What did the lab do to my negs???

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by amsp, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. amsp

    amsp Member

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    So I tried a new lab the other day and fortunately I just gave them a test roll, cause they screwed it up bad. All the negs are extremely contrasty with blown highlights and very dark shadows, and there's a weird line running down the left side on every shot. There are some other problems too, like funky discolorations in parts of the highlights on some of them. Anyone know what went wrong? Bad chemicals or bad development? I've never seen film behave like that before, neither have I seen a line like that. The example below was shot in the shade with only some extra sunlight seeping through the foliage on her right shoulder. I also double checked that the line was not a scan artifact. Needless to say I'm not using them again, but I'd still like to know the cause.

    000009-2.jpg
     
  2. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    The line may be a scratch from the camera or processing machine, most likely the machine. The contrast and color may not be the negative at all, but the printer or scanner they used with incorrect settings.
     
  3. amsp

    amsp Member

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    The thing is, I used another lab for the scans and I've used them before with good results. I also compared the negs visually to previous rolls by holding them up to the light and they look distinctly more contrasty.
     
  4. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    The line looks like a paper scratch to me. You should be able to see it on the neg if it is a negative scratch.. which I don't think it is. If the film looks contrastier than you are used to then I would say the lab definitely over processed it. Of course you could verify that by having the neg printed somewhere else. I vote find a different lab.
     
  5. amsp

    amsp Member

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    Thanks, so over processing would produce contrastier negs then? The scratch is definitely on the negative, I can see it just by holding it up to the light. It goes right trough the whole roll, even between frames.
     
  6. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    In movie film, scratches that penetrate only the first layer of the emulsion show up as yellow lines when projected on the screen.
    Reverse that from a negative and what do you get? Blue?

    Therefore, I propose that it's an emulsion scratch that occurred after the image was shot and likely occurred shortly after development, when the film was still wet.
    If the scratch occurred in the camera, there wouldn't be any color in the mark(s) because the dye image wasn't formed yet. Right?
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The scratch is white on the scan, which says to me that it is not on the emulsion side.
     
  8. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    It looks blue to me but I might be wrong or my computer's monitor might not be calibrated correctly. (Neither possibility is out of the question. :wink: )

    Regardless, I agree with you. Assuming the scratch is white and not colored, it would have to go through all three colored layers of the emulsion, appearing white to the eye or, when reversed, black in the print/scan. Thus, it would have to be on the base side, refracting light away from the paper (scanner sensor) and leaving a white mark.
     
  9. amsp

    amsp Member

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    The scratch is definitely blue/purple in the scans.
     
  10. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Is the line on the actual negs?

    Because that looks exactly like to me a piece of dust or other small debris lodged on a moving scan head of a scanner.

    If they're scans they provided you I woudln't worry about the contrast. Someone posted 160S once from a minilab scanner, and hell it would have given Velvia 50 a run for it's money in both contrast and saturation.
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i kind of like what they gave you. much better than
    a muted color, desaturated boring portrait.

    i wouldn't stop going to this lab, i'd bring all my film to this lab.
    unless you are printing the images yourself in a wet darkroom,
    you can desaturated and mute and remove the scratches from them
    or make them the way you want using current/modern photofinishing techniques.
     
  12. amsp

    amsp Member

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    Like I said, the scratch is on the negs going through the whole roll, clearly visible to the naked eye. Also, the contrast is so bad I can't really do much in post as there's just no information to recover and the colors go wonky as soon as I start pulling the curves. The photo I posted is far from the worst one too. I could possibly recover something somewhat usable with a better scanner and actual control over the scanning process, but if you look at my flickr this has not been a problem in the past and all those photos were scanned at the same place.

    I'd like to thank everyone who replied and sent me private messages, it seems likely the lab over processed the negs and the scratch more than likely happened in their machine. From now on I'll stick to pro labs for sure, I'm just thankful it was a test roll and not photos I actually cared about.