develope film

Bulk Film: 101

What is bulk film and why should you use it: A guide to saving money while shooting more film!

If there’s one thing film shooters know, it’s that film is expensive. It’s not as much as buying a Phase One medium format DSLR, but it’s still far more expensive than it used to be in the days or yore. Of course developing your own film at home can save you heaps on lab processing fees, but what about saving on actual film?

One of the easiest ways to save money when shooting 35mm film is to invest in bulk loading equipment. While it may technically be possible, bulk loading 120 film would not be practical for multiple reasons, particularly spooling and backing paper. However for 35mm, the process is quite simple and helps you get a lot more bang for your buck.

What is bulk film?

Bulk film is a massive roll of 35mm film that you load into empty cassettes and cut on on your own. It usually comes in 100 ft rolls, allowing you to spool between 18-20 rolls of 36 exposure film. The actual number of rolls you get from a bulk roll will depend on the type of loader you have.

So just as an example, as of February 2016 a 100ft roll of Ilford HP5 Plus 400 runs around $69. If we go on the lower end and divide by 18 rolls, that means you pay $3.83 per roll of 36 exposure. Currently, Ilford offers a 5-pack for $29.99 or $5.99 per roll, and single rolls at $8.99. Now let’s look at a 100ft roll of Ultrafine 400 black and white film, which currently sells at $35.95; again on the low end of 18 rolls you’d now be paying $1.99 per roll of 36 exposure. That’s literally cheaper than film was in the 80s and 90s - no joke.

As you can see the savings add up quickly with bulk film, even after taking into account the supplies needed to to it.  A home darkroom or complex equipment isn’t necessary to load your own bulk film. The process is surprisingly easy and economic, which is why it’s such a great option for saving money if you shoot a lot.

Here’s what you need to roll your own bulk film:

To take the above price comparisons further, let’s say you buy a set of empty cassettes for $19.95 and a bulk film daylight loader for $59, plus two 100 ft rolls of the aforementioned Ilford HP5 Plus 400, you’re still only paying $6 per roll and that will continue to go down the more you shoot since you already have the loading equipment. (Side note: you can also use a regular bulk film loader with a dark bag or a light-proof room if you happen to have one.)

Canister vs. Cassette

There can be some confusion for new film shooters between canisters and cassettes, particularly because both are available in bulk. Cassettes, pictured above, are the metal containers that hold the film. You’ll absolutely need these to roll your bulk film and put it in your camera. Canisters, however, are the plastic containers that hold your film cassettes. They can be practical for storing your film, protecting from moisture and organizing. While they are recommended, they are not essential for rolling or shooting bulk film.

Black and White Vs. Color

While it used to be possible to find some types of color film available in bulk, most have been discontinued. Black and white is far more common - making it both easier to find and easier to deal with. If you get your black and white film developed in a lab, they can keep your cassettes and return them to you with your negatives and contact sheets (or scans.) If you do manage to find some bulk color film, more power to you!

Have a look at this awesome video from Matt Day on How To Load Bulk Film:

*Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase through those links, ISSF receives a small commission. This in no way affects our editorial decision making process.

Tom Wlaschiha joins to WELTFILME.ORG!

Yesterday we had the annual meeting of WELTFILME.org. We are honored to anounce that Tom Wlaschiha (right) is elected the new chairman, Alexander Pfeuffer and Frank Domhan (left) will serve from now on as the managing directors. We’re happy to celebrate five years of #WELTFILME and we’re looking forward to creating exciting new projects with films for development.
From Weltfilme.org Facebook page

Some notes to those in the Outlander fandom who seem confused by how the world works these days

1. I haven’t been to/heard about a wedding in the last five years that didn’t have a hashtag for instagram. Remember how, back in the day, people left disposable Kodak cameras on tables? Think of it that way only now you don’t need to get film developed! You ask your guests to use a hashtag (my cousin put hers on both the reception invitation and on a sign outside the reception hall) and that way, you can check the hashtag later to see what pictures were posted of your guests having a great time! Or, as in my cousin’s case, your relatives in other countries who couldn’t make it can look at your wedding pictures without having to wait for the photographer! It’s not an attention thing, it’s a way for your wedding to be interactive! The bride and groom weren’t going to change their rules for a C-list celebrity.

2. Selfies are not selfish, self-absorbed vanity projects. (I mean, FUCK, people used to sit for hours for PORTRAITS). I use selfies to tell people, “Hey, look at the cool people I met!” “Hey, look at this cool place I visited!” “Hey, look at this really cool thing I did!” “Hey, look at my new haircut!” or even “Hey, I think I look really good today and I want to note this because most of the time I don’t.” It’s about celebrating yourself and celebrating your life. If you think that’s vain, go fuck yourself.

3. Using social media isn’t a bad thing! Unless you’re an asshole on it. 

4. Calling MacKenzie names and acting like Cait is the end all be all of “classy women” is YOU being an ASSHOLE on social media. So stop it.

Just stop the gendered attacks please. And stop being old people who are like, “TECHNOLOGY IS BAD. YOU’RE A SLUT IF YOU POST SELFIES AND AN ATTENTION WHORE IF YOU USE A HASHTAG.”

Jesus christ with this fandom.

Timing Charts and Inbetweening Demo

Hey guys! So I recently finished up an inbetweening and timing charts demo and edited into an hour-ish video!
A handful of folks asked me things like how to utilize a timing chart in your work, how to in between to those charts, and basic (I say basic because there are other more advanced ways - but thats another time) to keep your drawings consistent! I also talk about smears!

The program I’m using is TVPaint, but any program can do really.

The character I’m using is created by Patrick Stannard! He’s a kickass animator!