Re: [Frameworks] Optical Printer in Berlin/Contact Printer Building instuctions

From: Tom Whiteside <>
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2011 09:45:59 -0400

Thanks to Amanda and Roger for great information, this is an example of what makes Frameworks worthwhile. But wouldn't it be better if we could get this on Facebook?

Cheers - Tom

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Beebe,Roger W
Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2011 9:27 AM
To: Experimental Film Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Frameworks] Optical Printer in Berlin/Contact Printer Building instuctions

Oh, hey, just my own small addition to the contact printer building instructions. I built two contact printers this spring, one using an old, half-working flatbed, and I found that by cutting a narrow slit in a piece of cardboard, I was able to cut the light significantly without lots of ND filters. I still had to run the flatbed full speed, and the only other catch was that if I kept it on too long, the cardboard would start to burn, so watch out!

(For what it's worth, I had more luck with a small head lamp, a toilet paper tube, a set of rewinds, and a sync block. The light was a lot easier to control, and even with the unevenness in speed from hand cranking, the results were generally pretty good.)

The joys of DIY contact printing...

On Jun 15, 2011, at 3:06 PM, Amanda Christie wrote:

> I've used steenbeck's as contact printers several times, and it's
> pretty easy. It's hard to describe without diagrams and lots and lots
> of words (and I'm late for work this morning).... but basically....
> let's see if i can be concise:
> 1. make the steenbeck lighttight - first make your room light tight,
> turn off the room lights and turn on the steenbeck light... find all
> the light leaks and cover them up (i use black plastic film bags and
> tape... as well as bits of black paper here an there. you will need a
> rectangular peice of black cardboard to cover the screen... to prevent
> light leaks around the edges i used flaps of black velvet... make it
> easy to remove so that you can still use the steenbeck for other
> purposes.
> 2. make a cover flap for the light / prism / transport section (can't
> remember what it's actually called before having my morning coffee) -
> this requires three parts made of black cardstock.... two long
> rectangles with a bend that you tape on just one side to the flippy
> locks (i continue to invent technical terms before my coffee)... so
> when you close the flippy-locks on the film, you can tuck the paper in
> to prevent light leaks. the third piece of paper goes over the top.
> all three of these pieces need to be able to flip out and open so that
> you can load film through the mechanisms in the dark, but then close
> it up and flip them down to prevent light leaks. this might take some
> practice and a few tries to get just the right shapes that both block
> light, and are easily movable.
> 3. make a filter holder - using more black paper, make a rectangle
> with a hole cut out of it to tape in filters... this is a removable
> piece that goes over the light and can fit in there and be taped
> on ... then you would close the paper flaps over it.
> 3. raw film covers - take two piza boxes the size of the plates and
> cut a slit for the film to pass through and line that slit with black
> velvet so the film doesn't get scratched and also to absorb more
> potential light leaks.
> 4. operation - use the top two plates (usually used for picture) for
> your raw stock. in the dark put the unexposed stock (feed) on the
> top left plate, then cover it with the pizza box, having the film pass
> through the appropriately placed slit. then thread it through to the
> top right plate (take-up) and cover it with the pizza box. load
> whatever you are copying onto the next two plates, and thread it
> through.... you are now using 4 plates.... sandwhich the film together
> and make sure that both pieces of film have their sprockets being
> grabbed by the film transport so that they don't slip out of alignment.
> 5. don't forget! - emulsion to emulsion.
> 6. turn on the light and speed it through - use the filters to
> control exposure. i've printed on colour print stocks as well as BW
> 3378 and i find that you really need to speed the steenbeck super fast
> and use a helluva lot of ND filters to cut down on the light. you
> could use a weaker light bulb, but not if you want to still use it for
> regular editing purposes too.
> and that's it.
> for more information you could contact Esther at the
> WORM.filmwerkplaats in Rotterdam... they have one.
> the one that I modified is at Faucet Media Arts Centre in Sackville...
> but I am no longer there, however I think that Elli is on this list...
> Elli works there now and could maybe take a picture of that steenbeck
> and post it somewhere.... (whadya say E. ? )... if not, I will be
> down in Sackville sometime in the coming weeks and could take a
> picture of it as well.
> hope that helps.
> amanda
> (oh wow, now i'm really late for work and still haven't had coffee. :)
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Received on Thu Jun 16 2011 - 06:46:21 CDT