I'm doing a bit of teaching at the Leeds College of Art at the moment, and here are some photos from the painting on film session we did earlier this week! We made about 400ft of film over 2 days, they're magical! I also got switched onto 'Brusho' ink powders (sold at the college shop) which are super concentrated, and dabbing them on by hand, as powder, onto a moist bit of the film, works a treat!
It was an ace weekend at The Cube in Bristol on 13th and 14th October! The hellfire video club screening on the Friday evening was also very enjoyable - 'Warriors of the Wasteland' dir. Enzo G. Castelari, 1983, was a kitsch cracker that made us all laugh out loud, with a pretty snazzy poster to boot!
A massive thank you to Sarah for organising the Super 8 workshop, to all the Cube volunteers who were there for the weekend, and to every single one of you who came to the workshop for making it such a good atmosphere - it was hugely enjoyable and I felt so inspired by it!
The Cube feels like a very special communal and warm place to be, where people were discussing all kinds of cinema, and I am truly sad that I don't live nearby. Leeds sorely needs a Cube-esque creation. The Leeds International Film Festival is coming up in November, so Leeds folk will get their chance to see loads of ace cinema, but after that... what, wait another year? The dedication of the volunteers who run The Cube is huge, and it's obvious just how much energy goes into running the venue and keeping the spirit alive! Basically, I just want to say you Cube-shaped people are brilliant, and I love love LOVE what you're doing!!!
Sarah Acton who organised the workshop has even had the great idea of setting up a filmmaking cine club at the Cube to meet once a month to process Super 8 films! I have just sent Sarah all the email addresses of those who attended the workshop so she can coordinate this - I would love to attend a Super 8 screening event in the future made by Cube-ites!
As promised, here are the details of what we did on the workshop to help you remember exactly what we did and how we did it!
Remember - if you're using daylight-balanced film (any film with 'D' in the name rather than 'T'), you must set the camera to the lightbulb setting, but shoot in the daylight!
We used Ektachrome 100D, by Kodak, which you can buy very cheaply here: www.7dayshop.com
You can also buy Tri-X (black and white) by Kodak at the same place. Cheapest source!
You can also buy direct from Kodak - if you wanted to buy a large number of films, I'd go with Kodak, because shipping would be carefully registered and they'd all come at once, whereas buying from 7dayshop.com means you get the films in individual packets posted through your letterbox - 20 films = 20 mini packets (some kind of loop-hole to do with how they can keep their prices low I think).
Here's what Ektachrome 100D looks like!
And here's what a Braun Nizo looks like! (I tend to prefer the macro models, which have macro in their title, because they always also have the 'auto B' function for shooting in dark conditions - very useful and can be used very artistically!).
And here is lots of info about camera-less filmmaking, followed by instructions for shooting with Braun Nizo cameras:
8 film can be put in strong household bleach in a bucket to wipe the image. The
best way to do this is put the film in a bucket, squirt bleach over it, leave
it for a short while (5 mins ish) and then, wearing rubber gloves, begin to rub
the bleach into the film, helping to wipe off the emulsion. Don’t get too close
and don’t breathe in the bleach!
well, and hang up to dry. Alternatively, you can leave Super 8 film in a bucket
of water for some weeks and the water will erode the emulsion. You can stop
this partially by removing the film from the water at whatever stage you
choose, or you can let it go until all the emulsion has been washed away by the
water, leaving clear film.
have found the best inks to use are acrylic artist inks (in glass bottles with
droppers). They come in many different colours and generally have a very
strong, saturated pigmentation that is somewhat transparent, so it works great on
film. They’re not always cheap, so expect to pay between £2 and £5 for one
bottle (or try your luck on ebay).
is opaque black ink, and if applied to film, it will block the light. You can
also mix Indian ink with pvc glue and paint it onto film, then dry it with a
hairdryer and you can get a crackled effect (like a dry river bed).
are permanent markers (often used for writing on cds etc) and they also work
well on film.
can stick things to your film using sellotape, just be sure to keep the
sprockets clear (or pin them through afterwards) and don’t let the film strip
become too thick or it might get caught in the projector and melt! You can
stick all kind of things to the film – the general rule is that as long as it
can bend and is quite thin, it’s ok! You can also use superglue, but try to
cover it with sellotape too, so it doesn’t come off in the projector.
don’t need the expensive CIR guillotine splicers (although they are nice – get
one if it crops up for less than £40!). You can use any budget splicer just to
cut the film in the right place, and then apply a thin strip of sellotape by
hand, wrapping it around the film so it covers both sides.
