The idea is simple, just like creating regular mask only out of our film. There is a good tipster in the past for building a mask. This has the same technique, just different medium.
Which films are good candidates for this experiment? Here is the guideline:
1. Find films that are transparent enough for your eyes to easily look past through it. Underexposed ones are much transparent than properly exposed ones. Dig those!
2. My favourites are neon signs, lamps, crystal chandeliers, and billboard lights which are exposed but the rest of the frame is blank if you scan it.
3. Or: Splitzerized image. Remember when you exposed just 1/4 of a frame using splitzer (and maybe shoot it 1 ISO higher thinking it’ll go nice with MX) but actually forgot to MX it afterwards to full frame? Those were gems!
4. Forget rule 1 to 3. Just this: “Transparent is good!” and you’re ready to dig.
If you still couldn’t find it, then you make one. We are lomographers after all. Shoot with rule 2 and 3 in mind. Shoot with 1 ISO higher. Shoot with splitzer. Expose only less than half a frame (or not). You should be able to make a nice mask out of it for future use.
Now, the hard part is over. The rest is easy peasy. Just cut and paste.
1.Open the back of your camera. Cut your film according to the frame size of your camera. And this is the beauty of the whole experiment. Because our mask is from a film, it usually fits smoothly. Just a little bit of cutting and sticking it with scotch tape to the camera. See the pictures for reference.
2. Because of the way the optic in your camera works, the mask has to be turned upside down AND from left to right when placed. So your mask has to be placed totally inverted to look right. Up is down. Left is right. If your underexposed film contains a symmetrical image (like circle or star shapes), then don’t worry about this.
3. Before inserting a brand new roll, try winding your camera first. If it doesn’t wind properly, you have to cut a bit of the sprocket hole of your mask on top of the winding teeth so the winding teeth can move properly.
4. Put your fresh roll as usual.
5. If your mask is dark – say transparent chocolate like most negatives, or purple like Elitechrome – you’d want to shoot with one or half an ISO lower especially in low lightning.
Start look through at your collection of films and happy experimenting.
P.S. : This whole tipster is inspired because of a twitter message. I was once doing a double with Cinzinc. The minute I walked out of the lab, I tweet-ed Cinzinc “Just processed the film. It looks weird. Like transparent weird.” We were experimenting with expired film and some of the films were underexposed by trial and error. The minute I started building a regular mask out of transparency, I remembered THAT twitter message. Hence, the tipster. Bless that expired film. :p
The blue St. Dupont picture is the mask when I scan it and crop the lower blank portion out.