A Step-by-Step Guide to ECN-2 Film Processing

Hey there, photography enthusiasts! Robert from Brooktree Film Lab here, excited to share a thrilling development with all of you; true ECN-2 film processing! This has been a dream project of mine for quite some time, and after tireless experimentation, I’m happy to say that it’s finally a reality. Today, I’ll take you on a journey through the process, from sourcing the chemicals to producing stunning results!

Introducing True ECN-2 Processing

If you’re a film photography enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of ECN-2 film processing. This method is renowned for delivering exceptional color tones and dynamic range, typically used for motion picture films. While adhering to Kodak’s published recipe may seem complex and inaccessible for home processors, fear not! I’ve come up with a simplified recipe that yields equally fantastic results.

Step One: Gathering the Essentials

Before diving into the process, it’s essential to gather all the necessary chemicals and supplies. I’ve curated a list of the items I used, although feel free to explore other options if you prefer:

Step Two: Preparing the Solutions

Creating the developer solution is the first crucial step. Follow these instructions carefully:

  1. Mix 850ml of warm water (80-100°F).
  2. Add 2g of Sodium Sulfite and 1.2g of Sodium Bromide.
  3. Incorporate 4g of CD-3, allowing it to mix for 10 minutes.
  4. Introduce 30g of Sodium Carbonate Mono and 2.7g of Sodium Bicarbonate.
  5. Top up with water to reach a total volume of 1 liter.
  6. Allow the solution to rest for 24 hours before use.

This developer solution can process approximately 16 rolls of film, with an additional 3% processing time added per roll.

Next, prepare the bleach solution:

  1. Mix 900ml of warm water (90-100°F).
  2. Add 40g of Potassium Ferricyanide (be cautious during this step).
  3. Include 25g of Sodium Bromide.
  4. Top up with water to reach a total volume of 1 liter.

The stop bath can be easily prepared by mixing 250ml of household (3%) vinegar with 750ml of water.

For the fixer, follow the standard C41 fixer instructions, as they may vary based on the type and manufacturer.

Step Three: The Film Processing Process

Now comes the exciting part – processing the film! Follow these steps carefully:

  1. Start with a pre-wash using 90-100°F water mixed with a couple of tablespoons of Sodium Carbonate Mono. Allow the film to sit in it for around 15 seconds, swish it around, and then discard the water. Fill the tank with clean water at the same temperature, shake it for 15 seconds, and dispose of the water. Repeat this process until the water runs clear.
  2. Pour the heated developer (106°F) into the tank and agitate it for 30 seconds. Afterward, agitate it for 10 seconds every minute until 3 minutes and 15 seconds have passed. Then pour the developer back into its container.
  3. Quickly pour the stop bath into the tank and agitate for 30 seconds to prevent color casts or uneven development.
  4. Rinse the film thoroughly (multiple times) with warm water (90-100°F) until the water runs clear.
  5. Bleach the film for at least 3 minutes at 100°F, agitating it for 30 seconds initially and then 10 seconds every minute thereafter.
  6. Rinse the film again with warm water (90-100°F).
  7. Follow the fixing time recommended on the package for the C41 fixer to ensure complete fixing of the film.
  8. Rinse the film a few more times. The last rinse should include the wetting agent.
  9. Hang the film to dry.

A Glance at the Results

After the film has dried, it’s time to unveil the magic of ECN-2 processing! You can either use a dedicated film scanner or set up a DSLR for scanning. I personally use a Frontier SP3000 at the lab, and the results are simply breathtaking.

Sample Photos

Conclusion: Embrace the ECN-2 Adventure

In conclusion, ECN-2 film processing might seem intimidating at first, but with the right approach and attention to detail, it’s a rewarding journey that every film enthusiast should try. At Brooktree Film Lab, we’re excited to offer ECN-2 processing for those who prefer to leave the mixing to the experts. Additionally, we’ll soon be selling pre-rolled fresh 500T and 250D films, though many options are available on platforms like eBay and Etsy.

So go ahead, take the plunge, and immerse yourself in the mesmerizing world of ECN-2 film processing. Remember, don’t fret if things don’t go perfectly the first time; experimentation and learning are all part of the joy in film photography. If you need any guidance, don’t hesitate to ask for help – the film community is always here to support you on your creative journey! Happy shooting!