View Full Version : Ortho-Litho film/cinematography backlight lettering/negative-positive/contact

2-Jun-2009, 11:49
I'm an complete pre-amatuer with zero patience.
Along with my friend, we sometimes shoot some super 8, and medium format, and 35mm.
I like to shoot with a Nikon FM3a and use different films.
We have a few large format cameras; a 4x5 and a 8x10.
I've never done darkroom developing myself, and just usualky get my film delveloped at a lab.
Note that I live in Australia and a city where there is not much in terms of film/cameras etc

I started this thread to get advice and help and recommendations and guidence.

So what I want to know about is this;

I'm interested in some time in the near future, creating slide-titles and credits for motion picture film; i.e. super 8 and 16mm/super16(yet to buy a 16mm camera).
Not a university student, just a hobbyist.
I just want to know how to go about doing this.
For instance I'm hopefully going to get an LED slim lightbox, which hopefully is even all around the corners and edges so that its not a hotspot lightbox. but covers the entire area with even light. also it cant flicker otherwise it will show up on screen.
one of these i'm considering getting. though not sure which size, perhaps i just need A4 or A3, nothing too big?

So, for example, I want white text on black background. I dont want to print white letters onto black card then shine a light in front of it and film it.
No, I want to have a ortho-litho transparency of a black-fully opaque background with clear/transparent letters. then place this in front of the lightbox and photograph/film it. I want the letters to 'glow' if you understand me.
I do not want to use final cut pro or other programs to make simple quick titles/credits.
I want to do it the old/analogue way.
I also was thinking of then experimenting more, so that I could somehow have a primary colour background(red, blue, green) or other colours, as backgrounds. so perhaps getting cellophane or lens-filters and putting it in front of the lightbox and photographing it, then rewinding the film and rephotographing/multiple expose just white text on black opaque background. so that I will have a colour background and white text. or instead of mulitple exposure, just have the lightbox covered in cellophane or a solid colour transparency or filter etc and somehow place/hover/hang an acetate sheet or glass with white letters on front but painted black on the back so that its opaque and the lightbox colour doesnt colour the white text, putting this acetate or glass in front of lightbox and using another light from a different angle(so as not to shine a light into the lens or make reflections etc) so that the white text would be bright in front of the coloured lightbox, then photograph/film this.

Also I'm thinking of going further, i.e. mounting laser-cut glass or plastic 3d lettering onto glass and having that infront of the lightbox or something.
and/or also incorporating a half-circle double expose lens filter, so that half the image could be exposed with lettering on perhaps black background, then in-camera rewinding the film and switching the lens-filter double exposure mask so that the other side of image can be photographed with perhaps an photo/transparency.
maybe I could also actually film something like a skyline or sunset or scene, then rewind the film and multiple expose with white text with opaque background with a lightbox etc
or maybe even have a 4x5 or 8x10 colour transparency on the lightbox, and on top of that with perhaps an all transparent same size high-contrast sheet with black opaque lettering in a certain spot. then mutliple exposing that with a reverse of the lettering sheet, so that instead of the all clear with blacktext, a negative of that(opaque background, clear letters) and maybe use a coloured cellophane to colour the letters, so that you would end up with a colour image of something/face/object etc with red/green letters with perhaps shadow block 3d effect.
I dont have too but I could and was thinking of maybe using lettraset lettering.

My main concern is how to get the lettering on a large 4x5 or 8x10 or larger transparency, which has fully black opaque background-so that it blocks the light behind?
And vise versa; having an all clear background with opaque lettering etc
So yeah, positives and negatives.

I have done my bit of homework to a degree, and assume I need Ortho-Litho high-contrast B&W film, in sheet sizes.(btw I could also get 35mm hi-con litho film right? and maybe a film-35mm slide duplicator mount and sort of reduce the above processes a bit less; so having an image in a 35mm slide, mount that onto the lens of a super8 or super16mm/16mm camera, then multiple expose with a 35mm slide of white lettering etc, all backlit) so that this could save a bit of work.
So Ortho-litho high-con film in large sizes. I have found Arista film on a website; http://porters.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=400581&Category_Code=F1Q&Product_Count=0
but am absolutely stuck as to which one I would need for my purposes? which do I need? hopefully they are not that expensive
As well as actually getting the lettering or image/logo onto the sheet in the first place.
Do I need to do it by contact printing? how do I that? or do I have to photograph the lettering with 4x5 or 8x10 transparency's with our large format camera/a ?
then, how do I actually develop them without going to expensive unreliable photo-developing houses here in my small city? I can develop at home right? it is a simple process is it not? I thought you can buy the developers/chemicals with the transparency's and its not too complicated. correct?
I guess I could use my bathroom at night(can I use a safelight?) and block any windows(bathroom has only one window which opens to a window-full room with curtains/blinds etc) and turn all the lights off in the house etc
but then, how could I get large transparency's/slides of photographs? wouldnt have to be ultra sharp, like A4 size clear/opaque colour slides 4x5 or 8x10. I guess the only way would be to photograph something with the large format camera, and have it developed at the lab then backlight it and photograph it etc or maybe just using 35mm slides and mounting them onto the front of the lens with a slide-duplicator lens filter/mount/bracket and doing it like that, instead of paying for expensive 8x10 or 4x5 colour transparency's, or am I wrong? could a non-photo lab do this? maybe this? ; http://www.graphiclitho.com.au/print.html

