I had been talking about it for weeks (and putting it off for weeks), but I finally did it. I developed my own color (C-41) film. People always talk about how they took a photography and film developing class in school, and unfortunately I never had an opportunity to do that. This was a really cool experience, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared to mess it up. By no means am I saying what I've done is the right or only way to do this, but it is what I found through careful research (AKA watching a lot of YouTube videos). To achieve the best results possible, I did the following:
1) I bought all the supplies necessary to develop the film. I'll put a list at the end of this post if you're interested in seeing what I used.
2) I made sure I had two rolls of color film to develop. For this session, I had a roll of Fuji Pro 400H and Portra 400.
3) I used a roll of film that I totally messed up on rewinding to practice with. This means I practiced blindly spooling the film into the reels that go into the tank over...and over...and over.
4) I watched a TON of videos of someone developing color film at home using the exact kit that I used which was the CineStill Kit that makes one quart (perfect for the bottles I got).
Here is the most helpful video I found. I won't say how many times I've watched this video.
CineStill C-41 Film Developing Kit Video
The directions that came with the kit were okay. I felt like watching the video FIRST made the directiosn make more sense. Every video I watched always stressed labeling your bottles. This is a great tip. There are only three liquids you will make, but with so much going on at the same time, I found having them labeled really prevented me from using the wrong thing at the wrong time.
These photos are from my cell phone. I thought about taking nice photos of the process, but um, that wasn't gonna happen. The best way I could describe this is to compare it to trying to cook 3-4 things in the kitchen at the same time. You're constantly checking temperature (in my case, out of paranoia) and reading and rereading directions to make sure you're doing everything correctly.
- Cinestill C-41 Developing Kit (makes 1 quart of each liquid)
- Black Bag For Loading Film
- Sous Vide Cooker (because I was too cheap to buy the Cinestill one LOL) This may not be the exact one I got, but it looks just like this. A lot of them are just rebranded with different names, but are the same product. Any decent Sous vide cooker should do.
- Cinestill Accordian Bottles (I liked these because they allow you to get out as much air as possible before closing the bottle).
- Paterson Tank w/ Two Reels
- Funnels (These make it easy to pour the liquids back into the bottles.)
- Paterson Plastic Beaker (These were great for accurate measurement of liquids)
- 35mm Film Canister Opener (I'm sure a bottle opener would've worked for this, but this did work and made it easy.)
- Paterson Film Squeegee (I used this to get water off the film before letting it dry.)
- Clothes Hanger (For drying your negatives!)
Speaking of scanning, here are some of my photos from this batch. They were scanned on an Epson V600 scanner. This scanner is so easy to use, and now I understand why it's so popular for scanning film. I did try to do this the cheaper route by buying one of those quick film scanners, but I will save you the trouble and tell you that the scan quality is HORRIBLE on those. Do not waste your time and money.
Enjoy the photos, and thanks for making it til the end! 😀
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