arghghghhg!!!!!!!! deliberately exposed roll in fit of rage

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by bessa_L_R3a, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    Hi,

    normally i'm a very calm person but tonight i lost it. i was trying to feed film that had been sitting on my desk in its canister for a month or so, not an inordinate amount of time ... i noticed when i sprung the film out of the canister that it wanted to unroll with a passion, more than usual and i could feel it unswirl rapidly (FYI, i was doing this in a changing bag).

    then the real trouble started ... I fed the leader into the plastic reels (which normally work fine) and about a half turn later, i got friction. it wouldn't budge. I had to separate the two halves of the reel and knew if i did that the whole film strip would go haywire in there, which it did. The bag is not that big and I started to sweat. I put the reel back together, found the leader somehow (it was like wrestling with a snake) and started to feed again. More friction! I was getting pissed by the third time, and slightly worried I would have to take the whole bag and contents with my arm stuck in it to some emergency room for photogs.

    By the 5th or 6th attempt, I noticed wretched creases in the normally smooth film surface from so many attempts and even a tear. I was desperate. The inside of the bag was like a moist fog and the sides of the bag were closing in. In the final death throes, I started twisting the film around by force, knowing it wouldn't do any good but ruin it more.

    Finally, in a bit of a rage, I just yanked out the film, pulled out my arms, unzipped the bag, and threw the serpentine film on the bed, watching it, lying there, exposing in agony under my room lights ...

    It felt kind of good in a perverse way. I tried to remember if I had anything good on that roll, and I think there were a few shots that would have been cool. Oh well ...

    I learned a lesson: just be patient, don't take the film out for crying out loud, just take my arms out and wait for my mood to calm down.

    Interestingly, I got another roll onto the same reels with no problem a few minutes later.

    What gives?? I don't get it. The plastic reels are getting a little creaky but they still loaded that second roll fine.

    Still fuming ...

    Robert.
     
  2. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    Haha, you've perfectly summed up why I avoid roll film and prefer to shoot large format sheets :smile:

    I *hate* the sweating-in-the-changing-bag experience, when the film starts to go all haywire and sticky and everything goes to hell...

     
  3. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    for 35mm, I pop one side of the canister off then grab the film with my fingers as i pull it out, find the lead, then put the film back into the canister with the lead sticking out of the slot. I am then able to keep the film contained while i feed it onto the reel bit by bit.. Otherwise I end up with a mess..
     
  4. Mateo

    Mateo Subscriber

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    I would recommend you invest in a leader retriever. And then get rid of the plastic spool.
     
  5. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    I tried rolling my first roll of 35mm today in my darkroom and I ended up with more kinks in there than I could have imagined. Talk about uneven development. Thankfully, only a few frames are unusable, but I should have practiced before hand.

    I think I prefer rolling 120 roll film then 35mm film :X

    Jason
     
  6. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Precisely why I prefer my steel reels.
     
  7. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    Steel or plastic

    I've had horror stories with both. I think it's Ilford film. Unscientific, but I've had the dickens of a time with their film several times, on both steel and plastic reels. I'll keep my eyes open to see if this holds true.
     
  8. Bill Mobbs

    Bill Mobbs Member

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    I have never popped open a canister... I use a leader retriever... Cut the leader off and feed the film out of the can and on to the reel.... no mess no sweat. I use both plastic and steel reels, but I do like the steel one better.
     
  9. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    I actually often find Ilford film easier to load on my steel reels, it feels a bit thicker and stiffer than some other emulsions I use like ERA Pan or Efke. I suppose this could be both good and bad, depending how you do things.
    Loading film is different for everyone though, I've been developing 35mm film for nearly 2 years and I still screw it up now and then, and I expect I still would in 20 years. Everyone has their own way of doing it and own preferences to the type of reel and so on. There's really no one way of doing anything in photography.
     
  10. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    One nice thing about stainless tanks is that if you get into trouble, or just need a break, you can stick the film into the tank, with or without the reel, put the lid on and have no worries about light. This is true of some plastic tanks too, that don't require a center core to be light-tight. This gives you a chance to examine the reel if necessary, and make sure that everything is ready for another attempt.
     
  11. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Yeah, I'm with you on that. I can't recall any trouble I've had with any of the Ilford films. I just picked up a pack of SFX200. I wonder what kind of base this uses.

    If you feel like a stressful evening, try spooling a roll of Maco Cube (isn't that essentially re-branded Efke?) Very thin base. Even worse... but sadly, as its day has passed, is trying to spool 35mm HIE. For me, this film is guaranteed to bring on bouts of swearing and sweaty hands. I've got two rolls still in the freezer waiting for their chance to frustrate me. :D

    Cheers,
     
  12. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    I started rolling steel reels in september when my photo class taught me and I've never gone back. I had no stickies at all rolling the hp5 in 35mm mostly but also 120 for ~5 months. Now I get a color darkroom in my house and move from a dark closet to a changing bag and my first roll had more sticky than film. It took me a whole hour to roll a 120 roll. I think it's got something to do with the alignment you can get in the closet by letting the film hang straight down in the closet that you can't in an 11x17 darkbag. I'm getting pretty good now though! Out of 4 rolls from a death valley trip of which I mutilated 3, I only lost 4 frames!
     
  13. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    1) Keep the plastic reels clean. Scrub with an old toothbrush once in a while.
    2) If you have more than one set, don't mix up halves. They SHOULD all be the same from the same manufacturer but it just seems better when you keep them sorted. No physical proof of this, just anecdotal evidence.
    3) Take a small pair of scissors or a nail clipper into the bag with you. After you have cut the film's leading end square, nip just a touch off the two leading corners. Seems to help the snagging in both ball-bearing style and Jobo style plastic reels.

