Kodachrome Home Development - I've an idea

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by htmlguru4242, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    I know that I'm probaby beating a very dead horse with a very large stick here, but I'm going to ask this anyway ...

    Looking thorugh info. on this forum and elsewhere, the processing procedure for Kodachrome does not look difficult; just time consuming and using hard-to-find chemicals.

    Obviously regular developers / bleaches could be used, which leaves the issue of the couplers. Couldn't something along the lines of Rockland's Polytoner system be used for these? If so, that would make it not very difficult to do ...
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    If they contain true couplers and work by color development, then it would work. I doubt if it would work with true Kodachrome film due to the addenda in the Kodachrome developers used to control image quality. It would probably work with a set of separation positives, each developed in its own color developer.

    PE
     
  3. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    My 2000 FCW has been depressed ever since K64 120 died.

    But it was FUN for a while !
     
  4. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    PE, not sure what you mean by "addenda in developers ... "

    could you explain??


    Yes, and a shame about Kodachrome 120 ...
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The Kodachrome color developers contain a whole host of chemicals for curve shape control and control of cross contamination. Then they contain anti-oxidants and other ingredients to hold the couplers in solution and enhance copuling rate.

    See my patent on the subject. I am one of the co-inventors of CD6 used in the Kodacrhome yellow developer.

    PE
     
  6. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    In other words, send your film to the lab for processing. Nobody can do it at home properly unless he is Photo Engineer. And I guess even Photo Engineer would have to make a substantial effort.
     
  7. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    And 3 miles of garden hose.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Petzi, I wouldn't say exactly that.

    It is hard and time consuming. I really wouldn't try even though I have seen it done and worked on it a lot.

    I wouldn't even trust myself to important work without a lot of trial and error.

    PE
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I'm sorry, but it is late here and we had a busy day. I don't have the patent or the formulas at hand. If you really want, I can look them up and post them. I cannot get to it until tomorrow afternoon at the latest. In the mean time, if you really have to have it, you can look it up on the US patent web site.

    PE
     
  10. CRhymer

    CRhymer Subscriber

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    One difficulty, aside the more complex ones, is removing the remjet before development. I have developed old Kodachrome II standard 8mm movie film by B&W reversal (permanganate/sulphuric acid bleach) with some reasonable success, but re-exposure after bleach can be done through the emulsion side. As I understand it, and PE can perhaps confirm, correct, or expand on this, Kodachrome requires re-exposure at different stages through both the emulsion and back of the film - related to the yellow dye layer, etc., within. Remjet is not hard to remove (with some practice) after development, but I should think would be very difficult, without an automated setup, to remove it in the dark before development. I have also tried one cartridge of old super8 Kodachrome II by B&W reversal and got absolutely nothing - only clear emulsion - I am puzzled - perhaps PE - or anyone else could comment.

    There is an interesting discussion of the Kodachrome facility in Lausanne, Switzerland, in the first issue of Smallformat Magazine

    http://www.atollmedien.de/smallformat/

    Since I am in Canada, Super8 Kodachrome 40 (discontinued) came with prepaid mailers which are currently (until the plant closes) sent by Kodak to Switzerland for processing.

    Cheers,
    Clarence
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I have clear memories of the "family tours" at the Kodak processing laboratory in North Vancouver, British Columbia Canada where my father worked. Every few years they would close down the processing lines for a day, and set things up so that staff and their families could tour the operation, to see what really happened there (they even had the lights on).

    This was quite a production, because during the summers (in the late 1960s and early 1970s) they were running the Kodachrome and Ektachrome machines 24 hours a day, using three shifts. They didn't even have colour print facilities there - everything was either slide film or movie film (how things have changed :rolleyes: ).

    The machines were massive. All the rolls of film to be processed were pre-spliced on to large reels, and then run through those massive machines at quite high speeds.

    For the tours, they ran the leader through the machines. If I recall correctly the leader rolls were very long (100s of yards?, 1000s of yards?). The leader roles were necessary, because in order to calibrate the process correctly (a procedure repeated on a regular basis), the machines had to have either film or leader running through them, because otherwise the normal amounts of chemistry would not be displaced, and the calibration would be incorrect. Again, if I recall correctly, the first calibration run each day (or possibly each shift) was done using just the leader.

    I expect that some of this process may have since then been streamlined somewhat, or made more appropriate for smaller volumes, but as I understand it the Kodachrome process has very narrow tolerances, and requires such high volumes to maintain those tolerances, that home processing would be very difficult to accomplish.

    If I have mis-remembered any of the details above, I trust that PE or someone else will correct me.

    As you may guess, those tours, plus all the rest of my youthful exposure to all things Kodak, had a lasting effect on me. :tongue:
     
  12. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    The question is whether one-shot processing with fresh chemicals would be feasible. I understand that things need to be kept in balance in a continuous processor. But perhaps fresh solution could be prepared that works correctly.

    I also wonder if Kodak would sell the original chemistry, that would make things a lot easier I guess.

    There has got to be a reason why a home processing kit has never been offered. I guess the difficulty associated with the process might be one reason.
     
