Saturday, May 23, 2009

TXT ISLAND : Featured by Shots

My short film 'TXT Island' is the front page item on Shots magazine website. For a treat this bank holiday weekend only, you can go over there to see the whole film!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TXT ISLAND : The Trailer

I know it's a little bit indulgent to make a trailer for a film that's only three and a half minutes long anyway, but I couldn't resist it, could I? Click here to see the TXT Island trailer.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The A to Z of TXT Island

Here's a still of the plastic alphabet I used to make the film. I've got some titles and maybe another project in mind for these...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

'TXT Island' wraps !!!

TXT Island is finished !!! TXT Island is my stop-motion animated short film featuring animated letterforms; it's made using those plastic pegboard signage panels you sometimes see in bars and cafes etc. The film is currently featured on the news page over at There are a few stills and an extract of the film viewable there.
This blog will be updated with further news about the release as it happens...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nizo 4080 in Camera Hospital

This week on camera hospital, take a look at this fella... That's right, it's another German Braun Nizo, a younger one this time and would ya look at that gorgeous black coat... But he came in to the hospital with a dodgy trigger and couldn't run anymore... We had to operate...

Well, it was touch and go for a while, and to be frank there were bits all over the place, but it's good news. He's back together again and whirring like a contented puppy... bet he can't wait to go out and play...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Sensors And Sensitivity

Working late in the lab again! I'm trying to detect the film sprocket holes for my DIY cine film scanning project and in the process finding out quite a lot about photo-transistors. The plan is to mount one of these into my film transport mechanism to give feedback to the stepper motor. With some great support from Archie over at I've made a little circuit to test the sensors and measure the high and low voltages they give.

By placing a bit of card or some white super8 film leader next to the sensors I had the circuit tuned quite well (using the salvaged Epson printer proximity sensor) to the point where I thought this to be a viable route... However, tests with actual film strips gave a very curious result... Though seemingly black to the naked eye, movie film seems to have little or no opacity when seen by the phototransistor.
Realising that the Epson photo diode/phototransistor device uses infrared light, I thought I'd take a look an infrared look at some movie film with my miniDV camera in nightshot mode...

Bingo! The cine film is pretty much transparent under IR lighting. There's no way an IR photosensor will detect the sprocket holes when the film base itself is rendered almost completely transparent. I'll be looking at sensors in the visible light range next...
(Also of interest here, notice how the film looks so scratched under IR lighting; some film scanners use just such an IR pass to enable infrared cleaning of scanned images.)

Friday, May 01, 2009

DIY Film Scanner : One Small Step

This grey and blue thing might not look like much, but it's my very first Windows application! The StepForward and StepBackward buttons tell my StepperBee card to move the stepper motor forwards and backwards. A strip of Super8 film sitting in my DIY film transport moves accordingly... Up until now, I've always been sending instructions to the StepperBee using the controller application that came with the board, so this represents a fairly dramatic development. For a long time I've wanted to make things and control them from the PC, so this is a real first.

To produce this exciting code, I downloaded Microsoft VisualBasic 2008 Express Edition, then pasted in the code found at the StepperBee website.

Unfortunately the middle 'Snapshot' button doesn't do anything yet. Triggering the Sumix camera and saving the images was something I hoped to do within the Sumix camera application, but this doesn't seem to be possible. I think the camera will have to be triggered by my application somehow, and I suspect that a whole other can of worms lies therein.

Next up also I need to find out more about the optical proximity sensor I've recovered from an old Epson printer... can this be hooked up to one of the StepperBee's input channels and if so, how accurately might it pick up on the tiny film sprocket holes? Stay tuned...