The Biggest Unknown for Me is.....

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by RattyMouse, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    .....how good I am going to be at loading exposed film onto the reel while in a changing bag. That is really what worries me the most now.

    I dont have my reel or the bag yet. This weekend a colleague of mine is bringing me a Paterson tank and reel from the states. I am going to buy a bag here in China as well as a few cheap rolls of film to practice on. Hopefully this goes smoothly because the rest I know I can take care of!

    Is there any particular size changing bag that is considered a minimum for 120 film?
     
  2. kbrede

    kbrede Member

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    I was tentative about it as well. I read up on it, and watched a couple YouTube videos. The first roll was outside the bag, the second inside, the third for real. You'll be fine after a couple practice runs.

    I don't know the minimum size for 120 film. My philosophy was to buy large enough to work with 8x10 sheets if I needed to. You never know how large you'll need to go. :smile:. Mine is 36"x36".

    Have fun!
     
  3. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Ratty - Tis quite easy! Just buy a roll to test with and do it in daylight with your eyes open to see how the magic all happens. Practice a ton a times, then close your eyes a d repeat, peaking only if you need to. Then re roll it and do it in the bag a bunch. Easy peezy, that will be the best "test roll" you've ever bought!
     
  4. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I'd suggest ruining an entire roll of the shortest and cheapest film you can buy by practicing in the light of day. Practice by letting the entire roll dangle in front of you and begin to learn to fasten it securely to the reel. Once you get the feel try it with your eyes closed. Then begin the rolling process. Learn to feel the curved film engaging the reel. Then do it all over again with your eyes closed. Once you are comfortable with this then try it in the bag. It may prove easier without the dangling film which wont dangle because you will working on a table or counter top.

    As far as bag size goes, I'd say bigger is better.

    I hope I correctly understood your question,
     
  5. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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  6. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Btw I'm a anti-bag or tent. I've a dark light-tight room I sit in to do my rolls. There is something kind of peaceful about being in a light tight room with your film trying to get it in the tank. Not sure if your apt/home/condo has such ability, but if so, the dark space is neat....
     
  7. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    One problem you'll encounter with plastic reels is that the film "sticks" part way through. It doesn't want to go any further onto the reel.

    When this happens, push the reels together gently, toward the film, and rotate gently until it resumes feeding.

    The problem is caused by one end of the film catching on a cross-arm of the reel.

    ------
    I agree with Andy. Do all your loading in a real room if possible. This is much more convenient than a tent or changing bag.
    If necessary wait until late night and put black curtains up to close off any stray light.


    - Leigh
     
  8. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone! Are finger prints on the film a big worry? Is washing your hands well before touching the film enough or should I wear gloves?
     
  9. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    A note of caution, changing bags turn into saunas in just a few short minutes. Film doesn't like to load onto plastic spirals when there is moisture present. Learn to start the film onto the spiral before loading into the bag, this means while it is still in the cassette. Never rewind the leader back all the way into the cassette. Just trim ith end square, start in the reel, close the reel and film in the bag and finish loading. It is super easy to snip the film flush with the cassette when you get to the end.
     
  10. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    You want to avoid touching the image area of the film.
    That means you can handle either end without concern.

    I normally don't use gloves. I handle the film by the edges without worry.

    - Leigh
     
  11. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Use your hands, no gloves. Of course with all photog a wash of hands before. You will learn to touch the sides of the film. After tons o rolls, you might touch the middle of the film, very rarely....

    I think, like Leigh does, getting yourself in the dark turns on your "other seeing" ability and your touch takes over so intently you "feel your way" through it all. If you get in a jam, put the film back in the light tight tank, put on the lights, walk alway, stay calm...come back ready to do it....zen and the art of film loading.

    Of all the processes of developing, the dark room load is my fav!
     
  12. robbalbrecht

    robbalbrecht Member

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    I had myself convinced that I was "never going to be able to do this" before I got my tank and reels. With a little practice I was loading film on reels like it was second nature. Your sense of touch really becomes much more 'aware' when you get in the dark. Don't stress on it and you'll do just fine. =]
     
  13. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Sorry, I should have mentioned this. I'm doing only 120 film so no cassettes.
     
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  15. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    It's normal to occasionally invent new swear words whilst loading film reels.


    Steve.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    First - if you worry about it, it will be worse :smile:.

    For 120, see if you can get some of the Arista/AP/Generic reels that are designed to work in Paterson tanks, but have wider flanges at the entry point. I find them easier to load then the Paterson reels.

    If you have any opportunity to load in a darkened room rather than a changing bag, do so. Humidity is something to avoid if at all possible, and changing bags trap humidity. Remember that tanks can be loaded at night, labelled and then used for developing the next day.

    If you must use a changing bag, do everything possible to maximize the space, "coolness" and "dryness" in the bag. Some sort of internal box or frame will help with a changing bag, even if it is something impromptu, like a milk crate.

    Can you swim or ride a bicycle? If so, was it hard at first to learn, but easy now to do without thinking? Loading reels is like that.
     
  17. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    I'll have to see if I can make a room totally dark in my house. Every room has a window so that might not be possible. I am guessing that the standard of dark room means that you cannot see your hands in front of your face. If you can see ANYTHING, then it is not dark enough. Correct?
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I was thinking about that yesterday (my house, not yours!). I have a bathroom with just a small window so I am going to make a board to fit over the window to be held with Velcro.

    I'm happy using a changing bag for roll film but I need a bit more space for putting sheet film into and out of holders.


    Steve.
     
  19. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    From experience -the two most important points already made : humidity can make the experience miserable, and having an improvised frame inside the bag makes a HUGE difference.
     
  20. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Here's a good tip, assuming you are using plastic reels and not SS. Prior to loading, take the spiral apart and run a pencil lead round the spiral on both sides. This slight coating of graphite will make loading much easier.
     
  21. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    For 120, I seperate the film from the backing first, then load the film taped edge first. I use black-out cloth over a small window and draped over the door to a utility room for my dark room. I can load film any time of the day I choose.
     
  22. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    LOL......humidity levels here in Shanghai run as high as 90%. It is god forsakenly humid here.

    Oh joy.
     
  23. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Exactly. I've been on this forum for eight years and this seems to come up regularly. It used to take the form of a steel vs. plastic argument, but lately it's more a fear of loading any reel. Hardly anybody can/could do it the first time. It takes practice. It's not hard, but it is a learned skill. Practice in the light, then with your eyes closed, etc. Be patient and "practice" until you can do it. Then, after a while, you should wonder what all the angst was about.
     
  24. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    RattyMouse, don't worry too much about this. It ain't rocket science. Practice loading some wasted film. It doesn't take long to get the hang of it. Gloves/no gloves really depends on the person and the ambient temperature/humidity. Some people just naturally sweat more, or have oily skin or whatever. I wear basic small-sized cotton gloves when I load film, handle negatives etc. The cotton is thin enough so you don't lose any manual dexterity. Other people don't need gloves at all.
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Do you have a closet? A reasonable sized closet with a small ledge works fine. And as for "dark enough", as long as you cannot see anything where the film is actually being handled things will be fine - so you can generally rely on things like temporarily blocking the edges and base of a closed door, and turning your back to it.
     
  26. degruyl

    degruyl Member

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    I also wear cotton gloves when loading film in a changing bag (or tent). Only with roll film, by the way. I have no issues with sheet film loading / unloading or loading of sheet film into a daylight tank.

    You will be able to do it. It is just a matter of how fast you can do it...

    Also, remember that you can always dump the film into the can, close the lid and take your arms out of the bag. Just remember to put the film in a light tight state before taking your arms out of the bag.