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Tank / hand-processing of Kodachrome?

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<p>Definitely, it seems now this seems to be a more achievable project, especially if the hair dye concept proves to work out. I figure I can order a loader and some bulk B&W to practice the dying procedures, maybe even re-exposing and producing some one-color reversals on B&W. Since it is Kodachrome we're talking about, I will have very limited quantities to work with and want to have the procedure down pat before actually using it.</p>

<p>For the light re-exposures I have an idea which may work, but I'll run it by everyone here for critique. My idea is to buy a cheap SLR off eBay (the manual-advance ones), and hack the lens glass out and mount red and blue LEDs inside the barrel of the lens. Run them to two different circuits (one red, one blue) and respool the film accordingly to expose the proper side. Load the camera, and "shoot" the film again, one exposure at a time. For variance, the shutter speed can be altered to find the proper time. The film is rewound and re-tanked for the next step.</p>

<p>If I am able to get these trials to work...well folks, we'll be seeing the first color Kodachrome freshly developed in over a year (including the fact it may take me a while to acquire the water baths and dyes). @Larry - that would be a tremendous help, but I won't take you up on it until I have a process with a reasonable chance of success. If anyone wants me to, I'll scan and link to the process that I've (tentatively) worked out.</p>

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<p>Ignoring all of the other problems for the moment, I perceive some problems with your proposed method of re-exposure. The red re-exposure needs to come through the base. This is normally done when the film is wet. Running wet film backwards through an SLR will produce many scratches, some of them severe. Unless you are very consistent when loading film, the frame lines wont match up. If you want to use a camera body for re-exposure, remove the back plate and the mirror and transport the film continuously through the camera. It will be better if you don't wind the film into a cassette. Plan on doing this in your darkroom. You don't need to "hack the lens glass out". Just mount your LED's on a plate in front of the lens mount. </p>

<p>However this project turns out, I hope you will report back to us about what you have learned. </p>

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<p>Does the re-exposures absolutely have to be done wet? I forgot to mention I intended to dry the film before respooling. Also I planned on using tape marks on the film in several positions along the first few frames to serve for alignment purposes.</p>

<p>In regards to the wet re-exposures, I see no reason why it shouldn't work, but then again, Kodachrome was hard to process for a reason.</p>

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<p>I don't know whether acceptable results can be achieved with dry film for the red re-exposure. I'm pretty sure the results will be different. The red re-exposure is likely to be a bigger problem than the blue. The red spectral sensitizing dyes for Kodachrome were chosen in part because they would stick to the AgX grains when the film was wet. I know that an acid wash after the first developer will remove the spectral sensitizing dyes and prevent successful re-exposure. I know that if the wash after the first developer is too long, some of the dyes will be removed. This is one of 50 to 100 experiments you are going to have to try for yourself and find out. </p>
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<p>Lee makes three affordable color filters and I wonder if they can be used for re-exposing:</p>


<li>3x3" Green #58 Polyester Filter for Tricolor/Color Separation Work</li>

<li>3x3" Red #25 Polyester Filter for Tricolor/Color Separation Work</li>

<li>3x3" Clear Blue #47B Polyester Filter for Tricolor/Color Separation Work</li>



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Sounds fair. At this point it'll be chemical acquisition rather than process possibilities. For the most part I have a tentative

process worked out; I'll have some form of a typed description up in the next day or so. The equipment shouldn't be an

issue as this process is experimental at best and not designed to be efficient.


If I am able to get the dyes from Sigma-Aldrich, I'll pull times from the K-14 patent and develop that way with minimal

modification. I'll probably go the route of hair dye though, as it'll (most likely) be obtainable at less cost and greater

quantity. That also affords me the ability to practice and perfect the procedure more, at the cost of less dye stability (

compared to K-14 dyes) and non-standard times; I'll use bulk film for that. E-6 developer and reversal agents can be

used, as they are chemically equivalent to the Kodachrome process chemicals.

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<p>An idea...rather than respooling, etc, you should settle on your process then try it out on maybe a piece of film 2-3 exposures long. This would make the testing much more manageable. Another possibility, forget the film roll entire, mount single frames into plastic slide mounts and expose them singly, in a hacked-up film back. </p>
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<p>Haha :)</p>

<p>@Michael - that would definitely make developing a tad easier (each slide could be developed singly and the process perfected that way, especially the re-exposure parts, but the re-spooling of the film and the exposures that way helps me process film as a whole and if I were to shoot the film on the roll, I would get much better efficiency (given that KC is a commodity) - there would be those "wasted" end segments of film.</p>

<p>I do like the idea though, and will give it some thought.</p>

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  • 2 months later...

