How to make sure the reel is loaded properly?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by elangovans, Jul 30, 2004.

  1. elangovans

    elangovans Member

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    Beginner's question. I know these are very fundamental, Yet I have to start somewhere... please bear with me and let me know... Thanks in advance :smile:.

    Should the emulsion side facing the center of the reel or facing out side?

    How does one make sure that the film is loaded properly. Recently when I developed my first ever roll, in some of places the roll stuck and spoiled half of the roll (half inch streaks of film did not get developed at all) :sad: . How can I avoid this issue?

    Should you pull completely out of the paper roll (120 - MF roll) and load, because, I was not able hold both side of the reel and the roll. Whats is the good practice?

    When do you start the agitation, immediately after pouring the developer or wait for a while (say 10 secs to get the air bubbles go out) before the agitation?

    Between two process, say development and stop bath, can there be a delay? Since I did not mix my stop bath and fixer up front.

    Thanks
    Elangs.
     
  2. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Hey there, I'll answer your questions to the best of my ability. Just know that everyone does it their own way, and as long as you do it the same every time, you'll be better off.

    Should the emulsion side facing the center of the reel or facing out side?

    I load mine emultion side in.

    How does one make sure that the film is loaded properly. Recently when I developed my first ever roll, in some of places the roll stuck and spoiled half of the roll (half inch streaks of film did not get developed at all) :sad: . How can I avoid this issue?

    The film should load on your reel easily, if you have to force it, there is something wrong. You most likely got streaking because the film was misloaded and touching.


    Should you pull completely out of the paper roll (120 - MF roll) and load, because, I was not able hold both side of the reel and the roll. Whats is the good practice?

    With 120, I take the film completely off the roll, remove the paper and then load it backwards on my reel. Its just the way I do it, I've seen others do it the opposite way, it shouldn't make a difference as long as you handle it with care.

    When do you start the agitation, immediately after pouring the developer or wait for a while (say 10 secs to get the air bubbles go out) before the agitation?

    I do it right after. My hand technique is pour in the dev, agitate for 30 seconds, then 5 seconds every 60 seconds.

    Between two process, say development and stop bath, can there be a delay? Since I did not mix my stop bath and fixer up front.

    I think this is a bad idea. Mix everything up ahead of time and keep it in its own containers. You don't want the emultion drying between chemicals, and you don't want the developer to continue working while you are mixing stop bath. If you have to do it, do it only between stop and fix, and keep the tank filled with water.

    Good Luck!
     
  3. erickson

    erickson Member

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    I pull the paper away as I load the film onto the reel (emulsion side facing the center). Plastic reels are good about preventing film from jumping over rails, but tend to have other issues - They're a pain to start when dry and impossible to start when slightly wet. I recommend you take old film and practice loading your reels with your eyes closed. It's easy to load film once you get the feel of it.

    My processing routine is pretty straight forward and has always given good results with Perceptol, Ilfosol-S, and D-76 developers:

    1. Mix all of your chemicals ahead of time. Double check the temp of the developer. The stop and fix baths can vary by a few degrees. If the developer is a degree or two off, you may have to compensate in developing time.

    2. Pour in the developer. Start the timer and invert for the first 30 seconds of development. Invert ten times at the top of each minute that goes by after that. Gently tap the tank to dislodge air bubbles after each set of inversions.

    When the time arrives, pour the developer out. Some developer will remain on the film, and developing process will continue. It is important to stop it as soon as possible.

    3. Pour in the stop bath and invert constantly. A full strength stop bath will halt developing almost instantly. Inverting for 10-20 seconds is adequate. I use water in place of a stop bath, which takes longer. Fill with water, invert constantly for 10 seconds, dump. Fill again, invert for 30 seconds, dump. Repeat 30 second cycle one or two more times.

    4. Pour in the fix bath. I invert the same way I do with the developer - constantly for the first 30 seconds, 10 seconds per minute every minute following.

    As you get to know your film/chemical combination, you'll probably modify your procedures, development times, etc. to better suit your needs. Until then, read and re-read the instructions that came with your chemicals. Make sure you understand how to dilute them correctly, how to store them, and how long their shelf life is. Some developers require different techniques (Technidol, for example).

    Good luck! It gets much easier after you get the hang of it.
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    about loading the reels ...
    with the metal ones ...
    i usually bow the film a little bit as i am turning the reel, and every once in a while, i push the film into the reel to see if there is any tension. if the film moves slightly back/forth and there is no tension, the film is not buckled and touching. if you can practice with a roll of film, sometimes that helps.

    good luck!

    -john
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The other questions have been answered, so I would just add that the key to handling stainless steel reels is practice (as well as having good reels that aren't bent!--I recommend Hewes reels). Practice with a scrap roll with the lights on, then with your eyes closed, then with the lights off. You will eventually know when the film is loading properly by feel and by sound.

    If the film jumps the groove, it will stick together and you'll get undeveloped patches. If the film kinks when loading, you'll get marks that will show up as small white crescent shapes on the print.
     
