Have you ever gotten CineStill film back and seen these weird markings on the film? Typically when this happens, you can contact CineStill and they’ll probably send you a new roll. At least, that’s what happened to me. But have you ever noticed how you’ve never seen this on other film at all? It’s never appeared on Kodak Portra or even any of the black and white films. So what’s causing it?
The answer is kind of complicated. CineStill film is a movie film that’s usually developed in a very specific way. But the company removes a specific layer of it. That layer is called Remjet. Removing that layer helps give CineStill its signature look. But in the process, other things can happen. Sometimes static electricity affects it. At other times, it’s just not cleaned off correctly.
So what can you do about it? Truthfully, there’s nothing you can do. Perhaps you can try to fix it in post-production. But that can also be much more work than it’s worth. The worst part here is that you often can’t predict what will happen with the roll of film at all.
Just to clarify:
- Storage won’t really affect this. But static electricity can. So if you’re storing the film somewhere, make sure it’s in the fridge or something.
- Defrost the film properly. Give it time, and don’t rush the process. However, this, too, won’t affect the red marks.
- Pulling the film too tightly won’t affect the red marks.
- Cross-processing the film won’t affect the red marks.
- They might be less pronounced if you overexpose the film, but even then, there are no guarantees.
- Keep the film off of anything staticky. That can be clothing, rugs, scarves, etc. This has become less of a problem than it was before, however. Growing up, there used to be static electricity everywhere. But it’s largely gone now. Even if you try to walk across a rug with socks on, you probably won’t generate static electricity all that much.
- It won’t come from film crinkling up or your personal mishandling of the film.
- CineStill recommends that you develop the film pretty much immediately after you’re done shooting it. If you’re not going to do that, then put it back in the fridge until you’re ready. Keep it away from anything that might spill on it.
- CineStill is typically more temperamental and delicate than other films because of how it’s made. The process of removing the remjet layer can sometimes put some extra stress on the film. Most of my problems with film have indeed come from using CineStill. But despite that statement, they’re still very rare.
If you’re shooting with a CineStill black-and-white emulsion, you’re most likely not going to see this at all. And so it will only happen with the color emulsions.
If you want the look of CineStill, it’s unfortunately not being done by anyone else. Because the company removes the remjet layer, the images get this very unique look. The folks over at Atlanta Film Co. also use cinema film, but they’re not doing the extra step that CineStill does to develop the images with C41 chemicals.
Of course, it isn’t always all that bad. Sometimes it can result in a happy accident with the effect of having a seriously gorgeous look. It won’t be clinical, but that’s part of the fun of film photography. Be sure to also check out our guide to CineStill films. Be sure to pick some up if you’re interested too!