Impossible Project 600BW - Obtaining A Negative

Left: IP600BW scanned print.  Right: IP600BW negative obtained from print

Left: IP600BW scanned print.  Right: IP600BW negative obtained from print

 
 

How to obtain a (inverted) negative from Impossible Project's 600BW (gen2 and newer) film.


There are 2 VERY important notes to make prior to starting this tutorial:

#1, I tried to do this on the older BW film and it does NOT work. The only film this is working on is the newest versions of Impossible's film ... Gen2 and newer. 

#2, its important you wait at LEAST 48hrs prior to attempting to do this. I tried this after 12hrs, and 24hrs and didn't get the best results. I let the image dry for more than 48hrs before I attempt this ... usually at the 3 day mark.

Step 1. Obtain your print. BE SURE TO READ THE 2 NOTES ABOVE BEFORE STARTING. For this tutorial I chose an image that had heavy highlights and shadows to show you what information the negative contains. You are able to save both overexposed and underexposed images now!

Step 1. Obtain your print. BE SURE TO READ THE 2 NOTES ABOVE BEFORE STARTING.

For this tutorial I chose an image that had heavy highlights and shadows to show you what information the negative contains. You are able to save both overexposed and underexposed images now!

Step 2. Remove all 4 sides of the print's white border portions.

Step 2. Remove all 4 sides of the print's white border portions.

 
Step 3. Peel off the emulsion layer slowly. It won't be hard to do. This is why waiting several days is important. If you do it too soon it doesn't work as well. If you are into emulsion lifts, now is the time to experiment! You will be left with the clear covering, the emulsion, and the bottom white portion.

Step 3. Peel off the emulsion layer slowly. It won't be hard to do. This is why waiting several days is important. If you do it too soon it doesn't work as well. If you are into emulsion lifts, now is the time to experiment! You will be left with the clear covering, the emulsion, and the bottom white portion.

 
Believe it or not, this is the negative!

Believe it or not, this is the negative!

 
Step 4. Find a soft sponge. I tried using my fingers and it doesn't work. You will need something soft. I use a Scotch pad that has a rough side and smooth side. The smooth side is wonderful and doesn't scratch at all. I do NOT recommend using a wet paper towel.

Step 4. Find a soft sponge. I tried using my fingers and it doesn't work. You will need something soft. I use a Scotch pad that has a rough side and smooth side. The smooth side is wonderful and doesn't scratch at all. I do NOT recommend using a wet paper towel.

 
Step 5. Using luke warm water, begin to clean off the white layer using the soft sponge under the water. You will have to apply some pressure and it will take several minutes to remove it all, but trust me, it comes off. Do NOT use your fingernail as you will easily damage the negative underneath. This is how it will look after a few minutes.

Step 5. Using luke warm water, begin to clean off the white layer using the soft sponge under the water. You will have to apply some pressure and it will take several minutes to remove it all, but trust me, it comes off. Do NOT use your fingernail as you will easily damage the negative underneath. This is how it will look after a few minutes.

After a few more minutes.

After a few more minutes.

And finally its all off. After you remove it all, go back over it for another 30 seconds as there is usually a tiny bit left you may have missed. That little scratch mark at the top left is from my nail (accidentally done) when I picked the negative off the wood after the picture. It scratches easily so be careful. AT THIS POINT YOU CAN EITHER LET IT DRY FLAT OR USE A HAIR DRYER TO QUICKEN THE PROCESS. I USE A HAIRDRYER AND DEFINITELY RECOMMEND IT SO THERE AREN'T ANY WATERMARKS.

And finally its all off. After you remove it all, go back over it for another 30 seconds as there is usually a tiny bit left you may have missed. That little scratch mark at the top left is from my nail (accidentally done) when I picked the negative off the wood after the picture. It scratches easily so be careful.

AT THIS POINT YOU CAN EITHER LET IT DRY FLAT OR USE A HAIR DRYER TO QUICKEN THE PROCESS. I USE A HAIRDRYER AND DEFINITELY RECOMMEND IT SO THERE AREN'T ANY WATERMARKS.

 
Step 5. Scanning. I use an Epson V700. I lay the image face down. Its not a true negative so all you need to do is scan the one side. There is a piece of glass holding it down to keep it flat. If you don't have a piece of glass anything will work. 

Step 5. Scanning. I use an Epson V700. I lay the image face down. Its not a true negative so all you need to do is scan the one side. There is a piece of glass holding it down to keep it flat. If you don't have a piece of glass anything will work. 

 
Step 6. Invert and edit and you're done! You will see these tiny black marks all over it. I don't know what they are but they happen every time. They don't bother me. The only thing done to this image is an invert, levels layer, and curves layer. You can then edit out the black dots (time consuming) or leave them. You can clearly tell how well the negative retains highlights and even shadows. You have a lot to work with.

Step 6. Invert and edit and you're done! You will see these tiny black marks all over it. I don't know what they are but they happen every time. They don't bother me. The only thing done to this image is an invert, levels layer, and curves layer. You can then edit out the black dots (time consuming) or leave them. You can clearly tell how well the negative retains highlights and even shadows. You have a lot to work with.

Close up of the black dots.

Close up of the black dots.

 
You're done! What I've noticed is that you can save highlights and shadows very well. There are plenty of times I'm happy with the regular print but sometimes I botch a shot and now I don't have to toss it in the trash as fast. I do this first.

You're done!

What I've noticed is that you can save highlights and shadows very well. There are plenty of times I'm happy with the regular print but sometimes I botch a shot and now I don't have to toss it in the trash as fast. I do this first.

Another example.

Another example.