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16mm Film Processing: Blue-tone/tint/cyanotype

film processing cyanotype black & white processing 16mm alternative processing

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#1 Jessica Johnson

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 01:57 AM

Hello, 

 

I'm currently working on a film experiment where I would like to process my film to have a midnight-blue & white look. I'm under the impression that I can process my negative normally and then experiment with processing the work-print. 

I have found some information online about Cyanotype processing (for still photography) but I am hoping to find some help on here -- recommendations to books on processing, uploaded examples of your own work, etc)

 

To be clear, I am hoping to achieve a look that has white-whites, but where the deepest black goes to a midnight blue (and still retains some type of dynamic range) Cyanotype processes tend to look more like a bright or royal blue in their darkest tones.

 

I haven't decided what B&W stock I will use yet, but have a short-end of 7222 that I will test on. 

 


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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 06:27 AM

I wouldn't be surprised if you found that had rarely, or ever, been done.

 

Best of luck, I guess!


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#3 Chris Burke

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 09:31 AM

There is a Purple scale stock from Lomography, but you might get the best results shooting tungsten based color negative film, like 7219 under daylight balanced light. It will render a blueish image. What I would do in a test is contact the lab that you will be dealing with and see if they will process 100 feet for cheap or at the same price per foot that you will be shooting the rest of your film at. Then, while you are shooting the 100 feet of 7219 under daylight, I would shoot some with normal 5500k light or outdoors(with no filtration) and some with blue gel either on the lights or the lens. You can do this in steps. Process normal with no correction and you will get test footage with varying degrees of blue scale. At least in theory. In fact as I type this and think about it all, I have convince myself to do the same thing this weekend. I will share my results. 

 

When you do it, keep notes as to how much if any blue filters added or shoot a slate with all the info at the head of each take. This way will get you in the ball park of a look and you can tweak it in the printing or color correction. If you are interested in other alternative photochemical methods, try contacting these folks http://agxfilm.org/  they cater to the experimental film maker and might have some great suggestions.  I don't see why a print couldn't be toned. It might mean an expensive tweaking of the lab's "soup"


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#4 Charlie Peich

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 09:34 AM

Hello Jessica!

 

It sounds like you want to 'tone' your motion picture film, possibly for projection. Tinting and Toning of B&W motion picture film was popular in the silent film period. Home movie enthusiasts, those that were into processing their films, would also color their 8mm and 16mm films (originals). Several suppliers offered pre-mixed chemicals.

 

From a 1927 Eastman paper:

 

"As distinct from tinting; a toned image consists of a colored image embedded within a layer of colorless g tine (gelatin), so that while the highlights are clear, the shadows are colored."

 

Brian Pritchard has info and samples on his site:

 

http://www.brianprit...tman_po_4ed.htm

 

This is not exactly the Cyanotype process, but an alternative. It seems you want to color a b&w positive transparency (16mm film print), not a paper or canvas print. Eastman's formula for blue toning uses iron ferrocyanide. This should work on b&w camera original processed neg or reversal.

 

"Commencing with a black and white image on positive motion picture film, it is possible to color this differently by purely chemical means so that the hue of the shadows differs from that of half-tones, while the highlights remain perfectly clear."

 

Above from  Cinematograph Weekly 5/1931- 'Double-Toning of Film'. The article states that the process does not effect sound tracks.

 

http://www.brianprit...e Toning KW.jpg

 

Wear a mask and gloves!

Charlie


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 04:31 PM

I don't know if actual toning is available any more unless you want to hand-process your b&w film rolls (somehow.)

 

The easiest method would be digitally, but if you had to do it photochemically, all I can think of involves making multiple generations because essentially you want a b&w image but with blue-tinted blacks, which means flashing a negative (not a positive) with blue light, but it would have to be a color negative made from an interpositive made from the b&w negatives (you can't just flash the original b&w negative with blue light and get a blue tint since it is b&w film, not color film).  That way, you'd have a b&w image on color negative stock that you can flash with blue light before processing.

