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  1. #1

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    Masking (for fog) when printing from C-41; what to use?

    I've seen a lot of stuff out there for making masks to control contrast, composite, and do other neat stuff, but only with B&W. Well, I have a problem with some fogging on some negatives that I need to fix. I shot these back in May and can't give the final album until I fix the damage. I can't really afford high-res film scans either, so I'm stuck with fixing them the traditional way. The fog is blue on the negatives, therefore showing up light-colored on the prints, making the fogged areas a very light yellow, so I am trying to correct for the blue fog by making a mask for the rest of the negative that isn't affected and then registering it on the back of the neg and printing with the mask to make a normal print.

    I have no idea what sort of film to use. Do I use E-6, C-41, 3x B&W? If there is a choice, I'd prefer using C-41 as I'd have to have a lab do C-41. With the colored base of C-41 though, would perhaps cross processing E-6 or maybe even RA-4 duratrans material be my best bet?

    If anyone has any advice, or perhaps the titles of some books on analog printing fixes, I'd really appreciate it. I'm still a relatively inexperienced printer (anything more than straight printing or maybe a contrast filter gives me lots of trouble), so I have no idea where to start with this.

    Regards,

    ~Karl Borowski

  2. #2

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    Karl, Years ago I masked Cibachrome prints using black and white film. This was for contrast control and I don't know that this will work for you. However it may be a place for you to begin. Black and white interpositives should present no unwanted color shifts.

    Should you wish to try this, the process is to contact print black and whilte film (base to base) with your color negative. This will produce an unsharp and low density mask that will be printed in register with your original color negative.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  3. #3

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    Hi Donald. Could you please be more specific? Did you use additive printing with three color exposures? What type of film did you use for the masks? How did you mask off specific areas/colors for each mask since a rubylith wouldn't work with color? How did you expose and process the mask film? After processing, did you reattach it to the back or front of the negative? What was your success ratio with masks, and what is a general starting point for the specific color/area you want to mask out?

    Regards,

    ~Karl Borowski

  4. #4

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    masking on Cibachrome was to reduce the overall transparency contrast to allow it to match the scale of the paper. I don't know that this is applicable to your application. I printed with subtractive filtration.

    I can't undestand your reference to rubylith. Why would you think of that? A mask must be much more precise than a hand cut mask. A mask is typically made by a limited exposure and limited development of a black and white film exposure to a negative. Depending on whether you want a sharp or unsharp mask, will determine where it is place in relation to the original camera negative.

    Do you have an overall blue fog on these negatives that is manifesting itself on the prints? If so, this may be corrected by adjusting the enlarger filter pack to compensate.
    Last edited by Donald Miller; 10-31-2006 at 01:03 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  5. #5

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    Karl;
    This is a toughie. If I'm understanding the problem correctly, using a correction mask of any sort will be very difficult to create. I used to do a lot of masking, on colour and B&W, to compensate for not only contrast, but for things like fade and bad processing, in the eighties and into the early ninities when digital took over.
    The biggest problem that Donald mentioned above is that the there is no hard line where you can make some kind of cut, as anything like that will show up very badly.
    Again I agree with Donald that the best way would be to correct the print, rather than the neg. Here are my suggestions.
    Also typically any sort of fog on colour film will not only change the colour, but the contrast as well, (just like in B&W)so when the colour cast gets fixed, the contrast would be low in the affected area, but this may be easier to live with than the colour cast. My suggestion would be to use a strong blue (and maybe cyan) filter and dodge or burn as necessary with the filter under the lens. If avaiable, a set of colour printing filters would be the easiest, but if you are using a dichroic head you can use the filter pack in the enlarger but you then have to change the filter from one setting to the other in the dark.
    If this is the only way you want to do this, try this. Make a test and get the colour correct on the main part of the image, then test for the best balance on the fogged section, then do a full print and do the "blend" with a burn at your pre-determined filtration. By feathering the burn down into the less affected area you should be able to mininmize the worst of the the colour cast. This will take quite some experimentation, so be aware, you will go through a lot of print paper till you get one you like!
    Hope this helps!
    Keith

  6. #6

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    Keith, my problem is that I am an attrocious dogger/burner. I was hoping to be able to make some sort of mask for the fog, register it, and then print through that. I'd go through a large amount of film, but I feel this would be easier than going through hundreds of 8x10s to get the right one I want. Is fixing in digital going to have comparable problems with contrast, or in your opinion, would that produce a better result? I have a problem in that the neg is medium format, and I only have access to a 35mm scanner. This'd make any digital route equally expensive compared to going through a lot of paper. My problem with dodging and burngin is that this is a line of varying color going through the center of the print. I simply don't have the artistic touch to blend in that line without it being obvious.

    Regards,

    ~Karl Borowski

  7. #7
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    Karl;

    Fog decreases contrast so the methods for Cibachrome don't work for fogged negative film. What you want is increased contrasat here. In this particular case, knowing your situation, give up!

    PE

  8. #8

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    Thanks Ron. . .

    Now, should I "punt" by just scanning the negatives and trying to fix there, or is there any optical darkroom fixer-upers left out there?

  9. #9

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    Scanning a MF neg on a high end scanner can't be THAT expensive. In Sweden it would cost not more than 60 USD. Surely, hundreds of 8x10s or LOTS of film will be more expensive?
    Be careful his bow tie is really a camera
    timeUnit

  10. #10

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    Karl;
    My choice would be use digital to try to fix this, even so, it will take a very skilled photoshop user to it properly, but to do this on film and paper will get expensive also. What makes this so difficult is that the fog creeps across the frame, so that the middle, side and corner will all need a different level of correction. At least with digital, you can see the results as they are being done, without sending film out for processing, making prints, then another, etc, etc. Plus you still have to do some kind of "feathering" across the mask, akin to the burn/dodge routine on a print. You would need to use E-6 film, as when sandwiched with the neg this will increase contrast, but this will also create another set of problems.
    However, if the level of fog is very high, it may not be correctable, no matter what is done.
    If you are not making a large print, you don't have to pay for a huge scan, so that should save some money for you, the digital option will in all likelyhood provide a better result, and will certainly be more repeatable.
    Since you are only in Cleveland, and I'm in Toronto, if you want to talk about it by phone, PM me.
    Keith

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