How Does Film ACTUALLY Work? (It's MAGIC) [Photos and Development] - Smarter Every Day 258

  • SmarterEveryDay

    I tried to find a definitive video on the internet that explained how film works. I couldn't find that video.... so I decided to make it. I called Indie Film Lab and they were all about it. I love film photography and would love for you to try it. They're at

    • 00bigduce

      Well you nailed it - a great video explaining the whole process of how film works. Indie Film Lab was awesome!

    • William Gonder
      William Gonder

      This brought me back to my High School days when I took a class on photography and we developed black and white film. I can remember popping the cap of my first roll in the pitch black room and then winding it up onto one of those reals to be developed. There truly is something magic that can never be captured in the digital world.

    • so steve
      so steve

      always wondered,how someone invent this kind of process

    • so steve
      so steve

      thanks for the explenation,my dad was a photograph and we both made the photos in the dark room,now im older my intrest where triggerd but i cant find a way that explained to me how it actually works

    • TB-Sur ron
      TB-Sur ron

      This has me thinking if film gains weight once exposed with particles.

  • Tom Claessens
    Tom Claessens

    wait until you make a print, slide a "white paper" into the developer and see the image develop. It's real magic, like seeing the film development process. Nothing a digital print can compete with regardless of post processing available today on the computer.

  • Jack Preston
    Jack Preston

    *total darkness* "So what do you actually use this for?" "To be able to see?" I love how there was no reiterations of what destin was trying to say it was just a sudden "Oh im dumb" moment

  • Alex Ward
    Alex Ward

    Devin's enthusiasm for every topic he covers is not only astounding, but highly contagious. I fkn love this guy

  • Bill Totman
    Bill Totman

    Scarcity. This is why film produces that carefulness.

  • David Mc
    David Mc

    I drove Detroit to Manitoba in 1979 to take a photo of the total eclipse. Through a $30 Tasco telescope."hat-trick" to avoid mirror bounce". Beautiful. I even development the Ectachrome slide film myself. Like that tank he shows. There nothing like looking at the perfect slide. I've scanned it. Do. I still have a digital copy to share. Also had a black and when darkroom in my parents' basement. I can still imagine smell of the film and chemicals. Hey! I still have the almost totally manual Cannon TX body I used. Found it 2 weeks ago. I remember riding my bike 4 miles to buy it. I gave lenses away.

  • Zach Lewis
    Zach Lewis

    Full circle. Film shop makes their money developing film, digitizing them, digitally adjusting them. Reminds me of when apple came out with the air pods, and then came out with a cable to connect them together so you don't lose them. Hope the couple who hired the photographer who shot in film, only to be processed in Adobe Light Room...didn't pay a premium. It's cool that they are keeping film alive. and cool to make old school modern. But the irony is not lost on me.

  • duerden10

    Thank you Dustin. I love your videos. To be honest, I can't ever turn away from them once I start watching.

  • Ready Teddy
    Ready Teddy

    Lots of figures of speech but nothing concrete about what it is about film that is better than digital. There's "something" about film tells us nothing.

  • ArtisanTony

    lol, a machine from the 90's is really old? haha Heck I remember when digital cameras came out. I shot with polaroid for 15 years before digital cameras :)

  • Rich Zarate
    Rich Zarate

    I bought a Canon AE-1 back in the 90s. One of the great things about film is that every shot counts; you’re more careful taking every shot

  • Huh? What?
    Huh? What?

    I developed a lot of rolls of film at home back in the 80's and 90's. Both the E (Ektachrome) and C (Color negative) process. I miss it a lot. Back when you had to work for pictures.

  • Nickayz

    This was an awesome! I started with analog photography and now barely do it. This was the first documentary I've seen about this topic, as there are almost none.

  • San Jacobs
    San Jacobs

    "So this is legit nightvision!" Dustin said about an infrared camera with an infrared flashlight on it from Toys 'R' Us

  • Born in 1496
    Born in 1496

    She is really beautiful like an angel

  • badreality2

    These guys need to invest in a film drum scanner.

  • badreality2

    Fun Fact: The longer film is in a film bath, the finer its film grain. The finer its film grain, the more detail it holds.

  • Ortho Habibian
    Ortho Habibian

    thanks a lot for all the resources that you have provided in the description section. It has really helped us to get started

  • Joni English
    Joni English

    STEVE SASSON of KODAK invented the Digital Camera in 1975 0.01 Mega Pixel from a CCD THEN KILLED IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ersin ozturk
    ersin ozturk

    After watching this video, I got myself an old Pentax film camera. I started to shoot in 35mm again and I'm loving it!

