Old Still Film Processing – Comprehensive Service

We don’t charge for still films that turn out blank

Virtually without exception, we process any and all still film ever manufactured. We’ve done our best to keep this page orderly but there is a lot of information we like to provide to be clear on our service. This page is sorted basically in the order of importance and underlined words in orange are links to further information about the topic discussed. Should you desire a more straight forward service please see here…SIMPLE SERVICE. Offering old film processing has it challenges. The vast majority of our clients don’t know what is on their film or what the condition of the pictures will be. The opinions from client to client, as to what is an interesting or important image vs. what is of little value, is highly variable. Our approach to this service has been to provide a system where there is a “softer landing” so to speak for those with images that are either not of interest, of extremely low quality or both. All that said – we are very good at this and will get the best possible images from your long expired film. Please Note: The chemical process that we use to develop your film is one that is most likely to render an image. In many cases this means processing your color film into B&W then judging the results before we decide to bring the film into color using a technique called “film acceleration“(exceptions are B&W film and Kodachrome film which can both only be done into B&W). Please see “Processing method” below for a more complete explanation.

NEW PRICING TO BE POSTED SOON… APPLIES TO ALL ORDERS RECEIVED AFTER FEBRUARY 24TH. Prices and billing are in US dollars, with two exceptions: 1) Film Rescue Europe* orders are billed in euros; 2) Canadian orders are billed the Canadian prices posted in brackets, in Canadian dollars. When applicable, VAT, GST and/or PST will apply appropriately to European and Canadian orders. Sorry -These taxes can not be avoided by sending outside of your jurisdiction. *Film Rescue Europe orders must be sent to and returned through the Netherlands location.

Step 1 – Processing and Download of Social Media Sized Images

Film will be processed, scanned, receive a necessary and comprehensive digital fix-up. The images are then uploaded to a private gallery for client-preview and/or download of social media sized image.

8 to 15 exposure films (includes all roll film ~paper wrapped on spool~) $24.00 ($28.00 CDN)
18 to 27 exposure films $30.00 ($35.00 CDN)
36 or more exposure films $36.00 ($42.00 CDN)
Any film that turns out with less than 4 recognizable pictures excluding blank films which aren’t charged for Our definition of a recognizable image $20.00 ($23.00 CDN)

If there are no detectable images on your film, there is no charge.

Step 2 – Optional

Ordering Large Sized Images (with or without prints), With or Without Hands-on Fix-up Your private gallery where you will download your social media sized images, also functions as an on-line shopping cart if you’d like to order large sized versions of your pictures as seen in your gallery with or without further restoration. With the majority of the pictures we do, the improvement that can be made with further restoration is small because much digital work has already been done to improve the images. Ask if you are uncertain after seeing your pictures. We will be able to advise. Price per image selected from our online shopping cart.* *The shopping cart software calculates in US dollars or Euros; Canadian currency equivalent will be calculated and credit card billing will be in Canadian dollars when applicable.

Suitable for enlargement digital image or traditional style snapshot sized print $0.99 ($1.15 CAD)
Suitable for enlargement” sized image with hands on retouching $2.25 ($2.60 CAD)

We do offer 4×4, 4×5 & 4×6 traditional style snapshot prints but they must be ordered in conjunction with the $0.99 ($1.15 CAD) “suitable for enlargement” digital image.

Return Shipping and Handling

Within USA $10.00*
Within Europe link
Canada and all other locations Contact Us
Clients Who Chose Downloads Only (Nothing Physically Returned) No extra charge

* Taxes not included.
* Shipping charges may be higher for exceptionally heavy, large, or fragile orders. If this is the case, you will be contacted beforehand.
Take advantage of our 20% “Early Bird” discount on Copy To CD and Prints by placing your order within one week of receiving your preview. If you would like to send us your film please fill out the order form here…Order form


Because we don’t charge if a film is blank and because we offer on-line previews so the client is able pick and choose only the pictures they want, we have special motivation to do the best possible work. If we don’t get pictures from your film we make no money and the better the quality of the pictures we produce, the more likely a client is to place an order for those pictures. Unfortunately along with this system it is impossible to determine an end price until near the completion of an order making payment by checks highly impractical. We only take Visa or Master Card for still film processing work. For credit card payments, your credit card number will be collected before we begin work but no charges will be placed until shortly before we send you your link to your picture.

Turn Around Time

Unlike a normal processing lab that may have one or two large volume processes under their roof we have 12 small volume processes. This creates the need to process in batches, mixing chemical and preparing for each process before moving to the next. It is not until all the film is developed that scanning begins. Once that step is complete then the digital work is done and then the uploading begins. Film is processed in regular 8-10 week cycles. Film for the next cycle must be in our hands by the cutoff date. The next cycle cutoff is:

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016.  Avoid upcoming price increases and get your film in by this date.

      Galleries for undeveloped film should be available approximately 6 weeks from the cutoff date. If you place an order after previewing your images, it should be shipped in approximately 2-4 weeks. Rush processing is available upon request. For further information on our turn-around click here. Please don’t wait until near the beginning of a cycle to send your film. This greatly slows down our administrative process at the start of each cycle delaying work for everyone. When we can we prioritize work that arrives to us early.

Processing Method

With the exception of Kodachrome type film and B&W film which can only be processed into B&W, all film is first processed into a B&W negative and then a scan is taken. The good quality negatives are separated out and an additional chemical process is done to produce a color negative. Should the color version be a failure we still have the B&W scan to fall back on.

