How Does Film ACTUALLY Work? (It's MAGIC) [Photos and Development] - Smarter Every Day 258

Publicerades den 13 jun 2021
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  • I tried to find a definitive video on the internet that explained how film works. I couldn't find that video.... so I decided to make it. I called Indie Film Lab and they were all about it. I love film photography and would love for you to try it. They're at

    • Well you nailed it - a great video explaining the whole process of how film works. Indie Film Lab was awesome!

    • This brought me back to my High School days when I took a class on photography and we developed black and white film. I can remember popping the cap of my first roll in the pitch black room and then winding it up onto one of those reals to be developed. There truly is something magic that can never be captured in the digital world.

    • always wondered,how someone invent this kind of process

    • thanks for the explenation,my dad was a photograph and we both made the photos in the dark room,now im older my intrest where triggerd but i cant find a way that explained to me how it actually works

    • This has me thinking if film gains weight once exposed with particles.

  • wait 15 mins for the lights? TIme is money, get new lights

  • Having worked in the industry for over 20 years, including 13 on the Frontier sp-3000 and 5 years on a Noritsu machine, this really bought back memories. I like the fact that film is making a comeback, I will say to print directly from the film is even better. As you said it's magic, once you digitize it you can cheat the process. Great video, made me want to get my old film camera out.

  • Thank you for reminding me how much I loved shooting film as a kid in the '90s. Since watching this video I've picked up a couple old cameras and started developing and scanning my own film at home. I'm thinking of setting up a proper darkroom and getting an enlarger to make my own prints. It's really rekindled my love of photography and got me out and seeing the world in a new light.

  • One of the things that I thought was coolest about my high school was that the photography students actually spent a fair bit of time shooting with film cameras, and had their own dark room for developing the photos. Destin, you'll also appreciate that it's located right in Alabama! In fact, Jinny (31:05) is an alumnus of my high school's photography department.

  • Sorry Dude. I spent 30 years shooting film, developing and printing same. Give me digital.

  • Just remember that what they are doing beyond the development at that company is not the same film process like it was in the past. They are doing an analog/digital process. Back in the film only days there was no scanning of film and the ease and accuracy of digital editing. It actually took digital (scanning tech and image editing software) to get the best out of film. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation in regards to film and what it is really capable of, not to mention how film was s used in the past. The fact is, film is grossly inferior to digital in every traditional measure of image quality. Sorry to have to burst any bubbles, buts that's the simple truth.

  • No use of gloves when handling film. 👎👎

  • Even if I were given film for free and I got free development and prints, I would never go back to shooting film again. In every single meaningful way film is grossly inferior to digital.

  • Nja 👍 😎 Good video. Real good film camera photo. Vs digital camera. Real film camera photo big size image. 400iso real 450megapixsel. Small chemical silver dust utt. But problem money this chemical film camera. Future stoped products films. Museum story future.

  • My first job out of high school was as a photo tech. It’s crazy that I worked through the film age, into the digital age, and now back into the film age.

  • What you say at the beginning is so true. I was a photographer back around the time when most pros were moving over to digital and I think the quality of my photos went down after switching over. As a college student/freelance photographer I was on a pretty tight budget and depending on the type of film I was shooting a single frame could be a $4 or $5 investment (film cost/development/print cost) so I think I took way more time composing my shots and making sure everything was perfect before hitting the shutter. With digital you just get into this mindset of snap a few hundred pictures and see what you get. With film I could go out for a day of shooting and not take 100 pictures but with digital you can do 100 in less than half an hour. Also working in a darkroom was almost as much fun as shooting the pictures to begin with. There is something very zen about processing your own film and making prints. Alternative processes are a lot of fun as well.

  • Good job Destin, enjoyed it.

  • The difference between digital camera and a film camera is practice, digital camera give you more chances to get a better picture but flim camera can only give you limited chance to get a better picture as well the fear and worry if you get a perfect picture, in other words an emotional Rollercoaster of a photo

    • @Reuben Kay Cheng Ong Why would the old way be better if the new way is in every meaningful way grossly superior?

