How to Load Film onto a Developing Reel

For most of the people, video making is just bringing the object in frame and pushing the “Capture” button. However, there are a couple of things involved in the preparation. The most important one is loading the film onto a developing reel.

Mostly, it is believed that it’s a tricky thing and this is quite right but it does not mean that one needs to be extra smart to do this. By following a few simple directions, anyone can load film without any trouble.

However, make sure that you are following the guidelines properly otherwise any mistake can ruin your film.


  • 1

    Get the equipment:

    First and the foremost thing you need to do is to gather your equipment. Make sure you have everything including a changing bag, an exposed film, a canister opener, developing tank and developing reel. No matter if you are using metal or plastic tanks as you will need this equipment for this procedure. Check your equipment list before opening the film.

  • 2

    Practice with cheap film:

    Before loading the actual film, you should use some cheap films to be prepared for the process. Keep practicing and you will be able to load the actual film with great ease.

  • 3

    Load the changing bag:

    Next thing you will do is to put everything in the changing bag. This bag is used when you do not have a proper dark room. This bag protects the film from unwanted light and other elements. Make sure that you are placing everything in an order. This will help you to find out where they are. Close your bag and turn off all the lights.

  • 4

    Open the film:

    Your next step will be to open the film. You can use canister opener for this purpose or simply press the bottom of the container. However, make sure that there is no light while you doing this. Moreover, you should have clean and dry hands while holding the film. The moisture makes the film foggy and dust affects the picture quality.

  • 5

    Load the reel:

    Now if you are loading plastic reel then it will be loaded from outside whereas the metal reel is loaded from the centre. Make sure you have cut the leader and spool properly. Set the remaining film onto reel and you are all set to put the reel in developing tank.

  • 6


    After loading the film correctly, place it in the tank and you are all clear to develop your stuff.

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