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Author Topic: Developing expired super 8 film at home in color
Gabriel Bly
Junior
Posts: 14
From: Lakewood, OH, USA
Registered: Jan 2019


 - posted January 27, 2019 09:13 AM      Profile for Gabriel Bly   Email Gabriel Bly   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hey folks! I’m new to the forum and I’m entirely new to working with film. I had a question about developing expired super 8 film at home and in color. I’ve heard some people say that this is nearly impossible, then I’ve seen some people YouTube posts of people who have done this. Are there any resources online for how to do this? Should I just develop as black and white?
Here is an example of what I found on YouTube: (there is a description of the chemicals/process used to develop in the description, but I have yet to find a tutorial specifically pertaining to super 8)
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=k4iel39O3xY

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Jake Mayes
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 119
From: Bath, UK
Registered: Sep 2012


 - posted January 27, 2019 11:11 AM      Profile for Jake Mayes   Email Jake Mayes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How old is the film? I am going to assume reversal film in this post. If it is within 5 years expired and is E6, process as normal (ektachrome/Fuji/other stock). If it is 10 years old and E6 (ektachrome/Fuji/other stock), push +1 stop, process normally. If unexposed, expose it with 1/3 of a stop over if over 10 years old. Expect normal results below 5 years, a minor cast if 10 years, if stored frozen should be good for 15 years. If kodachrome, process as B/W neg and scan as colour processing is not possible with kodachrome anymore and it goes beyond my moderate knowledge of chemistry to reproduce it plus the original couplers are hard to find.

This is an example of 15+ year old VNF film cross processed in E6 ( wall cam rip) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arL0WwZNM3w

If it is +20 years old, depending on the process proceed with caution. You can cross process in E6 at a lower temperature, but expect colour casts and remove rem-jet. Add an anti-foggant to the first developer. If it is important footage, you will want to contact someone like film rescue who still keep formulas for old process. Note that cross processed films may have issues with dye stability.

If it is agfachrome E6, i did not get good results in E6 and did not have any motivation to try and find another process as I only had one roll, but only had one sample and thus did not have enough film to tweak the process by modifying the first developer or colour dev. This you will want to process in black and white. If you only want to scan, do B/W neg. If you want to view on a projector, do B/W reversal, but push the processing +1 stop.

As always, do not skip the formaldehyde stabiliser step.

As a rule at this point, all ektachrome 64T/100D / VNF film is all process able in E6, as are Fuji stocks and agfa 200D and a few other films (they will say process E6 if compatible). Find ones fridge stored or frozen for best results, up to 10 - 15 years out of date if kept frozen. Tetenal E6 will do it. See advice above on pushing/exposure. That comes with the formalin stabilizer stop, do not skip it.

If you want to gamble, the older EM-26 are possible, but the hassle of removing REM-Jet and colour casts unless you get developer formula right) and you will get acceptable colour if stored frozen and done right, I have had some success with these, but there will ALWAYS be a cast and you have to modify your chemistry.

Agfachrome is a crapshoot for home processing unless you want to make the formula from scratch.

Get some E6 chemicals, ensure development is at 38C / 100F for all E6 films, no exceptions and do not adjust the temperature for any reason in E6, whatever the manual may say of the kit you use.

If you process EM-26 as a cross-process, reduce temperature to 25 deg but experiment.

If it is process ECN-2 (colour neg), that can probably be processed up to 15 - 20 years old if cold stored, and can be corrected in post or during printing (get andec to do this). ECN-2 chemicals can be bought online if you want to do colour neg at home. I don't bother due to the rem-jet and I always prefer to take advantage of negatives exposure latitude and thus getting andec to develop and do a positive best light print.

Good luck!

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Gabriel Bly
Junior
Posts: 14
From: Lakewood, OH, USA
Registered: Jan 2019


 - posted January 28, 2019 03:24 PM      Profile for Gabriel Bly   Email Gabriel Bly   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks Jake! My film is all from the 70s/80s, so it looks like it will be a difficult process. I have found some e6 online, sold as one pint, one quart and a gallon. How much do you think will be used per roll of film?

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Brian Fretwell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1723
From: London, UK
Registered: Jun 2014


 - posted January 28, 2019 03:54 PM      Profile for Brian Fretwell   Email Brian Fretwell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In theory you would use the same amount as for a 36 exposure 35mm slide film, but in practice it would depend on the tank you develop in. The instructions for the tank should tell you. If it takes a lot you would probably be able to reuse the solutions for another film (or 2). I haven't developed any at home for many yearsbut that's how it was then.

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Jake Mayes
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 119
From: Bath, UK
Registered: Sep 2012


 - posted January 28, 2019 05:34 PM      Profile for Jake Mayes   Email Jake Mayes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Before you begin, is this crucial historical family footage or footage of your own? Recently exposed or exposed decades ago? You will also have rem-jet to contend with. Is it ektachrome, kodachrome or some other process?

Let me know all the details of the film and I will advise you from here. Also could you let me know the storage history (if known) as this is a factor.

