The Arab spring and other pro-democracy movements may have seen leaders around the world toppling and disappearing in to hiding, but when it comes to processing 35mm film at home, you definitely want to keep hold of your leader.
If you are developing your own film at home, this normally means quite a lot of fumbling around in the dark with film and reels. I’ve already suggested a few tips to make loading your reels easier, but one extra thing you can do to speed things up is keep hold of your leader.
When you rewind your 35mm film, make sure you keep the last couple of inches of the film leader from rewinding into the film cassette. To do this, stop rewinding as soon as you feel the tension go slack in the film, this should happen when the film has come off the take up spool but before it is rewound into the cassette.
The benefit of this is that you can simply pull the film from the canister rather than having to fumble around with bottle openers in the dark. Maybe I’ve just got a rubbish bottle opener, but I’ve never found this bit easy, so being able to just pull the film out really helps.
So that I know the difference between used and unused films, I always fold over the very tip of the film to indicate that it has been exposed. You can also use the same technique if you want to do film swaps for doubles with friends.
Here are a few 35mm shots I’ve developed at home.