When I was a teen and earlier, most grade B westerns were shot on a 2 color system which was horrible. That is one reason why GWTW and The Wizard of OZ were so spectacular, being shot in a 3 color system. It wowed me.
Most color processes until about 1932 were two-color. You could make an exception for screen plates like Autochromes which would reproduce all three primaries or complimentaries, but even du Hauron's famous 1877 print of Agen, France appears to be a two-color process. Most colors we see in nature tend to be muted, or "blends" of the primary colors of blue, green and red. Rarely do we see an object that is pure blue or pure red or pure green, (or yellow, magenta or cyan for that matter). So when photographing natural objects like human faces or a hillside or a cow the process doesn't have to express a pure yellow or red. Unfortunately people noticed that you never saw a picture of a sunflower or the blue sky or an emerald which looked right and there developed a push for "full color".
In 1922 Technicolor had a great success with a two-color film which starred Anna May Wong called "The Toll of the Sea". Since it was set in China the producers apparently felt that people would think the limited color palette was just because those colors were popular in China. A mixture of dyes was used for the red and a mixture was used for the green elements, US patent 1807805. Two-color sequences occur in "The Phantom of the Opera" 1925, "Ben Hur" 1925, early talkies of Laurel and Hardy and the Three Stooges, When sound came in there was a flurry of two-color films. Parts of some prints survive: "Gold Diggers of 1929", "Follow Through", and "The Mystery of the Wax Museum". Other companies besides Technicolor preferred to work in two-color because it was much simpler. Kodak even manufactured a film stock for release prints with emulsion on both sides to facilitate the methods of these independent processes.
What hindered the introduction of a three-color "full color" process was the development of a camera which would take three separation negatives. No special camera was required for animation so Disney's cartoon, "Flowers and Trees" 1932 was a three-color process, probably the first from Technicolor. Most color cameras worked as bi-packs: two strips of film were sandwiched face to face. The front strip was blue sensitive only and it was dyed yellow to act as a filter. So the front strip only photographed blue light and then the yellow filter allowed only red and green light to pass to the rear strip of film, which was panchromatic.
However, the use of acid dyes when these films were printed allowed much richer colors to be presented, even in the two-color processes. It sort of made up for the lack of full color.
The biggest problem with all of these was the fact that they were all reversal. Reversal print to print was and is pretty bad and continues to deteriorate from generation to generation. Therefore, special effects in color were virtually impossible and multi generational films were truly awful in tone scale. Well, the color got worse too.
I suspect that many of the 2 color films were so bad that they were released as B&W.
Early color cinema films were slap-dash processes. Most of the companies produced only a handful of examples. Even Technicolor let its quality control slip so much in the early 1930's that it hurt its brand. From what I understand it survived because a millionaire, Josh Whitney, underwrote the effort at producing a three-strip camera. Very few companies could equal the precision and high standards of EK--none ever surpassed EK. The fact is that most of them depended on EK manufactured materials. I don't know of any that made their own clear plastic base or coated their film.
The re-release market never had any money. Mostly it was just a bunch of itinerant projectionists traveling from town to town showing old prints on a bed sheet.
Pinatype dyes identified
Prof. John Wall in "Practical Color Photography" (1922 available online), on pp. 77-79 discusses the process and identifies the dyes used in the Pinatype dye transfer:
RED- natural carmine; lanafuchsin BB or SL;
BLUE- indulin blue for blue;
YELLOW-acid yellow, mikado yellow, or quinoline yellow.
Carmine is of course a well known colorant obtained from insects, C.I. 75470, aka Natural Red 4. (See first attached file thumbnail and also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmine). It is likely that this is the dye used in Pinatype because the Pinatype dye and carmine both had to be mixed with ammonia before it was mixed with water and used. It is pink in color and would serve for the magenta.
Lanafuchsin BB has Colour Index number C.I. 16630 with this chemical description: 3-[(5-Acetylamino-2-methylphenyl)azo]-4,5-dihydroxynaphthalene-2,7-disulfonic acid disodium salt. There are illustrations of similar chemical structures, see Acid Violet 6, C.I. 16600.
Indulin blue, aka Acid blue 20, c.i. no. 50405. The structure is the second attached graphic.
Quinoline yellow, aka Food Yellow 13, D&C Yellow No. 10, Acid yellow 3, Quinidine Yellow KT, Japan Yellow 203, Lemon Yellow ZN 3, C.I. 47005
The structure is pictured in the third graphic.
