Homebrew Kodachrome

What do you do if you can’t find the film that your camera uses? The answer seems pretty simple, you just make it yourself. Making film is not a simple task. There are multiple stages involved and it all has to be done in complete darkness. This project is causing a bit of stir in its respective communities. Though not completely finished yet, it is already an impressive piece. Everyone is waiting eagerly for it to be completed. You can find a few of the discussion groups linked from the flickr page.

[via BoingBoing]

19 thoughts on “Homebrew Kodachrome

  1. This is pretty sweet. We used to load our own 35mm back in high school but I never thought about making my own. I’m looking forward to seeing this finished. wouldn’t mind being able to use my old Cannon AE-1. after they finally stop making film.

  2. This man will be there to give us film after the apocalypse.

    In all seriousness, it’s awesome to see builds like this. With some money, equipment, and know-how, Joe Blow can make nearly anything. I’d love to see some old commercial film-making gear to see how this compares.

  3. Its great to see this – but the project started in 05′ (see the pics of the film cross cut) and then nothing since 08′. The lab that processes this film is going bye bye in 2010 – so why is this big news to have it create film that no-one can develop. I’m missing the bigger picture on this build as being newsworthy.

  4. I agree with the one comment, where is the old equipment???
    True, it would be costly to produce in small quantities BUT the
    real film buff would pay, willingly. And better results than rebuilding
    the world from scratch again.

    But its neat to see people can build and get the chemistry
    they need for such a project. 8″x10″ glass camera boys been
    doing this since the 30’s. Still impressive doing ‘film’.

    Proof that film still beats digital. Lets see people make prints
    from digital media in 100+ years. Right….
    (Example: Tin type, glass, 127 negatives etc… They still print!)

    “But its B&W!” Yep!! Good B&W still blows away the best colour.

  5. @mjonesnj

    B&W film is much much easier to process at home than color. You don’t need a lab, and depending on what type of look you’re going for, you might not want a “perfect” development.

    I process mostly T-Max at home and it’s pretty easy to do. Prints, while made even easier than developing film, require more space and equipment, so I scan my negatives in for now.

  6. Bill said:

    “I agree with the one comment, where is the old equipment???”

    I know of several buildings in my home town of rochester NY that housed the film coating and 35mm spooling operations. This equipment is on a massive industrial scale and it is just not designed to produce ‘just a few’ rolls for the descerning photo buff. The last few years have seen a frightful increase in the price of professional film. At the same time it’s getting harder and harder to find a minilab with a c-41 let alone e-6 processing in house. (kodachrome was never processed by anyone other than kodak anyway)

    We can lament these sad sad facts, or we can embrace the technology that is replacing it. Digital has a lot to offer. There is a learning curve.

  7. Oh i wanted to post this… compare to the admittedly cool machine above. This is the scale i’m talking about. When kodak closed one of their facilities a few years ago they put one of the old coating wheels on display. I found it on google maps. GOOGLE MAPS. look at the machine above and check out film manufacture kodak style…


  8. 2 Toby Esterhase:

    Well, besides the simple task to develop a film, making prints is an art form. Good prints take hours!
    And not just because everyone who ever tried bigger than 35mm knows that dust and Newton-Rings are a problem.
    And I am not talking of darkroom work like dodging or burning, things you perform over a white sheet of paper hoping that it turn out right ;)
    I am still giving lectures and practical courses to students.
    And they love Cyanotype and Platinum prints.
    But the hybrid way with scanning is ok too.

    I do it to seperate the better ones from the crappy pictures – Contacts are not enough.
    You can easy play around with Gimp to try how it could look without wasting good material in the lab and than doing it in the lab.
    But still you would hate any hair not correct or little scratches and so on. You can remove them but it is a pain in the ass!

    Besides that – Scanner are usually just build to perform good with color slides with their organic color couplers. Real B/W film is tricky because of the real silver grain and its size. Most luminous source do not perform well and ICE will not work at all. So you have to deal with a lack of range of contrast and a kind of Moiré-Effect because of interference of solution of the scan unit and the grain size.
    T-Crystal or Deltas are a bit better but its newfangled stuff ;)

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