After first processing these two color films into B&W negatives, the resulting scans give us this. The B&W versions were good quality so there is a chance that the color version would also be.  These two films undergo an additional process to finish them in color.  The resulting scans give us this.

While both of these pictures are from separate films from early 1990s Kodak film shot by the same client, the end results in color were very different.  This shows just how unpredictable color processing of expired color film can be.  This is why we first process and scan all color film into B&W first before proceeding into color.

  • Color films less than 10 years beyond their process before date are most likely to end up finished in color.
  • Color films 10 to 20 years beyond their process before date have about a 70 percent chance of being finished in color.
  • The cooler your film was kept over time the more likely it is to end up finished in color.
  • It is rare to have a film older than 30 years old to be finished in color but it does occasionally happen.
  • Kodak brand films (including Seattle Film Works, Signature and RGB) and Scotch 3M film are more likely to end up in color than Fuji and Konica brand films.

About Our Guarantee

When we are deciding whether to scan or not scan a client’s film we are doing this upon visual inspection of the processed negative. Often times it is difficult to tell what the end quality will be without scanning and enhancing the negative. We therefore will continue with scanning and enhancing any film that we see anything on, whether that be a person, animal or object. We do not want to be put into the position of trying to make a subjective determination of what may or may not be important to a person. What is one mans trash is another’s treasure. Really terrible quality films will still be charged for – entire blank films will not. You will not be paying for absolutely nothing if your film is unexposed, improperly exposed or completely age fogged.

About Our Scans

Our scans result in an image that is 8 inches at 300 DPI on the short dimension or your frame. Example — a 35mm frame would be 8 x 12 inches at 300 DPI — a 110 frame would be 8 x 10 inches at 300 DPI. When you place an order for images from your gallery that we will link you to, if you choose “downloads only” upon check out, the image size is reduced to 4 inches at 240 dpi on the short dimension. This is still plenty of resolution for snap shot sized prints, on-line postings and virtually all practical applications. Because we are so often dealing with very low contrast negatives the scans are done at a high bit rate, then adjusted for brightness and contrast before down converting to 8 bit JPEGs. This creates a much smoother gray scale with very faded images than would be possible had the images been adjusted for brightness and contrast at 8 bit.

About Our Digital Image Repair

After scanning each picture on your film, all are brought into Photoshop for a hands on correction to adjust the brightness and contrast of each picture. This is a very important step which greatly improves the picture well beyond what would be possible with conventional photo finishing. This is included in the base price of your film processing.

About Our Client Previews

Once we have scanned and done a quick digital fix-up to your pictures we create a gallery on our website for your images. We then send you a link via email to your gallery where you can look at your pictures. From there, you can pick and choose the pictures that you want to. It is a basic on-line shopping cart where you add the images you want to the cart and then proceed to checkout.

About Our Prints

  • Prints are optional and you choose to have prints or not when placing an order from your on-line gallery where you preview and choose your images
  • Our prints emulate the look of the past with wide borders and glossy paper. The short dimension of your image is 4 inches. Example — images from 126 film are square so the print is 4 x 4 inches – 35mm is printed onto 4 x 6 inch paper.
  • Our B&W prints are done on special printers (Epson K3) designed to give high quality B&W images. Most photo finishers are printing onto light sensitive color paper. When a B&W white image is printed onto light sensitive color paper, there is a color difference between the dark parts of your picture and the light. Normally the shadows being a little green and the highlights a little magenta. Our printers eliminate this problem with consistent tone across the gray scale.
  • If you have primarily color images or prefer a borderless matte print, we encourage you to simply have us make you a CD or request download and have the prints done at a reputable local service provider.

About Process Only

In past we did offer “process only” for people who wanted to scan their own film. We have discontinued this because too often we were having films returned to us that the client was unable to scan due to the condition of the film. The savings that we were offering for “process only” we feel is easily offset by the security of having digital files of your pictures on-site here when shipping, and the fact that you get an early preview of your images in a gallery. Here are some reasons why the scanning is often best left to us….

  • With some negatives that have edge fogging, the effect is greatly reduced by doing yellow light scans which required optical grade yellow filtration within the scanner.
  • Some negatives after processing are as dense as welding glass and conventional scanners can not see through them.
  • Some negatives have such an extremely faint image on them they can not be recognized with the preview scan on a conventional scanner making them very difficult to locate your marquee correctly during preview. Auto frame selection will not work on these negatives. Do not assume if you don’t see images upon a quick inspection, there is nothing there.
  • Some films such as GAF cassettes and Triple Print blue label films are processed into an unstable reflective negative that begins fading after processing. Not only do they need to be scanned right away, they are scanned wet because the contrast on the film is much higher when wet and they can not be scanned on a normal scanner because light will not pass through them.

Example of an image that was over looked by the client after he closely inspected his negative. If your negative is in very poor condition after processing, we are very good at salvaging something from them. This customer did not want our on-line previews and simply asked that we copy all of the pictures to CD. Upon receiving his order back and not having access immediately to a computer to view his CD, he inspected the negatives and couldn’t find any images. Not understanding why he was being charged for blank film when Film Rescue doesn’t charge for blank film he called with his concern. We opened our archive folder of his images and while the quality was quite poor we had in fact managed to salvage 13 fully recognizable very old pictures from a roll of film the customer could only see with close inspection, as being entirely blank. Many thanks to Mr. Berg of Seattle Washington for letting us use this picture and tell his story.