I imagine that the first set of Capstaff Kodachrome dyes were similar in character.
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What kind of company are hinting at?
Originally Posted by falotico
Indulin blue fails the test of being a sulfonic acid. It has amino groups terminating it and thus is sold as the salt of an acid rather than being the acid itself. IDK how it would transfer compared to the other 2 dyes in the reference given which are sulfonic acids.
It would be nice if all of these dyes were azo dyes as well. Thus we could use one dye set for DT and DB imaging.
Companies making color film
There were a wide variety of small companies who developed a color photographic process, particularly for movies. Usually they bought their raw stock from Kodak because EK was required by law to sell to its competitors, otherwise the government would sue EK for an anti-trust violation. All the classic Technicolor films, "Gone With the Wind", "The Wizard of Oz", "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", "Singing in the Rain", etc. were printed on Kodak release prints. Technicolor had developed a technique of dying a black and white release print into a full color release print. Technicolor did this for two reasons: 1) It wanted to be sure its release prints would run through a standard projector as well as a typical black and white film; 2) Technicolor used the same sound track as a black and white film. Typically Technicolor would print the sound track on black and white EK stock then DT the colors afterwards.
In the silent film days Technicolor appears to have manufactured its own film. The 1926 color film "The Black Pirate" with Douglas Fairbanks was shot with a special camera which recorded two-colors, called red and green, one every other frame. The camera negs were then step printed on to 70 mm stock, red images along the right side and the green along the left. The film was processed in some manner (relief matrixes? dye mordants?) and then the right side was dipped in a trough full of red dye and dried; then the left side was dipped into green dye and then dried. Next the 70 mm film was folded in half down the middle so the green image would overlay the red image in register. The two sides were glued together to form a 35 mm film which was run through the projector. Unfortunately, the film would peel apart and jam the projector. For this reason Technicolor developed the DT method.
In the silent era some companies hand painted their films; some used stencils; some used a rotating color wheel with red and green filters which rotated in synchronization in front of the projector lens. When sound came in some companies used a "bi-pack" camera, sandwiching two pieces of film face to face and running them through the camera as if they were a single piece of film. The front element was transparent and dyed yellow. It was sensitive to blue light but let red and green light pass through to the rear piece of film. Fox Studios produced such an experiment in 1929(?) which I saw: it was printed in blue and a ruby red--very natural. The Marx Brothers appear in a rare two-color process (on Youtube?) That would have been Paramount Studios. Brewster Color used dye toning; some examples of cartoons are on Youtube. Gaspar Color used a dye bleach method. He lacked a camera which would take separation negs, so his only US work is in stop motion, the "Puppetoons"--the most famous is "Tubby the Lonesome Tuba". This was a three-color process. I think Gaspar might have had his film manufactured in Europe. I don't believe he used EK materials.
Wikipedia has a good discussion of color cinema companies.
Pinatype dye structures
Capstaff's patents for his two-color process call for an "acid dye (preferably the salt of a sulfonic acid)", US 1196080; US 1315464. Only the dyes which you cited fit this description: lanafuchsin & quinoline yellow. The dyes carmine and indulin blue clearly are not sulfonic.
Pinatype dyes were used to dye the planographic matrixes over and over again. The matrixes could produce as many as twenty prints. The presence of aniline groups in indulin blue and the lack of SO3 groups in it and carmine indicate that these dyes diffuse more readily out of gelatin than dyes with more SO3 groups, groups which would have the effect of binding more substantially to the gelatin.
The Capstaff process was for "one off" assemblies of transparencies. While a dye transfer to blank paper over a period of ten to fifteen minutes would preserve the highlights, Capstaff required that the gelatin be thoroughly dried before dying, (Wall recommends drying for as long as three hours). A print surface so dried would be harder and much more likely not to absorb dye in the tanned highlights; even dyes with more affinity for gelatin such as salts of a sulfonic acid. It is possible that a wide variety of azo dyes which are salts of sulfonic acids would work in the Capstaff process. So a set of dyes suitable for DT and DB might be found.
Gaspar had a special colour seperating cine-camera made. However it took three colour-separations in high-speed succession, what nevertheless hampered filming fast moving objects. Added by the low speed of that colour film system.
Originally Posted by falotico
During Gaspar's European period hat silver-dye-bleach film was made by Gevaert.
Last edited by AgX; 01-30-2013 at 06:27 AM. Click to view previous post history.