Experiments in Tricolour Projection

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by tomharrison, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. tomharrison

    tomharrison Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I just thought I'd put together a quick post detailing my ongoing experiments in tricolour projection, that I'm undertaking for my MA studies at Derby University. I'm a tinkerer at heart and fascinated by the way that things bolt together, so the opportunity to spend some time working with the building blocks of colour photography has proved too good to pass up.

    I'm currently working with reversal processed Ilford FP4 shot in a Mamiya RZ76 through Lee lighting gels (three exposures for each subject, one through each red, green and blue gel). Obtaining consistent results from the reversal processing has proved to be a major challenge, but I think I'm well on the way to getting it under control.

    The 6x6 film frames go straight into glass slide mounts, which are then projected by three beautiful Gnome Alphax projectors (sourcing matching examples has proved to be another challenge). Registration is orchestrated by home made levelling plates that sit under each projector, and reworked slide carriers that use magnets to align the slide within the projector.

    Finally, a home made filter holder clips to the front of each projector lens, allowing for the addition of various shades and densities of red, green and blue filters at the projection stage; this in turn makes it possible to mix the overall colour of the final image in front of the viewer, as a kind of performance / educational art piece.

    I've put together a video of the setup as it currently stands, which you might find interesting:

    [video=youtube_share;BYUIDr3-U_o]http://youtu.be/BYUIDr3-U_o[/video]

    And here are a couple of example images which have been scanned and recombined in Photoshop (cheating I know, but a good way to illustrate things for people that aren't able to see the projections in real life)...

    moonmoth.png

    beetle.png

    If anyone would like more information, I'd be happy to go into more detail.

    All the best,
    Tom.
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi tom

    i recombine them in phootoshop mainly because i don't have any other way to recombine them :smile:
    i don't have a color darkroom &c. your project sounds like a lot of fun and endlessly interesting -
    shooting tri chromes is a ton of fun, isn't it ?

    john
     
  3. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    Crazy and beautiful. The best kind of thing.

    Marc!
     
  4. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    +1!

    An awesome amount of trouble that we might all have to go to eventually if we want to project non-digital color images.

    There are some superb examples of color photographs from the very early days of photography that used this method. Single exposure methods didn't catch up for a very long time, long after they supplanted tri-color because they weren't such a PITA. One of the things I find fascinating about those is the look of things like water or vegetation moving in the wind during the exposures. The stationary subject is rendered in sharply in good color while anything that moved between the exposures is a tri-color blur.
     
  5. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    In the same vein, you might enjoy these tri-color photographs of pre-revolutionary Russia under the Tsar. We are so conditioned to expect historical photographs from that era to be in b/w -- all those old newsreels of a b/w world -- that its sometimes a bit shocking to realize that the world then was in color. And as much as I love b/w photography, given the intent of the Prokudin-Gorskii project, color makes all the difference, really brings things to life.

    http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/empire/gorskii.html

    I really like what you're doing, Tom -- it pleases me a great deal that people are retaining this technical knowledge and using it to create great contemporary photographs.
     
  6. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    Marvellous.
    Well done.
     
  7. tomharrison

    tomharrison Member

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    Thank you so much for the positive feedback guys! Making process based work for an academic art submission can be a pretty hard sell (I'm producing these for an Photography MA), but I think it's all coming together to function as a pretty engaging piece. The quality of the projected colour image is quite magical, with frayed edges of lost registration (no mater how carefully I align things), and the shimmering vibration that accompanies the whirring cooling fans...

    I've just managed to get another set of three projectors together too, so I'm excited by the prospect of having all six beaming out a diptych that measures a couple of meters across.

    The next challenge is finding a gallery that might want to house them, so that I can get a bit of feedback from the public.
     
  8. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    I've seen similar installations as part of curated shows at galleries like Newlyn (both sites), the Arnolfini and Spike Island. However I imagine getting into that type of venue might be a longer-term prospect.

    I find it intrinsically interesting partly because I'm interested in the process, but I might find it even more engaging if it is to form part of a thematically or conceptually linked show. You may of course have such a theme or concept in mind - I'd be surprised if you're doing the MA and didn't :smile: - there are hints of what this is "about" on your blog and in your statement of course.

    Anyway, it's good stuff and sounds as if you are enjoying it too.
     
  9. 73764

    73764 Member

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    May I ask which Lee lighting gels are you using for the red, green and blue separations? I was thinking of trying #106 primary red, #139 primary green and #120 deep blue.
     
  10. tomharrison

    tomharrison Member

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    Hi 73764 - Yes, those are the three I'm using for capture. But at the projection stage I have a bunch of Rosco filters that I've mounted into holders, which lets me experiment with different combinations / colour renditions.
     
