Some things are just better off left alone. Well, I firmly believed that until I tried shooting with redscale film.
Don’t get me wrong, I love color negative films as much as the next analogue shooter here in the community but after seeing my first roll of redscale film… I knew I was hooked.
There’s something about redscale that just appealed to me. Maybe it’s the process – cutting the leader, taping it to an empty canister and then re-spooling it then snipping the end part. Snap, it was that easy but you still have to work carefully to avoid mishaps.
Or maybe it’s the amazing yellow, orange, red, and harsh pink tones that just got to me. Whatever it is, it dug its claws deep into my analogue heart. But let’s talk straight first – here’s what I learned with my first roll:
Be careful when re-spooling.
Veterans will probably scoff at this but hear me out for a second. Beginners often get carried away (I raise my hand as I am a newbie, myself) and forget that film is light-sensitive. You may forget to close the lights when re-spooling your film or use a changing bag and those things are big no no’s.
Just like shooting with film, be aware of what you do when you start creating your own redscale film. Err on the side of caution and always account for mistakes. Make sure you’re doing this in a dark environment and possibly with the right tools – long nose pliers, good adhesive tape/ double-sided tape, a sharp pair of scissors, and a changing bag.
And also when you cut another leader for your redscale film, make sure you don’t go too crazy with the scissors. I almost snipped the whole leader off and ended tearing the film while I was rewinding it. I almost wasted the whole roll.
Shoot at a lower ISO setting.
Pros may have said this again and again but I’m going to reiterate just for good measure. Redscale film needs plenty of light to get those amazing tangerine tones. And just to make sure, shoot when it’s real bright outside. Take in all the light to keep your redscale film full and plump.
Here’s a comparison of redscale shots:
Nicely exposed shots – good orange tones, clear white portions and richer blacks. Everything is just what I expected of redscale film.
Underexposed shots – these tend to have brooding blacks and pinkish to red tones. They look good in some photos but I prefer the more sunset orange tones with redscaled film.
And oh, avid Lomographer and co-magazine editor plasticpopsicle also said that I should adjust my ISO settings since I used an expired roll of Fuji Superia X-tra 400 film. I did just that. Most of my redscale photos were shot between 100 and 200 ISO. Thanks, plasticpopsicle!
Use a higher ISO film.
I remembered some of the pros’ tips when it comes to DIY redscale film, use a higher ISO film like 400 so you get a more light-sensitive redscale. And it works like magic. Even at dimmer lighting conditions, the redscale effect kicks in.
Make sure your camera’s light meter is working properly.
I shot all these using the Lomo LC-Wide and all I can say is that it’s a perfect choice. Not only did the wide-angled lens of the LC-Wide help me get all the shots I pictured in my head, the light meter helped me significantly to get nice exposures.
But remember to check your battery level so your light meter reads the lighting condition well. Low light conditions are the din of redscale films since they don’t get much to expose the orange tones quite well. Be sure to see that your light meter is working like it should be when shooting with redscale film.
That’s about it, I think. I have to do more rolls of DIY redscale film to explore the possibilities. All I can say is that I love it. Thank you. More redscale shots for me, please.
Liked this article? You might want to check out these other redscale related posts from the Magazine:
Bitten by the DIY Redscale Bug
Rad Redscales: Random Results with an Expired DIY Roll
Lomography Guide to Film: Making Your Own Redscale Film
How to Make a Homemade Redscale
Lomography Guide to Film: Shooting with Redscale Films
Homemade Redscale – The Tipster That Keeps On Giving
Rad Redscales: Double the Redscale