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Printing frames on paper and scanning to make video?

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Planning stages of Super8 short film:

In short the idea is to extract each frame of a short sequence of video (1 min @ 24fps = 1440 frames) and then having these frames printed onto paper, scanning the prints (presumably with lots of laborious cropping) and then reconstituting the resulting images into video. My intention is that the frames will be printed relatively small (though a high quality print), maybe around 4cm wide and onto a somewhat textured paper (this size will necessitate very hd scanning on a flatbed), naturally this will be a low-fi effect which is my intention (size and paper type could be experimented with). The resulting video could also perhaps be layered over the original to control the strength of the effect. I foresee registration of the scanned frames being an issue resulting in a jittery video with frames moving about. I wondered if anyone had any thoughts on this idea and any problems/ solutions that come to mind



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Print clear registration marks in the corners and use those to line everything up in something like After Effects. Run tests by repeatedly scanning a single page of a registration test pattern with deliberate registration inaccuracies and make sure you can get the results you want.

Otherwise, sounds doable.

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Stabilization tools in programs like After Effects and even DaVinci Resolve make post digitization registering the images relatively simple now and then you can do a global crop on the resulting image without heavy pre-editing of individual images.

You are essentially creating an electronic version of a Biograph or Kinora reel from the late 1890's. 

Good luck, it's going to be a lot of work.


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Are there any samples of this type of work online or is it your original idea OP?

I had seen some reconstituted parts of lost silent films made from the paper contact prints of the films sent to the copyright office. But they were not looking to go low fi.

You had better run a test OP of your idea to see it real time. It would be sad to do all that work only to find out it is crap. I've done experimental things like that, months of work and $$ lost, so don't be like me....TEST!


Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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Thanks for your replies, these are very useful suggestions regarding registration, I will certainly do some tests and I will endeavour to share results, although I am notoriously slow to manifest my ideas. It was my idea as far as I know, I did see recently someone made a music video with cyanotype prints on paper, looking at it again it is essentially what I'm talking about, I think it's quite effective: 


If it's of interest I am thinking about dot patterns of prints: with some high resolution prints I have it seems the dot pattern wouldn't be evident at a surprisingly small scale; maybe the dot pattern would be interesting, especially at 24fps. As far as I understand all digital prints use dot patterns but I might be wrong, I have also considered having darkroom prints made but I suspect this might introduce some lens distortion because it is projected (which would be a problem because I was planning on having the frames printed on a big print so if there was distortion the frames at the edges might be different to in the middle), again I might be wrong. I think regarding the texture it might be preferable for the evidentness of the medium to be more about the ink and paper than the printer mechanism - we will see

- J

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Posted (edited)

The dot pattern you refer to is probably the paper texture of the Cyanotype prints, not an artifact of the imaging system.  It's probably a good quality watercolor paper and you're seeing the paper making (deckle) screen imprint...

Edited by Frank Wylie
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Sorry I don't think I was particularly clear in my previous post, when I said dot pattern I wasn't referring to the video, I meant to refer to the dot patterns of digital printing. As I understand it is called process printing, using cyan magenta yellow and black and blending them optically in these patterns to produce colours (as opposed to spot colour printing which doesn't blend but rather prints solid colours from a wide palette (I think this is for graphic images that use solid colours)) The image below is the dot pattern of process printing.

I mean to say that this may or may not be evident in the final result depending on the resolution of the print or the size of the printed frame to be scanned and that it may or my not be an interesting effect if it were evident (I expect they might blur together in an interesting way at 24fps), naturally all of this is a matter of experiment but I thought I might show my working in case it is of inspiration to someone. As you mention the texture of the paper is also of interest, I suspect the paper texture to be more pleasing than the printing mechanism being evident (the least pleasing of course is pixels so the scan resolution will have to be high enough to be invisible...)

I really am digressing now but in a way the video above is a good example for talking about the different resolutions of the different mediums involved because the digital negative that was most likely used to contact print the cyanotypes probably did have dot pattern but it is of high enough resolution that it is invisible, yet the prints are made to a scale that on this paper the grain of the paper is visible, to nice effect.

Sorry for the long post,



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