Sound and Silent
can only buy silent Super 8 film now, but you might find that a lot of found
footage you come across is actually sound film, with a magnetic sound strip
along it. You can play this sound on sound projectors only, and some sound
projectors let you re-record over it, so you can make your own soundtracks!
Eumig projectors are good – well made, and often with different settings. I
like the Eumig 624D or 610D, because these give you the options for projecting
at 3 frames per second (fps), 6 fps, 9 fps, 12 fps, 15 fps, and 18 fps.
can also scratch into film that already has emulsion on it. This can work
really well just using a small sharp pin, or you can use sandpaper to get
multiple scratches at once.
few interesting filmmakers to look into, who have used cameraless film
Brakhage (see his painted and inked films, and also ‘Mothlight’ where he
applied moth wings and dried flowers to the film strip by hand)
Lefrant (buried film, and inks)
Film decomposition and
great book on the topic of decomposing and fragmenting film, with a DVD of
examples, is Steven Woloshen’s ‘Recipes for Reconstruction’. You can order a
copy direct from the filmmaker here (it’s about £26): email@example.com
can bury film in the earth, and the layers of emulsion will be progressively
eaten away by micro-organisms in the soil. You can use all kinds of film to do
this with – film with images, unexposed film, exposed and processed film,
colour or black and white, Super 8 or 16mm or 35mm, etc. I often use colour
film which is black (i.e. has not been exposed) but which has been processed in
chemicals so the colour dyes in the emulsion are latent and ready to be
revealed by decomposition. Covering parts of the film in sellotape before you
bury it can have great results too. Rich soil is great because it is very
‘active’! You can also add some cooked rice or icing sugar to the film before
burying it, to speed up the processes of decay. Also, you can ‘drown’ film by
leaving it in water (or other liquid solutions) for periods of time. Check on
your film often, as sometimes the process can suddenly speed up!
Standard 8 or
mix up Super 8 with Standard 8 or Single 8! Even though they are all 8mm wide,
their sprockets are different, and the way they run through the camera is also
different. If you’re looking for a Super 8 camera on ebay, make sure it’s Super
8 and not just advertised as ‘8mm’.
you’re bidding on a camera, ask these questions:
Is the lens free of
Is the lens free of
Is the battery
compartment complete and un-corroded?
Er, does it work?!
Good Super 8
cameras to look out for
are sooooo many, so have fun with your search! I really like the Braun Nizo
cameras, as they have loads of different functions and are well made. Canons
are also good, and Nikons too.
Braun Nizo camera
meter – two possible settings: automatic and manual. I usually set mine at
meter batteries – takes two 625 hearing aid type batteries (1.5v). You can get
these cheaper than Jessops at Claas Ohlsen, on North Street in Leeds (opposite
– the dial that lets you set time lapse exposures.
B – set this when there are low light conditions, and expect blurs and traces.
If shooting at night on this setting, also open the shutter lever (the red
lever at the bottom of the camera). But don’t forget to set it back to normal
if shooting in daylight.
Frame – the black square dot!
(frames per second) – 18, 24 or 54.
motion – 54 fps. Remember not to use this speed when the film counter dial is
before no. 12 or after no. 3. Never run the camera at any speed over 18 fps
without film in it.
the camera to your eye – Set the focus ring to infinity, and zoom right in.
Look at a vertical sharp line at least 50 metres away from you, and adjust the
diopter (the focusing ring by the eye piece) so that the vertical line is
continuous as it runs through the split focusing circle mid-point horizontal
line. The image doesn’t need to look in focus – what is important is that the vertical
line is continuous and smooth as it moves through the horizontal line in the
circle. Your camera is now set to your eye, and you can zoom and focus as you
wish (just leave the diopter setting where it is).
zoom – two speeds. Only works when camera is in a certain setting (like macro).
