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super 8 home processing tips please


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#1 david richardson

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 11:11 AM

Hello I'm new to super 8. I've been filming Kodak Ektachrome 100D so far. I'm getting the bug and want to try black white. I'm used to shooting colour photography but for a while I've wanted to start developing black and white at home too. Can I use the same equipment for photography and super 8 development? Does anybody recommend any equipment or techniques. Excited to hear responses!

David

Read more: http://www.cinematog...8#ixzz13COlWvi8
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#2 Joel Pierre

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 05:37 AM

… I've wanted to start developing black and white at home too. Can I use the same equipment for photography and super 8 development? Does anybody recommend any equipment or techniques.


Posted Image

Spiralize it!
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#3 david richardson

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 05:43 PM

Thanks relally helpful video! So what's that thingy she uses and where can i get one?
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#4 Joel Pierre

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 09:10 AM

LOMO Universal spiral processing tank
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#5 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 11:29 AM

Super-8 is 15 meter and you would need a larger LOMO UPB-1 tank. These can be had here and there but not all days.
Just keep an eye out and your wallet ready :)

The picture is of 10 meter LOMO tank. See the boxing and the rim of the lower half.
It is meant for Regular-8 or clips of 16mm. It can take S8 but only 10 meter

In the smaller one you would need to clip your 15 meter and you would need to process twice for the two pieces as is has one spiral/deck. The 15 meter version can take two deck. I.e. process two films in one go.

You could also consider assembling a tube processor. Or a rack.

Edited by Andries Molenaar, 25 October 2010 - 11:30 AM.

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#6 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 02:32 AM

Hi David,
Film is film...so if you can process a roll of 120 or 35mm still film, you already understand the basics and it also applies to movie film. The difficulty and technical consideration which makes it so different is the film length! This requires extra care and attention in movie film processing, all the way from initial film loading, through the processing stages, to drying the film and then downloading it from whatever film drying rack or setup you're using. That long wet movie film is can be like fly paper, attracting all kinds of dust if you're not very careful. That all being said, many young teens processed their own movie film years ago, back when wonderful companies such as ESO-S PICTURES and SUPERIOR BULK FILM COMPANY were around to name two of them.

The SUPERIOR BULK FILM Co. Super 8mm Tank & Reel Unit (also known as the POWELL TANK) is perhaps the easiest spiral reel setup to load. The tank must be used a bit differently regarding adding and changing chemicals since the spout it too small for quick enough solution changes to yield even results, and adding solutions through it doesn't allow the air to evacuate fast enough, thus forcing the lid up and off if not careful. Anyhow....the next spiral reel type that works great is the former JOBO FOTOTECHNIC Super 8mm Reel & Tank. They were very expensive, but work fine (I have the 16mm version since I could never get my hands on the Super 8 one....long story, but in the nutshell, idiotic sales people at some german camera shops in Frankfurt, refused to believe such a thing was available, and the USA division was useless. I ended up getting the 16mm version since store manager was so....well...I'll leave it at that). Anyhow, these JOBO ones are rare as hens' teeth.

This brings us to the venerable LOMO Tank, of which there are a few varieties, but for Super 8mm, you need only concern yourself with the UPB-1 or UPB-1A, with the latter being the newest version of the same tank. These will allow processing of 1 or 2 rolls of 50ft (15m) Super 8mm film. IF you load and process only 1 Super 8 50ft film, it is quite easy to use. The difficult part is learning to load 2 rolls, requiring a lot of finnicky care while in total darkness. But, it can be done and has been done by many, and many hundreds of times by myself. As with any spiral reel processing method, you will want to transfer the Super 8mm film to a 50ft projection reel to make it easier to handle in the dark, and also will want to tranfser the film from that reel to another reel, so that when you load the film, emulsion facing outwards, the sprocketed edge of the film is laying in the spiral groove. Otherwise if not, you risk getting uneven image density due to the surge variation of the solution during film agitation. And speaking of agitation, you do NOT want to twirl that reel agitator around! You need to rotate it, but also lift and lower the reel setup as well, and rock the reel back and forth gently.

