Pyro based 35mm movie processing ???

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by SNoel, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. SNoel

    SNoel Member

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    For a while I have been trying to put a little (cine) film lab together. I will be using a small 35mm processor (roller transport, leader threaded) made by Jamieson in the 90's. The processor is a 5 gallon thing (5G developer / wash water stop / 5G fixer / dryer). Obviously both dev and fix are replenishable.

    I love the look of pyro type developers, but it seems like it will not be so easy. Bear in mind that pre-soak is not an option. And neither is a two bath developer.

    I am all set to use pyrocat-hd, one shot, and see what it gives with little lenghts. I have been shooting on Kodak Double X (5222).

    But obviously, with any intensive use, replenishing is a problem...

    I am considering modifying my machine so I could replenish both A and B solutions seperately, in such a way that they mix in the machine. I think this might possibly help in term of oxidation of pyrocat-hd...

    Another option I am considering is Pyro-TEA, which seems to be replenishable. But I don't know much about it.

    Any ideas on the subject?


    Serge
     
  2. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    A cine negative should be developed to match the curve of the release stock so the projection print will have a full tonal range. Unlike in still photography, you don't have a choice of different contrast grades in fine grain release positive. I think the developing and printing of b/w cine film has been very carefully engineered over a century of progress and for optimum results you should stick to what is recommended.
     
  3. Kino

    Kino Subscriber

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    Most pyro use was in the silent days when rack and tank systems were in place. You might check the literature from SMPE (SMPTE before the Television came in and ruined it!) and see how they replenished the tanks.

    Problem is, you loose the compensating developer effect in a continuous motion process or like the Jamieson; the rack was perfect for semi-stand development, which is what they did in the silent era.

    good luck
     
  4. Kino

    Kino Subscriber

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    Well... true to a certain extent.

    We often varied the gamma of print stock (5302/7302) by as much as a stop over and under to try to "correct" or tame a very contrasty or flat negative -- i.e., 2.20, 2.40 and 2.60 gamma, but that depended upon the gamma of the original negative.

    There is SOME room to vary in this equation...
     
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    SNoel

    SNoel Member

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    Phototone obviously you are right.
    I am looking for trouble. I will grant you that.

    But I still want to try it at least. I want to see what I can get, and work around in term of prints with the availables print stocks and intermediates still available in cine 35mm b/w. There is also the option of digital intermediates. Depending on the budget, it might be an option. But before I can try any of that, I need a negative...
     
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    SNoel

    SNoel Member

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    Kino, don't you think that at relatively slow processing speed, some compensation would still occur? At least the stain would still be there, dont you think ?

    As for the SPMTE, the archives were not open no non-members last time I checked... So I don't know. There is the recipe for Ilford ID-6 on digital truthhttp://www.digitaltruth.com/techdata/ilford_id6.php. It is replenishable. Anyone used this?
     
  7. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Without the full benefit of the stain, you may not find the grain on 35mm to your liking, but who knows? I can tell you that grain behaves differently in MP applications. I applaud your efforts.
     
  8. Kino

    Kino Subscriber

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    I am by no means an expert on pyro, but what I have read, it would probably be minimal with the agitation of a continuous motion machine.

    Try running it very, very slow, that should help some.

    Sorry, you'll probably have to do a Inter Library loan from a very large library to lay your hands on SMPE articles that far back (pre 1930).
     
  9. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thinking about it a little, stain seems more proportional to an adequate amount of time spent in the developer, not agitation in general, in my experience. I get about the about the same level of stain using stand or agitation, so it seems to me it may reach a certain saturation and then uptake slows, but that is conjecture on my part based only on loose observation. The guy who could really make a decent conjecture in this application is Sandy King.
     
  10. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    It appears to me that there would be little staining by ID-6. The inclusion of pyro does not guarantee staining. The proportions of sulfite and hydroquinone seem too high. Try it on a small batch first before you leap.
     
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    SNoel

    SNoel Member

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    What about Pyro-TEA Mister Gainer ? Do you think this would give better results ?
    And is it not replenishable? I have read somewhere that it is.

    There is also the option of modifying my machine I guess, to allow other options.
    For example I have received the suggestion (by Mr.Gainer) that I might split the process of Sol. A-B pyro processing in seperate tanks. I must say I am reluctant to get into that just now. I have been using a lot of time setting up already. I would like to see some image now.

    Mister Brunner, I was thinking I might also try to stop the machine during the processing, and turn it into semi-stand...

    Serge
     
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  12. Kino

    Kino Subscriber

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    Sorry to butt-in here, but I can't remember if the Jamieson has submerged upper transport rollers or, like the Triese, is exposed to air.

