View Full Version : 50s Technicolor Trade Secrets

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Mustafa Umut Sarac
11-25-2010, 09:19 AM
I think it is time to invest time to the best colorful color system of 1950s Technicolor.

As Everyone remembers , this era films were excellent and ended at 1970s and started at 1930s. An Autochrome thread follower will find to easier to understand the concept and thinking out of box is easy.
There are many technicolor films even today but I am talking about recording three different R , G and B strips on to bw films and than imbibition these films at the lab to CMYK single print.

Now the big question , is it possible to do it today without running three different strips but may be taking 3 different shots with these filters and than seperate them to CMYK ? It is a slow photography but faraway cheaper and more successful than reinventing color screens .

Or digital postprocessing the RGB films and order a film print with laser ?

I think all was not about film but lighting the interior.

Lets talk about details , filters , their difference with todays products , their selection for better result , imbibition , spectrometry of that era cmyk films and everything.

Mustafa Umut Sarac


Mustafa Umut Sarac
11-25-2010, 09:40 AM
I learned that Technicolor was using three dimensional gelatin films to filled with metallic dyes and printed on film also.
I think this is no different than the techniques of other APUGers described at other threads.
Lets learn what was the formulas of these metallic dyes and the gelatin sensitometry.
They say at Wizard of Oz movie , players had suffered from permanent eye injuries due to high luminosity.


Mustafa Umut Sarac
11-25-2010, 09:52 AM
From Cooke Site :

The year 1931 marked a further achievement. During the development of the Technicolor colour process, it became evident that the provision of a beam-splitting prism behind the objective in the Technicolor 3-strip camera made it impossible to use the wide angle objectives generally available at that time. The problem then, was to provide a lens of short focal length and wide relative aperture having the long back focal distance necessary to clear the prism whilst maintaining the high standard of definition expected from a Cooke lens.

Horace W. Lee's 1931 design (British patent 355.452) for the inverted telephoto lens did more than was demanded from it,: its unusually high correction for chromatic aberrations and remarkable vignetting characteristcis rendered it suitable for colour photography and contributed to the success of the Technicolor process.

"The most notable feature of these lenses, however, is the inclusion in the 30mm design of what might be called the inverse telephoto principle, whereby the back focal length is considerably longer than the equivalent focal length." (The Technicolor Process of Three-color Cinematography, by J.A. Ball, vice president and technical director, Technicolor Motion Picture Corp., Journal of Motion Picture Engineers, Vol. XXV, August 1935, No. 2, pp. 127-138.)

Walt Disney gained exclusive rights to the Technicolor technology for animation for the next three years, taking the opportunity to win two Academy Awards for short films: Flowers and Trees (1932) and The Three Little Pigs (1933).

Virtually all Technicolor pictures were made with specially
modified Cooke Speed Panchros until the early 1950s.

Cooke Speed Panchros

July 1930, from an article in The British Journal of Photography: "It deserves to be better realized in the photographic world to what extent Taylor-Hobson lenses have come into favour in the sound-film and silent-film studios in England and in Hollywood. The Cooke lenses of very large aperture have been establishing themselves increasingly in film production for several years past, and are now in use to an extent which is very gratifying to those knowing the merits of British products. In the same way Taylor-Hobson projection lenses have secured something like a monopoly among the ‘super cinemas’ in this country for projecting these same films. Frequenters of the movies may reckon therefore that most of the pictures which they see are both produced and projected by means of lenses made in the Leicester factories."

By 1935 the Cooke Speed Panchros for cinematography were supplied in 8 focal lengths working at f/2.0: 24, 28, 32, 35, 40, 50, 75 and 108mm. They were designed to cover standard format 0.631 x 0.868 inch. (Brit. Pat. 377,537. U.S. Pat. 1,955,591 - 1931)

The First Zoom Lens for Cinematography

The first non-telescopic complex zoom lens for cinematography was the Bell & Howell Cooke Varo 40-120mm Lens (British patent 398,307, Arthur Warmisham) for 35mm format. The lens was manufactured and sold by Bell & Howell.

The lens came equipped with a special saddle that attached to a standard tripod plate. The saddle held the Varo lens and the camera ensuring correct alignment. The definition is critical at all parts of the zoom, at a standard much higher than previously attained with other contemporary zooms. The lens had adjustable stops and the focal length of the Varo lens was changed by rotating a crank.

Bell & Howell Cooke Varo Zoom Lens.

