Hand coloring on 35 mm film

From: Doug Williams (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Feb 24 2006 - 12:36:01 PST

Hello. This is my first post here. I'm writing because I am planning to hand color film which I have never tried before and I was hoping to get the benefit of everyone's experience. I'll be as detailed as possible:
  I am planning to shoot 2 rolls of black and white 35mm film. Then I will get a work print made and take it home. Then I have to have some surgery and I want to spend my recovery time hand coloring in the parts of the work print which will appear in the final film. Then I will get the colored work print transferred to digital files so I can put it on my computer to finish the editing. I have many questions about the process. First of all does that sound like a reasonable workflow? Does anybody have good suggestions about the mechanics of setting up a workstation to move efficiently through the coloring process while allowing enough time for drying etc.?
  I want the color to be translucent so that the images will be colored without losing any of the detail of the film. Of course I want it to look as good as it can but I also want to move quickly and efficiently and hopefully without getting cancer from toxins. I will have a lot of recovery time to work with and I'm actually looking forward to it as a sort of therapy but at the same time there will be a LOT of frames to color so I do want to be able to move fast so I can finish it in this lifetime. The finished film I hope will be about 5 minutes long which I believe means I will be coloring a little over 7,000 individual frames of film. I'm up for it as long as it takes but I want to make sure I have a good plan first. I have heard of using food color, water color, stained glass paints, and even sharpies. The sharpies sound like a good option just because it seems quick and non toxic and not too messy. It also seems though that it would be difficult to blend colors much with
 sharpies or other felt tip pens so you would be pretty much stuck with the colors you can buy. This might be okay with me but it's good to have options. Has anyone used sharpies for hand coloring film? Do they actually work transparently and without smearing? Is there a way to blend them if you want? What is the drying time like? Any other similar but better options for moving fast and getting good results? I have found a little informationin the archives but I really want to hear more about specific techniques and mediums people have tried. Any tips or comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much!

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