The PhotoVision Process

Your Film Arrives at PhotoVision!

Your film has made it safe and sound, woohoo! Now that your film is here, we’ll send you an email letting you know your film status has switched from Awaiting Processing to Processing.

While checking in your order, we’ll make sure all your film is accounted for and matches your online order. Then, we’ll determine where it goes next in the lab.


Transforming Your Film into Negatives

Film development is a scientific process that we still find magical to this day. Developing (also known as processing) is where we turn your exposed film into beautiful negatives through a chemical process in complete darkness. Here’s how:

  • First, we clip your film with a twincheck (the numbering system we use to keep track of your film in the lab) and hang it using weighted clips at the bottom to ensure your film does not curl up during processing.
  • Next, we move your film from our prep rack to the processor. This is where the magic happens! The steps look a little different depending on if it’s color (C-41) or black and white film.

C-41 (Color Film)

  1. Developer

    The first and most important chemical in the developing process is the Developer itself. Developer is the chemical that forms the image, turning your exposed film into a negative.

    • How it works: "During the development step of C-41 [color] film processing, an oxidized developer reacts to the color layers of the film emulsion to result in the formation of dyes while the silver halides are concurrently being transformed to silver metal." ("Film Processing" by FUJIFILM)
    • If you need push / pull processing, it happens here in the developer. Push/pull processing refers to the amount of time film is in the developer to compensate for under- or overexposure. Learn more here!
  2. Bleach

    After developer, your film enters a bleach solution that is used to convert the developed silver image into silver halides. This prepares the silver to be soluble in the fixer.

  3. Rinse

    A quick wash through water removes any excess bleach.

  4. Fixer

    Removes all the inactivated silver particles so your film is no longer sensitive to light.

  5. Final Rinse

    A quick wash in water clears your film of any remaining compounds.

  6. Dryer

    Film is dried.

Black + White Film

  1. Developer

    The first step in the black and white developing process is the developer. Developer is the chemical that forms the image, turning your exposed film into a negative.

    • How it works: During the development of black and white film, the developer reacts "with the film's emulsion, [its] light-sensitive crystals, converting them to black, metallic silver. The greater the exposure, the denser the concentration of developed silver." (Black & White Photography: A Basic Manual by Henry Horenstein)
    • If you need push / pull processing, it happens here in the developer. Push/pull processing refers to the amount of time film is in the developer to compensate for under- or overexposure. Learn more here!
  2. Stop Bath

    Developer continues to develop film until it is neutralized. This is where Stop Bath comes in. It is just as important to stop the chemical reaction of the developer as it is to start it!

  3. Fixer

    Removes all the inactivated silver particles, so your film is no longer sensitive to light.

  4. Rinse

    A quick wash through water.

  5. Hypo Clear

    Now that your film has been developed and its final images are preserved, any leftover chemical residue is removed.

  6. Rinse

    A quick wash through water.

  7. Photo Flo

    A wetting agent that helps protect your film as it enters the dryer, reducing spots, watermarks and drips.

  8. Dryer

    Your film is dried.

Once taken out of the dryer, the weighted clip is removed from the film—which has been dried straight—and is slid onto a rack to be transported to a light table for Exposure Reference sheets.


Exposure Reference Sheets

Exposure Reference Sheets are designed to close the gap between your exposures and your scans. They show a thumbnail of each of your images, so you can study your exposures and understand why your scans look like they do. They are the ultimate feedback waiting for you in your inbox! Learn how to read your Exposure Reference Sheets here.


Crafting Your Negatives into Beautiful Scans

Scanning

Your film has been developed into negatives that are now ready to be scanned into digital files by our expert color technicians! This is where we apply your artistic vision by hand, frame-by-frame.

We have a fleet of Frontier SP3000 and Noritsu S-1800 scanners ready to rock 'n' roll. Although these scanners have some differences, the workflow is very similar:

First, your film is loaded roll-by-roll into the scanner. Beneath your film is a lightbox. An expert color technician chooses the correct amount of light and color to project through your negative, so it can be captured by the scanner’s sensor above. This process creates a digital scan. Essentially, we’re taking a picture of your picture!

But how do we know the right amount of light and color adjustments to make to each frame? Reference images! Reference images are 3–5 frames that best represent your style in terms of skin tones, density, contrast and saturation. Learn more here.

Color Check

Now that your film has been scanned, your scans are sent to Color Check. Color Check is where we fine-tune the coloring and density of your scans. This step gives us greater control than at scanning and is really what helps set our film scans apart from other labs. Color Check helps your scans stay consistent from frame-to-frame and allows us to draw even closer to your vision than scanning alone.

Final Check

Your film has made it to the final stage! In Final Check, we take one last look through your scans, to find any imperfections such as scratches, light leaks, water damage, base fog and more. This allows us to spot any issues you might be having with your film or camera so we can let you know right away!

Happy Scan Day!

After Final Check, it's time for your beautiful scans to be uploaded to Box.com, an online file sharing system that keeps all your orders organized. When your upload is complete, we'll email you a link to view and download your scans! Woot-woot! Learn how to use Box.com here.

If you ever have any questions or concerns regarding your order please don’t hesitate to reach out by phone: 503-588-3686, email: info@photovisionprints.com or schedule a Zoom call.


True Photographic Prints

If you ordered Signature Process + Scan + Print or Everyday 35mm, your scans are sent to our printer immediately after upload.

Our true, photographic wet process prints pay homage to traditional darkroom printing and come on only the finest premium Fujicolor Crystal Archive Supreme Paper. Our photographic paper undergoes a wet, chemical reaction to create a print that can last 200+ years when stored correctly! This is different from inkjet or “giclée” prints where ink is sprayed onto paper.

Prints made directly from your film scans are shipped 1–2 business days after your scans have been uploaded.

Want to see your scans before you order prints? Not a problem. You can order prints at any time here!