Showing posts with label processing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label processing. Show all posts

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Further Experiments in DIY Cine Film Scanning.

On and off over the last decade I have been messing about with various ideas and methods for digitizing cine film using homebrew technolgies. My efforts have been focussed on Super8 and laterly on 16mm formats. The aim of all this,is mainly to make shooting on these film formats more affordable and time-efficient too.

Around 2008 I was playing around with the adapted cine projector, frame by frame PC grabbing technique. It was difficult to set-up and the video cameras of that era tended to be just SD resolution. I also ended-up 'adapting' my poor old Chinon projector beyond repair.
http://www.chrisgavin.com/2008/09/diy-tk-set-up.html

I leapt back into this a couple of years ago with a new device. I began experimenting with getting some components 3D printed and learning a little bit about electronics and Arduino too. By 2018, this device was looking like this...
http://www.chrisgavin.com/2018/06/the-old-diy-super8-film-scanner-project.html

In recent months, I've been back on the case with renewed vigour and have been documenting my tests/expirements a little as Instagram posts. Here' I'll collect together and share some of this work...

19/09/19 EXPERIMENT
Using a photosensor and Arduino to detect the sprocketholes in some 16mm movie film.



21/09/19 EXPERIMENT
Using the Arduino board to trigger the shutter of a Panasonic Lumix GH4 camera to take still photos.



23/09/19 EXPERIMENT
A 3D printed film gate for 16mm cine film. The photo sensor from the earlier experiment is now built into this.



21/12/19 EXPERIMENT
I've added a continuous rotation servo motor to move the film backwards and forwards through the film gate. I'm using Processing code here to run this from my PC with a simple GUI.



30/12/19 EXPERIMENT
Now we can see these elements from the previous experiments put together. The servo motor moves the film. The photo sensor detects the sprocket holes and the GH4 camera is triggered to take a photo. All of this is controlled by an Arduino, a little bit of circuitry and Processing code running on the host PC.



CONCLUSION:

This is the setup I used to capture the 'CONSTANTINE BAY' black and white 16mm footage seen in this previous post.

I eventually got this working well enough to digitize small amounts of film. The registration of the resulting frames was pretty lousy, so I always had to apply stabilization to the captured images to make them usable. I've been using the After Effects warp stabilzer feature to do this.

I'm amazed to have got this far really. I'm very much learning about electronics, engineering and programming as I go along with this project.

I think the poor registration of this system is the area that needs to be looked-into next. My thinking is to try a machine vision camera instead of the bulky GH4 camera seen here. I'm curious to see if some of the functions of capturing and registration could be developed as software rather than hardware solutions. More about this to follow...








Sunday, December 28, 2014

First Still Frames from my 'new' 16mm film camera.

I've had my Krasnogorsk K3 camera since Summer this year, but not had a chance to shoot anything with it until now... Just before Christmas I took the camera on one of our family trips to Cornwall and shot 100 feet of Kodak 2210 'Surveillance' BW negative 16mm film of the kids larking about on the beach at Constantine Bay.

Last night I developed the first half of this roll using my DIY spiral developing tank. I mixed up some of the same Caffenol C-M developer I've used before for Super 8 film processing.
I'm happy to say I got pictures! This is always a joy and never to be taken for granted when dabbling with old Soviet-era camera equipment and DIY processing techniques.

Here are a few still images from the film...





























Monday, March 17, 2014

16mm First Test: Kiev Alpha 16 Camera

I took my Kiev Alpha 16 down to the Thames one evening last week to get some test shots. Unfortunately the camera jammed again. However, this time the fault happened some way into the session, after I'd shot about 40 feet or so of film.

Tonight I DIY developed the film. The Film is Kodak 2210 (Black and White negative 'Surveillance ' Film). I processed the film in my home-made spiral processing tank using Ilford ID11 developer. I could see during the film washing that I had some images on the negative, but these seemed especially 'thin'. I think this is general under-exposure, not too surprising for these night-time shots. I put the film strip onto my light box and took a few stills. I'm always happy to see some kind of image for all this effort, but I'm pretty disappointed by the results here.

The focus is pretty awful, and there's probably a light leak here too. I think the focus problems are down to the dodgy eye-piece which moves about freely, making focus monitoring highly unreliable. I was hoping to be blown away by the 16mm frames (after working with so much Super 8) but this didn't really happen tonight.


The negative 16mm film as developed.
Digitally inverted to become a positive image.
Now desaturated to become proper monochrome.
More riverside architecture.
The London assembly building.
So in summary, I've tested out a 'new' camera and an unfamiliar film stock.The results and handling of the camera are somewhat disappointing, but on the other hand, this film works and can be home-processed. I've got a couple more of these 100 foot rolls left, so I'm encouraged to use this type of film again: but the camera... not so much.

