Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14

Thread: how to cut film in the dark?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    354

    how to cut film in the dark?

    So I ordered the wrong size of film. Stupid, I know. But now I have that camera that I want to try and only film that is larger then what I need. I need 6.5x9 cm (but ordered 3.25x4.25 inch). I don't see any on stock that I can have here during my holiday. So the fastest way to have somthing to shoot would be cutting down 4x5. I have a lot of it and if I'm fiddling a bit I can get 2 sheets of 6.5x9 out of a sheet of 4x5. It will turn out at 6.25x9 but I can live with that to test the camera.

    Now how do you guys cut film in total darkness? I barely manage to load a development tank.

    My tought was to cut 2 pieces of thin MDF or plywood in the size I need. Make a kind of hinge with tape along 1 side. And then cut with a cutter around it.

    Assuming I do not cut off a couple of fingers, how do I mark it then to know what is the emulsion side?

    Probably stupid questions but I'd like to have some opinions before I try something even more stupid.
    Expert in non-working solutions.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    1,746

    Re: how to cut film in the dark?

    For this kind of stuff I use a rotary cutter. Mine (a Dahle) happens to have a metal construction on which magnetic strips can easily be stuck. Just position a strip as a stop, slide in film, cut, put away, etc. Works OK as long as the strips to be cut from the film aren't too narrow.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Bend, OR
    Posts
    372

    Re: how to cut film in the dark?

    I use a hole punch for the cut piece without the marking- with a little practice you can get to the point where you can feel it about 1/2 way in and then you will get a semicircular removal on the edge which can be felt in the dark

  4. #4
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    14,732

    Re: how to cut film in the dark?

    I have 2 Dahle cheapest Guillotine cutters, used only for film

    Practice in daylight!

    I gaff tape down matt board for a production stop

    Cut one way, then move to second cutter for the other

    I sit down, relax and have all supplies ready
    sin eater

  5. #5
    Photographer
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Pine Junction, CO
    Posts
    867

    Re: how to cut film in the dark?

    I cut 8x10 to 4x10 on an inexpensive Dahle rotary cutter from the stationery store. I have an aluminum bar taped to the bed of the cutter. The important thing is to get the aluminum bar in exactly the right space so the film will fit into the holder. Since you will be making two cuts, your challenge is doubled, but doable. It's really pretty easy. Just get everything laid out so you can fit it in the dark.
    Keith Pitman

  6. #6
    Michael Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 1998
    Location
    Nashville, Tennessee
    Posts
    544

    Re: how to cut film in the dark?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Pitman View Post
    I have an aluminum bar taped to the bed of the cutter. The important thing is to get the aluminum bar in exactly the right space so the film will fit into the holder. It's really pretty easy. Just get everything laid out so you can fit it in the dark.
    I cut 6x10 & 5x8 like this for years. As Keith says, just get it set up & working in the daylight & then have a routine for cutting in the dark. I use scissors to nick the end of the "new, un-notched" sheet.

    Good luck.

    Mike
    “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?”

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Blue Jay, CA
    Posts
    2,325

    Re: how to cut film in the dark?

    I didn't want to buy a rotary cutter just for this, since I have three of the guillotine style. Excuse my French. I put a couple layers of masking tape down on the left edge and slide the film up to that in the dark. So long as I use two (clean!) fingers to hold down the film and keep it against my masking tape fence, it has worked fine for me.

  8. #8
    Jim Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chillicothe Missouri USA
    Posts
    2,799

    Re: how to cut film in the dark?

    Cutting a wee bit from the corner of film nearest where the notches should be is another way of indicating emulsion side. We can handle film with bare hands while developing film, but clean cotton gloves are more important here.

  9. #9
    (Shrek)
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Montreal
    Posts
    1,755

    Re: how to cut film in the dark?

    Guillotine cutter with a wooden base. I drilled holes and insert finishing nails for the stops. If you plan it, you can do more than 1 series of cuts in the dark, by putting a nail in each required hole, and cutting the film at the shortest length first. IE, cutting 8x10 down to 4x5, cut the required number of sheets at 4", then remove the 4" nail and cut them all again at 5". You may use more than 1 hole/finishing nail for each cut if alignment is a concern.

    As for marking the cut sheets, I use scissors and cut off a corner. I'm not really happy with this solution as I sometimes cut enough to require a crop in the image.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    SooooCal/LA USA
    Posts
    2,045

    Re: how to cut film in the dark?

    Make sure you have a very clean space with smooth surfaces to wipe down to prevent dust/lint from getting on film...

    Hitting film on bottom edge (like a deck of cards) before loading or boxing each sheet will dislodge crud... Box or load film right after cutting to avoid dust settling...

    And check if cutter cuts a really clean edge, as cutting itself can make debris...

    Steve K

Similar Threads

  1. Dark Spots on film
    By Robert Kalman in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 16-Nov-2015, 18:09
  2. dark slide going BEHIND film
    By fralexis in forum Style & Technique
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 2-Apr-2012, 15:37
  3. Dark specks on film
    By Tori Nelson in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 18-Sep-2008, 17:32
  4. Loading film; how dark is dark enough?
    By Tim k in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: 29-May-2008, 23:36

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •