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Thread: Negative retouching?

  1. #1

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    Negative retouching?

    I have some 8x20 negatives processed with Jobo 2850 got scratched on the non-emulsion side before I put an insert inside. Not only lines, but pieces of the clear coating were sratched off the film. When printing, these scratched areas appeared as dark spots. Somebody suggested red ink, but all I can get from Freestyle is Marshall's Spotsall and Edwal's No-Scratch. The former does not cover the clear parts which are to be covered and the latter actually does things I want to fix, i.e, hides the scratches that appear as white lines in print.

    Any experiences and recommendations? Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Re: Negative retouching?

    Retouching negatives is a bit tricky. I've tried it a couple times and ended up ruining the negative. Once you botch a neg retouch there is no un-retouch. Your probably better off either bleaching out the black spot or just picking it off the paper with an x-acto knife or even a small darning needle. Then you just spot it like any other dust spot.

  3. #3

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    Re: Negative retouching?

    The red ink is Kodak's crocein scarlet. I think you can still order from B&H in the US.
    Using that for fine lines on a negative will take a very very steady hand - not practical. If you want to do this on the negative, should probably try a soft lead pencil on the non-emulsion side. It can be wiped off, or so I'm told

  4. #4
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Negative retouching?

    It's very tricky to retouch a fine scratch from a neg.

    Edwal No-Scratch is not really what you want for this. It's like an oil that you can use on negs that are to be enlarged with a non-glass neg carrier (or with glass, but it's messy to clean up, and watch for bubbles). It's very effective at hiding scratches in this way, but not for big negs that are to be contact printed or for very large scratches.

    For a big neg, you could try pencil, but probably better to use crocein scarlet or an opaquing material (I have some V. Cass opaque, but they're out of business) to opaque the area around the scratch and then retouch the resulting white area on the print with spotone or other retouching dyes.

  5. #5

    Re: Negative retouching?

    I don't believe I'm actually posting this, but . . . Scan the damaged neg. Photoshop fix the scratches. Then either re-print the neg on a clear base to conventional wet darkroom printing or (horror of horrors) print digitally.

    Ouch! That hurt.

    Could work for you.

  6. #6

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    Re: Negative retouching?

    I think I will try to find some soft pencil first if I can't find red ink.

    Scan the negative? I have a epson 3490 and have to scan the print twice and paste them together. Never scanned any negatives before. Don't have and never used photoshop. It's tons of stuff for me to learn. The negative is 8x20.

  7. #7
    Louie Powell's Avatar
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    Re: Negative retouching?

    Hugo -

    Chip Forelli uses a technique called "dye dodging" to repair and/or enhance negatives. He sacrifices a sheet of film by fixing it out and washing. After it has dried, the attaches this to the non-emulsion side of the negative using aluminized tape - the kind that used to be used to bind glass slide mounts. (Sorry - that statement assumes that you are over the age of 50 and know what glass slide mounts are/were!)

    Then, he lays this sandwich on a light box, and using either a fine brush, q-tips, or an air brush (depending on the nature of the change to be made), he applies dyes to the clear film in the areas where the negative requires dodging. The dyes he uses are Dr. Martin's transparent watercolors. He also takes advantage of the fact that the color of the dye can affect how variable contrast paper reacts to the corrected negative - magenta dye tends to increase local contrast, while yellow or blue dye tends to reduce local contrast.

    The advantages of this approach over trying to spot the non-emulsion side of the negative are that mistakes can be corrected by merely detaching the dye sheet and washing it to remove the dyes, and that the fact that the dye is two thicknesses of the negative stock away from the actual emulsion layer means that the dye will not be in focus when the negative is projection printed. Obviously, this latter point won't work if you are making contact prints from your 8x20 negatives.

  8. #8

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    Re: Negative retouching?

    Thanks everyone for your kind help!

    Cyrus, I have checked B&H and they don't have it or won't ship it.

    Louie, I simply admire Chip Forelli's work. Your reply gives me an idea: can I simply develop another blank sheet of film the same way I did for the damaged one and put the two sheets together when contacting printing? What did you mean when you say "fixing it out and washing"? Do you mean to skip the development in Rollo Pyro and just put the blank sheet in fixer and then wash it? I need the blank sheet to have that layer of opaque coating to cover the sratches of the damaged one. If necessary, I will try to use dyes on the blank sheet as you suggested.

  9. #9

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    Re: Negative retouching?

    Curiously,

    What do you do when you get dust on the neg b4 you take the pict? (prints have black dust spots)

    Scratch the black out on the print then fill it in with spot tone whatever it is?

  10. #10
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Negative retouching?

    To fix a pinhole or clear dust spot on a neg, you stipple the base side of a neg with a needle or sharp stylus perpendicular to the film base over the area. This diffuses the light before it passes through the pinhole and if done right, makes it disappear.

    If you try to fix this kind of spot with pencil or dyes, you usually end up with a kind of donut shaped mark on the print, because it is very difficult to stay within the confines of a pinhole or tiny dust mark using a brush or pencil.

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