Trouble rewinding film

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by rebeccahawkins, Jun 25, 2020.

  1. Hello, I was trying to rewind a film back into the canister and accidentally turned the rewind lever the wrong way for quite a while before realising. When I then tried to rewind the film the right direction, nothing is happening. I’ve opened the back in a dark room and the film is not back in the canister. What should I do? I don’t want to lose any of my photos!
  2. It sounds like you broke the film. Talk to your processing lab and see what they recommend.
  3. AJG


    You could go back to the darkroom and pull all of the film out of the cartridge and then turn the spool by hand until you get all of the film rewound into the cartridge. If you did rewind in the wrong direction and then attempted to reverse direction I'm not surprised that you couldn't do it--the film doesn't have a lot pf space in the cartridge to allow it to take up in the opposite direction.
  4. If you turned forcibly, you may have torn the tape holding the film to the core. You need to repair any damage and rewind the film in the dark (or changing bag). If you need more time, put the film into an opaque black plastic bag made for that purpose.

    Film cannot be safely processed in a minilab. They don't have a darkroom, per se. Film is hooked inside the cartridge and loaded into the processor by pulling it out and cutting the trailer. Only a "dip and dunk" service can process loose film.

    If the film is no longer attached to the core, you need a new cassette designed for reloading, which can be opened and reclosed. OEM film cartridges are crimped and usually damaged beyond repair when opened. If you're so inclined, you can also load it into a processing tank and develop it yourself.
  5. I'll second the idea of removing the film in the dark and pulling it out of the canister. If it's still attached the spool, you can then rewind it properly. You probably killed a few frames with kinks and scratches.

    When you continued to wind the wrong way, you may have reversed the direction the film is wound on the spool. If you can't get it back in the canister, you might just have to roll it up and put it in a light tight container.
  6. These forums are a revelation. I used to think I knew every possible mistake that could be made with film and processing -- because I've made most of them when I was learning. But new ones keep cropping up. Rewinding the film backward is a rare mistake I haven't made.

    The problem may be that many of today's film beginners are working on their own. In the past, I think most of us learned from an experienced parent, teacher, or friend. We had the benefit of some personal guidance. Not so with today's young folks. But at least they've got forums like this one to seek advice. We didn't have that.
  7. When I worked at the minilab back in the early 80's, whenever a customer had similar problem they would give us the camera and we can take the film out in a darkbox and put it in another cassette for processing.

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