– camera needs to be put into macro gear. Focusing depends upon continuous
lines again, but focusing is actually carried out by adjusting the zoom ring,
not the focus ring, which should be set at infinity while you’re using macro.
Remember to click out of macro when you’re done.
counter dial – a countdown! It resets itself automatically if you remove the
film from the camera. You’ve got approx 15 metres = 50 feet = 3 mins 20 seconds
(when played back at 18 fps on a projector)
red run lock lever – different to the shutter lever (which is red too, but
slightly bigger), this little lever allows you to push it up and forward to
lock the trigger down so it runs without needing your finger on it. To stop
this function, simply move the lever back to its normal position.
control lever – this is bigger than the above, and sweeps across about an inch.
You lock this open if using Auto B at night. You can also lock this open in
combination with setting the intervalometer, to get long exposures. You can
also lock this open and put the camera on a tripod for filming in a dark place,
eg inside a church or something. If the scene is still, there shouldn’t be any
out – hold the camera with your right hand (or left if you’re left handed!).
Use your free hand to pull back the shutter control lever smoothly. This will
in – do the opposite as for fade out. Before filming, pull the shutter control
lever so it is back, and as you begin filming, smoothly move the lever towards
the front of the camera. This will fade in.
dissolve – this is basically a combination of fade out and fade in, using a
rewind function. Essentially, it means that one scene ‘dissolves’ into the
next. Do it like this: at least one second before the end of the scene you’re
shooting, press the ‘R’ button for at least one second before the end of a
scene with the camera running. After that, you can let go of the ‘R’ button as
well as letting go of the trigger. Then the camera does some things
automatically – over a period of 3.5 seconds, it fades out over 63 frames and
rewinds this number of frames. Then, to complete the dissolve, you need to
press the trigger of the camera (filming your next scene) and also the ‘R’
button together (for at least one second).
button – used for lap dissolves (as described above).
exposure – Unfortunately you can’t do straightforward double exposures with the
‘R’ button (this is because the lap dissolve system is mechanically interlocked
with the variable shutter), so if you want to do them you would need to do them
manually using a black changing bag, and manually changing the aperture (making
the aperture more narrow for both exposures, i.e. using a higher number).
LOADING FILM INTO TANKS
To load the film, break the middle part while keeping a firm grip on the tail end of your film, which you have untucked from its hiding place. It should have 'exposed' written on it.
Then start pulling the film out of the cartridge, and grabbing it at each pass, as if you are looping wool or something.
Shove it into the tank, around the light tight tube (which must be sitting on its broad end) and when it's all in, try putting the lid on, fitting the protruding tube part into the light tight tube. Remember to click the lid shut - this is really crucial! Also make sure it is sitting properly on its thread, and not skewed. Then put on the water tight lid, and turn on the lights!
So, we used this kit - the Tetenal Colortec 3-bath E6 kit. Here it is:
The cheapest place to buy it I've found is Firstcall Photographic, who are based in Cornwall I think. The 5 litre kit will process up to 60 Super 8 colour reversal films. The 1 litre kit will process up to 12 Super 8 colour reversal films. The 5 litre kit is therefore way more economical, however... chemistry does 'go off'! Recommended times for keeping chemicals are:
mixed and ready to use = lasts up to 6 weeks (stay within 4 week margin if possible)
opened concentrates = last up to about 3 to 4 months.
Best to squeeze air out of the chemicals (either mixed or as concentrates) while storing them if poss, or fill up with glass marbles, which will displace the air. It is the oxidisation that makes the chemicals go off, so bear that in mind for optimising their shelf life!
We used a basic photography processing tank - Patterson type, used for processing 2 x 35mm films. Remove the spirals, but keep all the other bits to the tank.
Ok, so you've loaded your film, now the developing part!
