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kodachrome into black and white?


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#1 kevin jackman

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 05:34 PM

Im told kodachrome can be processed as black and white film. Anybody have any information on how to do this properly and can anybody share the results?
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#2 K Borowski

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 06:04 PM

Do a search on it. There was, I seem to recall, an article on it in the 8mm Metadirectory. Martin Baumgarten wrote the article, I believe.
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#3 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 07:16 PM

---> KODACHROME Processed as Black & White <----- [October 2010]

Yes, KODACHROME can be processed as Black & White, I do it all the time here. In fact, in default, so can virtually ALL photographic films. KODACHROME is a triple layer matrixed B&W film in reality [matrixed with gelatin filter layers for the 3 primary colors], and color dyes are added by 3 separate Color Developers relative to the formation of the Positive silver during the reversal process. All black metallic silver is removed during the Bleach and Fixer stages in the end, leaving only the positive color dyes. There's more to it than that, but that's it in a nutshell for this part of my answer.

Since KODACHROME is really only a B&W film, it is most often processed as a B&W Negative, usually done for all the old K-12 films and K-14 films that were exposed years ago but never processed. They have to be done as a Negative, since Reversal processing would leave a faint muddy image if anything at all, due to the severity of the age fog in the film. This is what is done for such old films here at PPS, at Film Rescue, and also at Rocky Mountain Film Lab (if they're still operating these days). To save images from those old films, that is the only way to process them, using a high contrast technical developer adjusted for the age of the film, and any resulting images then transferred to a video format (nominally DVD) and returned to the customer along with the film original.

However, IF the film is good stock, meaning having been cold stored since new and virtually as good as new, OR film of recent manufacture...... it can be processed as EITHER a Negative or Positive (via B&W Reversal processing). What does it look like? Pretty good if the film has been cold-stored. As a Negative, depending on what developer is used, it will have nice even tones and can be used to telecine the images just as with any negative stock. As a Positive image, done via B&W Reversal processing, the film looks pretty good, but is grainier than what we're used to expect out of KODACHROME. The reason is because processed as Color Reversal, the dyes overlap each other and are themselves virtually devoid of grain. The grain we see is the ghost image of the grain from the original B&W Positive image that is necessary to create the Color Dye image. So, yes, it's pretty good, just grainier, and grainier than PLUS-X 7276 or 7265......but less grainy than TRI-X 7278 or 7266.

This is one reason I'm not worried about using up my KMA Sound filmstock, since it can still be processed as B&W and I'd rather have B&W Sound film, than no sound film at all; or try to race and use up what I have just to use it up and have to pay all the processing costs to do that, without really having enough time to use it properly for some project. But it is somewhat expensive to have it processed this way at any of the labs, unless you wish to tackle it yourself...which is quite doable if you have the equipment: processing tank system, film rewind setup, darkroom trays, photograde sponge (to physically wipe the remjet off with the Borax Bath solution), chemistry etc.

Also, done as B&W Reversal, it can also be Sepia toned just like the other B&W Reversal films, and that gives it a nice look. I'll try to run some tests here when I get out of this busy holiday photography season, and post some frame grab results. Lastly, since the film is silver-rich, it really needs the previous B&W Reversal process........otherwise, if using the D-94a and new Bleach, you'd have to make some adjustments to the Development time and also extend the Bleaching time out. There's some other factors involved here as well in processing, development time aside....and the worst factor is the removal of the Remjet Anti-Halation Backing, which when processing manually, must be done after processing, and slowly by hand using a Borax bath, and then a rewash afterward. A reminder here though, if you have old films that were shot long ago, or just old film that you might want to use that was NOT cold stored.....forget about processing it as reversal; it will just be muddy nothing or very very poor.

AND.....when processing OLD films, the darn remjet backing is very stubborn and you really have to work at getting it all off; meaning a long soak in the Borax Bath [10 to 20 minutes average] to help loosen it, and usually giving the film two wiping passes to get it all off. And even then, you might still have some streaks of it here and there. In the K-12 and K-14 processing machines, they use not only solution but soft buffer rollers rotating at high speed to help clear all this off and then a spray rinse to remove residual traces as the film passes through that stage of processing (done prior to actual developing).