Bell & Howell Eyemo Camera Lenses

George Noville, executive officer on board the S.S. Jacob Ruppert during Admiral Richard E. Byrd’s second Antarctic Expedition 1933 to 1935, with a Bell & Howell Eyemo camera fitted with a Cooke lens. Photo taken November 1934.

In 1935, the Director of Photography of Metro-Goldwyn Mayer studios said, "All of our productions are made with the Taylor-Hobson Cooke Lenses at least 50% of our productions are made with Speed Panchros. I will try to name a few pictures that were made with Speed Panchros: Rasputin, Reunion in Vienna, Viva Villa, Going Hollywood, Riptide, Treasure Island . . . and others too numerous to mention. As I said before all of our productions are made with Cooke Lenses as this Studio is practically 100% Cooke equipped." (Quoted from a 1935 Cooke advert.)

The extremely successful Bell & Howell 35mm Eyemo cine camera was sold exclusively with Cooke lenses. Used by all major film studios, the camera was especially suited to stunt shots and a variety of special effects. Charlie Chaplain, Hal Roach, Cecil B. DeMille and others used Cooke lenses and Eyemo cameras exclusively.

"In the United States, Paramount, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Warner Bros. used Cooke Speed Panchros almost exclusively. Fox, R.K.O., United Artists, Columbia, Universal, and other studios were using them increasingly. In England, all film producers, including British Gaumont, British & Dominion, London Films, and British International Pictures, used these lenses. In other countries, Cooke Speed Panchros were used by the Russian motion picture trust, in Australia by Cinesound and Australian Films, and by leading studios in Austria, France, Italy, Germany, India, Japan, and South America." (Quoted from a 1938 Bell & Howell brochure.)

Later, the equipment was standard issue for World War II Camera operators.

Mustafa Umut Sarac
11-25-2010, 09:59 AM
The final Three-Strip patent (1955) had all three colors with nearly
the same transmission factor.

After sputtering about eighteen layers of metal in microscopic
thicknesses, Technicolor techs got just about a square wave transfer
function centered on the three primary colors of interest, and about
the same amount of attenuation on all three colors.

However, by that time, Three-Strip already had an effective ASA
advantage over Eastmancolor, but so much product had been diverted to
'Scope (for which Three-Strip was impractical) and wide-gage, that it
was overdue to put Three-Strip out of its misery.


There were only 50 titles completed in Three-Strip in 1955, and that
was all she wrote.

One-half of the Three-Strip cameras were almost immediately divered to

For a process which lasted two decades and a half (1932 to 1955), that
was a pretty good run.

Mustafa Umut Sarac
11-25-2010, 10:32 AM
I reached many patents and many linked patents from Fuji to technicolor process. As everyone says Japan started by copying , thats prove this , there are tens of patens from 70s by Fuji which starting with the description of Technicolor.
I will copy and past per patents interesting claims.
Give me few hours or days. I am tired.


mike c
11-25-2010, 11:23 AM
Thankyou Mustafa Umut Sarac for the informitive read.


11-25-2010, 12:10 PM
What do you want to talk about:

-) The making of separations ? (I guess this has been handled here before.)

-) The imbibition process? (Aside of Kodak's Dye Transfer there had been several imbibition processes, but Technicolor was the only one done in a mechanized, automatedd manner.) Is this about still or motion photography?

Mustafa Umut Sarac
11-25-2010, 12:37 PM

I am searching patents. Many interesting finds.

First is 2930691 , applied at 1955 and issued at 1960.

This invention relates to color pictures formed by dye absorption and more particularly to matrices used in printing pictures by imbibition , that is by transfer of dye from one or more dye soaked matrices to a dye absorptive layer of gelation or the like using three matrices representing the three colors of scene and containing cyan , yellow , magenta.

.... imbibition pictures have relief matrices have... shadows and highlights represented by hills and valleys

This patent covers FLAT matrices not RELIEF

Patent writes as well known acid dyes used at relief matrices , these flat matrices uses the same

There are many examples per chemistry
Bleach and Tone

I will continiue to short the patents.


Mustafa Umut Sarac
11-25-2010, 12:38 PM
AgX , Its about using movie film technology at photography. I will learn the details by myself and the people.


Mustafa Umut Sarac
11-25-2010, 12:50 PM

Second patent is 2583076 Filed at 1946.

Its about imbibition printing using Disazo dye.

Patent discusses the difficulty of finding yellow dye and present a chemical solution for yellow dye.

suited for motion film industry , highly transparent yellow


Mustafa Umut Sarac
11-25-2010, 01:30 PM
Third patent is older and filed at 1926 and issued at 1931. Number is 1807809


Its Composition of Imbibition Printing

Patent discuss about using sulfonic acid dyes instead of acid dyes , and it writes sulfonic acid dyes are gelatin penetrating dyes.

