Contingency Update – 2012 September 16

Contingency editI took another step forward on Contingency this week. I used an optical printer to digitize the images from the film so I could create a video of the film. I will reconstruct a video from the images next.

It took me a couple of days down at the CSIF to get the images digitized. I used a piece of equipment called an optical printer. Filmmakers originally developed optical printers for special effects in movies. Orson Welles used an optical printer for several scenes in Citizen Kane.

The CSIF got a modification done to their JK Optical Printer so that they could use it to convert film to video. In place of the film camera, they use a digital still camera. It is all supposed to be automatic; press a button and watch it go.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the automatic mode to work properly. I had to press a button to move the film forward one frame, and then press the button on the camera to take the picture. That was rather slow and tedious. I also got some repetitive strain pain in my arm and shoulder.

I already had video for some shots. Because it took so long to convert, I skipped those scenes. At least I hope I have video for those other shots.

A few months ago, I tried to do the conversion, but ran into image problems. This time I did some tests at the start of each shot to ensure I got the light level and focus right. That was finicky work, but it does pay off.

I borrowed a memory disk for the still camera from my wife and another from my brother. I didn’t think my wife’s disk had enough memory. In the end, I used both disks.

The next stage is to import the images into a video editor and convert them into a video. That may also be tedious, but less physically demanding. I have to remind myself that patience is a virtue. I’ll try to get that done this week.

I wonder if there is an easier way to do this. I suppose I could send it to a commercial outfit for transfer, but that costs more money. I thought I could rig up an old projector and camera to do the same thing. It is easy to imagine what to do, but I’m afraid my mechanical skills may not be up to that.

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