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Lomography Guide to Film: Making Your Own Redscale Film

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 Technique

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
  • scissors
  • tape
  • a changing bag or a totally dark room
Photo by dogtanian via Self Made Redscale Tipster

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.

Variations

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.

written by plasticpopsicle

7 comments

  1. duncandeephotography

    duncandeephotography

    Anyone tried any of these or the other tips on redscale film on auto cameras like the canon eos slrs or is it a manual camera thing ? 👍

    7 months ago · report as spam
  2. plasticpopsicle

    plasticpopsicle

    Hey @duncandeephotography! I assume you mean cameras that read the DX code (markings on the canister next to the barcode) to determine the film's ISO. For those cameras, since you cannot manually select the ISO setting, you will need to make sure that the canister you're transferring the film into should be of the ISO that you want to shoot with. For example, if you have an ISO 400 film, you can transfer it to a canister of ISO 200 film if you want to over-expose it by 1 stop, or a canister of ISO 100 film if you want to over-expose it by 2 stops. Take a look at this tipster to give you an idea about overexposing redscale films: http://www.lomograph(…)netrability

    Hope that answers your question! :)

    7 months ago · report as spam
  3. duncandeephotography

    duncandeephotography

    thanks @plasticpopsickle i just remember reading a comment about home made redscale and some one said they tried reversing the film like your tip but it didn't work on their eos 500 i suppose you could over expose the film by using exposure compensation or using the manual setting on eos cameras ?

    7 months ago · report as spam
  4. plasticpopsicle

    plasticpopsicle

    No problem, @duncandeephotography! Yes you can overexpose that way too! I also just suggested transferring into a canister with the ISO you want to shoot with so you can just go aperture/shutter priority and get "proper" exposure for redscale films with ease. If the canister trick works for your camera, that is. Let us know your results should you decide to go for it!

    7 months ago · report as spam
  5. plasticpopsicle

    plasticpopsicle

    No problem, @duncandeephotography! Yes you can overexpose that way too! I also just suggested transferring into a canister with the ISO you want to shoot with so you can just go aperture/shutter priority and get "proper" exposure for redscale films with ease. If the canister trick works for your camera, that is. Let us know your results should you decide to go for it!

    7 months ago · report as spam
  6. duncandeephotography

    duncandeephotography

    cheers @plasticpopsicle i think my eos 5 can change the iso but then the lab charges for it so i suppose there are different options to explore :-)

    7 months ago · report as spam
  7. jakemasa

    I love these redscale tips

    5 months ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Français, 日本語 & Italiano.