CC 1420 Lecture 4: Travel survival kit – For your Polaroid cameras

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INSTRUCTION
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instant-university_CC1420-lecture-4-travel-survival-kit-for-your-Polaroid-cameras-#1The following list offers broad guidelines; from
emergency preparedness to responsive planning
when facing certain sudden occurrences about your instant camera during travel.

Of course, if you are not expert in camera maintenance & repair, you may feel helpless in this matter – don’t forget you are going to be a certified professional! We have got you covered!

 

CHECKLIST
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 The essentialinstant-university_CC1420-lecture-4-travel-survival-kit-for-your-Polaroid-cameras-#2

Empty pack
(always bring an empty film pack with good battery along the way)

 

SYMPTOM
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1. Sticky film (i.e. when you can’t take any picture / the camera doesn’t respond)
2. The camera won’t close
3. The viewfinder goes dark

 

Possible causes

instant-university_CC1420-lecture-4-travel-survival-kit-for-your-Polaroid-cameras-#4 The mirror inside did not flip back down
instant-university_CC1420-lecture-4-travel-survival-kit-for-your-Polaroid-cameras-#4 You didn’t press the shutter long enough to give instruction to the camera
instant-university_CC1420-lecture-4-travel-survival-kit-for-your-Polaroid-cameras-#4 Part of camera is either blocked or jammed during exposure

 

Solution

Empty film pack testing
→ If you have a used and not-so-successful film e.g. overexposed, bring it with you when traveling. This comes in very handy when you need to diagnose problems, or you want to change film even if you have not finished the current pack.

STEP(1) Open the camera film door, you should find a small black plastic curtain. Through the black plastic curtain, find the upper most film of the film pack and insert the used film on top of it. The used film will act like a shield and block any light contacting the film.

STEP(2) Now you can remove the pack out of your camera safely.

STEP(3) Make sure the card covers the whole sheet of film. Slightly adjust after pulled the pack out. 

STEP(4) Insert the empty film pack you have prepared. Press the shutter for a few times. Take out the film pack from the camera.

STEP(5) Repeat step 4 for several times. It is like restarting the camera and setting it back to normal.

STEP(6) DONE!

 

SYMPTOM
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Some dots, weird bright or dark strips appear on image.

 

Possible cause

instant-university_CC1420-lecture-4-travel-survival-kit-for-your-Polaroid-cameras-#4 Splotchy rollers (Chemicals or dusts accumulated on rollers can cause unsatisfied out of tune images or even failure of ejection)

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Solution

Clean the rollers by yourself

STEP(1) Get a cotton cloth and dip it with sterilising fluid. You can easily find cotton and isopropyl alcohol in the first aid box in hotel room. You can also try using wipes or wet cotton.

STEP(2) Wipe the rollers from one side to another, until the white patches are all removed.

STEP(3) The fluid should dry itself quickly without wiping it off.

STEP(4) Your camera will run like new!

P.S. It is possible for both Polaroid and Impossible Project films to have too much chemicals. Remember to clean the rollers regularly!

 

SYMPTOM

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The camera does not respond at all

 

There are hundreds of feasible reasons. These are the most common ones.

Possible cause #1

instant-university_CC1420-lecture-4-travel-survival-kit-for-your-Polaroid-cameras-#4 Camera intermittent failure caused by extreme physical coldness

Solution

Try to put the camera in your coat pocket and use body temperature to warm it up.

 

Possible cause #2

instant-university_CC1420-lecture-4-travel-survival-kit-for-your-Polaroid-cameras-#4 Disconnection of film pack

Solution

Try empty film pack testing. Take out the film cartridge and insert it back. Make sure you pop the cartridge into place with some strength. Hold the front edge but not blocking the picture exit slot).

If your film was bought long time ago (more than 1 year), the battery may run out and die. It cannot be used anymore because it simply does not start the camera up.

 

SYMPTOM

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A black viewfinder

 

Possible cause

instant-university_CC1420-lecture-4-travel-survival-kit-for-your-Polaroid-cameras-#4 If your camera operates normally and can take photos, just that the viewfinder goes dark, you can try pulling the film cartridge out and put back in for several times. For better result, try empty film pack testing to reset the camera. If the problem continues, it is possible that the slingshot under the accordion has lost its elasticity.

 

Solution

What you can do is to use some objects to raise and hold up the accordion, to hold the mirror within the viewfinder. Then, you can continue shooting! However, this can only cure the symptoms, not the disease. In long term, you have to repair the camera after traveling.

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CC 1420 Lecture 3: Air traveling with instant films and cameras

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WHY ANNOTATE?
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Many Instant Photographers may have the same X-ray concern about carrying undeveloped films when traveling. In this chapter, you will learn what to do and what NOT to do when traveling, without X-ray damaging to your instant films and cameras.

 

HOW?
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BRING FILMS AS CARRY-ON LUGGAGE

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instant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#5Unprocessed film is sensitive to light just as they are waiting to be exposed. Although Impossible Project film has a rather low ISO of 160 for SX-70, and ISO 640 for 600 cameras, X-ray of checked baggage screener may still penetrate and expose the film. Whereas carry-on baggage screener has a much milder X-ray – films under ISO800 such as Fujifilm instax mini film and instax wide film are usually not affected.

