Masking can be either as simple or complex as you want it to be. For anything serious you need a
registration contact frame and matching punch, but rarely a registered carrier. The problem with
older literature is that all the relevant films have since changed. One of the best kept secrets which
hasn't changed for basic work with just black and white printing is neocrosin red dye. A tiny jar will
last you a lifetime and allow quite a bit of experimentation without even the need for masking if what you are interested in is simply automated dodging and burning. For enhanced microcontrast or
improved edge effect you need real unsharp silver masking.
The nice thing about Radeka's kit is it shows you how to make your own contact frame/carrier if you don't want to buy one. This is particularly useful for people who want to try it out but not necessarily invest in expensive equipment at the outset. The pins he sells are really convenient because they are large (not condit-type pins) and fit snug into the holes made by the 2 1/4" hole punch from office depot. I assumed the punch Radeka sells in the registration kit was some special device but when I asked him about it he told me which one to buy.
Lootens also stresses this new cocine as well for painting on negatives, the effect which from his images can be small to dramatic.
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
Where can this be purchased currently?
Way Beyond Monochrome has a chapter on masking written by Lynn Radeka.
Alistair Inglis has a masking system that was reviewed in View Camera magazine several issues back.
I've not personally used either, but based on everything I've read both the Inglis and Radeka precision registration carriers/contact frames are excellent, although they don't work the same way. They are different systems.
The dye comes in powder form so you can dilute it way down and layer it up for very good control.
The old timers would use it like Photoshop to add clouds to an empty sky or cigarette smoke to a
portrait, back when that nasty habit was fashionable yet they didn't want real smoke in the studio.
I'd just post an ad on this forum etc looking for it, or hunt Fleabay. It was a standard Kodak product
for decades and is more versatile and less messy than shading pencil. You could probably buy bulk
dye and make your own, but a pound of the stuff would suffice for a hundred darkrooms.
I reread Ctein's section on masking for color negatives and I have a question for those of you that do this regularly: Do I need a special film developer to get neutral color masks? I plan on using Delta 100 film since it is easier to get and cheaper than T-Max 100, and I can get the chemicals necessary to mix the SoftShot formula that Ctein describes; but if Xtol or HC-110 will be neutral, I would rather use one of them. Thanks.
Not sure I can really help as I don't do color printing, but in my experience most general purpose developers like XTOL, HC110 etc are neutral, unless you get into certain compensating procedures. A high degree of physical development in non-staining developers can lead to a brownish emulsion color but that happens more with developers like Microdol. For film, not sure if this makes enough of a difference or not, but Delta's film base has a slightly blue-ish cast.
For color neg masks I would choose either FP4 or TMX. Delta 100 might be OK but has a very long
toe to it. You can try Ctein's Muir Softshot or my own tweak which he has also tested and is
simpler, consisting of very dilute HC-110 with a tiny added pinch of benzotriazole as a toe cutter.
And whatever film, you need to be sure any antihalation dye is thoroughly removed during washing.
For color negs you want a very low contast mask, preferably with a straight line response. Once you
figure this out for basic contrast reduction masks you can make interpositives and then mask them
for contrast increase masking. But you need to carefully balance your colorhead in order to get a
consistent response to all colors in the original. More involved than masking black-and-white originals.
How difficult would it be to use this process with medium format negs?