How to process color film at home, in your bathroom.
All you need is a warm water-bath in which your chemistries and photo drum are maintained at a relatively constant temperature. The advantage of processing in your bathroom is that you have access to hot water from your shower hose and that you can throw your used chemistries in the toilet (except for the fixer which contains silver and that you must bring to a photo lab, or use a silver magnet, or use a silver recovery unit). By the way, always inform yourself about the toxicity of the products you’re using.
What you need:
1. A photo processing drum and film spools (I love JOBO spools)
2. Protective gloves to rotate the drum in the water bath
3. Un-powdered latex gloves to remove the stabilizer remaining on the film after the process
4. Protective goggles
5. A Funnel, used to pour sequentially the chemistry from each bottle into the drum
6. A Thermometer
7. A Chronometer
8. Two suction cups, a string and clothes-pins, to hang films for drying after the process
9. Bottles containing the chemistries*
10. Yogurt cups for the ‘stabilizer’ (C41) or the ‘final rinse’ (E6), outside of the drum
11. A watertight plastic container, used as water bath for the process (and to store all this mess after the process, away from the eyes of your girlfriend, boyfriend or roommate)
- I use Fischer bottles for the next reasons: 1. They hold up to 700 mL which is perfect for my drum. 2. They’re glass bottles which means they’re heavy (won’t float) and keep the temperature more stable. 3. They can be closed to avoid spilling chemistry in the bath. 4. They initially contain a delicious beer.
How to proceed:
1. Prepare your chemistries (I use Kodak Chemistries). The concentration (ratio water to concentrate) is given for each chemistry by the manufacturer. Note that there are two different types of Kodak C-41 chemistries: the ‘Normal’ and the ‘RA’. RA stands for Rapid Access, these chemistries don’t need dilution with water and must be used for a shorter time.
2. Place the drum containing the films on their spool, the bottles containing the chemistries and the thermometer in the plastic container, in your bathtub. Pour hot water in the container (38-39°C) and wait about half an hour until your chemistries are warmed-up.
3. Use your shower hose every once in a while to add hot water if you feel that the temperature is decreasing. Between you and me, the precision and constancy of temperature are not as important as said. In fact, I got to the conclusion that if I feel that the water is at a temperature for a nice bath for myself (I like them a bit hot) everything is good, and I don’t use the thermometer anymore… And overheating produces nice color saturations (but burnt skies, as we’ll see later). During the warm-up you can prepare your yogurt cups for the final rinse.
4. Light a candle, prepare your chronometer and start the process. The first chemistries are supposed to be poured in the dark, but with just a candle it’s fine, your drum is supposed to be light-proof anyway.
5. Pour the first chemistry, rotate the drum in the water bath as long as needed, then empty your drum in the toilet (or in a container if you want to re-use them) and go to the next chemistry. Follow these durations for Kodak chemistries:
6. After the process, put your films in the final rinse for a minute, and hang them to dry for 1-2 hours.
7. Cut, scan and upload.
Here are some results from E6 processes:
Here are some results from Cross-processes (C-41):
Here’s a tipster within the tipster: the super-supersampler:
Here are some over-heated processes (around 40°C):
And here’s a (chronological) list of fantastic chemically-related posts with useful information:
1. Lith Printing by lovely_lena
2. Processing with coffee by lomosexual_manboy
3. Film risotto by mandi
4. film cocktail overdose by mandi
5. E6 Processing by stouf
6. Reversed X-pro by eggzakly
7. Rodinal processing by rater
8. Reversed X-pro by rater
9. B&W slides by stouf
10. C-41 processing by lomosexual_manboy
11. Reversed X-pro by eggzakly
12. Abnormal reversed X-pro by stouf
13. E6 processing with expired chemistries by stouf