Redscale Rocket


Here’s one more feature to add to the awesomeness of the Sprocket Rocket – dead simple redscale shots.


Redscale is a film technique where you shoot through the back of the film. When you shoot through the back of the film, the light passes through the substrate first, then the red-sensitive layer, then the green-sensitive layer, and finally the blue-sensitive layer. This is backwards from the normal order, so pictures take on a reddish, orange-ish, yellowish, greenish look depending on the length of the exposure.

Traditionally, there are two approaches to shooting redscale. One is to turn the film upside-down in the canister. The other is to turn the canister upside-down in the camera. Turning the film upside-down in the canister is a bit tricky and needs to be done in complete darkness. Turning the canister upside-down in the camera requires a special camera.

One side-effect of shooting 35mm film in a camera designed for 120 film is the ability to load the film upside-down to shoot redscale, but even then you have to remove the film in a dark place. In most 35mm cameras, the canister chamber is designed so that you can’t accidentally put the film in upside-down, which brings us to our tipster…

The Sprocket Rocket’s Dirty Little Secret

The Sprocket Rocket doesn’t have a safety feature to prevent you from accidentally putting the film in the camera upside down. So, all you need to do is reshape the leader on the film so that you can slip it into the slot on the take-up spool.

The Tip

First, cut off the leader like this:

Flip it upside-down and use it as a template to cut a new leader.

You want to end up with an upside-down leader like this:

Now, for the magic! Just put the roll in upside-down like this:

Wind it on as usual and replace the back.

Important Note: Cover the film information window on the left with black electrician’s tape. If you don’t cover the window, you will get strong light leaks like this:


Shoot in lots of light and use a fast film. My examples were on a slightly cloudy winter day, using 800 ASA film, with the aperture set to “Cloudy”. As you can see, they still came out underexposed. I think I could have gotten away with using a tripod, “B” setting, and operating the shutter quickly, or “N” setting and operating the shutter multiple times. 1600 ASA color film would not be overkill, but good luck finding it.


written by gvelasco on 2011-02-24 #gear #tutorials #redscale #camera #tipster #easy #scissors #sprocket-rocket


  1. kiwikoh
    kiwikoh ·


  2. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    cool tipster!

  3. wuxiong
    wuxiong ·

    Hahahaa, cool tipster. It seems that I haven't understtod my Rocket well enough... <:))

  4. ricah_018
    ricah_018 ·

    more reason for me to want a sprocket rocket >.<

  5. natalieerachel
    natalieerachel ·

    Would this work if I tried it with a Diana Mini? :O
    I'm not sure if the back would close if I flipped the canister over.

  6. novakmisi
    novakmisi ·

    great idea, I thing its working also with a smena 6 ! : ))

  7. willyboy
    willyboy ·

    Some jubbly stuff there.

  8. blormore
    blormore ·

    Great tipster! I now magically have 20 rolls off redscale in the fridge! :)

  9. gvelasco
    gvelasco ·

    @natalieerachel: This does not work with the Diana MINI.

    @novakmisi: This "kind of" works with my Smena 35, but the geometry of the insides is just a bit off. The rewind knob is left sticking out and when you try to rewind it, it can turn the canister so that the film jams between the film and the "lip" of the canister. With the Smena 6, you don't have to rewind, so this should work beautifully. That makes the Smena 6 a redscale machine!

  10. peropero
    peropero ·

    cant wait til i get my sprocket next week!! :D

  11. mailesmiley
    mailesmiley ·

    That's AMAZING! I need to get me some!!!

  12. kylethefrench
    kylethefrench ·

    also this works like a dream with the diana and I actually published a tip about it coming up, the fun with the holga and deana version is that if you just have the 120 back then you dont need to cut anything, im excited to try this with the rocket though

  13. kylethefrench
    kylethefrench ·

    yeah also the sprocket does need A LOT of light

  14. gvelasco
    gvelasco ·

    The difference here is that you can rewind the film. When you do this with a 120 camera - Diana, Holga, etc, you have to remove the film in a dark room or changing bag. This particular trick does not work with the Diana+ 35mm back. I've tried this with every camera I have and it's extremely rare to find a 35mm camera that lets you put the film in upside-down - let alone be able to rewind it. I have a 35mm pinhole kit that I modified slightly for this to work on. It also "kind of" works with my Smena 35, but the film can get stuck and the rewind lever sticks out. As someone mentioned, this will work with a Smena 6 (and earlier) because you don't have to rewind. But, that's about it for 35mm cameras.

  15. pangmark
    pangmark ·

    great examples

  16. bokiopaki
    bokiopaki ·

    You said "My examples were on a slightly cloudy winter day, using 800 ASA film, with the aperture set to “Cloudy”. As you can see, they still came out underexposed."
    Did you use N or B setting?
    Do you think that with an 800 ASA film, on aperture set to "Cloudy" on a bright sunny day I could use N setting and get good exposition?

  17. gittlob
    gittlob ·

    I have just tried this in the back garden - fingers crossed!!

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