Episode 043: Brand New and Stone Age

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Brand new tech- nology meets stuff from the Stone Age, ehm… the 70’s.

Rawstudio’s 1.0 release sits on the lab bench for a test run. I am impressed by the workflow and the overall appear- ance. The output in the video has some noise in it, but that was my fault.

I had my camera set up to store a RAW and a JPEG image and have put both files and the camera profile into the companion file to this episode. Now you can try to get a better image out of the RAW file than the processor of a Nikon D200.

In a lot of discussions and tutorials you read the term “lith” or “lith film”. One is running in the meetthegimp.org photogroup at 23.hq. I found an old box with real lith film and take you back some decades while describing how I have worked with these sheets of plastic.

Then I try to rebuild one of the effects that were done with lith film in GIMP. I just emulate the effect, but I am working on a process to really simulate the process done with film. You can find the file to this part of the podcast also in the companion file.

How did you like the concept of these two last shows? Not one monolithic block but several shorter segments? I want to offer a mix of different topics in each episode, covering different levels of experience and different interests. I have put up a poll for you to vote on the side bar. If you want to give me more input than just a click, write to info@meetthegimp.org or post a comment here in the blog.

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14 thoughts on “Episode 043: Brand New and Stone Age

  1. I really enjoyed this video it was most interesting and stirred my memories. If I remember correctly lith film was orthographic and could be handled in a red safe light. This made processing quite interesting. Thank you for showing me how to get rid of the border. Like so many things it is easy when you know how.

    As for the format, my vote is for more of the same unless the topic requires an in depth approach.

  2. Yes, we called it “Ortho Film”. You could use dim red light in the dark room (made it much more interesting with the girls in the workshop….) and use red paint for masking spots. Some of the red paint is visible in the video.

  3. That was interesting. Lith or ortho, they were just names to me; I’ve no experience with the darkroom. Now it has become a bit more tangible. I am looking forward to see darkroom techniques translated into digital GIMP techniques.

    As for the format, I think it depends very much on the subjects. Maybe a mix is the best, sometimes an episode with several topics and sometimes just one topic because it requires a more in depth treatment. That way, there is always something for everyone.

  4. Something I forgot to mention were the characteristic smells of the darkroom. I can smell it now, acetic acid, sulphurous odours and many more.

  5. Just finished watching this podcast. Very good, as usual. As Serge said before, I’m not experienced at all in darkroom, but found the second part very interesting, especially because it looks a bit at the past of photography. Thanks.

    Oh, about your question on single or multiple subjects… well, I like both! Probably multiple subjects are not too “boring” (if you let me use this adjective), but I like when things get a bit deeper too.

  6. @Norman: All the phenoles and other nasties in the developer, too old fixing bath …. I tried to avoid the acetic acid and shelled money out for an odourless version. And the bleach before toning – eeeech! πŸ˜‰

    @cangia: Boredom and loss of concentration is the right word and danger in a long one-topic show. I’ll try to divide them in chapters too.

  7. Despite the relatively unpleasant conditions in the darkroom, I don’t think there is anything to replace watching the image form before your eyes as the paper lay in the developing tray. My father used to develop orthochromatic film from his camera, without using a developing tank,by what we called the see-saw method in an open dish and by the light of a red lamp. As a young boy I was fascinated to see the negative image forming as the development proceeded. No timer, just experience.

  8. Yes, that part was cool!

    Or taking the wet film out of the drum and checking the images you had made days ago. Yes, kids, no LCD on the back! πŸ™‚

  9. I was looking back on my earliest experiences of printing and remembered a type of paper called ‘printing out paper’ so called because it could be handled in daylight and needed to be exposed to strong sun light to produce an image. The image developed without wet processing and was sepia in colour. When the image was a little darker than wanted the print was washed in weak fixer, water and dried. This was something I did in the summer using a printing frame to make contact prints. Film commonly used in those days was 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches (35mm had not been invented) and contact printed onto paper 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches.

    Another paper my father used was called ‘gaslight’ because it was not very sensitive and could be handled in a weak, white light without fogging.
    Printing in our house was done in the kitchen, late in the evening, when it was starting to get dark. The safe light was a candle and the print exposed for several seconds near the electric light. The print was then developed, fixed, washed and dried in the normal manner.

  10. Another nice show, no surprise.
    I suspect that I’m a wee bit younger than some of you, lab techniques sound like Mars for me :-). Pretty interesting, though, quite often you understand better when you acquire an historic perspective.

    And for the format, I think that you should make the shows the way you like best everytime; there’s no need to static patterns. This way you can make them following your inspiration. Maybe you’ll find that some subjects lead the show and decide themselves if they need more or less room.

    Anyways it’s fine with me


  11. I am, it seems, in middle ground in age here. The “gaslight paper” is ancient history for me but when I started with film I never would have thought that I would use something different. Well, there were always new films, papers, processes and the silver was expected to go out of business. But if you had asked me in 1970 about the photography in 2010, I would have described a futuristic looking gadget with a kind of film inside.

    Multigrade paper was the top of flexibility in that time. Imagine, one box of paper with hard, medium and soft in it – and you could mask out parts of the image and use hard and soft on one image. Could life get better? πŸ˜‰

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