CC 1235 LECTURE 4: Factors affecting the tones of photos

Even when we use the same Polaroid, the outcome may look so different in a sense that the pictures have various tones. Some are yellowish and reddish, while some may have the blue toned.

What to determine the tone of a picture? Is it related to the camera or the film? We list out 4 major factors to clear your mind.

1. Weather/ physical condition

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Photographer: On Chan / Location: Ethiopia, Africa

Instant film is highly sensitive to temps. When you shoot in a freezing cold place (e.g. -10°C to -15°C/ 14°F to 5°F and below), the photos tend to look bluish, lightened and less contrasted. And the heat does affect the film. Under hot weather of 35°C to 40°C/ 95°F to 104°F and above, the images all turn out with a reddish or yellowish overtone.

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Photographer: Ming Chan / Location: Hokkaido, Japan

The tone of colour varies under different temperatures. In other words, it depends on how cold/warm you are placing the photo for development. For the Impossible’s current generation of films (mid 2016), the full development takes 20-30 minutes. During this period of time, if the temperature is around 10°C to 15°C/ 50°F to 59°F, the image tends to look bluish, whereas if the temperature is above 30°C/ 86°F, the image tends to look reddish.

2. Source of light

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Photographer: Eric Luk / Camera: SLR670-S / Film: Color Film for 600

It is also related to the colour temperature of light source. Sun is actually appearing bluish in hue, but incandescent light bulbs eject light in yellow. Our eyes have the ability to compensate this colour difference but instant films don’t. So we usually find the bluish image outdoor and yellowish toned indoor shots.

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Photographer: Eric Luk / Camera: SLR670-S / Film: Color Film for 600

Instant film is daylight balanced. From sunrise to sunset, dawn to dusk, the amount of sunlight determines the tone of picture, too.

3. Batch of film

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Photographer: Simon Bernabel / Film: Color Film for 600

Different batch of film can cause a lot, too. Before mid 2015, Impossible has not come up with the new formula chemical, so the photos were still a little bit reddish and yellowish. Starting from around Apr/ May 2016, Impossible have changed the formula, more chemicals are allowed to spill over. The new films produce more bluish images.

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Photographer: Harriet Browse / Film: Color Film for 600

4. The application of filters

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The use of accessories gives the photo a special tone. For instance, the blue filter will raise the colour temperature, filling blue tones all over the canvas.

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Photographer: Ming Chan / Accessories: MiNT Lens Set (blue filter)

Therefore, please noted that the colour tone is nothing to do with the camera. It matters most with the film and the environment you are photographing.

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CC 1420 Lecture 5: SX-70 trouble shooting – Undeveloped patch

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SYMTOM

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It is quite common to have undeveloped patch on your Polaroid / Impossible films. No matter you are taking photos with SX-70, 680 or 690 camera, you may have experienced undeveloped patch. It could be due to dried chemical, or uneven roller pressure. This is fairly normal. 

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Why three chemical patches?

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It is because the Impossible film is vertically divided by three parts. When you take pictures with SX-70, two rollers push the chemicals out of the pouches, and let the chemicals to be evenly distributed on the image. Therefore, if the undeveloped patch is located at the centre of film, probably it means there is a problem on the middle chemical pack.

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POSSIBLE REASONS

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The earliest film from Impossible

The film production technique was not as mature as today’s, so problems arose. For example, PX70 First flush film was much likely to have undeveloped patch than the Impossible’s latest Color 600, White Frame 3.0. 

We recommend choosing films in a later phase like Color protection film and B&W 2.0. They have less chance to have undeveloped patch.

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Film storage

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If you place your films in a hot, humid place or even under sunlight, an unfavourable chemical reaction may result and lead to agglomeration of chemical. The rollers may not smoothly push the chemicals out and thus affecting the result image.

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Rollers

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Aside from the storage of film, there is also a possibility of splotchy rollers or damage of rollers that the chemicals could not be pushed out and distributed evenly on the picture.

 

SOLUTIONS

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Your gesture

You can gently hold the film door (but don’t block the picture exit slot under front edge) when taking picture.