Hope this helps.
Best regards,
Martin Baumgarten
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#4 o fodor

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 09:45 AM

HEllo,
Can you give the eaxct way you process K40 as BW eversal ?
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#5 o fodor

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 09:50 AM

I mean can you share what chemistry you use,
and what steps you follow, to process K40 on reversal BW.
It seems to be some 'secrets' on wha developper to chose,
and what method for bleach.
I have big stock of sound film too !
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#6 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 01:04 PM

The process I use depends on the type and age of the KODACHROME film I am developing. For very old KODACHROME-II films and very old KMA-40 films, they are processed to a B&W Negative using conventional KODAK D-19 technical developer, with time and temperature based on what information the customer has provided to me about age and storage history. Otherwise, for most films exposed prior to 1985, I will process the films not longer than 3 minutes and at 68 F (20 C), with first having a 2 minute prewash stage. I used to use an anti-fog agent, but have not really noticed any benefit to doing so for very old films that suffer from severe age fog. Afterall, that silver has been ionized and will react to development, and no chemical added can distinguish between silver that has reacted to light energy or to radiant energy.

If a batch of films come in, I will test one first, and base the processing on my results. If films are severely age fogged, I will often lower the Developer temperature down to about 65 F so that I can still keep development time in the 2 min to 4 range. It's a delicate balance between getting images and getting nothing. You have to be careful to not make the times so short that you'll just get cloudiness in the images with little detail. Some films are so severe that to the eye, it looks like the film is completely black. But upon examination under a strong light, you will see the images. I transfer all films done this way to video for the customer, who gets back their processed film and usually the DVD. The films that yield a somewhat closer to normal density negative image, can be transferred via most any telecine method. The films that are so extremely dense will require a more conventional telecine transfer with a bright projector lamp in order to be able to see the image and render it to video.

B&W Reversal Processing of KODACHROME films: This really can only be done successfully with films that are in good condition, not too old, or have been cold stored prior to use, regardless of age. Otherwise, there isn't enough silver for the reversal stage due to the severe age fogging in old films, and the images will either be very faint with little detail, or nothing at all.....just clear film. To reversal process good KODACHROME film, just use the normal B&W Reversal process. Prewash the film 1 to 2 minutes prior to development, and you will have to push the development in the First Developer by at least 2 minutes over normal time. The reason is that KODACHROME will lose its effective filmspeed if processed to the exact time you would process Plus-X or Tri-X for example. If you do not compensate the time, then the final images will be too dark otherwise. IF you are using the newer KODAK D-94a formulation to process the film and the new permagenate Bleach solution, then you will have to conduct a test to determine your time in the First Developer based on density after processing, and also will have to extend the Bleaching time by twice as much in order to bleach out all the negative silver.

REM-JET Coating Removal: In the motion picture process, this is soaked to soften in a remjet removal bath stage, then buffed with buffing rollers at the tank exit stage while being rinsed with water at the same time. In manual processing, you will have to remove the remjet after all processing is completed. It is troublesome, and slow to remove. After the film has been properly washed free of the Fixer, soak the film in a solution of Borax & Water (2 to 4 tablespoons per Liter), at a temperature of 75 F to 80 F, for at least 5 minutes, longer if necessary. After soaking, remove the film from the processing tank or spiral reel, depending on what method you are using. Transfer the film to a takeup reel, and then place into a tray of the Borax solution. If you can make up a special plastic tray by gluing a small stud in the center upon which the reel can rotate, all the better. Then setup a rewind arm; I use a portable 3ft setup with 2 small Craig 8mm/16mm rewinds on a 3ft 2" x 4" board which I can clamp to the lab sink or countertop via a large C-Clamp. Use a good photo-grade sponge and have a 2nd tray of Borax solution, as you will pull the film from the holding tray, thru the sponge which you will keep soaked and submersed in the 2nd Tray, and the film will then pass to the Takeup Reel on the Winder Arm. The remjet backing should come off, just be careful to wind slowly and watch the removal upon takeup. Be advised, this is a very messy process, and you will have to rinse the sponge out many many times, usually after every 5 to 10 feet of film. It depends on how much came off during the processing itself, usually, not too much. Generally, you will have to wipe the film completely at least twice to get all the remjet off. Then once removed, you will have to wash the film for at least another 2 minutes to remove all traces of the Borax solution. Then use a Wetting-Drying Agent such as KODAK Photo-Flo Solution, chamois if desired and hang up onto a Film Drying Rack to dry.

