Notes from 2007

Continued Work on Open Road

Mark has been kind enough to lend his support to the production of Open Road. The other day, we worked for approximately 4 hours, shooting at three locations. This rainy weather will help provide some variety to the shots I've been collecting. It's funny to live in a region where rainy weather is commonplace, yet know that not any rain will look quite the way I want it to. So I wait patiently, hoping the rain I am in search of will happen on a day I am not stuck at my day job.

December 02, 2007  –  permalink


Recent Chicago Visit

I recently returned from a week in Chicago, where I spent a good portion of my visit working on a new projector and checking out a number of screening venues and projection booths around the city. Chicago has more Eastman projectors than any other city in North America thanks to the hard work and dedication of James Bond and the institutional support that permitted these machines to be installed. Chicago is a wonderful place for architecture, though it does sprawl far and wide. It really is deceptive, judging from a map, how big the city actually is. Alternative screening venues are concentrated in the near north and south side (Hyde Park), and the Film Center screens work on an Eastman 40 at their theaters on State. The city has set a standard for serious presentation, and other cities would do well to use Chicago as a model for how to show 16mm films.

October 17, 2007  –  permalink


Work Begins on Open Road

Still getting comfortable with handling the XTR. I do have to say the camera is a dream compared to the others I've owned and operated (CP-16/A, various RX Bolex cameras, Bell & Howell Filmo, and several NPR cameras with and without the Alcan and orientable Angenieux eyepiece), and I'd say even better than the SR1 and II. I have begun work on a film titled Open Road, a project which thankfully has locations solely in and around Portland. I am currently working on several night shots, as well as several moving car shots on the upper deck of the Fremont Bridge.

September 07, 2007  –  permalink


New Short Film Subject

I've been shooting a number of film tests around the Central Eastside, an area that happens to be an urban renewal district. This renewal phenomenon is something I view as a new urban crisis in a period of post-suburban disillusionment. As the city's development commission works to rebuild core areas, and increasing numbers of people move to the central city from outside areas, the effect will be various forms of displacement. A municipality's desire for increased property value (and the resulting tax revenue) will forever frustrate the aspirations of low-rent tenants to locate affordable space to live and work in the central city.

August 16, 2007  –  permalink


Cooke CVK Testing

I'm testing a late-model Cooke 9-50 T2.5. The Cooke is twice the size of my Angenieux 12-120 T2.1, but still weighs in at a mere 3.25 pounds (the Angenieux is extremely light at 2 pounds). I read on-line that if framing for 1.85, the lens will cover from 11.5 to 50, however when I checked the lens only covered 1.66 from 20-50 in the eyepiece, and I now have the mount/screen re-centered for 1.33 and cannot check coverage for 1.85. I shot a test with black and white Kodak and ORWO, 7231 and UN54 respectively. The lens is very warm in fact warmer than my Angenieux, and I was very pleased with its contrast range. Regarding the stocks, I have to say the ORWO is impressive. I went for spot on exposure to see how the grain would look, and there was grain but much less than expected. I have another roll of N74 (ASA 400) that I plan to shoot in the coming weeks.

July 14, 2007  –  permalink


Empty Quarter Editorial Work

With a local grant deadline fast approaching, I continue working on a new cut for Empty Quarter. I'm doing mostly picture cutting as I await a new cable from Atomic Film Company which will permit me to use the KEM's bi-phase to slave a USD, for digital audio playback and sync, to the KEM's 24 frames picture. It's a means of avoiding mag transfers and keeping the audio digital until the final creation of the optical track. I have no real aversion to cutting mag, it's more of matter of cost cutting in the short term.

June 25, 2007  –  permalink


Flatbed Technicians

Recently spoke to Stan up in British Columbia. I purchased my KEM Rapid from Stan several years ago. As the original owner, he purchased the machine in the early 1980s for something in the neighborhood of $28,000. Several years ago Stan came to Portland to assist me in overhauling a Steenbeck 928 (now in use at Sampo Films). He is an honest and good-natured technician and I was sad to hear the news that work has slowed to the point of no longer being viable.

June 01, 2007  –  permalink


Portland Projector Guys

I posted an Elmo CL-16 I acquired through a junk haul on a local forum as a give away item, and was contacted by exactly one person. That person is Rob who does some projection at the Hollywood Theater. It just so happens that Rob works on CL-16 amongst other projectors. Rob appears to be part of a loose-knit group of projector and film collectors who reside here in Portland. In the last few years, I have met probably a dozen people who have film collections and home theaters, and one fellow, Jack, who repairs Auricon sound amplifiers. Jack even visited the old Bach-Auricon factory just before it was demolished to recover parts. All of this seems to give new meaning to the expression "Film Underground".

May 28, 2007  –  permalink


Aaton XTR Overhaul

I sent my XTR to Seattle for an overhaul via GPX. The eyepiece will be thoroughly cleaned and aligned and camera quieted. It was a little disconcerting when I compared the brightness of the XTR eyepiece to my Eclair NPR, which seemed damn close by comparison. Years of poor cleaning methods, glues holding the prism together breaking down and discoloring, and lubricants off-gassing and coating the optical surfaces can all add to the general lack of contrast and dim nature of an eyepiece.

April 16, 2007  –  permalink


Northwest Film Forum Donation of Steenbeck

Drove Ray's van up to Seattle last night to pick-up a Steenbeck 1201 being donated by Northwest Film Forum. The idea is to use John's method of borrowing timecode pulses that drive the counter in order to trigger sync my USD and slave a Pro Tools session to the Steenbeck's 24 frame picture. I was happy to discover the machine is in excellent condition despite coming from an educational facility. It required very little cleaning and only needed lubricant at several points on the rollers.

April 02, 2007  –  permalink