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Color Photography with B&W Film

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the pushing-the-limits dept.

240

DrPsycho writes: "Saw this linked on memepool and it just blew me away. The Library of Congress website has an exhibition section which features the works of Russian photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944). Yeah yeah. Big deal, you say... until you realize his original B&W glass-plate negatives were created using a clever RGB filter system which he used almost 100 years ago. A little modern "digichromatography" ... reapplication of the filtered colours and combining them into a composite colour image... allows for stunning full colour reproductions! Not bad, considering by how long it predates the release of Kodachrome colour slide film."

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Re:You mean there was color back then? (1)

jbrw (520) | more than 13 years ago | (#241831)

Like you say, _you_ didn't read the website.

He had a projection box to display the images in colour.

Go look at the website, the pictures are quite stunning.

...j

Re:Wow (1)

Leto-II (1509) | more than 13 years ago | (#241835)

If all it takes for you is to see people in funny clothes, lots of wood, and poor building codes, try travelling to some of the poorer areas in Asia, Africa, or India some time.

Fear my low SlashID! (bidding starts at $500)

Re:Interesting artifacts (4)

Leto-II (1509) | more than 13 years ago | (#241837)

In contrast to what you are saying, this is from three different exposures (probably in addition to any slight angle differences as well).

From the site:

"A single, narrow glass plate about 3 inches wide by 9 inches long was placed vertically into the camera by Prokudin-Gorskii . He then photographed the same scene three times in a fairly rapid sequence using a red filter, a green filter and a blue filter."

Before saying other people are wrong, try reading the site.

Fear my low SlashID! (bidding starts at $500)

Re:Interesting artifacts (2)

Joe Decker (3806) | more than 13 years ago | (#241844)

I dissent.

If you look at the pole, which is not shiny, the artifact that an earlier poster pointed to has color fringing. Since the pole is not shiny, your explanation doesn't explain that behavior. Since other nearby objects are not fringed, it can't be a parallax thing or poor registration of the color layers.

That suggests movement. If that were true, and the pole were planted, you'ld expect the fringe to grow as you approach the top of the pole, which it does if you examine the picture closely.

The sharpness of the pictures suggest that they were taken through the same lens. Were they not, parallax fringes would be apparent all over the place, and there'd be no good way to correct that. So the light for the three image planes came in through the same lens.

But we know that each film section was exposed through a different filter. So either the filter was changed (automatically or manually) between each frame, or he invented complex third-silvered mirror appartuses. The former is a lot more technologically believable.

Finally, people can be still with practice for long exposures. B&W photographs from the mid-19th century demonstrate this on a regular basis.

I stick by my original belief that the color fringes are related to small differences in the time of exposure between the different color layers. (On the order or a fraction of a second to a couple of seconds.)

--Joe

Re:Amazing quality. (3)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 13 years ago | (#241848)

One of the main reasons why these photos are of such high quality is simply the size of the exposed film. The photographer was using a 3"x3" sheet of film (glass actually) for each color. Compare with a modern color camera using 35mm, or the even smaller APS format film. Large format cameras have a huge quality advantage over 35mm cameras. You wouldn't want to use one for shooting an ice hockey game, but for lanscapes, portraits, surveys, and the like they are wonderful.

Technicolor (2)

ratchet69 (6474) | more than 13 years ago | (#241849)

This is similar to the old "Three Strip" Technicolor process, as used in "The Wizard Of Oz" in 1939.

There's a nifty page about Technicolor's three-strip process at http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/oldcolor/technicol or6.htm [widescreenmuseum.com]

Haven't you ever seen a painting? (1)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 13 years ago | (#241850)

OK, so the photos from the period were black and white, but what about the paintings, both from that period, as well as earlier?

Since perhaps the color paintings were largely replaced by B&W photos some time ago, does that mean that there's only a specific timeframe that was 'in black and white', instead of 'everything older'?

I just don't understand what is so profound about this.

Re:Was There Stereophonic Sound Then, Too? (1)

ocie (6659) | more than 13 years ago | (#241852)

Even better, just modulate it until it is out of the audio frequency range. This is how stereo signals are broadcast, and I think this is also how the additional two tracks are recorded on quadrophonic (sp?) records.

Intended for three-gun color projection (5)

hatless (8275) | more than 13 years ago | (#241857)

Read the background materials. It's worth noting that the images weren't made into prints in those days. Rather, they were shown with a special projector with separate red, green and blue beams aimed at the same spot, just like all pre-LCD projection televisions and video projectors. Very clever.

Re:Interesting artifacts (1)

mattkime (8466) | more than 13 years ago | (#241858)

In constrast to what other people are saying, this is not from three different exposures. If that were the case, people would probably have stange outlines of color around them from the thre different exposures. (Not to mention how hard it is to load another sheet of film into a large format camera without moving it.)

It is three simultaneous exposures. The reason why the water looks the way it does it because of the very precise angles involved in spectral reflections. The lenses for each color were only inches apart. However, that variance is enough to cause the precise area of the spectral reflection off the water to shift for each lens.

This would be more obvious if he had taken more pictures of shiny objects. However, to this date, the average Russian still owns little in the way of shiny objects. Besides, they would show a flaw in his process. :)

Color projector, not slides, negatives, or prints (2)

mattkime (8466) | more than 13 years ago | (#241859)

What is interesting about his approach is how CHEAP it was. Rather than trying to reproduce color images, he reproduced black and white plates that would be projected with colored light.

