Film photographyTutorial

Rolling redscale film

Redscaling film is essentially re-rolling film so that it’s shot through the shiny side. You tend to get a heavy red-orange colour cast in your images due to the film base. Lomography (and I think Rollei) sells it ready rolled but it’s pretty easy to do yourself if you have the following bits (this is for 35mm) –

  • 35mm film which you want to use (I used Agfa Vista 200 since it’s cheap and cheerful)
  • Used 35mm canister with a bit of film sticking out
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Marker pen
  • Sticky labels (to relabel the rescaled film canister)
  • Film changing bag or somewhere dark, like pitch black dark

Trim off the leader and tape it to the excess film on the used film canister like below.

Preparing redscale film

In complete darkness, roll the new film into to the old film canister. Just keep rolling until you meet resistance and then trim off the end. Use the leader you cut off earlier as a template for the new leader on the redscaled film and you’re good to go. Easy peasy. You can use the donor canister to make more redscale film or bulk load with something else.

Redscale film, ready for use

Given how dense the film base is, I shot it at ISO 50 and developed normally as if it were shot at ISO 200. It’s pretty difficult to overexpose. Here are some of the results.

Redscale film is a bit of a one trick pony. The images certainly have a strong red colour cast which seems to give them a bit of an apocalyptic vibe. I can’t say that it’s something I’ll be using with any regularity. Having said that, I think it could be an alternative to slow speed black and white film if cross-processed in black and white chemicals given how much light is lost from shooting through the film base. Throw on a polariser and ND filter and you could get some quite lovely arty black and white shots.

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