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Hey, finally getting around to writing about cross processing! Yay, me!
Cross processing (or X-pro for the short version) is, loosely defined, the act of developing film in a process that was not intended for it. If you develop a color negative film in black and white chems, that’s cross processing. Technically, my developing Kodacolor-X (a process C-22 film) in C-41 chems is cross processing as well. But the term most commonly refers to developing color positive slide film (process E6) in color negative chemistry (process C41).
You see a lot more examples of slide film developed in color negative chems rather than the other way around for two main reasons. The first reason is most photo developing places have to send out their slide film to be processed, and those labs will probably see a roll of C41 film and actually process it in C41, whereas it’s a lot easier to sneak a roll of E6 film in a one hour photo drop off place.
Since I do my own processing, that wasn’t an issue for me. So, last time I was developing E6 films, I threw a roll of expired Kodak Vericolor III into the soup. The Vericolor is a process C-41 film. Here’s what I got:
To be honest, I kind of like this particular photo. But, see how dark the sky is? That brings me to the second reason most people don’t process C-41 films as a slide: they come out really, really dark. Especially if you are, like me, shooting 17 year old expired film through a pinhole camera and only deciding that the roll is going to be cross processed after the whole roll’s been shot.
Right. So, that picture above? That was the best picture on the roll. Pretty much everything was dark, ranging from ‘Really Dark’ to ‘Indescribably Dark’ to ‘Oh my god, it’s darker than my soul!’
Yeah. Might try this again sometime. Maybe with some forethought and planning. If I do, I’ll try to remember to overexpose by bunches.
Anyway, back to the more common form of Xpro, slide film processed as a color negative. I’ve done this before, certainly. My favorite film/camera combo is actually crossprocessed: Kodak E100G shot through the Savoy and developed as a color negative.
You see, the point of cross processing, which I somehow failed to mention until just now, is to get vivid or altered colors than you would with just a regular C41 film. It’s all the rage amongst the LOMO crowd. In fact, Lomography actually sells a film that’s made precisely for cross processing in color negative chems.
I tried it out (again, in a pinhole camera, so that may not have been the best test), and didn’t find the colors especially crazy.
Most of the other experience I’ve had with cross processing has been using Kodak brand slide films. I’ve been able to get a hold of a lot of rolls of various expired Elitechrome and Ektachrome films, so that’s what I use. And for the most part, those films tend to go all green tinty once they’ve been cross processed (except for the E100G, which is a lot more subtle, but still has a distinct ‘look’). And it looks neat at first, but after a while, it’s just more green.
I went away from cross processing for awhile, because I was sick of the green, but then I bought some Fuji Velvia 100. This was actual brand shiny new unexpired film. I know! Crazy! So I went ahead and shot a few rolls and developed them normally.
And, funny thing – for some reason, I keep overexposing the crap out of them. Curse you, Velvia!!
Finally, before our trip to New York, I decided I would try shooting with film in different ways. I got over the psychological barrier of “Velvia is very expensive and people who shoot slide film worship it, so I need to use it as a slide film, too.” Yes. I would cross process Velvia, boldly and without fear!
Right before we left, I managed to pick up a box of expired 4×5 Velvia 100 film. I didn’t wind up shooting any pics in New York with it, but when we got back, I took Domo outside and took a shot with the Bollywood pinhole camera using the Velvia 100.
Not only did I finally get the exposure right on the Bollywood, but for once, I cross processed something that hasn’t gone green!
The funny thing is, I remember reading a long time ago a comment on a Flickr discussion regarding the cross-processing of Velvia. Whoever wrote it was of the opinion that it was a waste of time to do so, that the results weren’t great, and Velvia is such a fantastic slide film that it’s ridiculous to process it in any other way than E6. That must have stuck with me, and was why it took me so long to actually try it. Turns out, I’m absolutely thrilled about the results, and when I had a chance to scoop up some more Velvia 100 recently, I did so, for the express purpose of cross processing it. So, let this be a lesson to all of us – just because someone on the internet says a thing (including me!) that doesn’t mean it’s true.
After the Velvia 100 success, I cross processed 3 other slide films that day. After I scanned them in, I made an image comparing how the negative and positive image from each different film looked.
From top to bottom, on the left side, is how the unaltered negatives look of:
1. 35mm Fuji Velvia 50, expired 2003, shot in the Savoy.
2. 4×5 Fuji Velvia 100, expired 6-2007, shot with a 5 second exposure in the Bollywood Pinhole Camera.
3. 120 Fujichrome 64T, shot in the Yashica C.
4. 120 Kodak EPP 100, exp. 2/2003, shot in the Yashica C.
On the right side is how the negatives look inverted into positives, with their levels adjusted slightly.
At this point, I haven’t done enough experimenting with these films to know if the results are consistent – I don’t know if I’m always going to get vividly green negatives with the Fuji 64T, for instance. I also don’t know if I’m going to get the same tones with Fuji Velvia 100 120 film as I got with the 4×5 film. I don’t know how being expired has effected the way these films cross process, either. I do know I’m intrigued enough to play with it more.
What I found really interested was how different Velvia 100 and Velvia 50 looked from each other. In comparison to warm tones of the Domo picture above, Fuji Velvia 50 gave me this:
I wouldn’t’ve thought that two such closely related films would be so different.
The Fuji 64T was a treat, also. Besides the negatives being ridiculously green (I think I gasped with delight and shock when I pulled them out of the tank), once I inverted them I got images like these:
The “T” in 64T stands for Tungsten, by the way. That means it’s a film designed to compensate for artificial, tungsten-based indoor lighting. When you shoot it outside in daylight and process it correctly, it tends to make everything go all blue-y. After seeing the results of the Fuji 64T cross processed, I’m wondering what Kodak Tungsten balanced films will do, too.
I wasn’t as impressed with the Kodak EPP100 cross-processing.
Still, though, considering I have been getting slight purple-y tones that I alternately like and dislike with the EPP when it’s processed as a slide, this now opens up more options for this film. Which is good, considering I just got 4 boxes of it in 4×5 film. (I know, I said I was done with it. But I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse).
2 thoughts on “OMG! XPRO LOMO LOL!!!111!!”
I really like the red chair/furniture on sidewalk shot as well as the top one. And who can resist Blockhead’s diner?
To get rid of the green you could always try to use a bit of magenta filtering or maybe play with some of the black and white printing filters over the lens or pinhole to see what they do for your green shifting that you mentioned.
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