How to Home Brew Redscale Film

By Hamish Gill

I have had a passing interesting in giving redscale film a go for a while now, I’ve just never been that confident it was worth shelling out the cash for. But since I found out it’s possible to make your own it seemed much more worth while giving a go. My first assumption was that I would need some sort of film loader to do it, but after being talked through it I realised that actually it’s a lot more simple than that!

The key to ths process is the understanding that to shoot redscale, all you need to do is to shoot through the wrong side of normal colour film. So all you need to do is have a roll of film loaded into a film canister upside-down.

I have quite a lot of out-of-date film knocking around that, for the most part, sits around getting more out-of-date. Most of it I have picked up for less and a £1 a roll, so it was definitely not worth worrying about should I do something wrong and waste it. I set upon two rolls I had knocking around, and documented the process as I went…

First, I cut the leader off a roll of Fuji Superia 400 then chopped down a duff roll of Agfa vista 200 to a nub. I then spliced them together with electrical tape with the superior film facing the opposite way to the Agfa, like so:

diy redscale film

Then, under cover of darkness (in the cupboard under the stairs) I spooled the superior from its can into the vista can:

diy redscale film

Snipped it at the end:

diy redscale film

And after a bit of a fiddle curling the film the other way managed to load it into my GR1s:

diy redscale film

Easy!

Now, there is actually method in some of this madness… You might notice the the Agfa can is 200iso dx coded and the film is 400iso. I’ve read it suggested that to counteract shooting through the wrong side of the film some overexposure was in order. And actually when it came to it I dialled in another half stop of overexposure.

In hindsight, I could have overexposed even further, as the shots still came out quite dark, but actually, I quite like the effect! I think this first image is possibly the most successful of the bunch.

DIY redscale

and I do like the yellow sky!

DIY redscale

A shot of my street looks almost post apocalyptic!

Diy Redscale

Though I would probably consider steering clear of portraiture as skin tones don’t exactly render naturally!

Diy Redscale

(There are a few more in a set on flickr here)

Much like my experiment with x-pro’ing a roll of sensia I’m not sure it will become a big part of my shooting, but it has certailny given me a few ideas!

Good luck if you give it a go… and I’d love to see the results!

Cheers

Hamish

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About The Author

By Hamish Gill
I started taking photos at the age of 9. Since then I've taken photos for a hobby, sold cameras for a living, and for a little more than decade I've been a professional photographer and, of course, weekly contributor to 35mmc.
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Shooting Three Kinds of Redscale Film - by Tobias Eriksson - 35mmc on How to Home Brew Redscale Film

Comment posted: 08/08/2020

[…] redscale film I opted to make my own. I read up on it on several blogs (Hamish covered the process here). You simply reverse a roll of colour film – in this case Kodak ColourPlus 200 – and […]
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jojonas on How to Home Brew Redscale Film

Comment posted: 25/09/2013

Urban is right. more overexposure might be needed to tame the reds. depends a bit on the thickness of the film though. I think one of the links on my tumblr entry that I tweeted goes into that. but it was paerfect for the woods as you say! and I think the shot from the hill is right on too. you can find a few of my tries with redscale on my flickr: http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=23484287@N02&q=redscale
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Hamish replied:

Comment posted: 25/09/2013

I'm just going to add your tweeted link here for reference as its got some pretty useful info in it! Thanks for that! http://see-me-here.tumblr.com/post/58789925411/tjo-vi-snackade-redscale-rodskala-omvand-film-pa#

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Hamish on How to Home Brew Redscale Film

Comment posted: 24/09/2013

Now those are lovely!! I thought I had seen images like that before! Right ... time to make me another roll I think!
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Urban Hafner on How to Home Brew Redscale Film

Comment posted: 24/09/2013

I haven't tried it myself, but 3-4 stops over exposure seem to result in better colours. Check out this post for some examples of redscale that aren't totally red: http://52rolls.net/2013/02/05/back-to-ba-auto-eye-equipped/
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