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News & Insight

Watch The Total Film Processing Sequence Condensed Into 4 Minutes – Bring Back Memories?

By Kishore Sawh on September 14th 2014

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It is ever so easy to romanticize about film, don’t you think? Perhaps it’s the relative ease of digital that makes the arduous processes of film seem so. Or maybe that it’s just antiquated. When ‘developing’ a modern photograph, you’ll tend to do so in some sort of program like Lightroom or Photoshop and sure there is a whole lot of personalization involved. In fact, one could argue the level to which you can alter an image in said programs makes them even more personal. Yet, somehow, to those who shoot film, it’s not.

Developing not in Lightroom, but in a darkroom, is extremely tactile and sensory. From the moment you are ready to take the film out of their canisters and transfer them to the reels and developing cans either in a totally dark room or a changing bag, it’s all feels. Then, for further feels, the move to the developer, then the stop bath, fixer, distilled water all the while remembering to ‘agitate’  – the process is so involved. If it sounds like a lot of work, well, it is, but the rewards can bring tears to your eyes. This video by Paul Bintner from Off The Main Track, takes you through the entire film processing section (not the developing), albeit with a finger on the fast forward button, so you get through the whole thing in 4 minutes.

[REWIND: DIY vs. Boredom & An Awesome $60 DIY Photo/Video Light Panel]

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Thoughts

I always recommend photographers of any age spend some time in the dark room developing their own stock. It brings a different appreciation for not only film, but each of your shots. With the frivolity with which we wield cameras and photos these days, it’s nice to slow down, and that extra time spent, I believe, makes you less snap happy, and more likely to think about the shots you take even with digital.

Also, time in the darkroom is great, just put on some music, clear your head, and sort of revel is the hedonism of time spent on yourself and your art. And this is just a personal recommendation speaking from experience, bring a significant other in with you with a glass (read: bottle) of wine in tow, and spend the wait times getting up to mischief. Always leave room for mischief.

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If you want to know more about the developing process, what materials to buy, precisely how to do it, and even where you can go to do it, let me know and I’ll be happy to create a post detailing the process. And go check out more from Paul Bintner at his YouTube Channel, Facebook, and his site for inspiration, tips and tricks and more.

Source: The Phoblographer, Images are screen caps from featured video.

About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. MARTIN MIANO

    I always hated the wait period especially if there were people ahead in the developing queue

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  2. Kurk Rouse

    Dying art form

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    • Tyler Friesen

      Im not sure if I would agree with a dying art form. The number of people using these methods has definitely dropped tremendously, but there is a very faithful niche of photographers that still love this process. There is something to be proud of when you take the images develop them and end up with something physical and tangible. Its nice that the art or snapshots created from these methods don’t just get posted and forgotten about like most digital images. The personalities that typically shoot and develop film are usually very mindful of every single frame taken, and they treat every frame with a different level of respect. So yes its slowed down but also very much alive.

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  3. Peter McWade

    Did this all in the dark room. No dark bags or anything. All in total darkness and it was fun. I totally enjoyed the process. I only did B&W. Our school did not have color yet. Use and old Argus Range Finder to learn on. :)

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    • Kishore Sawh

      I began in a completely dark room myself, and I thought it was the strangest thing, and then it became something I enjoyed quite a lot. I think the bag really made it simpler, however. Ahh, good days. Cheers

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    • Jeffrey Morrow-Lucas

      Let’s not forget B & W print processing too. Had a rudimentary set-up in my windowless bathroom as a teenager; made some nice enlargements with the old Bogen set-up. Original “burning and dodging”!
      Also had fun with Kodachrome slide processing.

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  4. Andrew Van Arb

    Truly an art form that will stay around as long as there are film enthusiasts! It’s easy enough to digitally snap, upload and edit images on a DSLR, but there is just something special about film!

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    • Jeff Ladrillono

      Yes. There is something awesome about having a one of a kind tangible object. Put it on a lightbox, look it over with a loupe, make prints from it. It’s a tactile experience that you don’t get with digital.

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  5. Kim Farrelly

    Ah the smells, I found a role of Kodak Gold 100 in my old camera bag last week, 19 down 16 or so to go…

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  6. Jeff Morrison

    thanks for sharing

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  7. Steven Pellegrino

    I’m glad you didn’t show the alternate clip of driving to the one hour photo place and dropping off the film.

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  8. Chuck Eggen

    I learned and performed this in the Army. Developing in the field with a jacket as a light bag, a wrist watch (usually covered in mud), steel tank and stainless reel, canteens with chemicals, and a stream nearby. Actually it was quite fun. If I remember the hardest part was getting the film threaded correctly on the reel. There were a few mishaps where it touched. But hey, we were out in the elements.

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