Substrates for Shooting in Camera - FILM, Acetate, PET (polyester), Glass, etc.
I know that this is an issue that has been discussed quite extensively and I'll admit that I've not done my due diligence to piece together all the information out there.
However, with that in mind, maybe we can consider this thread a place to compile all that information so it's available at a glance. In short, the problem of coating on film substrates, destined to be used in camera, seems to be a large one.
The best material that we all know of is Dupont 583, or 7 mil Estar (melinex) that's coated with a subbing layer and is availabe at the Photographer's Formulary. This is a polyester or PET material.
As I understand it, this was sourced by Jim Browning trying to find a suitable non-staining base for dye-transfer matrices. This material is indeed awesome, but in theory the supply is limited, as are its "format", that is, it's not available in long rolls of thinner widths.
Also, the non-staining aspect is important only for dye-transfer, where the subbing layer should not absorb dye. If we take away this requirement, are there other subbed PET materials that will accept gelatin emulsions?
I seem to recall that Dupont 583 has a very large minimum order (like $100,000+ ??). Perhaps smaller manufacturers would have more reasonable order quantities.
What about acetate bases? Denise has posted a about this at the Light Farm (here). The link to Dick Blick is dead, but I believe it was to Grafix's Acetate film. This requires a subbing procedure which she has shown to work well.
So, I take it that this means there isn't an "off the shelf" product that will accept gelatin coatings? They mention a prepared (gel coated) substrate on their website. Can anyone say if this will hold emulsions well? I believe that gmikol* uses these for carbon tissues and the answer to that question might be "not exactly".
The Grafix Acetate is biodegradable, which doesn't sound too appealing for long-term, archival storage either. How will this stuff hold up in the long run?
I'm not too worried about glass; it seems that this is a tried and true method that will work in the long run. But glass is only practical in limited situations, at least for most cameras & film holders.
HRST has built and tested a primitive corona discharge (electron bombardment) machine that at the very least proves that this is possible. This would allow one to coat on plain PET, but it must be done soon after this treatment. Does electron bombardment only work on PET?
What about other manufacturers of PET? Surely DIY emulsionists aren't the only people that need to coat colloids onto polyester film. There are many products that have coatings to better accept inks; what about gelatin?
Here are a couple manufacturers I've found:
- check out these -> http://smpcorps.com/products/index.php/home/view/79 and http://smpcorps.com/products/index.php/home/view/55
What would really be the bee's knees would be to find a PET base in 5-7 mil thickness in 12" wide rolls that could fit into something like this and that would accept gelatin coatings.
Am I missing anything? Looking forward to your input.
*edit: see post 4