Developing C-41 Color Film at Home


To begin your developing process, you need to ensure that everything is at the correct temperature before you start. Start by placing the Developer and Blix into a bucket of hot water and wait until they are at 102°F. Once they reach this temperature, you are about ready to go.


To make this easier for you to comprehend, I will list out the next steps with specific times and temperatures to help you get the best results:


  • Pre-Soak (0-1:00) | Using your darkroom thermometer and your sink, set the water to 102°F. Once the water temperature is set, fill your tank with water and begin the timer once the tank is full. Do not leave the water running.
  • Developer (1:30-5:00) | After your first minute of soaking in water is done, your next step is the developer. It will take you about 20-30 seconds to pour out the water and fill the tank with developer, but try your best to make sure the tank is full before 1:30. Once the tank is full, agitate the film using the agitation stick for 10 seconds (1:30-1:40). After this initial agitation, perform four inversion cycles every 30 seconds thereafter (2:10, 2:40, 3:10, etc…). Once you hit the five minute mark, begin to pour your Developer solution back into your amber bottle.
  • Blix (6:00-12:30) | For me it takes about a minute to pour my chemicals back into the amber bottles, so I begin the timer for Blix at 6 or 6:15 usually. From there you will agitate the solution for the first ten seconds (6:00-6:10) and then you perform the four inversion cycles every thirty seconds thereafter again. Keep your eye on the blix and continue this cycle until 12:30 and then pour the chemicals back into the amber bottle marked Blix.
  • Wash (13:00-16:00) | Using your darkroom thermometer, set the water temperature of  your sink to anywhere from 95-105°F. Once the temperature is set, let the water run through the tank for 3 minutes.
  • Stabilizer (17:30-18:20) | Now that you have washed your film, the last stage of the process is to use the stabilizer to make some final cleaning touches on the film. Once you have filled the tank with the stabilizer solution, agitate the film with the agitation stick for the first fifteen seconds and then let it sit for 30-45 seconds. Once you are ready, pour the solution back into the amber bottle.
  • Dry (45 min.) | The final step after you take the film off of the reels is to use your film squeegee to dry the film off. This will remove any external liquids from your film to make sure that everything dries evenly and without any bubbles or spotting. After you squeegee the film, hang them on clips in a relatively cool area where there is minimal dust. One good spot with minimal dust is the bathroom, specifically if it a bathroom with a shower or bath tub. This is because the steam from the shower tends to remove the dust in the air, making it a much better place to let your film dry off rather than the office.
AGITATION METHODS:Agitation helps create evenly developed exposures, and prevents over-processed, under-fixed negatives.Constant agitation:Fluid inversions and/or rotations, while changing direction.Intermittent agitation:30 sec constant agitation, then 10 sec every min.Minimal agitation:10 sec gentile agitation, then 5 sec every min. *Bromide drag lines can occur if left to stand for any more than 1 min.
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