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Old School Tinting


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#1 Robert StMary

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 04:26 PM

Does anyone know how to tint B&W like how they used to back in the early days of cinema? I was wondering because I'd love to expriment with it in small doses if it's not too much of a pain (or a cost).

CHEERS!

ROB!
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#2 Henri Titchen

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 12:53 AM

Brian Pritchard's superb website has a section on tinting. Is this the sort of thing you are after?

http://www.brianprit...com/Tinting.htm

Henry.

Does anyone know how to tint B&W like how they used to back in the early days of cinema? I was wondering because I'd love to expriment with it in small doses if it's not too much of a pain (or a cost).

CHEERS!

ROB!


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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 07:45 AM

Tint, being something done during the manufacture of film, to the film base, would be impossible for you to do. However, toning is still a viable option, one that you can do yourself with a pair of rewinds and a B&W film print, or B&W negatives. Off the top of my head, there is Berg Selenium Toner, Kodak Polytoner (which is basically variable intensity selenium, IIRC), Sepia Toner (brown), Cyan toner, and many many others both sold and available as formulas. You could probably find at least a couple of dozen toner formulas floating around on the internet.

Keep in mind, though, that since most formulae are designed with the toning of paper prints or twenty-four to thirty-six exposure rolls of film or photo-paper prints, that you will need larger quantities when toning hundreds of feet of film, as these mixtures are subject to chemical exhaustion just as other types of photographic chemistry.

I still haven't gotten around to this, but I was going to post a sample gallery here sometime giving examples of toned B&W negative stills to show the effects of different types of toners. Just as with the bleach-bypass project, there is an effect at the opposite end of the spectrum with toning a negative as opposed to toning a print.

~KB
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#4 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 03:03 PM

Tint, being something done during the manufacture of film, to the film base, would be impossible for you to do.


Tinting the base whould be difficult but you could probaly get the same effect by introducing dye into the emulsion. you might have to modify the standard process to not harden the gelitan as much as normal, and perhaps add a stage to reharden it.

trafsfer of a dye to selective parts of the image could be done with a matrix made like the old instuction for "dye Transfer" printing (the still Photography answer to old Technicolour.

AS Karl sugested their are many toners out to chnage the colour of a B&W image some still common, some almost imposible to duplicate without permits from the EPA and others (Uranium Toner anyone?), go searching a libray for old issues of the BJP annual., or the master edition of the "PhotoLab Index".
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#5 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 03:31 AM

When films were toned, tinted and mordanted (Google!) they were on nitrate based stock. I am not sure if current emulsions are as receptive (ie absorbant). This will require some testing. A lot of the chemicals involved are highly toxic and corrosive. Be careful!
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#6 Robert StMary

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 11:05 AM

Thanks. I'm just looking at interesting ways to make B&W look like something out of the teens and 20s. I love the look of silent film and also the work of Guy Maddin and would love to employ some of those techniques for my hobby work.

THANKS!

ROB!

Check out the latest from know said productions at www.knowsaint.com
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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 05:30 PM

Robert, what sort of look are you going for? I wasn't able to find an inclusive list of toners, so if you can tell me the look you are going for and whether you are toning negatives or film prints, I should be able to provide information that is more useful for you.

AS Karl sugested their are many toners out to chnage the colour of a B&W image some still common, some almost imposible to duplicate without permits from the EPA and others (Uranium Toner anyone?), go searching a libray for old issues of the BJP annual., or the master edition of the "PhotoLab Index".


It's funny you should mention this Charles. Looking for a link to a lot of useful toner formulae (which I unfortunately couldn't find), I ran across a favorite article of mine on a guy that is still using a Uranium Toner, which was popular back before anyone new anything about the pesky subject of radioactivity, when they were using glass plate and wet plate negatives and the concept of "movie" was just a flight of fancy in a certain Governor of California's head. He says that he has not been able to find references through traditional methods or the internet of anyone other than himself using Uranium toner. He says that if anyone else will take it up they will be joining a very exclusive club.

As far as my own take on toners and safety, I think that toners are more toxic than any other chemical class of photochemicals, except for maybe intensifiers, specifically mercury intensifier. Selenium toner, which I use not for tone but to ensure archivability of images, makes me cough and hack more than smoke or mixing up fixer from powder.

