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Re: "Dye-transfer process"

     Hi Folks:
     I would hope that someone from Technicolor would me monitoring this 
     group and jump in here to give us some history.
     Here's a "Cliff Notes" version:
     (Leaving the 3 strip Technicolor camera out of the story for time), 
     The process of making a Technicolor release print from 1932 to 1975  
     was known as "Technicolor Process Number Four" a three component or 3 
     film strip subtractive Imbibition Printing process, where a blank 35mm 
     film strip is passed thru three dye transfer machines of Techicolor's 
     patented design.  The first use of this process of was Disney's 
     "Flowers and Trees" in 1932.  The last (domestic US) was a re-issue of 
     Disney's "Swiss Family Robinson" in 1975.
     Each of the three dye transfer machines carried a "relief matrix" 35mm 
     film of the density components of yellow, cyan, and magenta (the 
     relief being like a rubber stamp ,if you will, and the amount of 
     relief representing the amount of dye to be applied to any given 
     Not only did it take three passes to print all the color down onto the 
     release print, a black & white emulsion was applied onto the blank in 
     the optical track region and this area was exposed and developed 
     before the dye transer process began (ironically the sound of 
     Technicolor prints over time was better too, as the optical tracks 
     density did not fade).
     That's the quick explanation with alot of facinating details and 
     further clarity left out.  It was a very complex process.
     The growth of multiplex cinemas and the overall pattern of how movies 
     are released changed in the 70's.  More theatres and wider initial 
     releases meant larger release print orders.  IB Tech printing could 
     only run as fast as 325 feet per minute.  Kodak (and others) color 
     release prints could be processed at from 725 to 1100 fpm (check me on 
     this, I think the numbers are correct on this or in the ball park).  
     Bottom line:  cost per print.
     "Colour Cinematography" (sorry ,dont have authour or publisher) you 
     can get a very good step - by - step explaination with illustrated 
     views of the Imbibition Printing Process as good as anyone outside 
     Technicolor, as to my knowledge, some elements of the process are 
     still secret (such as there is no published data as to the actual dyes 
     "A history of motion picture color technology" by Robert T. Ryan, 
     Focal Press  c.1977 ISBN 0 240 50953 6   
     Very Technical!
     "Glorious Technicolor - The Movies Magic Rainbow" by Fred E. Basten, 
     A.S Barnes and Co. New York / Thomas Yoseloff Ltd. London   c.1980 
     ISBN 0 498 02317 6     
     This book is light on the technology, geared more towards the 
     personal/corporate history and movies/studios that used the process.
     Hope I have'nt gone on too much.  Someone from this side of the 
     industry can say so much more, and say it better than I can.
     Nathan Simmons
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: "Dye-transfer process"
Author:  Rob Lingelbach <rob at alegria.com> at SONYCOM
Date:    7/3/97 12:49 AM

Hi guys,
Could anybody enlighten us on exactly how the "dye-transfer" process 
really works? Howcome this process was 'put on the shelf' for so many 
years? Looking forward to your replies
Thanks to Colorlab of Maryland for support of the TIG in 1997 
mailinglist digest available......posting guidelines on the webpage 

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