shooting infrared film

Discussion in 'Alternative Techniques & Photo Gallery' started by carlita, Oct 19, 2003.

  1. carlita

    carlita TPF Noob!

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    never done this before. will already told me i need a red filter and all that jazz... but i was hoping to maybe get some more guidance just on getting decent exposures so i don't waste more film trying to get this right than i have to since it's not cheap stuff.

    is it a whole lot different than shooting regular film, or should i be alright? i'm worried! :p

    any tips, tricks or warnings you folks can give me before i try my hand at it? are there certain lighting situations that should be avoided? i'd appreciate the help immensely!

    thanks! :)
     
  2. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well, I'm sure Will has lectured you about the loading/unloading in total darkness....and there's no way around that. We're talking Kodak HIE, right? Not Ilford's faux IR film, the SXF? That film is much easier to use, and comes in 35 as well as 120. But it's a slow-rated film, so heft that tripod when you use it. But you may be able to get your feet wet with it, and not have this trauma!

    I love Kodak HIE, for all its pesky little ways. Will shoots gorgeous portraits with it, rated at about 200 (isn't that right Will darlin'?) while I dig the stark outside images, rated about 360. That interior diner shot I would never have been able to grab on the fly like I did with a slower film. I wouldn't have wanted to draw attention to myself by using a tripod in there.

    Yes, #25 red filter..... listen, there's a lot of literature about focusing and looking to change what you've focused to match the red notch on your lens (if you have one) - but I've never done that, and have no focusing problems. (Again, shooting mostly outside, it's not such an issue, but for the interior diner shot I went with my eyes on the manual Pentax ME).

    Speaking of manual - I use the ME because newer cameras come with the infrared film advance thingy that fogs HIE. Supposedly you CAN shoot HIE with it - if you compose your image, then take 2 steps back, any fogging will be along the edges, presumably to be cropped out later. But I'm afraid to ruin a roll of film testing this theory in my Pentax MZ-S, so I can't say whether or not that really works. I stick with the ME and am grateful my new lenses fit it.

    Just load it in darkness and make your first roll pretty simple. If you plan on shooting outdoors, wait for a semi-cloudy day so you can enjoy the effects of the black sky and groovy clouds. (Will especially loves this. He told me so his own self.) :D

    Can't wait to see your stuff - have fun! I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting, but really, don't freak out, pop on that filter and go have fun!
     
  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    You are supposed to load, unload, and store the film in total darkness. I have to admit, I've been pretty sloppy with this rule, and have yet to see a IR leak or fogging.

    IR focuses slightly different from visible light, sort of like how a straw looks in a glass of water. Hopefully your lens will have the IR focusing mark. If not just make sure you have enough DOF.

    Canon is the only brand with the internal IR frame counter that I know of. I have seen examples of IR film shot with a Rebel. The fogging is along the holes on one side of the film. It does creep about 1mm into the frame. This shouldn't be a big problem, especially if you are able to print your own.

    The red filter blocks some of the visible spectrum while allowing the IR to pass through so you get more of the IR effect. The #25 is the most commonly used, but you can get lighter and darker red filters to use, and even filters that block all visible light while letting only the IR through.

    Some of these filters can be pretty expensive. If you are using a lens with a diameter under 60mm you can make a homemade IR filter that blocks out almost all of the visible light. Go to a "pro" shop and buy the cheapest roll of 120 size E6 (slide) film. Have them process it unexposed. The developed unexposed E6 is a great IR filter and you can cut many filters from one roll. Stack one or more layers in your filter to hold them in place.

    You will have to experiment a little; I suggest taking notes. Light meters are difficult to rely on because they are designed to measure visible light only. There is a lot of IR close to sunset and sunrise, but your meter thinks it's pretty dark.

    I have used Kodak and Konica IR films. I shot landscapes with the Konica using a #25 filter and a tripod. I bracketed at ISO, 12, 25, and 50. I would say that the ISO 25 shots are most to my taste. The Konica IR is fine grained compared to the Kodak. I think Konica has discontinued it, but I still see it in the stores.

    I used the Kodak inside with a flash fitted with a double layer of the above mentioned DIY E6 filter. I bracketed extensively the first roll to determine how much IR my flash was kicking out, and was then able to come up with an IR guide # for my flash.
     
  4. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The new Pentax MZ-S has the IR ray film detector, in addition to Canon. One of my alternative photog books suggests the wider composition to get around this; again I have not tried it since I can rely on my old ME.

    Carli: to be on the safe side, load and unload your first few rolls in total darkness. I have loaded it in very dim light (hiding in a bathroom behind a shower curtain but couldn't block out all the window light) and my roll was still successful. I also once loaded in dim light in the back of a van, and got fogged all the way through the roll. I had advanced the film about 6 frames in, but no luck!
     
  5. carlita

    carlita TPF Noob!

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    i'm going to try my first roll of this stuff this weekend in new orleans and i know at least one other person i'm going on the trip with will be shooting some as well. we're going to snag one of the photo department's film loading tents to be on the safe side instead of just locking ourselves in our hotel bathroom to try to get away from the light or something.

    of course, this will only be happening if i can get my hands on a filter before friday morning. cross your fingers for me! :p
     
  6. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Great - one of those changing bags should do the trick. Good luck on snagging one of those #25 red filters....they're fairly common, depending on the size you need..... sounds like an awesome place to shoot pics, so good luck!!!
     
  7. 5th

    5th TPF Noob!

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    So, what were the results? I shot a few rolls about a decade ago of a friend of mine. Her pale complexion turned to porcelain while her eyes and hair turned dark--effectively making her a vampire! I did a little research on the film, its handling, exposure techniques (bracketed like a mad man) and got some really good results for which I made some prints.

    I've always wanted to try the color infrared film, but at the time (c. 1993) I didn't care much to invest in the proper filtration and light source to acquire good results from color infrared film. I would love to see what came of your endeavors.
     
  8. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Carli, one more thing to keep in mind when handling IR film (aside from loading it in total darkness). Make sure you don't have the film near a heat source of any kind since it will get fogged to some extent. Otherwise, have fun with it.

    :)
     
  9. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Here's a pic taken on IR film with an IR filter on the flash.

    IR BBQ

    [​IMG]

    The film was probably Kodak IR, but it may have been Konica IR
    Pentax ZX-5 w/ 50mm f/1.7 and a bigger Vivitar Pentax dedicated AF flash
    hand held, no filter on lens, homemade IR filter on flash (2 layers of unexposed but developed 120 size E6 taped into a small softbox. This blocks about 99.5% of the visible light emitted, while allowing IR to pass through. The folks in this pic never saw any flash)
     
  10. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Fascinating. I wish you knew which film you were using since I'm curious about your ISO here. I'm guessing if you got this image hand-held you were using the HIE, since the Konica is generally a much slower film.
     
  11. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I'm pretty sure I was using the Kodak. I have mostly used the Konica when shooting outdoors in the day. You have to figure out IR output of your flash, and the only way I know to do it is experiment. I took the set up down to the local bar and shot a roll adjusting the aperture one stop each shot. I just went up and down the scale until I ran out of film. I tried to keep my subject distance about the same in each shot. Then when I developed the film I knew that they were in order f/2, f/2.8, f/4, etc..., and I looked for the best exposure. I can't remember what it is; I wrote the notes on the negsheet. Once you know that f/x is about right at y' then you can make some estimates for other distances.
     
  12. colonga

    colonga TPF Noob!

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    WHere can i go to develope it? Or would i have to do it myself and rent a darkroom?
     

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