He avoided the problem of movement between exposures by using three lenses, each with a red, green or blue filter. I'd like to see how a closeup still life would come out. Each color would have a slightly different perspective on the situation, causing some strange distortion, This is known as parallax and can be an issue in rangefinder (non "through the lens") cameras - what you see through the rangefinder isn't quite what you capture through the film when close to an object.

Variance between the different projectors, light sources, and the varying qualities of color filters would, however, make it nearly impossible to get consistant results.

These images definitely have their own feel to them. Strangely, the website doesn't say anything about a real life exhibition of them. Perhaps they didn't make prints. seeing them in person, up close, would reveal more about how the results of the process.

Early Technicolor used same process (1)

Thagg (9904) | more than 13 years ago | (#241861)

The first live-action color films used a similar process; the Technicolor cameras had three strips of black-and-white film, with filters to separate the colors. These were huge cantankerous beasts, but they gave us color in film.

One extremely benificial aspect of this is that black-and-white film is extremely stable compared to color film. Black and white film uses metallic silver (expensive yes, but stable) and is an archival medium, whereas modern color films use dyes that are extremely quick to fade and degrade. Even a film as recent as the first Star Wars movie required extensive cleanup to restore to its original colors.

Some early computer graphic films used black-and-white images, step-printed (one frame of red, then green, then blue) with the colors combined later in an optical printer. My first computer graphics effects (Solar Crisis) was step-printed with the color image followed by the opacity image. These were again used on an optical printer to merge the CG with the live action.

thad

Re:Interesting artifacts (2)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 13 years ago | (#241862)

If you look at the pole, which is not shiny, the artifact that an earlier poster pointed to has color fringing. Since the pole is not shiny, your explanation doesn't explain that behavior. Since other nearby objects are not fringed, it can't be a parallax thing or poor registration of the color layers.
It's polarization. The method uses colour filters in front of each colour camera; they probably don't polarize the incoming light at the same angle, hence the fringing on the water.

It's not movement, since the grass blades in the foreground are blurred without any coulour fringe whatsoever.

That said, the method used is just like Technicolor [technicolor.com] , except that it doesn't use dichroid mirrors.

And one will also recall Polaroid's [polaroid.com] polavision [rwhirled.com] (official dope [polaroid.com] ), which used a film striped with RGB filters. But videocams made that obsolete overnight.

--

Re:You mean there was color back then? (1)

To Mega (13102) | more than 13 years ago | (#241865)

That reminds me of Blade Runner, looking at Rachel's personal photos. Having the one where they are sitting on the porch suddenly move was a great shocker.

But think of digital picture frames and digital cameras today, which can express and capture a notion of time. It's not unreasonable to think that in 20 years, we'll have a printing process (digital paper) that is lifelike.

Amazing quality. (3)

Julius X (14690) | more than 13 years ago | (#241870)

I'm not sue whether or not its the process that was used to take them or the way that they were scanned, but I can't help but marvel at the clarity and quality of these images.

Black & White film has always been shown to be able to produce higher contrast and sharpness than color images, and I can't help but wonder if using this kind of process isn't a better method of producing color photographs than what we traditionally use. But these images are just so clear and so lifelike that I can't help but wonder. (and if this process was used today, we could most likely eliminate the "artifacts" in color-shifting that others have noted by making the simultanous lenses much closer together)

But even if it was just the scanning process, I have to say these images are still incredible..just to be able to see this time in history in such vibrant realism, is incredible.

-Julius X

Re:Interesting artifacts (1)

mackman (19286) | more than 13 years ago | (#241873)

Actually its a result of the images being taken in rapid succession, instead of simultaneously. Thus any movement in the picture causes slightly different images to be taken for the RGB channels and you get strange color artifacts. For a similar effect just offset the RGB channels of a photo in Photoshop (or Gimp). Kinda trippy.

way photoshopped (2)

ywwg (20925) | more than 13 years ago | (#241874)

If you go to the "how they did it" page, you'll see they did some extensive "color correction," or as we normally call it "photoshopping." check out this [loc.gov]

More detailed info on restauration? (1)

stefanb (21140) | more than 13 years ago | (#241875)

This seemingly vast archive of images is nothing short of amazing.

However, the colors in at least some of the pictures "just don't seem right" to me. Is this due to mismatches between my monitors RGB and the original filters, degradation in the emulsion, or other artifacts of the original process?

Unfortunatly, I couldn't find more info on the restauration details; anyone knows any links?

Re:Interesting artifacts (3)

frantzdb (22281) | more than 13 years ago | (#241877)

I was noticing that too. I suspect most of it is due to the fact that the three lenses are in different places in space. Anything with a specular reflection like water should show this effect because the glare on something appears to be in a different place depending on viewing angle.

There are a few other things that make these pictues look unusual. One is that many of them have a very high depth of field. The other is that they are high resolution with few dust-marks. I suspect that is partially due to the fact that there are three films and thus three times the resolution in some sense. Also, any marks in one plate could probably be repaired using information from the other two.

