Re: Color film

Bob Werre

I'm not certain of the motion picture processes such as Technicolor, but in still photography there was a camera that shot three holders of black/white film through red, green and blue filters. It was fairly large if you can imagine a common 4x5 Speed Graphic as a starting point. By removing the three darkslides, then a single exposure was made on each piece of film. Light was transferred to the three film planes via pellical type mirrors. Although the camera required a tripod they were used in the field, so it very possible some early freight cars were photographed in that manner. In the early 70's a local, deceased photographer's estate contained one of those cameras.

In photography school (69-71) everyone learned the process of dye-transfer by essentially the same process via three individual exposures through these separation filters. Through a fairly lengthy process individual colors are then placed on a sheet of white paper in perfect registration. The dye transfer process was considered "thee high end" process until sometime in the late 80's, when Kodak stopped supplying the materials. Color prints in large sizes were sold for thousands. Dye transfer prints are very controllable, have a high saturation/detail level, and will last a 100 years. The downside was the labor intensity and unless protected the colors would run if they got wet.

These same black/white negatives could be used in typical offset 4 color printing for mass distribution. Some photographers who want to preserve color images (transparencies or color negatives) will create these three separation negatives in a conventional darkroom, as black/white films will long outlast any color original.

Bob Werre

--- In STMFC@..., "SMMW" <jimking3@...> wrote:

Color film was around in the mid to late 1930s. Witness "Gone With The
Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz", both shot in the late 30s. There is a lot of
color WWII film now surfacing from archives and personal collections, much
of it has made it to DVD and/or the History Channel. Color slide film was a
very slow ASA 8 when it came out, then went to 10, then to 25 for a long
time. The introduction of Kodachrome 64 was a huge advancement for
photographers and remained a mainstay for pros until production stopped a
couple years ago.

Jim King

Smoky Mountain Model Works, Inc.

Ph. (828) 777-5619


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