I think I might keep an eye out for another 16mm film camera, maybe something Swiss next time.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fun with Processing #001: Particle experiments.

I've been dabbling a bit with Processing lately. Processing is a free development environment, offering all kind of potential for geeky visualization and interactivity projects.

I've been working my way through the tutorials and here's one of the first 'sketches' I've devised.

This is NOT an embedded movie... I've written this visualization in Processing code. This is basically a bit of generative art that is served up to the viewer; there are some randomized variables so this will be a little bit different each time it's viewed. I've just added a little interactive feature too, so try clicking on the particle cloud and see what happens!

It's early days for me with this, but I want to find out how one can embed such a creation into a web page or blog like this, if you can see what I'm talking about below, then I guess it's worked...


Friday, August 09, 2013

Super 8 Film DIY processed with ID11 developer

I've been out and about down at the Thames cable car (aka The Emirates Airline) the last couple of weekends with my Nizo camera and shot another couple of cartridges of Super 8 film (Argenti APX 100 BW negative.) So that's another couple of proper 50 foot loads I've put through my DIY film processing spiral tank already. One of the many joys of DIY cine processing is not having to wait a couple of weeks to get your films back!

I've processed the first of these 2 rolls using the Caffenol C-M recipe as before, and the last roll using the rather more conventional film developer Ilford ID11. I've written a bit about my experiences with Caffenol in my previous posts, but as I've been seeing VERY grainy results I thought I'd try some 'proper' developer by way of comparison. I do quite like the grain really, but when the images are only around 5mm wide, the magnified effect of the grain becomes quite overwhelming.

Now,  when I borrowed all of my dad's old film processing gear, there were a couple of packs of developer in there... There was a small pack for making up 1 litre of stock developer and a larger pack for making 5 litres. The smaller pack looked the oldest so I chose to try that one first... This had been bought from a shop called 'Techno' for about £1.60. I would estimate that this film developer was of early 1980s vintage. I read online varying reports of using such ancient chemistry, and there was a fair chance this just wouldn't work at all.

Not wishing to risk a full 50 feet of film with these ancient chems, I took the sensible precaution of developing a test strip first. The results looked good so I went ahead and processed the whole roll. The stills below are from this first test strip.

I think I'm seeing a lot less grain on these results already... These photos were taken of the film on a lightbox. I used my Canon 600d Camera and an old 50mm Pentacon lens 'reversed' to get the required macro.
First test frame of Super 8 film (Argenti BW neg APX100) processed with Ilford ID11 developer.
The same frame digitally inverted to a positive.
I'm planning to put a short film together showing views of the cable car, processed different ways and digitized using various methods too. I hope in the future to be able to present a more useful comparison of the Caffenol C-M and ID11 results once I've got some moving footage to show...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

DIY Spiral Proccessing Tank for Cine Film (Updated)

Followers of my blog will have seen that I've recently been experimenting with home-processing super 8 cine film. So far I've been cutting off short strips and developing these inside a Paterson tank (designed for processing stills films.)

As my tests continued, I felt the need to step up to processing longer lengths of film. Over the last few months, I've been thinking about how to achieve this; to get cleaner results and be able to process lengths of up to 50 feet of film at a time. One can go on to a popular auction site and find old second hand 'Lomo tanks', but these seem to cost around £150 for the 50 foot version ... a lot to pay for a piece of soviet-era bakelite that might well turn out to be incomplete or broken on arrival.

Based on photos I've seen of the old Lomo tanks and using readily-available materials, I set about making a 'Lomalike' tank... After a few false starts and dead ends, here's the current state of the project is in all its DIY glory...



The most complex part of this project was creating a spiral to hold 50 foot lengths of the cine film.

I found that 5mm x 1mm flat aluminium craft wire could be bent into the right shape with the aid of foam strip 'formers'  to temporarily fill the gaps between the wire loops.
The spiral fits neatly inside my chosen processing tank.
The tank is a re-purposed old 35mm film can.

On the underside of the lid, there's a 'low profile' aquarium strainer with an old lens cap glued on to it. This arrangement enables liquids to be poured in without light leaking in too.
A funnel push-fits onto the aquarium strainer in the centre of the lid for adding liquids quickly; a keg tap fitted to the side for draining out the liquids (not so quickly)

I made my first use of the tank last night, processing about 37 feet of B&W negative film using the same Caffenol C-M developer recipe as before. This is the remaining film of the cartridge I'd been developing for my previous tests, so a good length, but not a full roll. There was space for more film though, so if my measurements are correct, the spiral should be able to take a full 50 foot load.
 
