My 1st blank film.

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by girlafraid, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. girlafraid

    girlafraid Member

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    I've just had my first big film disaster.

    I'm so angry with myself and I'm desperate for it not to happen again. I've never had a film that couldn't be developed in the 3 years since I quite digital. Of course it had to be a precious roll too. It was due to a catalogue of errors which started with me forgetting to zero the image counter when I loaded the film. As for what went wrong after that I'm guessing either it somehow got caught or I went past the point it needed to be rewound if not both. Anyway the film completely came out of the cassette. I did get it out in as dark a room as I could but clearly it got exposed. To be honest I think I knew it was ruined but I just couldn't let go of the hope something had survived so I sent it off. A completely blank film was returned. I know the best thing to do would have been to take the whole camera into a camera shop or such like but that wasn't really possible.

    I never want this to happen again. What is the best way to deal with this situation or tips to stop it happening? Or just reassurance I'm not a complete idiot for letting this happen!

    I kind of hated film for the next few days! As someone who has lost countless digital shots I always had a certain sense of smugness that now all my photos are safely in a draw. Not these though.

    Just some info -
    35mm film
    Zenit e camera
     
  2. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    When you say blank, do you mean completely transparent, or completely black?

    If the former, then the film hasn't been exposed or developed correctly - are there any edge markings visible, and is there a black leader? if there is quite literally nothing at all, then it hasn't been developed correctly (perhaps - if it is black and white film - it has gone through a colour process); if there is a black leader and edge markings, then there is perhaps a camera fault (shutter failure or wind-on failure)

    If the latter, then it probably did get exposed when you unloaded it.
     
  3. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    At the end of the cassette the film is held firmly by a form of a "tooth" which grips the middle of the film in the middle of the spool or if Kodak then I believe it is effectively taped to the middle of the spool similar to how bulk loaded film is held.

    In both cases the film will be held so firmly that it would take quite a bit of leverage with the film advance lever to break it away from the spool and thus free of the cassette

    All I can advise is that you check it is at no 1 frame when you start which you have worked out for yourself and if you were ever to forget but later remember so that you couldn't be sure where you were in the roll then carefully wind forward at each frame and when you feel greater than normal resistance rewind the film. Do not continue to try and wind forward but simply assume you have reached the end

    I predict that this has been such a devastating incident for you that out of the many mistakes we all make with a camera this may well be the one that you will never make again.

    My commiserations

    pentaxuser
     
  4. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Be not afraid, girl. You're not an idiot. You're just in standard learning mode. And you're already way ahead of the 99% who will never publicly admit their mistakes and ask for some outside input. That attitude assures you will learn quicker. Every single person on this site has botched something at some point. Every single one. And then subsequently learned from it.

    Because, you see, the ONLY point in life where learning is possible is right at the point of failure. If one never fails—avoids reaching that point—one never needs to stretch to get beyond that failure. Then all that ever happens is the successful repetition of things already comfortably known.

    And how boring is that?

    :wink:

    Ken
     
  5. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Probably a miss load, if it has edge numbers. Been there done that frequently.

    When you attach film to take up spool hold film by thumb on film at sprocket tooth and wind the rewind knob carefully to tension film in the cassette until you detect resistance.

    Then close back then check the rewind knob turns as you shoot the blank frames.

    If it does not turn immediately you have a miss load.

    If you get a bottom loader Leica, Zorki or Fed you will get lots of miss loads.

    Noel
     
  6. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    All i can say is welcome to the club, and don't be too hard on yourself. I remember a friend of mind having to put dye in his film fixer. He would consistently fix before develop, when overwhelmed.

    Just shake your head and keep moving forward.
     
  7. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    Just a couple of my goofs from many years in photography.

    Let me share one of my classic goofs! When new to photography and being a callow youth of about 13, I had mixed up some fresh fixer. I didn't label the bottle, relying on the "pickle" scent to distinguish it from the also unmarked developer. You folks can predict the outcome. I had a cold.... I couldn't smell the fixer, and I fixed the film in that fresh stuff. All gone.

