Processing in a machine


• Using a machine allows to do “standard” and reproducible film processing much more easily than with a spiral.

• We have two processing machines, one for black and white and another one for color, since the two processes are quite different.

• Both machines can be configured for processing negatives or positives, i.e. prints. Below are illustrations of the machines configured for negative as well as positive processing. The switchover is time-consuming, especially in color. Therefore, we group together filmmakers so they process their negatives over the course of several days, followed by those who need to strike positive prints, to limit the number of switchovers.

• We do not have a machine for reversal processing, neither in black in white nor in color.

• We load the exposed film onto a magazine in the darkroom, then we bring this magazine to the machine. There, the film is attached to a leader, then run through the different baths, which are agitated and kept at the right temperature. At the end of the film path there is a rack with circulating hot air for drying the film, after which the film is wound onto a take-up reel, which we take off when the process is finished.

• At the end of the development, another leader (which we have preemptively attached to the end of the film roll) is fed into the machine for the next development.

• Our machines develop 80 meters of film per hour, plus the time it takes for the end leader to pass through the machine (40 minutes). They can develop 16 mm as well as Super 16 and 35 mm, but at this speed 35 mm is very time-consuming.

• In fact, the magazine can fit up to 366 meters, which is the equivalent of three rolls of 122 meters (about thirty minutes of footage in 16 mm, about ten minutes in 35 mm). In practice, this is pretty much the maximum amount that we can develop in one day of work, since we have to count the time it takes to prepare the machine, to heat the chemistry (especially in color), to load the magazine, etc., and this is already a lot!

• Regeneration is done automatically during development through a system of pumps from 5-liter canisters filled with chemistry, which we place above the machine. These must be tended to so that the machine does not run dry, and, while waiting for the development to finish, we use the free time to make new chemistry for regeneration.

• We splice the rolls together with special splicing tape. It’s important to do this carefully so rhe splices don’t break inside the machine, which would be a big mess! But this is really the only tricky point.

• In case of a problem, there is an emergency stop below the drying rack that blocks the advancement of film.

color neg coming out!