Re: DIY 16mm Optical Printer

From: james (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Dec 23 2008 - 04:37:47 PST


I might add to this that the kodatoy 16mm projector has been mentioned on
this list before as it has a cranking handle and could easily be adapted for
this I think.

Bolex also made critical gate focusing devices which are similar to the ones
used in the JK optical printer so you can check the framing / focusing with
the camera locked off before you waste time and film - indeed, I think this
would be the hardest aspect of any DIY set up.

Lenny Lipton has a chapter in independent film (mixed bag) which mentions
re-filming the gate, and Lauren Seers films were all done using a DIY set up
which was mentioned in an earlier post


> Hi Ryan
> I built my own optical printer using the transport part of an old (ancient!)
> Filmo (I think) projector which has an inching knob at the front.
> I cut everything else away including the lamp house area as well as the
> rotating shutter on the inside behind the gate. What remained was the carcass
> of the projector with the sprocket wheels and claw.
> Turning the inching knob rotated the sprocket wheels which moves the film past
> the gate and also operated the claw which pulled the frame into registration
> in the gate. This was very precise.
> I (very crudely) attached a very slow motor to the inching knob and this
> turned the mechanism at a manageable speed while I pressed the single frame
> button on the Bolex, which I faced into the gate. (I also projected the frame
> onto a sheet of ordinary xereox paper leaving the lens in the projector and
> pointed the cam at that (reflective). It delivers a softer image but was
> easier to work with and you can matt the frame easier)
> Having cut away (using a metal-type blade on a v. slow jig saw) the lamp house
> I situated a slide projector directly behind the gate which was bright enough
> to shoot into the frame using an extension tube on the Bolex. This takes care
> of the cooling problem so the film frame will not warp.
> The feed and take-up arms can be connected with a thick rubber band or
> belt so the pull of the feed affects the pull of the take-up.
> It took ages to build and required a lot of fuss and set up time every time I
> used it, but it worked well.
> The alignment was critical, as well as the parallax error of reflex systems
> (looks perfect in viewfinder but is jogged to left or right on the actual film
> plane).
> I'm sure there are other critical details of the thing that I am forgetting
> here (it has been a long time) but the above are the main ones.
> Good luck with it all.
> Julie Murray
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