Toy Camera Fun - The OG Hipstamatic!


I've been into the toy camera craze for some time now and I decided to take it one step further by putting in some 35mm color film into a Holga and see what I could come up with. I was going for the full "bleed" effect without any frame separation. How did I do this when the Holga takes 120 film? I'd say it's easy, but I'm pretty nutty so it's something you'd have to be some what comfortable and experienced with in order to pull off. If you've ever hand-rolled film, then you're safe. 

Items needed:
-35mm film
-120mm film wrapper and spool from a previously used roll.
-Light-safe bag or pitch black room 
-Can opener
-Scissors
-scotch tape
-Holga or light-safe bag to store the roll
-CLEAN HANDS. No lotions or oils. The dryer, the better. Gloves might be too frustrating since TOUCH is your only sense to rely on for this. 

First, decide what film you want to use for the 35mm. Color? Sure, thats perfect. Since 36exp is a pretty long roll length-wise, I chose a 24exp. 120mm film isn't that long in length and you need the entire 120mm wrapper to cover it up as it does with 120mm film. Otherwise, it's a waste of excess film. 

*Incase you haven't caught on yet, we're basically replacing 120mm with 35mm. It's not that bad, keep reading. 

Second, make sure you have some 120mm wrappers and spool leftover from an old roll. Make sure it's not torn and all in one piece and connected to the spool. Some of that tape will do the trick. 

Third, go into a darkroom. Like, PITCH BLACK. Or get one of those light safe bags used to roll film. Were getting our hands dirty here and you'll have to do this solely by TOUCH and nothing else. 

Fourth, with all the items listed above, you should be ready to crack open that 35mm with the can opener. Have at it! Be sure not to scratch the emulsion as you pull it out of the canister. With your hands, unroll the film. Take the front piece and tape it against the front piece of the 120 wrapper, but leave some room so you can feed it into the Holga without wasting too much 35mm. The back black side of the wrapper and the emulsion side of the 35mm should be touching face to face. -Just like a regular roll of film would be. 

Next, this is where you're going to need to really rely on your sense of touch. Hopefully you've rolled film before processing it and are familiar with knowing your way around it without looking at it. It's tricky because of how much it curls, but you'll want to basically roll it along the 120 film as if it were 120mm film. Think of it as unrolling it but in reverse, like someone was rewinding a video of it. Make sense? Cool. 

Now once you get to the end of the 120mm wrapper, you might have some 35mm left over. This is where you cut it. Cut it shorter than the length of 120mm so it doesn't exceed the wrapper. You want the wrapper to be longer than the 35mm film like it is with the 120mm film. 

Once you feel like its all lined up like 120mm would be, make sure it's all rolled up and taped up and the 35mm isn't exposed at all.

*This part is crucial and could possibly undo all the rolling work you just did. You might want to load this roll into the Holga with the Holga and roll of film while inside the light bag. Just do it to ensure you don't eff it all up. Then with more tape, tape the cover on the Holga to ensure that it doesn't pop off. It may or may not feel thicker because of the different kind of film inside it. 

Once it's in there, and you're pretty sure its good to go, take it out of the bag and go have some fun. Start turning the knob on the Holga like you would with a fresh roll of 120mm and just follow it like its a normal roll. Now when you're shooting with this, keep in mind that's no where near full frame like 120mm would be, hence the difference in size: 120mm vs 35mm. If you're goal is to shoot something particular, try to keep it in the middle of the viewfinder and not too up close. The further away, the better chances of getting it in the frame and exposed onto the 35mm roll. However, this is purely an experimental thing and is meant to have fun with. Would I recommend shooting in this format for a paid gig of something specific? Probably not. 

After your pretty sure the roll is done, roll it back up like you would with a typical roll of 120mm. Tape it together so it doesn't unravel like you would, again, with a typical roll. 

*When you take it to get developed, let the developer know that you tried something artsy and it's in fact a roll of 35mm. Try to remember the roll (color, 24exp, etc.). Prints might look fun, but you can also have the begs scanned too. 

There you have it. Sound crazy? It is but it's crazy fun and way better than a no-talent "Hipstamtlc" on your smart phone.