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early 2-color Kodachrome test


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Nice soft lighting , what happened to lighting like that for colour for the next 40 years ?

 

Back then, Cooper-Hewitt lamps were often used for key lighting, sort of a precursor to fluorescent but with a string blue-green cast, so the light was naturally soft, and mixed with harder carbon arc lighting.

 

But in this test, Cooper-Hewitts would have been avoided for the color problems they create. The edge light is from a carbon arc, but I can't tell what the key light is from. Either it's softened daylight against a black backdrop, or it's some arcs pounded through a silk.

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Wonderful looking images. Carefully art-directed of course, to avoid showing the lack of greens. Which is natural enough if you only have a two-colour system, something has got to go!

 

It would be nice to see a test on modern stocks using the same black back-drop, make-up and lighting. Would it look as convincingly 1920s as this test (obviously) does? Somehow I doubt it.

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The big variable here is the color timing of the transfer from the old film to digital. It's hard to tell how faithfully that matches the look of a 1922 film print. I saw some real two color film about 40 years ago, it was nowhere near this good. And the two color look they did in "The Aviator" was way too timid and pretty.

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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Great find David.

 

I got a DVD made by the BBC. It´s called "The Lost World of Friese-Greene" It showcases the "Open Road" films made by Claude Friese-Greene using the Biocolour process on a 1920s road trip from Land's End all the way up to John o' Groats.

 

Friese-Green's father, William Friese-Greene (1855 - 1921), had by 1889 patented his 'chronophotographic' camera. Sadly, William's new and underdeveloped creation was too crude to succeed in further interest, 1891 saw William selling the rights, due to bankruptcy, of the 'chronophotographic' camera patent for just £500. His persistence had now produced Biocolour, where black and white film were given the illusion of colour by passing them through two coloured filters; red or green, the down side to this method was the poor quality image, and the constant flickering by the standards of the day. William was never to see this method take off, due to many court cases and wrangling concerning copyrights from other inventors, such as Charles Urban. It was to be his son Claude, who would eventually continue with his fathers work; William Friese-Greene collapsed and died while participating in a debate concerning the state of the British film industry.

 

Claude Friese-Green (1898 - 1943), whose chosen career and trade was filmmaker, cinematographer and technician who in 1924 set off from England's southern tip: Land's End to the most northern point of Scotland: John O'Groats, some 1600 miles apart. While following in his father's footsteps to further the development of Biocolour, he went on to produce a series of short films, at a cost of hundreds of pounds, what was then called "The Open Road". A journey of discovery, a colourful creation of the people he would meet and their natural surroundings, and too, the experimental movie making would continue.

 

Here are some examples:

 

Claude Friese-Green also shot the famous "There's No Excusin' Susan" scene in Dufaycolor.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kkB5Wtid38

 

The film base was dyed blue, printed with a mosaic using a resistive greasy ink and bleached. The resulting spaces were then dyed green. The process was repeated at an angle, the new spaces being bleached and dyed red, forming a mosaic of colour filters consisting of a mesh of red, green and blue lines, at approximately one million colour elements per square inch, known as a reseau. When exposed to light through the reseau, the film's emulsion was exposed to a single colour of light. Thus the emulsion behind each color element recorded the tones for each primary colour.

 

Upon projection, the reseau served to filter the white projected light, so that the colours of the film corresponded to those in the recorded scene; for example, red values were only shown in red. The same principle applied to green and blue components.

 

And this one is from 1906(!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh-W8gPiW-o&feature=related

 

 

P.S. I don´t want to sound snappy, but isn´t ScarletUSER and Oxymoron? ;-)

 

Frank

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... forming a mosaic of colour filters consisting of a mesh of red, green and blue lines, at approximately one million colour elements per square inch, known as a reseau. When exposed to light through the reseau, the film's emulsion was exposed to a single colour of light. Thus the emulsion behind each color element recorded the tones for each primary colour.

 

That sounds like the Lumiere Autochrome process.

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.=

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Just a point with Dufaycolor, the film had to be shot and projected through the base for the system to work. As well as reversal stock, Dufay also produced a negative and print stock.

 

The Friese-Green material is held at the bfi/National Archive. He shot 22,000 ft on his trip from Land's End to John o'Groats. I did the original digital restoration of some of this material at The Digital Film Lab (when they had an office in London),it was for the then Curator of the Archive, David Pierce, to use in a lecture at the National Theatre, I was a consultant at the Archive at the time. I also made the filter wheel shown in the BBC programme.

