VISION3 Technologies

Published on website: June 03, 2010
Categories: Film Capabilities , Industry , Products , Sharon Johnston , The StoryBoard Blog

The VISION 3 family continues to grow with the recent introduction of 5213, KODAK VISION3 200T Color Negative Film. The new film offers the performance enhancements that have come to be expected of a film in the VISION3 family.  That is, noticeably lower grain in low exposures or shadows and two stops of extended highlight latitude.

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We told you when we first introduced the VISION3 500T film that the new technologies featured were modular and would allow for other new family additions with similar performance benefits.  We delivered on that promise, first with the VISION3 250D film and now with a VISION3 200T offering.  

So what exactly are these technologies that have made the VISION3 family of films possible?

To begin, the VISION3 films are an extension of their VISION2 predecessors in that they were designed to perform similarly under normal exposure conditions.  They have incorporated all of the important technologies introduced in the VISION2 family that made them award-winning films.  Technologies like: triple-coated red and green records; high-activity image couplers; 2-electron sensitization; and advanced developer accelerators continue to play an important role in the VISION3 film family.  In some cases, the VISION3 films have been able to take advantage of evolutionary advances in these technologies to further increase the performance advantages they provide.  New Advanced Development Accelerator technology is an example of this. 

Advanced Developer Accelerator technology, originally introduced in the VISION2 film family, improves signal extraction by increasing the probability that a latent image site on an exposed silver halide emulsion grain will be developed.  The practical result of this increased efficiency is an increase in the photographic speed of the emulsion and an improvement in signal preservation between exposure and processing.  The increased speed allows us to use smaller emulsions in our most sensitive emulsion layers and smaller grain sizes directly translate into improved granularity.  Recent advances in the field of Advanced Developer Accelerators have allowed the VISION3 films to expand the use of this technology to all three color records.  This technology is featured in the most sensitive layers of the red, green, and blue records in all of the VISION3 films and contributes to the improved grain in lower exposures.

While evolutionary improvements in the technologies mentioned above are important parts of the new films, they are not the real powerhouse behind VISION3 performance.  Rather, there are two new technologies in the VISION3 films that significantly increase their performance and utility.  These new tools are Kodak’s proprietary Advanced Dye Layering technology and Sub-Micron Image Sensor technology.

Advanced Dye Layering is an emulsion technology that increases the efficiency of light absorption of the silver halide grains.  In color negative films, dyes are used to absorb light from a specific spectral region (red, green, and blue) and transfer that image information to silver halide crystals.  This technology, known as “spectral sensitization”, involves functionalizing the silver halide emulsions with a layer of spectral sensitizing dye that provides the desired spectral response.  All silver halide emulsions in color negative films have been “sensitized” in this manner.  Advanced dye layering technology goes even further by introducing a second, incredibly thin layer of dye on top of the primary dye.  This secondary layer of dye is bound to the surface of the silver halide by electrostatic interactions.  Light energy absorbed by the secondary layer of dye is eventually transmitted to the silver halide.  The practical benefit of advanced Dye Layering technology is that now the silver halide crystals can capture and process more light than a conventionally sensitized emulsion.  This increased efficiency allows us to use smaller emulsions to achieve the same photographic speed.  In some cases, a 25-30% reduction is grain size has been possible.  This leads to grain improvements across the exposure scale, but most dramatically in the low exposure region.  Advanced Dye-Layering is used in the green and red records of the VISION3 films.

The extended highlight latitude is where our Sub-micron Image Sensor technology comes into play.   Sub-Micron Image Sensors are very small, incredibly efficient silver halide crystals that are used in the least sensitive layers of all three color records in VISION3 films.  These crystals have been specifically designed to provide efficient, detailed image capture under high exposure conditions.  This technology has enabled us to increase the overexposure latitude of the VISION3 films by two stops.  In other words, the VISION3 films are able to provide increased density for increased exposure 2 stops further into the highlights in all three color records.  The practical benefit of this is the ability to shoot further into the highlights without a loss in detail (information and color).  In addition, the excellent signal-to-noise characteristics of these sub-micron sensors means that, in a digital post-production workflow, these details can be extracted without introducing high levels of grain. 

At Kodak we continue to “push the boundaries” of film by continuous work on novel emulsion technologies and film design.  VISION3 is the latest manifestation of that commitment.