Polavision

Discussion in 'Instant Cameras, Backs and Film' started by SprintingInGerman, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. SprintingInGerman

    SprintingInGerman Member

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    Hey folks,

    I've got 16 rolls of Polavision movie film, the camera, and the processor/projector, and I intend to use said Polavision stock to shoot part of a film I've been writing. Given that there's probably no chance I'll ever be able to get Polavision film again, I'm making an attempt to establish as foolproof and concise an approach as possible in order to get any image at all whatsoever. So I have a couple questions about the stuff.

    Since there's a good chance the integral developer has dried up, and assuming that this is the case, is there ANY way to develop the film once its been shot? I.e., can I acquire or mix chemistry and then somehow run the film through it? Is there a way to "revitalize" the chemicals if they have dried out?

    Any thoughts on the subject would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    -Max
     
  2. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Wow, I'd really like to see the results. This is the screen-plate instant movie-film of Polaroid, right?

    That being said, since it's basically a black&white emulsion, perhaps you can get away with normal chemicals. But, presumably that will produce negatives and not positives, unless of course it's a direct-positive emulsion which I don't think is the case.

    If you can post pictures of the cans, the rolls, the processor, the projector, etc., that would be great. You have a very special collection... maybe the biggest in the universe! :wink:

    I would recommend sacrificing a roll to figure out testing, using short strips and exposed in a still camera.

    Is it super-8?
     
  3. xya

    xya Member

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    it's 8mm. don't expect too much, there is a good overview of what was possible with correctly stored film 10 years ago. there are photos as well:

    http://www.rwhirled.com/landlist/landdcam-pvis.htm

    nevertheless please keep us updated.

    kind regards

    reinhard
     
  4. SprintingInGerman

    SprintingInGerman Member

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    Whoops, looks like I left out the part that said I have the opportunity to buy it. The guy selling it is asking 100, and I'm trying to talk him down a little. So it looks like at least some of the footage could turn out...good to know. If i end up purchasing the lot, I'll post the test roll up. One upside re. if something goes afoul with the processing is that you've only got to wait 90 seconds to know whether or not you need to reshoot the scene...:tongue:
     
  5. rphenning

    rphenning Member

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    that closeup of the grain is gorgeous!
     
  6. SprintingInGerman

    SprintingInGerman Member

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    It really is beautiful stuff. I've talked the guy down to 60 bucks if he doesn't sell it by this Monday... Keeping my fingers crossed. I had been looking for a film that I could shoot some interludes between sections of a film I've been writing for the longest time, and nothing I knew of had the right look to it. And as soon as I saw Polavision it was one of those, "Holy crap!" moments.
     
  7. SprintingInGerman

    SprintingInGerman Member

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    I shot one of the rolls today, and after placing it into the player with no effect, I rewound the cassette by hand in the dark. This revealed no image on the film whatsoever. So, deciding that cannibalizing this cassette in order to discern its inner workings was better than making many repeated mistakes, I took it apart. The chemistry had dried to a very gummy consistency, and I suspect that the integral developer is completely useless. So I cut a strip from the roll and ran it through a sort of improvised HC-110 monobath, figuring that if a very high ratio of HC-110 to fixer doesn't develop it, (I mean, the stuff at Dilution A processes Tr-X in about 5 minutes...) nothing would. The developent was for roughly two minutes, and the processed film has been nearly stripped of it's emulsion, which makes sense, Polavision being a positive format. When it is light out tomorrow, I plan to shoot a roll of test footage, clip it into many short lengths, and experiment (in a less haphazard and more scientific manner...) with processing times. If anyone has, or knows someone to ask questions regarding, information about the chemistry used in the cassettes, that would be most welcome.

    I've included a scan of the positives that should illustrate the relative densities of the unprocessed and processed bits of film.
     

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  8. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Awesome, I'm glad you got the stuff.

    Have you been here? -> http://new55project.blogspot.com/ I believe that Bob Crowley is an active member here, and he might have some knowledge about the stuff.

    Without a reversal developer, this stuff should produce a negative just like any b&w film; the positive image being a product of the processing scheme, not the emulsion.
     