    Just recently I pre-loaded two daylight tanks. Must be genetic, I didn't label either. I souped one, then decided to do the other later. Again, you can see what's coming. All gone. Just the merest exposure in dim room light. 400ASA film. Now if I preload I put a strip of masking tape over the top, labeled with what the film is. So far, so good .... Until my next error.
     
  8. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    My most recent camera loading screwup. Just one of many.

    Here's another. Some time ago I was shooting with my Pentax LX, and really enjoying the silky smooth film advance feel. Ball bearings, I suppose. Then I noted that I'd run through 35 exposures on what I was sure was a 24 exposure cassette, since I almost never bought 36 load. Yep. Hadn't loaded the camera, a camera I'd been using for 8 or 10 years. Doh!
     
  9. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    When you first wind off 3 exposures to get past the leader watch to see if the rewind knob turns. If it does then the film is loaded correctly. If not then gently test to see if you can turn the knob as if to rewind. if you cannot turn it more than say a turn or so without tension then the film is loaded correctly. This should become a habit whenever you load film.
     
  10. Fixcinater

    Fixcinater Subscriber

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    After having a couple of blank rolls, this has become my standard operating procedure when shooting 35mm. Some Canon's also have a rotating eyeball (for lack of a better term) to show that film is actually moving, which comes in handy if you forget to test the rewind.

    Similarly, I once double-exposed 3 of the 4 4x5 shots I developed (not *that* long ago), and the other one was totally blank due to a mix-up in my numbering scheme. Took me at least an hour to shoot those 4 frames, plus an hour to load/unload and develop them. At least they weren't chromes, is all I could tell myself.
     
  11. dehk

    dehk Member

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    Welcome to the club! :bandit: Been there done that too! Don't feel too bad.
     
  12. flash26c

    flash26c Member

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    Does this mean that we all have to come clean -----disaster!
     
  13. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    actually, if you get a bottom loader leica-type camera you will have a mis-load once, and after that you learn how to avoid them.

    Don't sweat -- everyone messes up this way once in a while. Always check that rewind knob, always stop winding when the camera tells you you are at the end, learn how the camera feels when it is working right, and your goofs like this will be few and far between.
     
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  15. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    story

    "Way back when" in the film era I worked for an international wire service. If you were in California and wanted a photo that was taken in Russia in a hurry, you used a wire service -- no Internet in those days. Well, the guy running the domestic (US) wire network got on the phone to the news photo bureau in Seattle, WA and asked the guy when a photo of a professional ball game played earlier that day was going to be ready to transmit on the wire. The Seattle team was playing a New York team. After a long delay the Seattle guy admitted there would be no game photos that day. The reason was, he said "the door fell off the darkroom."
    Stuff happens. Don't worry about it.
     
  16. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    Just think of it as your first sacrifice to the photography gods. It does not end with 1 anyway. In photography some things are done by trial and error. There are probably thousands of new rolls made everyday. ;o)
     
  17. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Some cameras have an indicator for the rewind action (asside of the feel at the crank). It is a mark on a rotating rewind release, geared to the sprocket gear.
    By looking at this indicator whilst rewinding one can exclude the case of film torn off the cartrige spool.
     
  18. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Oops! :sad:
     
  19. yurisrey

    yurisrey Member

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    just out of curiosity, what type of film were you using and where did you get it developed? (eg: pro lab or store.) If it wasn't a pro lab it may indicate that you may have not done anything wrong. Just going out on a hunch about receiving a completely blank roll and saying that the film had left the cassette: perhaps standard B&W put in to C-41 chemistry? If it was color film or B&W C-41 process, forget about this post altogether. Also, a little trick: when you load the film use the rewind knob so your film has a bit of tension-this way you can see that the film is advancing.
     
