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Scratching celluloid for effect


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#1 Nick Robertson

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 07:06 AM

Has anyone ever scratched effects or titles into their negative? Is there anything that I should know before I do this? I want to scratch the title of my film into enough frames against black so I can go from that to a solid title generated by my editing software which sets up the theme of the film.

I'll use a whole roll of 100' and do a bunch of experiments and versions but I'm shooting 16mm which is obviously very small so I'll use a magnifying glass or something...

All I know is that I want to do this, just seeing if I could get some friendly, informed advice.

Thanks so much guys,

Nick.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 08:11 AM

Stan Brackhage, the experimental filmmaker, did this all of the time-- It's not that difficult to do, honestly, just recall that ever 24 frames is 1 second of time. I'd recommend using an exacto knife. You can use clear leader, painted black which'll be substantially cheaper than using actual black film, or I seem to recall them making black leader as well.
A lot will be trial an error to get the effect you want, but it certainly is an interesting effect.

Magnifying glass that mounts and you can hold over is very useful. I also found, in the one time i tried it, use an 8x loupe as well. You'll also need a light-box.
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#3 Nick Robertson

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 08:35 AM

Stan Brackhage, the experimental filmmaker, did this all of the time-- It's not that difficult to do, honestly, just recall that ever 24 frames is 1 second of time. I'd recommend using an exacto knife. You can use clear leader, painted black which'll be substantially cheaper than using actual black film, or I seem to recall them making black leader as well.
A lot will be trial an error to get the effect you want, but it certainly is an interesting effect.

Magnifying glass that mounts and you can hold over is very useful. I also found, in the one time i tried it, use an 8x loupe as well. You'll also need a light-box.


Hi Adrian,

Thanks for the advice.

I have a lot of loose ends of spoiled film I might practice on. I was thinking I might just take a whole roll, and in regular light just work on the whole thing and have it telecined - am I correct in thinking this would work?

I have a lightbox and a loupe - I'm excited to play around with this between days I can shoot.

Thanks again, mate.

N.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 08:38 AM

It'll work, but it won't be really super consistent from frame to frame, but that's part of the point. You'll also need to scratch until light can get through the film, else you won't see anything later on ;). Since you're on a TC later on, any film can work because you can up the contrast later on so it's black and white.
It's a fun thing, though very time consuming.

the end of this clip shows what it normally looks like (well one way it can look)


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#5 Nick Robertson

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 08:55 AM

Yeah, that certainly is the point. The film I'm making is about a person dealing with the personification of death and the title at the beginning will be like this - skewed, unsure, erratic and the title at the end will be perfect and still - I'm trying to give the idea of his beliefs and experiences before and after and two different interpretations of the title.

I'm really looking forward to doing this :) I've got 3 unopened rolls of Kodak 7201 that I haven't kept very well so I'll work on those.

I appreciate the wealth of help you've given me.

N.
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