Wet Capture of Damaged 35mm Film Negatives


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kenhwee

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Nov 16, 2006
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#1
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?
 

surrephoto

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Jan 14, 2009
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#2
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!
 

catchlights

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#4
...........................

(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.
 

f1to128

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Feb 12, 2007
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#5
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/feat_film_20030626.php

Cheers
 

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kenhwee

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Nov 16, 2006
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#6
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.
 

centuaro

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Oct 1, 2008
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#7
Hi, pardon my noobish attempts. But i tried to "develop" your negative and came out with this.

 

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kenhwee

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Nov 16, 2006
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#8
Hahah... Thanks. Its a far sight better than what I managed to do. Could you tell me what steps u took? Cheers.
 

centuaro

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Oct 1, 2008
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#9
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.
 

centuaro

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Oct 1, 2008
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#10
Anyway thanks for the technique. Now i know what to do when i want to develope pictures without a darkroom.
 

scorpioh

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Jul 17, 2007
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Woodlands
#12
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.
 

kenhwee

New Member
Nov 16, 2006
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#14
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 !
 

pip22

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Jan 18, 2009
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#15
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.
 

scorpioh

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Jul 17, 2007
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Woodlands
#16
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.
 

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