--Ben

Re:Color projector, not slides, negatives, or prin (2)

lytles (24756) | more than 13 years ago | (#241879)


He avoided the problem of movement between exposures by using three lenses, each with a red, green or blue filter.


i don't think that this is true. the loc site says


He then photographed the same scene three times in a fairly rapid sequence using a red filter, a green filter and a blue filter.



also, the images show artifacts, eg. in the ripples of the water, that are easily explained by motion, that i don't think would be explained by slight differences in perspective. perhaps the "invisible" blue green man (mentioned in another comment) is an even better example.

Obtaining prints: (1)

Calmacil (31127) | more than 13 years ago | (#241885)

Does anyone here know if it's possible to obtain prints of any of these pictures?

WW II photographs (1)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 13 years ago | (#241886)

There is a book out there with WWII photographs done using the same method.

Re:Interesting artifacts (1)

inkey string (35594) | more than 13 years ago | (#241891)

i presume this is because of movement between the 3 images being taken... so the water (rapidly moving i assume) is in different positions between the exposures.

Re:Interesting artifacts (1)

Pfhor (40220) | more than 13 years ago | (#241892)

Yeah, i think that was caused from the fact that the camera worked by taking 3 photos very quickly, with different color filters. So the points of reflection on the water shifted, as it has a tendancy to do, with each photo, giving an individual red, green, blue color that doesn't overlap.

Just pointing out the obvious.

Still amazing.

The weird thing is..... (1)

Skyfire (43587) | more than 13 years ago | (#241895)

...For some reason, when I see these pictures of people that (probably) had a hard life, their lives do not look nearly as bad in color as they do in black and white... I almost wish I could have lived during a time when there was only B&W photographs, to give myself a better perspective on reality.

Wow! (1)

wolf- (54587) | more than 13 years ago | (#241898)

The pictures are gorgeous.
Color photos of a time long forgotten.
I'v always enjoyed looking at old black and whites (black and yellows are more like it) and wondered what the real colors were.
Pictures of Native Americans especially. Knowing the colors used in the artwork that has managed to survive this long, I'm sure the photos would have been terrific.

So, with some prior art, think Kodak will change some of their "history of photography"?

Re:Was There Stereophonic Sound Then, Too? (1)

wolf- (54587) | more than 13 years ago | (#241899)

Looks more like too much light on the subject (the little boy) Notice that one of the subjects in the middle of the group has a similar flair on her, and at the same angel.

Re:Interesting artifacts (1)

lukpac (66596) | more than 13 years ago | (#241901)

Actually, it *is* from three different exposures. Notice how there are "ghost people" in some pictures, and how some of the little children look. There's one shot where you can clearly tell the kid moved his head between shots.

Look at the "Russian Children on a Hillside" picture on this page: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/empire/ethnic.html [loc.gov]

Still *very* cool though...

Re:Haven't you ever seen a painting? (1)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 13 years ago | (#241905)

More interestingly is the lack of information a photo can convey. A closeup of a tiny grouping of trees can make it seem as if there is a forest -- when really the rest has been clearcut. Kinda like when you drive down a road up in the northern parts of ontario. Walk in about 20 paces and it's all open land. Not normally useful till you use a photograph to proclaim the truth. As whats going on outside of the photo in that area is still unknown but it's enough to convince most humans to believe.

KGB Colour Separation? (1)

miguel_at_menino.com (89271) | more than 13 years ago | (#241914)

The real reason we're only seeing this now is not because of some ingenius RGB separation, but rather some serious KGB separation.

Re:Was There Stereophonic Sound Then, Too? (1)

gluke (93629) | more than 13 years ago | (#241915)

how to record stereophonic sound on a monaural tape recorder...

simple, really: just digitize it...

Ditto digital video (3)

Tiroth (95112) | more than 13 years ago | (#241917)

Actually many (most?) digital video cameras from prosumer on up use filters to seperate out RGB elements and direct them to different CCDs. This allows the full bandwidth of the CCD to be applied to one spectrum, effectively increasing the number of significant bits that are captured.

B&W into colour... (4)

outrage98 (99696) | more than 13 years ago | (#241923)

Big deal, you say... until you realize his original B&W glass-plate negatives were created using a clever RGB filter system which he used almost 100 years ago. A little modern "digichromatography" ... reapplication of the filtered colours and combining them into a composite colour image... allows for stunning full colour reproductions!

From a technical standpoint, colour separations were probably a lot more likely at that time than anything like Kodachrome. (Actually, RGB is the basis for many modern colour systems as well.)

What I find astounding is that people actually figured out that a separation could produce full-colour images at a time when there were no real scientific antecedents. That takes real imagination!

There's something quite eerie about these photographs. It's as though in our mind's eye we really think that the world in the Victorian era was sepia-toned and monochrome. It's a shock to think that in fact, in terms of natural subjects, it looked much like it does today.

If you find this kind of time travel interesting, you should investigate the various "rephotographic" projects in which the sites of well-known historical photographs are identified, tracked down, and photographed again from a viewpoint and under lighting conditions as close as possible to the original. When you see this stuff, you start looking for the things that have changed. Again, it's a shock to see how little a hundred and fifty years adds to many subjects.

Offtopic (was Re:Typical American reaction.) (1)

Zalgon 26 McGee (101431) | more than 13 years ago | (#241924)

US domain name

Perhaps I'm looking at the wrong site - I thought this was slashdot.org, not slashdot.us.

Silly me, confusing TLDs like that...

Two Things (1)

Cheshire Cat (105171) | more than 13 years ago | (#241926)

First off, this is stunning. I always picture pre-color photography times as being a bit drab and lifeless. Everyone around then clearly wore nothing but sepia-toned clothing. To be able to see something like this is really beautiful.

