Learning to use a Dark Room

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by FellLucifer, May 4, 2009.

  1. FellLucifer

    FellLucifer TPF Noob!

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    Hello, I'm a new member here, name's Edward Park. I was wondering how to first learn how to use a dark room without any experience at all in photography. I have a film camera, but do not how to process. I was just wondering what is the best way to learn how to use a dark room without splurging money on classes?
     
  2. photogincollege

    photogincollege TPF Noob!

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    I'd say buy a tank, and a spool. You can get them cheap on craigslist or ebay. Then go into a completely dark room, cover all lights, preferably with a roll of film you dont really care about (maybe shoot a test roll of just random stuff). use a bottle opener to pop the cap of the film roll, then see if you can wind it on the spool and get it in the tank and close the lid.
     
  3. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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  4. photogincollege

    photogincollege TPF Noob!

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    True, I probably should have clarified lol. Well it doesnt really have to be windowless, but you need to find a good way to seal up the windows completely so absolutely no light gets through.
     
  5. electricalperson

    electricalperson TPF Noob!

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    how can you see if the room is completly black? ive seen red lights in peoples darkrooms on tv? do people just do everything by feel and turn the redl ight when its safe?
     
  6. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    You can't see - that's why people practice getting it right by feel first with training film (i.e. film that you opened and wasted) in normal light before doing it in pitch-black darkness.

    As for the red lights on TV... think about it. If it could be captured by video cameras wouldn't it be captured by photographic cameras as well? What you have is called a "safe-light" which is more orange-ish in what you perceive the color to be, it's a special wavelength that we can see but doesn't do anything to light-sensitive materials like photographic paper - but you still can't work with the unprocessed film itself under a safelight.
     
  7. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    You don't, everything is by feel.

    You only need total darkness when moving the film from the cassette ,or paper wrapped roll, to the tank. Once the tank is closed it becomes the "darkened room" and the regular room lights can be turned on. Chemicals are poured into and out of the tank with its lid on so no light gets in.

    The red (actually more of an orange with todays materials) light is used when printing B&W negatives. Since the B&W paper doesn't need to see colors (the B&W negs are just black, white, and gray) its made so that it is sensitive to blue and green and blind to the red. This allows the special red/orange safelight to be used when making B&W prints.

    The answer to how to learn without taking classes is to read and experiment. Get a good book that gives the basics of processing and printing. Read it and then buy the basic equipment and start experimenting. Its not hard.
     
  8. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    We have some articles on this on the magazine's website (link below) and we will be running this in a continuing Beginner's Series in the coming issues. It's not nearly as hard as you might think. Not that expensive either. And it takes up little room commesurate to your ingenuity.
     
  9. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Fell;

    I 'fess up. I wrote the article linked in blash's reply.

    If you have any questions 'bout it, just PM me.
     
  10. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    "spruging money on classes", may not be spruging you can save a lot of time , money and frustration if you can find a class with an experienced insturctor, or perhaps find someone in your area that could be a mentor.

    yes you can learn a lot from tutorials but IHMO, this is a craft that is learnt best by hands on experience. Learning on your own is certainly one way, but it can be very frustrating.

    developing film is not difficult, learning to read negatives is not easy especially if just reading about it in a book. It would take a few minutes for someone at your side to point out areas in the negative, what to look for, etc.
     
  11. CW Jones

    CW Jones TPF Noob!

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    If you want to keep costs down... You should probably consider a changing bag. You put all your supplies for rolling your film in the bag, then zip it up and put just your hands in. that will make it 100% darkness without having to get a room with no light in it. just a thought tho.

    I have taken classes in Photography that require darkroom use, might be a good idea to find a local community college and see if they offer a course in film photography, well worth every penny spent IMO.
     
  12. epatsellis

    epatsellis TPF Noob!

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    Agreed, in fact I take one semester hour of independent study a semester in school. (and had to suffer through intro to photography to be able to) Why? Chemistry and Paper is supplied, for the $85 I spend a semester, I probably use $200 in D76, Ilford Multigrade paper and chemistry. Good thing the school doesn't have a 4x5 enlarger, as it'd be a whole lot more. (anything over 6x7 I do at home)

    erie
     

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