Developing film with coffee and baking soda.
Are you tired of paying $10 or more (or paying $4 and waiting 168 hours[if you don't have a car]) for film developing if all you wanted was to savor the fine resolution of images under a fluorescent flashlight? Well, you can process your own negatives by developing the film in coffee, baking soda, and water mixed together. You can get all this stuff in various stores. Heck, I live in HICK country, and they are not more than 9 miles one way from my house. That's only 1 day of walking and buying, or if you are lucky like me, you can bum a ride once a week. There are some drawbacks, though. The film is nowhere near as transparent as one done at the lab, and the frames usually come out in brown and dark brown with very little color. It takes a long time, and you have to sit there and shake the container every thirty seconds for as much as 2 hours (if you use color). Black and white film such as Kodak's T-Max 400 come out the best, and can be done in as little as one hour, but one hour 10 minutes works best.
Here's what you need to get the next time you get to be within 500 feet of a store:
1. At least 2 rolls of Kodak T-Max 400 film (B&W chemistry) They sell this at Wal*Mart, CVS, and probably other stores. Be prepared to pay $4 a roll, as it's Kodak film.
1b. Go to Dollar Tree and get at least 9 rolls of color film to learn on (heck! It's only a dollar a roll!)
2. Folgers AromaSeal Ground Coffee (the $3 can)
3. Arm and Hammer Baking Soda (the HUGE bag, it says NOT FOR ANTACID USE)
4. A plastic insulated cooler that is light-tight. (that is, you can shine several of the brightest flashlights inside it and not see any light come out of it even in a dark room once your eyes are used to the dark.
5. A container to hold the coffee developing mixture. (this should be preferably about 1/4 inch shorter than the INSIDE height of the cooler so that it doesn't tip over when you shake the cooler).
6. If your tap water is rusty or smelly, buy some cheap, bottom-of-the-line bottled water (you need 12 oz per roll) {I wouldn't want to stare at negatives that smell like human waste or are so orangy clouded that you can't even make out outlines of frames}

7. If you haven't gotten into the cult phenomenon of negative-gawking, get a compact fluorescent flashlight (like the ones which uses a tube similar to the one on a house energy saving light). The shape of these are good to gawk at negatives with.
How to do it.
1. Shoot the film on the camera as you would any other film, but when you rewind the film, stop rewinding the EXACT MOMENT it gets easy to wind.If you have a motor drive camera, it probably leaves the film tab hanging out when it's done. If not, don't worry, you just need to open the film cartridge (later and IN THE DARK!!) with a fruit juice can opener.
2. Wait until it's night time.
3. Find a room with the least windows, preferably on the northern side of the house (in the Northern Hemisphere) or--if you have a hallway with no windows, use that. Make it as dark as possible in there.It also helps to have a water faucet nearby that's in near total darkness.
4. Take 4 heaping teaspoons of coffee, 3 and a half heaping teaspoons of baking soda (Why 3-1/2? Because the baking soda "heaps" better) and 12 ounces of water and mix them in the container.
5. Microwave the mixture for 45 seconds until the container is very warm.
6. Mix it again to make it look like gritty coffee.
7. Take the roll of film, the cooler and the mixture into the dark room. Memorize where you put down these items.
8. Shut off the lights and do one last check to see that no light is getting into the room (this is IMPORTANT!)
9. Grab the end of the film from the film cartridge and pull and pull until you feel it stop. Then take the end closest to the film cartridge and pull slowly and hard until it rips off the end of the spool (which is inside the film cartridge).
9b. If your camera wound the end of the film into the cartridge, take the can opener and place it on the top ridge of the film cartridge and pop off the top.
10. You should now have a long strip of film. Take the strip and loosen the spiral by placing the film strip between your fingers in such a way that you can pull it so that it flattens the spiral a bit.
11. Place the loose spiral of film into the container of coffee developer (the solution you just microwaved). Make sure it's all the way submerged.
12. Place the container into the cooler and shut the lid. You can now turn on the lights.
13. <the boring part> Note the time that you put film into the coffee solution. Every 30 seconds, move the cooler side to side.
14. If you are developing black and white film, do this for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
14b. If you are developing color film, do this for at least 90 minutes. It helps to have a portable stereo with speakers (so you can notice {unlike headphones}if your parents are up and they might accidentally turn the light on in the later steps) at a very low volume (remember, it's night time) so you can not get too bored.
15. After the time is up, turn off the lights (if you heard someone get up near the end of the developing time, explain to them that it needs to be close to dark for step 16)
16. Go to the room with the faucet, open the cooler, take out the film from the developing container, and immediately rinse the film under water which is at a comfortable temperature to have running over your fingers. It is best to pass the film strip under the faucet slowly back and forth with the water directly hitting the sticky side (the emulsion).. Make sure there is no spot on the film which didn't get rinsed.
17. You can now turn the lights back on and see the results of your efforts. If you exposed the film properly (with the camera) you will see frames of pictures on the emulsion side.
18. Lay the film out on a large table and wait a while for it to dry (it should no longer feel sticky.)
19. Dump the coffee mixture down the drain along with plenty of water. (this developer solution doesn't
keep well, but it's safe to put down the drain as long as you don't let it sit in the pipes)
20. Once the film is dry, you can enjoy negatives on a budget.
21. <optional> if you have a scanner for your computer, you can scan these negatives and make prints of them (if you have a printer) without even buying the transparency adapter, since these negatives can be seen with the unaided eye without holding them up to the light.
22. <even more optional> If you developed color film, you can see the colors by shining the fluorescent flashlight at the edge of the film and tilting it until you can make out colors. Some scanners can actually recover the colors too (with horrendously bad quality).
How to make transparent mini-photos on a $1 roll of Negative Film using a Computer, a TV with Photo Display System, and a $1 camera.
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