Mix up the chemicals according to the instructions that come with them. Here is the bit you need:
Remember - if you're only mixing 500 ml, half the top amounts all the way through. However, I'd suggest mixing 1 litre at a time, because then you get to fill up the tank as much as possible and minimize those bits that don't quite get processed.
Heat up the chemicals, in plastic bottles, in a bucket of hot water, to about 41 degrees Celsius. This is a tiny bit hotter than we need, because the chemicals will lose heat during the process.
Follow the instructions for the processing. Here is the bit you need in the booklet, and remember to increase times accordingly:
Remember to rinse everything you use between different chemicals! This is especially important between chemical no.1 (first developer) and chemical no.2 (colour developer). These two are highly incompatible and mess each other up!
Continue all the steps, including the recommended rinsing times. After chemical no.4 (stabiliser) you are ready to hang up your film to dry. Don't rinse it, because the stabiliser has a rinsing aid in it and you don't want to wash it off.
Note of caution - be responsible about wearing gloves... just in case you've never done any washing up, here's what they look like... ;)
Don't risk your health - these chemicals are serious business.
Always process in a well-ventilated area too. You can pour chemicals 1, 2 and 4 down the drain with 25 times the same amount of water, but chemical no.3 should never go down the drain as it contains silver (i.e. heavy metal) which is awful for the environment. This picture says it all...
You should always drop this off at your local skip and tell them it's photographic chemistry.
With all your chemistry, be sure to mark the bottles very carefully so that nobody confuses them with something to drink! Be super careful about that - they can be deadly if ingested. And of course don't leave them unattended anywhere near kids.
WHAT WE LEARNT ABOUT COFFEE PROCESSING
As an experiment and a last-minute addition to the workshop, we processed Jelena and Marko's 2 films in Caffenol, but made with cafetiere coffee instead of instant. I have only ever used instant coffee before, and actually we found that the experiment with brewed coffee (Feral Trade Coffee, naturally! Sold at the Cube!) didn't work! I think, on reflection, that it is because we didn't brew the coffee anywhere near strong enough. I will definitely stick to using instant coffee for this process, for now. If anyone wants to experiment with the brewed version, let me know how you get on! You can buy the washing soda required from the self-named 'Best Supermarket' on the main road just before where Kino Cafe is - very convenient! Processing using instant coffee really does work brilliantly for black and white film, so do give it a go! You can find full instructions on a blog post I did last November or December (2011) called 'Processing Tri-X film in coffee'. Aptly. !
Take the end that says 'exposed', and put it in the plastic spool with the sprockets closest to your body. Reel it up so that the reel is being turned anti-clockwise and the film itself is travelling in a clockwise direction. Splice leader onto the beginning of your film and it is ready to watch!
Here's a picture of the leader I use from Kodak, in case you want to buy it in bulk from them. You get 1000ft for about £23.
You can use most Super 8 splicers you find on ebay, and just use sellotape to join the film, making sure you poke through the sprockets with a small pin to make them clear for the projector. Simple! Here are some links that will be helpful to you:
A nice printable pdf document of absolutely loads of DIY filmmaking techniques, compiled by Helen Hill - http://www.angoleiro.com/cine_texts/recipes_for_disaster_hill.pdf
2 weeks ago Cherry Kino ran a project with 20 students of the Leeds College of Art where we shot 8 black and white Super 8 films and hand-processed them all in coffee! Here was the original brief I sent them (a little hard-line in some areas, but i do love to keep experimenting with different ways of doing workshops!):
intention of the course is that the students produce one combined collective
finished piece by the end of Day 3, fully edited, that they are ready to
present as a collective effort. The
course will result in one final piece of film, rather than separate ones.
This will be attained by students shooting in groups and sharing camera time.
