Pattern of Spots on Negative

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by bvy, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    I'm curious about this pattern of spots that showed on this negative. I shot this roll redscale -- something I do quite often, and I've never seen this before. Can anyone identify what might have caused this? This is Fujifilm Superia 800 in the Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim (a plastic lens, wide angle, point and shoot). To redscale, I unwind the roll into an empty 35mm cassette, cut, flip, tape, and wind it back into its own cartridge. This was all done in the dark. The film was developed at Target. The spots go to the unexposed edges of the negative (across the sprockets), and they seem to get less prominent with each frame, though they never completely disappear. The attached image is frame #2.

    Thanks for looking.
     

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  2. DesertNate

    DesertNate Member

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    Some kind of physical process error. Look how regular the pattern is- there is no way a camera can produce this.
     
  3. cscurrier

    cscurrier Member

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    Definitely from the processor, though I don't quite know how they managed that.

    On a side note, I had no idea what redscale was and had to look it up. I've heard of this long ago but have totally forgotten! I'm gonna have to give it a go!
     
  4. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Thanks. I wish I knew what they had done, and if it had to do with this being redscale. I process several rolls of 35mm there each month (for more than two years) and have never had a problem. They've done redscale for me before as well.

    cscurrier - Yes, give it a try. You need to overexpose two to three stops from box speed in my experience. Err on the side of overexposing if anything.
     
  5. jerrybro

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    Is there a pattern on the film pressure plate in the camera?
     
  6. cscurrier

    cscurrier Member

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    Ooo... interesting thought. It does look like the pattern on my film pressure plate in my ME Supers...
    Bvy mentioned using a P&S, not sure how the pressure plate would look.
     
  7. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    I was hopeful to see that pattern on the film door back, but I'm not sure that's it. Take a look.
    vwsback.jpg
     
  8. foc

    foc Member

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    I too thought it might be the pressure plate, because of the regular markings, but having see your posted photo I don't think this is the cause.

    Regarding processing problem, I have never seen this pattern from a neg processed in a minilab C41 processor. Most leadercard fed processors have concave rollers that only touch the film at the edge, outside the sprockets holes on 35mm, so I am as confused as you are as to the cause of this.

    Redscale film is basicly 35mm colour film wound onto the spool with the film base (not the emulsion) side facing forward. When you take your photo the light has to travel through the film base to get the emulsion. When printing the film you must put the negs into the printer carrier unside down to print it the correct way around. I have printed many redscale films for customers on a Fuji Frontier and never saw this pattern.

    Try another one again and have it processed in the same place and then compare the results. Sorry I can't be of more help!!
     
  9. cscurrier

    cscurrier Member

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    Alright, so I shot my first redscale film and am so happy with how much fun it was. But, turns out, I got the same pattern of spots you did... They are pretty prevalent with most of the images, only one or two within the roll have no spots. When I first developed at work (where I do minilab processing at Rite Aid) I immediately noticed the spots and figured it was the film pressure plate, since my Pentax ME Super has that pattern against the plate. But when I checked this thread and saw your camera did not have the same pattern on the plate, I became a bit a discouraged. I dug around on the internet with not much new info to share on this. One user on Flickr insisted on that the spots appear when the minilab processors process the film upside down (since the film is loaded upside down). But when I processed my roll, I flipped it over to the rightside up and I know when "trainees" process film, they sometimes process the roll upside down, but the results are fine. And in my particular case, to perhaps add even further confusion..., even the exposed leader portion from when I loaded my film to the camera, has the pattern of spots splattered across it. How could this be to a portion of film that was completely exposed to light like every other leader when we load film...??? Attached are a couple examples. One photo of what bvy shows, and one of my leader showing the spots. redscale sample 2.jpg redscale sample.jpg
     
  10. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Well, for starters, I'm happy to have introduced you to redscale. It's a great process when it works out, and I like the image of your cat. It's interesting that the same thing happened to you. This confuses me more. I've done redscale before using the same film in the same camera, processed at the same lab, and I didn't experience this. For example...

    [​IMG]

    Unlike you, I did not flip the film right side up before having it processed. Like you, however, I did notice the pattern over the unexposed leader.

    Also, they didn't cut the negative (into strips) but they did scan it to a CD for me. I doubt that had anything to do with it, but it's more information in any case.

    What film did you use? Do you also notice that the spots gradually fade toward the end of the roll?
     
  11. cscurrier

    cscurrier Member

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    Yeah, this all confusing me more and more. It's almost like we're trying to solve a "whodunnit" mystery. I did notice the spots gradually fade towards the end of the roll and my last few images have no spots at all. The roll of film I used is Rite Aid store generic, 400 speed. I'm nearly convinced it is just Fuji Superia rebranded. If it weren't for our leaders having the spots on them, too, I'd be certain it was a bizarre light leak, or maybe a diffraction of light as it passes through the backing and exposing the emulsion from behind....? The more I think about this, the more I'm dumbfounded.

    Perhaps I'll do a quick walkthrough of my process handling the film. Maybe you have some common denominators we can narrow it down to?

    1. I took fresh roll of film, cut leader to square it off, then taped that to an already used canister that had a small portion of film hanging out.
    2. After taping with scotch tape, I wound the entire roll in to the empty canister(In a completely sealed and dark room)
    3. I cut the film from the original "new" canister then loaded the roll into my Pentax Super ME as I normally would.
    4. Shoot, shoot, shoot. Originally I would meter, then adjust to overexpose 3-4 stops. About halfway through, I just dialed the ISO down to 25 and shot.
    5. Rewind the film in the camera as normal. Once I thought I got to the end, I went back into the dark room to open the camera (just in case my quick respooling job didn't do the trick)
    6. Film was fine with about an inch of leader sticking out. Brought to work. Then developed as normal. I just flipped the canister upside down when loading into our processor, so the emulsion would go in as normal, not that it really matters I think.

