Re: Collage Film Advice - Newbie

From: Mark Toscano (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Apr 14 2008 - 22:58:42 PDT

So do you mean multiple layers of imagery, i.e.
superimpositions/multiple exposures?

Of course this can be done in the computer, but I
think the various filmic ways you can do it can be
pretty interesting, although the phasing out of some
film stocks and the rise in stock costs have made
working in film tougher and pricier in the past
several years.

You can get or make backwinding keys for super-8
cartridges, but I think there's only so much you can
rewind, and sometimes they get jammed. Someone else
on this list probably has a ton more experience with
this than me.

With 8mm or 16mm this would be a lot easier, as you
could run the film through the camera as many times as
you like. And with 8mm, you have the option of leaving
the film unslit, which would result in a 16mm film
with four images per frame.

Some really interesting films have been made with
elaborate in-camera superimpositions, like Ron Rice's
CHUMLUM and Bruce Baillie's QUICK BILLY. In Peter
Mays's DEATH OF THE GORILLA, he shot footage of old
movies off of TV, through color filters. He then
rewound the film and shot another pass through the
camera, using different color filters. He did this
3-5 times per roll, resulting in some really dense and
interesting superimpositions, all generated from b/w
tv material filtered through solid colors that created
some crazy color mixes and bizarre abstractions.

Another option is, in 16mm, to edit in more than one
printing roll, referred to usually as A/B-rolling.
For instance, you could put together three separate
printing rolls, each 100ft., let's say. This would be
A, B, and C rolls. The lab would print them one at a
time over the same piece of receiving film stock,
whether it be negative or positive, depending on what
kind of footage you're working with and what you want
it to look like. With A/B/etc. rolling, you can also
achieve dissolves, in addition to superimpositions.
(A/B printing is traditionally how superimposed titles
or dissolves were done.) For this, you would overlap,
let's say, the A and B roll (for example) 24 frames,
and instruct the lab to fade A out and fade B in,
resulting in a dissolve from A to B in the finished
print. Anyway, knowing the basics of how these things
work could enable you to play pretty wildly with it.
Pat O'Neill's film COMING DOWN was made from A/B/C/D/E
rolls, and Stan Brakhage has a film made from

Anyway, regardless, I'd suggest picking up Lenny
Lipton's book INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING, which is pretty
easy to find used and cheap online. He can explain
these techniques a lot better than I can.

As far as early films go (like Melies), this was all
done in-camera, sometimes quite a few passes of the
same footage through the camera. Requires a sometimes
insane amount of precision and care, but it's
certainly possible.

Hope this helps -

Mark T

--- "D. Mark Andrews" <email suppressed> wrote:

> Greetings,
> I have a film idea that involves collage-like
> imagery. Been looking on the
> net for how to achieve this technique, but not
> finding anything. Any
> recommendations? I'm going to be shooting 8 or S8.
> I've seen this in early films so I'm assuming this
> can be done via analog
> capture--rewind the film and shoot the second set of
> images?
> Perhaps Final Cut Pro has this option. I don't own
> it yet, but was about to
> make the purchase. I realize it would require me to
> digitize my film.
> Many thanks in advance for your advice.
> Mark
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at
> <email suppressed>.

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For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.