Recently I picked up a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II medium format film camera and a polaroid back to go along with it. After taking some shots and trying to get a feel for the camera I started to research how to get my negatives on to the computer. I did some research and found a couple different ways people were cleaning and preparing their negatives to scan them. I decided to combine a couple different ideas and create my own process. I hope this helps anyone who is looking to learn how to clean and prepare their negatives.
Here is what you will need:
- A piece of glass to tape your negatives down to. I recommend glass because you are using bleach and denatured alcohol on the surface. I read some stories about people using other substances and had problems with cleaning it so Id stick with glass.
-Electrical tape used to hold down your negatives and seal the sides so none of your chemicals will get through to the emulsion side of the negative.
-Denatured alcohol used to clean your negatives
A 50/50 bleach and water mixture which is used to strip down the protective covering over your negative.
-A towel to work on
-Access to a sink
Step 1- Taping your negatives (emulsion side down) onto the glass with your electrical tape. I recommend cleaning your glass off before taping your negatives down.
Step 2- After your negatives are taped down and sealed use your 50/50 bleach and water mix, wet your paper towels and begin to wipe down the backs of the polaroid. You will almost instantly start to see the black protective layer begin to strip off. You will use a lot of paper towels so as soon as its covered in the black layer toss it and grab another. A little bit of your 50/50 mixture will go a long way so don't over do it.
Step 3- When your done stripping the protective cover off use your denatured alcohol to clean the rest of the polaroid back. This is going to remove any excess black protective cover and overall clean your print.
Step 4- When your negatives have completely dried from the denatured alcohol you can carefully pull the electrical tape up and take a look at your negatives. Unfortunately as you can see the negative below is a little bit blown up.
Step 5- You will feel and see that on the emulsion side there is still leftover dried emulsion cover the image. In order to get that off you take the negative and run the entire thing under water and gently using your fingers to remove the excess emulsion.
Step 6- After you remove all the excess emulsion your process is now complete. My recommendation is to take a small squeegee and wipe down the back so you can avoid having water spots on your final image. When you are done with that you can hang your photos to dry. I used a small piece of string and some clothes pins.