    If you have submerged racks, it MIGHT work, but then again, you'd have to process in lengths shorter than the total linear capacity of the rack to make sure it was all in the soup.

    Maybe if you put a stepper on the drive, changed it from demand to sprocket driven and programmed the processor to feed the shot into the developer, wait a predetermined amount and then carry out processing as normal.

    Boy, what a nightmare...

    I think you'd be better off exploring methodologies used by Kodak in their Viscomat 16/35mm processing machines made back in the early 1960's.

    These machines used a developer combined with a viscous (but chemically inert) substance with a developer that was applicated (throw-on roller or metered extruder) to the emulsion side of the film. The film was then fed into a dark chamber with high humidity (very fine impingement jets of water) for the proper time of development. As the film exited the development chamber, the developer was spray-washed and vacuumed off the emulsion, then went into the normal wet bath system to finish processing.

    The viscous developer, directly applied to the emulsion, tended to be automatically compensating as it would exhaust in local areas of high density, but continue to work in areas of low exposure -- pretty much the same as stand or semi-stand development.

    This method is explored by the Russian N.I. Kirillov in "Problems in Photographic Research" , Focal Press 1965, (1967 english translation) Moscow. It used to be an incredibly rare book to find, but now I can find several online for $10USD or less. Amazing.

    Better hurry, I think there will be a run on this book! :wink:
     
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    SNoel

    SNoel Member

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    After thinking about it a bit, I think I might have to resort to two bath development processing in the end. It seems to be the only "practical" solution. Practical as in electricity, pumps, tanks, drive, structure extension practical...

    I can't say I am very excited by the idea but it seems like the only way, short on builing a viscomat processor from scratch that is.

    I will also try Pyro-TEA, and see if it does replenish well, and what type of image stain it will give me.

    Additionnal comments on Pyro-TEA or other suggestions on how to approach this are still most welcomed. I will be toying on and off in this stuff for the next two monts or so...

    Serge
     
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    SNoel

    SNoel Member

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    Kino,

    The Jamieson has air exposed upper transport rollers.
    I will also look into the pseudo-viscomat option. I have ordered the book.

    For anyone interested in giving me additionnal advise, here are the available positive print stock for b&w film, and their spectral characteristics :

    Eastman 5302
    http://www.motion.kodak.com/AU/en/motion/Products/Distribution_And_Exhibition/Print_Films/5302.htm

    [​IMG]


    Kodak 2302
    http://motion.kodak.com/US/en/motio...nd_Exhibition/Print_Films/so302/techSO302.htm
    [​IMG]


    There are also 3 other intermediate stocks that could be used:
    EASTMAN Fine Grain Duplicating Panchromatic Negative Film 2234
    EASTMAN Fine Grain Duplicating Panchromatic Negative Film 5234
    KODAK Fine Grain Duplicating Positive Film 2366

    The color response of 2366 (the only item relevant for printing my stained negative) seems similar to the print stocks already mentionned.

    Serge
     
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  16. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Pyro developers were used by some of the very early silent film makers, but they were soon replaced with M-Q formulas which produced much better results. Later, pyro tanning developers were used in the Technicolor process to develop their special matrix film intermediates that were used to make the final color prints by a dye transfer process.
     
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    SNoel

    SNoel Member

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    Is PM-TEA to anyone's taste?

    M.Worth,

    ON PYRO HISTORY
    As far as I know you are right. I have actually read that the dye (stain) effect of the pyro agent also hinted chemists at the possibility of getting various colors out of the silver process. It may also explain why color type fixers such as Kodak's Flexicolor work with many pyro formulas -- using Ammonium thiosulphate (CAS 07783-18-8) as a main fixing agent.

    WHAT NEXT ?
    For anyone interested in my advances, let me say that after reading an (aditionnal) number of threads I came to the conclusion that, at least theoritically, PM-TEA seemed a very interesting option, for use as a viscomat-type processing option. It would not oxidize while in contact with air, only when immersed. It is also pretty energetic -- which is a concern for me.

    ANYONE ON PM-TEA ??
    Anyone has experience with PM-TEA type developpers ?

    In this thread its results are only technically discussed-- and there does not seem to have been other mentions of it anywhere else on APUG's site :
    Pyro-TEA developer (Archive)

    -= King's PM-TEA =-
    TEA, 100 ml
    Pyrogallol, 10.0 g
    Metol, 2.0 g
    Bromide, 0.2 g

    In the same vein, also, any experience on the use of either Paul Farber’s Pyro-triethanolamine film developper (PF Pyro-TEA) or with Unblinkingeye's PM-TEA ? Does it keep well ? Is the oxalic acid main purpose to prevent stain ?