    • @Frank Silvers quality is improve overtime but sometimes the old way are best way, or at least built the foundation

    • @Reuben Kay Cheng Ong Actually, the inherent attributes of film and digital capture are essentially identical. Digital simply greatly improves on film. I can easily fool someone into thinking a digital camera image was made with film by simply shooting at a lower resolution and at a higher ISO.

    • @Frank Silvers true, but at the same time is hard to duplicate with flim and double as a safety feature for photo shop or illegal edit

    • Digital also produces vastly superior image quality.

  • the other thing fantastic about film you get the prints to keep and there is nothing better than looking at them in your hands and they out last you that after your gone someone else can browse through and share in museums ----that digital wont do and ps i still have my NIKON F4 6 frames a second and you can accidently have a wrong setting on a flash and it knows and adjusts never had a dud picture ever

  • what model was that Nikon camera at the end? With that analog display?


  • OHIO

  • that beginning was kind of like ASMR.

  • Outstanding, Destin! That was flawless!

  • Hey i have a olympus miu ii and there is a - sign that Won’t go away what do i do

  • She's freaking CUTE!!!!

  • True. I worked in the prepress factory for 15 years and done film developing. Even the old books made mostly by hand developing has different feel than today's ones. Viva ANALOG! The same goes for music.

  • *Sees a bunch of gears and pulleys* "Alright nobody say anything I can figure this out" 😂

  • I am a camera collector, and this video has given one more reason to appreciate the process of taking images on film. I agree that the sense of anticipation after you have shot an image makes you feel like you have created something new. Kudos to SmarterEveryDay for bringing out this very educative and inspiring video.

  • I still wear a mechanical watch, all springs, gears, and an escapement mechanism. Everything can be seen, everything understood. Its construction made by an artisan, a human, whose workmanship is displayed on my wrist and someday on my son's wrist. The lack of silicon, battery, and quartz takes me to a time when life seemed more real, more warm, more genuine, as it was in 1970s America.

    • @Frank Silvers Yes, the professionals still know the art.

    • @Jim Bo Touching up with an editor is exactly what almost all film shooters of today do. Most serious digital photographers are also not shooting on auto.

    • @Frank Silvers Sure you can shoot in full manual mode, but most people don't. Most shoot in full-auto where the onboard computer decides all the settings and then they touch it up with an editor.

    • @Jim Bo Film doesn’t take any more talent. Photos are captured in the same way with both mediums and nailing down the technical side is actually pretty easy. You don’t need the ability to take an endless amount of free photos like you can with digital to master the technical side of film photography. Talent does matter. There is just so much you can do digitally, so while digital editing is great, you are giving too much credit in regards to it being able to save crappily captured photos, never mind the artistic side, which is actually the hardest part. Besides, few people today even shoot film the way it was in the film only era. Most people were at the mercy of crappy one hour photo labs.

    • @Frank Silvers Which is why it took more talent to capture a great photograph with a film camera. If you didn't have an understanding of F-stop, aperture, shutter speed, film speed and how the settings all interrelate, you couldn't capture a stunning picture. Today talent doesn't matter. It's so easy to correct a flawed photo with Photoshop. Not much talent needed.

  • Back, when I still did film, I wondered what C-41 processing looked like; now I know. Thanks Briefly, my thoughts as to what's so special about silver based film photography: 1) the process involves hands-on craftsmanship, and produces a tangible piece of work; 3) the recent increased interest, is mostly due to a degree of nostalgia (e.g. baby-boomers reflecting on their younger years when photography was only film); 4) silver based photography was not the first photographic technology, and will eventually takes it's place alongside earlier processes.

  • Like any art form before the digital age, it took more effort and talent. Today, whether it's photography, music, or graphics, anyone can cheat by cleaning up their lack of talent with an app.

  • If you think film is magic, then go print and develop your own black and white photo. Watching the image slowly appear on a sheet of white paper in the tray of developer is both magical and satisfying.

  • I was surprised to hear they were using fluorescent lights in a darkroom 🤦‍♂️

    • @Tyson Matanich Yeah, but.. Its quite whatever when the only time they need to keep the lights on is when theres a maintenance or a document that needs to be done :'D

    • @boch because as stated in the video florescent lights take several minutes to stop emitting visible light. So every time you turn off the lights you have to wait before pulling out film etc. Incandescent or LED would be a better choice for a darkroom.

