Welcome to part 2 of our ONE INSTANT pro-tip about pulling & peeling; two oft-overlooked procedures, but which are very important to the final quality of your print.
At this stage you've already pulled the film insert out of your camera and processing is taking place. You've got about 3 minutes to psych yourself up for peeling while you wait. [p.s. Now is a great time to clean your rollers!]
There's a couple different things to peel. For one, we must peel the positive and negative apart, and then we need to peel off the rails and the masking parts to finish it off.
One of the most important things to know is that you should NOT peel ONE INSTANT films like you would peel Fuji/Polaroid, that is, from the back side, on the same end as the pulling tab. The instructions given here by Fuji will most certainly lead to disaster with our film.
The adhesives used for the rails and masks of Fuji/Polaroid were sophisticated heat-activated glues with very low tack, which came off super clean. ONE INSTANT, being the scrappy, ragtag product that it is, relies on off-the-shelf tapes, and that means our rails and masking parts are significantly stickier. So it's best to first peel apart, and then afterwards take care of the rails and mask.
The best way to peel apart a ONE INSTANT is to lay it down on some surface with the backside of the negative facing up, and to grab the trailing corner of the negative while holding down the positive with your other hand. Then slowly peel the negative back and away, not by lifting your hand in the air, but instead by keeping it as low and close to the table as possible and peeling across the print. This is a little tricky to explain, but if you peel low like this, the negative comes off at the sharpest possible angle from the print, which significantly reduces the risk of some goo falling falling back on the print surface.
At this point do yourself a favor and just tear off the positive assembly from the rest of the processing insert.
Now seems like a good time to mention that if (when) you get goo on your hands, don't panic, but be sure to wash them well when you're finished. The goo is highly alkaline and doesn't play nicely with skin after prolonged periods of time. Gloves are a good option for those wishing to be extra cautious. Whatever you do, do NOT get it in your eyes! If you do, flush them immediately with cool water for at least 15 minutes.
Removing Rails and Mask
Moving on... it's now time to take off the white rails and black masking elements. Again, the name of the game is to remove the sticky bits by peeling them off at a low angle, not by pulling them up. This low angle of peeling creates a sharp angle of removal, which is the safest way to remove adhesive tape from a photographic surface.
For the black masking parts, use the same principle; low and slow! If you do it right, you will not damage your print and you'll be left with a beautiful, clean image.
Something we've recently noticed is that our [upcoming] black & white product has a tendency to delaminate more than the color P7. So it's extra important to take care when peeling things off, especially the black masking parts.
That's all for now! As usual, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments.
Liebe Grüße aus Wien!
Our 2nd installment of ONE INSTANT Pro Tips is going to be a two-part series, diving into topics that at first glance seem almost too trivial to be worthy of discussion, but as with many things in life... the devil is in the details!
We're talking about pulling (2.1) and peeling (2.2). That is, pulling the film through the rollers to begin processing, and peeling the negative & positive apart, as well as peeling off all the sticky bits afterwards. Both steps sound simple, but a little extra knowledge will really increase your odds of getting a perfect print in the end.
After you've loaded your film and taken a picture, it's time to process it, and this is done by pulling the 'photographic insert' through the rollers, which breaks open the pod and spreads the goo between negative and positive, beginning the ~3 minute processing phase.
There are two important factors to consider here; pulling speed and pulling angle & orientation.
From slow, thoughtful pulls of surgical precision, to fast, YOLO rips out of the camera, everyone seems to have their own style when it comes to processing.
An interesting rule of thumb that we learned from the 20x24 Studio is that a fast pull yields a tighter gap, and a slow pull yields a fatter gap.
So what does that mean? Well by 'gap' we're referring to the distance between the negative and positive and the resulting thickness of the goo coating between them during processing. In packfilm, this is overwhelmingly determined by the thickness of the 'rails', but changes in pulling speed do still have an influence.
In theory this rule would imply that a faster pull/tigther gap increases the odds that the whole print surface is coated with goo, producing better coverage (a thinner coating means more goo can spread farther). It also should reduce the chance of 'goo stick', which is the nasty phenomenon of too much ugly yellow goo sticking to the print surface after peeling (caused by a too fat gap).
