Re: [Frameworks] Quo Vadis Celluloid?

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Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 13:51:12 -0500


Message: 4
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2011 16:02:20 -0500
From: Fred Camper <>
>Subject: Re: [Frameworks] Quo Vadis Celluloid?
>To: Experimental Film Discussion List <>
>Message-ID: <>
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> What is there about your
>particular practice that depends only on celluloid and could not be
>accomplished with video? How major would the loss be for you, and what
>kind of loss is it, and why would it be so major?
>Fred Camper

I've been mulling this over for a couple days. It seems like the
digital/film debate has for years often been about resolution, about the
fact that film "looks" better. And it seems like the responses to Fred
have been largely along that line. But has that ever been anything but a
losing argument? Resolution for video has been getting better and better,
to near "perfect" in the right settings. And I've never liked perfect.

When you look at some of the old classics in film, they're a series of
imperfections. Some of Brakhage's films fight between under and
overexposure on purpose. Baillie's All My Life was (until he digitally
corrected it) the "wrong" colour. Owen Land's films are most obviously
shot on cheap sets. You can see the splices in Maya Deren's films and you
can feel the hesitation in a Mekas film. What film of Jack Smith doesn't
look like glorious crap and what would his film "Scotch Tape" be without
the... scotch tape.

But to me its about the tools, which frankly don't make perfect images.
The regular 8 camera that keeps jamming, the super 8 camera where you can
pull the cartridge out and fog the film on purpose, the bolex, where you
can make superimpositions and be surprised about how the images come
together. To me filmmaking has always been about limitations (the wind,
the 2 1/2 minute roll of film, etc.)

I project one of my handprocessed films on video and it looks "great", but
to me its never been right. Because the other videos that are in that
program, by other people, look so "perfect", with their HD devised images
and their 5-channel soundtrack sound. It looks strange because its amongst
other, very different work that comes from a very different visual
tradition and aims for a clarity that I argue film never had.

gotta run, so can't develop this much further. no pun intended.

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Received on Sun Aug 21 2011 - 11:49:21 CDT