One more Tint/tone thing (Actually, 8)

From: JEFFREY PAULL (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Dec 28 2008 - 06:40:35 PST

1} You can tint and tone for 2- 3 colour effects. Since toning changes the silver - meaning the greys and blacks of the image -
      those changs and colours aren't water soluable. But water-based tinting dyes don't affect the silver at all;
dyes colour only the white/light/transparent parts of the image. Tinting dyes soak into the entire gelatin structure of the emulsion,
and so can leech out if the film becomes soaked again.
Good to know if you don't like the tinting colour. Just let it sit in clear warm water, plus 2-3 drops of dish detergent, for a while (an hour?) and most if not all the colour will be gone.
Agitate gently maybe every 10 minutes, for 15t-30 seconds. The colour becomes removed slowly as the water meets the emulsion surface and dilutes the dye.
So big agitation is of no help at all.

2} If you tint and tone both, do your toning first, tinting second.
     Example: Tone the darker parts of the image sepia, let's say it's landscape w/or w/o people.
Then tint the white parts of the image blue - in this case, mostely sky parts.
Of course the blue superimposes on the brown parts but if you balance your soaking timings,
you can get a blue sky and a non-blue landscape.

3} You can "split tone": soak the film on one colour toner for a shorter time, affecting only the mid-tones.
      That change is permanent, but the short submersion time will have transformed only some of the thinner (lighter) areas of silver, leaving the thicker, darker parts untouched.
Then, after washing, you can soak the film in a 2nd colour toner for a longer time than #1.
It will have no effect ont he silver that has already turned colour, but will change only the previously unchanged darker parts.
So your first toning colours only the lighter tones, and the 2nd toner colours the darker and black parts of the image.
Some of the mid-tones will, indeed, pick up the colours of both toners.


5} Some toners require you to what's called "bleach" the image first using the chemical potassium ferrocyanide.
     The amount of chemical in the solution you use is small, say 2-5 ml of ferrocyanide to a litre of water.
The ferrocyanide doesn't fume so you can use it indoors, but wear rubber gloves.
The cyanide part of ferrocyanide is, of course, a very concentrated deadly poison.
But the potassium ferrocyanide is a stable compound so use it with glove care.

The cyanide will come out of solution only if you both leave it uncovered in a tray for days,
and sunshine hits the tray.

Google "Poison Centre" and find an entry you can trust and read officially the care and feeding of potassium ferrocyanide.
ALSO: read how to dispose of properly.

6} You can strip film emulsion down to the base - removing all traces of emulsion and gelatine, using clothes bleach.
      (try 150ml bleach in 2 litres of water. Using gloves, shmoosh it around and watch it turn transparent.
If you get bored, add another 150 ml of clothes bleach to speed things up.
USE GLOVES and do this outside because of chlorine fumes. They are nasty.

7} One of my former students, Steve Sanguedolce, is making his 2nd feature length documentary using B&W in a Bolex, shooting actors.
      He develops the footage in buckets in the basement, and dries it in the family clothes dryer. (!)
Then he tints and tones (Berg toner by the gallon).
This semi-wrecked look is only semi-predictable, (part of the adventure)
and, in the case of his last film, "Dead Time", the messed up image was an analog to the characters' (real life recovered addicts)
 lives which, for decades, had been totally subsumed to drugs.
The various flickerings of the image at times were synced, momentarily, to the fluctuations of their Voice-Overs or to the momentary silences.
Out of chaos: order!
Mind: all this hand-made stuff helps give a look to the image that HELPS TELL THE STORY!
It isn't teachnique for its own sake.
Since messing around like this GUARANTEES interesting/pretty footage, for beginners, understand that these techniques can seduce
you into falling in love with "your" footage.
The image is the work of serendipity and guaranteed chemical reactions.
How you choose to apply it, edit it, use it to enhance your idea allows you to say that it is, now, "your" footage.

8} If there's a hip DVD rental place available, check out these silent films for the looks of tinting and (mostely) toning:
     - Birth of a Nation,
     - Intolerance
     _Orphans of the Storm
     - Haxen ( an early Danish ("educational"!) film about Witches
The very early shorts of Georges Melies with hand-tinting of each individual frame. (If the DVD is high quality, the effects are lovely - and amazing when you think
of tinting individual parts of 16 images for each second of screen time.

9} Also check out the still-photo work of Alfred Steiglitz and other "Pictorialists" who tinted and toned B&W prints around 1910.
     You will see you have a lot to live up to!

LAST: I'm a shitty speller, and Safari doesn't seem to have a spell check so I take responsibility for spelling mistakes but I don't want to hear about them.
           It never helps; I'm too far gone.

Jeffrey Paull

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.