    Don't really know what could have gone wrong with anything I did! I would like to try this some more, just not sure to whether I should try with the same film and see what happens, or maybe try a different brand...

    Thank you, bvy, for the comment on my cat photo. I really enjoy that last photo you posted. This has been very inspirational for me to try something new and I'm loving it!
     
  12. cscurrier

    cscurrier Member

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    Finally found some useful info on flickr about our problem. Sounds like I actually did possibly load my film in upside down from normal, though I could've sworn I corrected it. But I could be wrong since I was a bit giddy at the time processing my first roll of redscale...

    "I run a lab that has been doing Redscale processing for twenty years. The white spots are likely from a leader card/roller transport hybrid processor. It is not a fault of the lab or due to poor maintenance. You can keep this from happening by restoring the proper film emulsion direction after shooting and before turning in for development. Or better yet find a lab that understands your art and will treat your film as it should be. You cannot expect minimum wage employees at mass merchants to get this training. Before any film is loaded into a Noritsu or Fuji Film processor, it must be taped to a leader card. When we see the emulsion is facing the wrong (no not wrong ..just reversed) direction we put the film into a intermediate cartridge and process it with the emulsion facing the proper direction in the machine. The machines are designed with the rollers and squeegees facing a certain way to prevent any damage to the softened wet emulsion. The older Noritsu machines were advertised as "touchless" . Reversing the emulsion and letting the film run through the machine in the wrong direction exposes the emulsion to the parts of the machine designed to be in contact with the much tougher harder to scratch film base. The negative density and color tone remain the same regardless of direction of process."

    After reading this, it totally makes sense with the Noritsu processor I work with. It uses rollers inside that matches the pattern we see on our negatives, that if the film was loaded improperly, the bumps on the rollers would possibly leave that pattern. That also explains the spots on the exposed leader. I almost feel relieved at this explanation. I will hopefully shoot another roll soon and process it at work, making sure I load the film facing the right way this time. When I finish, I'll report back! Until then, if you shoot another roll, I suggest respooling it again so it's back to normal, or informing the lab that the film is backwards and should be loaded upside down to correct for it....
     
  13. foc

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    I have a Fuji C42 leader card processor (FP363) and I have processed lots of redscale films and never had a priblem with the spots you mentioned no matter which way up the film was loaded into the processor.

    However I did re-read the above from Flickr and then one thing struck me. The quote you mentioned
    " The machines are designed with the rollers and squeegees facing a certain way to prevent any damage to the softened wet emulsion. The older Noritsu machines were advertised as "touchless" . Reversing the emulsion and letting the film run through the machine in the wrong direction exposes the emulsion to the parts of the machine designed to be in contact with the much tougher harder to scratch film base. "

    I remember on an older Fuji C42 processor I had, that had squeegees (my current one doesn't) and yes they could cause patterns on the film if the film was inserted the wrong way around. BUT the patterns I remember look more like reticulation (crazy paving type pattern) rather than like the ones shown here.
     
  14. cscurrier

    cscurrier Member

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    I checked out the Noritsu V30 processor we have at work today. Here's a photo of the rollers that appear to have caused my issue. 0419121402.jpg

    I'm convinced this must be the issue and I must have loaded the film upside down. I'll be shooting another redscale within the next couple days hopefully. I'll try processing it again at work, properly this time, and report back if that resolved the issue or not.
     
  15. foc

    foc Member

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    Hi cscurrier, having looked at your photo posted above I think you have solved it.

    Just out of interest, where are these rollers located in the processor?

    I wounder if the OP could re-wash his film and let it dry would that get rid of the pattern.

    (I also see for my own post above I made a typo mistake, C42 instead of C41 :blink: )
     
  16. bvy

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    Wow. Thanks for the experimentation and follow up. If someone could recommend a safe and efficient way to wash color negative film, I'll certainly try it, though I'm not very optimistic. I have PhotoFlo, but I've heard that it shouldn't be used on color film.

    One thing I'm confused about -- or maybe just surprised about: Lomography sells redscale film that must be manufactured such that the film is flipped in the cassette. As far as I know, it requires no special treatment and comes with no special instructions. It must be subject to this same issue. Right?
     
  17. cscurrier

    cscurrier Member

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    These rollers are part of the crossovers and sit right on top of the squeegee rollers that the film passes through between chemical tanks. The spotted rollers I took a picture of only belong to the fixer tank areas. All the others are smooth rollers. So I'm guessing the pattern gets imprinted on the emulsion during the fixing stages, since the emulsion is still wet.

    Washing the film might be worth a try, but I'm guessing those rollers probably smudged the emulsion rather than leaving a faint mark.

    And bvy, you're welcome. I'm just happy we could all put our heads together and figure this out. As far as the Lomo redscale films go, I'm sure they'd be just as susceptible to damage and incorrect processing as ours were.
     
  18. cscurrier

    cscurrier Member

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    So I quickly shot another roll of redscale and developed at work. I double then triple checked that I loaded the film properly into our processor. It came out spot free. I think that solves our mystery!
     
  19. foc

    foc Member

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    Well done cscurrier, it just shows that we never stop learning not matter how long we have been in the business.