This is my blog about my interests in photography and film-making, also my travels as well as other items that I feel may be of interest. I also run the Photography equipment website, Filmcam....................................... IF YOU WANT TO ENLARGE ANY IMAGE BELOW SIMPLY CLICK ON IT !

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Old Harry

Just to the north of Swanage you'll see Old Harry Rocks, and Bournemouth beyond.
I took this last spring on one of the delightful boat-trips they run out of Swanage quay, with my 35mm Pentax Super A and Tamron 500mm mirror-lens. Ektachrome 100 film.
We were hoping for puffins, which we later saw when the boat doubled back t'other side of Swanage, but the light had then faded rather so I wished I'd loaded up with faster film.

Friday, December 4, 2009

16mm Does the Splits

Faces of Sixteen Mil, part 3: HALF-SIXTEEN

Here's one to beat the credit crunch.... IF...

Half-Sixteen can be adapted to ANY 16mm movie camera that takes spools of film. Conversion is straightforward: you mask the gate vertically, do the same with the viewfinder, and then tip the camera on its side and start filming. When the film runs out, turn the take-up spool over, plonk it on the feed spindle and re-thread. Now expose the second half, in the same way as you would standard 8mm. Process the film, then split the 16mm film using maybe one of those cheap Russian splitters. You now have Double the length of film. The image is quite big, about 1.66 : 1 ratio, considerably better quality than super-8, at less cost. On the face of it, Half-Sixteen seems the ideal format and it's a wonder that camera and projector manufacturers haven't embraced it. It was the brainchild of UK solicitor David Jones, and he and Tony Shapps worked on the system.

The 16mm projector conversion is more involved. Film rollers need to be replaced with 8mm ones, the sprockets need slight modification, and the gate-channel also has to be 8mm wide. The claw movement stays the same of course. Projectors catering for both 16mm and standard 8mm are the easiest to modify... such as the Specto. The machine must also be capable of tipping onto its side, as the camera was. The film is loaded on 8mm spools. This horizontal format is like a mini version of VistaVision !

OK now for the big IF. You will of course need Double-perforated film. If you can find it there's no problem. But in recent years film manufacturers have gone over pretty exclusively to Single-perf stock. This is a great shame because double-perf is also very useful for doing special effects in 16mm. Anyway, the fact remains that you may have to search on Ebay for out-dated Double-perf. Look for 2R on the label, meaning: two rows of perforations. An alternative is to use standard 8mm film which is identical to 16mm 2R, although having twice the number of holes. These extra holes don't matter, but then it will likely cost more than 16mm.

So there you have it. Rock steady, high quality widescreen pictures with Half-Sixteen. Once you get going it may be worth shifting the camera lens over to centralise the image, though not essential. By the way, it's quite easy to mask the Bolex reflex finder for any format, as the prism swings out nicely, revealing the ground glass.

Standard 8mm film, should you wish to try it, is available from
Photoworld, Llandudno, 01492 871818