    -= Farber's PM-TEA =-
    Oxalic acid 1.8 g
    Potassium metabisulfite 4.5 g
    Pyrogallol 54 g
    Metol 19 g
    Sodium sulfite 135 g
    Triethanolamine 140 ml
    Distilled water to make 4 liters

    Again, how does it compare to Unblinking Eye's PM-TEA?

    -= UE Pyro-TEA =-
    Metol 17.8 g
    Oxalic Acid 1.7 g
    Potassium Metabisulfite 4.3 g
    Sodium Sulfite 140.0 g
    Pyrogallic Acid (Pyro) 51.2 g
    Triethanolamine 133 ml
    Distilled water to make 4 liters

    I would appreciate to learn a little on the general visual characteristics of these before I plunge...

    Thanks to everyone.

    Serge
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2009
  18. Kino

    Kino Subscriber

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    Well, I never asked; what's your intended end product?

    At the risk of preaching to the choir, I'll say that the 2366/5366 is a Fine Grain Intermediate stock intended for... intermediates, not for projection.

    You can make a print with it but, as it stands now, the "normal" perforations (that is, on-shelf stuff and not special order) are B&H .1866 pitch optimized for continuous contact printing and that doesn't hold up too well in projection.

    Used to be that this stock was only available in long pitch (.1870") KS for optically printing dupe negs, but no longer as the preferred method of duping has gone to continuous contact printing.

    The color sensitivity of 2366/5366 is heavily blue-biased, not panchro. The only true panchro intermediate B&W stock in the World is ORWOs DP3/DP31. Kodak makes a Pan Separation Film 2238, intended for making 3 color separation negatives, but it is a unity gain (i.e., 1.0 gamma) stock that has to be pushed to the edge of it's usability envelope to be useful in this function and, more often than not, it simply doesn't have the latitude to handle this function.

    I know, we spent a month trying to dial it in about 5 years ago when Kodak threatened to discontinue 2366/5366.

    I can probably find the report I wrote to Kodak on this testing if you've any interest.

    2234/5234 are the same Dupe Neg Stock, one is poly/estar the other acetate. It of course is not intended for anything but making dupe negs.
     
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    SNoel

    SNoel Member

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    Actually, I am not sure of how it will all end... In a theater hopefully.

    At first I thought I would only process the negative in pyro type dev. After some (lateral) exchanges with M.Gainer I started thinking that an additional stain on the positive would be just beautiful... I had to consider it a bit.

    My problem, as I see it, is the sound track : an age old problem with movie processing. As you know -probably much better than I do- the sound track on the release print would probably be altered by the stain (I am especially worried by the analog track that comes as a backup for the Digital track).

    So I am considering either a possible color internegative made out of an b&w interpositive… or 4k scan. A b&w release print is only an option if I can test the sound and hear that it works ok in the end.

    This might also be a good time to mention I own a B&H model D (with no soundprinting head, alas).

    The way I see it Kino, I have to first get a proper negative. I can worry about the rest afterward. Am I not in denial, I just want to approach this one step at a time, as there is soo much to deal with...


    Kino, thank you for all this precious information. Some of which I will need to read-on before I understand it fully...

    1) I was aware of the fact 2234/5234 was a dupe, I just wanted to put everything there, to be completely thorough...

    2) I would just love to have your report.

    3) Any experience testing pan Orwo? I have read some not too nice things about Orwo in general...

    4) Can I also ask you what would the blue bias of the print stock have as a “negative” (aha) impact on printing PM-TEA type negative ? A more fainted image ? More-less contrast ? This is outside of my present zone of expertise. I do have some (limited) experience working in a film lab, but I am mostly a curious and somewhat stubborn filmmaker.

    5) Orwo's ortho stock seems to have a hole in its response to yellow-green : what would that be for?

    6) And lastly Kino, do you know of North-American film labs that can still do optical tracks transfers for b&w release stocks? This is another of my concerns…

    Thank you again for all your help, knowledge, time,

    Serge
     
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  20. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    I'm not Kino, but....don't all release prints still have an optical sound track, in addition to the coding for digital sound?

    Are you talking about 16mm or 35mm?
     
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    SNoel

    SNoel Member

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    Optical Sound an b&w

    Yes Phototone,

    All release prints (of non-experimental films that is) have a sound track. Generally it has two type of information, digital and analog, the second being a backup for the first. I am talking 35mm. Audio tracks of 16mm were never very good (with the possible exception of NFB's) and made distribution of 16mm in theater a rarity at best.

    It is very frequent nowadays (at least here in Canada -- well actually to be more precise here in Quebec, where b&w has a bit of a revival) that movies be shot on color stock, scanned, turned into b&w digitally, and printed on color stock, taking in consideration the nature of the stock.