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Clean the rollers

Refer to lecture 2 >>

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Change Polaroid 680 / 690 rollers to new ones

Cleanliness of the rollers is utterly important. But there is one more thing, Dr. Love from The Impossible Project states that

“For any of you who happen to own an SLR 680, you know it is a beautifully well-crafted work of art of instant electronic machinery….it also tends to produce more ‘divots’ or [‘undeveloped patches’] than your friend’s SX-70 camera.

You may be wondering…why?

The simple answer here is the one thing in the ejection process that changes from the older SX-70 cameras to the SLR 680 and 690 model folding cameras, that is the rollers.

The roller set on these cameras are a little different than the ones found on the SX-70s. The rollers were changed to improve durability and grip on the film, but in the case of newer, more sensitive Impossible films, sometimes there is a less perfect spread of developer leaving the gap of paste at the top of the frame.”

Read more: http://bit.ly/VObMfv

So we highly recommend you to change the old rollers on Polaroid 680 / 690 to achieve the best performance!

PH 1000 Lecture 1: Camera! Go! Think!

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Nature of instant camera

Image develops within 5 mins after being ejected from the camera.

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Can machines think? This is a long debating question raised by Alan Turing, a British pioneering computer scientist.

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Alan Turing

Camera is without a doubt one type of machines. From the time we load the camera with film, check settings, set aperture and shutter speed, correctly focus the desired subject, get nice depth of field and composition as we want, to finally clicking the shutter button. The light capturing actions all happen in a split second.

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Obviously we, humans, are the one who control the process. But have you ever wondered if camera has the ability to think during the image taking process?

If camera could think, in what way would it affect the final images? Would it adjust the settings and create a different picture and style from photographers? Can it be said that some great photographic arts such as Moon and Half Dome from Ansel Adams are actually masterpieces from camera itself?

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Moon and Half Dome by Ansel Adams (Credits: http://www.ansel-adams.org)

If camera could not think, does it mean humans are the sole controller of the image taking process? Like famous quote from Ansel Adams: ‘you don’t take a photograph, you make it’. Let’s think about this.

CC 1235 Lecture 3: Decoding the Impossible Code on your Impossible film

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Look at the back of an Impossible film and you will discover a series of numbers at the edge of chemical pouches. What does this 10-digit-code mean?

In a moment you are going to decode these numbers. Are you ready? Here we go!

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0415443213

You can break down the code into 5 groups, you will know the production date and type of film by reading this code.

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1st and 2nd numbers: Production month

3rd and 4th numbers: Production year

5th and 6th numbers: Machine used for the production (for internal records)

7th and 8th numbers: Film type

9th and 10th numbers: Production day

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Here is the list of various film type codes used as the 7th and 8th numbers:

02: B&W film for SX-70

32: B&W film for 600 and Image / Spectra

70/72: Color film for SX-70 (including Monochrome Cyan SX-70)

80/82: Color film for 600 and Image / Spectra (including Monochrome Magenta and Cyan 600)

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So “0415443213” means that the film is a B&W film for 600 and Image / Spectra which was produced on 13th April 2015 by machine #44. Isn’t it easy to decode?

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Next time when you are contacting the customer service of Impossible, please state the number of the film as it is easy for the team to understand which film you are referring to and its exact production date!

CHEM 1110 Lecture 2: The chemistry of instant film – how it works?

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In 2008, Polaroid closed their last factory manufacturing analog instant film. When people thought there was no film for Polaroid cameras anymore, a group of former Polaroid employee was willing to continue the business and save instant film from going outmoded. Yet, besides taking over the last surviving factory, they did not obtain any technology or recipe of producing instant film from Polaroid. They had to invent a brand new analog film by themselves.

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Stephen Herchen, The Impossible Project’s chemist

“Instant film is the world’s most chemically complex man-made thing. There’s nothing in the modern age which can do what it can do. It is an entire science and an entire art form unto itself.”
– Stephen Herchen, The Impossible Project’s chemist

When the film comes out and you are watching it develop, there are over hundreds of chemical reactions happening. In this lecture, you will learn how an instant film is developed in a chemistry approach. It is, in fact, a really dramatic process happening.

