A year ago, we released the Berlin Kino 400 for pre-order, and we were astounded by the initial reviews and acclaims by our testers! The film certainly became an instant addition to many analogue experimenters' creative toolkit. Due to popular demand, we're releasing a fine-tuned formula of the Berlin Kino 400 2019 for both the 35 mm and 120 format. The new Berlin Kino 400 grants more seamless gradients, finer grains, and richer tonality to accommodate every B&W style. We invited seasoned photographers specializing in different genres, picked up among our social media testers open-call, to give the new formula a test-run and share their candid thoughts on using the film.
Pauline Goasmat: Photographs That Move
French Lomographer and film photographer Pauline Goasmat, a.k.a. paulinegoasmat isn't just any other film photography enthusiast -- she's a filmmaker too. Having started photography at the age of 14, Pauline took her passion to the next level and studied photography in fine arts school, eventually pursuing a career of being a filmmaker. As a budding director in the 2000s, she first used a digital camera but never grew warm to the medium. No sooner than later, she went back to film.
While Pauline shoots in color too, she always had a penchant for B&W. For her, composing an image or a frame through the sole use of light and contrast and the timelessness of the medium makes her fonder with the monochromatic palette -- so much that she has a special B&W photo diary dedicated to the history of her queer family. Because for her, "family histories are timeless".
Having also recently discovered a new favorite spot (an abandoned place), she took her Contax RTS and 35 mm Zeiss lens to put the Berlin Kino 400 to the test. Pauline was charmed by the Berlin Kino 400 2019's cinematic aesthetic.
"I love abandoned places, and I had just discovered a new spot. I had been waiting for the sun, and then went there. I also tested it at home with my family, my cat, my daughter for the blog. I tried to work as usual, in abandoned places and intimacy to compare with other films. I’m always looking for light and situations when it’s with people... There is something vintage too in the result, something cinematographic, that I appreciate as a director."
As a filmmaker herself, she also loved how natural the low contrast was while still retaining image quality:
"I appreciate to discover that the film was low contrast, it’s a good thing for the post-processing. I didn’t have the time yet to print it by myself in a lab, but in photoshop it was really good, I have a large panel for working my contrasts and have details in the black."
Daniel Jay Bertner: "No Filter" Alternative Storytelling
Brooklyn-based street shooter Daniel Jay Bertner makes it his mission to capture the most compelling visual stories of human interest. In the buzzing streets of Big Apple, he follows a Bresson-Esque creed to capture 'the moment'. Daniel values honesty and candidness in analogue photography, mostly shooting in color. As he tested the Berlin Kino 400, however, he got attracted to B&W's ability to mystify the subject matter and subtly create an alternate narrative.
"I used a Contax G2 with a 35mm lens, no filters. Shooting black and white rewired my process/focus to on intimate and tranquil moments around Chinatown, a busy neighborhood. Berlin Kino 400 2019 film is reminiscent of old film noir movies. It’s so rich in tonality."
Marilena Vlachopoulou's Nighttime Memories in Monochrome
Glasgow-based documentary and portrait photographer and Lomographer Marilena Vlachopoulou a.k.a. zombiezateherbrainz has a proficient background and know-how of film photography and its older processes. Her knowledge and skill in analogue are heavily based and influenced by the darkroom, thus black and white film photography as her first love.
With a roll of the new Berlin Kino 400 on hand, she decided to test out the film in a club and a live concert where bands LUCIA, Drab Majesty, Walt Disco & The Ninth Wave were performing. She thinks the film would suit the underground vibe of these musicians.
"I chose to test Berlin Kino 400 at these specific events as I believe it fits the bands’ aesthetic perfectly. I have always been passionate about experimenting with different formats and films – you can only imagine how delighted I was when I heard I get to test this special formula! It’s safe to say that I’m very happy with the final result."
For Marilena, the film's aesthetic gives a visual sense of timelessness and eternity. With the reformulated Berlin Kino 400, the documented portrait shots act as time capsules that the viewer can easily immerse themselves in.
"I loved working with this film, it has a beautiful tonal range and the grain is exceptional. I thought its timeless look would make a perfect match with the raw power of the musical content and it really did! Would definitely use it again and it would certainly be very interesting to shoot during the daytime too."
Sensuality in Silver: Edvinas Valikonis
Lithuanian photographer Edvinas Valikonis has been shooting film for over a year now, starting black-and-white some six months ago. Throughout her sprouting analogue journey, he realized that the B&W aesthetic suits his type of photography. As he's the one who makes his own costumes. he said, "There’s something raw and frightening in robbing simple bends of human from of color, draining the shots of sense of time and place. After all, when the eye isn’t taking color, all it’s left for is the essence of a scene."
That is why he decided to give the Berlin Kino 400 a try using his main camera with a semi-nude shoot. His aim was to make a dialogue between a medium (in this case, paper) and a person. His photographs create a story of inner conflict, vulnerability, and influence. Using an f1.8 50 mm and f3.5 3 mm lenses, he used a dimly lit environment to create this metaphorical series. He also developed the film in his very own lab. For Edvinas, the Berlin Kino 400 perfectly captured the relations of people and their surroundings, one that cannot be perceived by the naked eye.
"I loved it. The grain, the contrast and the whole dynamic range is great. I feel like it can become a great asset in achieving a very specific and very precise aesthetic."