NOTE: IF the remjet is very hard to remove, even after soaking for a long time, even if you have increased the solution strength by double, then you will have to use more physical force by squeezing the sponge harder and pulling the film thru just a couple feet at a time and checking for removal, and if not all off, backing the film and going over those 2 feet of film again, until the backing is off. On some very old films, you will find that there often are still small traces of the remjet backing, and even film cleaner won't remove it easily. For Newer and/or Cold Stored films, the remjet will come off.

SEPIA Tone: If you prefer a nice rich Sepia Brown Tone to the reversal image, then substitute KODAK T-19 Developer for the ReDeveloper. This is a simple solution of Sodium Sulfite and Water....but NOTE.....use plenty of fresh air, since not only does this stink of rotten eggs, but can be dangerous! No reversal exposure is necessary when using this Developer. The formula is as follows:

KODAK SULFIDE ReDEVELOPER T-19
Kodak Sodium Sulfide (Anhydrous) 20.00 grams
[NOT Sulfite!]
Water to make......................1.0 Liter

I have been able to use Sodium Sulfide Flakes, but they must be ground up prior to mixing using a mortar and pistol and it can be quite time consuming. If you use this, make sure you use a breathing mask and do the grinding in full fresh air.

Exact times, temperature, method, all depends on what chemicals are available to you in processing your own films, and also what processing method you are using: Rewind Tank, Reel & Trough, Rack & Tray, Spiral Reel & Tank etc. No secrets, just normal B&W Reversal Chemistry, either the original long time formulas, or the current D-94a process.

LASTLY, if you desire a NEGATIVE image instead of Reversal, you can make use any any conventional full emulsion speed continous tone Developer (e.g. D-76, Microphen, HC-110 etc) and adjust your process as necessary based on density results. I recommend shooting your own Control Strip so that you can fine-tune the Negative Development to whatever Gamma or Contrast Gradient you desire. Since most would be transferring the Negative images to Video with electronic reversal......a remote possibility is to print the film and strike a positive from it; but that is costlier.

Hope this is useful to you.
Martin Baumgarten - November 2010
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#7 Azucena Losana

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 03:08 PM

Martin Baumgarten

you're the best! it worked perfectly with K40

Thanks

aZu


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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 06:26 PM

One general query.

 

Why is the Kodachrome process considered so difficult? What's stopping someone figuring out how to actually process K40 as colour reversal, in the way it was intended to be processed?

 

P


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#9 Mark Dunn

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 05:30 AM

It's non-developer-incorporated. It has to be redeveloped and re-exposed separately for each colour layer. So the, what, 6 step process for E6 turns into something like 16.

Until its last few years when Kodak figured out how to package the chemicals minilab-style it needed an analytical chemist in the lab.

https://en.wikipedia...ki/K-14_process

Ah, found it.

http://www.kodak.com...abs/index.shtml


Edited by Mark Dunn, 17 June 2015 - 05:35 AM.

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#10 Mark Dunn

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 06:09 AM

So if E6 is a flatpack wardrobe, K14 is a pile of planks, a hammer and some nails. And you have to hire a carpenter.


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#11 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 11:04 AM

Another thing about K-Chrome is that the color dyes are added in processing and Kodak no longer makes them. Unless a substitute could be found it would be impossible to process K-Chrome in color.


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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 11:15 AM

Is the composition public?


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#13 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 12:46 PM

Not sure.


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#14 Will Montgomery

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 01:11 PM

So if E6 is a flatpack wardrobe, K14 is a pile of planks, a hammer and some nails. And you have to hire a carpenter.