    • why wouldn't they. not gonna keep them on when developing

  • I love to learn. It's humbles your intelligence ego to learn something you didn't know. I tend to think I'm relatively smart and know a little about a lot and a lot about a little but I'm still learning a lot of new stuff on every video I watch from this channel.

  • It's great that this is explained to the digital generation. When I was in Jr High, we took photography classes where you would develop your own photos and film by hand. We just did black and white of course to begin, but it was an amazing experience.

  • That machine is modern technique compare here in the Philippines .

  • Why in the world would anyone digitize a film image? I do all my stuff either on slide film or I develop my black and white negative film as slides. No digital for me. You of course are free to do as you wish. I just think you're cheating yourself. I hope this lab returns your film to you. A lot of companies don't so they can mine your film for silver. I think the film is the creation and belongs to the shooter.

  • I thought it was funny but I don't think he "deserved that" in any way. He asked what they would use the night vision goggles. Not why they would use them.

  • Still shooting film for weddings (35mm) and specialty portraits (4x5 view camera)

  • Awesome Video and info. AND I ordered my grandson a kiwico subscription, so thanks

  • cool!

  • I learned my photography over a Minolta X-700 in the 90s before I had my first DSLR in 2007(Sony Alpha A100 with CCD) and currently still owns it without intention to replace it with anything else> I get what you said in the beginning as it was how I felt like an apprentice.

  • I love the OHIO shirt! Awesome video!

  • thank you for making and showing the movie. Thats really magic

  • 28:37 and you always need one "C:/ disk" backup. and a good Local network

  • I see where you are going here, and I agree. I always feel more creative when I use my analog camera. I own a Cannon AE1 program and have used it for well over 30 years. But I also have to admit I rarely use this camera anymore because of the cost associated with this camera: purchase of the film, and the processing charges. In any case this is a great video. Thanks

  • No doubt film extinct.

  • Man this same debate runs wild in the audio world recording using tape vs digital ADAT.

  • Meh, as a photographer you can care less about the "feel" of film. It's a tool, not for giving you warm fuzzies. That is what your end result should do. Film to me is relegated to creative photography or simply shooting with old lenses. Film is completely obsolete and only comeback it has is among the hipsters who are more concerned about being cool than taking a good pic. Sorry if I sound calloused, but I started out on film. I still have a film body, but it's a tool. Not a cup of cappuccino.

  • Awesome stuff as usual!! I love your brain. The moment when you stopped everything to learn how the machine moves was great! I’m the same way!

  • Thank you so much for this video!! I got into film a little over a year ago, and now use my film cameras as often or more than my digitals! I love the excitement of developing my black and white at home, and have always wondered what happened/happens in those labs.

  • Film photography is what i got my start on with the hobby side,Canon AE-1 I now own an old Nikon FE and two Nikon Digitals. But the mechanical of the film camera is something i love,that and the mystery of no previews

  • Just shared this video. i use this service & people ask me about sending out old rolls of film all the time, but then, they never do. i just don't do a good job of alleviating the fear they have about losing these memories. Although it doesn't seem to be the reason behind this film; it really highlights the company, the process & the fact that lots and lots of people are still getting real film developed every day! Indie Film Lab is great! Fuji frontier sp 3000 is amazing, Film photography is the past, present AND future! Great Video THANKS -

  • And it can't be geo-tagged! 😉

  • i didnt know film is making a comeback. what i do know is camera makers are crazy with the mirrorless sheet and killing the SLR/DSLR totally

  • The mechanical indexing system you noticed at minute 16:18 is called a “walking beam”

  • Film can be recreated as it has been proven by Steve Yedlin. It's just freaking hard to do so.