  • kcpenner

    You asked about why the Batman icons ... earlier you were talking about using echolocation to "see" things in the dark like bats, so I thought "BAT CAVE!!"

  • Steve Sheppard
    Steve Sheppard

    Millilitres?????????????? Since when did Americans enter the the 20th century. ;) Yes. I realise we are in the 21st century. That's the joke. x

  • Eryk Fear
    Eryk Fear

    I still have an old olympus camera the pictures come out beautiful, interesting episode I never knew how it is done. thx :)

  • Perry Calabrese
    Perry Calabrese

    Dang! Still use film and analog reel. Digital ain't better, just easier and cheaper.

  • Aditya Bikram Chakraborty
    Aditya Bikram Chakraborty

    Pin me

  • Mark

    This whole time after you mentioned digital filters not measuring up, I kept thinking to myself that their couldn't really be a significant difference at that pixel level. Even though I do not have accurate enough perception to have a bias, I know that if a difference exists, it can be plotted in feature space. So, thank you Destin, now for the next few week I will be training a neural net to classify images as digital or film, then use that AI as a discriminator in a generative adversarial network to create a good "film" filter.

  • JB Tallullah
    JB Tallullah

    Nice shirt Thomas.

  • George Wilson
    George Wilson

    This video made me get into film photography, which I'm absolutely loving! Thanks so much for this awesome video Destin

  • Obscured Lee
    Obscured Lee

    wait 15 mins for the lights? TIme is money, get new lights

  • Shannon Davis
    Shannon Davis

    Having worked in the industry for over 20 years, including 13 on the Frontier sp-3000 and 5 years on a Noritsu machine, this really bought back memories. I like the fact that film is making a comeback, I will say to print directly from the film is even better. As you said it's magic, once you digitize it you can cheat the process. Great video, made me want to get my old film camera out.

  • Jon Molnar
    Jon Molnar

    Thank you for reminding me how much I loved shooting film as a kid in the '90s. Since watching this video I've picked up a couple old cameras and started developing and scanning my own film at home. I'm thinking of setting up a proper darkroom and getting an enlarger to make my own prints. It's really rekindled my love of photography and got me out and seeing the world in a new light.

  • TheFruitMugger

    One of the things that I thought was coolest about my high school was that the photography students actually spent a fair bit of time shooting with film cameras, and had their own dark room for developing the photos. Destin, you'll also appreciate that it's located right in Alabama! In fact, Jinny (31:05) is an alumnus of my high school's photography department.

  • Mark Griffin
    Mark Griffin

    Sorry Dude. I spent 30 years shooting film, developing and printing same. Give me digital.

  • Frank Silvers
    Frank Silvers

    Just remember that what they are doing beyond the development at that company is not the same film process like it was in the past. They are doing an analog/digital process. Back in the film only days there was no scanning of film and the ease and accuracy of digital editing. It actually took digital (scanning tech and image editing software) to get the best out of film. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation in regards to film and what it is really capable of, not to mention how film was s used in the past. The fact is, film is grossly inferior to digital in every traditional measure of image quality. Sorry to have to burst any bubbles, buts that's the simple truth.

  • Frank Silvers
    Frank Silvers

    No use of gloves when handling film. 👎👎

  • Frank Silvers
    Frank Silvers

    Even if I were given film for free and I got free development and prints, I would never go back to shooting film again. In every single meaningful way film is grossly inferior to digital.

  • Raits Hots
    Raits Hots

    Nja 👍 😎 Good video. Real good film camera photo. Vs digital camera. Real film camera photo big size image. 400iso real 450megapixsel. Small chemical silver dust utt. But problem money this chemical film camera. Future stoped products films. Museum story future.

  • Josh is a Jedi
    Josh is a Jedi

    My first job out of high school was as a photo tech. It’s crazy that I worked through the film age, into the digital age, and now back into the film age.

  • twistedtechnology

    What you say at the beginning is so true. I was a photographer back around the time when most pros were moving over to digital and I think the quality of my photos went down after switching over. As a college student/freelance photographer I was on a pretty tight budget and depending on the type of film I was shooting a single frame could be a $4 or $5 investment (film cost/development/print cost) so I think I took way more time composing my shots and making sure everything was perfect before hitting the shutter. With digital you just get into this mindset of snap a few hundred pictures and see what you get. With film I could go out for a day of shooting and not take 100 pictures but with digital you can do 100 in less than half an hour. Also working in a darkroom was almost as much fun as shooting the pictures to begin with. There is something very zen about processing your own film and making prints. Alternative processes are a lot of fun as well.

  • travis

    Good job Destin, enjoyed it.

