Shooting Red Scale Film!

Posted: 11/12/2014

Guest Blog by Mark Killmer

I shoot quite a bit of redscale film and I thought some forum readers might be interested redscale film, how it's made and different shooting techniques. This is not a complete guide, it's just my perspective an how I shoot with it.

Redscale film is simply colour negative film that is reverse loaded. This mean the emulsion side that normally faces the lens faces the back of the camera. Light that exposes the film must go through the backing layer of the film and it hits the emulsion layer in the reverse order.
Typically this creates a red/orange cast in the film:

Maldon Mountain Bikers by TheAntiMark

Because light travels through the backing layer, the ISO of the film is lowered, usually by about 2 stops (if you are after that reddish look).
Some redscale films can be severely overexposed to remove the red cast, for instance, Lomography Redscale XR 50-200. Lomography recommend shooting between 50 an 200 ISO, by I find ISO 25 gives a nice effect:

Goldminers Homestead by TheAntiMark

As you can see, the colour balance is - well - interesting... This red cast can sometimes be changed in post processing by adjusting the colour balance sliders. Even with the adjustment, the film has a look to it that is unique:

Dinosaurs in Docklands by TheAntiMark

To be clear - the colour effects in the images are from the film, not Photoshop - in fact - I use Photoshop to tone down the film and make it appear more "Normal".

I used to adore Lomo XR 50-200, but was constrained by availability. I started making my own Redscale 35mm film by unspooling film, in the film bag, cutting it with scissors and rewinding.

Different film stocks give very different results. I like the "colourful" redscale look, not the "red" redscale look. Certain film stocks and shooting techniques produce different redscale effects. Kodak gold gives a classic orange effect that cannot be easily balanced out:

Redscale Roofing Tin by TheAntiMark

Redscaled Fuji C200 shot at ISO 25 produces the best look for me (below).

Richmond, Tasmania by TheAntiMark


Firebird by TheAntiMark

(you might notice a lot of blue scratches and noise in the images - I attribute this to the fact that redscale film is running through the camera backwards and is easily scratched - also the extra handling introduces more chance of dust and scratches.)

C200 can be shot at ISO 12 or lower - the redscale effect is less, but the colour palette continues to be characteristic of redscale film:

Dockland Trees ISO 12 by TheAntiMark


Historic Richmond - 50's style snapshot by TheAntiMark


Giant Gladiola #4 by TheAntiMark

This blue filter effect can also be applied to redscale images in post processing (but not as effectively).

Zeiss + Tulips by TheAntiMark


Redscale+Photoshop light blue filter:
Tulips with cooling filter by TheAntiMark

In all these photos I have used Lightroom to adjust the balance and get rid of dust, but they are largely presented as shot/scanned.

Redscale film is developed as per normal c-41 process.

Mark Killmer gave up on digital a while ago and hasn't looked back. He has lots of interest in 120 format B&W and Colour - as well as developing at home. All of his film photos are home developed usually Caffenol or Tetenal c-41. Mark's handle on Flickr is The AntiMark and you can find his photostream here.


Additional reading: Red Scale blog by Lance King -

Support The Film Photography Project by visiting our on-line store! The FPP On-Line Store sells offer the following Red Scale films!

FPP Svema Red Scale 35mm HERE

120 RedScale Film HERE

620 Red Scale HERE


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