Sheet Film Development By Inspection With Night Vision Technology

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Sean, Dec 23, 2004.

  1. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    I have completed building my kit to develop 8x10 sheet film using night vision technology.

    Parts:
    1 - Viper Nightvision monocular or similar (ebay $240 US when I got mine)
    2 - 1 LED Infrared lightbank which is out of range of your films spectral sensitivity (ebay $20 or so)
    3 - 12v powersupply for the LED IR light bank ($10)
    4 - Piece of diffusion material (I used part of an old light box)
    5 - A clear glass tray to hold the film and chem
    6 - Cardboard box around 12 inches high (i found it gave more even illumination to have some distance from the IR light array)

    *warning* do not look into the Infrared LED light bank with the naked eye, I was told eventhough you can not see any light it can still damage the eye, so be careful*

    The end result...

    With the Infrared Light table and monocular, you have the ability to view your negative on a lightbox as it develops, and without fogging the film. My first test was just using a pre-dev'd neg to prove the concept, and the lightbox was bright, and I could see all detail on the neg clearly. I'll be having a real session with the setup the first week of january and will post back. I have attached a few pics..
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Very interesting Sean, you have a nifty little set up there....
     
  3. Daniel Grenier

    Daniel Grenier Member

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    There`s an interesting thread on the AZO Forum about this very IR DBI procedure. You may want to check it out. A lot of people use the head set monocular or binocular systems. I may well go for either or as my DBI with green safelight is yielding mixed results. IR certainly works well for many people. Good luck with your intersting set up.
     
  4. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Thanks for the heads up. I posted there to stay in the loop, and supplied a link to my method..
     
  5. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    What a great idea. You'll work in complete darkness adn yet be able to see perfectly fine. Let us know how it works?.. it sounds like a worth while investment in night vision gear.
     
  6. mikeb_z5

    mikeb_z5 Member

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    My god this place is brimming with great ideas! Other uses also... Loading/unloading filmholders(except IR film I suppose). Thanks Sean for the tip and a great site
    :smile:

    Mike
     
  7. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    yeah since I have never loaded an 8x10 holder it could prove VERY useful next week :smile:
     
  8. argentic

    argentic Member

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  9. argus

    argus Member

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    there would still be light coming from the video display. How would you solve that?
     
  10. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Sean, I developed another 6 negs last night with mine and it was great. I then loaded 34 sheets of film and the NV made it SO easy and stopped me from making a mistake or two also.

    I'm doing mine with the built-in IR emitter and had no troubles at all.
     
  11. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    Gah! I should have thought of using the nightvision mode on my Sony F717 to help me get reels loaded. That's brilliant!
     
  12. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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    Well I developed 4 8x10 negs last night using my Nightvision monocular. Not a fancy setup like Sean's, just developed in an 8x10 tray.

    Although I'm still learning what to look for and when to pull the negative, I'm very pleased with the results.

    Jim
     
  13. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    When Jeremy was over here using his night vision setup to do DBI, I got the impression that (if his was typical, which I think it is) any night vision goggles use a video display inside the eyepiece/viewfinder. I would think it would just be a matter of not starting it up until your eye was pressed firmly against the eyepiece, and not taking it away from your eye until it's powered down.

    Also, it would probably be good to go into setup on your camcorder and disable the red "activity" light on top of the camera.

    Obviously, if you're using panchromatic film and your camcorder doesn't have an eyepiece type viewfinder but just a small open flat screen instead, your camera might not work so well for DBI.

    -KwM-
     
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  15. argentic

    argentic Member

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    A darkcloth could do wonders here :wink:
     
  16. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    I think the main difficulty with using a camcorder would be that at best, it would require one hand for operation, if not two. With night vision goggles, you can inspect while having both hands free for managing your film.

    Of course, since inspection isn't exposing your film to anything that would increase base exposure, there's no reason you can't flip it on, inspect, flip it off, rotate to the next sheet in the stack, then flip it on and flip it off again... uh.. the camcorder. :wink:

    -KwM-
     
  17. argentic

    argentic Member

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    The reason to use a camcorder is that many people already have one. Nightvision goggles are expensive equipment.
     