  20. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    This once happened to me the film came out of the cassette while I was shooting a wedding as the official photographer, so I can sympathise with you, ever since that day I never take more than 33 exposures on a 36 exposure film and it's never happened again in more than 20 years to me, so it does work.
     
  21. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    It doesn't hurt to own a simple dark bag, even if you don't develop or load your own film. There is always that time when you have to open your camera in the dark and you'll will be happy when you are prepared.
     
  22. Mr_Flibble

    Mr_Flibble Member

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    Just last week I got a film back from the lab that was completely black! Including the frame numbers and brandname markings...all black.
    I'm pretty darn sure the problem was not at my end of the film handling....the images were precious too...
     
  23. mauro35

    mauro35 Member

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    I haven´t yet failed or had black/blank roll. Everything has been good so far, but I still cannot figure out how on earth do I always manage to scratch the best frames of my 35mm films, or if I don´t scratch them I get water marks that would not go away even with isopropanol. I´m getting so frustrated I would trade this for a blank roll once in a while.
     
  24. girlafraid

    girlafraid Member

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    Firstly sorry for the late reply!

    Thank you so much for all the comments, tips stories and mostly for making me feel less of an idiot!

    The roll itself is completely transparent. It's just as if theres nothing on it. To be honestly I had put it completely down to the fact that I had had the back of the camera open. I never thought it could be anything else. I doubt the wrong chemical process was used it was colour film sent with two other colour films. They were sent away to what I think is a pro lab as well. With clear instrustions as to what had happened.

    Having used my camera for some years now I can tell when its got to the end of a roll. I had that feeling but then stupidity tried again just to see. It let me wind on again but I'm pretty sure thats when really I should have rewound. I'm guessing doing that lead to me pulling the film out of the canister.

    This is what my dad's advice was! I think I'll definitely be doing it in future! Though this incident started with me not setting the counter back to zero! Hopefully I'll never forget that again.

    I think the thing that gets me is I take alot of rolls that really I could bare to lose, that could be retaken. They might be of records we own or charity shop finds or local walks. The one I managed to ruin was of an overnight trip to Manchester and had the only photos I have of my boyfriend and I together on it. It was pretty heartbreaking.

    This would have been invaluable to have and I'll certainly look into getting one.

    I'm still finding it hard to let go but I've got more film in my camera so I guess I just need to get back to shooting now.
     
  25. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    Nothing at all?

    I'm sorry to sound a bit of a broken record, but are there no edge markings visible, and is the leader blackened or at least darker?

    It's rather important, as if there are no edge markings visible, and it's a colour film, then it hasn't been developed before bleaching, whereas if there are edge markings but no exposed frames, then that points at camera or user error.
     
  26. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    When you say the film is completely blank do you mean that there is no numbers or any kind of manufacturer's identification in the margins such as the words Kodak or Fuji and the film is clear or are you saying "blank" as in no pictures but each frame has a dark orange /brown colour?

    If there is nothing there at all and it is visually clear then I can only think of one cause which is that the lab used bleach and fix on the film first instead of developer but this seems very unlikely but not impossible. If the processing was done properly then there should be writing on the film edges. I have never seen colour machine processing in action but presumably if your film was the first of the day then it might be possible for the operator to programme it wrongly, then discover the mistake and confine the damage to your film alone or it might affect a lot of others' film in which case a lot of others will be complaining but of course the lab is unlikely to tell you this

    If there are numbers and writing in the margins then none of the film was exposed during the shooting but if this is the case then I'd have expected the first part of the film which was exposed to daylight when you wound it on to the taking spool at the start to have the dark orange/brown colour.

    You might have exposed the film when in the nearly dark room extracting the film and if the lab then bleached first this won't be apparent but as I say this is highly unlikely.

    When you went into the nearly dark room to salvage the film and opened the camera back was all the film free of the original cassette and had to be pulled free of the taking spool?

    I confess to being somewhat confused about what happened. Can you scan and show us what the film now looks like?


    pentaxuser