    As far as removing the whole roll from the can or just popping out the leader. I've done both but since none of my 35mm cameras have auto-rewind, I just turn the crank until I hear/feel the pop and stop. Leaves he leader sticking out. YMMV.
     
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  15. Nancy Gutrich

    Nancy Gutrich Member

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    You might want to take more than one reel into your changing bag...guess what, they stick...rather than fussing, go on to the next reel. Too, might want to give your reels a good cleaning sometime soon, soak in a solution of baking soda and scrub them up with a toothbrush. It helps.
     
  16. Uncle Dick

    Uncle Dick Member

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    Dear Robert,

    Don't feel too bad. All film can sometimes refuse to be loaded, and all reels can sometimes refuse to accept film. Some combinations are worse than others and some atmospheric conditions seem to be precursors to trouble.

    If you ever get to work in a big size, really dark, darkroom you can deal with these troubles by making up a big batch of chemistry in 3 containers - 1 litre ice cream tubs work fine -and then throwing the loose film in the dev, stop, and fix for the appropriate times and just sloshing and shaking it around.

    I was reduced to this with a batch of mylar-based 70mm aero film. It was an act of final desperation after the Hewes reels refused to accept the film. I sloshed and swore steadily for 13 minutes but was rewarded with moderately printable negatives.

    I confessed this shameful secret to another photographer and found out that this was a normal procedure for aero film - in the Northwest they used garbage bins as deep tanks for development. You wouldn't believe how short some developing times can be when the darkroom temperature is over 100degrees!

    Uncle Dick
     
  17. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    I love that. I call it the "intelligence of an ape bucket swish method". It does wonders on reversal super 8 film. I did see shattered pieces of silver floating around in the developer afterwards though...
     
  18. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I got rid of my plastic reels. I've had trouble from time to time anyway, but much less. The plastic reels are finicky if there is the least bit of moisture. Others seem to use them without trouble, but they vex me to the point of frustration.
     
  19. usagisakana

    usagisakana Member

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    I've been dealing with this recently.. sometimes the film goes on no problem, sometimes it seems as thought it wants to give me a heart attack
     
  20. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    First best thing I ever did for developing 35mm was to get Hewes reels. 2nd best thing was to weather strip my bathroom door, throw a towel under either side of it, and put an board across my sink for some counter space. Loading film on reels is so much easier out of that dang bag.
     
  21. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    wow i never thought of using that! i'm going to adorama right now to buy one.
     
  22. kevs

    kevs Member

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    In my experience, film sticking in plastic spirals can be caused by moisture in the grooves. The gelatin picks up the water and seems to act like glue!. You could avoid this by drying off the spiral off with a warm hairdryer. Loading 120 backing paper into the spiral helps pick up any hidden moisture.

    I can't remember how many films i wrecked with crescent marks and dents when i was learning to load the tanks. 120 is more prone to sticking than 35mm - i've rarely had problems with 35mm sticking, only with the film being too long for the spiral. As you rightly say, patience is the key! :smile:
     
  23. rusty71

    rusty71 Member

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    Well, if you fight the film it will win every time. I recall the first time I actually loaded film...so long ago, but still so vivid. Could not get it on the plastic reels. They were old, and had so much hard water deposits on them nothing would load right. My hands started sweating and left all kinds of fingerprints and palm prints on the Panatomic X. No brand or type of film is easier or harder to load. More depends upon how much humidity the film has picked up or sloughed off. Film curls more in low humidity, and it gets thick and sticky in high humidity.

    First off, skip the changing bag. There is not enough room in there to let the film have its head. It MUST unfurl to its natural curl which is the lowest tension position. This is usually done in a darkroom by just letting it unfurl. Yes, I pop, rip, or annihilate the 35mm cassette. Leader retrievers are just one more thing to drop on the floor! Buy some quality stainless reels. Get old practice film to load in the light. Try it with your eyes closed. Buy Hewes reels if you can spare the money. They will be passed down to your grandkids' grandkids if film is still around. Resolve NEVER to lose a roll of film. You shot it, so it must be somewhat worthwhile, right? Remember the old expression about cutting off your nose to spite your face. Roll and unroll that damn film a million times if that is what it takes. Play music. Dream of how wonderful the processed negs will look. It's all about the zone. Sure you could cheap out and shoot digital like any monkey, but you're putting the time in for a craft....do you think winemakers say "Aww Hell, I'm tired of waiting for these these damn grapes to ripen. Rip 'em out!" Nope.
    Most of all don't fight the film. After you've done 1000 rolls, you'll be only "pretty sure" you've rolled the most recent one properly. Then the lovely silvery strips emerge from the water and you know you've done well.

    Yup. It's analog.
     
  24. Whatadame

    Whatadame Member

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    I've found that if I add half a shoe box to the changing bag (making it more tent-like), that my hands don't get as sweaty. Also, I just plain gave up on plastic reels--can't use 'em, don't even bother to try. Steel all the way, baby!
     
  25. Mateo

    Mateo Subscriber

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    "Leader retrievers are just one more thing to drop on the floor!"

    Ummmm...why not just pull the leaders out before you turn the lights out? You ain't gonna expose any more of the film than was already exposed when you loaded the camera. In fact, if you are very careful you can attach the film to the spool with the lights on and not lose a single frame. This may not work with them plastic tanks but those ought to be used as paper weights or doorstops anyways.

    If you wash your metal spool in scalding hot water, dry with a towel and then flip the thing in the air a few times, you'll get the thing super dry and save yourself a bunch a misery. I think the biggest piece of good advice in this thread is to quit using the changing bag. I never even thought of trying that; it's just too simple to go in the dark and do it with breathing room.
     
  26. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    There was a trick I saw years back, used to do leader retrieval and all the guy used was a short piece or two of exposed film to do it with... Anyone know what I am talking about?