Secondly, here's a quote from the page explaining how it was done:Shown here is one of the thousands of glass plate negatives made by Prokudin-Gorskii. The negatives served two purposes. Primarily they were used to produce positive glass slides for his illustrated lectures about the Russian Empire. Prokudin-Gorskii projected the slides through the red, green, and blue filters of a device known as a "magic lantern" which superimposed the images onto a screen resulting in a full-color picture.

Re:This technique was used on DigiView for the Ami (1)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 13 years ago | (#241928)

I had one of these. It worked exactly the same way as this. You aim the camera, trun the filter to the right colour, grab, turn to next colour, grab, turn to last colour, grab, and DigiView composited the three images into one.

Of course your subject had to be still for the entire grabbing process (and this was sloooooow) which limited it's usefulness.

You could also get a device (I think it was called a roboview) that would turn the filter for you.

---
James Sleeman

Re:This has been around since day one of Photograp (2)

NearlyHeadless (110901) | more than 13 years ago | (#241929)

From what I recall, and from what I can find on the web, it was the physicist James Clerk Maxwell who created the first color photograph in 1861. See, e.g. http://landow.stg.brown.edu/victorian/photos/chron .html [brown.edu] . Fox Talbot is responsible for many other innovations, however.

Same concept as in astrophotography. (4)

axioun (119341) | more than 13 years ago | (#241933)

I don't know if this was done a hundred years ago, but I know that in astrophotography, this method is very common. While this is probably done with B&W film, CCD camera pictures are taken this way. (Hey, it's the 00's man.) A notable example is the HST. A plethora of you probably know this, but I felt like reminding you. BTW, I can't imagine the fore-mentioned method being much more difficult than standard B&W photography was a hundred years ago.

Re:Wow (1)

harves (122617) | more than 13 years ago | (#241936)

Just a thought: Do people who are colour blind feel the same way we do about past photos?

I experienced exactly the same thing you described when looking at the pictures - it's like you suddenly realise that the world did exist and everyone in it was real so long ago. It's incredible. I'd be interested to hear if colour-blind people have always felt the same way we used to wrt old photos, or do they feel the way that we do now?

It's patented (1)

igrek (127205) | more than 13 years ago | (#241940)

JFYI:

Prokudin-Gorskii patended his method in England, in 1922. More specifically, he patented the optical system allowing to get 3 negatives simultaneously using 3 colored filters.

I found this information on the "Most important inventions in phorography" page, at http://www.photodome.ru/History/History2.html (unfortunately for the majority of slashdotters, the page is in Russian)

What A Neat Gift. (1)

JohnA (131062) | more than 13 years ago | (#241942)

When I look at this exhibit, it really puts things in perspective. This man has given a wonderful gift to the ages; a gift that will stand the test of time.

I dunno... it really shows how insignificant DeCSS and the RIAA are in the grand scheme of things...

History of Color Photography... (1)

dane23 (135106) | more than 13 years ago | (#241945)

Here [f32.com] is a very good and very thorough article regarding the history of color photography. After reading it I really started to wonder why the user of color photography took so long to catch on with the masses.

Re:Wow (2)

The Pim (140414) | more than 13 years ago | (#241948)

I think everyone will relate to what you said (very well!)--but if anyone has trouble, try imagining Pedro Martinez pitching to Babe Ruth. Even though the game is substantially unchanged over 100 years, I just can't do it.

Large JPGs and TIFFs available (1)

zsazsa (141679) | more than 13 years ago | (#241950)

You can find large JPGs and TIFFs of everything that the LOC has of Mr. Prokudin-Gorskii at this link [loc.gov] or here [loc.gov] for just the color photographs.
You can also order high-quality prints of these images as well.

props to Ben for finding this.

zsazsa

Interesting artifacts (4)

jon_adair (142541) | more than 13 years ago | (#241951)

There are some interesting artifacts of the process. Look at the water in the second photo set [loc.gov] . Or the top half of the pole.

Re:Was There Stereophonic Sound Then, Too? (2)

elegant7x (142766) | more than 13 years ago | (#241952)

Well, one of the things you have to remember is that these pictures were recomposed by experts using state-of-the-art technology. It's pretty unlikely that they looked this good when they were being shown with the projector system. I tried recomposing one of the pictures from the b&w samples they had on the site. And while it worked, it didn't look anywhere near as nice as the pictures on the site. Some image expert spent a lot of time to make those pictures look nice.

And I have to say I'm glad he did. Those photos are simply amazing.

Rate me [picture-rate.com] on picture-rate.com

Was There Stereophonic Sound Then, Too? (4)

Rahoule (144525) | more than 13 years ago | (#241957)

When I was a kid, the whole world was colour but monaural. Then, when I was about 12, I started fooling around with my parents' audio equipment. From then on, I could hear my whole world in glorious stereophonic sound! Man, those mono years sucked by comparison. I took piano lessons when I was a kid. I wonder what they would have sounded like in stereo?

Anyway, I took a class on photography in high school and did a presentation on colour photo printing. During my research, I saw a lot of early attempts at colour photography using black-and-white film. None were as clear as the pictures on that site, tho. Most didn't have the red, green, and blue colour plates quite lined up correctly causing red, green, and blue flaring at the edges of objects.

