Video: A Comprehensive Guide to Developing Your Own Color Film

If you’ve ever been interested in developing your own film, but don’t know where to get started, this comprehensive video by YouTube user Photography_Bloke might be just the resource you’ve been looking for.

In the video Photography_Bloke takes a first-hand look at developing color film via C–41 process. A bit more difficult than comparatively standard black and white development, he details each delicate step of the color film development process.

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It’s eighteen minutes long, so not exactly a short watch, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a much better hands-on resource of how to go about developing color film. To coincide with the video, he’s put a collection of notes breaking down the individual steps, timing, and more over in the ‘About’ section of the YouTube page.

As a little bonus, Reddit user RememberToBackupData chimed in the comments with a wonderful little resource of his own. It’s a full-blown guide to mixing, developing, handling and even scanning for the C–41 process.

Combine the video with this handy guide and you’ll be well on your way to getting started with developing your own color film.

(via Reddit)

  • BenjamimDaniel

    Is there anything like this but for b&w film?

  • Ralph Hightower
  • docholliday666

    And, without proper, precision temperature control in C-41, you’d end up with all kinds of variance in the color. Use a Jobo or at least a water bath made from an aquarium heater. Tabletop dev is good for B&W, but C-41 & E-6 need the temps to be within .5deg to give accuracy and consistency.

    Not to mention pouring stabilizer in the dev tank will leave a film that’ll screw up your next batch. True stabilizer is formalin based – and doesn’t wash out correctly. Stabilize in a separate beaker, with the film OFF spool.

    And, handling C-41 isn’t the same as B&W – C-41 has many components that are highly carcinogenic. I have a fume hood in the darkroom just for working with C-41.

  • Hyper

    Awesome, why don’t you make a video about this to show us how its done accurately?

  • Jacqui Dee

    Yes! I do my own
    b&w but I’ve never heard of people doing colour at home for the
    exact reasons stated above. When I studied at photography college a few
    years back, my school was the last to still run a black and white
    darkroom. They had shut down the colour darkroom due to health concerns
    (students handling carcinogenic chemicals).

  • Pickle

    Oh yeah, film is soooo much superior *rolls eyes*.

  • NDT001

    ^ unnecessary.

  • Gary

    Come back when digital can match the detail you get from 8×10 negatives, hell come back and gloat when it can match even medium format.

  • Robertmanningjr

    Definitely coming from someone who has never seen a medium format film negative.


    why? digital medium format looks great and you have no need for chemicals and all this wasted time and money.

  • genotypewriter
  • genotypewriter

    What does “looks great” mean? Some people think instagram looks great.

    We’re talking about what’s superior. There are pros and cons of each approach… surprise!

  • Aezreth

    I have a medium format digital back, and yet I still prefer shooting film. I love the look I get with film, it’s not about resolution, sharpness or anything silly like that. I also love the process, it makes me feel more connected to the work I’m doing.

  • docholliday666

    Get an Autolab, program the settings, insert film in drum, load chems, hit go.

  • NDT001

    Hi Geno. I read your blog. Its an interesting read, its a shame it descends into a technical debate as these articles inevitably do. Its hard to explain why film feels better to a younger generation of image-makers who are accustomed to super sharp, easily manipulated, what we could call ‘digital’ looking’ images. Why would anyone bother going to the trouble of dev&process their own film when its so easy and controllable with digital capture and digital post workflow. I imagine Pickle is one of these, its just the way image-making has gone these days and the newer generation simply have no reason to engage in a film based workflow. After all, on the surface its, messy, slow , requires huge diligence, and a lot of physical dedicated room so its has no appeal unless you commit yourself to it. Its only when you delve deeply into this art form that rewards come, much like home cooking an amazing meal as opposed to having it pre-prepared.

  • genotypewriter

    Glad you found it interesting! As someone who has acquired a taste in manual focusing long lenses and shooting action in the single shot mode with cameras that were never intended for shooting action (all at the same time), I can honestly say that I understand what you mean because I do enjoy doing things the challenging way for that unexplainable reward.

    When it comes to film, however, the reasons why I shoot it are very tangible. I don’t think that particular article descends too far in to technicalities for a photographer… at least not when you see how much technical detail classical pianists or opera singers go in to in their fields :)

    And here’s another such reason for my liking of film:

  • Robertmanningjr

    Does it take more time? Depends. Do you shoot 80 frames for digital while I only shoot 10 with film? More money? Are you joking! Do you own a digital back? Did you pay for it? I can have a roll of film processed and scanned in less than an hour. Are you still sitting at your computer with digital an hour later trying to get your images to look like film? Is it messier? Absolutely. You have to get your hands dirty. But it’s the difference of the feeling of building your own house or having someone build it for you. I’m going to build my house the right way and when I make a darkroom print of that negative, there is not a digital printer in the world that can “simulate” a chemical darkroom print.
    Now if I could push a button and make my digital printer spit out a darkroom quality print, I would do it. If I could load images from my digital camera and they look like Ektar 100 film, I would do it. It just can’t happen. Yet. And all that said, I would still go in my darkroom and find pleasure in pulling images out of fixer.

  • Pickle

    It’s just payback for all the times I heard film guys telling me Digital was not real photography and it would never catch on. Now the only thing they have to say is “well I just well, you know, like the peacefulness of working with deadly chemicals, and you know, stinking up my whole house only to get a sub-par picture”. Just payback.

  • Pickle

    It looks great in that it doesn’t have any flaws, unless you want to add flaws. It’s pure. It’s about the picture and not the medium. If you think about it, film is like instagram since you’re forced to use a single filter.

  • Pickle

    By your own admission, 35mm film tops out at 15 MP. Even an entry level FX DSLR like the D610 has 24 MP’s with even more dynamic range. You also have to scan the 35mm film which adds another level of processing which degrades the image and requires more processing to fix the little specs of dust and you’re again at the mercy of the scanner quality.

  • genotypewriter

    lol… nothing pure about Bayer images. You might want to look it up.

    It all depends on the magnification. A simple concept. And film is not one look… there are different emulsions too. It’s only a problem if you want to do everything in film. Just like it can be argued that doing everything in digital is also not good.

  • genotypewriter

    Did you actually read the entire post? You seem to have missed the point completely.


    does film do 6400 iso? or higher?

  • Gary

    You bet! Trix has been pushed to that and much further, all the way to 25600 iso. And the results are pretty good.

  • BoneDiddlie

    Hanging on to all this resentment for years and years, just to post the above comment – priceless.