I found 1L of tetinal E6 chemistry was good for up to 5 - 6 cartridges. But we do not know if your films are E6, i need the details above [Smile]

[ January 29, 2019, 06:37 AM: Message edited by: Jake Mayes ]

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Gabriel Bly
Junior
Posts: 14
From: Lakewood, OH, USA
Registered: Jan 2019


 - posted January 29, 2019 08:53 AM      Profile for Gabriel Bly   Email Gabriel Bly   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jake, the film has yet to be used, I am planning on shooting an avant-garde feature film on super 8. I have just been buying up whatever cheap film I can find on eBay, I have both ektachrome and Kodachrome. I have no information as to how the film was stored. What do you think about C-41 negative developing? I have seen some good results from this online. Since I am just going to be transferring the film to digital, does it matter if I do reversal or negative?
Thanks for all your help

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Jake Mayes
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 119
From: Bath, UK
Registered: Sep 2012


 - posted January 29, 2019 10:58 AM      Profile for Jake Mayes   Email Jake Mayes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for your post.

First, the fact it has not been exposed yet, that is good.

The kodachrome, no colour development is easily possible unless you have a PHD in chemistry... Kodachrome was a black and white film where the colours were added in during the long processing sequence, and the couplers, in particular the cyan couplers are no longer available. You can however process it as B/W neg, recommended if scanning. Do not process kodachrome in E6 chemicals, you will get a blank film if you do the E6 process on it, as the silver will be bleached out during the bleach/fix stage.

The ektachrome. First that CAN be processed in colour. You will not get GOOD colours unless you are lucky, though some did get okay results. If it is VNF-1, process as normal in E6 and that often works well, see this example here of home processed VNF-1 (my second ever E6 process):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arL0WwZNM3w

If E6, process as normal, do not deviate times or temperatures at all, you would benefit from an extra 1/2 a stop exposure if the film is very old, but bracket and experiment.

If it is EM-26, see below advice (note, I do not know what the original formulas are and i found this by experimentation):

I would over exposed by 1/2 a stop as a test and then E6 develop. You can remove the remjet by pre-soaking the film in a borax solution, or it will come off in the first dev (it won't harm it too much, but do not use it for any other film apart from rem-jet ones) and you can have a nice fun time removing the remainder during the processing/wash stage by soaking in the borax.

I use the tetenal 3-bath kit at around 25C for EM-26 film:

First developer do around 12 minutes, try a 1/2 a stop over, and bracket your exposures to work out. Then colour developer for an extra 3 minutes on top of recommended time due to the lower temperature. It works to completion, but I found the normal 38C for some reason was not tolerated by EM-26 films. Twiddle the developer pH and you can tinker with the colour balance but you usually leave that alone.

Tinker with temperature/times as needed to adjust your results and then follow the best process you find. Do not use the same batch of chemicals on fresh film. Store them in those accordion bottles and you can get quite a few uses out of them.

If you want to process them as colour neg and scan them, that will also work but you will get funky results. You have the C-41 process to try that with but again reduce temperature and increase time.

The best results on film that age will be to process as black-and-white.

If you are happy to let someone else do processing, film rescue intl actually managed to recreate the EM-26 process accurately and will give good results if you are willing to wait, you may get the best shot at colour results if you go with them.

Just be aware, that you will not get results that come anywhere near close to new film unless the film had been stored frozen unless it was E6, though the VNF-1 film i developed was over a decade old when i shot it and it had only been fridge stored by the seller. Any EM-26 film is a gamble, and kodachrome is B/W only for 99.999% of home processors.

As you are not looking to project them, experiment and see what gives you the best results. If transferring to digital, then it does not really matter too much, though a B/W process guarantees the 'best' results for film older than E6/VNF. If you are processing kodachrome for scanning, do it as a B/W neg, not a reversal for the best results. If you are going to develop in B/W and as you are only scanning, do it as a B/W neg.

If you have any agfachrome in that, do B/W neg only, or you will get dark blue useless results at best.

Disclosure: Use of the wrong colour developing process can produce dyes that are not stable and have a high chance of fading. Ensure a formalin based stabiliser is used in this case. VNF-1 did give good results and has not faded a jot 7 years later despite my cross processing, but EM-26 will be a different story, and likewise if your X process in C41.

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Leon Norris
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 849
From: Elkins Park, PA, USA
Registered: Jun 2012


 - posted January 29, 2019 11:28 AM      Profile for Leon Norris   Email Leon Norris   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Is there anybody looking for still sealed and in the freezer. Kodak 160 and 40 color, sound,super 8. I have about 18 rolls. I will let them go at a bargain price to take all! I need the room!
Thanks, Leon Norris.

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Jake Mayes
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 119
From: Bath, UK
Registered: Sep 2012


 - posted January 29, 2019 01:12 PM      Profile for Jake Mayes   Email Jake Mayes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
PM sent. If you could let me know the storage history, and the type of film it is etc, i will get back to you.

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Leon Norris
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 849
From: Elkins Park, PA, USA
Registered: Jun 2012


 - posted January 29, 2019 01:56 PM      Profile for Leon Norris   Email Leon Norris   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jake, PM sent! Thanks, Leon Norris.

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Gabriel Bly
Junior
Posts: 14
From: Lakewood, OH, USA
Registered: Jan 2019


 - posted January 30, 2019 10:40 PM      Profile for Gabriel Bly   Email Gabriel Bly   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thank you Jake, I think I am slowly realizing that I’m going to have to develop the film in black and white, mostly due to my lack of technical knowledge and budget. I will probably post another topic about how to develop B&W negatives, though I have seen a lot of great YouTube tutorials for that.

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