  • Reuben Kay Cheng Ong
    Reuben Kay Cheng Ong

    The difference between digital camera and a film camera is practice, digital camera give you more chances to get a better picture but flim camera can only give you limited chance to get a better picture as well the fear and worry if you get a perfect picture, in other words an emotional Rollercoaster of a photo

    • Frank Silvers
      Frank Silvers

      @Reuben Kay Cheng Ong Why would the old way be better if the new way is in every meaningful way grossly superior?

    • Reuben Kay Cheng Ong
      Reuben Kay Cheng Ong

      @Frank Silvers quality is improve overtime but sometimes the old way are best way, or at least built the foundation

    • Frank Silvers
      Frank Silvers

      @Reuben Kay Cheng Ong Actually, the inherent attributes of film and digital capture are essentially identical. Digital simply greatly improves on film. I can easily fool someone into thinking a digital camera image was made with film by simply shooting at a lower resolution and at a higher ISO.

    • Reuben Kay Cheng Ong
      Reuben Kay Cheng Ong

      @Frank Silvers true, but at the same time is hard to duplicate with flim and double as a safety feature for photo shop or illegal edit

    • Frank Silvers
      Frank Silvers

      Digital also produces vastly superior image quality.

  • neville douglas
    neville douglas

    the other thing fantastic about film you get the prints to keep and there is nothing better than looking at them in your hands and they out last you that after your gone someone else can browse through and share in museums ----that digital wont do and ps i still have my NIKON F4 6 frames a second and you can accidently have a wrong setting on a flash and it knows and adjusts never had a dud picture ever

  • Azmaeen Rubyat
    Azmaeen Rubyat

    what model was that Nikon camera at the end? With that analog display?

  • Tomi juupodjapondpwa
    Tomi juupodjapondpwa


  • Max Timko
    Max Timko


  • Rusty Ralston
    Rusty Ralston

    that beginning was kind of like ASMR.

  • Victor Moysés
    Victor Moysés

    Outstanding, Destin! That was flawless!

  • I hate Myself
    I hate Myself

    Hey i have a olympus miu ii and there is a - sign that Won’t go away what do i do

  • chapincurioso

    She's freaking CUTE!!!!

  • Bojan Marsetic
    Bojan Marsetic

    True. I worked in the prepress factory for 15 years and done film developing. Even the old books made mostly by hand developing has different feel than today's ones. Viva ANALOG! The same goes for music.

  • M E
    M E

    *Sees a bunch of gears and pulleys* "Alright nobody say anything I can figure this out" 😂

  • Vissal Mathew
    Vissal Mathew

    I am a camera collector, and this video has given one more reason to appreciate the process of taking images on film. I agree that the sense of anticipation after you have shot an image makes you feel like you have created something new. Kudos to SmarterEveryDay for bringing out this very educative and inspiring video.

  • Jim Bo
    Jim Bo

    I still wear a mechanical watch, all springs, gears, and an escapement mechanism. Everything can be seen, everything understood. Its construction made by an artisan, a human, whose workmanship is displayed on my wrist and someday on my son's wrist. The lack of silicon, battery, and quartz takes me to a time when life seemed more real, more warm, more genuine, as it was in 1970s America.

    • Jim Bo
      Jim Bo

      @Frank Silvers Yes, the professionals still know the art.

    • Frank Silvers
      Frank Silvers

      @Jim Bo Touching up with an editor is exactly what almost all film shooters of today do. Most serious digital photographers are also not shooting on auto.

    • Jim Bo
      Jim Bo

      @Frank Silvers Sure you can shoot in full manual mode, but most people don't. Most shoot in full-auto where the onboard computer decides all the settings and then they touch it up with an editor.

    • Frank Silvers
      Frank Silvers

      @Jim Bo Film doesn’t take any more talent. Photos are captured in the same way with both mediums and nailing down the technical side is actually pretty easy. You don’t need the ability to take an endless amount of free photos like you can with digital to master the technical side of film photography. Talent does matter. There is just so much you can do digitally, so while digital editing is great, you are giving too much credit in regards to it being able to save crappily captured photos, never mind the artistic side, which is actually the hardest part. Besides, few people today even shoot film the way it was in the film only era. Most people were at the mercy of crappy one hour photo labs.

    • Jim Bo
      Jim Bo

      @Frank Silvers Which is why it took more talent to capture a great photograph with a film camera. If you didn't have an understanding of F-stop, aperture, shutter speed, film speed and how the settings all interrelate, you couldn't capture a stunning picture. Today talent doesn't matter. It's so easy to correct a flawed photo with Photoshop. Not much talent needed.