  9. SprintingInGerman

    SprintingInGerman Member

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    Yeah, after giving it some thought, clearly the change in the density of the emulsion is not per se evidence that the aforementioned approach is in any way a good idea if I want to get an image.

    Holmburgers, thanks for the tip. I've just sent him an email asking for his input.

    My current theory is that a dilute analogue of the original chemistry could be mixed, and the exposed film then loaded onto reels and souped in it, in a tank. I've done some hand-processing of Super-8, and still have the dingus that I built to wind the film onto.

    An aside: When you hold the film stock up to a light and look through it, there's the most beautiful prismatic effect as the different layers separate the image into cyan, magenta, and yellow.
     
  10. SprintingInGerman

    SprintingInGerman Member

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    I received Bob's reply to my email today, and he said that the processing chemistry may be very similar to that used for the Polachrome 35mm instant slide film. Looking at the Land List website, it seems that Polachrome was descended from Polavision, one difference being that the negative layer was left on Polavision whereas it was removed from Polacrome. Apparently, the remnants of the negative layer were one of the reasons that gave Polavision its notorious murky quality. If by using a Polachrome-derived developing agent the footage is relieved of this attribute, it would actually end up being better for both the image and projection through a conventional Super-8 projector.

    After about 5 minutes on the internet I located the MSDS sheet for Polachrome:

    Sodium Hydroxide: 5-10%
    Tetramethyl Reductic Acid: 7-13%
    Sodium Sulfite Anhydrous: .50-1.50%
    N-(N-Pentyl)-.Alpha.-Picolinium Bromide: 1-5%

    So, if any forum members are well-versed in chemistry, and could advise a course of action re. mixing this (aside from, "Wear gloves!"), I'm prepared to venture down the dark path of obsession that leads to lost friends and hospitalization in order to get this to work...

    Thanks in advance,

    Max
     
  11. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I'm the last person that would want to discourage you, but I don't think that the MSDS sheet will ever tell the whole story.

    Have you considered just using a good old fashioned reversal process?
     
  12. BobCrowley

    BobCrowley Subscriber

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  13. SprintingInGerman

    SprintingInGerman Member

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    Holmburgers, thanks for giving me a good kick. That's probably the best place to start. I've got a bit of a thing for attempting to tackle huge and complex solutions to problems. Like climbing Mount Everest in order to get some ice for a drink for example. I'll order some bleach as soon as I can.

    Bob, in my case, being young, I'm afraid it's not reminiscence but instead inexperienced nostalgia... But that article was a huge help. Provided that the developer penetrates the prismatic layers, I'm feeling pretty optimistic about the reversal method.
     
  14. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I see that you already found out the chemicals had dried. I was going to post that I just shot throught a pack of Polaroid peel-away still-camera film from the late 90s and it was totally dry.

    If the Polavision film does not work out for you there is also the PXL 2000, that is an analog solution.
     
  15. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Based off this...

    Dr. land said that the developer, which "has a passion for anonymity," is a tetramethyl reductic acid that vanishes into intert material after doing its work.

    I'd say that figuring this process out would be pretty "special". :D

    If you've got a good tank to do the developing of Super8, reversal processing is really an awesome thing to behold.
     
  16. SprintingInGerman

    SprintingInGerman Member

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    I've seen these! It's too bad they've surpassed the $100 mark... Also, the scenes really need to be in color. When I've got some extra cash to burn I want to try that out though. I wonder what would happen if you used a cassette that had been re-recorded over with audio for a decade...

    So in other news, I did a clip test of the footage, developing it in HC-110 dilution A for 8 minutes then water rinse then fix. Incredibly, and while thin to my eyes (although the format is so small that it's impossible to tell absolutely, but it does look much weaker than properly exposed S8), there is a full-color negative image! I tried to scan it, but the way the film is structured seems to scatter the scanner's light source, making it impossible to see anything. I'm going to bring the clip with me the next time I go down to the color darkroom and see if I can't make a print from it.

    Based on this, I'm really confident about the reversal process. Once I can confirm it works, it should be simple to narrow down the specifics re. the best developer/duration.

    It occurred to me that these are the sorts of things I should have figured out/researched BEFORE wasting those two cassettes...

    I'll keep you guys updated, and thanks a ton for the help.