Scanning Cross-Processed Film: A Video Tutorial


I made this video tutorial to show how I scan cross processed film. When I first started scanning my own film it took me a long time to get results I was happy with, particularly from cross processed film. This tutorial should give you all the information you need to get good results without months of trial and error.

Credits: simonh82

Scanning your own film is great because it saves you money and gives you more control over the finished product, however scanning cross processed film can be difficult. No film scanners are calibrated for a negative image on the transparent base of slide film, so results can be unpredictable and getting results you are happy with can be difficult.

This video demonstrates my method for scanning cross processed film using my Epson V500 scanner, the standard Epson software and a Lomography Digitaliza. I do use some of the advanced features in the software to tweak the colours and contrast, but as this previous tipster demonstrates, nothing that couldn’t be done in a traditional darkroom.

All the shots below have been scanned using this method; hope you find it useful!

Credits: simonh82

written by simonh82 on 2011-08-14 in #gear #tipster


  1. tikismeekis
    tikismeekis ·

    Thanks for the tip! I'll definitely try it.
    I tried several times to scan cross-precessed negatives and the outcome was terrible!

  2. in_memoriam
    in_memoriam ·

    What were the particulars about x-processed film?

  3. dianalerias
    dianalerias ·

    Awesome vid! Thanks for sharing that!

  4. tqueiroz
    tqueiroz ·

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. nick_a_tron
    nick_a_tron ·

    Funny, I've never found much trouble scanning XPRO at all, in fact I find it easier to scan than colour negative since there's less option for over/under exposure, it's just either right or wrong with the brightness. FWIW I think the Epsom software is junk in comparison to Vuescan which makes everything easier, you can scan a piece of un exposed but processed film and it will learn the brightest part of the film and lock the base colour.

  6. disasterarea
    disasterarea ·

    Nice tutorial...very well done, but I would've written it as a general Epson Scanning tipster rather than Xpro as everything you mention applies to all kinds of film. However people should not be scared of scanning their own xpros.

  7. carloscampos
    carloscampos ·

    Hi very useful tutorial thanks, but I got some questions, I have the same scanner, but it doesn't work with the digitaliza, some times i just get a message saying that the backlight its covered or when it works the colors go all wrong (really wrong), and the software automatically cuts my sprocket rocket photos. Can you help about this?

  8. jean_louis_pujol
    jean_louis_pujol ·

    Very informative. Thank you.

  9. nick_a_tron
    nick_a_tron ·

    @carloscampos First off you need to place the Digitalizer so it does not cover the first inch or so of the scanner glass on the side of the hinge, that might not be your issue but it's worth mentioning as it can play havoc with some scanners. I'd suggest getting yourself a trial of Vuescan and seeing if you still have the same issue, I personally found the Epson software to be very limiting and it took too much exposure consideration from the sprocket holes and screwed up the image or made them completely off the scale contrast wise. If that doesn't suit you try disabling any form of auto cropping or auto selection/image identification in the epson software.

  10. wonderdude
    wonderdude ·

    @carloscampos here's how to work around the spocket hole problem with the V500 - the deep black of the holes normally mess up the software's auto corrections.
    Once you've placed the Digitaliza so it doesn't cover the first inch of glass, as nick_a_tron said, and turned off thumbnails, do a preview scan. Then create marquees (the click and drag boxes with dotted lines) in the center of each photo in the preview window. The marquees should be about 75% of each image, but not big enough to include any sprocket holes. After that, click the "Configuration" button on the bottom of the Epson Scan software settings window, click the "Color" tab and de-select the "Continuous Auto Exposure" box. This stops the softwware's automatic color correction and allows you to enlarge/expand the marquees to the edges of each image, including the sprocket holes, without changing the color and exposure. Once you've set the marquees exactly how you want them on each photo (you can also zoom in on each marquee to make fine adjustments), then click the Scan button to get your awesome images transferred to your computer.
    Don't forget to turn the Continuous Auto Exposure back on before you preview the next strip!
    The trickiest part for me is aligning the Digitaliza "square" on the scanner bed so the images aren't skewed - especially since you can't cover that first inch of glass nearest the scanner lid hinge! I use a thick ruler to guide the placement, but sometimes the Digitaliza moves just a tiny bit and the strip isn't exactly parallel. Maybe I'll try to cut a piece of cardboard the size of the scanner bed and cut out a perfect hole for the Digitaliza (and leave room for the first inch of glass, of course - the V500 uses that space to calibrate before each scan).

  11. nick_a_tron
    nick_a_tron ·

    I just select a larger area if it's skewed and then crop and re-skew later, the digitalizer is such a pain I tend to just lay them flat on the glass!

  12. simonh82
    simonh82 ·

    Just back from holiday. Thanks to all for the likes and comments. @in_memoriam and @nick_a_tron I've found X-pro films harder to scan because of the strong colour shifts you can get, which sometimes need more tweaking. @disasterarea, I guess you're right, but i've found the auto options much more satisfactory with straight negatives, or slides.

  13. samwise_camus
    samwise_camus ·

    Thanks so much for this, was totally stuck as to how to fix the terrible scanning results I was getting. Now I'm steaming away!

  14. anafaro
    anafaro ·

    Having spend more money today than I am willing to admit in the crappiest digitalization job of all times, I finally decided to buy my self a scanner. And this tutorial might have just saved my life! Thank you so much for your amazing work!!!!! Really appreciate it! :)

  15. carlota_nonnumquam
    carlota_nonnumquam ·

    I got my first cross processed negatives from the lab yesterday and tried to scan them on my Epson V500, it took me almost an hour just to try to scan the first photo and eventually I gave up because it was so disappoiting and frustrating! I'm really glad I found this tutorial now, this is really really helpful! Thanks! I'm going to scan my cross processed negatives today and thanks to this tutorial I'm confident I will be able to do it properly :)

  16. simonh82
    simonh82 ·

    @carlota_nonnumquam I'm glad it is useful. Scanning definitely takes some time and practice to get results you are happy with.

  17. rwins
    rwins ·

    This was so helpful. I've been intimidated by the professional mode on my Epson 4490 and this post made me finally try it. My scans look 100% better. Thank you so much!

  18. simonh82
    simonh82 ·

    @rwins professional mode is definitely the way to go. If you're scanning xpro film you are asking the scanner to do something that it hasn't been set up to do so you need more control. I'm glad it was useful.

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