  18. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Mine were under $250. In my opinion and for my circumstances, this is a very small price to pay for near perfect development.
     
  19. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    When I very briefly used Jeremy's night vision setup, I found it a little bit disorienting, since you can see like it'd daylight, but just in comparitively small angle of view compared to not having the goggles on. To my own ADD-ish mind, the added thing to think about & manage wasn't really worth it to me. I seem to be learning DBI just fine using a green safelight and footswitch.

    That being said, one situation I can think of where night vision equipment (can I just call this "IR" or are there other techs sometimes employed?) would be a boon would be when you're using non-Pyro developers. Pyro tends to desensitize the emulsion to further exposure as development progresses, so there's less risk of fogging with a green safelight. AFAIK, with other developers, this isn't the case, so green safelight DBI poses a slightly larger fog risk.

    I'm about to try doing DBI with Ansco/PF 130. I guess I'll find out first hand. Another thing I want to try is Diafine, but I don't anticipate doing DBI there, since I understand it develops up to a given point and stops, so DBI doesn't apply.

    -KwM-
     
  20. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    Yup, don't do it with IR film.
     
  21. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    Has anyone ever had any problems with the little red light inside the infrared illuminator on the Viper night scopes?
     
  22. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Nope, I haven't fogged any film with the little red light and I can't get a reading on my Minolta IV meter at 8000iso at 30 minutes so I figure it's good.
     
  23. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    *Update*

    Today was my 2nd attempt at 8x10 sheet dev by nightvision infrared inspection. I blew it the first time due to a mixup with my dev dilution and some other kinks with the inspection setup. Today was a total success though! It went extremely smooth and I dev'd a sheet of 8x10 that came out perfect. At first it was hard to spot the nuances of the development process. The image shows up rather quickly and you start to panic that maybe the highlights are going to blow out. I decided to pay more attention to the shadows and in the last minute of my dev I saw the shadow detail come to life, it was pretty magical. When I knew I had good shadow detail I saw that the highlights appeared the right level and into the stop it went. The film was exposed to infrared light during film holder loading, and every step of the dev process and there is no fog whatsoever. I'm very pleased and think this method is really going to start paying off now. The only problem with the neg was the photographer, I somehow thought everything was in focus, but after the dev I could see the mid-left of the image is slightly out of focus. I guess this can be expected since it's only the 2nd time I've shot the 8x10, so I am staying positive on the fact that I did shoot the 8x10, and dev'd a very nice neg. I may be able to burn in the out of focus area and get away with a print, will try that tomorrow. I also felt much more comfortable shooting the 8x10 the other day. Exciting times :smile:
     
  24. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Congratulations, Sean. It must be rewarding to get fruitful results from such a novel technique.
     
  25. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

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    Sean

    Thanks for keeping us updated. This is something I would love to try, especially with a 8x10 neg.

    Phill
     
  26. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    update

    Well proof of concept went very well. So far I have dev'd 3 negs by IR inspection and found it a valuable tool. My next step was to improve on the process. I took apart my IR goggle's lens assembly and was shocked to find a few of the lenses covered with a layer of muck, so I cleaned them. I also found that by unscrewing one of the parts about 3 turns allowed me to focus even closer and clarity was improved. I have built a custom hood that fits over my goggle (some may have seen that in another thread I posted).
    The largest improvement is an upgrade to my Infrared Light Table.

    This is my first version of the IR light table:

    [​IMG]

    And this is my new version just put together today. It contains a 140led IR 840nm light block (typically used for security cameras in large commercial areas). Total cost of the new box was about $80 US:

    [​IMG]

    Inside:

    [​IMG]

    I flipped on the new box a few minutes ago and boy is it bright! I can now see extremely clearly and the extra brightness has added another level of sharpness for the goggle. I believe I'll now be able to see the entire tonal scale of the negative as is develops. With the smaller light source there was some guess work involved in the dense areas. I'm looking forward to souping a few 8x10 negs tonight with the improvements. :smile: