How to Revive the Look and Feel of the Extinct Kodak Aerochrome Film

Kodak Aerochrome DIY project by Jason Kummerfeldt, aka graindays
Photographer Jason Kummelfeldt, also known as grainydays on YouTube, has spent a long time trying to revive the look of Aerochrome through various methods.

Kodak Aerochrome is a legendary film unlike any other. It is a false-color, near-infrared emulsion that is as beautiful as it is challenging to develop. It’s also tough to find because Kodak killed it over a decade ago.

Photographers love Aerochrome so much that they will pay hundreds of dollars for old rolls of 35mm film, or more than $10 a shot. Even damaged film can cost more than $100. An expired canister of 35mm Aerochrome is available right now on eBay for $333.

But what if analog enthusiasts didn’t have to shell out exorbitant fees for damaged and expired Aerochrome?

As spotted by Digital Camera World, that’s where film photography YouTube and passionate analog shooter Jason Kummerfeldt, also known as grainydays, comes in. Kummerfeldt has spent much time and effort dialing in the perfect “fake” Kodak Aerochrome film.

But what’s the catch? There’s always a catch.

The process of recreating the look of Kodak Aerochrome film requires a different film, some digital trickery, and much to the dismay of analog purists, the use of an infrared-sensitive (converted) digital camera, as well as special filters.

Before dismissing Kummerfeldt, it is worth hearing him out because, ultimately, he has captured the spirit of Kodak Aerochrome.

Kodak Aerochrome DIY project by Jason Kummerfeldt, aka graindays
A screenshot from Jason Kummerfeldt’s video shows just how close the photographer has come to recreating the look of Aerochrome. Ultimately, the results are what matters, right?

“‘But whoa whoa whoa, Jason, did you say digital camera, you sonuvabitch! I thought you swore off digital and all its if/and statements,'” Kummerfeldt says, channeling his frustrated fans. “Yeah, but at this point, what other choice do I have? It’s about the application.”

Kummerfeldt has dabbled with wholly analog methods for recreating Aerochrome film, as seen in this video about a Reto 3D camera and this project using a beam splitter and Trichrome film. However, he says combining the digital infrared camera, digital processing, and Kodak Ektachrome is “the easiest.”

Kummerfeldt’s complete video offers everything a film photographer needs to know to create Dr. Frankenstein’s monster of Kodak Aerochrome. By combining digital and analog technology, the photographer has made the look of Kodak Aerochrome accessible. Sure, people could shell out hundreds of dollars for a few dozen shots of real Aerochrome, but that option won’t exist much longer. There will come a time when Aerochrome is well and truly gone, and perhaps implementing a digital camera into a pseudo-Aerochrome workflow is not too bitter an elixir.

Image credits: Jason Kummerfeldt (grainydays). Prints for sale.