Making color with B/W

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by jason, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. I remember many years ago, in the magazine "U.S.Camera" an article by Polaroid about shooting B/W to get color! One used B/W film exposing I think one exposure thru a red filter and one thru green.The film was processed and a copy positive made. Mounting the positives in slide frames/holders they were projected at the same time via slide projectors onto the same screen, one on top of the other. Using a polarizer filter (on each lens or only one?) the black and white became color!
    I tried it. Though i did not get full color like Kodachrome, i did see some color. Not just fringes. The better the exposure and positives the better the color.
    Can anyone remember this alternate process? Polaroid released it hoping someone, somewhere could make it more..
  2. Search Tri-Color I think you may find all the processes you need.
  3. The first color picture was made by James Clark Maxwell in 1855. He exposed three films, each filtered using one of the three light primary colors. Three positive images were projected using three projectors. One fitted with a red filter, one with green and one with blue. This first color image is called the Tartan Ribbon. This is an additive process. You can find a copy on the web.
    Louis Ducon du Hauron, produced in 1877, color by the subtractive method using overlapping yellow, cyan, and magenta filters. These colors are called the subtractive primaries.
    Jonas Lippman in 1894 demonstrated full color images via an interference process using only black and white film, without filters.
    While many color processes were invented along the way, Kodak's Kodachrome, 1935 is likely the most successful followed by Kodacolor negative color film and Ektachrome, a simplified color slide film.

    Edwin H. Land of the Polaroid Corporation began in 1936, working on a modification of the three color theory presented earlier by Maxwell and Von Helmholtz. This theory states that is possible to reproduce all colors by combining red, green, and blue. By 1959 Land presented a new theory. He maintained and proved that all the eye/brain combination needs is two different wavelengths to give the impression of full color. To this day we are unable to explain how this two color method works. Let me add that this method remains a laboratory curiosity with little practical application.
  4. Thanks Alan . I actually tried it and sorta got some color. Cannot remember which 2 filters I tried. Think red and green. I know it was a curiosity. Polaroid would NOT have released it if it could be used commercially..
  5. Jason,
    The filters for tri-color are a #25A red ,#47B blue and #58 green. You will need some sort of pin register back to line up the three negatives ,and a film like Kodak Super-XX with a long shoulder curve. Very high quality but kind of a pain. Seem to remember the dyes were nasty.
  6. There was a recent post about a camera that was a "one-shot" camera of the sort used before color film, and for process work for a good time afterward ( pay no attention to the by-play on the error in the title "one-snot" ).
    Much of what you're asking about is explained there.
    The filters are Red -Green - Blue (familiar from monitor and color-space discussions as RGB)
  7. You are talking about Tri-Color. This is a separate thing..Polaroid revealed it as there was no way to easily sell. There were only 2 filter! Read Alan Marcus's reply. It is a working modification using Polarizers and 2 filters.
    I had hoped someone somewhere has an Old "U.S.Camera" where it was detailed. Thanks for replies.
  8. The Polaroid Land color film "Polacolor" was not based on Dr. Land's two color theory. Polacolor utilized three emulsions. It operated using red, green and blue sensitive silver salts. The color image consists of yellow, magenta, and cyan dye. This method is known as a
    subtractive color process.
    There was a motion picture film "Polavison" and a 35mm slide film "Polachrome". These used the additive method. The method used closely resembled the Dufaycolor process of 1910 invented by Louis Ducos (French 1837-1920). This method presents color using a mosaic of red, green, and blue filters built into the film. These were financial disasters.
    Dr. Land's two color theory of human vision was not utilized.
  9. G.A.Smith produced Kinemacolor which was a two colour colour movie process in 1906, and this principle was used in a number of other systems for the next 30 years or so until practical tripack films were invented (there was a two colour Kodachrome in 1922 - 14 years before the familiar 3 colour film was first sold!). You occasionally see early cartoons made in two colour on UK TV still. Early Technicolour films and prints were also based on two colours only.
    The best guide to the development of colour processes is probably Brian Coe's book 'Colour Photography: The First Hundred Years, 1840-1940', but there is also a lot of useful information in his companion volume 'The History of Movie Photography'.
  10. Here is an early article in US Camera, November 1959, concerning Land's initial work on this theory.
    There is a May 1959 article in Scientific America magazine. I don't have that issue.
    There may be some later articles under the name Retinex Theory.
  11. TY all for your replies.Found a link using digital cameras. Please note only 2 filters not three! anyway lets close it!
  12. Nothing here is ever closed. You never know when someone else will want the same problem solved. Maybe it would be nice to put the links you found so the rest of us can see them. Just a thought.
  13. "The techniuque may already have been covered, but I just wanted to contribute to the thread with a link to Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii's amazing photographs using red/green/blue filters."

    I was intrigued by this after seeing it many years ago, and so this afternoon I had a go myself - not at all scientifically, though, just using some of those disco light-style filters. I shot three exposures with my Yashica Mat, swapping filters, and ended up with something like this:

    A quick shufty with Photoshop's auto-alignment and some colour balancing, and voila:

    It's bloody awful, but I was pleasantly surprised just to get something that looks a bit like real life. The horizontal flip isn't a consequence of the colour process, by the way. The flare is from holding the filter in front of the lens. More examples (with twelve exposures a roll, I get four shots), and bear in mind I picked them for the colour, not the subject:



    I was curious to see if there were any three-shot black and white cameras, because I remember reading about a three-shot colour wheel accessory for the Kodak DCS 460M, an early monochrome digital SLR. The example in one of the links above looks very bulky. I wonder if anyone sold a spinny colour wheel with a regular filter size? It would be a pain to use.

    Imagine if one day there was a way to take a colour picture with a single exposure. Imagine that. It would transform the world - there would be no more racism, no more war.

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