Some useful tips about E6 processing.
Almost three months (and around 150 films processed) after my blog post My First Homemade E6 Process, here is a full description of how to process E6 at home. Note that I use a Jobo ATL 3, but I guess you can use some of these tips with other machines.
Step 1: This is probably the most complicated step: get a processing machine and E6 chemistries (I had tons of Kodak chemistries coming along with my machine. So everything here is about processing with Kodak E6 chemistries).
Step 2: Prepare the chemistries. Pour the chemistries in 38°C water and stir slowly. See the table for the concentrations. (Never put water in concentrated chemistries, or you’ll produce a very aggressive acid-base reaction!!!).
Step 3: Put the machine ON. The machine will heat up the water and make it circulate (the machine is a huge water bath, and the water circulates around the chemistry bottles and the drum containing the films). There are two temperature probes in the machine. One is internal and measures the processor temperature, and the other one is external and must be put inside the first chemistry. The process will be able to start only if the temperature from the two probes is close to the temperature selected (usually 38°C, but I prefer between 38.6 and 39°C, it increases colours and contrasts, but sometimes causes a strange grain)
Step 4: While the machine is heating up, prepare your film spools. Get in the dark (I go in my bathroom, in which I putted aluminium foil around the door to make it light-proof). Open your films with a bottle opener, from the bottom. To spool your films on Jobo spools, you must use your thumbs and middle fingers. And alternate the pressure between your left and right hand. When the right hand fingers are pressing, turn the right half of the spool. Then release your right hand fingers and press with your left hand fingers, and turn the left half of the spool… And so on…
Step 5: Put your loaded spools in the drum, and put the drum on the machine. At this point a relative (but not absolute) darkness is required.
Step 6: find the “START” button on the machine and press it.
Step 7: dry your tears. Keep on laughing…
Step 8: Watch the process while enjoying the beverage of your choice. The drum rotates in the water bath and the machine injects one chemistry at a time in the drum. To empty the drum, the machine raises the arm on which is the drum. Once empty, the arm is lowered and the next chemistry is injected. The chemistry injection works with an aquarium air pump that causes an increase of pressure in the chemistry bottle. And this pressure pushes the chemistry in the drum after a little trip inside some tube. Note that after chemistry 3, the film is not light-sensitive anymore. You can put all your lights on.
Step 9: When the process is over, remove the films from the spool and put them into the “final rinse” before hanging them for drying. Pass the film between your (gloved) fingers to remove any excess of liquid. Films need between 30 minutes and one hour to be completely dry. You just need 2 minutes to dry your tears of joy.
Step 10: Scan and upload to your beloved Lomohome.