  • They just do not have microcontrast in them. Disable that default feature on your Canon digital camera and you will have much better photos. However, most people like microcontrast at first. Like most people buy sparkly shining flaring monitors and then whey try to use it on sunny day and understand that have they done and go into the deep depression and their eyes are already burned out. But nobody cares, product already sold. Same thing ruins digital photography, I'm looking at you, Canon! Remember, people, ANY processing lead to information loss. ANY filter make your photo worse. No exceptions, that's the law of physics. This rule is more strong than the conservation of energy. Nobody cares, though (

  • That Hana thou really cute

  • I found this website that sold film cameras and even some disposable ones, i thought it would be neat to try one day for nostalgia but i'm not sure where to go to get the pictures developed............

  • One thing I noticed when looking to upgrade my PC about 14 years ago was that ATI (AMD) had better colors than Nvidia. I wonder if they take into account all that kinda thing too. Not sure if it's true anymore though.

  • I worked in a photo lab back in the nineties. I always said 35mm was the best. Can't beat the clear colorful pictures. It's coming back thank you 👍🤩

    • 120 is even better, and chimney viewfinders...

  • Beautiful video as always

  • Has smarter every day some a video on crypto?

  • I just watched this at .5 speed hahahaha it was actually very entertaining lol

  • @Destin, would be great to know next time you're in Sioux Falls!

  • 34:23 Objectively, the digital shot is better in almost every way, but I do like the aesthetic of the film shot

  • Next step, make a pinhole camera and see the physics about that (im just curious)

  • she is cute 😊

  • I have always wondered how film works. Never thought I would find out. Thanks for this awesome video.

  • Digitized is a sample of the image. So much of it is lost forever when you take a digital photo. Film has all of that depth, because it isn't a sample, it's as close to the copy of the original as you can get.

  • 1.4k dislikes disgusting people

  • what is film? what is you talking about bro

  • Shooting on film is still a thing in the movie industry. On a very small scale, of course, but from time to time some directors will choose to shoot on film. Film has an observable unique look because (in digital terms) it's pixel quality is different from digital image. Back in film school, we still have to learn how to shoot on film & operate real film editing machines. In this day and age of digital film making, many film makers like to "run & gun" during their production. Well, if you're shooting on film, its cost always gives you second thoughts of your decisions & you'll plan meticulously beforehand.

  • The algorithm is tripping me out now. I'm sitting here editing my film photos and this video pops up as I'm watching Sopranos highlights.

  • This huys are amazing!

  • You’re genuinely interested in keeping film alive. So thank you! You should make a video for music mediums as well.

  • This is cool but should also do a video on how to print from film to a photo paper without a scanner, we had dark rooms in high school and you place the film in this projector type thing, set the aperture and square the light beam up to the size of paper and flash the light through the film for a second, then you put the photo paper you just exposed a projected image of the film into in 3 chemicals and watch it form like a Polaroid camera

  • RIP Kodachrome 1935 - 2007! Latitude unmatched!

  • When did J roc start making SElists videos 😆

  • 27:30 Ross to Destin: ''Yes sir.'' 27:37 Destin to Ross: ''Yes sir.''

  • My fiancé can do what ever she wants designing our wedding but I’m making sure we only hire the best film cameras 😁

  • I love how he records the whole thing on a digital camera😂

    • @joseph debbah I’m just joking dude

    • he was talking about taking PHOTOS with film cameras not vid....honestly I don't do neither but as you can see some ppl do like it...

  • Improve yourself and make yourself proud 🥇

  • Kinda in the same boat as Rod with the AE-1. Instead of being gifted one, I found one sitting in a gutter on the side of a road. Surprised it still worked after I got the old lens off and put another one on it. Still haven't gotten it figured out though.

  • I was just casually watching and said to myself, “wow, that’s Jackson Square. I was walking through there three days ago.” Destin: “this is a shot from my trip to New Orleans.”

  • nice one for making this

  • Whole crystal is developed. Not just part of it.

  • Hiya Just Subs to you awesome Vlogs saw your one showing the see thru Carburettor that was pure OMG thank you

  • Nice!

