Thursday 7 March 2013

Kodak 1922 Kodachrome Film Test

The following footage is from the George Eastman House collections, a repository for many of the early tests made by the Eastman Kodak Company of their various film stocks and color processes. The Two-Color Kodachrome Process was an attempt to bring natural lifelike colors to the screen through the photochemical method in a subtractive color system. 

First tests on the Two-Color Kodachrome Process were begun in late 1914. Shot with a dual-lens camera, the process recorded filtered images on black/white negative stock, then made black/white separation positives. The final prints were  produced by bleaching and tanning a double-coated duplicate negative (made from the positive separations), then dyeing the emulsion green/blue on one side and red on the other. Combined they created an ethereal palette of hues.

In these tests, made in 1922 at the Paragon Studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey, a full seven years before the first Academy Award ceremony, actress Mae Murray appears almost translucent, her flesh a pale white that is reminiscent of perfectly sculpted marble, enhanced with touches of color to her lips, eyes, and hair. She is joined by actress Hope Hampton, modeling costumes from The Light in the Dark (1922), which contained the first commercial use of Two-Color Kodachrome in a feature film. Ziegfeld Follies actress Mary Eaton and an unidentified woman and child also appear.

The music is from the Killer Tracks CD entitled: KT223 (Inspire). First track used is called "Breath," the second is called "Kindle."

The digital transfer was completed by Kyle Alvut, who works at the Entertainment Imaging division of George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, and is an expert in motion picture film and digitization.

Kyle Alvut in action.

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