Visit from Elsewhere: light flashes and color spots


Have you ever had a film already exposed, even before you have loaded it into your camera? If not, you absolutely have to try this once, the effects are unique and very unpredictable.

Keen to experiment as I am, I decided one night to pre-expose a fresh Film in the darkroom partially through a mask, this increased the exciting feeling of waiting for the results from the lab. With the results, I am more than satisfied:

Credits: floriansimon

You will need:

  • Cardboard (not too thick)
  • black insulating tape or fabric (electrical tape)
  • scissors (or other cutting device)
  • needle, knife or similar sharp object
  • empty Film cartridge with protruding film end
  • Full Film cartridge
  • Flash device (such as Color Splash Flash)
  • dark room (preferably a darkroom, if necessary, a blanket)

Step 1
Cut two thin strips from the box, about 4 mm wide and 20 inches long.

Step 2
Cut at least two wide strips of cardboard and lay the film on it.

Step 3
Now glue the thin strips of cardboard onto one of the wide, so that they cover as little as possible of the film, but hold it well.

Step 4
Poke several holes in the other wide strips of cardboard with a needle, a knife, or similar tool. Be creative! Create shapes or patterns or engraving on it. Simply go wild.

Step 5
Attach the beginning of the film to the end of the empty film canister (preferably with an adhesive tape that can come off well again), similar to the homemade Redscale technique.

Step 6
Now in the darkroom, spread the film as shown in the picture into the holder and cover it with the perforated cardboard. I have sealed the cardboard on the left and right with electrical tape to prevent too much light from falling on the film.

Step 7
Load the flash, select a color filter, direct it on the Film holder, and release. Then, the film is simply spooled onto the empty cartridge (at random) and, perhaps with a different color filters, again release the flash. Of course you can also place the film in the holder upside down and expose the other side to get a yellowish red.

Step 8
Now you can spool the film back into the original cartridge and load it into your camera.

It is recommended to cover the flash with a handkerchief so as not to over-expose the film. Additionally it pays off to over-expose the film in the camera around one or more stops so that the the prints are not only color marks. Unfortunately, I only got 24 images on a 36 exposure film because the lab cut the film at random… Anyone who scans film themselves should definitely try to get the film back from the lab uncut.

Have fun and good luck.

written by floriansimon on 2011-05-11 #gear #tutorials #film #light #camera #homemade #lab-rat #tipster #flash #instructions #top-tipster-techniques

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  1. floriansimon
    floriansimon ·

    Cool translation, thanks.
    8 inches (and not 20) are actually sufficient. :)

  2. stratski
    stratski ·

    Great idea! I'm definitely going to try this sometime.

  3. duckduckninja
    duckduckninja ·

    Ah! Yes, 20 cm or approx. 8 inches. Thankfully I didn't write 20 meters.

  4. floriansimon
    floriansimon ·


  5. sibu_sen
    sibu_sen ·

    I can't wait to try something similar tonight after it's dark!!

  6. kareninalovely
    kareninalovely ·

    Very cool!

  7. shineyasummer
    shineyasummer ·

    Thank you for posting that !
    I have something like that in mind for weeks..
    What happen if you're pre-expose your (100-200 asa) roll to a very low light ? I was thinking to expose film to Orange or green, two seconds some meters away..
    Maybe it give a warm tone to your pictures... (Kind of latensification for the red layer, something like that..)
    Someone got this idea ? (Is that work ?)

  8. odjur
    odjur ·

    Love the idea!

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