LOADING: Getting the film on to the spiral has to be done in darkness (my loft) and was a little fiddly at first. After about 20 minutes I'd done it; evolving a technique of feeding the film from the cartridge, rotating the spiral gradually and pressing down on the spiral to keep the film in place during the loading process. All I'd read about loading the real Lomo spiral helped; the film is perfs down, and emulsion out, and holding the cartridge at a 45 degree angle seemed to help too. Once the film was on the spiral, I put the spiral in the can and taped up the sides of the can with black tape to keep it light-tight. The rest of the processing took place in my kitchen, under subdued lighting, but not total darkness.

PROCESSING: The tank requires 1 litre of developer to adequately immerse the 8mm film. Pouring in the developer solution was pretty fast, I could get a litre of the stinky brown liquid into the tank in around 15 secs. There's no device for agitating the tank here, so I just gently rocked the tank to move the developer about during the first minute then a little bit more every minute thereafter for the 15 minute developing time.

Drainage of the tank using the keg tap is slow. I found that I needed to gently incline the tank whilst draining, but not too much, because the sides of the film can are definitely not water tight. Drainage took about a minute.

I followed the developing stage with a water stop bath, then standard Hypo fixer. I kept the film on the spiral for washing and drying too.

SUMMARY:  The developing tank works!  There are pictures on the film, but until I can digitize the film it'll be hard to assess the quality of this arrangement. The real test will be to see if the developing is even and whether the spiral has introduced any marks along the film. So at the moment, it's a qualified success. The design could benefit from a faster drainage system and perhaps the spiral could use some kind of top-piece to hold the film down into the grooves (The real Lomo tank has a top plate for this). However, the film did stay in place throughout the developing and only started floating off the spiral during some over-zealous tap jetting during the final wash process. The edges of the can are not watertight, but if the tank is kept level during processing and only gently and gradually tipped during drainage, this doesn't seem to be a problem.

UPDATE: 
Tonight I've just put a whole 50foot cartridge worth of film into the tank for processing in Caffenol C-M again, (same recipe as before). I've had a NIGHTMARE loading the tank the second time... It all went wrong when I somehow let the end of the super 8 film disappear back inside the cartridge... This meant that I needed to take tools into the dark to try and hack open the cartridge, then I had a roll of film snagging and not dispensing easily... I must have had beginner's luck the first time I loaded the spiral (about 20 mins) because this time I was in the dark for well over an hour. They say you learn by your mistakes, what a lesson! I put this note here in the hope that others might learn this the easy way.  However, once loaded the processing went well.

MODIFICATION:
I made a small modification to the tank this time; a strip of plastic to go on top of the film. This was easy to add, but meant that the film stayed in place on the spiral even during quite vigourous washing and drying of the film. Luckily I'd already made the centre spindle a short M10 sized bolt, so I could use a nut to hold the plastic in place...



The new top bar kept the film in place this time, so I could be a little more vigorous with the washing and drying of the film.

SOME RESULTS: 
I've added below some stills of the first batch of film to show the results...

I put the film strip on a lightbox and took a few photos. The left side of each image shows the film negative as processed (with a few Levels tweaks), the right hand image shows the image digitally inverted back to positive. These images will look slightly squeezed, due to an anamorphic lens being used during filming.

The first part of the film was some titles and text animation tests.

The new cable car across the Thames

View from the cable car of post-industrial sprawl.

The wonderful 'Egyptian' fa├žade of the old Carlton Cinema in Islington.
 I'm actually quite encouraged by the results, there's certainly a usable image there, I was expecting more blotchy and irregular results than this.

I also took a few stills of individual frames. This is extreme macro photography, the images on the film are only about 5mm wide. For these stills, I stretched the images back to the correct 16x9 aspect ratio to 'undo' the effect of the anamorphic lens adaptor.







COMING NEXT: I'm planning to digitize and check the results of this film, then shoot and process some further rolls of B&W negative. If all goes well, I hope to be trying some colour processing and maybe some 16mm film sometime in the future...



UPDATE 28/12/14

OK, I've now completed a couple of short film projects using this DIY developing technique, so for those wanting to see some results, here they are...

CABLE CAR (2013)

THE SECRET NUCLEAR BUNKER (2014)

I've now invested in a large film changing bag and have found this a much more comfortable way to load the spiral than locking myself away into my attic space! I processed some 16mm (BW Neg) film today with this tank (again using Caffenol C-M developer) and can confirm the spiral happily takes this wider film too. I think I'm getting about 60 feet on there, not the full 100 foot roll unfortunately...