But the carpenter will have to where a hazard suit.


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#15 Doug Palmer

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 04:12 AM

Another thing about K-Chrome is that the color dyes are added in processing and Kodak no longer makes them. Unless a substitute could be found it would be impossible to process K-Chrome in color.

Many years ago when Kodachrome II was around there was a lab in UK that sold and processed its own brand of Kodachrome (actually the US Dynachrome film).  There's a history of it:

http://www.photomemo...Gratispool.html

and I've always thought it must have been a little crazy for a small company like that to have used something very similar to the complicated Kodachrome process, when Ektachrome was already available.

 

Presumably there was at that time an independent supply of the colour dyes needed.  So maybe it's just possible with the later Kodachrome :unsure:


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#16 Mark Dunn

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 04:29 AM


 

Presumably there was at that time an independent supply of the colour dyes needed.  So maybe it's just possible with the later Kodachrome :unsure:

Apparently Kodak made them.

"Kodak may not have been relaxed about it, but the anti-trust laws in the US stopped them from doing anything about it. By that stage, they might as well make some money and keep tabs on our progress by selling us (and Dynacolor) the wherewithal to do it."


Edited by Mark Dunn, 18 June 2015 - 04:30 AM.

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#17 Doug Palmer

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 01:53 PM

Apparently Kodak made them.

"Kodak may not have been relaxed about it, but the anti-trust laws in the US stopped them from doing anything about it. By that stage, they might as well make some money and keep tabs on our progress by selling us (and Dynacolor) the wherewithal to do it."

Oh I see yes...

I think it's interesting that this firm Gratispool were selling and processing their 8mm "Kodachrome"  film about one third cheaper than Kodak's, even with buying their chemicals. 


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#18 Will Montgomery

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 03:59 PM

Oh I see yes...

I think it's interesting that this firm Gratispool were selling and processing their 8mm "Kodachrome"  film about one third cheaper than Kodak's, even with buying their chemicals. 

That's because Kodak was making money like crazy. That of course led to it becoming giant and bloated.

 

If you already paid for all the research, owned the buildings and machines, I would think you'd still be able to make money making and selling motion picture film as long as you treated it like a startup, lean operation.


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#19 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 20 June 2015 - 03:29 AM

Nice site this photomemorabilia

 

the choice available then!

 

This website response form is driving people crazy. Nothing like paste or links inserting seem to work


Edited by Andries Molenaar, 20 June 2015 - 03:32 AM.

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#20 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 20 June 2015 - 01:11 PM

At least we still have motion picture film to use in the smaller gauges, 16mm, Double 8mm, Double Super 8mm, Super 8mm, and Single-8(via custom reloaded carts), and even 9.5mm from France(albeit extremely limited).  We can't bemoan the loss of what is gone (unless some wealthy hobbyist out there wants to fund having KODAK make up new EKTACHROME reversal film, which they said earlier this year they would do if the highly expensive minimum amount were ordered, of any stock).  Use what we have, and continue to support those places that support us, the filmmakers, the hobbyists, the artists, and home moviemakers.

 

   Back to the main topic, processing KODACHROME as Black & White.  It works fine, and can be done via fine grain results if the film is rated at ISO 10, or grainer (due to push processing) if rated normally via the cartridge notching system in most cameras.  It looks great also as a continous tone B&W Negative, and terrific is a different way via Sepia Reversal processing.  This all applies to "good" filmstock, that which is not too old, and/or regardless of age, has been kept in deep freeze since new or nearly new.  There's still lots of KODACHROME Sound film out there that hasn't been exposed, and it's a great way to make use of any functioning magnetic sound camera!  Nicely done, that single-system sound can be just wonderful, and surprisingly clear audio, even with filming at 18fps.   I'm often still amazed at my earlier sound films, great audio, great picture, and super image (especially some of that CinemaScope stuff shot with my KOWA 16H lens).  So, have some film to shoot?  Go out and have fun, document the family, your trip, your friends, afterall, it's summer now in the northern hemisphere.  Best regards, Martin Baumgarten


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