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How to Develop a Cine Film Reel

Developing a cine film reel can be a delicate operation and care should be taken to make sure the process is undertaken correctly.

The handling, processing and developing of cine film is, of course, an integral part of filmmaking, whether for professional, amateur or casual home user. To correctly develop your cine film is to ensure that your film can be played back in the way that you wish and can be preserved for the future.

Traditional Cine Film Developing

  1. For all types of traditional film stock: 16mm, 9.5mm, Super 8, Standard 8, 35mm. 
  2. Equipment required: For manual developing the technician will use specialist processing solutions with the correct spiral processing tank along with measuring equipment to ensure that correct measurements of solution are use along with drying equipment that might be required (e.g. for Super 8 film).
  3. As film, when exposed, is sensitive to light, the process takes place in a darkened room. 
  4. The film is loaded into the spiral holder which is then in turn loaded into the processing tank. 
  5. There are a number of different processing tanks available that can be used according the type of film that is being developed. 
  6. The film is then processed in the tank using the correct concentration of developing solution. 
  7. Dependent on the film that’s been developed, it may be necessary to dry the film in a piece of specialist drying equipment.

Modern Cine Film Developing

In these, digital times a more favourable option for developing old cine film that you may be in possession of would be to transfer the film onto DVD or perhaps a digital file.

In this case the technician would use specialist digital scanning equipment that would go through a number of stages:

  1. Scan the film for damage, defects or contamination.
  2. Perform a cleaning operation as required – e.g. manual dust removal and / or use of cleaning fluids.
  3. Load film into the digital scanner, saving the images onto the machine.
  4. The film can be calibrated for colour correction (if fading or ‘pinking’ has occurred) before it is transferred onto DVD or digital file as required.