<p>Much of what was discussed in this thread is completely over my head. My knowledge of color development is nil. I'll stick to B&W, thank you. BUT... reading this thread brought up a question for me and I'm hoping I'm not going off topic? But, was the B&W Scala film similar to Kodachrome then? I realize that Kodachrome had three layers and that the Scala may not have had those layers. I shot several rolls of Scala in the mid-1990s and it was such an interesting film. I know that Scala is also discontinued but, I have seen it on eBay also. I was just wondering if it's in any way similar to the Kodachrome, even if it's only one layer, that perhaps it might beneficial as a test film for Eli? <br>

Also, Hi Erik! I know you from the Caffenol group on Facebook, I think. Anyway, I was also wondering about using plant-based dyes/developers for the colors. What about beets, for instance? I've used beet juice to dye frosting to make a pink cake and I've also used it to tone cyanotypes. </p>

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  • 4 years later...

<p>Scala film was just a normal panchromatic B&W film on a clear base. I [resume it also had some anti-halation measures either under the emulsion or on the backing side, since the grey base on normal B&W films is for anti-halation. (The anti-halation layers had to be ones that would come out in processing.) Then it was just reversal processed. Perhaps it was designed with different contrast (H-D curve) than normal B&W film, since positives have a limited density range.</p>


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<p>since the grey base on normal B&W films is for anti-halation<br>



<p>The gray base is both anti-halation, and to reduce light piping. With the leader out, light can follow down the film, the same way as through an optical fiber. Paper backed roll films don't have that, and can use other anti-halation systems. <br>


So, 35mm films without gray base should be loaded in even more subdued light than normal.</p>

-- glen

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  • 3 years later...

When this question came up, and someone posted the chemical names for the couplers,

I asked someone at Alfa chemical for the prices. It seems that one is in the catalog, but they

don't stock it. They synthesize it when you order, for hundreds of dollars per gram.


The other two, they would have to get a quote for, again would by synthesized to order,

and likely much more than hundreds of dollars per gram. They never wrote

back with the quote for them. It might be because I told them I

wanted 100g.


Just a random guess that you might want 10g of each, for maybe $10,000.


The reexposure has to be the right intensity and time.


The process is worked out such as not to give so much exposure that the

wrong layer is developed. The sensitizing dyes have enough overlap that

you can't just saturate it, except for the last one.


The green sensitive layer has to be done chemically, as there is silver in the other

two layers at that point, which would block the light.


The rear red, and front blue, exposure are done only from that side.

I suppose you could take it off the reel, put it against something black,

and expose with just the right intensity and time.


As a first try, one might want 100g of each coupler, maybe $300,000 or so?


It will take many hours of work, but doing it for the fun of it, one doesn't

worry about that. But I don't have $300,000 to put to the cause.


Note that chemical supply companies normally quote and supply

reagent grade chemicals, which are fairly pure.


There is a lower grade that chemical suppliers generate, called technical

grade, which is, for example, used for cleaning solvents. You buy techincal

grade alcohol to burn in alcohol stoves.


There is a lower grade that most don't even know about, which is photographic

grade. That means that it isn't very pure, but has only a small amount of certain

chemicals that interfere with processing. No chemical supplier will know how

to supply photographic grade couplers, but might be in the $/g range, if

they did.

-- glen

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It is very strange though.


Note that there are 5 pages, but nothing on pages 2 through 4.


Or maybe it is just me.

That's happened to many of the pre 'new look' threads. Not sure why. I suspect it has something to do with a revision of the posts-per-page limit..... or something.


I still don't understand why somebody would revive a decade-old thread just to add a meaningless comment.

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I am not sure why, either, but it reminded me that I hadn't finished this.


In 2015, so not from this thread, I asked Alfa about some chemicals.


For 2-benzoyl-2'-methoxyacetanilide, one of the couplers, which it seems

is an ordinary stock item, they quoted $495 for 50mg, or about $10,000/gram.


I thought about asking again for the others, which they would custom make

if ordered, but presumably they cost even more. It seemed mean to have

them quote, when it was so far from what. could afford.


It would be nice to know the actual formula for the different steps,

including how much of the couplers go in, but I suspect it is a lot

more than 50mg.

-- glen

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Didn't grind through the whole thread, but recalled that a while after Kodachrome was over, some folks were processing it as Monochrome. Quick internet search, and sure enough. My other recollection was that the outcomes weren't great. Never tried it myself.


Kodachrome in 2011 – Process as Black and White

  1. Pre-Wash. Pre-wash in 20°C water for two minutes, thirty seconds. ...
  2. Develop. Develop in Kodak T_Max developer 1-to-4 at 20°C for six minutes thirty seconds with constant agitation for the first three minutes – then agitation for ten seconds every 45 seconds until completion.
  3. Stop Bath and Extra Rinse. ...
  4. Photoflow.

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OK, realizing that the chance of anyone actually doing it is just a hair above zero,

does anyone know about how much of the couplers are needed to do the processing?


I will guess that, like others, one can mix up 1L and do maybe 10 rolls, so

how much for 1L?

-- glen

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