10 steps for processing film
Beginners’ guide for processing black and white film at home
1 Before you start (in light)
Until the film is developed it cannot be exposed to light. Make your workspace light tight or use a changing bag (beginners may find these slightly awkward to use at first).
2 Preparation (in light)
Processing a film requires several steps, so get your equipment and work space prepared and organised – especially for the parts that take place in darkness.
3 Mixing your chemicals (in light)
Find the required volumes and temperature (normally 20°C), and then mix your developer, stop bath and fixer solutions into labelled containers.
4 Opening the cassette (in darkness)
In a light-sealed room (or in a changing bag) open the film cassette with your end cap remover (or film retriever) and find and cut the film’s leader.
5 Loading the spiral (in darkness)
Locate the lugs on the spiral and holding the end of the film, pull it onto the spiral between the lugs. Hold one side of the spiral while rotating the other back and forth until the film is loaded.
6 Load the development tank (in darkness)
Cut the film from the spool and give the spiral a couple more twists to ensure it is fully loaded. Place the spiral into the developer tank and screw on the top.
7 Development (in light)
Pour your prepared developer solution into the tank and invert/agitate following the recommended times and guidelines provided by the film manufacturer.
8 Stop bath and fixer (in light)
Empty the developer solution and repeat the process with the prepared stop bath and, finally, with the fixer. You now need to wash and remove the residual chemicals.
9 Wash (in light)
For an economical wash fill the tank with clean water (at 20°C) and do five inversions. Repeat x10 inversions, repeat x20, and finally x5 (adding a drop of wetting agent for the final set).
10 Rinse and prepare for drying (in light)
Open the tank and remove the film from the spiral. Hang with your pegs at either end and remove excess water with a squeegee. Leave it to dry somewhere clean and dust-free.