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Thread: Organizing Film Holders

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    Organizing Film Holders

    Curious what folks use to organize film holders? As in, do you organize by brand, then number, or just number them all sequentially regardless of brand, or use some other means?

    So far I've been doing it by brand/number since most of mine are used and were already numbered. I've been putting thought into if I can improve upon that. I wrote a web app to help track my film work from logging and printing out shot sheets with it to keeping track of darkroom print settings and I've thought about adding in the tracking holders.

    The problem I've run into is I'll load a buncha holders, carefully right down in a notepad what's in each holder. But then I might not use all of them in a session/trip but might write more notes down in the notepad later on. That makes finding all this stuff hard and I've now exposed enough sheets by accident to realize I need a better way. A notebook works great in the field, especially when I'm gloriously out of cellphone reception (which means I'm probably someplace awesome!) but not so great once I get home. And since I already transcribe my notes into the app, updating my the state of my holders isn't much extra work (eventually I'd envision having a mobile app that can do this but I'm not a mobile app dev - I'm a Database Admin and Linux Sysadmin that sometimes plays web developer).

    Obviously I'm over-complicating it so no doubt someone is going to school me on a simpler solution, but still curious what ya'll tend to come up with!

  2. #2

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    Re: Organizing Film Holders

    I've pared my 8x10 holders down to woods(Kodak/Graflex) and plastics (Lisco Regals) Slow ISOs go in one, fast ISOs go in the other, or Ortho depending on what I'm shooting. Those round stickers from the office supply section I use for numbering. Notes in a note book---I've lost too many Post-its
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  3. #3

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    Mar 2011
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    Re: Organizing Film Holders

    I've numbered all my 4x5 holders with a unique number, and A and B sides (e.g. 35A, 35B). Those with different films are kept in different labelled bags. When shot, the dark slide is turned to "exposed", and put back in the same filmbag. My "app" is a pocket-sized moleskine notebook, in which I record the shot - film holder #, exposure, subject, etc. I also keep a log of any light-leaks or mechanical problems with holders, and if a particular holder shows recurrent problems I throw it out. I don't differentiate by brand or make - if it's a reliable holder, then I keep using it.

  4. #4

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    Re: Organizing Film Holders

    I just number mine, and use a letter on the second side.
    Since I started with 4x5 they start from #1 and go up to something like #30A

    With my 5x7 and 8x10 it is still the same, except I start the number with 57 or 810

    Since I keep a sticky note on my film holder with all the info on my numbering system doesn't mean much unless I start seeing issues like obvious light leaks in just 1 photo.
    Then I can grab out the sticky note describing the negative, and look at the film holder shown.

  5. #5
    Christopher Barrett's Avatar
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    Re: Organizing Film Holders

    When we shot film for work, we carried three types of transparency film and after loading the holders, each one got a strip of tape over the top of the holder (front to back). It was just 1/4" tape that helped insure that the darkslides stayed in place. The main function of the tape was color coding for the film. Blue was daylight balanced, red was tungsten balanced and green was Velvia.

    This helped us keep the emulsions sorted and we'd flop the darkslides as well... (white tab out unexposed, black side exposed).

    Sometimes I used white tape to note exposure differences. This stuff was all artist's tape, so it didn't leave any residue on the holders.

  6. #6

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    Re: Organizing Film Holders

    Ah keeping notes about light leaks is a good point. For the app I was going to have a "notes" section although nothing as fancy as a log of sheets. Didn't think of A and B sides (mine were just flatly numbered when I got my first used ones) but that's a good idea. Also those garage stickers are a super good call!

    I've been using masking tape for my Chamonix - they didn't come with a space to write on but since they are new (and very pretty) I've been wary of which adhesives I use (masking tape probably not the answer here). Typically I just load them up with all the same film (since I only have 2 holders and usually shoot films in batches of 4 since that files nicely into a PrintFile.

  7. #7

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    Re: Organizing Film Holders

    I use an App named PhotoExif to sign all data about the shoot for a specific holder.
    Than I can transfer all data to the scanned file.
    Using Grafmatic mostly, this process is excellent: each Grafmatic has a number
    When I use standard holders I name a batch of 6 holders in the app, and each shoot with a number from 1 to 6. The rest of the procedure is the same.
    When I use more than one film, I have multiple batches in the app.

  8. #8

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    Nov 2015
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    Re: Organizing Film Holders

    Mine (4x5) are numbered sequentially regardless of make. Some years ago I measured all of them and discarded those not making spec for film plane depth, so I am missing some numbers now. If I ever get more (unlikely), I’d continue the sequence. I put a strip of blue painter’s masking tape, with the film type written on it, over the top at the edges so I know for sure they’re loaded and with what. I replace the tape after exposure. I take notes on paper the old-fashioned way.
    Last edited by Mfagan; 22-Sep-2018 at 12:43. Reason: Missing punctuation

  9. #9

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    Re: Organizing Film Holders

    For me it is pretty simple. I am usually more interested in the print itself and less interested in any of the supporting information.

    I just number the film holders sequentially regardless of brand. If they leak light they get culled.

    Once I have a negative it gets a unique file number that has nothing to do with the file holder itself.

    I use a web database called Film Tracker to keep track of each negatives aspects such as camera, lens, date, film type, ISO and so on. I also have a text file that details more specific information regarding the location and exposure information if I have held onto it.

    Some negatives don't get developed right away and I am pretty bad about keeping notes during the shoot itself so I may not have exposure data. I have some nice notepads that would help but rarely carry them with me. Location, time of day, etc. I can usually dredge up from memory if it hasn't been too long.

    Even though I do try to hold onto some of this information my database is really pretty blank. I can usually tell you the camera, film and lens but after that it gets a bit chancy.
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

    If you don't believe it, look into an 8x10 viewfinder!

    Dan

  10. #10

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    Re: Organizing Film Holders

    Thanks everyone! Gives me some things to think about for how I can better improve my workflow.

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