In fact, on closer inspection, some of Prokudin-Gorskii's pictures look like they were done by snapping three pictures in quick succession with the different filters. Take a look at the water in this one [loc.gov] , which was probably not calm at the time. Also, look at the little guy on the far left in this picture [loc.gov] . I guess he couldn't sit still!

Still, this photographer was really clever! Now if I can just figure out how to record stereophonic sound on a monaural tape recorder...

Re:You mean there was color back then? (1)

zaius (147422) | more than 13 years ago | (#241958)

I thought the whole world was black and white in the past!

Yes, this is a fairly stupid comment, but it does make some sense. Since the only photographical records we have of the past are in black and white, it is difficult to imagine anything before the ~1960's in color. If you showed some of his pictures from ~WW1 to the average person, and told them they were from 1915, they wouldn't believe you.

I wonder if sometime, 50 years from now, we'll look at 2-dimensional still images as a thing of the past, having 3d holographic displays. Interesting to think about.

Re:Typical American reaction. (1)

slashdoter (151641) | more than 13 years ago | (#241959)

Remember, slashdot is an international site

no it's not, Founder is from US, hosted in US, US domain name, majority of readers, US.


________

Voyager Used a Similar Technique (1)

Jacques Chester (151652) | more than 13 years ago | (#241960)

Space buffs amongst you will note that NASA's Voyager used a B&W CCD with three colour filters. The three images would be beamed back to earth and recombined with a supercomputer. A clever way to beat limits of CCD and communications technology in the day.

--
"Don't declare a revolution unless you are prepared to be guillotined." - Anon.

Very cool + Porn Tip (1)

simetra (155655) | more than 13 years ago | (#241961)

It is nice to come across something actually interesting on a Sunday. This is much like how projection tv's work. BTW... I read about some sort of filtering software that scans emails and etc. for images containing a lot of flesh tones. To get around that, try dropping a color several notches, and change the filename... for example, notpornR-50.jpg. The end viewer can adjust the red, in this case, up 50, and get a pretty picture. Or... color-based news groups... for example... alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.red.midgets alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.blue.midgets alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.green.midgets Build a script to split out the 3 versions and crosspost appropriately, another to retrieve and combine them. Moral: Every new technology trick is immediately analized for its porn value.

Re:You mean there was color back then? (1)

bonzoesc (155812) | more than 13 years ago | (#241962)

He was just insane :)

Tell me what makes you so afraid
Of all those people you say you hate

Re:You mean there was color back then? (4)

bonzoesc (155812) | more than 13 years ago | (#241964)

I thought the whole world was black and white in the past!

You didn't read the article!

A little modern "digichromatography" ... reapplication of the filtered colours and combining them into a composite colour image... allows for stunning full colour reproductions!

Just like the Calvin & Hobbes comic, these images became color way after the entire world did sometime in the 1950s.

Tell me what makes you so afraid
Of all those people you say you hate

Re:Wow (2)

techmuse (160085) | more than 13 years ago | (#241965)

I experienced exactly the same thing. It was just very strange to see people 100 years ago living in a world that looked just like ours, except for some funny clothes, lots of wood, and poor building codes. I could imagine actually being there, and after some minor color adjustments in Photoshop, it was just like looking through a window. People back then weren't shadowy or grainy, and they lived life much as we would if we had less technology and education. Amazing!

Interesing side effects (3)

techmuse (160085) | more than 13 years ago | (#241966)

Some of these images contain elements that moved through the picture between different shots being taken with different filters. You can see this clearly in photoshop. For example, in this [loc.gov] image, if you turn OFF different combinations of R,G and B channels in photoshop (and probably GIMP too), you can see a man in the background appear and disappear. In the composite photo, he appears to be glowing with red and blue halos. In the individual channels, sometimes he is there, and sometimes he is not!

Re:Haven't you ever seen a painting? (1)

hawkear (172947) | more than 13 years ago | (#241969)

Paintings are usually somewhat stylized by the painter. Photos, on the other hand, are near exact replicas of what is seen through a camera. They convey different types of information.

Re:Typical American reaction. (1)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | more than 13 years ago | (#241971)

The computer, the radio and canned food as we know it today came from many inovations made on both sides of the Atlantic. I am not sure why you HATE Amercians so much. Maybe you should seak profesional help? Also, we are all not descended from Europeans. The Native americans are descended from asians who came acrossed the Berring Straight during the last ice age.

Re:big deal... (1)

Capt. Beyond (179592) | more than 13 years ago | (#241972)

heh- ya right dude, check out the library of congress photos of his. There's three B&W photos for every color one. get real, do some research...

holy photos batman!! (1)

Capt. Beyond (179592) | more than 13 years ago | (#241973)

So I guess the world really WAS in color back then. All my thoughts about how the world used to be--- DESTROYED!!

big deal... (1)

enrico_suave (179651) | more than 13 years ago | (#241974)

You'd think you've guys never heard of thing called a "Crayon"...

With these magical wax based tools I can "colorize" any black and white shot... been doing so since the spirit of '76 =P

E.

Re:very nice (2)

obsessively puzzled (183930) | more than 13 years ago | (#241984)

The technicolor 3-strip camera used this method. This camera was used for such films as "Gone With the Wind" and "Wizard of Oz". I uploaded a photo of the camera [voyager.net] and a photo of it's description [voyager.net] .