All of that being said, in actual practice we've not seen a huge effect from pulling speed changes. It's generally on us to choose the right rail thickness to begin with, but since our product can be finicky and a bit experimental at times, I figure it doesn't hurt to share as much information as possible; maybe you can use it to your advantage somehow.
In summary, it's probably best to just find a speed that feels comfortable and in control.
Pulling Angle & Orientation
Now... way more important than pulling speed is the angle & orientation at which you pull your ONE INSTANT. This makes a big difference.
Pulling even a little bit off-axis or off-center can result in several bad things happening; crumpled & misaligned print components, ripped-off positive sheets, uneven & incomplete coverage, and general photographic carnage.
Polaroid knew this well, and thanks to those brilliant product engineers of yore, we can glean some very interesting clues about the right way to pull our Polaroi... errrrr ... ONE INSTANTs.
Many of the consumer oriented Land cameras from the late 60's/early 70's had this rather unique-looking 'T-handle', and in the instructions came the following notice...
PLEASE USE THIS HANDLE to hold the camera when pulling tabs to develop your pictures. DO NOT hold onto the camera body when pulling tabs; if you do, you may spoil your pictures.
The first time I read this I was intrigued, but also puzzled. After a bit of a think though, it became clear which problem they were trying to solve with this funny looking handle.
The goal of a good pull is for the chemical pod to go through the rollers perfectly parallel with them, so that it bursts evenly across the opening, spilling goo across the whole length of the pod and not favoring one side or the other. To achieve this, the axis of pull should be perfectly perpendicular to the rollers and pod.
The biggest obstacle to this, you ask? Your own unwitting death grip on the camera.
So the T-handle decouples your hand from the camera body, which ensures that when you pull on the processing tab, the photographic insert and the camera automatically align themselves along the axis of pull. It eliminates the influence that your grip can have on the alignment of the camera, and thus greatly increases the likelihood that the pod will meet parallel with the rollers.
The Polaroid product designers understood this phenomenon well, and the T-handle was their very clever solution to help the consumer do everything right automatically.
Now the obvious problem is that most people aren't using cameras with T-handles! Well fear not... we can still apply these insights to optimize our pulling technique.
Basically your goal should be to maintain a loose grip, centered opposite from the roller side, ideally in an orientation that allows you to judge to some degree whether or not everything is aligned nicely (i.e. flat on a table or the ground).
What is not recommended is gripping the camera too tightly, or pulling the film insert out when the camera is still around your neck.
With a bit of experience and attention you can even start to feel the moment when the pod hits the rollers, because it will act like a little speed bump. This is the point where if you've done everything right, the camera will automatically align itself, keeping the pod and the rollers parallel. Hopefully, that means your print is going to come out with nice coverage and no carnage.
(if you happen to like photographic carnage, we won't judge, and now you know how to increase your odds of getting it!)
That's all for now. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion in ONE INSTANT Pro Tip #2.2 - Peeling, and as always, we'd love to hear from you! Please feel free to write me at email@example.com with whatever's on your mind (preferably regarding instant photography...)
Ciao for now,
ONE INSTANT Production Manager
Dear Packfilm Saviors,
For the last 9 months or so we've had a semi-secret project going on behind the scenes, but now that we've reached an important milestone we figure we can finally shout it from the rooftops...
We are resurrecting black & white peel-apart packfilm!
This journey is chronicled on our IMPOSSIBLE ONE INSTANT microsite, so if you're interested in digging deeper you can read all about the history there.
But long story short, we did it! Or rather... we're doing it...
The project always hinged on the 20x24 Studio's ability to successfuly recreate the reagent, which proved to be no simple feat of chemical re-engineering. After 9 months of attempts, setbacks, reformulations, bouts of bad luck, extreme weather, broken equipment, bad chemicals... you name it.... the boys in Boston have perservered and managed to pull it off.
John Reuter and his team deserve a ton of praise for their hard work in reformulating this reagent from scratch. They took Doc's impossible vision of resurrecting black & white packfilm and made it a reality. Thank you guys! We think the results speak for themselves...