 

I have a picture of the machine made by Vinten for Friese-Green so that the positive prints could be coloured. You can see the picture on my website http://www.brianpritchard.com/Anorak%27s%20Corner.htm. The machine enabled 8 alternate frames to be coloured, say Green. You then wound on the film and coloured another 8 frames. When you had coloured the whole reel green you had to go back and colour the intermediate frames red.

Brian

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Surely it'd be a lack of blues, not greens - weren't most of these early two-colour processes red and green?

 

P

 

Yes, though the prints used an orange-red dye and a cyan (blue-green) dye to create a decent fleshtone and semi-acceptable skies.

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Yes, though the prints used an orange-red dye and a cyan (blue-green) dye to create a decent fleshtone and semi-acceptable skies.

 

Right, ferric ferrocyanide and potassium ferrocyanide. Somewhere in storage I have the old Trimble color theory book. Two color primaries had to be chosen so that the line through them in CIE 1931 (x,y) space passed through the fleshtones. So, to get closer to blue, you'd be forced to go farther away from red.

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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Right, ferric ferrocyanide and potassium ferrocyanide. Somewhere in storage I have the old Trimble color theory book. Two color primaries had to be chosen so that the line through them in CIE 1931 (x,y) space passed through the fleshtones. So, to get closer to blue, you'd be forced to go farther away from red.

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

Most of the 2 colour additive systems, as mentioned in my previous post, used red and green; however subtractive 2 color systems such as Dascolor and Cinecolor used Ferricyanide toning which is cyan coloured and an orange-red dyetoning. These were duplex systems with emulsion on both sides.

Brian

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Right, emulsion on both sides of the print is what Trimble describes, if I can ever find the book again. They had to float the print on top of one of the solutions, which was a difficult trick. It would either sink and dye both sides, or miss the solution altogether. With one side dyed, they could submerge it in the other solution.

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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thats absolutely visually amazing Brian!

 

would it be possible for me to obtain such footage?

i.e. like your image and the kodak-youtube kodachrome test film, of women in those costumes in that dark background, looking into the camera occasionally as if looking at the spectator directly!

Could I obtain a DVD-R or download such early footage? from you or someone? for private viewing of course.

I've checked all over online, youtube etc, but I see almost exclusively early colour footage of street scenes and horseies and grand homes etc which bores me tbh.

the footage of the fashonable women is so striking!! that blueish-greenish AQUA light is lush!

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thats absolutely visually amazing Brian!

 

would it be possible for me to obtain such footage?

i.e. like your image and the kodak-youtube kodachrome test film, of women in those costumes in that dark background, looking into the camera occasionally as if looking at the spectator directly!

Could I obtain a DVD-R or download such early footage? from you or someone? for private viewing of course.

I've checked all over online, youtube etc, but I see almost exclusively early colour footage of street scenes and horseies and grand homes etc which bores me tbh.

the footage of the fashonable women is so striking!! that blueish-greenish AQUA light is lush!

Thanks for the comments. Unfortunately I only have a couple of frames, like many of the samples in my collection. I always keep a look out for anything unusual. Often it is only possible to quickly photograph them. If possible I like to make high quality scans. There is a short Gasparcolor film on my website which might interest you.

Brian

Edited by Brian Pritchard
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Right, emulsion on both sides of the print is what Trimble describes, if I can ever find the book again. They had to float the print on top of one of the solutions, which was a difficult trick. It would either sink and dye both sides, or miss the solution altogether. With one side dyed, they could submerge it in the other solution.

 

 

CFI had a CineColor--type process in the 40s called Magnacolor.

AMC used to run 'Popular Science' and 'Unusual Occupations' shorts, transferred from what seemed to be original prints. They alternated between CineColor and Magnacolor, both of which seemed identical.

 

However in, I think, 1949,when EastmanColor came out, CFI commissioned Kodak to make a double sided, two color print film which could be developed in Eastman Color chemicals.

CFI named this Trucolor.

Roderick Ryan's 'History of Motion Picture Colour Technology' gave the processing steps.

Comparing them to the EK print process, the steps are almost identical. The main difference is that the Trucolor's developing time is shorter & maybe the drying time. Considering that the developer had to soak through only one layer of emulsion instead of three, the shorter time makes sense.

Most of the color Roy Rogers movies were in two-color Trucolor. I guess those transfers were from newer three-color prints. Around 1953, trucolor was switched to Eastman color.

 

In the early 50s edition of Cornwell-Clyne's 'Colour Cinematography', he says the Trucolor two-concept is such a great idea, that all film manufacturers should use the Agfa patents to manufacture similar stocks. C-C was a big advocate of not using color dyes until the print stage.

 

PS: for all you stereo free viewers, one of the Gasparcolor frames on Brian Prichard's site is a stereo pair.

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