Getting experimental with redscale film

If you are into experimental film photography I definitely think that redscale film is something you should try out. I’ve shot quite a few rolls of redscale film recently so I thought it might be a good time to take a look at some of the results.

What is redscale film?

Redscale film is actually normal color film that is exposed from the wrong side. When the emulsion is exposed through the base of the film the pictures will get a strong color shift. Your photos will get lovely warm shades of red, orange and yellow. Take a look at some of my test photos:

Red scale 35mm film example

Red scale 120 film example

Red scale 35mm film example

Red scale 120 film example

Red scale 35mm film example

Red scale 35mm film example

Red scale 120 film example

Red scale 35mm film example

Redscale 120 film example

Redscale 35mm film example

Redscale film example

The results

One thing that surprised me when I got the photos back from the lab was how different they turned out. Some got intensive red colors while others only got a slight tint of red. Some photos even got tones of pink and purple while others ended up with more yellow or orange colors. Darker areas of the pictures often appeared quite grainy with hues of blue or cyan.

Shooting redscale film is obviously a bit unpredictable. Apparently the amount of light that reaches the film surface affects the colors. The more light the film surface is exposed to – the less red it will become. On the other hand – when exposed to less light there will be more distinct red colors.

The most important thing to remember when shooting redscale film is that it demands plenty of light. The photos often tend to get a bit underexposed because of the nature of the film. Don’t be afraid to overexpose the photos a bit. Personally I really like using redscale film during the autumn and winter when it’s grey, rainy and dull. It’s a simple way to add some warm colors to your photos. But as I mentioned – the film demands plenty of light so use longer shutter-speeds or larger aperture settings.

Rollei redscale film ISO 800

Lomography redscale film ISO 100

3-pack of Lomography redscale film XR ISO 50-200

Available redscale films

  • Lomography Redscale ISO 100
    This is the standard ISO 100 redscale film produced by Lomography. It is available as 120 film and 35mm film.
  • Lomography Redscale XR ISO 50-200
    With this film you can achieve different hues of red depending on what ISO rating you’ve set on the camera. If you are using lo-fi cameras such as Diana or Holga you won’t be able to set a specific ISO rating. In those cases the results will be quite similar to the film mentioned above. It is available as 120 film and 35mm film.
  • Rollei RedBird ISO 800
    Another interesting redscale film is the Rollei NightBird ISO 800. The higher ISO rating of this film makes it more sensitive to light and therefore it can be used in more varied light conditions. I haven’t used the Rollei NightBird myself yet, but it’s definitely a film I want to try out in the future.

Make your own redscale film

It is possible to create your own redscale film out of normal color film. Check out the video clip below where Josh teaches you how it’s done. The video explains how to make 35mm redscale film but it is also possible to create redscale 120 film – though it’s a bit more tricky. Maybe that’s a topic for a future blog post. The procedure needs to be done in complete darkness so make sure you’ve got a changing bag if you intend to try it out.

For more redscale photography inspiration check out this gallery with some amazing work from the talented members of our Flickr group: 10 Stunning Redscale Photos

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