C-41 Color Processing at Home–And it Worked!

 

So, as I said in my last post, I decided to take on the task of developing color film by myself. Surprisingly, everything went really well!

After some online research and after reading several guides, I bought the C-41 Press Kit, which costs $24.50 and says it can process up to 8 rolls of film (although many people have said you can get more out of it, if you’re daring).

Compare that to the ~$10 cost of getting a roll developed at CVS, and obviously I’ll be saving a lot of money this way!

Anyway, the kit was pretty easy to mix up. There are three chemicals required to process C-41 color film:

  • Developer (A pretty innocuous-looking pink liquid when mixed)
  • Blix, which is a bleach and fixer combination–it comes in two separate chemical packets (When mixed, the two react and the entire substance turns a nasty prune juice color and smells AWFUL)
  • Stabilizer (Clear, simple, not fussy about temperature)

So, this past weekend, I found a huge glass beaker in my house and some safety glasses in my basement, heated some water on my stove and mixed the chemicals outside on my back steps.

The chemicals really aren’t so caustic that my precautions (mixing outside, safety glasses) were really necessary. My dad was cooking dinner in the kitchen and I had just painted the kitchen table, so I had more space outside. It was a little windy, so I figured the glasses would be helpful if the powder blew around while I was mixing.

The most difficult part was getting the temperatures correct to mix the developer and Blix–they need to be mixed at 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Naturally, first it was too hot, then too cold, but eventually I got it all mixed!

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So, Sunday night, I filled up my bathtub and gave it a try.

I followed this guy‘s instructions very closely (supplemented by a few other tutorials I read) and even used the app he suggested, LabTimer. I just used one of my Paterson tanks, my filtered funnel, and my usual thermometer (which is pretty reliable).

It was a sweaty, humid, somewhat messy experience. The most time-consuming part was getting everything to the correct temperature, which I had expected.

Also, the Blix likes to build up pressure and leak out in little gross droplets while I do the inversions.

BUT, it was worth it, because when I took the roll out of the tank, it had images on it!

I was so psyched that I immediately developed another roll while the temperatures were still high.

So, here are the results. Full disclosure, I have edited them, but that’s because I don’t see the point in showing off crappy photos. The important thing to me is what I CAN PRODUCE as a final product and really, these ain’t too shabby.

One roll was Fuji Superia 200  and the other was Tudorcolor 200 (which I had read is basically just re-branded Fuji Superia… and after seeing the qualities of it, I tend to agree).

Both of these shift so, so blue. I really don’t like working in cool tones, so I definitely color-corrected ALL the shots to warmer tones.

They were also slightly over-exposed, which would lead me to believe that I may have had the developer a bit warmer than necessary. So I’ll try to be mindful of that in the future.

But really, not so bad! All the images are basically just like “this is what I’ve been doing this past week.” Pizza and margarita night, bar with my friends, bike rides, and the state fair.

(NOTE: Some of the photos toward the end of the first roll have light leaks and blatant overexposures. This was my fault–I made a rookie mistake and opened the back of the camera without realizing I hadn’t rewound the film)

ENJOY! And if you have any tips for color processing, please share them with me 😀img438

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2 thoughts on “C-41 Color Processing at Home–And it Worked!

  1. It’s great that you’re trying C41. It’s messy, but saves a ton of money. Just some tips – I get about 18 rolls from a kit, but I also store my chems in the fridge. Oh! And the Blix can get a bit explody, so I always ‘burp’ the tank after my second inversion (about a minute into it).

    And nice shots from the Bloomsburg Fair. I used to live in Central PA, was nice to see it again.

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