Now that you already got acquainted with the different film formats you'll most likely encounter today, it's time for us to show you how to do one of the best tricks with film: making a redscale film out of any 35 mm roll!
Browsing through the thousands of lomographs housed in our Photos section, you have most likely come across some breath-taking fiery photos like the ones above. If you’ve heard about the technique called redscale but haven’t tried it yet, this quick guide will show you how you can make your own redscale film out of any color negative film, so you can achieve those gorgeous reds, oranges, and even blues and greens you see in redscale snaps.
The trick behind redscale film photography is to expose the wrong side of the film — i.e. the glossy part which is the film base. The photos take on the characteristic red or orange color shift due to the film’s red-sensitive layer being exposed first.
Making Your Own Redscale Film
For a roll of DIY redscale film, you will need the following:
- a roll of film
- an empty film canister/spool with a bit of film sticking out
- a changing bag or a totally dark room
Making your own redscale film is pretty easy and straightforward. All you need to do is to cut off the film leader of your film, attach the matte sides of the films (from both the empty and full canisters) with tape, and use a changing bag or proceed to a dark room to transfer the contents of the new film into the empty canister. The whole process of transferring the new, flipped film should be done in total darkness so it won’t be exposed.
There are tons of redscaling tipsters on the Lomography Magazine and elsewhere on the Web, but this one written by Angeli Santina on Wordpress shows a nice, step-by-step visual guide for making DIY redscale films the basic way described above.
What if you don’t have an empty spool to transfer the flipped film into? What if you don’t have a totally dark room or a changing bag? What if you’re already outdoors on a photowalk when you felt the strong need to go redscale? Fortunately, our fellow lomographers came up with some neat variations of the basic technique.
- Don’t have any empty canisters/spools lying around? Lomographer hodachrome says in his How to Make Homemade Red Scale Film tipster that you can simply head to a dark room or use a changing bag and carefully take out all the film from your fresh roll, cut it at around 1 cm from the end of the film, flip it, and tape it back to the remainder sticking out from the canister/spool. Don’t forget to wind the flipped film back into the canister, but not all the way in, as you will need to cut a new film leader later.
- What if you’re not confident about all the cutting, taping, and working in total darkness parts of making a DIY redscale film? Lomographer metobi says in his Red-O-Lutionary: Redscale Has Never Been Easier! tipster, you can simply take out the protruding plastic part on top of your fresh film’s canister using pliers. This allows you to load the film upside down into any camera! All you need to do afterwards is to cut off a new film leader for your quick and easy redscale film!
- Lomographer robertofiuza has also found another no-sweat way to shoot in redscale for cameras that can fit the canister upside-down. An example is the Sprocket Rocket, which, as you will notice in the photo above, has a film compartment that can accommodate a flipped film canister. He says in his Make a Make a Redscale Roll in no Time tipster that you only have to load your film upside down, push down the rewind knob (it won’t go all the way in but will still rewind), make a new film leader, and shoot! To rewind the film, simply turn the knob in the opposite direction of the arrow.