  6. photomc

    photomc Member

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    All of the above is good advice, I also remove the paper backing first - it's just easier for me. As I have only used SS reels, best advice is practice with an old roll in the daylight. Like John, I keep the film bowed, holding the reel in one hand and film in the other, the film is held between the thumb and index finger (emulsion side is down for me at this point - less chance of doing anything to the emulsion) and with the hand holding the reel..I use my index finger to 'feel' the film to 'see' if is on the reel correctly. If it feels smooth and not binding no problems, if I can feel a flat spot, it is bound and will probably (read always) cause a problem.

    I also put the developer in the tank ahead of time so all I have to do is drop the reel with film loaded on it into the tank, put the lid on and go..(I start the timer just prior to dropping the tank..again that is how I do it, the same way every time).

    It is not hard, just takes practice, the more you do it the less you think about this and on to other fun facts of the darkroom. The best advice you have gotten already is 'Do it the same every time'...
     
  7. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    My technique is similar to Brian’s and I have never had a bad experience when the film was loaded properly. One additional observation on loading: It is quite important to get the film centered on the reel at the very first. After the first or so reel revolutions, I give the film a slight tug. This seems to aid in aligning the film. Further windings should go easily. If not, unwind and check for center alignment at the start.
     
  8. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    check the following. arrow down to about page 10 and there are a series of visual demos. http://www.ilford.com/html/us_english/pdf/Film Hobbyist.PDF.

    Of course they are using their products but i have found Ilford to be very upfront and they have lots of using information on their website.
     
  9. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Elangs,

    The advice above is good. The posting by photomc is an especially excellent summary. In addition to David Goldfarbs recommendation of the Hewes reels (which I have never used), I'll put in a plug for the Kindermann reels. They have a spike in the center to anchor the film; that's much superior to the ridiculous spring device found on Nikkor and other reels.

    Above all, just learn to use the stainless reels. They have a lot of advantages over the plastic ones. With only a little practice, you'll find that loading 120 is dead simple and very fast. 35mm, being longer, must be started carefully, so that it's exactly centered and perfectly straight, but, again, a little practice goes a long way. The only film I have problems with is 220. Maybe it's just because I rarely use it, but I seem invariably to need a couple of attempts to get it straight, even with the larger diameter 220 reels.

    Konical
     
  10. elangovans

    elangovans Member

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    Wow... You guys are awesome. I thank you all who posted the reply to my questions.

    OK... practise is the key here. As mentioned I will use one of the rolls and practise with the light and blind folded etc.

    Thanks a lot again. Will come back with more questions. Hopefully someday, I will be able to answer to others.

    Elangs.
     
  11. mobtown_4x5

    mobtown_4x5 Member

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    Just want to add one thing here- I am also fairly new to roll film developing, and have been going through the same learning curve-

    I tried generic stell reels- FORGET IT!!!! :mad:

    Buy reels made by a company call "HEWES", Adorama carries them. Anything else is garbage and will be a total source of frustration. Get the Hewes, you will be GLAD you did!

    This has been my experiece anyway, YMMV. :D

    Matt
     
  12. elangovans

    elangovans Member

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    Hmmm... this brings a new dimension to my confusions. Matt, so are you thing this could be because of my reel.

    As I m just starting to do this, I bought a development kit made by Arista. This is all plastic stuff. Reel and tank are all plastic.

    Does everyone use the SS tank and reel or is it ok to have plastic stuff?

    Thanks
    Elangs.
     
  13. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    Elangs: SS vs plastic is about 50-50. It sees to be a very personal thing. I use both but prefer ss. Stick with your first choice for a while and practice with a sacrificed roll. I use mine at least monthly for some test or other (usually to check frame spacing). It must be years old!

    The best thing to do is enjoy.
     
  14. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    Loading 120 film in plastic reels used to drive me hopping mad until I found this new and amazing product....sounds like Telsell, doesn't it? It is really simple: with the light on put a piece of old film into the reel, then turn off the light and gently push the film to be developed over the old film, then take away the piece of old film from underneath. It works!
    Hans
     
  15. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Elangs, did you get the deluxe reel from arista? They are my plastic reel of choice. if not, I can loan you one to try out. The guides are about 500% bigger than the standard ones, makes it really easy to load 35mm and 120/220. I work in Sunnyvale, off of Mathilda. Let me know.

    Brian
     
  16. elangovans

    elangovans Member

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    Brian,

    I bought the Arist Primium Darkroom kit. I think it fairly has the bigger guide than the ones that I saw on the books and articles.

    Its great to know that you are living so close by... Thanks for your great offer. Will try some more with mine and even if didnt work will check with you. :smile:.
     
  17. elangovans

    elangovans Member

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    puzzled...

    How can you pull the old film from underneath... I cant imagine or visualize, how does this work... Could you please elaborate a bit more...

    Thanks
    Elangs.
     
  18. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Sounds like you have the "right ones". Let me know if you need some help, sometimes it is easier to watch someone else do it.

    Brian
     
  19. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    Elangs,
    The trouble with undeveloped 120 film is that it curls up. This makes is difficult to insert the film into the guides of the reel. A piece of old film (around 4 inches will do) is a lot straighter and easier to handle. Put this old film into the reel till just beyond the guides. Turn off the light. Slide the new film over the old, along the guides. Then hold the end of the new film (or put your fingers on top, gently) and pull back the old film. That's it really. I tried this with a full length of 120 film already developed) and a piece of guide film with the lights on.
    Good luck
    Hans