The next two posts are information from Martin Baumgarten of Plattsburgh Photographic Services. It is intended to deal with cine film, but most of this applies to still film as well.
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Originally Posted by Martin Baumgarten---> KODACHROME Processed as Black & White <----- [October 2010]
Yes, KODACHROME can be processed as Black & White, I do it all the time here. In fact, in default, so can virtually ALL photographic films. KODACHROME is a triple layer matrixed B&W film in reality [matrixed with gelatin filter layers for the 3 primary colors], and color dyes are added by 3 separate Color Developers relative to the formation of the Positive silver during the reversal process. All black metallic silver is removed during the Bleach and Fixer stages in the end, leaving only the positive color dyes. There's more to it than that, but that's it in a nutshell for this part of my answer.
Since KODACHROME is really only a B&W film, it is most often processed as a B&W Negative, usually done for all the old K-12 films and K-14 films that were exposed years ago but never processed. They have to be done as a Negative, since Reversal processing would leave a faint muddy image if anything at all, due to the severity of the age fog in the film. This is what is done for such old films here at PPS, at Film Rescue, and also at Rocky Mountain Film Lab (if they're still operating these days). To save images from those old films, that is the only way to process them, using a high contrast technical developer adjusted for the age of the film, and any resulting images then transferred to a video format (nominally DVD) and returned to the customer along with the film original.
However, IF the film is good stock, meaning having been cold stored since new and virtually as good as new, OR film of recent manufacture...... it can be processed as EITHER a Negative or Positive (via B&W Reversal processing). What does it look like? Pretty good if the film has been cold-stored. As a Negative, depending on what developer is used, it will have nice even tones and can be used to telecine the images just as with any negative stock. As a Positive image, done via B&W Reversal processing, the film looks pretty good, but is grainier than what we're used to expect out of KODACHROME. The reason is because processed as Color Reversal, the dyes overlap each other and are themselves virtually devoid of grain. The grain we see is the ghost image of the grain from the original B&W Positive image that is necessary to create the Color Dye image. So, yes, it's pretty good, just grainier, and grainier than PLUS-X 7276 or 7265......but less grainy than TRI-X 7278 or 7266.
This is one reason I'm not worried about using up my KMA Sound filmstock, since it can still be processed as B&W and I'd rather have B&W Sound film, than no sound film at all; or try to race and use up what I have just to use it up and have to pay all the processing costs to do that, without really having enough time to use it properly for some project. But it is somewhat expensive to have it processed this way at any of the labs, unless you wish to tackle it yourself...which is quite doable if you have the equipment: processing tank system, film rewind setup, darkroom trays, photograde sponge (to physically wipe the remjet off with the Borax Bath solution), chemistry etc.
Also, done as B&W Reversal, it can also be Sepia toned just like the other B&W Reversal films, and that gives it a nice look. I'll try to run some tests here when I get out of this busy holiday photography season, and post some frame grab results. Lastly, since the film is silver-rich, it really needs the previous B&W Reversal process........otherwise, if using the D-94a and new Bleach, you'd have to make some adjustments to the Development time and also extend the Bleaching time out. There's some other factors involved here as well in processing, development time aside....and the worst factor is the removal of the Remjet Anti-Halation Backing, which when processing manually, must be done after processing, and slowly by hand using a Borax bath, and then a rewash afterward. A reminder here though, if you have old films that were shot long ago, or just old film that you might want to use that was NOT cold stored.....forget about processing it as reversal; it will just be muddy nothing or very very poor.
AND.....when processing OLD films, the darn remjet backing is very stubborn and you really have to work at getting it all off; meaning a long soak in the Borax Bath [10 to 20 minutes average] to help loosen it, and usually giving the film two wiping passes to get it all off. And even then, you might still have some streaks of it here and there. In the K-12 and K-14 processing machines, they use not only solution but soft buffer rollers rotating at high speed to help clear all this off and then a spray rinse to remove residual traces as the film passes through that stage of processing (done prior to actual developing).
Hope this helps.