    Another route is the straight b&w neg and color print. You then have the problem of the dreaded color hue, and exaggerated contrast.

    So, in the end, most people release on color stock, from what I know. But I will readily admit that I don't know everything...

    The fact remains I don't know of film labs doing optical(sound) tracks for b&w in the US or Canada -- the adjustment of the machines are made for color stock.

    But this certainly does not mean no one does them... at least I hope so! I did hear of optical sound transfers being made in Europe (England from what I remember). There is probably enough work coming from print restauration to assure one lab worldwide still doing it...


    Serge
     
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    SNoel

    SNoel Member

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    More questions

    Some more reading and research. It appears from MSDS that I have found that Kodak used as a developper POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE 3% or SODIUM HYDROXIDE 5% for the Viscomat.

    http://hazard.com/msds/f2/bcx/bcxgz.html
    http://hazard.com/msds/f2/bfx/bfxxn.html

    If anyone has a clue as to why, I would love to hear it....

    I also read elsewhere in APUG that "any viscous developer probably used Sorbitol or Carboxy Methyl Cellulose, or mixtures of the two."

    http://www.apug.org/forums/652672-post46.html
     
  23. Kino

    Kino Subscriber

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    Serge,

    Maybe not! You might be able to dial in a proper sound track negative exposure with testing. It could get tricky with varying sound heads on projectors, (i.e., traditional solar cell VS cyan track/LED sound reproducers), but all you can do is try, eh?

    We worked with elements from the very beginning of commercial sound to the end of the Nitrate era and had great success making good sound prints from all manner of tracks in God knows what kind of developers.

    The way we did it was to establish the control parameters on the negative or the print IMAGE and THEN devise optical track exposure around the processing parameters of the image.

    We were always able to find the proper exposure range to fit within the gamma of the image, but it requires some testing.


    I think I'd try the short sections of release print PRIOR to investing in a 4K scan! :wink:

    If it prints full aperture and you can cut ND with a pair of scissors, you have a sound head...

    True, true!


    OK, let me dig around, its in some box around here somewhere; please PM me your email address.

    Yeah, I was one of, if not THE, largest purchaser of ORWO MP stock in the USA for about 5 years running (2000-2005) and tested almost all variants.

    Tested the pan FG stock extensively as we used it to optically subtract dichroic fog stains on Edgar Ulmer's, "Man from Planet X" original camera negative. (long story, stain developed over time due to improper fixing and blocked blue light with a light yellow stain.)

    The ugly stuff you read is either from the old ORWO (prior to restructuring) or by people who didn't either test it or tested it improperly.

    Now they did have a few hiccups when they first started coating on Polyester, but as I understand it, it is no longer a problem.

    For the most part, it is a fine film; different from Kodak, a bit more "crunchy" and contrasty at the same time/temp as Kodak, but a fine film just the same.

    Like comparing coffee; you can say its similar, but not identical...

    No! As Gainer says, it essentially should react almost EXACTLY as still photographic paper! There is basically NO difference between D97 and Dektol and the 5302/2303 print stock should react pretty much the same, within reason.

    Its all a matter of dialing it in and keeping good notes.

    Haven't a clue. Didn't seem to matter though...

    Yes, there are tons of labs that will do this for you but these folks are great:

    http://www.ntaudio.com/optical-soundtrack.php
     
  24. Kino

    Kino Subscriber

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    The Hydroxides are accelerators to speed up processing. It just jacks-up the energy of the developer.

    The Kirillov book mentions "the sodium salt of carboxymethylcellulose (Na-CMC) and "a wetting agent", so you probably have it.
     
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    SNoel

    SNoel Member

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    CMC (Carboxy Methyl Cellulose) as a media for developer

    Here are some additionnal notes about Carboxy Methyl Cellulose (CMC)

    "Its control of viscosity allows use as thickener, phase and emulsion stabilizer (...) and suspending agent. CMC can be also used for its water-holding capacity as this is high even at low viscosity; particularly when used as the Ca2+ salt."

    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/hycmc.html

    I have also read (but in another language) that its viscosity goes higher as the pH raises.

    It seems (from another discussion I have had with a person who has had experienced in Viscomat) that a water type spray might be the only way to do the deed. Water submersion might disperse the chemicals too rapidly for proper action.

    This is very simple really. ;-)

    Serge
     
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    SNoel

    SNoel Member

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    Reading and thinking

    Little update. I have received the book suggested by Kino. Interesting indeed... Some shematics of the Viscomat process, and additionnal discussions on comprative merits of spraying developper VS application of developper on emulsion. Two questions remain in that last perspective : how to create a water mist at a set temperature, and how to dispose of vast amounts of used gel developper... For now, some office work, and then, additionnal lab construction. Back soon.

    Serge