New Video on Pre-Flashing Paper Negatives

Rate this Entry

I got around to shooting some video yesterday on the subject of pre-flashing paper negatives. I tried to be as informative as I could while keeping the length of the piece as short as possible, but I still managed to make it 11 minutes long. Apparently I love to talk.

I didn't touch on how to actually do test strips or contact prints, since I'm assuming most people with an interest in this sort of thing already have some darkroom experience (though that would make for another good informational video), but I did show how I do a basic pre-flashing exposure test strip.

For those interested in such things as the behind-the-scenes details of shooting video, I used an adapted manual focus film camera lens while recording the video on the Lumix G5, a 25mm Vivitar series 5 in Minolta MD mount, giving an angle of view equivalent to 50mm in the micro-4/3 format. I did this so you wouldn't see the constant hunting of an autofocus lens, so I could easily adjust the lens aperture and so I could more easily manually focus for the closeup shots. I also like the smoothness of the video using this old lens. The video was recorded in MP4 format so it could be uploaded to the iPad2 and edited in iMovie into the finished production. The iPad doesn't play well with AVCHD video files, hence the use of MP4.

Let me know if you have any additional questions on the subject of preflashing paper negatives. Enjoy.


PS: I will soon be making a video on the subject of using Harman Direct Positive Paper, including pre-flashing.

Updated 04-23-2013 at 02:35 PM by JoeVanCleave

Tags: None Add / Edit Tags


  1. colray's Avatar
    Great clip Joe.

    Just one question about your contact prints. I haven't made contact prints from paper negs for so many years is was in the days before RC papers and the main problem was the thick fibre base I guess with the new thin resin coatings this isn't so much a problem. In one of Ned's threads I asked if he re-moves the paper backing when printing paper negs by contact, I wonder if you have any thoughts on this?


    PS I did make a twin light reflex printer for paper negs it worked just fine only one slight problem with reflections because the negs where not 100% flat in the carrier .
  2. JoeVanCleave's Avatar

    In the video I addressed this by showing what the paper negative looks like from the perspective of the print paper underneath, with the paper negative backlit as it would be using the light source. In that example (backlit by a light box for the purposes of making it easy to see in the video), the full tone of the negative image is clearly seen through the translucent paper backing of the RC negative, from the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights.

    I see no reason to peel apart the emulsion from a paper negative, I am pleased enough with the resulting contact prints, which you can see for yourself in the video.

    I know other people report having done this emulsion peeling, but I have nothing to add on that subject. If cost were the concern for not using conventional sheet film, medical x-ray film is reported to work very well and can be very inexpensive, and in my opinion would be preferable to peeling paper emulsions.

    Thanks for watching the video.

  3. DaCh's Avatar
    A good video Joe. You explain everything really well so maybe the words are all needed
    I agree that there is no value in stripping the emulsion.
    I have plenty of experience of doing this to make canvas mounted portraits and it is tricky.
    You must strip an even thickness of the backing all over and you must be careful not to stretch the emulsion out of shape.
    And contact printing works fine through the paper. It is surprising how little difference it makes to the exposure.
  4. rdungan's Avatar
    I have been thinking of trying paper negatives and wonder how to pre-flash. The video was very good and provided all the info I need to start. Thanks.