This is related my 1920s Kodachrome Two Color Movie Film research and I havent had able to find the Kodak Capstaff Two Color patent sulfonic acid dyes formulas.



Fast red S Conc. sodium salt of 4 sulfo-alpha-naphtalene azo-B-naphtol
color index 176 (%3 egg treated solution)
10000 cc

Acid Magenta B N Color Index 692 Schultz 524
Triphenylmethane and diphenylnaphtylmethane colouring matter.
A mixture of sodium and ammonium salts of the di and tri sulphonic acids of pararosalinine and rosalinine.
Component Magenta (677) and sulphonate C20H17N3O9S3Na2( %6 solution egg treated )

% 25..............4500 cc

Metanil yellow , sodium salt of M Sulfo Benzene Azo diphenyl amine color index 138

% 1.................30 grams

Glacial acetic acid % 5.............900 cc

Made up to 18000 cc with water


Wool Green S , Sodium salt of tetra methyl di amono di phenyl B hydroxy naphty carbiuol di sulfonic
acid anhydride , color index 737 (% 4.5 egg treated)

.....................6000 cc

Metanil yellow , Sodium salt of m sulfo benzene azo di phenyl azoine
color index 138

.......................22 grams

Glacial acetic acid
...............600 cc

Made up to 18000 cc with water


Mustafa Umut Sarac
11-25-2010, 03:08 PM
I will report of my finding for above chemicals.

FIRST , for RED , first chemical was
Fast red S Conc. sodium salt of 4 sulfo-alpha-naphtalene azo-B-naphtol
color index 176

Here is the finding and CAS Number for it.

VOL.: 8 (1975) (p. 83)
CAS No.: 3567-69-9
Chem. Abstr. Name: 4-Hydroxy-3[(4-sulfo-1-naphthalenyl)azo]-1-
naphthalenesulfonic acid, disodium salt5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation
5.1 Animal carcinogenicity data
Carmoisine was tested in mice and rats by the oral and subcutaneous routes. The test by the oral route in
mice was negative. The other studies could not be evaluated because of the small numbers of animals used.
5.2 Human carcinogenicity data
No case reports or epidemiological studies were available to the Working Group.
Subsequent evaluation: Suppl. 7 (1987) (p. 59: Group 3)
For definition of Groups, see Preamble Evaluation.
l Acetacid red B
l Acid brilliant rubine A2G conc.
l Acid brilliant rubine 2G
l Acid brilliant rubine 2GT
l Acid chrome Blue BA
l Acid fast red FB
l Acid red 2C
l Acid rubine
l Acid rubine extra
l Airedale carmoisine
l Amacid carmoisine B
l Amacid chrome Blue R
l Atul acid crystal red
l Atul crystal red F
l Azorubin
l Azorubine
l Azo rubine
l Azorubin S
l Brasilan azo rubine 2NS
l Brilliant acid rubine M
l Brilliant carmoisine
l Brilliant crimson red
l Brilliant crimson 2R.FQ
l Bucacid azo rubine
l Calcocid rubine XX
l Carmoisine aluminium lake
l Carmoisine BA
l Certicol carmoisine S
l Chrome fast Blue 2R
l Chromotrope FB
l Chromotrop FB
l C.I. Acid Red 14
l C.I. Acid Red 14, disodium salt
l C.I. Food Red 3
l Cilefa rubine R
l Crimson EMBL
l Crimson 2EMBL
l Diadem chrome Blue G
l Diadem chrome Blue R
l Disodium 2-(4-sulfo-1-naphthylazo)-1-naphthol-4-sufonate
l Edicol supra carmoisine W
l Edicol supra carmoisine WS
l Eniacid brilliant rubine 3B
l Erio rubine B
l Eurocert azorubine
l Ext. D and C red No. 10
l Extract D and C red No. 10
l Fenazo red C
l Food red 3
l Food red 5
l Fruit Red A extra yellowish geigy
l HD carmoisine
l Hexacol carmoisine
l Hexacol carmoisine conc.
l Hidacid azo rubine
l Hispacid rubine F
l 4-Hydroxy-3,4'-azodi-1-naphthalenesulfonic acid, disodium salt
l Java rubine N
l Karmesin
l Kenachrome Blue 2R
l Kiton crimson 2R
l Kiton rubine R
l Lighthouse chrome Blue 2R
l L. Red Z 3040
l Nacarat
l Nacarat A-CE
l Nacarat A export
l Nacarat extra pure A
l Necklacid azorubine W
l Necklacid rubine W
l Nylomine acid red P4B
l Omega chrome Blue FB
l Poloxal red 2B
l Pontacyl rubine R
l 11954 Red
l Solar rubine
l Solochrome Blue FB
l Standacol carmoisine
l 2-(4-Sulfo-1-naphthylazo)-1-naphthol-4-sulfonic acid, disodium salt
l Tertracid red CA
l Tertrochrome Blue FB
Last updated: 19 March 1998

Mustafa Umut Sarac
11-25-2010, 04:59 PM
Ron ,

Is this the chemical described at RED , as first chemical ?

