Hard Time…


…or “Proof Of Concept – The Conclusion

The Producer looking appropriately interested during the first big soccer night of the season.

It was literally zero degrees out.  Things were frozen.

Yay Spring.


Moving onward:

The answer to your first question is, of course:


(If you have been here before, you will already know this, and will probably not have even asked this question).

The second answer is a little more complicated, requires a protractor, some trigonometry, and the (temporary…) use of a rubber chicken.


In any case, as some of you have already guessed, this is indeed tungsten-balanced motion picture film…Kodak Vision3 500T, to be exact.

It is rated at ISO 500, but may easily be shot at ISO 800 if not terribly expired.

It is one of the few color films still available for bulk loading.

Given what I have already spent (let’s not talk about the hours here, m’kay?)  It will probably run me about $2 per 36 exposure roll.

The problem is, it has one major (major.) caveat:

It is coated with black goo.


The strip on the left (well, the left, coursing down toward the bottom right…) is the Vision3.

The strip on the right is regular ‘ole Superia 400.

The black stuff on the shiny back side is called Remjet; it is an anti-static/anti-halation layer.

It must be removed before traditional processing.

(Motion picture films are intended for different chemistry called “ECN-2” which take into account this layer.  If you want to use standard C-41, this stuff needs to come off first.)

There are companies which happily sell you a 36-exposure roll (with the Remjet already removed…) for around $10.

As it turns out, it is not all that difficult to get off, but does require some extra attention.

While my process is still under refinement, the following has been working for me presently:

  1. BEFORE undertaking traditional C-41 processing, you will need some baking soda, and water that is HOT.  Really HOT.
  2. Put 1 tablespoon of baking soda in each litre of water.  I recommend two litres.  (Remember: HOT!!)
  3. Try to portion it out into 4-5 washes (about 400cc per wash)
  4. Dump it in.  Agitate for 60 seconds.  Dump it out.  Repeat.
  5. You will notice that the first wash comes out black.  This is good.  Successive washes will get more greyish/pink.
  6. The water should be clear by the fifth wash.  If not, keep going:  More water.  More soda.  More HOT.
  7. Once the water is clear, do one final rinse with plain warm water.
  8. Start my Guide to Color Developing…
  9. Do the Pre-soak.
  10. Do the Developer (Yes, 3:30 if shot at ISO 400-500)
  11. Do the Blix.
  12. Do the Rinse (3:00)
  14. Pull the film out
  15. Yes, that’s what I said: Pull it out.  It is no longer light-sensitive.
  16. Hang it up on a clip.  Don’t clip the bottom.
  17. Put a small piece of very wet (and well-rinsed!!) soft sponge at the top of the SHINY BACK SIDE of the film (Where the Remjet used to live…)
  18. Make your fingers into a “pair of scissors” and clamp the film…One on the back of the sponge, and one on the front of the film (emulsion side).  Don’t worry: your bare finger will not damage the emulsion side of the film.
  19. Sweep from top, to bottom in one smooth, continuous motion.  This will remove the remainder of the deposited Remjet.
  20. (Now this is the hard part…) Remove the film from the clip, and carefully re-thread it onto the spool.  (This will be difficult, because the spool is wet, and the film soft).
  21. Don’t touch the emulsion!!
  22. I said don’t touch it.
  23. Do the Stabilizer.
  24. Do the Photo-Flo (or similar surfactant…)
  25. Rinse.
  26. Remove.
  27. Dry for 2 hrs.
  28. Scan, and process to your heart’s content.  (More on that to follow at some point in the future…It definitely requires some tweaking).

(Look, I never said it would be easy…just fun).

Dammit, I already told you: Because!!  But there’s more: It has a unique character (beautiful skin tones, with a vintage look to boot.  Forgiving grain.  It’s different, OK?)

I hope this was entertaining…Now don’t you y’all go driving up the prices of this stuff on Flea-bay!!

All the best,



7 thoughts on “Hard Time…

  1. andygemmell says:

    We’ll you won’t have to worry about me pushing those prices up! I was fairly exhausted reading that.

    Yes definitely PhD material.

    It certainly renders very nicely and be interesting to see how it looks in outdoor sunshine.

  2. greg g says:

    This is, I suspect, the quintessential definition of “hobby”. 🙂

    One of the things that has been striking about following your blog for a guy like me who is only digital has been the wonderful variety of “looks” that are achieved by varying film and even by varying development procedures (leaving aside that you’re also doing a bit of digital “tweaking” at scan stage).

    Anyhow, the stuff yield outstanding results. But if I was to try this, I’d need a short nap about half way through, you know us old guys…

  3. Andrew McArdle says:

    Mark, I have about 20 rolls of “CineStill” … but it got me thinking. What is stopping you/me from using the ECN-2 process chemicals? Keeping the anti-halation layer …. I’m going to investigate it more.

    • mewanchuk says:

      Hi Andrew,

      Thankfully they have already done the hard part with the Cinestill…

      As for ECN-2, from what I can gather (I have looked briefly at the Kodak spec sheets…) the first step is basically a combination of pH balanced soda and various alkalis intended to remove the Remjet. How the chemistry differs from there, I am not entirely sure. In any case, I have not been able to locate a source of ECN-2 chemistry to date.

      Good luck…and keep me posted!


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