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inunsure's avatar

How did they used to print photos to newspapers in the 60's?

Asked by inunsure (423points) July 28th, 2012

How do you go from a photo to printing in mass the dot matrix you end up seeing in the newspapers like you did in the 60’s and 70’s

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5 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

They used roto-gravure, where a negative is “printed” to a light sensitive coating on a cylinder, and when it develops it provided a template for etching or engraving on the cylinder. It’s a complicated process, which is why it wasn’t used as much on a daily basis except at top newspapers, and because it was adaptable for color was saved for the Sunday supplement.

inunsure's avatar

No Im asking how they did the dot matrix style photos

when you look at it close on new ones it looked like this

anartist's avatar

Full color was almost never used in papers in the 1960s. Negatives were exposed through a halftone screen onto lithographic [high contrast] film to create what is essentially “line art” like the print is.

Some lithographic film was actually pre-exposed to a halftone pattern so the “screen” was embedded in the film before it was used.

I used to use this stuff when developing halftone artwork for the hand-silkscreened exhibit posters we did at the Smithsonian back then.

To do full-color the picture would have to be exposed 4 times, with a halftone screen, each time changing the angle of the screen so dots would line up without overlapping incorrectly and creating a Moiré pattern. then the resulting line art would be printed in 4 passes, black, cyan, magenta, yellow.

CMYK is still the model for the printing process although now digital tools handle the original color separations.
A little more here

bkcunningham's avatar

Halftones is the answer. They used a screen over the photo paper and took an photograph using a large format camera. The image was developed and placed on the layout page with wax on the back. When the page was completed, it went back to the camera department and was once again photographed with the exact same large format camera. This time, the image of the page was photographed onto a piece of film that is actually a negative. The negative was developed in the exact same manner that you develop regular film. When the negative image of the page was developed, the photographs and graphics had the screen, usually an 80–85 percent screen. These dots are what pick up the ink in the printing process.

The developed negative was then imposed on a plate. The plates had a special chemical and when the negative was laid on top of it and exposed to a special light, the image was engraved in the plate. The image is what picked up the ink in the offset printing process.

It is still done in the exact same manner today, except the process is all computerized and goes straight to the plate.

txinkman's avatar

The resonse above is correct, although that technique known as “copy dot” or more commonly when I was a litho camerman, as shooting copy “cold”. It was chiefly used, in my experience, for ad work that was sent in by agencies who wanted to see the halftone before it was printed. Halftones of editiorial copy were almost always shot on film and then stripped into flats from which plates were made. The halftone technique was achieved by a specialized screen, early on made of glass and later of flexible plastic made in such a way that each dot was of a graduated density.

When the original photo was shot on a process camera through a halftone screen, the brightest (highlights) or the photo would relfect the most light back and go through most of the density and produce the smallest dots—conversly, the darker areas (the shadows) would reflect back the least light and produce the larger printable dots. This explanation is a trifle simplistic, but there you are.

By the way, halftones are called that because they reproduce half of the tones or a continous tone photo. The whole process was developed because a printing press cannot lay down a shade of ink. Hope this helps.

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