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Old 24/01/09, 01:09   #1 (permalink)
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Default How do I flatten film before scanning?

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I have recently started developing and scanning my own film. I am now comfortable doing both, but my issue lies at the step in between.

My negatives are very curved after drying, and I am certain that some of the scratches that I am seeing in the scans are a result of feeding excessively curled film into the scanner.

Also, I am going to modify my 5000ed to scan entire rolls of film at once, using the instructions here:
Nikon Coolscan Roll-Feeder Conversion

So, how can I flatten the entire roll (without cutting into smaller pieces)? Also, does the humidity affect the curling of the film when it dries (my house is currently quite dry).
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Old 24/01/09, 01:23   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I flatten film before scanning?

After the final wash before you leave the film to dry, roll the film back onto the reel but with the emulsion pointing outwards so it negates the original curl of the film, then leave it on the reel to dry that way.
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Old 24/01/09, 01:30   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I flatten film before scanning?

My negatives are curled from the edges in, if that makes sense...if you put them flat on a table, they stand on edge and look like a upside down "U".

Would re-reeling cure that ?
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Old 24/01/09, 01:44   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I flatten film before scanning?

It takes time - or the gentle pressure of a book. Looking at negatives that I shot a few years ago, many were curled just after development. Non are curled now.

Try putting the negatives in negative sleeves and then placing the sleeve between two heavy books overnight.

I always found C41 negative the worst just after development.
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Old 24/01/09, 01:50   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I flatten film before scanning?

Steve,

Thanks, but with the scanner modded to scan the entire roll at once, I want to able to flatten the entire roll at once, without cutting and putting into sleeves, etc.
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Old 24/01/09, 01:51   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I flatten film before scanning?

Buy long thin books with lots of pages.
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Old 24/01/09, 01:53   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I flatten film before scanning?

LOL!

Comicbooks would probably be appropriate for me!
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Old 24/01/09, 02:55   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I flatten film before scanning?

Im not sure you will ever get the curl out. With the memory the emulsion has, as soon as the humidity changes all bets are off anyway.

One thing you might look at if you have excessive curl is your development time. Since scanning I develop a little less chunky which seems to allow the scanner to see it a bit better too.

Probably worth a few test strips, see how much you have to reduce the development to get perfectly flat negs. In my situation with my film, water, chemicals, concentrations, agitation routines, weather, I used to get unusable negs at twelve minutes and perfectly flat shiny negs at eleven.
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Old 24/01/09, 03:32   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I flatten film before scanning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by scotteci View Post
My negatives are curled from the edges in, if that makes sense...if you put them flat on a table, they stand on edge and look like a upside down "U".

Would re-reeling cure that ?
Yes. When you roll it onto a reel it doesnt have the edge to edge U anymore. Just make sure you let the roll dry completely.
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Old 24/01/09, 05:50   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I flatten film before scanning?

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Originally Posted by scotteci View Post
So, how can I flatten the entire roll (without cutting into smaller pieces)? Also, does the humidity affect the curling of the film when it dries (my house is currently quite dry).
For my negs, hanging the strip over-night with weight gives me fairly flat negs on both axes. Occasionally when needed I do the reverse-roll method and plop it in a cup for a couple hours.
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Old 25/01/09, 02:26   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I flatten film before scanning?

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Thanks for the advice everyone. I just tried the reverse-roll method, and after an hour the negs are much better for scanning.

Last edited by scotteci; 25/01/09 at 02:30.
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Old 25/01/09, 14:13   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I flatten film before scanning?

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Originally Posted by scotteci View Post
Thanks for the advice everyone. I just tried the reverse-roll method, and after an hour the negs are much better for scanning.
The best advice I've had was to do the above, but rather than putting it in a cup, place the roll back into the plastic film canister..... works like a charm.

I've never had problems with curled negs ever since.
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Old 25/01/09, 14:34   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I flatten film before scanning?

Good advice above. In some extreme cases where I absolutely cannot flatten the negs I cut out the individual frame and mount it in a Gepe 40x40 slide mount. This slide mount is two pieces of glass with a 40x40mm aperture. It holds the neg perfectly flat. One piece of glass is frosted to prevent Newton rings. The frosted glass goes against the film back, not against the emulsion.
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