I love this fact - did you know Kodachrome was first a movie film?? Our Kodachrome movie, the last of the 75 year era, is shot 100% on Kodachrome movie film too!
In 1935, Kodak released its 16mm cine Kodachrome and a year later 8mm cine and 35mm still films, all very successful and the beginning of a 75 year story. How did it work? (We ‘bout to get technical - read on!)
Kodachrome film was coated with three layers of ordinary black-and-white silver halide gelatin emulsion, but each layer was made sensitive to only one-third of the spectrum of colors—in essence, to red, green or blue. Special processing chemistry and procedures caused complimentary-colored cyan, magenta or yellow dye images to be generated in these layers as the black-and-white silver images were developed. After they had served their purpose, the silver images were chemically removed, so that the completed chromogenic film consisted solely of the three layers of dye images suspended in gelatin.
Kodachrome gave spectacular color and great longevity. I have my grandfather’s slides that are more than half century old and there’s no fading, while other brands have decayed badly. The crisp, vivid palette was very appealing and the slides were also very sharp. Kodachrome was available in 25 ISO which became the preferred choice for landscape and geographic photographers for its fine detail – enlargements from 35mm were no problem. Other speeds and size formats were also available for different purpose, including 5×4 and 10×8 – imagine!