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Serious home-made film making!


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#1 Richardson Leao

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 10:10 AM

Dear all, I found this in the apug.org forum.

This is a machine build by a dude in australia to coat photo film. I have been experimenting with home-made film and my coating process is rather primitive but this guy took it to another level:

http://www.flickr.co...57603226919391/
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#2 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 05:37 PM

OK..

Long after the dinosaur goop has become scarce, making a gallon of gas $467.00 and a Mini-DV tape $1596.00 people will be using film. Bitchin!!!

-Rob-
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 02:22 AM

> dinosaur goop

What d'you think film base is made of...
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#4 David Venhaus

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 07:59 AM

That machine is awesome!

Last I heard, acetate film base was made from a cellulose source like tree/wood-pulp or cotton linters, no petro-chemicals (or dinosaur goop) involved.
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#5 Richardson Leao

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 04:49 AM

That machine is awesome!

Last I heard, acetate film base was made from a cellulose source like tree/wood-pulp or cotton linters, no petro-chemicals (or dinosaur goop) involved.


i think the base is normal acetate. I am waiting for filmotec (orwo) to reply to see if the sell clear acetate leader precoated with transparent gelatine as photo emulsion does not stick properly to normal uncoated film leader.
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#6 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 12:44 PM

> dinosaur goop

What d'you think film base is made of...



I think it's made from triacetate, like from cotton or wood pulp. there are companies that make triacetate for other applications than film just google triacetate then you just need to slit and perf it after applying some emulsion...

-Rob-
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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 11:31 AM

Don't forget you need to get one side of the film base "subbed" so that emulsion will stick to it and it won't flake off when it dries. I know Kodak can do it. You'll probably need to buy their triacetate from them and have them sub it for you.
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#8 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 01:00 PM

Don't forget you need to get one side of the film base "subbed" so that emulsion will stick to it and it won't flake off when it dries. I know Kodak can do it. You'll probably need to buy their triacetate from them and have them sub it for you.



Well for now I am quite happy buying their triacetate with emulsion applied and packed in 100', 400' and 1000' cans... :rolleyes: But if society collapses......

-Rob-
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#9 K Borowski

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 01:41 PM

Well for now I am quite happy buying their triacetate with emulsion applied and packed in 100', 400' and 1000' cans... :rolleyes: But if society collapses......

-Rob-


Here here Rob. It was a rhetorical answer. It's not as if anyone is going to take that machine and formulate their own Vision3 with it. At best one'd be able to make some vintage-looking film like some old silent-era film or at best a VERY slow VERY primitive color stock like the orignal Eastmancolor.
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#10 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 02:15 PM

I am waiting for filmotec (orwo) to reply to see if the sell clear acetate leader precoated with transparent gelatine as photo emulsion does not stick properly to normal uncoated film leader.


Filmotec is selling you anything they can, including their former Berlin Wall patrol dogs and ex-communist engineers. Lately, they built a new Super 8 cartridge for GK-Film that is - well - almost similar to Kodak's design, just fails to transport the film at all.

Me, I am back to my garage, finalising a revolutionary new engine design: a motorcar engine that runs ... tata... on leaded petrol! Finally a way to avoid unleaded and diesel that became so expensive...
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#11 Paul Bruening

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 02:48 PM

It is interesting. But, I can't see how it is that useful. If it's one of those collapse of civilization things, he won't be able to get the basic materials. You can't grow plastic in a garden, after all. If the guy wants custom emulsions, then, okay, I can see the artistic validity in that. Even so, what can he get that can't be emulated in DI post off of commercially produced film?
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#12 K Borowski

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 03:39 PM

It is interesting. But, I can't see how it is that useful. If it's one of those collapse of civilization things, he won't be able to get the basic materials. You can't grow plastic in a garden, after all. If the guy wants custom emulsions, then, okay, I can see the artistic validity in that. Even so, what can he get that can't be emulated in DI post off of commercially produced film?


So you're advocating DI over actual vintage techniques in every situation?

There are people that still shoot Daguerrotypes, should they all just buy DSLRs and use a photoshop plugin instead?
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#13 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 03:54 PM

Even so, what can he get that can't be emulated in DI post off of commercially produced film?


A double sided print film for making Cinecolor type prints.

Attempts to duplicate the look on DI (The Aviator) have been quite unsuccessful.
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#14 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 04:41 PM

Realistically I think this is interesting because it shows that the basic tools for making photographic emulsion are within reach to a DIY type, this implies that a small company could setup a production line for film that does not necessarily rely on a multi-billion dollar megalith corporation to be successful. Also I can only imagine that human ability to manipulate materials with Nano and Bio technology will grow to a point where an artist would be able to make film in possibly every different emulsion Kodak or Fuji had made, maybe the recipes would be available by download.


