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Thank you very much for your financial contribution! If you check this box, the name as you enter it including the avatar from your e-mail and comment will be shown in recent donations. Your e-mail address and donation amount will not be shown. Type "process: [process name]" to search for processes. Type "inventor: [inventor name]" to search for inventors. Technicolor No. V: Dye transfer prints from chromogenic negative. Technologies, Cultures, Institutions. Most writers who discuss the Technicolor process stop after the introduction of Eastmancolor and the demise of the three strip cameras.
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Actually, the zenith of the imbibition technique was during the years through , when the color negative was adapted for use with the process. Television competition had resulted in an increase in three strip Technicolor productions in The research department came up with a method to supplement the three strip camera, known as stripping negative. Three differently sensitized layers of black and white emulsion were separated by soluble interlayer with suitable filtering dyes. After exposure in a modified black and white camera, the top two layers were individually transferred to new supports.
The resulting three black and white negatives would then be used for making matrices in the conventional manner. The gaining popularity of the Kodak and Ansco single strip color negatives made the Technicolor staff abandon this technique and work on adapting these negatives to their imbibition process.
Around the same time, a young chemist named Richard Goldberg joined the research staff and eventually became the vice-president of the department.
In the thirties and forties, the dyes used in the imbibition process contained multiple components and were difficult to manufacture. For example, the yellow dye had three components, and the cyan had five. According to Goldberg, there was even a time when oyster juice was used as one of the elements, and Technicolor technicians used to visit restaurants at the end of the day to collect it.
Sometimes the dyes were not pure when received from the supplier and had to be treated with egg albumin and acetic acid and boiled, then vacuum filtered to remove the impurities. The early multiple component dyes made quality control difficult for Technicolor reprints. For example, after one set of matrices wore out and was replaced for additional orders, it was difficult to duplicate the precise dye components used on the initial run.
Pre dye transfer prints often had slightly different color renditions from each batch of dyes. Goldberg was able to simplify the dyes so they came from one component each and were purified at the source. The American Cyanamid Company achieved this domestically and became the primary supplier of the era. The new single component dyes were somewhat different in look than the multiple component ones; the magenta was more brilliant, for instance.
As a result, some of the three strip reprints of films like Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz , both reissued in , had more vibrant colors than when originally released. The single component dyes improved quality control and enabled reprints from new matrices to match the original colors more precisely. In the early fifties, the Technicolor company expanded their facility to enable them to develop color negatives and make contact positive prints in the Eastmancolor process.
The research department also modified their optical printer to enable them to derive matrices directly from a color negative. This was accomplished by placing a filter over the negative that transmitted light of sympathetic frequencies onto the matrix stock. Kodak developed a new panchromatic matrix stock for this application. This technique was referred to as Technicolor Process Number Five. This process encompassed various formats, which will be described below.
The first innovation that made an impact in the rush to bring audiences back to the theater was the most spectacular and the strangest. Dubbed Cinerama, it was an entirely new method of filming and projecting motion pictures. Fred Waller had developed a prototype system known as Vistarama, which was used to make films for a gunnery training in World War II.
Lowell Thomas and Merian C. Cooper coproducer of King Kong formed a partnership with theatrical showman Michael Todd to develop the process for feature productions, and Hazard Reeves introduced the six channel magnetic stereophonic sound. The Cinerama specifications were very complicated, which may, in part, have been an attempt to make the technology difficult for third parties to steal.
The Cinemiracle system, a near identical process, was developed in anyway. Three interlocked 35mm cameras photographed the panoramic image on Kodak color negative fig. A six-sprocket high frame was exposed sans optical track area , which generated a wide 2. The 35mm magnetic fullcoat stock contained six discrete stereo tracks and was interlocked with the projectors and displayed on a curved screen.
The projection speed was increased to 26 frames per second, while the interlocked magnetic stereo track remained at For the last two three-panel features, the speed was reduced to 24 frames per second. The theaters that played Cinerama films had to be equipped with three booths, each of which projected one panel onto the curved screen. The Cinemiracle system, introduced with Windjammer in , modified the format to include the three projectors in one booth to reflect the image to the appropriate part of the screen via mirrors.
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Cinerama bought out Cinemiracle and adapted the latter for the remaining three panel features. The picture was treated as a road show event, with reserved seats and a two dollar admission. The film began with a standard black and white 35mm prologue, with Lowell Thomas giving an intentionally dull history of motion picture exhibition. This Is Cinerama and the other five productions of the fifties were spectacular travelogues which took audiences on trips to Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, the South Seas and other sights.
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By then, single panel wide screen formats had caught on, and the three panel process was phased out. The modified optical printer that enabled a set of matrices to be derived from a color negative was not operational by the time This Is Cinerama was ready for release. Therefore, the three panel prints were made in the Eastmancolor process. After the research department perfected their optical printer to enable matrices to be made from any size negative, This Is Cinerama was rereleased in the dye transfer process in , with even more impressive results.
The last two three-panel story features were also printed via imbibition. Of the seven three-panel features, only This Is Cinerama and How the West Was Won exist in Technicolor, thanks to a film collector who saved dye transfer copies and has a working three panel projector set up in his house. The remaining Cinerama titles of the fifties were all printed in Eastmancolor and have completely faded. Shortly after the premiere of This Is Cinerama , the public was bombarded with advertisements for another innovation that required new methods of filming and exhibition and was known as 3-D.
Like most new formats of the fifties, 3-D had been available earlier but did not catch on.
They were essentially gimmick films that showed objects thrown at the audience with little or no connecting plot. Both used the Anaglyphic system of 3-D. Anaglyphic entailed shooting with two interlocked 35mm cameras that photographed the action at slightly different angles, which replicated how the two human eyes see things. For release printing, the two negatives were printed onto one strip of film at Technicolor, which imbibed the two tints.
Glasses were worn by the audience that contained the same tinted filters reversed, with the left eye receiving the red tint and the right eye the blue tint. The brain did the rest of the trick: the filters canceled each other out and the viewer perceived the image in three dimensional depth.
Unfortunately, the red and blue glasses caused eyestrain. A more sensible method, known as Polarized 3-D, was developed in Italy and Germany in the s. The same method was used in principal photography, with two interlocked cameras photographing the action at slightly different perspectives. For projection, the two prints were shown through two different polarizing filters.
A silver screen was required to project 3-D to reflect the light and brighten the image.