(For other film guidelines, look to my website: www.ellieberry.com)
After re-reading this, I realized how many spelling mistakes and how unclear some of my instructions were - hope this version is a bit better!
When I started photography in college I had never done anything remotely analog/film related, to tell the truth, all my dark room knowledge came from whatever I had seen in movies. After surviving my first semester, I've learnt a lot, and seeing as I found it all to be amazing and interesting, I thought I'd share it with ye :)
(This instructable is all about film processing, I'll write another one to do with developing/printing later)
*And technically the film in the top image is actually "film film", not "photography film", however, i didn't have any photography film that I could use without ruining it. It's the same size, 35mm, just 400ft long, as apposed to the 36frame film for photography.*
Step 1: What Is Processing?
I didn’t actually know this before I started, but processing film is done completely in the dark. Pitch black. To time things we have a clock that glows in the dark. So before you start, I really recommend laying everything out in order on the counter or wherever you’re working.
Once you have locked yourself away form the light filled outside world, you pick up the film canister and, using a scissors, stick one blade into the slit that the film slides through while in the camera, and use that to bend open the canister. Peel back the metal (this can be kind of hard) so its easy for you to pull out the film. Pull it all out and cut it at the very end (be careful, I once thought I had pulled it all out and I lost half my roll of film). Its then time for spool winding!
Step 2: Spools
The easiest ones by far though are the plastic ones as you simply feed the film into a grove at the beginning, and then by twisting the spool, it all winds itself on.
One thing you have to watch out for when using the metal ones, is to make sure none of the film is touching when you’re finished. I know I'm repeating myself, but it's important, and when this happens, the chemicals can’t react with the film properly and you end up with bits of your film unprocessed.
Ok, now that the film is on the spool, you put it into a cage (see end photos) and now onto the chemicals.
Step 3: Chemicals
The time you have the film in the dev for varies from film to film. I personally use 400TriX most of the time, which is a black and white film, and in the developer ID11, its takes 5 minutes. For the first full minute, you agitate the cage, meaning you slowly lift it up and down, nothing to vigorous or crazy. Then, every minute after that, you agitate for 10 seconds.
The stop is only two minutes, agitating for the first and letting it sit for the second.
Lastly, the fix is five minutes, and the same with agitating, constant for a full minute, then 10 seconds after each one minute.
Once finished, you can turn on the light!
*chemicals get tired with use and become less effective, so make sure you keep track of how much its used (last photo)*
Step 4: Wash and Dry
To dry, attach clip (or clothes peg) to the top of the film and hang it – in college we have a dryer, which is like a large wardrobe that hot air swirls around in, so the film just hangs in it. With drip drying the film, there is a tendency to get water stains and streaks on the film, so a very soft moist cloth will be needed after to clean it off. In the dryer, it takes 20minutes to dry the film.
And congratulations, you have processes your film! Hold it up and look at your beautiful images! Or simply be happy to know how it all works now :)
I’d like to add that I’ve heard of canisters that you can process your film in that are light-tight, leaving you being able to stand in the sunshine. I’ve never used them so I can’t tell you how they work, but if I ever do I’ll be sure to include it!
* The photo is of a squeegee that you can use to help take the water off of the film after you wash it - you can use your fingers just as well, i prefer my fingers, no risk of scratching the film.*