  • This video inspired me to take up film photography... I found my dad's 25 year old canon... With a 15 year old film inside... And I got those developed and it was some awesome pictures from winter in Feb 2006... Thanks! 😅

  • Let me tell you how much I HATE digital anything... I've lost 4 smart phones in past 8 years, each had pictures of my grandkids from the day they were born and nearly daily thereafter. The oldest is 14. All of his childhood photos are gone as are his cousins and the rest of them. The youngest is 6. I refuse to take photos with my new, first and only IPhone I've ever owned. The cloud and Google captured about 1/20th of my old photos but none of the oldest child pre 6years old. Devastated!!! I have every single film photo taken prior to that over 40 years. Too bad I wasn't as prolific a picture taker for those first 40 years. Hate digital. And don't start on me about not putting the digital on a PC...I haven't owed one since 1999.

  • How much are you getting and from whom to promote film??? Film is not making a comeback, it's got terminal stage 4 obsolescence and is hiring you to be it's positive outlook.

  • This was really great! Nice to see that good people make business from photographic film again. 😊👍🏻

  • This is one of the coolest door I've ever seen.

  • Destin, thank you for covering the chemistry of film...great details!!! could you please get into a local darkroom and make a print that you have to dodge and burn to enhance...there is even more magic beyond the film negative! bonus points if you do an alt process like Lith or Bromoil, or cyanotype and Gumoil or Vandyke Brown! then get into Toning with Selenium and Gold, look at split tone goes deep...later you could do Mordencage printing (something a digital camera can never duplicate), that softens the silvered emulsion but keeps the light parts of the image attached, making a shadow curtain you can move and shape....using chemistry to make art is awesome....

  • You know what? When we're looking at film photo, that nostalgic feeling always come.

  • Thank you so much for this video, photography is just not the same since it was digitized. I grew up doing slide photography when scuba diving, I always looked forward to the friday before the end of the trip. The dive shop would showcase all of the best photos from the week in a slideshow put to music. It was a very unique experience and it was sometimes the first time you would see your photos and it truly was magical. Being able to see the photos as you take them is convenient to discover issues right away; however, I feel it also takes away from the overall experience of photography. I am building a dark room again to get back into black and white photography, but I may explore utilizing indiefilmlab to do some color again as well. Thanks again for the video!

  • Wow first a video on carbs with a see through now another thing I am very familiar with - film. Not only did I grow up with film cameras having a Kodak Brownie as a kid then going into hobby photography as a teen with 35mm SLRs and having my own darkroom but also working for a professional photography company in Chicago in 1975/76 as a darkroom technician and studio photographer before I enlisted in the Air Force. I was supposed to be going into a photographic field after basic training but was switched and put into air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles before we finished basic but I still continued my photo hobby and was able to use the base hobby center's darkroom at my first base in Las Vegas (Nellis AFB). Later I went to other bases that didn't have photo hobby centers so I fell into using the consumer developing places both local and mail-in. When I worked for the place in Chicago we both manually developed and had Kodak machines that we fed the film into at the beginning in the dark and the processing of the slide or negative films were done by the machine and the dried film came out the opposite end in the light where we could cut the roll into strips of so many frames. Most of the jobs were professional and advertising shoots so we would contact print the developed negatives and the customer cirled which ones they wanted and what size and we printed them with an enlarger one at a time. I loved working with film and I still have film cameras but just recently found that films are once again being produced and that developing processes are coming back so I may revive that old hobby of film photography and teach my grandkids a little about an alternative way to take photos not just with a phone or digital camera.

  • Brought back a lot of memories from the 80s when I worked at the nations’s (maybe the world’s oldest photo lab, E. B. Luce Corporation in Worcester. We had a dip and dunk for E6 and roller transport for C41 film development. Our dip and dunk machine also used nitrogen bubbles for agitation, but because we developed so much film, gas canisters ran out too quickly, so we had a big tank of liquid nitrogen. My job was mostly making large photo murals (up to 52” (the largest material width) x 16’ (the width of my darkroom’ in my darkroom). I used a Durst 2,000 watt enlarger that could handle negatives and chromes up to 8”x10”.

  • Can we get a shoutout for the edit of this video? 't Is amazing!

  • Ah, the 90s. When photos were rare semi-precious things. When every time you get photos developed, it's always an event. And you always find that one photo where your finger was on the lens or it got overexposed. And you can't even remember what it was supposed to look like.

  • This was fascinating