  • Loren Ryssman
    Loren Ryssman

    Back, when I still did film, I wondered what C-41 processing looked like; now I know. Thanks Briefly, my thoughts as to what's so special about silver based film photography: 1) the process involves hands-on craftsmanship, and produces a tangible piece of work; 3) the recent increased interest, is mostly due to a degree of nostalgia (e.g. baby-boomers reflecting on their younger years when photography was only film); 4) silver based photography was not the first photographic technology, and will eventually takes it's place alongside earlier processes.

  • Jim Bo
    Jim Bo

    Like any art form before the digital age, it took more effort and talent. Today, whether it's photography, music, or graphics, anyone can cheat by cleaning up their lack of talent with an app.

  • Tyson Matanich
    Tyson Matanich

    If you think film is magic, then go print and develop your own black and white photo. Watching the image slowly appear on a sheet of white paper in the tray of developer is both magical and satisfying.

  • Tyson Matanich
    Tyson Matanich

    I was surprised to hear they were using fluorescent lights in a darkroom 🤦‍♂️

    • boch

      @Tyson Matanich Yeah, but.. Its quite whatever when the only time they need to keep the lights on is when theres a maintenance or a document that needs to be done :'D

    • Tyson Matanich
      Tyson Matanich

      @boch because as stated in the video florescent lights take several minutes to stop emitting visible light. So every time you turn off the lights you have to wait before pulling out film etc. Incandescent or LED would be a better choice for a darkroom.

    • boch

      why wouldn't they. not gonna keep them on when developing

  • Blalack77

    I love to learn. It's humbles your intelligence ego to learn something you didn't know. I tend to think I'm relatively smart and know a little about a lot and a lot about a little but I'm still learning a lot of new stuff on every video I watch from this channel.

  • Taldaran

    It's great that this is explained to the digital generation. When I was in Jr High, we took photography classes where you would develop your own photos and film by hand. We just did black and white of course to begin, but it was an amazing experience.

  • YashMeer Vlogs
    YashMeer Vlogs

    That machine is modern technique compare here in the Philippines .

  • Application User
    Application User

    Why in the world would anyone digitize a film image? I do all my stuff either on slide film or I develop my black and white negative film as slides. No digital for me. You of course are free to do as you wish. I just think you're cheating yourself. I hope this lab returns your film to you. A lot of companies don't so they can mine your film for silver. I think the film is the creation and belongs to the shooter.

  • Vikman Photography
    Vikman Photography

    Still shooting film for weddings (35mm) and specialty portraits (4x5 view camera)

  • Alexander Bashta III
    Alexander Bashta III

    Awesome Video and info. AND I ordered my grandson a kiwico subscription, so thanks

  • Jacob Wolf
    Jacob Wolf


  • Ryan Chen
    Ryan Chen

    I learned my photography over a Minolta X-700 in the 90s before I had my first DSLR in 2007(Sony Alpha A100 with CCD) and currently still owns it without intention to replace it with anything else> I get what you said in the beginning as it was how I felt like an apprentice.

  • Farley Craig
    Farley Craig

    I love the OHIO shirt! Awesome video!

  • Victor S
    Victor S

    thank you for making and showing the movie. Thats really magic

  • Mustafa Tasrali
    Mustafa Tasrali

    28:37 and you always need one "C:/ disk" backup. and a good Local network

  • David Stewart
    David Stewart

    I see where you are going here, and I agree. I always feel more creative when I use my analog camera. I own a Cannon AE1 program and have used it for well over 30 years. But I also have to admit I rarely use this camera anymore because of the cost associated with this camera: purchase of the film, and the processing charges. In any case this is a great video. Thanks

  • 感靈陽

    No doubt film extinct.

  • MAN Network
    MAN Network

    Man this same debate runs wild in the audio world recording using tape vs digital ADAT.

  • john rus
    john rus

    Meh, as a photographer you can care less about the "feel" of film. It's a tool, not for giving you warm fuzzies. That is what your end result should do. Film to me is relegated to creative photography or simply shooting with old lenses. Film is completely obsolete and only comeback it has is among the hipsters who are more concerned about being cool than taking a good pic. Sorry if I sound calloused, but I started out on film. I still have a film body, but it's a tool. Not a cup of cappuccino.

  • James Bruzgis
    James Bruzgis

    Awesome stuff as usual!! I love your brain. The moment when you stopped everything to learn how the machine moves was great! I’m the same way!

  • Rob O'Brien
    Rob O'Brien

    Thank you so much for this video!! I got into film a little over a year ago, and now use my film cameras as often or more than my digitals! I love the excitement of developing my black and white at home, and have always wondered what happened/happens in those labs.