Aldrich Chromotrope FB
Dye content 50 %
Price and Availability 62 dollarsProduct
Number Availability Your Price
USD Quantity Actions
214515-50G In Stock
Availability details for 214515-50G

Enter Quantity: Check Availability1 ships on 11/25/10 from MILWAUKEE
Ships on 11/25/10 62.50
Synonym: Acid Red 14, Mordant Blue 79, Disodium 4-hydroxy-3-[(4-sulfo-1-naphthalenyl)azo]-1-naphthalenesulfonate
CAS Number: 3567-69-9
Empirical Formula (Hill Notation): C20H12N2Na2O7S2
Molecular Weight: 502.43
Colour Index Number: 14720
EC Number: 222-657-4
MDL number: MFCD00003978
PubChem Substance ID: 24852839

Ray Rogers
11-25-2010, 09:25 PM
Ah, the bitter taste of cut & paste!

hummm ok
Mustafa, while you are at it, did you find any info on dyes called
Darkroom Red, Darkroom Green,
patent Red, patent Blue or patent Green?

Funny names for the obstruction of their hidden true identity....

11-25-2010, 10:19 PM
Are you making cookies again?

Mustafa Umut Sarac
11-26-2010, 02:38 AM
Important Notice : I am not sure about the correctness of my last two posts. I learned that COLOR INDEX NUMBERS are the ONLY trustable source. Researching by Color Index Numbers requires to subscribe the dye , pigment information source websites.
So dont trust my last two posts quickly. I did google them and not able to find open free source book published later than 1940 and they are at www.archive.org


Ray Rogers
11-26-2010, 03:12 AM
Are you making cookies again?

:D Yes, naturally.

How did you guess?

Actually Finnish rolls with Buttered Eyes are first up.

as far as CI numbers and dyes in general, yea, its quite a mess
if you don't have the right key.

11-30-2010, 01:09 AM
Ah! I've always been really interested with the Technicolor process. This is some fascinating information you're digging up here Mustafa Umut Sarac!

Mustafa Umut Sarac
05-10-2011, 03:50 PM
Fast red S Conc. sodium salt of 4 sulfo-alpha-naphtalene azo-B-naphtol
color index 176 (%3 egg treated solution)

PR176 Benzimidazolone Carmine Alizarin Crimson (hue) [LK];
Benzimidazolone Carmine;
Benzimidazolone HF3C;
Carmine (hue) [DS.w | RT.o.wo];
Carmine Lake (hue) [CH];
C.I. Pigment Red 176;
Fast Carmine;
Mayan Carmine (hue) [GU];
Permanent Alizarin Crimson [WN.g];
Permanent Carmine HF3C;
Pigment Red 176;
Pigment Red HF 3C;
Rose Madder (hue) [AS]; 12515 Monoazo; Benzimidazolone;

CAS 12225-06-8 Bluish red;

† Fades, Hue shift towards blue -

Mustafa Umut Sarac
05-10-2011, 03:53 PM
Metanil yellow , sodium salt of M Sulfo Benzene Azo diphenyl amine color index 138

PY138 Quinophthalone Yellow C.I. Pigment Yellow 138;
Gafast Pigment Yellow 138 - OP;
Gafast Pigment Yellow 138 - TR ;
Isoindoline Yellow;
Lithol Fast Yellow;
Paliotol® Yellow K 0961 HD;
Permanent Lemon Yellow [PF.w];
Permanent Yellow [DR];
Pigment Yellow;
Quinopthalone Yellow [GU];
Rape Yellow 56300 Isoindoline;
Gafast Pigment Yellow 138 - OP (Tech Sheet Reference);
Gafast Pigment Yellow 138 - TR (Tech Sheet Reference);

CAS 30125-47-4
Very light, bright, greenish to reddish yellow*;


1-3* I 19-43 A
MSDS * The reddish yellow shade is extremely opaque. The greenish shade is transparent and has higher tinctorial strength (Ref).