Experiences from printing faded Ektachrome
Has anyone here ever tried to print/correct a seriously faded Ektachrome slide? If so, do you have results you could post?
"Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it." -Paul Strand
I believe PE recently posted that there is a chemical solution that can restore some of the original color to a faded slide.
When I first got my scanner, I scanned a faded Ektachrome to see what I could do with it. I gave up. The colors looked very bizarre.
There was an article on this in Photo Techniques between four or five years ago. I may still have a copy, have to look. As far as I can remember, the solution involved making color separations.
The article was:
Marilyn Monroe: Bring Faded Transparencies Back to Life by Bob Pace
Beginning with a rare, faded color transparency of a 1948 Marilyn Monroe nude, lab expert Bob Pace demonstrates how a Dye Transfer process technique is used to restore color. Volume 23, Number 3, Page 36, Year 2002
Haven't found my copy.
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I used to do this for some customers at a custom lab in the eighties, as the older colour materials were, by then, showing considerable fade, but before computers, when film was still king. Conventional colour printing cannot correct for the fading, as the highlights need a different balance than the midtones, than the shadows. Based on some info I read off of a Kodak publication I worked out the details of a method to restore fade by making a duplicate trans, in contact, and registered with the original, that was missing the dye that had faded out through the ravages of time. The key is that the fade is porportional, in that for example, you will of lost say 50% of the cyan dye(the original would now look red), you would make a fog exposure with a strong cyan filter, then a second one with the original in contact, then process your dupe. When its' out, it would look very odd, but when placed back into contact, and registered with the original, then as if by magic it would look nearly normal, that is if you had all your exposures and filtration correct. One of the important tools that I had at my disposal was a densitometer, I would read a black area to get an idea of what had been lost, then base a series of test exposures on that.
One of the important things is the denisty of the original, the best were ones that were slightly underexposed, so that there was enough of detail left in the highlights. A thin trans wouldn't work as well, since there was minimal density in the highlights, to start with, and after a fair porportion of the dye was loss, then there wasn't much left to work with.
As a former dye transfer printer also, I'm sure that it could be done that way as well, probally very well although I am not familiar with this article, and did not try this when I was doing dye transfer.
The advent of computer processing, and tools such as Photoshop put an end to that type of work also!
Sometimes, a ferricyanide or dichromate solution will oxidize cyan dye from the red form back to the cyan form. This will not work with all versions of faded films.
The most reliable way is to use Dye Transfer or make a dupe using photoshop.
I used to dupe them with an Illumitran, allowing correction of both fading and colour, but crossed curves always came in to some extent. I generally used specialist duping stock (SO 366? I forget) or Kodachrome. This included material from the early-to-mid 1960s, my father-in-law's pics and mine, and a few from the Dalai Lama's collection. But to be brutal, scanning with digital color restoration is better.
Originally Posted by tjaded
Edit: as posted below, ASF/Kodak ROC is the trick. It's unbelievably good, even, as mentioned, on bloody awful Ascochromes. Mine were yellow not magenta, but a lot still came back.
Last edited by Roger Hicks; 09-05-2007 at 05:05 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Kodak has a Photoshop plug-in call Digital ROC (there is a standard and PRO version). It is not analog but it does amazing work in correcting and restoring faded transparencies. I've used it very successfully on Ektachromes from the 70s and Anscochromes from the 50s.
Some of the Anscochromes appeared completely magenta yet Digital ROC was able to return a decent looking full-color image.
I tried when I was printing some Ektachromes from 1953 and didn't have any luck. I scanned some Kodacolour negatives from the late 60's that had faded worse and photoshop did an amazing job of bringing the colours back.
Much as I hate to admit it, I think this is a place where scanning and PS is a much better way to go.