  13. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    [QUOTE = "Petzi"]There has got to be a reason why a home processing kit has never been offered. I guess the difficulty associated with the process might be one reason.[/QUOTE]

    I'm sure that that has to do with the re-exposure steps. I think that two re-exposure steps are required; one through the base (red light?) and one through the emulsion (blue light?). This is quite difficult to do on anything other than sheets (for obvious reasons).

    Also, we're probably some of the only people who've actually thought seriously about home processing this stuff.

    [QUOTE = "Petzi" ]I also wonder if Kodak would sell the original chemistry, that would make things a lot easier I guess.[/QUOTE]

    That would definetely be nice; then its just a matter of running the process ... if not, perhaps you could convince some Kodachrome - processing lab to sell you some??
     
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  15. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    It seems unlikely to me that exposure from a particular side of the film is required, other than that the film is opaque at this point in the processing, and that this means the light might not get to the right layer if applied from he wrong side. I would assume that the side is irrelevant if enough light gets to the emulsion. Perhaps Photo Engineer can shed some light on this issue. :smile:

    Actually Jobo film spools are made of clear plastic in order to facilitate exposure during processing without removing the film from the spool.

    I have a rotational processor that includes a lamp to expose reversal film during exposure. You can program it to light up during the process! The film is spooled onto the outside of the drums here.
     
  16. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    It might not be that easy. The chemicals are made for a replenished continuous process. You would need some kind of starter to make a solution for one shot development. I assume this is necessary because it so with other processes like C-41.
     
  17. CRhymer

    CRhymer Subscriber

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    IIRC the three layers must be re-exposed to the proper colour of light or fogging developer as the case may be in the right order, with the correct developing/couplers in between steps. Red through the base, blue through the emulsion side (yellow filter layer masks centre layer), centre layer by fogging developer, etc. I don't have the info at hand, and am a little foggy on the details, but PE can surely set us straight.

    Cheers,
    Clarence
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Just a few comments before I dash off for the day.

    1. Rem jet is removed in hand processing by hanging the roll of film up and then wiping the back down with a sponge dipped in dilute alkali. Then the film is wiped again with a sponge that is wet with distilled water. This removes the rem jet and all extra particles and leaves a clear film base. This is not practical with motion picture, and makes subsequent feeding onto reels difficult, but that is not desirable anyhow in the long run.

    2. All research scale Kodachrome was processed in a small tank holding about 2 - 4 gallons of solution. I have seen 35mm developed in 1 liter graduate cylinders. We mixed the solutions up in small batches from the formula. There is a 1 liter formula.

    3. The Kodachrome process is very sensitive to keeping. It drifts in color balance with keeping and seasoning. Fresh solutions are best. That is what we did at the research scale. In fact, we used a 2 part color developer and mixed in the color developing agent at the last minute. Aerial oxidation quickly turned the color developers the color of the dye that it formed. It was a colorful process.

    4. The film requires 2 reexposures and one chemical fogging step. The sequence has been published over and over and over, but here is a rough outline again!

    rem jet removal then:

    a. First developer
    b. wash
    c. red exposure through base
    d. cyan developer
    e. wash
    f. blue exposure through emulsion
    g. yellow developer
    h. wash
    i. chemical fog
    j. magenta developer
    k. wash
    l. bleach
    m. wash
    o. fix
    p. wash
    q. final rinse

    PE
     
  19. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I ran across an interesting tidbit in Tom Grimm's The Basic Darkroom Book, 3rd Edition (Plume, 1999, p. 188):

    I don't know if Grimm was misinformed, was reporting on a machine that never made it to market, or if this equipment was withdrawn from market so soon after being introduced that it didn't have any impact. In any event, I certainly don't see these machines sitting next to the Fuji Frontiers in drug stores. Perhaps PE can comment on it.
     
  20. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    A few smaller labs had the K-Lab machine, including A and I, and there was one in Florida, and I think one in Vancouver maybe. A and I even used to do push processing with Kodachrome.

    New York Filmworks (not my favorite lab) used to do Kodachrome, but I think they had the old-style processing line. I don't know if they eventually switched to the K-Lab processor.
     
  21. CRhymer

    CRhymer Subscriber

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  22. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    This is where you are wrong. Each of the three emulsions layers must be developed separately and must be exposed to light from a specific side. I believe the center layer is the last to be developed and may use a fogging developer. It has been years since I read about the K12 and K14 processes. The Dignan Newsletter published the formulas as in intellectual curiousity. The steps in the process are far more exacting and complex than the E-6 process.
     
  23. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Gerald, it seems that you didn't read my last post.

    I am free now to look up the actual formulas and patent # if anyone is interested.

    PE
     
  24. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    I can only plead that my post had a long gestation this morning. I kept getting sidetracked by work. I long to be retired and able to devote my time to photography.
     
  25. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    Well, yes, I'm interested. Not because I'm going to try myself, but merely out of curiosity. I have fond memories of Kodachrome.
     
  26. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    US Patent # 3, 658, 525 and one other by the same inventors.

    PE