Wednesday, 7 October 2020

16mm Scan Update

As per recent post, I discussed having completed a test where instead of projecting and then filming some 16mm leader (which I inked in a fairly abstract manner), I scanned it in. I won't repeat myself here with the reasons in doing so, as it is all in the previous post on this topic, so please read that if you wish to know more. In fact, this might not make very much sense if you don't read that actually!

Anyway, I have decided to scan the whole thing (all 100 feet). This was because I honestly have no idea when I'll next be able to use a projector and have had the reel of film sitting around for long enough and I was inspired to do something with it. There's not that much more to my reasoning than that! Plus I suppose it's a slightly new venture and I love trying out new creative ways of doing things.

I'll take you through my process. I cut the reel into strips of approximately 28 centimetres in length (so they can fit in my A4 scanner). There were 106 of these:




Once cut, I decided that some still needed a little more work as they looked a bit 'empty': not much going on, mostly clear film. Luckily I had a couple of colours of ink left over, so was able to get on with that almost straight away. For those wondering, the ink I use is Winsor and Newton (the ones which come in those super cute little almost triangle glass jars). Always loved those since I was a kid (they have lovely pictures on each bottle label). I apply the ink with a pipette, dropping from a hight. Always careful not to get everything else messy when doing so, so a plastic sheet goes on my desk!

When the new additions were dry, it was time to scan. When carrying out the test, I just placed four down on the scanner bed right next to each other. This took a little time to get right as they kept moving when I lifted my hands off them. I needed them to be straight, because otherwise I would be messing around in post with the rotation and post was going to take long enough anyway.

I came up with an invention where I was able to scan 8 strips at once and have them all straight. It's quite ingenious even if I say so myself. So, what did you do? I hear you ask in anticipation... I cut slits in an piece of A4 white card, each 16mm width, 26cm apart. I left 5mm gap between each and repeated. I then slotted each end of each film strip into the card, so I was left with this:


This then went into the scanner face down and nine minutes later, voila(!) I have 8 strips scanned at 2400dpi. These went into Photoshop to be duplicated and cropped, separating each strip out singly.

No, we're still not done. They were taken into my post production program of choice Premiere Pro where I added the keyframes to make each one move. The whole process took eight hours (yes, I do time my work), though this doesn't include the initial inking of the film which I did around a year ago.

The result:


Above is a ten second snippet of what I created. The whole thing runs approximately 2 minutes, though I'm still tinkering with the speed- it looks a little too fast, I think. As you can see, I decided to leave in the sprockets as I ended up quite liking them- they added a different dimension and showed the rawness of my process. If it was a projected piece, then you wouldn't see these, but it wasn't a projected piece and you could see them, so I left them in. It frames it quite nicely too, plus I love where sometimes the ink has filled in the hole, giving it a nice texture.

Watch this space (I pretty much end each post with that!) to find out what I do with it next...

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