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.
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.