The final piece, after collective editing using an experimental
impulse/intuitive approach, will be transferred to DVD in-house at the Cherry
Kino Lab at the end of Day 3, simultaneously teaching the students DIY telecine
As the Light Night theme is ‘The Dead of Night’, students
will work with the black and white film stock thinking about symbolic and
physical gesture with relation to obscurity, shadows, and the contrasts between
black and white as well as the different effect that
developing with Coffee-based developer has on the image (this simultaneously
teaches the students how to use regular developer as well as home-made
‘eco-friendly’ developer that works extremely well). We will make full use of a
totally blacked out room with short bursts of light, as well as strong
lighting, props of the students’ choice, and physical gesture. Participants will be encouraged to take
part in experimental shadow play so shadow silhouettes can be filmed.
Expectations of Students
The workshop will have a strong emphasis on physicality –
not only of the film material but also of the students’ bodies – and all
students will be expected to fully engage in this. This doesn’t mean that I
expect everyone to be totally uninhibited, but I do expect them to be willing
to overcome some inhibitions. I will insist that every student attends every
single session, arrives on time, and becomes fully immersed in the workshop, as it
will be necessary if we are to be successful in our endeavour to create
something collectively. I am quite strict about this!
The workshop was brilliant fun! It ran for 3 days, and all the participants were really engaged, very immersed in what they were doing, I was impressed. As a result, the students created a really fantastic piece of work that was screened at the Leeds College of Art on Light Night (5th October). In terms of what was filmed, there was a huge range of things - from marbles, to body parts, to spinning spirals filmed as shadows cast by overhead projectors, black glistening glitter on arms, dice held between teeth, ghoulish figures by gothic churches, the hair of two girls braided together so they were tied to each other, walking through leaves and forests, slow motion waterfalls, and so so much! The filming was carried out with full knowledge that the final result to be projected would be shown as a negative, not a positive, so the students had to work doubly hard to think of which images would be most dynamic as negatives, while shooting.
When it came to processing the films, we did so in coffee! (recipe found on the ck blog post 'processing tri-x film in coffee!' from November 2011).
The challenge of editing the films together to make a collective film was tricky but we eventually found a way to do it and everyone was happy with it. I guess for future projects it would be good to have a whole extra day for the editing session alone, since it is possible to spend a great deal of time on that side of things.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process, and loved meeting and spending time with such a great bunch of people! Thanks so much to Paula who sent me these ace photos of the workshop!
And at the bottom of this post you'll find another collage of photos by Stephan - thanks to you both!
'Peach' is a hand-made Super 8 film, and an attempt at making a piece of 'Synaesthetic Cinema' (or 'Cinesthetic Synaema') according to ideas and principles I explored when working on my Master's degree in artist film. My suggestion is that we are all latently synaesthetic, and that a cinematic work has the capacity to elicit this synaesthetic experience if it is made in a personal, artisanal, ethical, and materially and sensually responsive and self-inclusive way. On doing my research, I discovered that Jojo, my boyfriend's daughter and my lovely friend, is herself synaesthetic, which is something that nobody knew until then. Jojo experiences numbers and days of the week with colours. The numbers 2, 6 and 8 all have distinct yet related colours - they are each variants of a type of orangey-peach. My method of filming and camera filters combined to create a peachy hue to my film. 'Peach' is also a nickname my mum gave me as a child, and one that I have realised I now give to Jojo. 'Peach' is a deeply personal and sensual meditation on the stunning complexity of aesthetics (whose etymological root is 'sensations'), ideas of new materialisms and embodied film spectatorship, and the deep and complex feelings I have for my boyfriend's daughter. 'Peach' was shot on Super 8 and was entirely hand-processed and hand-edited. Please get in touch if you'd like to know more.
Earlier this year I was commissioned by the live art festival '(In)xclusion' to create a work, and I made 'Revelation in a Dark Room'.
