Shooting Cinema Film
By Mark Ewanchuk
Hi Brandon and Steve–I hope this email finds you well!
Inspired by prior posts from Brett Price and others, I decided to attempt to shoot and process cinema film. I have included five recent images, but this is more of a “how-to” for those so inclined.
More details may be found on my site at http://iftimestoodstill.net/developing-cinema-film/
The two main questions that I had getting started were:
How do I get the film off the 400+ ft roll, and into my bulk-loader?
How do I remove the Remjet with minimal mess and difficulty?
One of your readers (Thanks, Dominic!) http://blog.wakingmist.com/?p=1481 was most helpful in addressing some of these concerns.
I have since acquired large rolls of Kodak Vision3 500T, and Vision2 200T–of the two, I must say I prefer the 200T for it’s slightly finer grain structure.
As far as Question #1 goes: Into your standard changing bag, you will require:
Your bulk roll of cinema film (Take the sealing tape off the film tin, but don’t open it yet!!)
Your bulk loader
Some cellophane tape
An empty inner spool or roll, which will fit easily into your bulk loader. I used the plastic roll from a standard film canister–I had to drill out the core to ensure that it would slide freely onto the post of my bulk loader.
White cotton gloves (from eBay!) to avoid marking the film.
Once all above in the bag, open the film tin, then the inner bag, and find the end of the film reel. Next, (using a small piece of cellophane tape…) tape the leader to the inner reel you’ve set aside. Start rolling the film tightly onto the reel, ensuring that the inner surface (the emulsion side) stays IN. This will likely take you ~10 min to transfer ~50 feet of film, and make the roll approximately the same size as your bulk loader. When finished, cut the film, and load into your bulk loader in the usual fashion. Don’t forget to re-package and seal the bulk roll into the tin!!
The next part, you know how to do: Load your film into canisters, and shoot away!
As far as development goes, standard home C-41 works fine (I use the Tetanal kits)–but you need to get the Remjet off first. (Thanks again to Dominic for the tip!) I use 2 litres of SUPER HOT water, to which 2 tablespoons of standard, garden variety (well, home variety, I guess…) Baking Soda has been added. This step must be done before your standard pre-soak. Two litres should give you about six washes. The water will start black, turn to pinkish-grey, and should be clear by the final wash.
Process according to your standard method, then stop after your final wash (and before your stabilizer). Remove the film from the development canister and hang–wipe once with a soft sponge as carefully described on my site. Re-thread the roll, and run through the stabilizer…Surfactant and distilled water to finish up, and you’re all done!
Yes, it’s a lot of effort…but I really do enjoy the results.
The film has a unique character, and really affords you some creative latitude. Thanks to all who have contributed to this ongoing odyssey.
PS: If anyone wants a roll or two, shoot me a line…I’m sure we can work something out!