Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Developing Film, Part 1

I got a great comment from Joker last night

          "So weird how shooting with film is only for the hardcore these days..."

Shooting film is such a fun experience that it doesn't need to be only for us crazy people. So here is a  3 part guide on how to develop your film. Its probably the most fun part of 
shooting film in general. I'm going to go through the process and I will have a list of what you need to do this.

This part is on probably the hardest part of the process which is loading your film tank with the roll of film you just shot. There are two different types of developing tanks, and then there are many sizes of those two types. Steel tanks and Plastic Tanks. Steel tanks are incredibly sturdy, they last damn near forever, and they are slightly more difficult to load the reels. Plastic tanks are less durable but are fairly easy to load. I've used both and I prefer my plastic Paterson tank to the steel ones my school used.

I use a dual reel paterson tank. My film is bigger than yours.
You might want to buy a junk roll of film so you can practice how to load your film before you use an actual roll. Its much harder when you get in the dark room and trying to load the film the first time anyways. The more experience you have the better you can do. I guess that last sentence was from the desk of Captain Obvious.

Ok, so you need to find the darkest room you can find. I use a small closet. You need to make sure there is very little light and if there are any leaks, they need to be covered. Shove a towel under the door, use some tape, whatever you can do. If even the smallest amount of light reaches your film, it will fog and that will be bad.

My bottle opener. Its seen the end of many beers. Also purchased at the 99 cent store.

take a can opener and open the flat end of your film canister and use the push tab to push out the film spindle. The end of the film has a small tab that needs to be cut off. When that is cut off you can slide it under the two tabs on each side of the reel.

A little blurry, but you can clearly see the two tabs and the film going beneath them.

You should hear or feal the film catch onto the ball bearings just behind the tabs. These reels are ratchet like, so you want to hold onto the left side and turn the right side forwards and backwards until the film has been fully loaded. Some of the issues you should worry about are creasing, tearing and sticking. The film only sticks if you didn't fully dry the reel beforehand. if you feel it start to crease or tear, then just do your best to try and get it in, but dont overly force it in. The shiny side of the film must be up, not the tan/whitish/pinkish side.

Depending on which length of roll you use, it will feel different when it is fully loaded. The 24 shot roll will end and have about a quarter of the reel uncovered. A 36 shot roll will end just inside of the tabs. If your roll ends really far outside the tabs, then you need to unload the reel.

Normal reel.

Reel after being liberated from its other side.

To unload the reel you want to hold the left side and turn the right side forward until you feel the click and pull both sides apart. Then just dump the film on the table and start again with either side. When you put the reel back together, make sure the grooves are set in the right place without it being forced together.

See the tabs on the inside of the middle section?

Match them with the corresponding grooves. This reel can be used for 3 different sizes of film.

Once you get the reel loaded while in the dark, you want to put the pieces back together. inside the tanks. The funnel piece keeps the light from touching the film so you can get to that point without the lid when you can turn the lights on.

I usually set all the pieces out on a table in order so its easy for me to put everything back together without fumbling around too much.

Part 2, I will jump into the actual process with times and chemicals you use and when to use them.

What you need:
Paterson Film Tank.     Single or Double

It beats my why the double tank is less expensive than the single, but thats the reason why I got one. and it came with 2 reels, not just 1.

I'm sorry if this guide was confusing, it was my first time at writing instructions like this. If you have any questions, I shall try to clarify.

Check out my most recent set of pictures from Venice Beach