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

From: Amanda Christie <>
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2011 10:06:00 -0300

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

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.

(oh wow, now i'm really late for work and still haven't had coffee. :)

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Received on Wed Jun 15 2011 - 06:06:32 CDT