"Non-toxic Methods for Developing Photo and Videographic Film"

As time and technology progress toward a completely digital world, the filmmaking purists are keen on not only using traditional development techniques but also preserving these methods for historical purposes as well. This research thesis looks at the film development process. The process involves a developer, which is a reducing agent to transform silver halide (the film itself) to metallic silver resulting in the image shadows, and a fixer, which dissolves any unreduced silver halide molecules to ensure the bright regions of the image remain. 

The current commercial reagents used for film development consist of harmful and toxic chemicals which are detrimental to the environment as well as the artists. With the rapid depletion of proper laboratory resources to work with such chemicals in the field of filmmaking, safer and more sustainable alternatives are necessary for conserving these techniques. Filmmakers have started to investigate the use of household alternatives to develop films to ensure an effortless process design, cost-effectiveness, and an increase in “safe” procedures for the filmmakers. Examples of such replacements involve the use of low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), bleach, coffee as well as a saltwater fixer solution. The Green Chemistry Principles implemented will highlight the importance of art history conservation and the safety of the environment as well as artists. The research on this process will help inform the film department at Concordia

Themes: Waste, Energy, Resources & Technology

Semantha Prelaz and Victoria Lapointe

MSc, Faculty of Arts and Science