I am humble (1)

perlyking (198166) | more than 13 years ago | (#241988)

Nearly a hundred years later you can give me the most advanced camera money can buy and I still wouldnt be able to produce photos as beautiful as these.

quality (1)

guinsu (198732) | more than 13 years ago | (#241989)

Shit, the large versions of those pictures look better than what I'm capable of taking now.

impressive? (2)

jackb_guppy (204733) | more than 13 years ago | (#241990)

The was steroscope cameras back then two that gave you 3D images by taking two photographs with lens set 4 inches a part.

The tri-color lens camera is also how early color TV was "filmed". Image came in the main lens and seperated in to RGB channels via prizmes with 3 Monocrome tubes read the images. Signal processing recombined the single for broadcast, the TV on the other end breaks it back up to RGB and using 3 guns in one tube displays it to you (if you still are using a tube... look real real close to see the dots!).

It was the seventies when that was moved down to 2 tubes. Red and Cyan. That was when the first "true" mobile cameras were available. Those cameras wrapped the cameraman's shoulder with the Red tube over the shoulder with Cyan tube pointing up the chest.

This would have been BIG NEWS if it was from one plate and not three. Then the KODAK plug would be "KODAK losses IP rights, Earlier ART Found!"

You mean there was color back then? (2)

baywulf (214371) | more than 13 years ago | (#241995)

I thought the whole world was black and white in the past!

Re:This technique was invented by James Clerk Maxw (1)

kosipov (218202) | more than 13 years ago | (#241999)

Maxwell invented information theory? Hello, what about Claude Shannon? Are you suggesting "father of information theory" (Haykin 2000) was a plagiarist?

Re:This technique was invented by James Clerk Maxw (1)

kosipov (218202) | more than 13 years ago | (#242000)

Maxwells treatment of speed governors can only be considered a founding paper on cybernetics in retrospect. He didn't have any concept of applying his physics to control of complex systems. Suggesting that Maxwell is a founder of cybernetics is as bold of a statement as saying that Descartes developed calculus because he could differentiate functions.

This has been around since day one of Photography (3)

human bean (222811) | more than 13 years ago | (#242002)

Shortly after developing transparent-layered photography (positive-negative on translucent/transparent bases) William Henry Fox Talbot made pictures like this and displayed them to the Royal Society. The RGB combination worked, but only by accident, as the current light-sensitive emulsions were not sensitive to blue. Turned out one of the blue models used reflected heavily in the UV, which was recorded. All of this around 1845.

Single plate color didn't show up until 1905 or so. See Autochrome. Also, Technicolor movie film operated this way, as did dye-transfer prints (still the best color print process, IF you can find someone to make them...)

What is really interesting though is that these negatives lack the standard registration marking of most such processes. Without these markings, it is very difficult to produce a reasonable image. Also, emulsion creep makes recovery from older images even more difficult. Using the computer to key off of the image points themselves rather than a series of markings on the substrate allows such old images to be restored with reasonable accuracy. And I bet it beats playing with registration pins and a squegee any old day.

Re:Wow (2)

jaredcat (223478) | more than 13 years ago | (#242003)

What suprises me most is not just seeing this world of the past in color, but seeing such BRIGHT colors. I always imagined everything from that era being dull and grey..

Re:Interesing side effects (3)

khendron (225184) | more than 13 years ago | (#242004)

I don't think the man actually moved between shots. The shots were not taken so far apart that the man could move and then come back again. Besides, if the shots were taken that far apart, the other people in the photos would not appear so clearly, since they would also have moved slightly.

In this particular case, I think the man in red and blue was wearing colours that didn't show up clearly under a particular filter. The man is there, he is just very very dim.

There are shots were the was definite movement between shots. This one [loc.gov] for example. The colourful shimmer on the water is probably caused by the fact that the water moved slightly between shots.

Most cool, I think.

Re:Haven't you ever seen a painting? (1)

CtrlPhreak (226872) | more than 13 years ago | (#242005)

A Painting cannot be compared to a photograph in this standpoint. A painting is how the artist interperated the scene. A Photo is how it actually is. A Window into the past to see exactly how it looked to everyone in that period. No interpertation (basically, I know these pictures were touched up slightly). It's amazing and profound in it's own right.

Another artifact (1)

sheetsda (230887) | more than 13 years ago | (#242007)

Theres another artifact in this one [loc.gov] . This ones a bit odd, there are 3 dots of the colors in the center of the road between the houses. If it too was caused by slightly different positions of the lenses, why do the rest of the colors at that depth line up? Or if it was a fast moving object, what was it? Could it be a lense flare?

"// this is the most hacked, evil, bastardized thing I've ever seen. kjb"

Re:Interesting artifacts (1)

sheetsda (230887) | more than 13 years ago | (#242008)

The sharpness of the pictures suggest that they were taken through the same lens...But we know that each film section was exposed through a different filter. So either the filter was changed (automatically or manually) between each frame, or he invented complex third-silvered mirror appartuses. The former is a lot more technologically believable.

I don't know anything about optics, but suppose you had some sort of prism inside a camera, could it seperate the colors and allow all three frames to be exposed at the same time? Or would that distort the image to the point as to be useless?

"// this is the most hacked, evil, bastardized thing I've ever seen. kjb"

This Ro><0rs (1)

Why Should I (247317) | more than 13 years ago | (#242016)

I just gotta say his Ro><0rs.

