Shoot a color target for film?

So, I recently got a color target, for multiple reasons, but one, I have a box full of color negatives to digitize, and I want to get color correct efficiently, and learn in the process.

I’ve identified the film to be Fujicolor C200. Also, the film is about 8-13 years old, and apparently developed in a rural Bi-mart photo lab, judging by the packaging. Would I get a good match for color target color correction by shooting a color target with modern Fujicolor C200, and then having it developed at a local film lab, or would the color difference between the old film and my test chart exposures negate the benefits of shooting a color target? If the main errors are fairly linear, and correctable with simple white balance after profiling, then it would still be worth doing. But if there still is complex non-linear color errors afterwords, then I might as well be correcting from scratch, and not bother with the time and film expense of shooting color targets.

Might I get good results from a conjunction of film negative slider fiddling and the color target, or will I still have to do manual complex rgb curve manipulations to get everything right with or without the target given the aforementioned variables?

Rational: This is digitizing old family photos, which I am trying for realistic color, not trying to capture aesthetic of film with embedded color shifts.

I think you’re looking at it the wrong way. Your film has a color pallette unique to that film stock. Getting rid of that cast would be to get rid a lot of the qualities of that film. You can correct the orange mask and invert the negative in the scanning software.

What you really want to do is generate a profile for your scanner. That’ll give you color correct scanning and will preserve the unique pallette of the film.

This is digitizing old family photos, which I am trying for realistic color, not trying to capture aesthetic of film with embedded color shifts. Thanks for the comment so I can edit my post to clarify my rational.

Edit: deleted post is a duplicate

If you really are into correcting colors from an old negative, you may face several problems, such as Fuji may have changed the building process, so the film doesn’t react the same way it did. You will also have to somehow compensate for the aging of the negatives, and you will have no control at all over the chemicals used back in the day and in the new developed film (different chemicals, different results).

All in all, what I would do is:

  1. shoot a target with a fresh film stock, develop it and convert it to a digital image
  2. develop your shot so all colors are as close as possible to those of the test chart
  3. save the pp3 of that edit
  4. load an empty area of the new negative (one area showing the orange color of the negative)
  5. apply the recently saved pp3
  6. load an old image (digitized) and apply the saved pp3 from point 3
  7. focus on the edge of the images (if it is present in the digitized version), or ask for a digitized image of an empty area of the negatives (one area showing the orange color of the negative)
  8. develop this shot so you have identical results as in your previous empty shot (the one you developed in points 4-5). Save this new pp3
  9. load a negative image and apply this last pp3: all colors may be realistic, but as there are many involved factors, you will have no guarantee of success. I’m specifically thinking about contrasts, which may not be correct.

I’m not sure if this would help at all, sorry

Thanks for the workflow suggestion. To distill my question, do you think I should correct by eye in totality or do the time and expense of buying new film, and shooting the color target to create a color profile, and then correct from there?

What software are you using to scan? There are quite a few (non-free :sob:) applications that’ll color balance them fairly well.

I honestly think you will get better results doing it by eye. And if the lab and (maybe) the chemicals used to develop film were always the same, perhaps you just have to fully correct one image, create a pp3 from that image and then just perform minor edits in all the other pictures.

If you already have the digitized negatives, it’s worth a try.

Unfortunately, this does not help in this case. Calibrating a scanner also involves the emulsion properties (which, by the way, also holds for colour slides!). First, there are no targets available (with very few exceptions) for colour negative films. Second, if the film has aged, you would need a target with the same emulsion that has aged the same way, which is not available.

I completely agree!

Yes, there are. They come with film specific profiles, which, in some cases, can be modified by the user to match properties of his film, again by eye, if the material to be scanned has aged and changed its colour properties.