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Mohammad Alwi Kosasih - 2225076556

EXPLORING THE HANDMADE REDSCALE


PHOTO FILM

Have you ever heard about black and white film? It’s a monochromatic film which only has two
major colors, black and white, which the rest of the colors hued from those colors. The black and white
film has its own virtue that color film usually didn’t have, because the state of being colorless gives a
dramatic sense for the pictures. If you know about that film already, you will ready to exploring the other
films, it is not just a common color film, but it is a redscale film. Redscale film, apparently same as the
black and white film, but instead of has black and white as major colors, its major color are ranged from
orange, red, and black. The process to make a redscale pictures with film are popularly known as
Redscaling. The process is simply by pulling the unexposed film, the usual common film you buy in
photo studio, and put it reversed in the new film cartridge. Basically, red scale film is best used to expose
objects like trees and blue morning or evening sky.

Before we get move to redscale film, it is


necessary to get know what are inside the film,
because you will make your own redscale film
manually. If you try to open your photo-film cartridge,
you would find a long strip of plastic that has coatings
on each side (See Figure, it is number 1 and 8). The Figure 1.0 Photographic Film 35mm Layers
Source: commons wikimedia.org
main part of the film is called the base (number 1), and
it starts as a transparent plastic material that is 4
thousand to 7 thousand of an inch (0.025 mm) thick1.
Inside the base there are various coatings (number 2 to
7) that are important to the physical handling of the
film in manufacture and in processing. There is where the photochemistry happens. The individual layers
in there that collectively less than one thousand of an inch thick.2 Inside that layers there are Silver-halide
grains and other molecules added which are sensitive to blue, green and red light. And, this process
happens separately for exposure to the red, green and blue portions of the reflected light. Some of the do

1
Woodworth, C. (2008, Thursday, October 30). How Photographic Film Works. [Homepage of How Stuff Works],
[online]. Available: http://www.howstuffworks.com/film.htm [Accessed date April, 21 2010]
2
Ibid
not form images, there is a separate layer in the film for each color: Red light forms a latent image in the
red-sensitive layer of the film, green light forms a latent image in the green-sensitive layer, and blue light
forms a latent image in the blue-sensitive layer (On figure, number 3, 4 and 7). The image is called latent
because people cannot detect its presence until the film is processed. On simple sentence, light is go
through the filters and layers in a row, to a blue sensitive layer, a filter, a green sensitive layer, a red
sensitive layer and formed a latent image on the base. On that procedure, the base are dyed blue first, then
the yellow color are reduced, then dyed by green and red color, those three primary color are hued or
mixed to form other secondary or tertiary colors as the Goethe’s Color Theory3. So, how about the
redscale film? Have mentioned before that redscale film is made by putting the film reversed in the new
film cartridge. So, logically the process is reversed too. The base are exposed first by light, without
passing through the protective layer first, then dyed red, green and blue in a row, with a yellow reducing
before the blue. This reversed process made something called color-loss, because the base, as a canvas, is
placed in the very front, the latest color, which is blue and green also, cannot reach the base well. And
also, the yellow filter before the blue sensitive layer becoming useless, because the yellow color are
reaching the base faster than being filtered. That is why the most color made in redscale film is yellow
and red, with low in green and lack in blue color.

After the scientific know-how about the film and redscale process, we will try to learn how to
make the redscale film, step by step. At first, the tools we need are an unexposed roll film, a photo-film
cartridge which is got after you lab-processing a film or in other term called “an empty film-shell”, a clear
tape, and a scissors. Also, you need a darkroom, a changing bag4, or a completely dark place that you can
found there is no lights leak into it. If you already have that stuff, you can start to make your own
handmade redscale film. The steps are:
1. Take a roll of film, and pull some film out of it. Then snip the leader of the film (a part
that on the first edge of the film which usually only half
width of the film).
2. Take the unexposed film shell, with a bit film
left in it, then tape the two film together, but with Figure 1.1 Two Film with opposite
opposite side of film facing up. (see figure 1.1) side of film facing up.
Source: writer creation
3. Roll the film into the other cartridge (the used
one), and make sure you do it in complete darkness (in a
darkroom, a changing bag or dark places).

3
(2010, April 21 at 00:46 AM). Color Wheels. [Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia]. [Online], Available:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/color_wheel [Accessed date April 21 2010 at 11:36 PM]
4
A changing bag is a bag which has two arms like a jacket instead the strap, having two layers and two zippers, the
color usually black, and it is used in photography as a mobile darkroom.
4. Before the film is complete transferred, pull it a bit, then snip it so the new film cartridge
become empty and the used one are have a film inside it.
5. Then, cut some edges to make a new leader on the used film with film inside it. It is a
half width of the film.
Then, you already have made a handmade redscale film. There are some failures which mostly occur
when making a redscale film. One of the failures is the film irreversibly transferred, which means it is in
the same position as the common film. Other failures will be explained later.
Now, one thing to keep in mind is that you might want to overexpose everything by one stop.
Other than that, there's nothing different about shooting it, but if you were too overexposing it far enough,
it will come grayscale. Another thing to think about is that different kinds of film and different lighting
conditions will yield somewhat different results, ranging from a very much maroon tint to a strong
yellow. Some photographers found that different photo-film manufacture produce different tone in
redscale, most of them said that Fuji Film photo-film has strong color in green, Konica Centuria series has
strong in blue and Kodak in yellow5. If it is true, then people must pay attention to what film are they use
to exposing a redscale image. But, on writer’s personal experience, it is only matter of overexposing the
film, the more you overexposing, the more the red and yellowish color occur, then the less, the more it
became as same as common film or more chance to green colors occur.
Overall, we can conclude that redscale film can be self made and it is cheaper than you bought it
as it were (it comes to market on 40.000 to 50.000 rupiah each. But if it is all about efficiency, it depends
on what film you use to make a redscale film, because Kodakchrome 64 is higher four times from that
price). With this film, now people can enjoy the sunset-like photograph even in a sunny lunch break photo
session.

5
Mimiblumenfeld. (2010, 22 January at 11:20AM). Discussing Velvia 100 F Color. [Flickr: I Shoot Disscussion].
[Online], Available:http://www.flickr.com/groups/ishootfilm/discuss/72157623262912692/ [Accessed date 2010, 18
May]