Wednesday, 30 September 2020

16mm Scan Test

Since the start of the year, I have had a reel of 16mm film sat around in my room, inked and raring to go (well, to be projected). Early in the year I was in conversation with the person who I usually borrow the projector from and was planning on projecting and capturing it sometime 'before Easter'. Then, well we all know what happened. The future is still uncertain and with cases high in the area which I live, putting anyone else or myself in danger all for the sake of an artsy, experimental film is not really the way I want to go about my practise.

I toyed with the idea of buying my own projector, but some are quite expensive and I want one which would work and work for a long time. It's also an unnecessary bulk to have around my house, which at this moment in time I could do without. So, what was I to do?

Well, as the title of this post may suggest I decided to scan some of it in. I decided to only scan approximately three feet, because incase it didn't create the effect I wanted, I wouldn't have wasted one hundred foot of film and numerous hours days of my time. Not to mention the amount of computer storage space either, with 2400dpi scans.

A snippet of what I scanned in. Ink and permanent marker on clear 16mm leader.

It's hard to get an accurate picture of whether it 'worked' with a six second duration, though it has given me some information to work with- both positive and negative. One of the positives (and a major one in my opinion) were the vibrant colours, more so than what I usually capture when projecting it and filming it. I then find myself going into After Effects to colour correct it, whereas with this, the colours I had inked on the film were the ones I got when scanned in. BIG plus point! It was also cheaper/ convenient in a variety of ways, most of which I have already stated above.

One of the major negative points or 'cons' was the fact that it is a fairly lengthly process. Whether I scan several feet at once (which I would do), there is still a lot of post production work which follows. This is separating the scan file into each different strip and then moving each strip along every two frames in Premiere. When I project and record it, yes it takes a little time setting up the projector, but once you have it going, the process is often smooth and straightforward.

As briefly mentioned above, the storage space becomes an issue, too. A way around this would be to delete the scans once I've post processed them and export a high quality file of it playing through. Talking of space (man), even at 2400dpi res, the film strip still doesn't fill the 1080x1080 canvas at 100% size:

As the above screen grab illustrates, you can see the sprockets at the top and bottom of frame. Whether this is a 'bad' thing or not, I am not yet sure, but it is something to take into consideration. If I decided I didn't want them showing, then I would have to scan at an even higher res, therefore taking up more storage space. If I punch in the frame at this res, then I will lose some of the quality.

My final point is that when scanning, you can see the shadow of where the film strip hasn't been totally flat at points, or maybe this is because of the slight raised nature of the celluloid. It shows up more where I have the permanent marker, rather than the abstract colours and also where the sprockets are visible. Again, I need to decide whether this is important.

I think that what I decide to do regarding the above will be influenced by the end usage for this particular reel of 16mm. Whether it becomes a stand alone film, or whether I integrate it within other projects. Doing this test has given me things to think about and I'm pleased I carried it out. When I do make a decision, I will be sure to update on here.

You can view the film here:

Friday, 25 September 2020

New Showreel

I only updated my showreel in August, though have done a lot more work since so wanted to adjust my reel once again.

I love how my work is going at the moment and definitely can see a vast improvement, even from the last year. I feel I have defined a style which is very 'me', combining my rotoscope work with the more experimental side of my moving image output. I hope I continue to improve and develop.

Here it is:

Monday, 21 September 2020

Road to Wembley 20/21 #2

Round: Preliminary
Date: 20/9/20
Ground: Bottomdale Road (Slyne-with-Hest FC)
Attendance: 60 approx.
Match: Morecambe Ladies FC 3-0 Salford City Lionesses

Full set of photographs HERE.

Sunday, 20 September 2020


If you haven't already gathered from my social media, my animation 'Together | Fragmented' has been shortlisted for the Lockdown DepicT short film competition, as part of Encounters Film Festival. Woop! That sounded sarcastic, but honestly it wasn't- I made this film with this competition in mind and have entered it numerous times over the years without success, so it goes without saying that I was overjoyed to be selected this year.

The standard this year is really strong and I feel super privileged to be amongst such a line up. My film is up for the audience award, so if you have watched it (and like it) then all you need to do is rate it five stars. And if you really like it, you can also leave a nice comment. And if you really really like it, then I guess you can tell your friends to do the same too. Okay, I'm a little biased.

You can watch and vote for my film HERE.

Friday, 11 September 2020

Animation Update

I've not written much on here lately about animation, because I'm currently working on a short film which I touched on in this post and I won't be giving too much away before it's finished.

But, I will be sharing clips every now and again to keep the good old social media algorithms happy (what a world we live in) and also so my social feeds aren't overly saturated with football.

During the last few pieces, I worked out a new (faster) way of colouring the clips. So I've basically jumped on here to share my joy with whoever that one reader is my stats seem to tell me I get. Hello! I used to draw all the outlines in one go, then colour at the end. Sounds logical, yes? Though that was a slowwww process, because when using the colour fill it doesn't always reach up to the corners or the small gaps where lines are too close together. This resulted in a lot of time spent going over the fills with the brush tool, filling all the bits which the paint bucket missed. Not great for an already labour intensive process. 

Now, this time I do still draw the outlines in one go, but on two layers. So, the first layer is a more silhouette/ basic block shape layer, like so:

And the other layer is the detail:

I then switch off the detail layer, leaving the block outlines which I then colour. Because there's not as many lines or spaces to fill, there is less to retouch with the brush tool. Once that's complete, I switch on the detail layer and proceed to fill in the other shapes that need colouring, such as the facial features. This takes so much quicker and I have no idea why it's taken me so long to do it this way! Below is the final result.

You can watch the full version here:

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

The Road to Wembley (Take 2)!

On 6th September the 20/21 Women's FA Cup started for 376 teams around the country. It also marked the start of this season's 'Road to Wembley' attempt for myself and my partner, Ben. We will aim to attend one game from each round of the cup, from the Extra Preliminary to the final. You can read more about why in my post from last year here. The reasons for doing so stay the same.

Round dates

The difference this year though will that I'll not be writing a full blog for each one, but concentrating more on the photography side of things. This is due to having less time at the moment to write full written blog posts. I will, however, do a post for each game with match details and include some photos, along with a link to the full set. So without further ado, here are the details for Road to Wembley #1:

Round: Extra Preliminary
Date: 6/9/20
Ground: H.E. Barnes Stadium
Attendance: 135
Match: Dronfield Town Ladies FC 2-1 Arnold Eagles

Full set of photographs here.