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.

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

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!

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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
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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.