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Ghost Hunting 35mm Film
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35mm Film- Your film options are many for any ghost hunt. Different brands, speeds, color, black and white, and infrared to attempt a categorization.
As far as brands go we have personally used many and not noticed a distinct difference through out many ghost hunts. GetGhostGear.com and P.I.R.O. both still opt for the more familiar name brands when able for the fact that we know if there is some sort of problem with the film we're able to contact some level of customer service for the company. As well as finding any recalls (weíll go into this further later). The major note with choosing a brand is the batch number or manufacturing date and location found on most packages. Looking for this information and making sure not all of your film comes from the same factory and all made on the same date can save some headaches later and lend credibility to unique data (potentially anomalous). Why you ask?
This worry doesn't seem to apply to most modern day ghost hunters - sadly. Okay so let's assume that there is a human error, a technical glitch or a design flaw whatever it may be it may happen and most likely already has. So say you have your big paranormal investigation planned and everything in place. Then you get your film back from your trusted developer and at last you have something on the pictures, something. You were doing a supernatural, paranormal investigation and that is what youíre seeing on your pictures. So you praise to the heavens above and alert all news agencies with your findings. You explain there are unexplainable orbs, haze, beams of lights, shifting of the known setting, and you followed all the right protocols that you have in place and then well you find that the next story there running is a recall on film. This recall just so happens to be the film you were using on that very ghost hunt. Sounds far fetched and a little much, well it can happen and thatís the rub. In other words shop around at different stores that turn inventory at different rates, and use mixed brands to lend credibility when something appears in more than one film real. Okay Iíll get off my soapbox.
The speed options for film sort of has to do with exposure duration. The different locations and setting the ghost hunter will be shooting in will vary as should the film choice. Choose a 200 speed for the Daytona 500 and youíll have a cool effect sure, but not a clear picture. With lots of motion and higher speeds you are likely to get blurry results. The same applies with the amount of light available and flash options. Choosing a 400 to an 800 for a non-flash darker setting may still yield a visible picture where a lower number will not. Then the trade off of course is a slightly grainier picture with the higher number when not needed. As for color, black and white or infrared film they are all good for there own reasons and should be experimented with until comfortable to use on an investigation.
Black and white film some times needs to be developed at a special location capable of working with the different types of the film developing chemicals. In your travels you may here people refer to "true" black and white film over film that is not "true" black and white. The main difference is the processing chemicals used to develop the film and the quality and depth of the end product. Most of your local super stores that have film developing capabilities will develop your black and white film in a color developing chemical without the color. This method is not going to result in a true black and white photo, losing quality and depth in your pictures. These places use what is sometimes called a C-41 chemical (color chemical) to develop their pictures. If you are unable to use any other film developing center other than a small local shop (without "true" black and white developing) request that the film be sent out to a larger center capable of developing a "true" black and white film. Be forewarned that this usually costs a bit more but is well worth the results. This will likely be stressful in the sense that you will often have to educate the customer service person working the film counter. The same goes for the infrared film, ghost hunters.
Infrared film has yielded interesting results in more than one ghost hunt however does take some practice and understanding to use correctly. Its costs are noticeably higher and has to be stored and handled appropriately (stored cold [NOT froze] & loaded and unloaded into your camera in complete darkness) or it is compromised. The procedure used here by the paranormal investigators at GetGhostGear.com has been to purchase the infrared film from a reputable photo shop that receives the film refrigerated from the manufacturer, stores the film refrigerated, and rotates its stock (infrared film has a very short shelf life). We recommend you build a relationship with your local photo shop clerks or owner. Just to make sure they care more about the quality of your end product, and less about the quantity of your money. If you are doing paranormal investigations most likely you will be visiting frequently and will have opportunities to make conversation with them. Get to know them and they should not steer you wrong with the very sensitive infrared film. After purchasing the quality infrared film it should be refrigerated or used as soon as possible. Before using a roll of this film remove it from the refrigerator for about one hour. This allows for the film to slowly acclimate in temperature to a safe level before loading it into your camera to avoid fogging, and condensation that could harm the film and the inside of your camera. Now a couple of points about your camera that youíre using the infrared film in.
Some of the newer models of 35mm cameras use infrared technology inside the camera itself that allows it to advance the film correctly. This feature is typically called "auto advance" and is quite common on most 35mm cameras. It is this technology that we want to steer away from when using infrared film. Using this film in a camera that has the infrared beam advancing technology will typically cause a fogging to appear on your negatives and developed film usually appearing along the bottom of the frame. These affects can range from fogging, misting, and streaking. Sound familiar? Let me try another way; as in ghostly fog silhouettes, ectoplasmic mists and unusual streaks interpreted as interdimensional portals and so on. We've seen and heard it all before and while these claims can not always be determined to have been caused by this, those making the claim rarely if ever are aware of this one possibility from many. In the case where infrared film was used in a 35mm camera with infrared technology in use, any anomalies found will be difficult to substantiate as anything but a naturally occurring phenomena on the film itself as it interacts with the camera. We would consider the use of Infrared Film an advanced step in a paranormal investigators career.
Most 35mm cameras today have a small window on the back panel that allows you to see the roll of loaded film. When using infrared film it is a rule that you should not be able to see the canister or the film itself...ever. By leaving this window uncovered you are enabling the possibility of light contaminating your infrared film causing a fogging, light streaks and flares to appear on your developed film and negative both. We recommend using a dark duct tape or black electrical tape and fully covering the areas of your camera that allow you to view the canister. P.I.R.O. recommends familiarizing yourself enough with your camera so youíre able to load it with your eyes closed (yes this is a bit of overkill, but we like to think of it as redundancy). P.I.R.O.ís recommended protocol for loading infrared film is to place your camera and closed film container in a dark bag. After placing it in a heavy sided bag (such as a black garbage bag), open the camera and film container and proceed to load the film. Close the camera wind the film and you are finished. Oh yeah one more thing do all of this in a darkened area not in the middle of a sunny field. Infrared film can be found or special ordered at most specialty camera stores and will typically require sending it to a different location to be developed.
New to ghost hunting?
Always make the request in writing on
the film order form of "EXPOSE ALL FRAMES."
If you do not, most developers will only develop
film that has allot of something exposed on them.
As paranormal investigators we take plenty of
dark photographs. The one speck of
something for example, that appears in your
photograph might be just what you're looking
for, but will probably be considered a blank and
not developed if not requested.
We will continually be adding information to the above item as resources permit. We have started creating some additional knowledge centers on paranormal investigating equipment in general and for the EMF meter. We have included some links below to start you on your way. The EMF topic is just to big to capsulate into one single page. Below are some editorials that range from our personal rants on industry issues, to more scholarly scientific journal type entries, to that of a simple opinion editorial. We highly recommend that you start at the top and finish in that order at the bottom! Enjoy:
Complete List of Articles
Many more to come
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