A couple of weeks ago I came across a photo on Cinestill's instagram stream that was developed using a process called "bleach bypass". Curious about the look and process I searched the web and found a couple more examples, as well as a short description of the process.
Bleach bypass, as the name suggests, is simply skipping the bleach step when developing color film using C-41 chemicals. Skipping the bleach step results in higher silver retention in the film, essentially muting the colors and increasing the grain and contrast. Similar to imposing a black and white image on the color image. Results vary depending on the film stock.
I thought I should give it a try using a roll (Cinestill 800T) that I shot in New York City on a September afternoon recently. Here is a summary of my workflow, as well as a few examples...
Home processing steps:
- 3 minutes 30 seconds in developer at 103 F (Tetenal C-41 press kit developer)
- 5 minute wash at 103 F
- 5 minutes in fixer at 103F (Ilford Black & White fixer)
- 5 minute wash
- 1 minute in stabilizer at room temperature (Tetanal C-41 press kit stabilizer)
- Pakon F135 (non-plus)
- Adjustments: Red +12, Green -5, Blue -5 (on average)
Scanning the photos at home was quite painful. The Pakon doesn't have a profile for Cinestill (or Kodak 500T) and the images have a heavy blue cast. Cinestill itself is already a "demanding" film depending on the light conditions and New York City (tall buildings, bright light and shade) doesn't make it any easier. The adjustments that I made, on average, were Red +12, Green -5 and Blue -5, as well as some Brightness and Contrast adjustments. I also tried scanning the photos on the Epson V600, however, there is no negafix profile. I tried a couple random ones, however, no luck. I also tried scanning it as a linear positive and then use ColorPerfect, however, no luck so far. Need to practice my scanning skills a bit more.