Exposing Both Sides of Cinestill 800T

Why even mess with a good thing?

Now there’s no argument that Cinestill produces great-looking films. The way that 800T renders colors gives your images that coveted ‘cinematic’ look with a pleasing halation and glow around the highlights. It’s one of the most popular films in production thanks to the distinct look it creates. But what if you could make images shot with 800T even more interesting?

I understand that’s a completely subjective question, and many of you will disagree with me that it could be improved upon. However, as a fan of weird-looking images and someone who spends quite a bit of time experimenting with different films, I can tell you that 800T looks phenomenal when it’s redscaled.

What is a Redscale film? I’m glad you asked, person reading the article! “Redscaling” is the process of flipping the film over and shooting through the backside which creates a very distinctive and different look. Essentially the light hits the color layers on the film in reverse which gives your photos a strong red cast.

Taking this a step further, what if you were to shoot Cinestill backward to achieve that red cast, but then expose it again on the front? This technique is known as “Exposing Both Sides” and can yield some super interesting results!

Marking the shutter window to align the frames for each side

Shooting the roll

I had a bunch of free time this past weekend and was looking for something photography related to get into. At a crisp 16°F outside, shooting landscapes or roaming around town wasn’t particularly appealing. So, an indoor project it is.

Grabbing a roll of 800T I meandered up to my music room with a theme in mind- a sequence of guitars and audio gear images using multiple exposures while shooting both sides of the roll. With nothing pre-planned, let’s be really pretentious about this magnificent body of work and title it “the vision of sound” or something edgy like that.

The setup was pretty simple. Using gear from around my studio I composed a few different shots that I thought might overlay well. When lighting the shots I didn’t use anything fancy. Either ambient light, a window, or a 150w monolight. I metered all of the scenes with a Sekonic 308.

Using a Nikon F3 and Tokina 105mm Macro for detail shots

When shooting both sides of 35mm film, the iso ratings need to be adjusted for each side to better balance the exposure. I rated the iso for the front 1 stop less at 1600 and increased the back side by 1 stop to 400. Doing this helps the brightness of the two exposures match fairly evenly against each other.

Also, when exposing both sides I’ll usually go through the extra effort to line up the frames on the front and the back. By marking an X where the shutter window lines up you’re able to re-align the frames for the second exposure. However, for this roll I was feeling lazy and didn’t worry about it which actually made for some interesting compositions.

Exposing both sides of any color film is a lot of fun, and in my opinion, can deliver some really interesting images. If you want to try it for yourself, I’ve posted a step-by-step how-to video guide here explaining the process that I use. Below are a few of my favorites from this experimental roll of 800T:

Results

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Kodak Ektar 35mm Film Camera
Cinestill 400D 35mm Film (1 Roll)
Kodak Porta 400 35mm Film (1 Roll)
Kodak Portra 35mm Film (5 pack)


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