 

COMPOSITIONinstant-university_yellow-border

1. Silver bromide (AgBr) – sensitive to red, green or blue light
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2. Hydroquinone (C6H4OH2) – decorated dyes cyan, yellow, magenta, dark blue dye or dark room dye – each dye is paired up with a particular silver bromide

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(Credits: Durfo)


3. Potassium thiosulfate (K2O3S2) – developing agent
4. Potassium hydroxide (HKO) – developing dye
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PROCESSinstant-university_yellow-border

1. Light is capture by the camera lens and focus onto the film.

2. In the negative, there have to be something that can reach to that light and that chemical is called silver bromide (AgBr).

3. Moreover, in this negative, there are 3 dyes, each of those dyes is paired up with the particular silver bromide.

4. When the film is releasing, the rollers of camera squeeze the developing fluid inside the film.

5. The blue dye creates a darkroom environment. Those dyes come in contact with the developing fluid, in which they are able to migrate from the negative to the top of the film where they can be seen.

 

(Credits: Mercedes-Benz, PF Pictures, The Impossible Project)

CHEM 1110 Lecture 1: The Impossible evolution

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Generation 1: First Flush (Since May 2009)

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Impossible | PX 680 Color Shade First Flush (Credits: The Impossible Project)

The Black and white edition was first released, later PX 70 FF. The latter one is Impossible’s first, experimental color film. It renders astonishing greenish and blueish pastel tones.

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[ Development time ]
Approximately 15-20 minutes

*Films under the production of phase 1 – PX 70 FF, PX100(FF), PX 680 FF & PX 600(FF) have been discontinued.

 

Generation 2: Push! (Since April 2010)

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Impossible | PX 70 Color Shade Push! (Credits: The Impossible Project)

PX 70 Push! is much improved experimental version and yet the color is easier to fade out. The relatively high sensitivity of light / temperature features a whole new color system. Unless the images get peeled, otherwise they shift to blue under the ongoing chemical reaction. In a hot environment, the film turns to red or turns to partial green in a cool one.

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[ Development time ]
Approximately 4-10 minutes

*PX 70 Push has been discontinued.

 

Generation 3: PX 70 08/11, PX 70 12/11 (Since August 2011)

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Impossible | PX 100 Silver Shade UV+ Film (The Impossible Project)

This batch of films are more stabilised in development, plus the sharper images have successfully aroused the interest of Polaroid users. This eliminates the possibility of undeveloped patch, uneven distribution of chemicals and out-of-tone image, having a satisfied result in imaging.

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[ Development time ]
Approximately 10 minutes for color film &
approximately 3 minutes for black and white film

*Films under the production of phase 3 –  PX 70 12/11, PX 100 UV+, PX 600 UV+ & PX 600 UV+ Grey have been discontinued.

 

Generation 4: Cool Film series (Since June 2012)

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Impossible | PX 600 Silver Shade Cool (Credits: The Impossible Project)

The Cool film shows an improved, stable performance which becomes the most popular product at that time! Basically, the film is no longer having undeveloped patch nor out-of-tone image. The film also boosts a high level of detail and sharpness even on dark edges.

The image of cool film reminds people of old Polaroid 600-type film. It was acclaimed as a return of Polaroid era.

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[ Development time ]
Around 8-10 minutes for color film &
2 minutes for black and white film

*Films under cool film line – PX 70 Cool, PX 100 Cool, PX 680 Cool & PX 600 Cool – have been discontinued.

 

Generation 5: Color Protection (Since September 2012)

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Impossible | PX 70 Color Protection (Credits: The Impossible Project)

Impossible innovates the color protection formula which enormously improves the opacification process. As claimed by the company, it does not demand for immediate shielding of the photos after shooting, which is a revolutionary product from Impossible.

Users are suggested to use the color protection film indoor or in suburb. At the beginning of development, it is still fine to expose under light and people can directly observe the process without having an overexposed image.

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[ Development time ]
Around 25-30 minutes for color film

*Films under phase 5 – PX 70 Color Protection, PX 680 Color Protection & PX 680 Gold Color Protection – have been discontinued.

