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Thread: HOW TO Load Film Holders. A tutorial video for beginners.

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    schafphoto's Avatar
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    HOW TO Load Film Holders. A tutorial video for beginners.

    I created this How To video for some of my students who wanted to know how I have been loading 4x5 and 5x7 film holders for the last 30 plus years.

    https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/272152776

    Since I had 25 sheets of old 4x5 film that were bad, I put them back in the box and put this little 6-minute vid together in one take. (Only the first 2 minutes matter)
    It's one guys opinion, and YES, my dark slides are "backwards" (from industry norms) I have always had them white=exposed and black=ready. In my defense, my new interns and assistants don't have to wonder what holders are exposed or not.
    Vimeo now lets you make a quick gif of part of a video so I snipped part into the endless loading sequence below.


    Some days when I go into the darkroom to load all 200 of my holders it can seem like this... only darker.

    I'm curious how others do it.
    -Schaf
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

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    Re: HOW TO Load Film Holders. A tutorial video for beginners.

    That's quick. I find it necessary to work a a bit more slowly in the dark and ensure that the film is under both rails.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

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    Re: HOW TO Load Film Holders. A tutorial video for beginners.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    That's quick. I find it necessary to work a a bit more slowly in the dark and ensure that the film is under both rails.
    My trick for that is once the film is about halfway in the holder, pull the free end up, perpendicular to the holder. If its under the rails, it usually pretty obvious. If it pulls up unevenly, then just pull it out and try again.

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    Re: HOW TO Load Film Holders. A tutorial video for beginners.

    Quote Originally Posted by schafphoto View Post
    ... and YES, my dark slides are "backwards" (from industry norms) I have always had them white=exposed and black=ready...
    -Schaf
    If its white, it's seen light. Always Seemed obvious to me...

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    Re: HOW TO Load Film Holders. A tutorial video for beginners.

    Light creates black.

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    Re: HOW TO Load Film Holders. A tutorial video for beginners.

    Quote Originally Posted by abruzzi View Post
    Light creates black.
    That is correct. I was taught that at school too.

    But the label color is arbitrary: the slide and film don't care. Since I didn't apprentice with any 4x5 shooters, the tradition hadn't been ingrained in me when I started using holders in my own studio on jobs. I wrote the word 'EXPOSED' in Sharpie on the white edge of the dark slide because there was a different assistant in the studio every month and some of them had never seen a 4x5 holder before and airport security could see the word exposed when hand checking my film through security.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    If I had twelve holders, it would be easy to keep track, but we keep track of a lot of holders...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Of course most people aren't using this much film in a week, so the work creates certain workflows and requires cases just for film depending on if the job is in Guam or I drive my truck.
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

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    Re: HOW TO Load Film Holders. A tutorial video for beginners.

    We might as well make this a useful post for beginners learning how to shoot 4x5 so if you have any other tips related to holders or best practices, send then in.
    I use Gallon size Ziplock (or Glad) Stand and Fill slider bags for my cleaned and loaded holders. Five holders fit easily, or six holders fit if three face left and three face right. I have never had a problem with static, but I have heard others might, relative humidity here is usually 40-50%. After the film is exposed, I put the holders back in the bags until development.
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    Bags of 6 go into plastic tubs that hold 4 packs (24).
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    Two tubs go into a zipper-top, soft-sided, insulated ice chest I found on Amazon. Three chests go into truck.
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    For my trip to Guam, I put film into bags, taped bags with Do Not X-ray tape. Put bags into a pelican wheeled case with a layer of foam around the edge, and used it as carry-on. I had a dark-bag and extra film to download/reload those holders if I needed to expose more.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by schafphoto; 29-Dec-2021 at 09:58. Reason: typo
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

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    FILM HOLDERS: Care and feeding, tips and techniques

    On camera, I use a "11"inch tablet/reader" pouch with a loop sewn on the corner that holds three holders while I compose and focus. This keeps the holder in darkness, out of direct sun while I take my time and move around to find the best angle. I have two of these pouches, one in pink and one in black. My helper can load unload one while one is fully ready on the side of the camera. The pouches will hold 4x5 and 5x7.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The newest one is the green one. It's available on Amazon (12-2021) now in black with various accent-colored zippers and interior. Another feature I look for is that the inside of the pouch not be a material that will attract/create/hold dust, and the Amazon one has a dimpled neoprene interior that fits that requirement. Note: The trick is finding a pouch that zips on the top and not the side, and a lot of the pouches available have soft fuzzy interiors that are described as "scratch free" for the e-reader or tablet, but that doesn't work so well if you're out in dirty environments using it for hundreds of holder changes a week.
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

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    Re: HOW TO Load Film Holders. A tutorial video for beginners.

    What are the components of the umbrella? Are you using it as a lens shade, or just as protection from heat?

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    Re: HOW TO Load Film Holders. A tutorial video for beginners.

    Quote Originally Posted by r.e. View Post
    What are the components of the umbrella? Are you using it as a lens shade, or just as protection from heat?
    UMBRELLA: I use it for a lens shade, rear sunblock, top shade for me, and sometimes I'll hand-hold it sideways as a wind block. It is a "Sport-Brella Versa-Brella" (Amazon again) with a custom copper pipe extension added, underside spray painted black, and a SmallRig clamp added to the bottom because the stock clamp didn't go around my tripod center column.
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

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