This was a live performance utilizing three 16mm projectors, and situated in a photographic darkroom. I performed this piece many, many times over the 24 hour event, and loved every minute of it! There were three colours involved in the piece - yellow, red, and turquoise light. The photo below shows just a small section of the room. The projectors and their speakers were separated (connected with leads) and placed all around the space, so the sound often surprised people by coming from an unexpected location. The audience were invited in while the red darkroom safelight was on, but once they were all in and the door closed, the light went off and the piece began in pitch blackness, with an explanation of the rayogram method of filmmaking. I then 'played' the projectors, turning on first the sound, one by one, feeling my way in the dark to do so, and only later the lamps, again one by one. The lights were filtered through colours and prisms and reflected off pieces of mirror and glass to create a totally immersive colour environment. To draw the piece to an end I repeated this in reverse - turning off the lamps one by one. Except once all the lamps were off and the room was black once more, I increased the volumes of all three sound pieces for a while. Then I switched them off one at a time, pausing for the very last one, and letting it build and build in volume until I suddenly cut the power and left the audience unsure of what was going to happen, in deep blackness. I maintained the silence for as long as possible, letting it move into a feeling of unease, and invariably it was the audience members themselves who broke the tension at some point with a sound or action. The torch was switched on, there was often some therapeutic laughter and clapping, and the performance came to its close! I think it was a very intense experience, for me as well as the audience. Many people said they found it a lovely environment to be in, and could have spent ages inside the piece. Some found it very spooky and thought I was wearing night-vision goggles and could see them in the darkness! Some said it was their favourite piece of the evening. Some liked its short structure (it lasted about 10 minutes), while others wanted it to last longer, and perhaps some wanted it to be a lot shorter!
Here is my formal explanation of the piece, and the concepts and practice behind it.
Revelation in a Dark Room, a 16mm film performance by Martha Jurksaitis
Most people think of a photographic dark room as a very solitary place, but I often feel someone else in there with me. Call it a spirit, a lost soul, a ghost, or trapped energy, but there is a presence that makes itself known to me. I feel it wants desperately to be recognized, acknowledged, and included. The French word for film developer is ‘revelateur’ which means something that reveals. In the dark room, sombre images lying hidden and lonely in the undeveloped film stock reveal themselves: brilliant illuminations, felt before they are seen.
My piece embraces this connection between a lonely soul and the photographic image, between latent potential and active creation, between the process of seeing something, internalizing it, and then creatively expressing it. A 16mm projector plays a film that has been made by hand in the dark room by laying objects and pieces of film directly onto the filmstrip and exposing it to light before developing it. Because of the way the film has been created, the image spills over into the area that is normally read as sound by the projector. In this way the image creates the sound to become both an aural and visual revelation of what the filmstrip itself has felt via the objects that have been laid upon it. These revelations are then refracted and spatially expanded via pieces of mirror and prismatic devices to create an aural and visual installation celebrating the inclusive exposure of light and sound through material. When working with film in a dark room you are not able to open the door until the film is no longer sensitive to light, since film developing is a durational process. In a self-reflexive and site-specific approach, this installation is truly inclusive by requesting that the audience remain inside the dark room with the door closed for the duration of the piece.
This post relates to a Super 8 installation I did in the Village Launderette during the Saltaire Arts Trail earlier this year. I just want to explain a little more about the project which links film and laundry together. There's also the recipe for Caffenol at the bottom (an eco-developer made using coffee, vitamin C and washing soda) because it uses washing powder - another link between film and laundry! I've also included lots of photos from the event, I hope you like them! It was a really good experience - a lot of passers-by dropped in on the night, as well as people coming because it had been advertised, and so there was a good spontaneous feel to the event and it sparked a lot of discussion about washing, laundry, community, and Super 8! One man brought his son to encourage him with his dream of becoming a filmmaker, so we spent a while talking about how to get started with Super 8 and how its particular aesthetics speak to various artistic applications.
So anyway, here goes...!
WASHDAY BLUES - an analogue film installation on Super 8 by Martha Jurksaitis
This Super 8 installation was prompted by the fact that one of Titus Salt's rules for the village of Saltaire was that nobody was allowed to hang out their washing to dry publicly. On looking into the issue, I discovered that landlords and housing associations in America are outlawing this also, on the grounds that the sight of washing hanging out to dry devalues property in that area, since it suggests that the residents are too poor to afford a tumble dryer, and thus the area is not seen as wealthy enough to warrant a decent property price. This association of washing lines and township and capitalist values seemed an interesting idea to pursue, given that the UK is beginning to follow suit in some areas. On filming around Shipley, I found that through the act of filming washing, I met many people who were curious about what I was doing, and without exception they were extremely accommodating and receptive to my camera. I found the experience communal and friendly, and actually met some neighbours for the first time in three years of living in the same place!
