Mar 302013
 

I got a Lomokino camera in the mail as a prize from L’Alternativa Festival in Barcelona, where my short The Whale Story won the Lomography Pantalla Hall Award. This is a little camera that uses old school 35mm film to make short movies. Kind of like a 16mm or 8mm film camera, expect instead of shelling out for expensive film it just uses the 35mm stuff that is still sold (some places) for still cameras.

lomokino_cameraYou load the film in the camera and turn the crank to expose the film inside. With a 36 roll of film you get about a minute or a minute and a half of cranking.  You then have the film developed and it comes back a color negative. You can also have them print the photos just like you would regular stills, and they’ll come back four frames on a page (because the camera exposes very narrow photos). Once you have the negatives (or the photos) you have to figure out how to turn them into a visible film.

The roll of negatives on my animation stand

The roll of negatives on my animation stand

The roll of film in a little paper clamp I made for it, so I can advance the film forward one frame at a time and keep each photo registered

The roll of film in a little paper clamp I made for it, so I can advance the film forward one frame at a time and keep each photo registered

I finally hit upon a system where I put the negatives on my animation stand, which is backlit, and photograph each of them with my homemade 35mm lens, which can focus at a short distance. I then batch-process the photos in Photoshop making them ‘positive’ from negatives, and adjusting the levels to compensate for the orange film that the negatives come back in. I then turn the image sequence into a film, which is where you set the final frame rate. Phew! It’s a long process but here’s the results:

Lomokino test from Tess Martin on Vimeo.

I definitely learned a lot! Some things I learned: best to be filming movement that is close to you and not far away because the little camera doesn’t pick up enough detail for far away action. Also try to film movement that is not too fast, like a dog zipping back and forth, because the camera can only record 3-5 frames per second. Also, it’s really hard to turn the crank without the camera moving all over the place! Next time I’ll try a tripod.

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