Sunday, July 1, 2007

Once upon a time

The first official day of my sabbatical. I'd hoped to make it a particularly productive one so with a belly full of re-fried perogies and (fresh) bacon, I slipped away from the noise and into the trees to again study the pine trees. I shot the remainder of a roll of Kodak 7363, a high contrast black and white film that used to be sold very cheap as a stock for making optical soundtracks but is now sold fairly cheaply as a camera stock for optical effects. It is distinguished as a raw stock for its striking yellow base. One of my students ran 30 feet into it thinking I'd attached some sort of leader to it. I had similar apprehensions the first time I used it but just charged ahead. It is tricky to expose as it likes to have bright sunlight, I rate it around 9 or 10 iso in daylight and only about 6 under tungsten light. Anyway, Margaret had pointed out how the deadly straight trees here will sway slightly and how amazing this looks when looking straight up. I shot minute of film in time exposures using my battery powered Meritex and exposed full seconds at about f4.
I took a break from the 16mm and shot more home-movie style super-8 on the beach. It is the father's role, responsibility, and perhaps even rite to select the moments of his families life that are important enough to be preserved forever on super-8 film. The family portraits by the father have been a big concern of mine since taking that role myself five years ago.
My second roll of 16mm for the day did not go so smoothly. I loaded a roll of Kodak 3383, which IS a print stock (as opposed to a camera stock - print stocks are meant to be used in machines to create copies of films rather than in the cameras. They are sold in large rolls for industry use and need to be cut down for camera use). This stock is for colour printing and my tests rate it at about 1.5 iso (tungsten). That means that under the brightest Saskatchewan light (which is damn bright) you need to shoot at f1.4 if you want to shoot at 24fps. I have a plan to shoot time exposures with it but this afternoon my Meritex began to fail and just runs uncontrollably, regardless of ac/dc power and regardless of whether or not the camera is connected. I tried every option and eventually packed it away for repair. That left me in a shady forest that I cannot possibly shoot in normally with this stock. I decided to return to a technique I used a lot in the early 90s in which I use the Bolex rewind crank to turn the camera forward and thus I could absolutely control the speed of the camera movement. I cranked it at about 4 frames per second at f2.8, occasionally running backwards and superimposing. It's a bit of a workout but can give a flickering, inconsistent effect that is difficult to simulate any other way.

1 comment:

The Outhouse Prophet said...

Hey Gerald -

Cool to see you have a blog. Congratulations on the sabbatical. I know you'll miss the committee work more than anything.

Would love to see your shots of Cypress Hills sometimes. I've driven by it dozens of times but never actually taken the beaten path to go see it.