitude make it a standout.
Our 50D stock is an ultra fine-grained, high resolution, daylight balanced emulsion that’s a lot of fun to shoot when you are out and about in the Los Angeles sunshine or are looking for a neutral balanced, low speed film that will give you maximum resolution and the ability to get that beautiful bokeh in bright light. We’ve seen great results from the community in all sorts of environments, from the great outdoors to the studio. Overall, we think that motion picture film’s versatility is one of its best attributes.
-What are some of the challenges you've overcome to bring CineStill film to market?
One of the biggest challenges we overcame was making the leap to manufacturing CineStill in 120 medium format. The resources and capital required to provide our stocks in a larger format was and continues to be significant, but we received tremendous support from the film community in the form of our successful Indiegogo campaign in 2016.
-What is next for CineStill? Are there new films in the pipeline?
We are soon moving from our current studio, where it all began, into a large new space in the heart of Hollywood. The company has grown, and so have our ambitions. With a full darkroom, shooting/production area, and more versatile space we hope to not only increase our own productivity but to inspire and motivate film shooters throughout the LA area. We’re filled with gratitude for our supporters in the growing analog photography community around the world, and we can’t wait to see what the future of film holds!
As for new films, we certainly hope to be able to offer our stocks in large format (4x5 and 8x10) sometime in the future. We’ve also got some other kettles on the fire, but that’s for another day.
-Whats your favourite camera/lens/film combination and why?
Some of the favourite cameras we like to shoot include the Rollei SL66, Pentax 67, Canon A1, Nikon FM3a, Leica M2/M3, Canon Demi and Olympus Pen F. Our favourite film stocks are anything CineStill (of course!), Kodak Tri-X, Ilford HP-5, Fujifilm Provia, and Adox Silvermax. The office favourite has recently been the Olympus Pen F. It's a solid little camera that's super portable. And since it shoots half-frame you get 72 shots from a regular roll of 35mm. Throw a roll of 800T in there and it's a lot of fun.