The Film Works
The installation is composed of four Super 8 film loops which I processed individually using the 'bucket' method (i.e. filling buckets with developing chemistry and swishing the film around in them by hand - with gloves!). It was very reminiscent of hand-washing clothes. With photochemicals, the orthodox view taken by the manufacturers of film and its chemistry is that once a batch of mixed chemicals has been used to process one particular type of film, it then becomes 'incompatible' for another. I purposefully flouted this convention and did the photochemical equivalent of putting a red sock in a white wash. The result was a curiously coloured film with a strong deep yellow hue. This led me on an adventure, since I realised that in photographic processing, yellow is the 'complementary colour' (i.e. opposite colour on the colour wheel) of blue. I worked with this idea to re-photograph the film and process it to a negative (using cross-processing in C-41 chemistry instead of E6), thus creating a film with predominantly blue tones. I also shot some footage and processed it normally in E6.
Four loops were chosen from the 100ft of footage I had shot and processed, and were set up in four Eumig Super 8 projectors. The projectors were positioned in different locations around the launderette and were aimed to project at sheets hanging up on the walls, and even inside the tumble dryers! Each projector was set to run at a different speed or frame rate, to explore the motion of washing hanging to dry in multiple rhythms. Tea-light candles were placed around the launderette, which was entirely blacked out from inside so that no outside light could filter in, creating an atmospheric and cinematic environment.
This project taught me 5 things:
1. Laundry and artisanal filmmaking have a lot in common. Baths, buckets, washing, rinsing, and even processing in a mixture made of washing soda, coffee and vitamin C (recipe to follow)! I also always hang up my Super 8 films to dry on a clothes drying rack.
2. In my experience through doing this project, people who hang out their washing are friendly and community-spirited!
3. There is a sensual reason for hanging washing out, as well as an aesthetic, ecological, economical and social one. The laundry is fresher, smells better, feels nicer to have close to your body, and gives a lot of pleasure.
4. Launderettes are interesting places, and are perhaps a mid-point between the home-made and the industrial, in that they are still meeting points where people share a resource. As places, they hold a lot of fascination for people, and elicit strong positive responses, which a home-based washing room most often does not. I once went to an impromptu party in a small local launderette in Australia. It was not a planned party, but just happened because of the people who were there, doing their washing.
5. Hanging out your washing gives you a chance to look away from the bricks and up at the sky.
This project was made possible with support from the Saltaire Arts Trail, Bradford City of Film, and the Saltaire Village Launderette. Here are some pics! The recipe for Caffenol follows underneath!
Recipe for Caffenol to develop black and white film (such as Tri-X) to a negative:
40g instant coffee (must be caffeinated! I use Co-op own brand, but any will do)
54g washing soda crystals (this is different to washing powder, Home Bargains sells it, or online)
16g pure vitamin C powder (aka ascorbic acid)
Fixer for film (you generally buy this from photochemical places, but apparently the juice from blended onions also works, though takes a long time!)
Put 800ml cold water in a bucket. Then put 40g coffee in a container and add 200ml boiling water. Add this mixture to the cold water. Then add the 54g washing soda and stir until dissolved. Next, add the vitamin C powder (the mixture satisfyingly fizzes up for a little bit, making it look like a cappuccino!). Your developer is now ready! Process at approx. 22 mins at about 27 degrees Celsius, then pour the coffee mixture out of the tank, rinse well, and fix for about 5 mins (or longer if using onion juice!). Rinse, dry, and hang up your film (on the washing line...) and project your negative film! Or you can digitise it and convert it to a positive, or print it onto 16mm using an optical printer to create a positive 16mm film print. Beautiful results are possible with this mix. The developer doesn't keep well, so discard after use. And be warned - it definitely doesn't smell of fresh washing! :)
If you would like to learn more about home-processing Super 8 and 16mm film, check out this free online resource:
You can also get in touch at the email below if you would like to attend an analogue filmmaking workshop, book CK to present a workshop (for example for friends or employees), or commission a Super 8 film or installation.