So, to Robert, make sure that if you are using this stuff, to do it outside (although I'd be especially, especially, especially careful with Uranium toner and use it indoors, in an isolated area, or outdoors in a very secluded area that isn't frequented by humans or even animals); if you have to do it inside, make sure to have an air exchange or wear a mask unless you want to burn out the inside of your lungs. Let me just say that, with a PhD nuclear engineer as a father, I know more than your average joe about radioactivity, and that a lot of the fear associated with it is hype and ignorance. Uranium is bad for you, but in an unenriched form, the radioactive emissions that it eminates can be blocked by a piece of tissue paper. In a highly diluted form, the radioactivity would be negligeable, almost non existant in something that you'd toned in it. Radiation is in the ground; it comes from outer space; it is everywhere. So Uranium toner, while necessitating some slight extra cautions like wearing a long sleeve shirt and making sure you work with a mask on in a well-ventilated area will minimize your radiation exposure to one that is no greater than what you'd receive from an x-ray, or an airport scanner for that matter. Now, you're going to need to make BATCHES of this stuff for toning long lengths of film, so exercise extreme caution owing to the large scale of chemistry you would be running. I'd HIGHLY recommend NOT using powdered toners of any kind for this reason (except for benign ones, like dye-based toners, although these still smell enough that they may cause lung irritation) and using liquid concentrates instead.


When films were toned, tinted and mordanted (Google!) they were on nitrate based stock. I am not sure if current emulsions are as receptive (ie absorbant). This will require some testing. A lot of the chemicals involved are highly toxic and corrosive. Be careful!


This isn't entirely true, as Technicolor continued to be done on acetate (safety) film, basically a mordanting process. Fine art photographers continued and continue to employ toning as a creative effect on both films and prints (such as Ansel Adams, look at his work to see Selenium Toning mastered).

However, it is a good point that all materials will tone differently, different intensities, different times, different amounts of toner absorbsion, so this makes testing essential, as you cannot undo some toners, and you definitely cannot return the film to its original look, as toning will either chemically alter silver or remove it completely. This is why toning can only be done with B&W film or film that has been bleach-bypassed and still contains silver (an interesting look would certainly ensue from bleach-bypassed, toned film and I wish someone would try it on a movie instead of all of this DI bullsh it).

Hope this helps,

~KB
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#8 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 04:46 PM

It's funny you should mention this Charles. Looking for a link to a lot of useful toner formulae (which I unfortunately couldn't find), I ran across a favorite article of mine on a guy that is still using a Uranium Toner, which was popular back before anyone new anything about the pesky subject of radioactivity, when they were using glass plate and wet plate negatives and the concept of "movie" was just a flight of fancy in a certain Governor of California's head. He says that he has not been able to find references through traditional methods or the internet of anyone other than himself using Uranium toner. He says that if anyone else will take it up they will be joining a very exclusive club.


The red/orange image on Cinecolor prints used a uranium toner.

The blue was Prussian blue.

Those two colors did want give a neutral black. They produced a greenish black.
Thus an actual Cinecolor print will exhibit some, though spurious, greens.
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#9 K Borowski

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 07:34 PM

OK guys, here is the plan: I have been putting off becoming a sustaining member of this Forum. In order to allow me to upload scans of toned film frames, though, I am going to join. Over Thanksgiving break I'm going to pull out some of the old Tri-X I've had in the freezer for an eternity, fire off a test roll to see that it's still good, and then shoot some shots for the purposes of toning. I also have some B&W slide film, really really old Kodak stuff, that I will shoot as well. I am going to tone Tri-X negatives, and direct reversals so that you can see some of the common toner types (I don't think the owner of the studio from which I work would be too happy with me Mercury- or Uranium-toning anything, so I will hold off on those though). That way we can see what a (relatively) modern stock looks like toned. Now, keep in mind that technically toned negatives don't really pass the color on to the film print or paper print unless you're printing onto color-sensitive material; here it is done more to manipulate the tonality of the image and moreso for purposes of making B&W negatives more archival. I believe Ansel Adams was a firm proponent of toning negatives in a highly-diluted toner solely for the purpose of ensuring the longevity of his master negatives.

~KB
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#10 Cohen Phillips

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 01:56 AM

Can't wait to see those tests KB! :)
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#11 Matthew Buick

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 07:19 PM

There has been scientific suggestion the low level exposure to Radiation can be beneficial. Don't take my word as law though.
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#12 K Borowski

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 08:32 PM

There has been scientific suggestion the low level exposure to Radiation can be beneficial. Don't take my word as law though.


Don't worry, we won't; we never do :rolleyes:
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#13 Matthew Buick

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 03:44 PM

My claim is based around a small town in Iran. They have two Nuclear Powerplant that have faced meltdowns and other such fu**-ups over the years. As a result the radiation content in the surrounding land is higher that anywhere else on Earth, yet the cancer rates are dramatically lower here that anywhere else on the planet.
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#14 K Borowski

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 04:01 PM

My claim is based around a small town in Iran. They have two Nuclear Powerplant that have faced meltdowns and other such fu**-ups over the years. As a result the radiation content in the surrounding land is higher that anywhere else on Earth, yet the cancer rates are dramatically lower here that anywhere else on the planet.


