This section is from the "Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1919" book, by Aristo Motto. Also see Amazon: Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1919.
Nearly every studio has in its files negatives that can be counted upon to supply a certain amount of revenue in duplicate orders. And in some cases the value of such negatives is very hard to estimate.
You have made the favorite portrait of the local Member and he may eventually rise to the honour of a place in the Cabinet. He may insist on the use of his favorite portrait for publicity purposes, and you will receive a considerable income from this one negative for several years.
But one day the printer gets careless and something happens - you may never know just what - but that particular negative is broken. You can copy a print, but the quality of the original is lost.
We know of a concern that handled valuable negatives as cerefully as they could be handled, and still they got broken. The printer believed it was a "jinx" that their value put on them but, however that may be, the boss found that you couldn't "jinx" a film negative. So all of the valuable negatives on glass have been reproduced on film. Everyone about the place breathes more freely now, and when the printer looks as though he might be on the verge of a collapse, the boss doesn't ask him which negative he has broken but just naturally tells him to go home and get a doctor.
If you have valuable negatives on glass it is a very simple matter to reproduce them. Make a film positive of good quality and file it away in a safe place. We say a safe place because there might be a fire in the block in which your studio is located and your negatives ruined by fire or water, but you could not get insurance to cover the value that is in them. Store your original negatives in the studio and store the positives you make from them at home. They are film and will take up no appreciable amount of space.
If your negative is of normal contrast, make the positive on Commercial Film. Do not confuse this with Commercial Ortho, which is much faster. Commercial Film has about the same speed as a Seed 23 Plate and is especially suited for making positives.
If, however, the negative is flat and could be bettered by giving it slightly more contrast, make the positive on Process Film, while if it is too contrasty, it can be improved by making the positive on Portrait or Commercial Ortho Film.
If you are not accustomed to making positives, or if you are accustomed to making lantern slides, it is well to know that lantern slide quality is not the positive quality necessary for producing negatives. The lantern slide or the transparency that is made to hang in a window must have fairly opaque shadows and transparent highlights to have brilliancy, but such quality will not reproduce a negative properly.
Eastman Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Chas. A. Townsend Belfast, Maine.
For this purpose the positive must have detail and gradation - not the quality that makes it beautiful to look at but the quality that makes it print well.
To secure this, exposure must be full and development must be carried to the point where detail is secured in the highlights and there is good printing density. This is absolutely necessary if the positive is to hold up and reproduce the negative in its correct balance and original quality.
Positives are usually made by contact in a printing frame, care being used to see that perfect contact is secured. Exposures are most satisfactory when made at about twelve or fifteen feet from a 16 c. p. electric lamp. For the average normal negative the exposure will be approximately from six to twelve seconds.
The regular formula recommended for the film should be used in developing both positive and negative. It will be found most simple to do any retouching, etching or spotting on the positive. When placed in a retouching frame the result of the work can be seen exactly as it will appear in a finished print.
A scratch or a hole that would be difficult to spot in the negative appears as a black spot in the positive and is quickly etched away.
If you have not used film for negative making, use film as insurance against negative breaking. Then when you have seen film advantages in this particular line of work, a trial will convince you of the superior quality of film results in all your negative making.