So never pack unprocessed film in baggage that will be checked. Or you can politely insist on hand-inspection of the film whenever possible.

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instant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#7After arrival

PHOTOGRAPHING IN EXTREME TEMPERATURES

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When you want to take photos in a freezing cold place (e.g. -10°C to -15°C / 14°F to 5°F and below), you should put the camera inside your bag or  your coat pocket and keep it near your body prior to shooting. Using your body temperature is a good way to ensure that your camera will work well.

Instant film is highly sensitive to temperature. After the camera ejects picture, immediately place it in your pocket or directly onto heat pads. A moderate room temperature of around 25°C / 77°F is optimal for developing camera pictures. Warm the photo with your body temperature is the easiest way. Low temperature will overexpose a photo. It may look bluish, lightened and less contrasted.

instant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#9Extreme hot guideinstant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#9

Travelling in a place with hot weather (e.g. 35°C to 40°C / 95°F to 104°F and above) is a different situation. Keeping the developing image under shade and keep it cool will help correcting the white balance and prevent reddish and yellowish to a large extent. DO NOT leave the exposing photo under direct sunlight.

Tips:
Hot temperature has a greater effect on B&W film than color. If you wish to get a better result with Polaroid cameras, snap with Impossible Color Film!

Impossible Project film can deliver good results when used within a temperature range of 13°C to 28°C / 55°F to 82°F, while 5°C to 40°C / 41°F to 104°F for Fujifilm instant film.

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SHIELDING

Even with Color Protection Film, it is possible to be overexposed under strong sunlight. The first few seconds are extremely crucial for image development. Always shield the film from light when it is ejected.

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Can I use a black card, to cover the film with a hand or quickly turn the photo upside down?

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To put a black card at picture exit slot is economical and may help, but it will not work as perfect as the Frog Tongue from Impossible Project.

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instant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#7After arrival

THE USE OF MANUAL FOCUS

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Some Polaroid cameras such as SX-70 Sonar, use sonar to auto focus. When you are on a coach or railway cabin, visiting in museum or aquarium, as long as there is glass between you and the object, the sonar auto focus will not work because sonar will bounce back when it hits the glass. In order to shoot through glass, simply switch to manual focus and you are good to go!

CC 1420 Lecture 1: Film storage – How to keep film in good condition

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AFTER PURCHASE
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When you purchase a fresh pack of film for your Polaroid camera, normally an unopened package is allowed to store for 12 months. For opened film, better to finish photographing within a month.

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Optimum range of temperature for Impossible Project film storage is between 15°C – 20°C (59°F – 68°F). As the film is super sensitive to light, avoid any exposure to sunlight. Otherwise it may cause undesirable chemical reaction.

For Fujifilm instant color film, keep it in the fridge at temperature below 10°C (50°F). Opened film packs can also be kept in the fridge by placing them into polyethylene or vinyl bags.

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Store your films in a cool place and avoid sunlight. Do not store your films in damp proofing box – film chemicals will dry and will no longer develop images. Before use, try to settle to room temperature if the film is placed in the fridge. If you use the film while it is still cold, the photo quality may be adversely affected by condensation.

 

AFTER CARE
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(In short run) Shading

When the photo is ejected immediately after photographing, that will be the critical moment! Shield it from light immediately.

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When developed film is exposed to strong light, the image will increase it brightness by approximately two stops. Somehow this will ruin the picture.

The best and most effective approach is to use a Frog Tongue. The frog tongue will essentially cover the photo when it is ejected, leaving it no chance at all to encounter light. Or a more economical way is to tape a black card on top of the picture exit slot. It acts similar to the frog tongue but it could be annoying to tape on and off.

After ejection, do not leave the film under direct sunlight while it is still developing. Also, do not bend, fold, or put pressure on the photo or else may cause unevenness on the image.


(In short run) Development

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Keep shielding the image from light when developing. In about 15 minutes, the image will nearly be developed and stabilised.instant-university_yellow-border

(In long run) Location

The quality of finished images will change during storage. The key is to store the image in a cool place, preferably the fridge (not freezer).
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(In long run) Temperature

Storing in crisper drawer is the optimum solution for image stability. Do not store the film under 0°C / 32°F as this may devastate images.

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(In long run) Meth
ods

A. Make good use of your fridge

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For the best results, put the photos in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks. The temperature and humidity in crisper drawers (where to store fruits) can slower down the speed of changing colour and is effective to keep the color on films. After 2 weeks, you will find the pictures become rigid and stiff, that means the pictures have already “cooled down” and can exhibit like normal.

For Fujifilm, keep images in a dark dry and well-ventilated location away from gases. You don’t need to keep Fujifilm in the fridge like Impossible Project film.

B. Emulsion lift

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It is about removing the emulsion layer from a sheet of Polaroid / Impossible or Fuji film and transferring it onto other surfaces such as clothing, painting paper, mug etc. After that the image is forever kept. During the process of emulsion lift, you can even enlarge or change the shape of the image. Special kit is needed for emulsion lift.

C. Air the chemical

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Some will cut out 2 blank boxes behind Polaroid / Impossible image so as to fasten up the speed of drying chemicals. But after a certain period of time, the image will fade especially Black & White photos. Moreover, the back of image is unavoidably damaged thus many photographers avoid using this method.