  11. davedm

    davedm Member

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    Reversal

    Hi Tom,

    This are awesome results.

    Off Topic, would you mind telling more about how you are doing reversals (may be even in separate thread if you wish).
     
  12. tomharrison

    tomharrison Member

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    Hi Dave

    This is the combination I've settled on for reversal processing after a fair bit of trial and error. I've come to the conclusion that, regardless of the approach you take, you'll always have to work through a few disastrous results before you get where you want to be. I only mention this as the caveat "Your milage may vary"...

    FILM:
    Ilford FP4+ rated at 125 ISO - It has a pretty transparent base and projects well.


    DEVELOPER:
    Ilford PQ Universal - A paper developer, mixed two different ways...
    Developer 1: PQ Universal mixed 1+5 with the addition of 12g/L of Sodium Thiosulphate (For 300ml of working chemistry that's 50ml PQ + 250ml Water + 3.6g Sodium Thiosulphate)
    Developer 2: PQ Universal mixed 1+9 (For 300ml of working chemistry that's 30ml PQ + 270ml Water)


    BLEACH:
    Potassium Dichromate solution (10g/L) + Sodium Bisulfate solution (65g/L) - These need to be mixed 1:1 for a working solution

    Note 1: Everything I've read suggests that you should mix these two solutions together just before using them, but I've happily kept them both mixed together in a 1L HDPE bottle for months at a time. I also reuse the bleach too, until it's so cloudy that I'm guiltily motivated into mixing up a fresh batch...

    Note 2: Yes, dichromates are nasty, but I use them in both Gum and Platinum printing so I'm confident in handling them carefully. You could use a Potassium Permanganate + Sodium Bisulfate bleach as an alternative to dichromates, but I've not experimented with that... I've read that Permanganate bleach can soften the film emulsion to the point where it's easily damaged. I've had no such problems with a Dichromate bleach.


    CLEAR: Sodium Sulphite solution (50g/L)

    Note 1: I keep this mixed in a 1L HDPE bottle and reuse it until it changes to a blue green colour.

    Note 2: If you're going to use a Potassium Permanganate bleach instead of a Dichromate bleach, you'll need to swap out Sodium Sulphite for a Sodium Metabisulphite solution (30g/L)


    FIX:
    Ilford Rapid Fix mixed 1:4

    Note: This gets reused for what seems like forever, as there's very little to fix out at the end of this process...


    PROCESS

    Note: All chemistry must be brought to 20 Degrees C

    Developer 1: 6 minutes, agitate for 10 seconds, pause for 20 seconds, agitate for 10 seconds, repeat. Dump this developer at the end.

    Wash: Fill the tank with tap water, dump. Fill the tank, invert 5 times, dump. Fill the tank, invert 10 times, dump. Fill the tank, invert 20 times, dump (Ilford Wash Method).

    Bleach: 3 minutes. Tap the tank well at the start to dislodge bubbles, invert 10 seconds every minute. Pour Bleach back into the bottle for reuse.

    Wash: See above.

    Clear: 2 minutes. Tap the tank well at the start to dislodge bubbles, invert 10 seconds every minute. Pour Clear back into the bottle for reuse.

    Wash: See above.

    Fog: 3 minutes. Start the timer and open the tank. Expose the film to light with the film still on the reel. I hold mine up to a ceiling spot light (a little 50W halogen). After 3 minutes, put the reel back in the tank and click the lid closed.

    Developer 2: 4 minutes, agitate for 10 seconds every minute. Dump this developer at the end. This development stage takes things to completion, so I don't think it's possible to overdo it.

    Wash: See above.

    Fix: 4 minutes, agitate for 10 seconds every minute. Pour Fix back into the bottle for reuse. There isn't much left to fix out, so 4 minutes is probably overkill. I ere on the side of caution as I reuse my Fix a fair bit.

    Final Wash: Fill the tank with tap water, dump. Fill the tank, invert 5 times, dump. Fill the tank, invert 10 times, dump. Fill the tank, invert 20 times, dump. Fill the tank with filtered (RO) water, invert 20 times, stand for 2 minutes, dump. The final RO water stage has completely gotten rid of the drying stains that plagued my early efforts - you could probably skip this if you live in a soft water area.


    And, that's about it..! I know that washing between stages is probably overkill, but it minimises the carryover between stages, so my Bleach, Clear and Fix last for ages and ages. But yeah, it works for me and after processing 30-40 rolls over the past 8 months, I seem to be getting pretty consistent results. Oh, one helpful tip... If your first attempt results in film that is too thin, reduce the first Dev time for a denser positive (took me ages to work that out).

    Hope that helps!
     
  13. tomharrison

    tomharrison Member

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    A new development...

    Three more projectors ready to go...

    6projectors.jpg

    Hmmm, why stop at six..?