Special Effects Film for a Digital World
The brain child of Michael Krebs and Hannah Pribitzer, Revolog is a unique company providing a unique service in what many consider a dying art: film. I still shoot film on occasion, just to mix things up creatively. I stumbled upon Revolog a few years ago, and fell in love with their product and their passion for film. Revolog produces and sells “special effects” film. From films that are pre-exposed with various textures like streaks, scratches, and even lightning bolts. To films that are tuned for different wavelengths of light, Revolog definitely produces the most unique films on the market.
©Brenna Brock, Revolog 460nm Film
I had the opportunity to speak with Hannah Pribitzer (co-founder of Revolog) and picked her brain about how it all started and where they plan to go from here.
So how did Revolog come about?
Revolog came into life as our diploma project in school. Michael and I both studied photography in Vienna and as part of our graduation we had to work on a photographic project. We didn’t plan to create a company. Michael’s idea for the project was rather focused on research on how to artificially make films that look aged. I was always an analog enthusiast and joined the project in it’s initial phase. We tried all kinds of techniques and took a lot of test pictures, which then led to the idea to work on the project commercially as we had a lot of other students come up to us, telling us that they would love to buy a film like this. We loved the idea to give other people, who might not have the knowledge or time to experiment on film, the possibility to experience the fun of taking pictures with manipulated films.
©Bridgette Bloom, Revolog 460nm Film
What was your process like in creating these unique films?
We tried out all kinds of effects over the course of a year and had to change some work processes for the sake of larger productions. Texture film for example looked quite different in the beginning, but we couldn’t guarantee that the effect would be on the whole roll of film and were only able to produce a few films in a row. We wanted to take special care that our films can be used by anyone and taken to any lab that processes colour-negative films according to the C-41 process, so we didn’t dabble with chemicals or the like as we didn’t want the developing chemicals at the photo labs turn bad with our films.
©Amanda Charchian, Revolog Kolor Film
With film companies dwindling away, how do you go about producing your film?
We were, as the saying goes, quite green about the whole business approach and had no idea how to purchase huge amounts of film for reasonable prices (in the initial phase we purchased no-name films at the local drugstores). After some research we got in touch with Ferrania, an Italian film production company, where we were able to buy some of their remaining stock, as they shut down there production due to the increase of digital photography. A Spanish film-distributor is currently providing us with no-name films, but it is getting harder to get large amounts of film. However, Ferrania will be re-opening, and will start producing color-negative and slide film starting in 2014 and will hopefully be a business partner for us again.
©Rich Meade, Revolog 600nm Film
What is the next step for Revolog?
We’d love to work with 120 films as well. Unfortunately we haven’t had luck in finding a process to unroll and roll back a medium format film properly. All of our processes are manual and we would need special machines to work with 120/220 film rolls. Should we find a way we’d definitely make 120 films too. At least of our bestselling films like Kolor, which is everyone’s favorite. In the near future we have a limited black & white edition of one of our films planned and we definitely want to expand our range of films. Michael and I both work as photographers too and it’s such an inspiration to get in touch with other photographers around the world through Revolog. Getting to see how many different types of photographers, from professionals to amateurs, work creatively with something we have created makes us immensely happy.
Michael and Hannah run their small operation through their website along with a great little blog showcasing some of their favorite work from photographers around the world that are using their films. Right now, they have 10 special effects films and a small selection of expired film (which rotates as they get new stock). The cost per roll ranges from $10-$12 for 36exp. That may seem high, but considering the work that goes into each roll of film, and the unique qualities of each film,it makes the added cost more justifiable.
If you are an old school film shooter looking to mix things up, or a student of the digital age that loves spontaneity and are starting to dabble in analog, I suggest giving their films a shot. I truly love some of the images I’ve made with their film. There is just something magical about the random nature of their films. Their color films will vary greatly depending on where you have them processed, and who processes them! With the textured films, you’ll never get the same frame twice. I picked up Revolog on a whim, just trying to find a new spark to my work. Films like these force you to abandon all but the basics of photography, because you can’t control anything else with this stuff. That, for me, is the strongest asset to this film. You have no choice but to let go and let the beauty happen.