Purposely damaging color film

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by mattbellphoto, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. mattbellphoto

    mattbellphoto Member

    Messages:
    35
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    Location:
    Gibsonville,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I want to experiment with creative uses of purposely damaging color film, mainly for distortion/color effects.

    A friend of mine was given a box of dozens of somewhat-recently expired rolls of 35mm Fujicolor Superia X-tra 400 film from a friend of his working in the photolab at a local Costco.

    After shooting several rolls, we're discovering the batch has a pretty ugly magenta color cast. It's not enough to ruin the film, but enough to require subtly filtering the scene green to make skin not look so gross..

    This is our stock and reason for wanting methods of purposely damaging the film..

    But we can't damage the film so much that we can't still take it to our local el-cheapo photolab.

    I know most of this is simply trail-and-error, but I'd like to find out some baseline
    tolerances and ideas of others who've tried similar things, either for creative purposes or from quality control testing..

    But my (Google) searches have come up short.

    Any ideas?

    Or web sources for such info?


    ..at the moment our ideas only go as far as heating, and possibly radiating the film. Heating elements considered: the natural approach, leaving rolls in a sun-soaked car (~100-120ºF?) for X period of time.. vs. "cooking" rolls in an oven (short of physically melting the film) at XºF for X period of time. Maybe heating followed by rapid cooling X number of times.. etc.

    Maybe even nuking the film in a microwave. Either by removing the film from the canister and microwaving through a plastic/paper light-tight box, or even zaping the film through the metal canisters.. I'm willing to risk a little mayhem if it could result in bizarro random spark patterns throughout the roll..

    But again, if anyone has tried or knows of someone who has tried similar techniques, we're looking for potential starting and breaking points.

    The key is, it has to enhance/distort the (latent) images up to the point of utter abstraction, but without entirely destroying the images or the film..
     
  2. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

    Messages:
    1,400
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    why not post processing reticulate the emulsion? or play around with dying portions of the film? theres heaps you can do to colour film.
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    19,446
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Shoot it with yellow and cyan filters ans see how close you can get the color to balance by guessing.
     
  4. Domin

    Domin Member

    Messages:
    204
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Location:
    Warszawa, Po
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Film torture, ha!

    Multiple exposure. If your camera supports it you can do it straight with some creative control. If it doesn't you can put the film though camera twice or more.

    Pre processing: (in total darkess)

    Redscale. Search the net for that term.

    You can try to use static electricity. Charge by rubbing the back side against some clothing. In total darkness you can actually see very small sparks which would be otherwise invisible. Might be cool experience even if results are not especially interesting.

    Use blunt object. Impact or folding leaves marks. Don't damage it to much though or you might have trouble processing in a minilab.

    Processing:

    You can try cross process - develop it in E6 process. You'll get low contrast slides probably with blue or green cast. Blown highlights are usually pink. The film might need from 1 to 3 stops overexposure. Or not. Bracketing is a good idea.

    After processing:

    Hot water may reticulate or even distort the base.
    You might try sandpaper, pins or needles.
     
  5. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,886
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne, V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    after process or even before bleach and fix... make a weak dilution of laundry bleach (sodium hyopchlorite) it'll eat everything slowly if the dilution is weak enough
     
  6. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

    Messages:
    3,105
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    get a lighter. burn baby burn :smile:.

    heat-damaged negs can look really cool sometimes

    -Dan
     
  7. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,075
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I wonder if you could boil the emulsion off of roll film. (you can certainly boil it off the fuji instant film fp100c)
     
  8. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    19,446
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, Plat-It does than and transfers the emulsion from the print to a wood base. It would probably work on film. Why do it? I do no know, you asked the question.

    Steve
     
  9. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,075
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Why do it? Because the result is a one-of-a-kind image. And because that image so boldly contrasts with the photoshopped perfection that seems to surround us now. In an age when one can no longer trust the truth of the images we see, an image that is raw and imperfect can be a breath of fresh air.

    As long as the damaged image presents something deeper than merely the damage done, I think this is an idea worth exploring.
     
  10. Aurum

    Aurum Member

    Messages:
    923
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Location:
    Landrover Ce
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Can you do that with C41? I thought there was no emulsion left in conventionally processed C41, just dye.
     
  11. hrst

    hrst Member

    Messages:
    1,300
    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Location:
    Finland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Aurum,

    Gelatin emulsion holds the dyes.

    What is removed in C-41 process, compared to BW, is just metallic silver.
     
  12. patois

    patois Member

    Messages:
    78
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I've heard great things about running it through the wash. My friend peter did it and his ektar ended up looking amazing.
     
  13. hrst

    hrst Member

    Messages:
    1,300
    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Location:
    Finland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What do you mean by "wash"? Just washing processed film doesn't do anything to the image, but it can affect the longevity as the protection from final rinse is washed away. Washing before developer (prewet) doesn't do anything, either.
     
  14. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,075
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think he means actually laundering it!
     
  15. bblhed

    bblhed Member

    Messages:
    602
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2010
    Location:
    North Americ
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Unroll the film in a dark bag with some glow in the dark items, re-roll and shoot to see what it looks like. I always take off my watch with glowing hands when I use the dark bag, but it might be interesting to see what it would do.
     
  16. bblhed

    bblhed Member

    Messages:
    602
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2010
    Location:
    North Americ
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think you would need to know exactly what laundry soap was used to reproduce the same results, laundry soaps are generally the same in that they all wash your cloths, but the amounts of of phosphates, lye, surfactants, borax, and other chemicals are different depending on the brand the cleaning chemicals would effect the film in different ways. Maybe try several different brands and see what works best.

    patois, I think your friend got lucky and got the right detergent right off the bat.