Half of the image cut off from light effect

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by nick_ventura, May 30, 2014.

  1. Hey guys I was wondering if anyone could tell me the best way to achieve the effect where half or most of the image is cut off from being exposed to light. It usually happens with the first frame on the roll and I have been trying to do it when loading the film in the camera but its hard to tell where the first frame actually starts. Heres an example:[​IMG]
  2. You could tape a piece of paper or gel over half the film gate in your camera.

    Or you can do it very easily in Photoshop.

    Only you know the reason you would want to do it, though. :)
  3. Don't wind the film to the normal start point. Start shooting right after you get the film in place. That way the first shot will be partially exposed to the full light. Of course, where the divide point will happen won't be known until you develop it.
    Good luck and have fun.
  4. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Load the film on the take up spool. With a magic marker draw a line on the film where the film goes into the cassette. With the back of the camera open, fire the shutter and advance the film to see how many cranks of the film advance lever it takes to still have the marker line half way over the film chamber.
  5. There are many possibilities for deliberately creating light leaks, flare, etc. Could be fun for emulating the flaws seen in our old family photos. And if you're using old expired but unexposed color film, or film that's been stored in heat (in a car's glove compartment or trunk), the film will produce wonky results anyway. Might as well have some fun with it.
    If you want to reproduce that effect directly on the film, peel off the light seals on a camera. Keep in mind that some camera film doors/bodies use clever light baffles rather than foam or felt seals, so this trick may not work with some cameras. It would probably work best with cameras like the 1970s era compact rangefinders from Olympus, Fuji, etc. Those cameras were often made as cheaply as possible without being junk, and one common shortcut was to use plenty of clearance around the film door and fill the gap with a big wad of foam or felt light sealing material. The cameras could still be made well, but cost effectively by skipping some of the tighter manufacturing tolerances used on their professional/serious amateur grade cameras.
    If the film door/body uses baffles rather than foam/felt seals, you might consider deliberately damaging the baffles. Keep in mind this is pretty much irreversible so you may want to do it in stages, evaluating the results after each roll of film. Bend the door slightly, but not so much that it won't close anymore. Or use needle nose pliers to carefully bend the interlocking baffles. Or use jeweler's files to file down the interlocking baffles. If it's one of those Cosina made 35mm SLRs sold under many names - Vivitar, Olympus, Nikon, Canon, etc. - the film door is probably plastic and the edges could be melted or warped with a soldering iron, or other trick.
    With the light seals removed the effect will be fairly random. It'll depend on how bright the ambient light is, how you hold the camera (if it's against your body it will be shielded a bit better), how reflective the surround surfaces are (sand, snow and light pavement will reflect more than asphalt, grass, etc.) Indoors or at night you could carry a bright LED flashlight and run it alongside the film door edges and hinged area. The typical consumer grade LED flashlight is very blue, which would fog color film a bit differently than sunlight or bright incandescent light. The resulting color variations could be interesting.
    Try winding the film advance partway, then holding the film door hinge toward the sun or brightest available light. This would produce a bit more randomness. The usual place for fogging caused by light leaks will be pretty much the same on every frame, because most folks advance the film completely and leave it there - so the leak around the film door hinge will be the most common source of fogging.
    Another possibility for pre-exposing the entire roll:
    Rig up a makeshift holder/mask, possibly with translucent masks as Bill suggested. Make the rig long enough to do several frames at once, or an entire roll at once. A long sheet of posterboard or other material could work. Rig up a sleeve just wide enough to accommodate the film. Cut windows randomly in the sleeve, and cover some with white paper, translucent plastic (salvaged from plastic bottles used for milk or rubbing alcohol), etc.
    In a dark room (or changing bag), pull the film out and slip it inside the sleeve.
    The next step is to guesstimate the amount of pre-exposure to fog and discolor the film through those window cutouts. If you have a flash meter, or know how to use guide numbers, you could preflash the film. Otherwise just flip the room lights on and off - the duration of exposure depends on the lamp brightness and film speed. You can use a light meter or camera meter to estimate this.
    With a little experimenting and measurements you could fairly accurately estimate where on each frame the flaws would appear. However if the pattern is too regular it could be mistaken for a simple digital editing effect. A more random effect might be more appealing for emulating the look of light leaks, etc.

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