It's been a while since my last post, got lots to tell you!
First off, I visited Bioskop film lab in St. Sever du Moustier, in the South of France, run by the lovely Florent Ruch. I took some 16mm negative that I'd shot for Florent to process in the lab. I forgot to take photos while I was there, so you'll either have to imagine it, or go there!! It was an adventure getting there - my sister drove me from Montpellier, and there are loads of winding country roads, and some seriously awesome panoramas along the way. Highly recommended. And Florent is a total gem.
Then my boyfriend took me to La Palma as a birthday present! I don't know if any of you have ever been there? It's one of the Canary Islands, very un-touristy, black sand beaches, volcanique!!!! I have a real thing for volcanic lands, they turn me on creatively, big-time. I love filming them. So needless to say I did absolutely tons of filming. My suitcase was 70% film stuff. No joke. Well, you've got to get your priorities right, haven't you?! Look, here it is...
I did a lot of underwater filming, using an Ewa Marine underwater housing from the 70s or 80s - old school, and amazingly - seeing as it's only held together by screws... - it didn't leak at all! Quality item, love it! I also tested out my new pinhole obssession, using nothing but a Super 8 cartridge, a melted biro, some electrical tape, a piece of black 16mm film, a cactus thorn or pin of some sort, and my fingers. Loved shooting a film that way - it was out and out experiment, where I tried all kinds of exposures and techniques, a really free approach that matched how I felt being in that place. Wow...
Then... Florent came to visit in Leeds! We went out and about in Bradford and on the moor and around Leeds, and he had his Filmo 16mm camera with him. We even discovered the bell-ringers at Bradford Cathedral and they let us film them and watch them playing for about an hour, it was magical! Amazingly friendly people too. If anyone is interested in learning how to do it, contact Ron Crabtree via Bradford Cathedral, he's ace. I processed an ancient Ektachrome in E6 that had already been used for ancient Agfa Moviechrome processing, and the chemicals were quite old... I got some odd results - very yellow and murky green, they seemed to be the only colours, but some parts I absolutely love! The motion of the bell-ringers is visible even though they sort of aren't visible themselves...?! I have 2 more to play with, so I think next time I will cross-process in C-41 and see what happens, will let you know!
Florent brought with him my processed 16mm negative, so I've been hard at work editing that lately.
Last week, Cherry Kino also ran a screening of the Super 8 films made on the courses earlier in the year.
It was so good to watch them again - I'm always impressed anew at how much everyone got into the process, and how totally diverse every film is!
Another exciting thing is that the I now have ECP chemistry for hand-processing print film. Woop! It's the huuuge gallon containers in the background... well, that's one of the chemicals! My lovely fella helped me cart them all the way back from London because DHL won't deliver chemicals outside of London...?!
Some new developments for Cherry Kino coming shortly, so watch this space! I've decided to balance doing Cherry Kino activity (workshops, courses, screenings) and working on my own films, which means that Cherry Kino will be taking a fresh kind of direction from later on this year, and I'm really happy and excited about it! I really needed the last few months to fully immerse myself in my work and manifest those visions that are in my head and dreams. I adore teaching others the filmmaking techniques I've learned, and I also adore making films myself - getting the balance right means being able to do both, which I feel immensely grateful for! Teaching for me is constant learning too, which feeds into my own filmmaking, which feeds into my teaching... and so on - I'd say it's a pretty wonderful situation! Oh my, the endless wonder of wondermental cinema, somebody pinch me!
These photos are from last November, when Christo Wallers and Matt Fleming from the Star and Shadow Cinema, and the Film Bee Collective, came to present their films at a Cherry Kino screening during Leeds International Film Festival, and did a bit of film processing too. The films they showed were 'Gillian' by Christo Wallers, and 'Peacock Lee' by Matt Fleming, Deborah Bower and Annette Knol. Both are embedded below for your pleasure!