-Rob-
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#15 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:41 PM

An intriguing and not too sci-fi-like point you make, Rob.

It would have been great to read John Pytlak's angle on this subject matter.

I think, however, that one should not get too caried away by the "democratisation" possibility of emulsion-making. Sure, mixing & applying chemical recipes isn't the most complex and unattainable thing on this planet, but it ain't baking muffins from grandma's recipe book either.

Such DIY autarcy hopes come up regularly, especially from the amateur end of filmmaking (super 8 shooters seem to invite this mindset, including the "end of civilisation" discourse around K-40 or the Kodapak cartridge or S8 cameras or whatever else they might ever need), but I would say that there is an enormous R&D effort and know-how involved in producing film emulsion of the quality level of Eastmancolor, let alone EXR or the Vision-family that could not be reproduced even with attainable access to biomolecular or nanotechnological lab gear.

Although it might be possible to produce DIY film stock that will result in visible depictions of what got filmed - surely of great artistic aesthetics and possibly reproducing early historic emulsion compositions - I doubt that a competitor to Kodak or Fuji will spring up from nowhere thanks to that anytime soon. If we look at the problems established photochemical companies like Svema, Orwo/Filmotec and whatever is left in the former Soviet Union territories have right now, with all the money and existing machinery and greatly underrated engineering talent, I don't see any legitimacy in looking for the next George Eastman, Charles Pathé, William Friese-Greene or Edwin Land in the garage down your driveway.

As I said, GK-Film just tried to (mass-)produce a slightly altered S8 cartridge with Filmotec, and has so far not only sunk enormous amounts of money, but produced no working protoype after years of design and modelling. So much for the claim that the Kodapak is just a piece of badly designed plastic pieces everyone could at least copy, let alone better.

So let's not get carried away here... :)
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#16 John Sprung

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:44 PM

A double sided print film for making Cinecolor type prints.

Attempts to duplicate the look on DI (The Aviator) have been quite unsuccessful.

I'm not sure it's really so much that they couldn't duplicate the look, more likely they could, but it's just too scary for a major feature. Two color stuff looks very very strange. What they did on Aviator sort of hinted in that direction, it didn't look like real two color.

I wonder if the coating machine could handle pre-perforated film. Starting with the film already slit and perforated would be easier as a DIY method, it's only for mass production that coating it on rolls 54" wide is advantageous.



-- J.S.
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#17 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:53 PM

Actually, if we look at various companies that successfully package photo emulsions or 16/35mm cine-film emulsion into the Super 8 cartridge in small quantities (like Pro8mm or Kahl or Filmotec for Velvia/Cinevia), then we can notice that they do all the perforating, spliting and cartridge-threading in their own premises out of originally-supplied raw film reels.

So it seems to be the other way round: the mechanical packging production steps could be done DIY-wise with relative ease, whereas the more problematic part would be to get a decent emulsion onto the base, make it stay there and have it react in a cinematically meaningful way.
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#18 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 08:49 PM

So it seems to be the other way round: the mechanical packging production steps could be done DIY-wise with relative ease, whereas the more problematic part would be to get a decent emulsion onto the base, make it stay there and have it react in a cinematically meaningful way.



This is absolutely true, I have a set of B&H perforator machines at Cinelab and a Slitter too, they are precision mechanical instruments like a milling machine or lathe but not exotic.


Perhaps on the DIY nanbot laid emulsion I am letting my imagination run away a little bit :lol: I used to work at an exotic materials company after I got out of NYU and I ran the electron microscope, etc.. modern film emulsion is exotic stuff for sure but who knows what will come about in the next fifty years.

I am sure that a laser based stereolithography machine would have shocked the crap out of a 1950's engineer and now even small companies and individuals can buy one....

Imagination is fun...

-Rob-
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#19 K Borowski

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 10:25 PM

Well keep in mind guys that they coat film in 40- or 50 inch rolls over at Kodak to better deal with irregularities in coating. From what I hear, it'd be nearly impossible to get consistancy in something as narrow as 35mm film.

Why wouldn't it be as simple as a recipe for muffins? That's basically as complicated as the early B&W films got. Now color is another beast entirely. . .
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#20 Richardson Leao

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 07:26 AM

Hey Michael, love the job you're doing to mother earth (resurrecting the leaded car)... btw, there are other reasons to do film at home more than commerce. I made some film from silver extracted from some litters of old fixer I had (I have an old post about it) and yes, it's ugly and it's ASA 5 or 10 and it's uneven but, I made it... and from waste...

Anyway, i actually have a question for you, was it filmotec that was making that 'gk' cartridge? I thought that they'd do only the film that went inside it. Thanks!
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