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Question about optical printing


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Hi,

I'm trying to achieve some of the effects used by Stan Brakhage and Carolee Schneemann for a project I'm working on. I think they painted on the film and ran it through an optical printer, which a local co-op has for rent.

Example of what I'm thinking of...

Anyone have any guides or advice on how to go about this?

Thanks so much!

 

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1.  Get clear leader.

2.  Paint it.

3. Rephotograph it on an optical printer using the film stock of your choice.

The above is not trying to be sarcastic, but some things are fairly straight forward.  The co-op undoubtedly has members who specialize in using the optical printer;  get to know them.

We had a JK 16mm optical printer at the University of Oklahoma with a room full of discarded educational film prints to manipulate on the printer.  A lot of it was sheer dumb luck and happenstance, but it was fun.

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Frank Wylie said:

Almost always contact printed, if you are talking about release printing for general distribution. 

Yes, general distribution.

So I gather the optical printer was just used for effects most of the time. I thought everything went through the optical printer to duplicate. I never knew they had cine' contact printers, I just guessed they may have contact printed duplicates. But makes sense.

motion picture contact printer - Google Search

I'm learning more about old time film duplication. I found a film in my collection called Tulipe. It is an old school 1920-1930 stag from France. The German, Third Reich run Reichsanstalt für Film und Bild in Wissenschaft und Unterricht  had made a dupe of it with their logo on the tail.

Then further down the line it must have been duped in Mexico or the USA. Somewhere before the final dupe I got most of the intertitles got switched the wrong way. But the title and one intertitle was right reading.

The film dupers remind me of Earl Shieb. When I was a kid he had commercials on TV saying he would paint any car for $29.95. If you brought your car in with a piece of tape on it...he would paint right over the tape instead of removing it. The stag film dupers of yesteryear must have been the same way. 

1977-78 Earl Shieb Auto Painting Commercial - YouTube

 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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Posted (edited)

"So I gather the optical printer was just used for effects most of the time. I thought everything went through the optical printer to duplicate"

No that would have been far too slow and labor intensive.

Optical printers were used for effects, titles, opticals (dissolves, fades, etc.) and re-formatting (blow up,  reduction printing) mainly.  With the advent of the JK Optical printer in the 1960's, experimental film manipulation took off.

Film dupers have been around since the very beginning.  A guy named Pops Lubin in Philly got his start illegally duping Thomas Edison, Pathe and George Melies films in the late 1890's, only to become a legit producer later after the turn of the Century.  Fred J. Balshofer worked for him as a "duper";  it was his first job in motion pictures. He would later hire Virgil E. Miller ASC as his lab assistant.  You can read about it in "Splinters from Hollywood Tripods"; a book he wrote about his life in motion pictures.

Edited by Frank Wylie
fact correction
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Thanks for the history lesson Frank. You should write a book. Or PDF it all and put on the I.A. Or do an oral history recording, whatever.

One day we don't wake up and poof...it is all gone. Get it down while you can. 

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Posted (edited)

It's all been written down elsewhere;  I just regurgitate it.  No need to duplicate available information...

Edited by Frank Wylie
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3 minutes ago, Frank Wylie said:

It's all been written down elsewhere;  I just regurgitate it.  No need to duplicate available information...

 Most of history has been written down somewhere, the interesting thing is which bits you select to tell a story..

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Frank Wylie said:

It's all been written down elsewhere;  I just regurgitate it.  No need to duplicate available information...

Obviously not enough times...I didn't know it till I read your post.

Lots of people don't want to archive what they know or have done. So you are not alone. I talked with an old film collector on eBay. Pleaded with him many times to write it down or let me interview with some oral history. Nope, not interested one bit and he was ancient, could kick off at any time and everything is lost.

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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