Bleaching - HP/Lab Collaborations - Analog/Digital Hybrid Projects

From: Ken Paul Rosenthal (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Jun 07 2009 - 11:28:25 PDT

Though my experience with (household) bleaching is limited, I've used a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water to neutralize the bleach, followed by a third bath of water to remove any residue vinegar/odor.
Regarding home processing with hi-con b/w film and developers, I experienced great success in a collaboration with San Francisco-based Monaco Lab when working on my (yet to be fully realized) film, 'Flow'. --
Introduced to hi-con 7363 on Phil Hoffman's Independent Filmmaking Retreat up in Canada, I intended to use it as a camera stock for 'Flow'. But given the irregularities of hand processing, I feared losing an entire week's shoot, and thousands of dollars. So I shot Plus-X b/w negative, which gave me more latitude to capture the details of the frothy surf which the off shore winter storms kicked up. Furthermore, I could make work prints, from which to chose my selects.
I was not recording sound sync, so I made an A-roll negative from my selects, had it timed, then PRINTED (NOT processed) by the lab onto my hi-con 7363 stock. The lab returned the exposed (but UNPROCESSED) 7363 to me in sealed cans, which I hand processed as either a positive or a negative, according to my wishes. If I didn't like the way my processing turned out, I simply had the lab print my selects again. The entire operations was quite smooth, and much cheaper than if the lab had processed my footage themselves.
Here's the bizarre part--which I've never fully been able to wrap my head around--especially now some five years later: when I followed normal negative development (first developer/wash/fix/wash), I was getting a positive image! And when I processed using reversal development, I was getting a negative image! I believe this is why:
1) My camera original leaved a latent negative image on the Plus-X negative stock.2) The lab processed and exposed the negative onto my 7363 stock.3) When I hand processed the 7363, the first developer reverses the exposed image to a positive image. If I were to continue the processing and re-develop the image, it would reverse again and become a negative. Therefore...4) ...negative development yielded a positive image and reversal development yielded a negative.
Phew! Robert Schaller and I tried to make sense of it back then and we could only speculate. Anyway, the results were super contrasty. And I used D-19. Someday, when I complete the film, it will look like the color test frames on the 'Flow' web page.
Lastly, I'd like to suggest a (possibly) great new thread of stories from enterprising folks who have enjoyed similar, non-traditional collaborations with labs. And/or experiences with hybrid processes between analog and digital techniques.
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