I remember learning about a technique that cleaned up images by taking a laser model of the lens it was shot through and then applying the negative of it as a filter on the image (digitally ofcourse).

I always thought it would be cool if they did the same thing to old photos, but ofcourse you would have needed someone to have the intelligence (and foresigth) to use the color filters.

Now to actually find out that someone was thinking ahead is awsome.

/end rant

Re:Interesting artifacts (1)

rfsayre (255559) | more than 13 years ago | (#242020)

These artifacts come from things moving in between shots, or slightly different angles. Note that this process is quite similar to what is used in modern color films. There are two critical steps that led to what we have now: panchromatic film and dye-coupling. For a complete history of color photography, look at this [f32.com] .

One problem that this approach led to was chromatic abberation. This happens because different wavelengths of light focus differently.

What's interesting to me about this exhibition is the application of new technology on old records. We are learning from them in a way we never expected. We get to see the past through current media technology.

Art At Home [artathome.org]

Russian history (1)

Whatever Fits (262060) | more than 13 years ago | (#242024)

I am just glad that someone was able to document so much of the great architecture of old Russia in such beautiful color. During the revolution many of these buildings were destroyed. I have seen some incredible photos of some, but they were all black and white. It just doesn't do these buildings justice. Several of those buildings were painted with such incredible colors and it would be a shame to lose this record. It is amazing some of these churches survived the Soviets.

Please keep in mind that these are retouched (1)

Edgewize (262271) | more than 13 years ago | (#242025)

These pictures are truly fascinating, and they are stunningly beautiful. Unfortunately they are also somewhat fake.

Every single one of these pictures has been manually "tweaked" for optimal contrast and color balance, according to the page. In fact, it says that different regions of the same image are tweaked differently. Basically, someone brightened and sharpened in Photoshop, making the colors hyperrealistic and more pleasing to the eye. But what you see is not necessarily the natural or original colors that were photographed.

Because the site does not show the un-retouched composite images, we cannot judge the success of his RGB photography and we cannot come to our own conclusions on what the photographed scenes truly looked like.

That's just the thing about some crackpots... (1)

MOBE2001 (263700) | more than 13 years ago | (#242026)

...they're way ahead of their times. On the other hand, many acclaimed mainstream experts are actually total nuts and get away with it. Go figure.

Re:Interesting artifacts (1)

rst2003 (301788) | more than 13 years ago | (#242027)

It's not movement, since the grass blades in the foreground are blurred without any coulour fringe whatsoever. That's because grass is green.

Re:Typical American reaction. (1)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 13 years ago | (#242034)

slashdot is an international site, please show a bit more respect for the scientific achievements of other nations.

Well, maybe if other nations would show more respect by kindly not calling us Yanks they would be better respected by us.

Also, a less patronizing tone would serve the purposes of your post better. The way it's written it looks like you are just trying to be a pompous arrogant 'my country is more refined than yours' prick. If you toned it down some maybe you could get across the message that we shouldn't have such a US-centric outlook. Otherwise, it's just a troll.

As a sidenote, electricity was discovered not invented. If you really were a 'Lord' you should probably know that. But I don't remember if a good education was required with lordship. To be honest I really have no idea how those silly hereditary titles work.

Re:Wow (1)

DennyK (308810) | more than 13 years ago | (#242035)

It really is true...you don't realize how much your "mental image" of past times and places is influenced by the medium in which you see them. It's astonishing to look at those photographs and think that they were taken more than sixty years before I was born, when I've never seen anything but "black and white" or sepia photos from that time before. It's so strange to think that almost all of the people in those photos have been dead for so many years, but those pictures look like they were taken just yesterday. It makes you realize that the people back then were just as "real" as we are today. Very cool stuff! ;)

DennyK

Re:Typical American reaction. (1)

Tsar cr0bar (310803) | more than 13 years ago | (#242037)

Good point. Had he unveiled color photography in America, he'd have been burned at the stake as a witch.

very nice (1)

multicsfan (311891) | more than 13 years ago | (#242038)

That's a very nice trick. It would be real interesting if there were other photographers using filters as well. I believe that's how they store color movies, the master copies are acutally B&W with a separate copy for each color. They may not do that with modern films and who knows where digital cameras will take us.

Re:Two Things (1)

multicsfan (311891) | more than 13 years ago | (#242039)

There are places where B&W is still appropriate. I was on a tour of Germany back in 1972. This included East Berlin. At that time I switched to B&W film as everything was brown or gray. Color film was a waste Another good use of B&W photography was in Young Frankenstein. Even after the introduction of color film, photographers and directors still used B&W to add the the mood and effect they wanted.

Wow (5)

screwballicus (313964) | more than 13 years ago | (#242040)

I find this most fascinating from a psychological standpoint. As I look at these pictures and consider their age, I am unable to conceive of the concept of looking on a scene from this time period in full colour. All my life, I've seen the world of these years in black and white. To see them in colour is to deconstruct a piece of the allure that surrounds them. As Marshall Mcluhan would argue, the medium here, is, indeed, the message [marshallmcluhan.org] . To change the medium is to completely change the way I have been taught to view the period. The black and white medium alienates me from the people the past, providing me, through its imperfection, a way to differentiate present reality from past reality. By removing this alienating force, I find myself able to identify with the time in which these photos were taken in a way that is so new and different that I find it disturbing. The power of images in creating a "global village" is something that Mcluhan talked about at length. Perhaps these images of the past help bridge differences between past and present in the same way that TV images help bridge differences between western and eastern hemisphere.

