Loading Sheet Film
Loading Sheet Film Double Darks 4×5. This is a very rough and basic video of showing the steps involved in loading 4×5 sheet film into a double dark film holder. Obviously these steps need to be made in total darkness, regardless of whether you are using black and white or colour film.
Dust on sheet film
Dust is without doubt the biggest problem when handling and loading sheet films. Cleanliness is the key, along with some measures to reduce static electricity which attracts airborne dust to the film surface.
My personal preference is to load film in a darkroom where there is plenty of space and the film surface is unlikely to make contact with another surface (such as a change bag). If you don’t have a darkroom, use some cardboard and black out a small room’s window (eg toilet) and use it to load film at night when everyone has gone to sleep!
Film changing bags can be useful, look for the ones that have internal frames that support the bag lining into the shape of a half dome. This helps stop the bag material from touching the film surface by creating a film “tent”.
Cleaning film holders with an air blower
Before attempting to load film, clean your film holders inside and out. Use an air blower or similar to blow dust particles off your film holders. Stack the cleaned film holders carefully on a clean flat surface ready for loading. You may want to use an anti-static gun to reduce static on your holders before cleaning and loading.
Handle sheet film at its edges
Always handle your film from the edges. Finger tips deposit oils which will become obvious on developed film. Unless you want them over your images it is best to avoid touching the emulsion side.
Load emulsion facing you
Load your film holders with the film emulsion facing towards you. Make sure the film notches are in the top right hand corner as you look at the film in a portrait orientation.