 

I suppose another method might be to make a color print from a b&w negative A-B rolled with a piece of color negative of a blue field, which I think would expose more blue into the shadows, unless I am confused and the blue film would have to be bi-packed with the b&w negative in an optical printer in order to tint the shadows blue on the positive (IP or print).

 

Another more low-tech method would be to project the b&w image onto a white screen and rephotograph it onto color negative, but wash the screen with blue light.


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#6 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 08:36 PM

Another thought would be to shoot on color negative, but use daylight on tungsten film without an 85 filter, flash the shadows with very saturated blue light, bleach bypass the negative to reduce saturation and add a layer of B&W grain, then (if anyone still does it) ENR the interpositive to further reduce saturation and crush the blacks, and possibly flash the positive with amber light to get a duo-tone effect. I've noticed that cyanotype prints sometimes appear to the eye to have warm highlights, though that could just be the paper they were printed on.
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#7 Beau House

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 09:56 PM

Hi Jessica,

 

Check out the results Process Reversal posted on their site from a 2013 tinting & toning workshop:

 

http://processrevers...tinting-toning/

 

Based on their samples and some experience I've had toning black and white stills, I'd say that iron toning is the best way to achieve the blue you're looking for. Photographer's Formulary makes a powdered kit that's not too expensive. You might even be able to find it locally. 

 

Mono No Aware has some cyanotype workshop results on their site you might also find interesting. The big difference to point out though is that the process involves coating clear leader with cyanotype chemistry and contact printing with a UV light source, rather than using a camera. 

 

http://mononoawarefi...ype-filmmaking/

 

For general info Tim Rudman's Toning Book is an excellent resource (even though it's still photography oriented). It's out of print but worth grabbing if you find a copy secondhand. 


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#8 Brian Pritchard

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 04:19 PM

If you don't want to produce tones and tints chemically the usual way to get tint and tones is to use the method perfected by Noel Desmet of the Royal Belgian Archive.  To get a blue tint you pre-flash the colour positive stock with yellow light and then print the black and white negative onto the pre-flashed stock.  You need to do tests to ensure that the image is neutral. Obviously you can get any colour tint you want by flashing with the opposite colour.

To get a blue tone it is just a question of grading the black and white image to give the colour you want.  Usually you use a Wratten 85 filter of a piece of clear colour negative stock to ensure that you are able to grade the negative to the colour you want.  Again you can do both and end up with a tinted and toned image.  It is just necessary to do tests to ensure that you get the right result.

 

If you just want tints you can use food dyes which are obviously not toxic (hopefully) as are most of the dyes recommended in articles such as you will find on my website

 http://www.brianprit...tman_po_4ed.htm

 

Brian


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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 05:18 PM

But wouldn't color flashing the positive darken and tint the whites first rather than lift and tint the blacks as a color flash to a negative would?
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#10 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 12:30 AM

David, a number of years ago we worked on a short where the client wanted yellow highlights and blue shadows. It was done via IP/DN. If you flash the DN stock with blue light and use yellow printing lights for IP to DN step, you will get the effect.
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 01:29 AM

Yes, you flash the dupe negative if you want to turn the blacks to blue -- flashing the print would first tint and darken the highlights, not lift and tint the shadows.  Not that I've ever flashed a print with colored light before... but I know that flashing positive stock tends to darken the whites.


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#12 Brian Pritchard

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 02:23 PM

Flashing the positive will give a tinted print - that is the whites are coloured and the blacks remain black. Films were sometimes screened using a coloured filter over the projector which gives the same effect.

Toning colours the blacks and the whites remain white.  You achieve toning by printing a black and white negative with coloured light.

A tinted and toned print has coloured highlights and coloured shadows.  There are samples of all three on my website.

 

Brian


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#13 Jessica Johnson

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 02:25 AM

Thanks so much for the responses! I am doing my own processing, and will follow up with my results. 


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#14 Chris Burke

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 01:48 PM

Jessica, please post any results. Love to see them.
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