Rotterdam Emulsion Workshop

Saturday, 28 January

Alex, Robert, and Esther mixed up a batch of Robert's experimental sensitized emulsion recipe. It was left chilling in the refridgerator for a couple days.

Monday, 30 January

We started by shredding the sensitized emulsion, after fixing various light leaks in the washing room.

Next, we adjourned to the emulsion making room, where we began a full batch of the Unwashed Emulsion, from the Silver Gelatin book, recipe 5. We mixed up a big batch, and coated some immediately on 15 strips, 5 each in these three ways:

  • brushed on with the film on a horizontal table
  • coated on similarly horzontal strips with an airbrush
  • brushed on while hanging up.

We then finished the sensitized emulsion by adding "solution c," which contained the sensitizer. All seemed to go well, and at the end we coated 15 more strips in the same manner as with the unwashed emulsion. Note: a compressor is better than propellant gas, because the gas smells bad!

We then shredded and washed the "unwashed" emulsion, and left for the night.

Tuesday 31 January

We started by putting away the Unwashed Food Gelatin strips, and then coated some strips with the washed food emulsion, and shredded and washed the sensitized emulsion.

When things were washing and drying, we exposed the unwashed strips. Initially, we used a flashlight, and things seemed to work well. Then, it being sunny outside, we shot some in a camera, over at the canal a block away. It worked! The images were clear, the irregualrities interesting: there were odd cracks that came and went with the unwashed brushed camera footage, and the airbrushed footage was often extremely bubbly, courtesy of Robert (or anyone else) not knowing how to use the airbrush very well.

Over the course of the day, we then coated the sensitized emulasion and the washed food emulsion, and exposed both in the camera and with a flashlight. It all worked. The sensitized emulsion shows some promise in an (arguably) higher maximum density, but the food emulsions work very well.

The sensitized emulsion does get very thick and sticky when it's not hot, and clogs the airbrush.

Also, we tried exposing the sensitized emulsion in a camera with Esther's "Red" tungsten light, and it should have been enough light — we read it with a light meter at ISO 1 — but nothing. We thought that perhaps the emulsion really is only blue sensitive, and just won't work under tungsten light, or not very well, since it does work with flashlights, but they're probably giving a very high exposure.

We stopped at 6 or so, and cleaned up — it was a great two days, and there are folks still there, too.

Thanks, everyone!

Here is a print of the in-camera footage, couresy of Esther who can actually move things from the manual universe to the digittal one:

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