  • Ace45015

    Film photography is what i got my start on with the hobby side,Canon AE-1 I now own an old Nikon FE and two Nikon Digitals. But the mechanical of the film camera is something i love,that and the mystery of no previews

  • Geo/Lisa Drag-Racing
    Geo/Lisa Drag-Racing

    Just shared this video. i use this service & people ask me about sending out old rolls of film all the time, but then, they never do. i just don't do a good job of alleviating the fear they have about losing these memories. Although it doesn't seem to be the reason behind this film; it really highlights the company, the process & the fact that lots and lots of people are still getting real film developed every day! Indie Film Lab is great! Fuji frontier sp 3000 is amazing, Film photography is the past, present AND future! Great Video THANKS -

  • Pavel Makovinyi
    Pavel Makovinyi

    And it can't be geo-tagged! 😉

  • rey delapaz
    rey delapaz

    i didnt know film is making a comeback. what i do know is camera makers are crazy with the mirrorless sheet and killing the SLR/DSLR totally

  • TSI

    The mechanical indexing system you noticed at minute 16:18 is called a “walking beam”

  • Diogo Carvalho
    Diogo Carvalho

    Film can be recreated as it has been proven by Steve Yedlin. It's just freaking hard to do so.

  • FirstName LastName
    FirstName LastName

    They just do not have microcontrast in them. Disable that default feature on your Canon digital camera and you will have much better photos. However, most people like microcontrast at first. Like most people buy sparkly shining flaring monitors and then whey try to use it on sunny day and understand that have they done and go into the deep depression and their eyes are already burned out. But nobody cares, product already sold. Same thing ruins digital photography, I'm looking at you, Canon! Remember, people, ANY processing lead to information loss. ANY filter make your photo worse. No exceptions, that's the law of physics. This rule is more strong than the conservation of energy. Nobody cares, though (

  • moa'taz Ahmed
    moa'taz Ahmed

    That Hana thou really cute

  • Antonio Hernandez
    Antonio Hernandez

    I found this website that sold film cameras and even some disposable ones, i thought it would be neat to try one day for nostalgia but i'm not sure where to go to get the pictures developed............

  • DoomTrain

    One thing I noticed when looking to upgrade my PC about 14 years ago was that ATI (AMD) had better colors than Nvidia. I wonder if they take into account all that kinda thing too. Not sure if it's true anymore though.

  • Marsha Malinsky
    Marsha Malinsky

    I worked in a photo lab back in the nineties. I always said 35mm was the best. Can't beat the clear colorful pictures. It's coming back thank you 👍🤩

    • Mateusz Pawlik
      Mateusz Pawlik

      120 is even better, and chimney viewfinders...

  • Dylan Aguilar
    Dylan Aguilar

    Beautiful video as always

  • mio

    Has smarter every day some a video on crypto?

  • Luke Leslie
    Luke Leslie

    I just watched this at .5 speed hahahaha it was actually very entertaining lol

  • Amos Kittelson
    Amos Kittelson

    @Destin, would be great to know next time you're in Sioux Falls!

  • dwindeyer

    34:23 Objectively, the digital shot is better in almost every way, but I do like the aesthetic of the film shot

  • Nathan Jerico
    Nathan Jerico

    Next step, make a pinhole camera and see the physics about that (im just curious)

  • Vipul Malik
    Vipul Malik

    she is cute 😊

  • Iam Nobodi
    Iam Nobodi

    I have always wondered how film works. Never thought I would find out. Thanks for this awesome video.

  • DaffyDuc69

    Digitized is a sample of the image. So much of it is lost forever when you take a digital photo. Film has all of that depth, because it isn't a sample, it's as close to the copy of the original as you can get.

  • Naman

    1.4k dislikes disgusting people

  • jared oresi
    jared oresi

    what is film? what is you talking about bro

  • ericduan19

    Shooting on film is still a thing in the movie industry. On a very small scale, of course, but from time to time some directors will choose to shoot on film. Film has an observable unique look because (in digital terms) it's pixel quality is different from digital image. Back in film school, we still have to learn how to shoot on film & operate real film editing machines. In this day and age of digital film making, many film makers like to "run & gun" during their production. Well, if you're shooting on film, its cost always gives you second thoughts of your decisions & you'll plan meticulously beforehand.

  • GD3Media

    The algorithm is tripping me out now. I'm sitting here editing my film photos and this video pops up as I'm watching Sopranos highlights.

  • TWI99

    This huys are amazing!

  • Foolish3art

    You’re genuinely interested in keeping film alive. So thank you! You should make a video for music mediums as well.

Flywheel Battery
1.3 mln
we broke up
323 ming