Well, you were so vague that I thought you were referring to exposing film to radiation. Isn't your English supposed to be so much better than mine due to your having been born and raised "across the pond"? :rolleyes:

As I learned in a psychology course I once took: correlation does not prove causation. There was a positive correlation between the number of preachers that immigrated to America and the amount of alcohol consumed in their parish areas. That does NOT mean that preachers drove their congregations to drunkeness. Radiation is not good for you, but since we live in a radioactive world in a radioactive universe, our bodies can withstand a certain amount of the stuff. However, trying to say that radiation is actually good for you is laughable. How can something that induces potentially cancerous mutations ever be good?

Edited by Karl Borowski, 28 November 2007 - 04:03 PM.

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#15 Matthew Buick

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 04:06 PM

Do you honestly think I propose fitting every room in a person's house with a glowing Uranium rod. I said LOW levels. Don't reply, you're sinking this thread.
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#16 Brian Pritchard

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 04:46 PM

Tint, being something done during the manufacture of film, to the film base, would be impossible for you to do. ~KB

Actually when tinting first started it was carried out using dyes to dye the emulsion. It wasn't until later that the various stock manufacturers introduced B/W Pos films with colour bases. There are labs, such as Prestech in London, that can still carry out tinting (and toning for that matter).

Some of the dyes used in tinting have safety implications. If you just want to experiment you can use food dyes which hopefully don't have Health and Safety problems. They will not be as stable as using the correct dyes but it is fun to try. There is no problem in tinting acetate or polyester films.

And thanks Henry for your kind remark about my website. The Eastman Kodak publication 'Tinting and Toning Eastman Positive Films' published in 1922 is available to read on my website at http://www.brianprit..._eastman_po.htm

Brian
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#17 Robert StMary

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 04:58 PM

Brian,

So you can use food coloring? Any idea on how to best tint a section of film? Just use warm water? A certain type of solution?

THANKS!

ROB!
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#18 Dominic Case

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 08:24 PM

The National Film & Sound Archive (in Australia) used food colouring to tint a b/w print of the 1919 classic The Sentimental Bloke about 15 years ago. They have their own lab, so it was easy to set up the machine they describe, filled with the dye solution.

A short paper on the project was published in the Journal of Film Preservation in1994, and at one time it was on the web, but seems to have been taken down. You might be able to get it at the Wayback site but here is the relevant section.

We turned to water based coloured food dyes as a safe yet effective method of tinting the gelatine emulsion. Three base colours of yellow, red an blue dye were used to recreate all the colours evident from the nitrate. Colour testing of the dyes to match the hue and saturation of the original nitrate colours took only minutes to carry out. The dyes were mixed and placed in a small rack and tank set-up, through which the film would be passed before entering a drying cabinet. A small amount of photoflo was added to the solution to help prevent water marks.
The dye bath contained 55 litres of solution, and immersion time was 2 minutes with the film running at a speed of 14 ft/min through the bath. Dye concentrations used for The Sentimental Bloke were yellow (3%), lavender (red 0.6% + blue 1.2%) and green (yellow 2.5% + blue 0.6%). A replenishment rate of 300ml of dye concentrate per 1000 feet of film maintained the correct colour saturation. Accelerated again over a one month period of film samples coloured by this method indicated a negligible reduction in colour saturation. Using ultrasonic splicing techniques, the coloured sections were quickly and easily reassembled into the final release print form.


I believe the dyed sections of the film did start to fade a little over the time since then, even though their short-term fade tests didn't indicate any significant fade.
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#19 Robert StMary

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 10:48 PM

WOW! Thanks for the tip. It sounds "easy" with the veggie dyes -- and not dangerous in the nuclear way!

CHEERS!

ROB!
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#20 K Borowski

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 12:29 PM

Well, I wasn't seriously recommending your using Uranium toner, just pointing out that EVERYTHING has been used as a toner at one time or another, it seems.

I think you'd be happier with something like selenium toner or gold toner or one of the commerciallly-available toners as opposed to foodcoloring, as food-coloring isn't really designed for the purpose you seem to have in mind.

Perhaps you could tell us the type of tone that you are after in the finished print, i.e. the color, the intensity, and whether you intend to use one tone throughout the entire film or alternate from one color to another.

~KB

BTW, I believe using dyes on the film is actually referred to as "staining" (or maybe "dying") and that tinting refers specifically to dying the film base, not the emulsion as well. Of course, solarizing is often misused to mean the sabatier effect, so the erroneous interchanging of these terms does have precedent.
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