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 collected. It's funny to live in a region where rainy weather is common, 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.
I returned from a week in Chicago, where I spent a good portion of my visit working on a new projector as well as 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 work of James Bond and the institutional support that permitted these machines to be installed. Alternative screening venues are concentrated in the near north and south side (Hyde Park), and the Gene Siskel Film Center screens work on an Eastman 40 at their location 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.
Still getting comfortable handling the XTR. The camera is a dream compared to the other cameras I've owned and operated (CP-16/A, various RX Bolex cameras, Bell & Howell Filmo, and several NPR cameras with and without the Aaton Alcan motor 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 with locations entirely 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.
I've been shooting a number of film tests around the Central Eastside, an area defined by the city as 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 areas outside the state and the surrounding suburbs, 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 desire of low-rent tenants to locate affordable space to live and work in the central city.
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 a mere 3.25 pounds (the Angenieux is 2 pounds). I read on-line that if framing for 1.85, the lens will cover from 11.5 to 50, however when I quickly checked the lens only covered 1.66 from 20-50 in the eyepiece. 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.
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. 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.
I posted on a local forum an Elmo CL-16 as a give away item, and was contacted by exactly one person. That person is a fellow named Rob who does some projection at the Hollywood Theater. As it happens, Rob works on CL-16 amongst other projectors. Rob is 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, and once visited the old Bach-Auricon factory just before it was demolished to recover parts. This groupd of individuals gives new meaning to the term "film underground".
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.
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.