FAQ Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I use an IR filter with this film?
A: No, unless it is specifically a Color Infrared Filter. The standard R72 filter or equivalent should not be used.
Q: Why do you have paper labels?
A: I purposely left the labels on matt paper. This is a very effective way of seeing how much abuse the film has gone through. Constant thawing and freezing will cause the label to wear. Also, soaking the container in water will cause fading and wear. Scuff marks and scratches are also a sign of abuse. The film is sensitive and external wear gives me an idea of how the roll has been handled in its lifetime. The film should go into the freezer after purchase and come out when its time to shoot. If it goes on a rough trip, then bring it back, stick it in freeze and process as soon as possible.
Q: What is the best way to store the film?
A: Film should be kept in the original package in a freezer. If kept frozen, the film will last several years at least. To prevent moisture condensation, allow film to reach room temperature before opening container, otherwise sticking or spotting may occur. Warm-up time from a refrigerator is about 1 hour and about 2 hours from a freezer.
Q: Does it need to be a sunny day to get good photos?
A: It is misinformation that this film needs to be shot on sunny days and in spring or summer. The film can be used in all weather and all seasons with positive results. The image below was shot in the rain.
Q: How long can film be out of the cooler?
A: After numerous tests, I have found that a safe estimate is that unexposed film can handle up to one month at temperatures not exceeding 55°F before any degrading begins. Even then, it degrades slowly over time from there. I made many tests where the film was mishandled. I took some out to Death Valley where we were out traveling in a car for 6 days. The only cooling the film had was the shade of the car. I then shipped the film back to Germany for processing. It ended up lost for over 2 months in the mail and when I finally got them, they processed pretty OK. See photos.
Q: Can Aerochrome be cross processed in C41?
A: Yes, the film was designed for E6 process to produce a slide, but it cross processes very nicely in C41 for a negative.
Q: Do I expose differently at high altitudes?
A: This is another misunderstanding. Yes, the film speed does decrease as you gain altitude, but this is only if your feet are off the ground. For instance, in a plane of hot air balloon. If you are at a high altitude, like on a mountain, but your feet are on the ground, you really do not need to adjust much. This photo was taken at 6000 ft at my suggested speed of 400 ISO.
Q: How much film do you have?
A: I have a few hundred rolls of Aerochrome 120, a few hundred sheets of 4x5 and a few hundred rolls of CIR 120. I do have more raw stock that needs to be cut and quite a lot of scrap film which has been left over from past sessions.
Q. Can I use no filter?
A: Some people seem to do it with mixed results. I have seen some work that looked good, but I question how much they were worked up in PS. My experience is that I am left with a monochrome pink image which defeats the whole purpose of using this film.
Q: How much exposure latitude is there?
A: The film has a very narrow exposure latitude of 1/2 stop. Still, if you stick with the basic instructions, you should be able to hit the sweet spot, especially if you bracket. Below is an example. These photos were shot 1 stop apart.
Q: How about X ray machines?
A. X-ray machines can ruin film.
There can be safe machines and unsafe machines at the same airport. Airport staff will always tell you that they know what they are talking about and that their machines are safe. Do not listen. They don't know this film and are trained that all "commercial" film can go through.
It is safe to take the film roll out of the container. I always ask to have them physically inspect the rolls and as long as they don't start unraveling them, the film will be fine. The paper backing does a great job protecting the film. The inspectors are usually satisfied after that.
The best thing to do though is to post the film to your destination, shoot and then post it home. That is what I do 99% of the time.
If an airport does damage the film, it will look like this. A huge sine wave across the image! See photo.
Q: How many frames are on a 120 roll?
A: The film is constructed like any normal 120 format roll, so the number of frames depends on the camera that you use. 8,10,12 or 16 frames.