How 35mm Film is Developed and Printed


If you've ever wondered about the journey your film goes through once you take it to the lab, you're in for a treat! PetaPixel shares with us some behind the scenes photos showing how 35mm film is developed and printed in local labs! Read on and feed your curiosity!

In the past, we shared with you some cool stuff showing how analogue photography goodies are made, like medium format films, large format cameras, tintype photographs, and Leica lenses. Now, we have another interesting behind the scenes story about something we’re all very familiar with: 35mm film.

Photo via PetaPixel

With the help of Fremantle Camera House and its lab technician, PetaPixel recently took readers — film photography enthusiasts or otherwise — on a virtual field trip to show what happens when a film roll is taken to a lab for processing and printing. The trip aptly began with the discovery (or rediscovery) of an old camera most likely from a garage sale or some quirky camera store, loading it with a 35mm film, and shooting up to the last frame. Then, off it went to a local film lab, and the magic begins.

We think it’s best to let PetaPixel tell you the blow-by-blow account, but we’d like to give you a summary of what you can expect to read from the virtual field trip:

Photos via PetaPixel

1. Retrieving the film leader/film tongue using a film picker
2. Attaching the film to a transparent leader card after cutting off the film leader
3. Making sure that one customer’s film aren’t mixed with another’s through a unique serial number attached on the order slip and the corresponding film
4. Feeding the film (still attached to the leader card) through the processing machine
5. Performing a control strip test to ensure that color levels and the chemistry of the developing machine are correct, and calibrate if necessary
6. Processing machine processes the film, running it through a series of processing tanks (baths); the tour shows processing for C41 films
7. The lab technician cuts the film off the leader card and hangs them on a stand
8. Hi-res scanning of the developed film and adjustments by a skilled lab technician (with a trained eye for correcting and printing from negatives) to ensure that color is correct
9. Burning into a CD (if you asked for it or if your lab offers it), printing of the index print and the photos too, if you specified getting prints as well.

Go ahead and check out the original PetaPixel post for the full story and more photos!

All information and photos for this article were sourced from PetaPixel.

written by plasticpopsicle on 2013-01-16 in #news #printing #petapixel #developing #processing #35mm-film #news #lomography


  1. jorgesato
    jorgesato ·


  2. denisesanjose
    denisesanjose ·

    So cool! I've always wanted to know what went on behind those lab doors... Haha

  3. rbnsthl
    rbnsthl ·

    Hmm, I was looking forward to the developing part.
    How to devolope a film?
    Take film out of canister > develope it > done
    How to build a car?
    Take all car parts > put them together > done


  4. ran-kay
    ran-kay ·

    This guy is wearing the One Ring ! we shouldn't be able to see him xD

  5. polarhei
    polarhei ·

    I'm afraid the operation is not easy to find. Especially in my place.

  6. beblo
    beblo ·

    The store managers should train their people on how to handle negative films. All my negative films have scratch(es) or damge(s). Only a few frames survived the processing and developing machines, unmarked. That's (only) here in Manila, Philippines.

  7. beblo
    beblo ·

    The reason given to me by different photo labs were identical. And that is, "Once the negative film gets inside the processing and developing machine, they have no more control of what will happen to the negative film." "They have no intention of scratching and/or damaging the negative film."

  8. beblo
    beblo ·

    So after my 9th negative film roll, I am confident and very sure that my negative films will have scratches and damages. I do not get sad anymore as I used to.

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