 

Generation 6: First Generation (Since late 2013)

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Impossible | Color film for SX-70 (Credits: The Impossible Project)

With a new naming system and packaging, this series keeps everything that works from the previous line, and of course, adds some subtle refinements. This generation improves the sharpness and tones with light-favourable elements.

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[ Development time ]
Approximately 30-40 minutes

*Films under phase 6 – Color Film for SX-70, B&W Film for SX-70, Color Film for 600 & B&W Film for 600 – have been discontinued and replaced by generation 2.0.

 

Generation 7: Generation 2.0 (Since March 2015)

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Impossible | B&W 2.0 Film for 600 (Credits: The Impossible Project)

With the use of Generation 2.0 emulsion formula, it offers the most vibrant, mottle-free colours with totally saturated reds, blues, greens and yellows and natural skin tones of any Impossible film to date. At present, the generation 2.0 is only available for black and white film.

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[ Development time ]
Only 5 minutes for full development. The fastest film yet.

*Films under Generation 2.0 – B&W 2.0 Film for SX-70 & B&W 2.0 Film for 600 – are currently available.

 

Generation 8: Generation 3.0 (Since January 2016)

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Impossible | Color Film for 600, White Frame 3.0 (Credits: The Impossible Project)

A new generation for color film marks a significant improvement on Impossible’s current 600 color film formula.

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[ Development time ]
Photos develop in less than half the time.

*Films under Generation 3.0 – Color Film for 600 Cameras 3.0 beta – is now exclusively for Impossible Member to test before general release.

HIST 1010 Lecture 3: “New” Polaroid Corporation (Since 1990’s)

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REVIEWinstant-university_yellow-border

Polavision did not sell well in retail shops and brought a huge financial crisis to Polaroid. Edwin Land submitted his resignation and left the company he had founded.

 

IN 1980’Sinstant-university_yellow-border

The 1980’s was a hard time to Polaroid. The company tried to reinvent itself without Edwin Land by shifting away from a dependence on consumer photography, a market that was steadily declining. It was forced to make wholesale changes. Over thousands of workers were fired and many manufacturing plants were shut down. Therefore, Polaroid sought to innovate in the declining market for instant photography.

 

IN 1990’Sinstant-university_yellow-border

In 1990’s, technology rose and dramatically changed the world of photography. 1-hour color film processing, single-used cameras from competitors, videotape camcorders, and digital cameras brought more choices to public. The rise of new technology has helped reduce the cost of print photography to a large extent.

Polaroid then turned to produce disposable cameras. At that time, many other competitors such as Kodak and Fujifilm were in the market.

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Polaroid single-use camera with built-in flash (Credits: Polaroid)

The company planned to invent camera that can produce instant photos and 35mm negatives and another one that yields instant photos with digital images. Moreover, they moved the factories to less developed countries like China and other low-wage countries to keep costs down.

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Polaroid Z2300 Instant Digital Camera (Credits: Polaroid)

 

IN 2000’Sinstant-university_yellow-border

In 2001, Polaroid released a small portable printer. It was used for advertisers like retailers and restaurants to reach cellphone users with printouts. The product brought them an extra revenue, along with sales of the device, and refills of the printout.

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Polaroid PoGo Instant Digital Mobile Printer

Unfortunately, Polaroid went bankrupt in October 2001 and announced that they would stop producing instant films and cameras. On the other hand, a group of former employees of Polaroid bought its film factory in the Netherlands and formed a new filmmaking company called The Impossible Project.

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The Impossible Project only takeovers the factory space and machines from Polaroid other than technology and techniques. So they have to create and produce new colour dyes.

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Instant films by The Impossible Project for Polaroid SX-70 and 600-type cameras

 

AT PRESENTinstant-university_yellow-border

“Polaroid has become more than a household name – it has become one of the most recognised and trusted lifestyle brands in the world.” – Scott W. Hardy, President and CEO of Polaroid

At present, Polaroid focuses in producing digital photographic products like Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera, Polaroid Cube Action Camera and Polaroid ZIP Instant Photoprinter. Hopefully Polaroid still has a role in the future of photography.

