Kodak Aerochrome ||| Infrared Film 1443 is the last false-color infrared (CIR) film in production in the world. It is now temporarily available in 120 and 135 formats.
The Aerochrome 1443 is produced by Kodak as an aerial film, that is a film to be used to take pictures of the ground from a plane, especially used in agriculture, forestry and even camouflage detection. This means that Kodak only sells this film by bulk rolls (several hundred feet) in sizes for aerial cameras – typically the 70 mm or 9.5 inch format. These formats can’t be shot in regular cameras, but to our luck a great CIR lover, Dean Bennici has been doing the dirty work of cutting 9.5″ × 400 ft rolls down to 120 format – in total darkness, and is selling them through his website (right now this film is temporarily available in 135 format as well.)
As with any infrared film you need to use a filter to get a proper effect. This film has the same color sensitive layers as the discontinued Kodak EIR (described in more detail here) where all layers are sensitive to blue light, so you need to filter the blue light (typically done with a yellow or an orange filter, but other filters such as red or Wratten 87C/89B have proved to give very interesting results as well.) Even though it is stated numerous places that the 1443 emulsion is the same as Kodak EIR, it is definitely not. The film speeds are different and the colors are quite different. I have used the same medium yellow filter on all my Aerochrome and Kodak EIR pictures, and the pictures are easily distinguishable.
The Aerochrome 1443 is mainly meant to be used with AR-5 processing, but since this is very expensive and hard to find, you can also use the E-6 process (which is actually cross processing) to get slides – this will however boost contrast and color saturation (too bad huh?! d-:) E-6 is the primary recommendation of this film, and for this purpose the film is rated at about 400 ISO (you need to adjust your exposures depending on the light conditions.) You can also cross process the film to get a negative by using C-41, and being a reversal film, I thought that this would give an even crazier result than E-6 processing, but to my experience the pictures have a nicer contrast, better details, are less saturated with darker reds and finally the pictures have noticeably finer grain. This film is rated 320 ISO for C-41 processing, and I would strongly recommend anyone trying this film to try both E-6 and C-41. Here’s a look at the differences between the two processing types:
The greatest thing about this film is that the results will always surprise you. The colours of different objects depends on both their visible color and their material, so even though reds typically turn out yellow and black fabric usually turn out red, you may once in a while see visible reds that turn out red and visible blacks that turn out black, or apples and oranges that turn out in very special colours… Well have a look for your self (pictures in first gallery are E-6, second gallery is C-41):