I received a very kind flickr mail from a reader of this blog, asking for more details about my indexing system. I wrote a post a while back called Developing Good Habits that was about how I keep track of my shooting experiences. I left out an important part of my process that accounts for multiple rolls developed at the same time.

My secret weapon

My secret weapon

Let’s say I’m loading a 5-roll Paterson tank. I have my reels, tank, unopened film cartridges, etc. in the changing bag or in the dark darkroom. I also have one of these nifty film boxes (see above). This particular one is a Fujichrome Professional Millennium 2000 case that I think I bought from Mijonju, who had filled it with Neopan 1600. Anyway, it’s not a great film case (somewhat fragile) but it’s perfect for this purpose:

  • Pop open your first cartridge
  • Put the empty cartridge into the first open position in the film box
  • Load the film onto the reel
  • Put the reel onto the post
  • Repeat 4x

Now your tank is full and your film box is full. When you develop your film, as you take off the films to dry, the first one you pull off will correspond to the last film in the box. So you can hang up your films right-to-left, or you can reverse the order of the cassettes in the box, or you can just do the mental work and realize that first one off the reel is the last one you loaded.

This is what I started to do once I had a five-roll tank, and it works flawlessly.

Instead of buying an overpriced commemorative film box, just tape a bunch of empty film canisters together and put a bit of gaffer or duct tape on the front so you know which side is the front.

Do you have your own techniques for keeping track of 2+ rolls of film?