If the cost of these tanks and/or availability is a problem, another quick DIY method is to just build a small plexiglass rack. Using a 16 x 20 inch piece of plexiglass, you will wrap a 50ft scrap film around it, separating the film by a few millimeters evenly spaced. Then make some marks where the film wrapped around with a felt tip marker. Remove the film and now make some curved cutouts 8mm's wide where the marks are. Smooth these cutouts with fine sandpaper and polish well. Drill a hole in the upper left corner, and both upper and lower right corners. Make this hole 1/4 inch, large enough to fit a rubberband through it. Get two pieces of plexiglass, cut to an inch wide and 16 inches long, to glue to either side of the 16 x 20 sheet. The sheet should be centered on these, as these will act as a stand to keep the bottom of the sheet from touching the bottom of your processing tray. You load this by looping a rubberband thru the hole in the upper left of the rack, loop the end of the Super 8mm film thru that loop and staple the film, then wind the film around the rack emulsion up, nice and snug, but don't cinch the film, until you get to the end, and then repeat with a rubberband on the end, and adjust the film so it remains taut. Now you process this film on the rack in large 16 x 20 inch photo trays, having filled them with solution high enough to cover the rack completely. Agitation is via moving the rack carefully in the solution side to side, top to bottom and up and down. You can easily lift the rack, drain the solution off by holding it at an angle, and move it to the next tray. 11 x 14 inch design should work as well, but you will have to make the spacing narrower.

There's other methods as well, and there's also the REWIND TANK, a long time proven method, but is tedious as it can take the better part of 3 hours to process a roll of movie film. There are some pros to the Rewind Tank method, ease of use, easy to load, small footprint of space required, and can be done most anywhere.

Lastly, the other tricky part, what to do with that wet film. I recommend building yourself a film drying rack, easily enough constructed out of Quarter Half Round dowls or full dowls, 2 feet long and attached to 18 inch long crossed slats of wood. The crossed slats, have a long bolt in the center which doubles as a rotating pin to sit the Drying Rack on a stand you'll also have to make. Some have just drapped film around plastic clothesline in their darkroom or bathroom. While this works, it's more professional and practical to use a film drying rack. You attach the film to the rack using large PaperClips bent like an "S" shape, with one end closed and holding a rubberband. The rubberband on either end of the film will stretch to compensate for slight film shrinkage as the film dries. Having a loading stand to rotate this Drying Rack will allow ease in loading and also unloading after the film is dry. After unloading, I recommend splicing film leader onto both ends of the film, then clean & lubricate the film, and finally wind it tightly and neatly onto a 50 foot projection reel and wrap with a 3 inch rubberband. It is wise to let the film sit like this for a few days before projecting it since the film will have small curved areas in it from the film drying rack, which in time disappear......and the tight wind really helps smooth it out. Although, if necessary, you can project the film usually within 2 hours from when you begin processing, if you are organized.

All other laboratory methods apply: cleanliness, solution control, proper rinsing/washing to avoid contamination, temperature control, proper chemistry mixing, processing control, and so forth. Do all that, and you can process your own movie film with professional results, just as you can in processing still film. Is it worth the time and materials? Only you can answer that. I always thought so. However, due to cost of chemistry, Hazmat shipping fees here in the USA on photographic chemicals, and all the time involved to get it right.....you will need to process a certain number of films to make it cost effective for yourself. I mean, you don't want to mix chemistry up that can process 6 to 12 films, and only do 2 or 3; in which over time the solutions will age and become useless...costly.

So, it's relative. For working on special effects on films, and doing complex title sequences, it really helped being able to process our work, view it that evening, make corrections to the setup as needed and continue on with the project the next day, or sometimes even later that same day. But this was film I intended on projecting as a finished product. So many of you now do all this in post in a video editing software program since your projects end up on a video format. Either way, I'm still processing the 35mm slides I plan to shoot on a nice little old 35mm KODAK that I got at a junk shop for $8 the other day. Press on, do your homework, make some plans and come to a decision if the cost and labor is worth it to you. Hey, if hundreds of kids could process their own movie film years ago, and I could do it as a teen, I think you can do it also. Just my two cents here. If it doesn't work out, you still learned something and can sell off the equipment on eBay and recoup some or all or your money. Good luck!

P.S. Super 8 was and still is and can be so much a DIY film gauge for so many reasons, and that's another reason we all love it.
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#7 Friedemann Wachsmuth

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 06:58 PM

David,

have a look here: http://www.peaceman....processing-tank

And let me know if you need some detailed chemistry recipes. I put a lot of work into fine tuning such and getting to perfect results.
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