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Thread: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

  1. #1
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    Smile Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

    Dear all,

    I've dug up 20 yr old 35mm Film Negatives. They are badly damaged with fungus and stains of unknown origin. I tried what some web sites suggested - wash in clean or even distilled water with very little detergent. Problem is that when the negatives dry, the fungus stains are visible.

    So I thought, why not capture them when wet?

    I hooked up my D700+105mm, put the negatives in a glass casserole dish of water, and lit from behind the photo with a flourescent tube and a remotely activated SB900. Doing it at f/8 or so takes care of the focus issues -- no need to be that precise.

    Now it all worked rather well. The resulting photo is far better than a dry scan using my cheap USB scanner. I get far more resolution also.

    Two questions:

    (a) Any tips regarding this method, and

    (b) Any idea what the precise settings I need to do to inverse the negative image/colours? It is definitely technically possible, but how?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

    Hi ken. Are there any sample picture of the unprocessed negative's jpeg?

    I don't do film (didn't do photography in those days) but i'm really interested to see the quality of the capture!

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    Default Re: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives


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    Default Re: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by kenhwee View Post
    ...........................

    (b) Any idea what the precise settings I need to do to inverse the negative image/colours? It is definitely technically possible, but how?
    not every negative is the same, so you need to inverse it first, than manually adjust the color, and most aged negatives probably already faded, beside some colors missing, it also can be either very flat or too contrasty.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

    Hi,

    Your process sounds quite interesting. I also have some slides which has mould on them. I got myself some IPA alcohol, but have yet to try to clean the slides. Eventually I would also want to have the slides digitised, though I don't have a film scanner nor slide copying adapter (the type that mounts onto a macro lens) to do the job.

    With film scanning software like Vuescan they have "profiles" for different film types. I don't know if you can make use of similar profile information in Photoshop to do the inversions. edit: from the macedition page, it looks like you could "scan" your shot jpegs and let the software do the inversions.

    Another idea is to do a direct inverse anyway and try to correct for any weird colours. But hmmm it doesn't seem to work very well..

    I just came across this page where the author has done quite a good job at digitising the negative, including doing an inverse in Photoshop. It may be worth a look:
    http://old.macedition.com/feat/film/...m_20030626.php

    Cheers
    Last edited by f1to128; 13th February 2009 at 03:52 AM.

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    Default Re: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

    Thanks for the tip. Will check it out. I'm not sure IPA will help. The stains and the places where the fungus eats into the emulsion will not go away, but with water, it is rendered rather transparent so I think that it works better when wet. Will try some more and see how.

    Cheers.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

    Hi, pardon my noobish attempts. But i tried to "develop" your negative and came out with this.

    Last edited by centuaro; 13th February 2009 at 09:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

    Hahah... Thanks. Its a far sight better than what I managed to do. Could you tell me what steps u took? Cheers.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by kenhwee View Post
    Hahah... Thanks. Its a far sight better than what I managed to do. Could you tell me what steps u took? Cheers.
    Open it in photoshop
    1. rotate canves 180 degrees
    2.image >adjustment>invert
    3.image>adjustment>auto levels
    4.image>adjust>auto colour
    5.Save

    Open in captureNX2
    1.select black colour point on the blackest portion
    2.select white colour point on your whitest portion
    3.then use neutral colour point. And select as you deem fit. Its really a case of adjusting one colour at a time.
    After you get the result you want save it,
    open in adobe photoshop and clean up all the scratches and unwanted marks using clone stamp.
    Adjust the curves abit
    and voila


    I also use neat image to clean up the noise in the film.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

    Anyway thanks for the technique. Now i know what to do when i want to develope pictures without a darkroom.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

    catch no balls but wow it's amazing...

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by centuaro View Post
    Open it in photoshop
    1. rotate canves 180 degrees
    2.image >adjustment>invert
    3.image>adjustment>auto levels
    4.image>adjust>auto colour
    5.Save

    Open in captureNX2
    1.select black colour point on the blackest portion
    2.select white colour point on your whitest portion
    3.then use neutral colour point. And select as you deem fit. Its really a case of adjusting one colour at a time.
    After you get the result you want save it,
    open in adobe photoshop and clean up all the scratches and unwanted marks using clone stamp.
    Adjust the curves abit
    and voila


    I also use neat image to clean up the noise in the film.
    This pic is so nostalgic.
    I say the lens is the soul of a camera. What about the body? Well, it's just the body...

  13. #13

    Default Re: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by scorpioh View Post
    This pic is so nostalgic.
    Yes Very agree
    It is the camera, not the photographer.
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    Default Re: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

    Nostalgic - yes. It was taken in 1985 or 1986 and I've since lost touch with everyone. It was taken on a first gen autofocus SLR -- the Minolta 7000 !

  15. #15

    Default Re: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

    Wonder where those people in the pic are now? It's true what they say -- "every photo is a piece of history"
    Well done to the guy who produced a photo from it. I think with a bit more rotation, and cropping to exclude the stains it will look great.
    Well done also to the OP for your technique in photographing the negative in water. Brilliant.

  16. #16
    Member scorpioh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives

    That's like 25 years ago. Time Flies. I was in kindergarten then. And the composition was really modern for this pic. The lines segments the picture almost perfectly - according to the rule of composition.
    I say the lens is the soul of a camera. What about the body? Well, it's just the body...

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