Do It Yourself: Project Ideas

here are some ideas on how you can make your own cameraless film project….

you will need a few tools and supplies such as….

– waterproof colour inks such as FW artist colours, Rapidograph, Koh-i-noor, Pebeo, Nicholson’s, Dr.Martin and many others.
– permanent markers such as Sharpies or Staedtler lumocolor.
– masking tape.
– paint brushes, various types and sizes such as stippling brushes and sponges.
– exacto blades.
– roll of paper (fax and receipt machine rolls work good for protecting surfaces and helpful if no light tables are available)
– scissors
– Q-tips for dabbing ink or household bleach.
– sand paper and steel wool for creating textures.

Other helpful equipment is a film splicer, rewinds, split reel, and cores to build the film strips or create loops.

You will also need some film stock and a projector to see the work. 16mm film stock is readily available and not expensive. You can find 16mm film in black or clear and even found footage works really well. This format is versatile and easy to project. 35mm offers a larger canvas area to work on and the sound area is larger. However it is not so easy to have the films screened as this usually requires finding a cinema.

With 16mm you can project anywhere you can plug in. Have fun and project on trees, buildings or human projection screens at night.

Here is an example of handmade optical sounds on 16mm film. Number 2 equals a low note, number 7 is medium pitch and numer 30 is high pitch. The size of the shape across the optical stripe determines its volume, and the shape determines its tone. The process of optical sound creation is visual. You can also experiment with different sounds by applying graphic tape and stick on dots to a clear optical sound stripe. If you film already has an opaque sound area, just scrape away the emulsion for the duration of the sound you wish and apply shapes in that area. 24 frames equals 1 second.

Below is a film strip showing how to synchronize your sound to a picture. On the right side of the top frame is the sound, 26 frames below is the image for that sound. The reason is mechanical. Inside the projector are two bulbs…one for projecting the image to the screen and another for projecting the sound into the room, called an excitor bulb, pretty exciting eh? Anyway they are 26 frames apart from each other. It is an international standard for 16mm that the sound/picture separation is 26 frames. The separation for 35mm is 20 frames. This way your film can be seen anywhere in the world.