On 22 July 2017, seven FPC members and friends participated in Richard Tuohy and Dianna Barrie’s 16mm workshop with two Bolex cameras. Using “reverse printing” method, we were able to “develop” two rolls of films made in the Shamshuipo neighborhood the same day and view the outcome at the end of the day with great excitement.
Here’s a glimpse of part of what we showed the same evening at Floating Projects, before Tuohy and Barrie showed their own 16mm works.
“To have shooting, developing and screening all in one day was pretty packed, but in a positive way. I think nothing is more valuable than to learn how to operate the Bolex camera. The complex design of the camera itself is already a piece of art. Not sure if I am romanticizing the material itself or not, but images on motion picture films simply have a unique aroma.
As for Richard and Dianna’s own works screened that same evening…, I am a big fans of the last film Dot Matrix, not only because of the striking visual I experienced, but also because how the projection transformed Floating Projects into a new space. I felt like stepping into a new dimension of the world…”
“The workshop took me to something very new but historical. To learn using the 16mm film camera, I was learning a historical machine. I was most impressed by the part when we were standing in the back alley, drying the film together. The camera was much easier to manipulate than I expected. I hope i can use this camera to make a work one day.”
“Whether going out to shoot in the heat of the sun or later on mixing the toxic chemicals to develop the film, every moment was captivating and challenging in some sense. For sure I can’t help recalling my making countless mistakes here and there throughout the whole day, from counting the exact number of frames I had taken (- wait… 268, or 353?), to constantly forgetting to rewind the motor before starting a new shot. One thing is certain though, everybody was excited — not only because of the delicate mechanics built inside out of the camera, but also the beautiful sounds of the film rolling, the counter clicking, and not to mention that brisk ‘DING!’ sound every time you shot frame by frame. It’s as if light is pinning down a visual segment into that tiny little box, one after another… Yet what I found most intriguing was that other than the light source, there are just so many other determinants (chemicals, dusts, scratches), and possibly many more that affect, and hence, give texture to the film’s final image. Though some may argue that we can still simulate these ‘effects’ within a click on our digital films, I think there’s still a different sense of rhythm and swing if we are ‘trained’ with an analogue camera. It was a truly wonderful experience under the generous teaching and sharing from Richard and Dianna.”
Drying the film in the back alleydrying the film is team work, also the final step before projecting …washing the negative with different chemicalsDianna showing us how to start washingRichard supervising one of the two teams’ field-shootingChemicals in solution