SFA 1203 Lecture 3: Polaroid / Impossible emulsion lift workshop

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Emulsion lift (also known as emulsion transfer) is an interesting photographic technique. By using this method, you can transfer your image onto a completely different surface like mug, paper, t-shirt, or tote bag, for creative printmaking.

It is all about the jelly-like emulsion layer of instant film being separated from its clear layer. Afterwards, a picture can be reattached to other surface you want. Other than that, you can enlarge or change the shape of the image during the process.

 

WHAT YOU NEEDinstant-university_yellow-border

Instant photo x 1

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Scissors x 1

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Soft paintbrush x 2-3

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Tray of water (in room temperature) x 1

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1. Use scissors to cut the edge off the picture.

2. Remove the whole frame. You will get a square image.

3. Peel the black plastic foil away from the image. 

4. Soak the picture into the water for few minutes.

5. Use a paintbrush to gently brush the image layer (thin emulsion layer) away from the transparent plastic foil in water.

6. Pick the plastic out from the tray. Only keep the emulsion layer in the water. Make sure your image is forward.

7. Take the carrier material you have already prepared. Gently place it underneath the emulsion layer.

8. Carefully position the image layer on top of new surface by using paintbrush. Of course, you can use your fingers for help!

9. Remove the transferred image from water. After it is taken out of the water, you can still create or remove wrinkles and move the image around or even flatten it.

10. Once you finished playing around the shape, let it dry for about 24 hours. The emulsion will stick on the new surface. And you have a Polaroid / Impossible emulsion lift!

 

IMPORTANT NOTEinstant-university_yellow-border

You have to do the emulsion lift within 2 or 3 days after the image is taken. Once the image solidifies, you will no longer be able to separate the layers.

SFA 1203 Lecture 2: After effect – Manipulation by Impossible film

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Manipulation is an alternative artistic “painterly effect”. You can convert a normal picture into an Impressionism painting or oil painting! It is very creative, isn’t it?

From old films like Polaroid SX-70 Time Zero or 600 to The Impossible Project. You can create an image with unique result through manipulation, before the emulsion dries.

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“Manipulation makes your Impossible PX70 and PX680 like a little impressionist canvas.” – Carmen Palermo (Credits: The Impossible Project & Carmen Palermo)

 

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Manipulation involves taking a blunt object by applying pressure to a still developing Polaroid. The tools used to the process could be a wooden stick or Cold Clip Pen by Impossible. Sharp tool would ruin the emulsion layer so avoid using it.

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Use pressure to create a blending and slight distortion on the chemicals. Remember, the picture can no longer be restored.

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**Drawing on Impossible film is not as easy as the original Polaroid SX70 film. To do so, it is better for you to heat up the image by hairdryer first and draw harder.

CC 1235 Lecture 2: Fresh film and expired film

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YOU MAY ASK…instant-university_yellow-border

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instant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#12On the packaging of The Impossible Project film, there is a 4-digit number (MM.YY). And there are two types of dates: one is ‘production date’, the other is the ‘best before date’. If it is ‘production date’, then use it within 1 year since the production date. If it is ‘best before date’, then use it before the stamped dates. It is suggested that the film should be used before the date printed in order to obtain the best photographic result.

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(Credits: The impossible Project)
In 2016, The Impossible Project will gradually unify the date system. All new packages are going to be stamped with production dates regardless of box types.

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While you will find only ‘best before date’ on Fujifilm instant film. It is suggested that the film should be used before the date printed.

 

instant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#11Can I still take pictures with expired films?

instant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#12Each instant film has pouches filled with photographic developer. Chemical changes and easily runs dry as film ages, resulting in color shifts, a loss in image contrast or uneven spread of chemical over the film. But still, quite a lot of instant photographers are willing to take risks of using expired films. The reason being is that expired materials can create unexpected yet fun results such as bluish or greenish picture. It’s not the end of the day even if films expire.

instant-university_CC1235-lecture-2-fresh-film-and-expired-film-#4