Film border / rebate edge in scan - how do they do this?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by mood_lover, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. Examples from photographer Hayley Louisa Brown:

    I understand some of you find this undesirable but I really like the look of the border around the photo and without faking/photoshopping it in, how do I get them? I was told commercial labs don't do this and that I'd have to develop/scan myself to get this.

    Problem is I dont have any rooms in my house that are dark (even closets are small and not enough space to even walk into). Using both 35mm and 120mm. Any ideas about this is appreciated!
    Edit: to be honest I dont know anything about developing/scanning and never did so before so please try to answer with that in mind haha!
  2. Get these. and scan away.
  3. You don't need to develop the film yourself, but you may need to handle the scanning yourself.

    You say you are using 35mm and 120 film (by the way - it's just '120', not '120mm') - what is your workflow at the moment? Are you having a lab develop and scan your film currently? Or is a lab making prints for you?

    I have an Epson flatbed scanner with a "transparency unit" for scanning film. In the same way that I can select the area to be scanned when scanning a document or print, when scanning film, I can also select the area to be scanned - whether that is only a portion of the frame, or an area larger than the film that includes the film rebate.
  4. If by rebate you mean something like folded, the edges ar not folded, the little "bays" in the corners are formed by the way the the casette holds the film. These are scans from sheet film. What you see is the entire area of the film sheet, not only the image area. The edges, not exposed by the photographer, but by the manufacturer of the film and holding data about the film itself.
    You can scan your type 135 and 120 films also with including the margins of the film, but the pattern will be different from sheetfilm, you will see the edge markings of 120 film and edge markings and sprocket holes with 135 film. Special scanning holders are made with cutoffs larger than the image area so part of the edge of the film can also be seen by the scanner. You could modify normal scanner holder yourself with a file to enlarge the window where the film is hold.
  5. Comercial labs can do edge scanning too, they need the corresponjding mask/cartridge for their processor or scanner. Few of them invest in this option as it is not often requested by their clients.
  6. You don't need a darkroom to develop film, either. You can load the film into the developing tank inside a 'dark bag'. No light gets to the film. Very easy and fun. It takes me about 30-40 minutes to process one or two rolls, start to finish.
  7. If you want to scan the 4 borders of the frame, it may be tricky. Film is usually held in place by something, and that
    something will usually cover the edges. With a flatbed you can lay the film on the platter, but that is hardly ever the correct
    procedure. With wet scanning you may be luckier, since aiui the film is just placed in a glass sandwich.

    As to developing, I think every lab will leave the whole of the film in place! If you aren't concerned about image quality,
    you may take a picture of your negatives and process that on your computer.
  8. @Colin O: okay if I have a lab develop the film, would I just scan the negative using a film scanner or would I need more equipment? At the moment I'm having a lab develop yes, no prints just digital scans. I would invest into an Epson scanner if it meant I could have more control, though how much different would the image quality be from a professional lab scan?

    @Eugen Mezei: yes I'm only shooting 135 and 120 so no sheet film, just rolls. Is the special holder something I could buy online? I see a lot of film photographers get the entire border so I'm wondering how they do it easily without modifying anything themselves.

    @Bill Lynch: very interesting, do you know how different the image quality would be if I developed myself in a dark bag vs a professional lab developing it?

    @Antonio Marques: yeah I understand why it would be tricky, makes sense, though I'm sure it's easy once you figure it out. Maybe people stick their negative to some sort of larger plate and have the holder hold that instead? I wouldn't mind investing in a decent scanner, since I do care a lot about image quality (one of the main reasons I shoot medium format anyway!).
  9. There are two categories of (home) scanners - dedicated film scanners and flatbed scanners capable of scanning film. Since you are using both 35mm and 120 film and only really starting with scanning, it would probably be best to get a flatbed scanner. Here's a link to Epson's photo scanners. Look for the models that list the ability to scan slides/negatives/film.
    You ask if you would need any more equipment - you need a computer of course(!) but that's all really.
    If you use colour film, then home developing is quite an intricate process - probably better to just have a lab do it. Developing black and white at home is much more feasible - here's a how-to:
    Scanning requires some care and practice in order to get results you're happy with, but the Epson scanners are quite capable of producing good results.
    Similarly with home developing, it can take a little practice and care before you are fully confident in the process and are able to obtain results you are happy with.
  10. Awesome, I don't mind having a local lab do all the developing (though they're ridiculously hard to find NYC) and then scanning it myself. Scanning, if I'm not mistaken, should be a lot simpler than developing.
    I just read over at flickr that people use something called anti newton ring glass made for the Epson scanners and lay it on top of the film, which lays directly flat against the scanner (no holder involved). So this could be the solution unless someone has a better idea:
    Edit: another method, from flickr user zgodzinski: no default holder, just cut a whole in printer paper the exact size of the frame (including borders) then put clear glass/plastic on top of it
  11. One feature to look for in a scanner is 'Digital ICE', which automatically removes dust/scratches from your scans. The Digital ICE feature can be really valuable, in particular when scanning 35mm film where dust/scratches get magnified to a much larger degree. The caveat however is that Digital ICE is not compatible with traditional black and white film.
  12. Okay yeah I was looking at the Epson V700 (I like how the price is in the name) and it has Digital ICE. I actually don't mind some scratches/dirt on black and white film as long as its not overbearing. If it takes a little time to clean up in Photoshop that's fine with me!
  13. No, you don't need to develop the film yourself. Just put the developed negative or transparencies on a flatbed scanner with a mask that has a large enough opening to show the edges and scan away. (The scanner, of course, has to be connected to a computer. I assume you know this but you did ask if you needed anything other than the scanner.) But there's one catch -- flatbed scanners are "good enough" for many people but don't scan as sharply as a film scanner, so the scan you get won't be as sharp as it could be. Up to you whether it's "good enough."

    "I actually don't mind some scratches/dirt on black and white"

    Let's revisit that statement after you've done a couple hundred scans and had to clean them up in Photoshop. :)

    Keep in mind that 95 percent of the time you see this effect today it has been faked in Photoshop. Very few people who shoot for a living shoot film any more so in most commercial situations there is no piece of film to scan. Sometimes the giveaway is that instead of recognizable names like Kodak or Ilford there's something made-up sounding printed in the edges. Or where there should be standard 35mm sprocket holes that are odd little square or rectangular shapes that don't match any known film format, or the number of sprocket holes per frame is totally wrong.
  14. Haha thats pretty funny what you said about people faking it. I do see it often and notice it right away no matter how well its done. I've even faked it myself before using VSCO and AlienSkin, as well as putting real scans of the borders around the images. It's okay, but after looking at it with fresh eyes a day later it always feels artificial. Real film is special and makes me feel happy inside!

    All of my "work work" is digital and all this would just for my personal experimentation/fun, so I'd be very selective of what I scan and work on. I really don't mind a little dirt! And if it does get overbearing I'll upgrade then, but for now I have a lot to learn :)

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