UPDATE 31/03/15

Well I did process some 16mm BW neg film in the same spiral tank too. This is a roll of BW Kodak 'Surveillance' film I shot on Constantine beach in Cornwall. Again I processed this using the Caffenol C-M DIY developer recipe as used on the Super 8 films before. I have no way (yet) of digitizing 16mm movie film, but here are a few stills I shot putting the processed film on a lightbox. (Photoshop levels and inverting back to positive images.)



UPDATE 06/01/20

WELL 5 YEARS LATER... I've finally digitized this 16mm home developed footage. I've just found this roll of film again after losing it for a long time! I've also been working on a DIY frame-stepping device to help me digitize the 16mm footage.

CONSTANTINE BAY (2020)

Friday, July 05, 2013

Wall of Death : Super8 film DIY processed/digitized



Here's a little experimental film. Super 8 cine footage of the Ken Fox Wall of Death Troupe doing their death-defying thing in Enfield in May 2013.

I shot black and white negative film because I wanted to try some home processing. This film was developed in short lengths using Caffenol C-M developer.

The film was digitized in various ways, partly with a flatbed scanner, but mostly using a DSLR camera and macro optics to re-photograph the tiny frames. Some of the film was advanced by hand under the camera, and some strips were moved using a stepper motor/sprocket wheel mechanism I've been working on.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Most Exciting 5 Feet Of Film Ever

What could be more thrilling than seeing the daredevil stunt riders of the Ken Fox Wall of Death in action this weekend?

Well, supposing I captured some of the action with my Nizo super 8 camera using some black and white negative film. Then suppose that a mere 2 days later I wait 'til it's dark, sneak into my loft and put about 5 feet of the film loosely into one of my dad's old Paterson developing tanks. Then, maybe I head down to the kitchen and mix up 500ml of Caffenol C-M film developer (instant coffee, washing soda, vitamin C & water), process the film (15 minutes), water stop bath (5 washes), Hypofix (10 minutes), wash (10 minutes) then fast dry the film with a hair dryer.

Then just supposing there were actually some pictures on the film strip... How exciting would that be?

Well tonight, that's exactly what happened...


This is the first time in a very long time that I've processed any film of any kind. It's certainly the first time I've processed any cine film, and most definitely the first time I've processed film using a coffee-based film developer. (Co-op Fair Trade Instant if you're asking).

This first test film was just jumbled up willy-nilly inside the Paterson tank, but it certainly proves the chemistry works. Of course it would be better to use a proper cine processing tank, especially for developing a whole 50 foot (15 metre) cartridge in one session.

Once I had my 5 feet of  hand processed film, I then put it on my light box and took a few close-up stills with my DSLR camera and some macro rings. This is hardly the best way to get a telecine done, but at least this way, I can show some of the results.



DIY 'Caffenol C-M' processed BWneg super 8 film

DIY 'Caffenol C-M' processed BWneg super 8 film, inverted to positive and some levels applied.





It's very late now, but of course I couldn't resist putting a very short movie together out of these first few frames ...



I just couldn't be more encouraged by this first test. I hope I can digitize the whole 5 foot strip to show soon and I'm now very keen to process the rest of this reel with this chemistry. So much more to do with this...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

New Spiral

Pretty soon I'd like to try DIY processing some cine film for the first time. Processing stills film is pretty straight forward, but super 8 cine film comes in 50 foot (15 metre) lengths. This is not going to fit inside a Paterson tank and anyway, there just don't seem to be any 8mm film spirals either.

Folks seem to use Russian Lomo spiral tanks to do this, but I can't quite bring myself to send lots of good money away to buy a hunk of soviet-era bakelite from ebay. I'm guessing that many of the available tanks will be broken or have bits missing by now.

So what about designing the vector graphics for a new spiral and having it made from plastic? I would think this could be a job for a laser cutting or 3D printing service.
It might look something like this...

By my calculations this would need to be about 220mm in diameter, the channel for the film is 1mm, as are the ridges between the winds. This is a theoretical design, but who knows if this would work, or if the film could actually be loaded into such a thing? The next step will be to find a cutting/making service that could make this up for me at a reasonable price. Please comment below if you know of such a service.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

I've been too busy working on something at TANDEM the last few weeks, so there's just not been any time for  DIY film-making activity at home recently.
However, when I get a little spare time I'm going to try some of this in my Super8 camera.


It's 50 feet of black and white negative film. I'm hoping to try out some DIY film processing and figured that this BW negative would be the easiest type of film to start with. Processing is similar to BW neg. stills film, with affordable chemistry at room temperature. I'm also very intrigued with the idea of 'Caffenol C' processing... Yep, that's film developer made from coffee!