Shooting on Super 8 is easy (and great fun), but tracking down the right chemicals and mixing them to create a positive film strip to project with… that’s something else.

You cannot buy developer for reversal film in Ireland, and they won’t post it to you from abroad. Normally the only solution is to use a standard film developer but this produces a negative film – good for printing but bad for projecting.

Our solution is to make our own developer.

Aside from two different film developers, you need a “bleach” (a heady mixture of sulphuric acid and Potassium Permanganate) and a clearing agent (Sodium Metabisulphite). You also need lights (to re-expose your film) and nerves of steel (or Pyrex to be safe).

Getting hold of the chemicals is half the battle. You’re on the phone, explaining, begging, convincing that you’re not cooking crystal somewhere… Then you have to find the place out in the boonies of some industrial estate, sign mounds of paperwork, get it back safe, and don the thickest pair of gloves you have.

The sulphuric acid burns through most things, while the potassium permanganate will stain everything purple. But in the right doses and followed by a second round of development, you end up with a positive film ready for projecting.

While this might sound like a fool’s errand for a 3 minute film in the age of digital, the process is magical and the results speak for themselves.

For more information on our Super 8 course, where you get to shoot, develop and edit your own Super 8 film, click here.
If you have super 8 film you would like developed, contact us at info@darkroom.ie

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