These test shots from the 20x24" format show the lovely quality of this reagent in combination with the PP400 negative/positive materials. Needless to say, we can't wait to load it into thousands of ONE INSTANT cartridges and ship them all over the world.
Of course our first priority is to fulfill the 3333 pre-order shots that we've promised to the black & white believers, but our big hope is that this marks the (permanent) return of monochrome packfilm.
There are still challenges to overcome, that's for sure. For starters, the stock of b&w film that we have is quite small compared to the enormous stockpile of P7 we've been sitting on for the last couple years. Until we can get an accurate count of the viable film that we have, it's hard to say how much b&w film we'll ultimately be able to produce.
However, the long-term goal is to get our hands on new negative/positive materials, and once we achieve that we are no longer tied to existing stocks of legacy materials, which would be huge.
Our friends over at New55 have proven that this is possible, but the problem with packfilm is that the negative material must be coated on a light-proof film base. This is in contrast to Type55 films, which are processed in a light-tight envelope and thus don't have this requirement.
Suffice it to say, there are many more challenges that lay ahead, but I guess for the time being we should just bask in the glow of the 20x24 crew's achievements, and celebrate the fact that for the time being, there is black & white packfilm once again being made on planet Earth.
In the coming weeks and months we will clarify and announce our plans for the future availability of ONE INSTANT BLACK & WHITE, in addition to discussing the many other exciting projects and products we're dreaming about. So please, stay tuned to this blog!
As usual, we'd love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org and you don't even need a good excuse to write; we just like chatting about ONE INSTANT and packfilm!
Till next time,
Dear ONE INSTANT Shooters,
Welcome to the first-ever installment of our new 'Pro Tips' series!
Over the last couple years we've developed several methods of getting improved results with ONE INSTANT film, and instead of keeping them to ourselves we decided it was time to share them with the community. We plan to make this a regular thing, and of course we would also love to hear feedback and/or suggestions from anyone who has a bright idea to share; just fire off an email to us at email@example.com
Our first pro tip is something we call print washing, and as you'll see, it's about as simple as it sounds.
You may have experienced that the surface of a ONE INSTANT print can sometimes takes on a matte surface charasteric after it has dried. According to the 20x24 Studio, this effect is known as 'salting out' and is caused by the formation of potassium hydroxide crystals originating from the reagent chemistry. It is more pronounced when the coating of reagent (a.k.a. the goo in the pods) is thicker on the print, though it also seems to get better or worse somewhat randomly between different batches of reagent chemistry.
Whatever the true cause of it is, we don't really like it. The good news is, there is a simple way to get rid of it!
1. Turn on a cold water tap and set it to a moderate output level. Avoid high pressure or a too violent flow; this might damage the print surface.
2. Rinse the print thoroughly for around 10 to 15 seconds. Hold the print relatively close to the tap so that it gently and completely floods the surface.
3. Hang the print to dry in a dust free environment, ideally at an angle so that the water runs down to a single corner. Never touch the surface of the print while it's wet.
4. Once dried, the matte effect should be eliminated, or at least greatly improved.You have gone from matte to gloss!
Now, for a few caveats and important pointers...
Once the print has gotten wet, the image layer is extremely fragile. You must be exceedingly careful with how you handle it to avoid ruining your precious instant photograph.
Rinsing the print for more than 20 seconds becomes very risky. ONE INSTANT prints are not like darkroom prints and therefore should not be subjected to water for significant lengths of time. As soon as the print becomes wet, the image layer gets saturated and is in a very delicate state. Treat it kindly.
Once the print is hanging, you might notice that the image layer has swelled in places, exhibiting very strange relief patterns. Don't worry, once it is dry these will disappear.
Lastly, in some of our tests, we came across prints that were not completely fixed by this method. We are left scratching our heads, but have concluded that these examples of matte effect or salting out must be due to some other phenomenon. The mysteries never cease...
We hope you found this helpful, and we hope you try out this very simple method for enhancing the quality of your ONE INSTANT prints!
Experiment, have fun, but just don't end up like this guy...
Just a quick bit of good news,
All pre-orders (save for a few USA stragglers which will be fulfilled in the coming 2 weeks) are caught up!
