Before & After

(Or: Analogue Noise Reduction!!)

This is -by far- the whackiest thing I have done in years.

To begin with, I would like to thank my good friend Jordan for bringing this to my attention.

There are a lot of things going on here, so let’s hop right in:

To begin with, The Producer was at a conference, so I had to style the hair and make the bun myself.Β  That is really the main miracle here. πŸ˜‚

Second, this is Portra 400 shot at ISO 1200 (Yes, a 1.5 stop push)

Finally (and probably most importantly…) this film was processed in both B&W and Colour Chemistry!!

That’s right folks:Β  This roll was first soaked in Rodinal (1:100) for ten minutes at room temperature (without agitation) and then rinsed, and immediately processed in standard C-41 chemistry.

LOOK AT THOSE SKIN TONES PEOPLE!!!!

And the blacks are BLACK, with no hint of grainy green and purple chroma noise that often results from pushing Portra 120 even one stop.

From what I can gather, the Rodinal seems to develop the “avid” areas first (the “bright noise” if you will…) leaving a very faint B&W image, which is subsequently bleached away (due to lack of fixation) by the C-41 chemistry.Β  It is -literally-Β “Analogue Noise Reduction!!” Β The negatives are of a lower density overall, but the shadows contain more detail, and the tones are much more homogeneous.

Definitely an area that warrants further exploration.

(Next stop: 35mm Portra 400 at 1600 and put through the Pakon…)

9 thoughts on “Before & After

  1. jkjod says:

    Nice! I’m so glad this worked out, the colors are really quite something. I knew this would be right up your alley. Eager to what the portra looks like at 1600.

    I know if this were my house and I was showing the results to Mrs. J all giddy like (“look, look, look…isn’t this sooooo cool?!?!”), I know exactly what the reaction would be (“uh huh, wooooow”).

  2. Karim Ghantous says:

    I have wondered about this sort of thing for a long time. I always wondered if there was a photochemical noise reduction technique that did not merely involve a bigger negative. It seems that it’s true after all. Eureka!

    I did come up with a possible solution, but it wasn’t chemical – it was optical, and it was invented decades ago, anyway. It’s basically a low-pass filter for enlargers, and probably works best with finer grained films.

    Anyway, the evidence is clear: those images look really, really nice. Cute girl, too. I’m sure she forgives you for the hair styling. πŸ˜›

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