I'm terribly confused.

Please someone help me! how and what do I need to do?

I dont want rolling credits. I cant get an optical printer as I dont even know what they look like, or how they work. I also dont want to spend too much money i.e., having to send all transparency overseas waiting weeks etc I cant do inter positives or whathaveyou back and forth, back and forth just for a hobby/interest/fun thing.

THANK YOU very much for your help!!
p.s. I'd appreciate very much book recommendations and any advise/help.
also; excuse my long post, but I felt it was necessary to attempt to explain my situation.

3-Jun-2009, 04:49
I didn't get to read and digest everything you wrote... It's good you admit you have not patience. It's a start for gaining some, as it's necessary for darkroom stuff.

How about making the letters on the computer, printing them out and photographing it instead of messing with a lightbox?

How about having someone hold up cards with the words like in Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues video if you're going for a low tech theme?

3-Jun-2009, 05:31
yes it is quite long and confusing.
thanks for your advice, but I do not find that method interesting to what I'm after.
I understand its much easier and cheaper, but not what I'm after. It is the same to me as just doing it digitaly in a program but not what I want. also the bob dylan thing is cool, but who wants to be a second-rate 'cool' guy standing in front of the camera looking cool. sorry for my opinion but I cannot stand that sort of cliche bullshit bring wank, indie-low-budget-punk nonsense, it is really terribly boring and depressing.

In summary of my first post, I need advice and to know how to basically, buy the right Ortho-Litho film, bu and know how to develop it hopefully I can either do negative and positive by using one or more different chemicals or steps etc, and know how to photograph it or contact print it etc
so for example I might print with a computer/photoshop, black letters onto a piece of paper or better photo-type paper, white. then I need to know how to get a negative of that onto a transparency/4x5 or 8x10 or larger, high contrast, so that I get white/clear/transparent letters on black opaque background. SO then I can backlight it and photograph, so that what comes up on screen sort of glows more, and is a bit more technical and analogue, as opposed to printing white letters on black paper/colour etc which wont satisfy me

So which othro-litho film do I need? Arista etc as Kodalith doesnt seem to be made anymore, I've found a few links already posted in the first post here.

Then which developing chemicals do I need? so that I can develop the film myself.

Then what sort of procedure do I do to both actually photograph or contact print(how?) the lettering onto the film.
And then what procedure to develop the film, so that by option I can develop it as negative or positive of the real sheet I'd photographed?

The rest I guess I could work out.

Please anyone, help me.
I simply need to be told which exact one(film, chemicals etc) to buy.SPECIFIC! so that I dont stuff around unsure what I need.

thank you

3-Jun-2009, 06:29
I didn't read the novel you posted but I have done what you described in the title. Titles are expensive so why not do your own? I had a sign company cut the text out of black 3M adhesive vinyl and adhere that to white plexiglas which we then attached to the appropriate sized light box. The entire room was black other than the letters which were spot-metered +3 or 4 stops so they'd be bright white. You can make your own light boxes with just a couple soft white bulbs and a dimmer.
I've also done this the other way and had black text printed on clear transparency film. Shot them taped to a piece of glass facing straigh up at the sky with clouds going by.

Ron Marshall
3-Jun-2009, 09:02
Print directly onto clear film with an inkjet printer. If that involves too much ink, reverse print and then contact print to a large sheet of film.

Jim C.
9-Jun-2009, 08:59
I worked in animated motion graphics back in the stone ages where the only thing the computer did was move the camera
and it was was with back lit kodalith artwork on Oxberry animation stands. What you're asking here is more
pertaining to animation than LF photography.

I suggest that you need to find a forum that deals specifically with cel animation since your questions
would probably be best answered there and be on topic.


Skip the ortho-litho film, make your typesetting in an illustration program, then send the files out
to printer that can output hi contrast film for separations, I think the printers were called Imagesetters.