I miss my #lunchbreak walks. I’m not sure why I gave them up, probably I’m just lazy, but maybe I can pass it off on the weather, maybe it got bad for a bit and kept me indoors and I just got out of the habit. I’ve recently, tentatively, started up again: it’s nice to go for a quick walk around the parking garage, or nearby apartments, or nearby strip malls in the middle of the day and get the blood moving. The scenery isn’t too inspiring—though I grabbed some nice shots in early 2016—what with a parking garage, an apartment complex, and 2 strip malls the only things I can walk to, around, and back in 30 minutes or less.
These days, though, I have to force myself, and while doing a bit of heavy breathing feels great and really improves my mood the rest of the day, I’d rather spend the 30 minutes praying and reading. I make so little time to read these days, and while I can pray on a (paid) 10 or 15 minute break, it’s nice to stretch out and pray all the sunnahs and a nafl or two, and a spiritual break in the middle of the day is (or could be, if I was a better servant of Allah azza wa jall) better than a mere body break, though both are necessary for optimal functioning.
Anyway, it was getting late in the week, and I’d only shot one long exposure light trail thing and a few frames of the fog one morning, so when lunchtime came, I grabbed the camera, and away I went.
I’ve seen and read about movie films. With the rise of digital and decline of film, movies (and Instax) is one area where physical media continues to thrive. I shot some of Lomography’s Cine 200 (and have two rolls left in the fridge) and I’ve looked at and thought about Cinestill films, but have yet to pull the trigger. Both started out as ordinary movie film (the Cine 200 was once Fuji 250D; the Cinestill 50D and 800T are both Kodak stocks), but both companies removed the fancy backing on movie film that helps protect the film from static, scratches, and fogging, and to help keep it flying through movie cameras at 24 frames a second. 35mm movie film works fine in a film camera, but the remjet will foul the chemicals at commercial labs, and if you process at home (like me), you need to remove the remjet in order to scan or print, or do anything with the negative after development. Remjet removal sounded like a pain, so I avoided buying any respooled movie films until the good people at the Film Photography Project ran a special a few months ago: $19.99 for 2 rolls of Kodak Vision 50D, 3 one liter containers, and a box of C41 chemicals. I was in need of some C41 chemicals and I needed 3 one liter containers for the box of E6 chemicals I picked up at the same time, but I wasn’t too interested in the 50D and left it languishing in the refrigerator for a couple of months.
Then, I came to the end of a batch of C41 chemicals, and decided it was as good a time as any to sully the developer with random gunk, and so this week’s roll came along…
First came the fog… The week started out like normal, but then came Wednesday (or Tuesday?) and the fog rolled in. It was so thick that day. It was crazy.
Then, the week passed quickly, and I didn’t shoot that much, so lunch came along and I burned my way through the roll on a quick walk up, around, and down the car park…
It was a great walk, for sure, and I got some ok pictures of foliage, but I’m not too inspired by anything I shot (with either roll of the Vision 50D… probably still hungover from all the shooting I did in November, and Allah knows best).
The remjet ended up being very easy to deal with. I followed a process I hacked together from various sources. When and if I do it again, God willing I’ll source some washing soda (sodium carbonate) and add some of that into the initial bath. Here’s how it went:
- Mix 4 Tablespoons of Baking Soda into ~1L of hot water
- Pour into the tank and agitate violently for 3 minutes
- Drain the tank (water was almost fuchsia)
- Rinse the film (fill and empty the tank) until water comes out clear
- Develop, Blix, Wash as normal
- Remove film from the reels and hang
- Hold one end firmly and wipe base side of the film with a clean, photoflo-soaked cloth until all the remjet is off
- Wind the film back onto the reel, stabilize (and PhotoFlo) as normal
- Hang to dry as normal
First #remjetremoval appears to be a success… sort of a pain, but I’ll reserve judgement till i scan. #believeinfilm #shootfilm pic.twitter.com/BE8onifBiu
— James Cockroft (@jam_esc) December 16, 2016
After scanning… well I had loads of trouble getting the color right. It was really frustrating… it’s still frustrating. I can usually get close by setting the white balance on the base, but in this case, this method resulted in a strong green cast that required a feather touch and a mountain of patience to clean up.
I tried and failed, tried and failed, tried and failed, and after several days, I got happy with the color and started work on this post. But overnight, somehow they went from looking ok to looking purple, so I deleted the jpegs and tried again. These look better, but still off, still a bit blue or red or green, but I’m not going to go back again: apologies. Life is short, and I haven’t had this much trouble getting good color from film in a long time.
I know many people just love movie films, and many have great success removing the remjet and getting great scans. But I think they use proper film scanners or send out to commercial labs, and I use the D7000/Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 combo with a light table, and process the resulting RAW files in Capture One, and sometimes I have a harder time getting something I’m happy with than others.
That’s my failure, I guess, and not the film’s fault, though most color negative films are much easier to process. Really, there is something cinematic about the film, sorta, and I can see why people like it. It’s very smooth grained and I think the color is probably good, if you can ever get it scanned properly.
tl;dr: the remjet was easily removed, but I had great trouble getting the color right, and still failed. I have no plans to shoot this film again, but if some comes to me for free, or as part of something else, I’ll take it.
I shot another roll in the XA, and one of these days, I’ll put together a review of that fine little camera and share some. So far, though, I’m still getting the hang of using it, and I haven’t really gotten anything great with it yet (not that I get much of anything great anyway, these days).*
*I wrote this post before my fun with Bleach Bypass, and I think the fun of that process, and the outcome, broke my dry spell for a bit. This marks 3 alternative processes tried this year: Cross Processing (yucky colors, and not worth it, for me, mostly); shooting Cinema films (this post: again, the remjet is easy, but the Vision 50D is hard for me to process); and Bleach Bypass (fun, easy, and I really like the outcome). One out of three ain’t bad, I guess…