Hmmm.... (1)

bLitzfeuer (318604) | more than 13 years ago | (#242042)

I've always wondered what a color photo of a pre-industrial-age sky would look like.

Just a thought.

Re:Color projector, not slides, negatives, or prin (1)

Nurgster (320198) | more than 13 years ago | (#242043)

I think it's a case of both.

Imagine trying to get three different shutters to open and close at the exact same moment in time. Neigh on impossible.

The site also shows a projector, which is focused properly, could possibly remove most of the distortion by 'reversing' the perspective as it was projected.

Actually YOU didn't read the website. (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 13 years ago | (#242047)

He used 3 projectors to display his photos in color. The digicromatography is simply what they did to recreate the effect.

--

other color-on-bw (2)

janpod66 (323734) | more than 13 years ago | (#242048)

There have been numerous attempts at reproducing color with b/w emulsions. This is one of them. Several others used patterned filters, not unlike the color filters found in today's CCD cameras. All of them were difficult to reproduce and required precise alignment. That's why, ultimately, color emulsions won out.

This technique was used on DigiView for the Amiga (3)

eyefish (324893) | more than 13 years ago | (#242050)

Some people might find it interesting that in the early days of computer imaging, Newtek [newtek.com] actually developed a product called DigiView [amiga-hardware.com] to be used on Commodore Amiga computers which used a standard black and white camera to produce full-color images. They used the same trick as here: 3 color filters (red, gree, blue) which the digitizing program direct you to place in front of the camera, was used to digitize the image 3 times, and then combined to form the full-color image.

Nice hack which thanks to this post I found out has a 100-year history!!! :-)

Sir ACC (2)

scorcherer (325559) | more than 13 years ago | (#242052)

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is inseparable from pr0n."

--

Whoa! Take me back in time! (1)

Mybrid (410232) | more than 13 years ago | (#242055)

What a trip. I'm impressed that our government spent money wisely. I'm all for this kind of stuff. Truly, truly impressive.

Re:There is a similiar technique done elsewhere (1)

skizzy (413335) | more than 13 years ago | (#242057)

Oh LORD! If only. So happy to have seen that page, I can now die in peace.

Re:Typical American reaction. (1)

skizzy (413335) | more than 13 years ago | (#242058)

I am confused here... Just WHO do you credit the invention of the Radio to? We are in awe of Europeans, but our awe is over-shadowed by the Asians and their advances which the Europeans stole.....see a pattern?

Re:Interesting artifacts (1)

Trecares (416205) | more than 13 years ago | (#242059)

The reason why there are artifacts is due to a small time lapse between the different filters. The "film" is actually a thin rectangular glass slide with material on it and he used color filters to get rid of that specific color so you'd have 2 colors on one part and so on and just use a special projector to display the difference. Anyway, the reason for the artifacts is he couldnt take all the 3 necessary frames at once so he used a fairly rapid mechanism or manual movement to expose all 3 parts in sequence. Look closely at the water notice the rainbow effect, thats because water moves constantly, the guy just stood still as best as he could. Trecares

This technique was invented by James Clerk Maxwell (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 13 years ago | (#242060)

This method of RGB filtering and in-camera color separation was invented by James Clerk Maxwell, 2 years before this russian guy was born. Check it out for yourself at:
http://www.f32.com/articles/article.asp?artID=128
Maxwell also invented a few other minor things related to mathematics, like Information Theory.

Re:This technique was invented by James Clerk Maxw (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 13 years ago | (#242061)

Maxwell invented information theory? Hello, what about Claude Shannon?
Well, if you don't believe me, you can look it up in the Encyclopedia Britannica:
Maxwell's analytic treatment of speed governors is generally regarded as the founding paper on cybernetics
Of course, there's a footnote that might explain the attribution somewhat:
He also was a contributor to the ninth edition of Encyclopædia Britannica.

Re:This has been around since day one of Photograp (2)

sakusha (441986) | more than 13 years ago | (#242062)

Shortly after developing transparent-layered photography (positive-negative on translucent/transparent bases) William Henry Fox Talbot made pictures like this and displayed them to the Royal Society. The RGB combination worked, but only by accident, as the current light-sensitive emulsions were not sensitive to blue. Turned out one of the blue models used reflected heavily in the UV, which was recorded. All of this around 1845.
You are quite mistaken. Talbot did not experiment with color-separation. The Calotype (Talbotype) process cannot be used to represent colors. The colors turn out at almost random. I've seen Calotypes with my own eyes, the colors range from green to rusty reds, and this was a monochrome image. Talbot did not work in color photography. You're thinking of the experiments of James Clerk Maxwell, which were about 30 years after Talbot.

Post Your TurnerVision Jokes Here (1)

6EQUJ5 (446008) | more than 13 years ago | (#242064)

This thread is exclusively dedicated to all Ted Turner cracks....

You sir, are an idiot. (1)

Brooks (449882) | more than 13 years ago | (#242065)

What exactly are you talking about? I don't see anyone surprised that it wasn't an American, and I'm sure that the reaction would have been the same if it was. So far, I think this Russian fellow did a fine job with these photos, and his trick was quite clever. I also think that you are an idiot.
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