That means ONE INSTANT orders now ship as soon as they are placed.
Dear Packfilm Saviors,
It's been a challenging spring and summer for, well... basically everyone on Earth I guess. But in spite of all the doom and gloom, the ONE INSTANT team would like to brighten things up with a bit of good news.
This September we have officially completed our inaugural Kickstarter campaign, which saw over 2000 backers receiving nearly 20,000 ONE INSTANT film cartridges. This represents a giant step towards a long-term future for peel-apart instant film, and although I'll admit we didn't win any awards for speediness, our belief is that slow and steady always wins the race!
The community behind us makes this all possible, and they (you!) cannot be thanked enough. The support, the encouragement, and most importantly the photographs from the last year and a half have been amazing. Thank you all!
As we rush to finish up the final North & South American pre-orders, which will be leaving Europe September 30th, to be distributed by Retrospekt in early October, we'd like to do something to celebrate...
We've teamed up with our friend (and talented ceramicist) Rici @ricisart to screenprint some very special ONE INSTANT t-shirts and bags, with all profits going directly to support our efforts to save packfilm.
There's a number of things that make these bags & shirts so special. For starters, Rici has sourced top quality fair-trade gear, and uses only eco-friendly inks. As you'd expect, every piece will be hand printed in the SUPERSENSE manufactory.
But what we think is one of the coolest things is how we made the design itself. Lemme explain...
Screenprint/Silkscreen 101: A screenprinting screen is produced by coating a fine cloth mesh with a light-sensitive emulsion. This coating hardens when exposed to UV light, rendering it insoluble. When certain parts are protected from the UV light, they remain soluble and can be washed away later. With this simple technique, you can expose a screen to almost any kind of pattern or image, wash away the soluble aprts, and voila, you have created a printing matrix that allows ink to pass through in some places and not in others.
So typically these days, people are using digital intermediates to accomplish this, but we've opted for a decidedly more analog approach...
Using actual ONE INSTANT production parts!
The parts were simply laid out on the screen and we flicked on the exposure lamp. We then had a perfect 1:1 contact print of our parts on the screen, which means, if you wanna get philosophical, that when you get your shirt or bag, it has been in direct contact with a screen that was in direct contact with our production parts here in Vienna. Jeez, it's like you were basically here!
But seriously, we wanted a design that celebrated the step-by-step way that ONE INSTANT is being developed and assembled. We wanted a tangible reminder that our product is truly made ONE INSTANT AT A TIME. We also thought this line was a cool bit of Lebensweisheit.
Now to be honest, we're not sure what to expect with this foray into the world of apparel. We're not exactly a clothing company, and because of that, we've decided to dip our feet in slowly and test the waters a bit.
What that means is, we'll be offering the t-shirts and bags for a limited time only. About 2 weeks. Then, once all the orders are placed, we will order precisely the materials we need, print them all, and get them shipped out within 4 weeks.
Now I know what you're thinking.... is this going to be another long and drawn out pre-order process?! The answer is NO. Scout's promise. Rici is a pro, and we're all set up to rock as soon as the orders are in.
If this sale is a success and people actually like our funky shirts and bags, we will definitely keep doing it. We're already dreaming up new designs... and of course we'd love to hear your input! As always, feel free to write to firstname.lastname@example.org for any and all ONE INSTANT related things.
Well, as I am wont to do, I've said enough by now... but get 'em while you can, get 'em while they're hot, get 'em while they're still wet & drying, and tell your friends!
On behalf of the whole ONE INSTANT and SUPERSENSE team,
ONE INSTANT Production Manager
This is the new platform for keeping up to date with all things ONE INSTANT.
Upon completion of our Kickstarter project in the summer of 2020, we figured it was right & proper to have a right & proper place to share updates, talk shop, discuss complex nuances, and generally spread the news about our continued efforts to save pack-film and keep it alive in the 21st century.
We hope you bookmark this here page and check back often. We plan to provide regular monthly updates (at least), and hopefully even more frequently than that, assuming we have real exciting stuff to discuss.
Best wishes from all of us at SUPERSENSE and ONE INSTANT,
Chris Holmquist; ONE INSTANT Production Manager