The film image was and remains something quivering and different from the digital image. The film has a style that no imitation application, no filter or twisted grain can replace. Therefore, it is still being filmed and will continue to be filmed. For this warmth of the picture, its roughness, the film is loved.
But just film photography today will surprise few people. Even film medium format photography. Need something else! I collected such “more”: tricky recipes that will elevate film images to a new level, unusual for the eye.
1. Cross process
A thing known to all film geeks of the 2000s, but today faded into the background.
Conventional 35mm film is most often a color negative film that is carried for development through the C‑41 process. In addition to it, there is a slide color film, it is developed according to the E‑6 process. Each process has its own set of reagents for developing an image (developer, wetting agent and fixer).
Cross-processing involves developing a film of one type with reagents for another. The cross process is a C‑41 negative film developed using the E‑6 process. So the colors in the captured photographs show themselves from a new side, become juicier. It is impossible to predict exactly how they will behave: it depends on the film, shooting time, geolocation and many other factors. Experiment! Bleklo definitely will not.
Recipe: Find one of the largest photo labs in your city and ask to develop cross-country. Most likely, people will understand what you are talking about and take your tapes. It will cost a little more than usual. As a last resort, just explain what you need to manifest on E‑6 if people don’t know about this mechanic.
2. Reverse cross process
A more cunning story that is even rarer. The mechanics are exactly the same: the film of one process appears in a non-native way. Only in this case it is a slide film (E‑6) according to the process for negative (C‑41). Such fraud with reagents greatly affects the picture: a lot of ocher, purple, beige halftones.
Unlike the classic cross-process, the colors do not play punk rock, but are softened by playing the piano. Soft, gentle, almost pastel. But it’s worth repeating: this is not a single scheme, the output image is individual depending on the film, the shooting location and the camera.
Recipe: You will need any slide(!) film. After shooting it, also take it to the darkroom and ask to develop according to C‑41. This is not a common practice at all, it may be necessary to educate the employee and assure that this can be done. Non-native process will affect only the film itself.
Show different processes have shown, you can do experiments before developing! We are talking about redscale, a method when shooting takes place on the reverse side of the film. Here the result is predictable and does not depend on the aperture ratio of the lens and the brand of the film.
Redscale is all shades of beige! Everything seems to be shot through an orange filter. Of course, it is variable: the higher the ISO, the richer the color will be, sometimes reaching hot orange and even red. And, conversely, at ISO 50 or 100 it can be a melancholic beige, sandy.
Recipe: You need any kind of negative film. We will shoot on the back side, so the first option is to do it yourself. In a dark room, unwind the entire film from the reel, turn it over to the other side, fasten it and rewind it. Shoot as usual, developing also according to the standard C‑41. The second, lightweight option: some brands spied on this trick and immediately release film reels wound according to this scheme. Look for the name Redscale or check with the seller. Suitable, for example, Lomography Redscale 50–200.
Double expousure is a double exposure when two shots are superimposed on one frame. In some cameras it is possible to do this right away, but most involve fast forwarding, with no option to press the shutter button on the second circle. For such cases, there is a life hack: once film everything that you would like to see as a substrate, the first layer. Textures, flowers, clouds, architecture will do — whatever you want, there are no rules. Then wind it up and put it back in the camera. Remove already over the first layer.
Doubles are always a game and incredible overdubs. The case when it is difficult to structure in order to predict the result. It’s almost poetry. See for yourself:
Recipe: when inserting the film into the camera on the first layer, make a mark with a marker so that the frames overlap evenly on the second circle. It is always worth remembering that the film is a photosensitive substance. By exposing one frame several times, you can easily overexpose it. To avoid this result, always divide your shutter speed and ISO by 2. For example, each layer is 1/125 instead of 1/60 in one shot. Keep this in mind, but don’t take it for granted: it all depends on the level of lighting and what and how you shoot on both layers.
5. Pour and soak
Perhaps the biggest experiment in this collection: it is completely impossible to predict how such treatment of the film will affect the picture itself, what will happen and what will be the result. By soaking the film in something before shooting it, you start the reaction of this liquid along with the chemical layer on the film itself. And chemical reactions are often unpredictable.
Example: exposure of the film for a day in sea water and gin. As a result, slight streaks appeared, and the film was dyed in a blue-purple color.
Another recipe with an unpredictable result is the combination of Coca-Cola and green tea. In this mix, the film was soaked for about 6–8 hours. And as a result, beautiful stains and specks appeared on every frame.
A third example is Indian green curry sauce. The spices included in the composition launched a strong reaction on the light-sensitive components of the film.
Recipe: choose the ingredient with which you would like to experiment, pour into a small container that can completely cover the roll of film, and feel free to throw the last one there. Let stand for a while (at your discretion, from 5 hours to a day). Next, you will need to remove the film and, having rolled it along the entire length in a dark room, gently wash it under cold water for several minutes. Then dry in the same dark room. You can try drying with a hair dryer on low power so as not to overheat, or leave to dry on a towel. After a while, when the film is dry, wind it back into the spool, shoot and develop as usual. Cross-process development will enhance the colors.
An equally bold option than soaking the film in wine or tea is to wash it! Suitable for both washing machine and dishwasher. The result is unpredictable! Not only cleaning chemicals, but also hot temperatures will come into contact with the film emulsion.
The recipe is similar to film soaking. After washing / washing in a washing machine, the film will need to be washed under cold water in a dark room and allowed to dry. Everything else is standard.
An experiment that falls out of the general list, because it needs a film already developed, positive. I managed to find only a few experimenters of this style on the net, but an example of each of them is already a work of art, and not just a photograph. By igniting the film, you can already see what is on it, and therefore select the necessary melting point. In a sense, this is post-production. The results that you will get are silly to describe, it’s easier to look at the examples:
Recipe: You will need developed negatives and a candle — it is easier to work with. Bring the cut film to the burning candle while holding the tweezers and stop when you get the desired effect. Remember that the film should only melt slightly, and not burn completely. Be careful with the fire, don’t bring it too close and don’t overdo it! Successful experiments!