Retrotechtacular: Films Used to Be Recorded on Film

retrotechtacular-movie-film-photo-finishing

We’re sure that this title makes some readers itch because there are still a number of well-respected directors who insist on shooting with film rather than digital, but the subject of this week’s Retrotechtacular shows a portion of the movie industry that has surely been relegated to life-support in the past few decades. Photo finishing, once the stronghold of chemical processes used by all to develop their photographs, has become virtually non-existent. This is the story of how film and photo finishing drove cinema for much of its life.

The reels seen above are negative and positive film. The negative film goes in the camera and captures the images. After developing and fixing the negative film, the process is repeated. Light shines through the fixed negative in order to expose a fresh reel of film. That film is finished and fixed to create the reel which can be used in a projector. This simple process is covered near the beginning of the clip found below. The 1940 presentation moves on to discuss the in-depth chemistry techniques used in the process. But you’re really in for a treat starting about half-way through when the old manual methods are shown, which have been replaced by the “modern laboratory”. We love those huge analog dials! The video concludes by showing the true industrialization of the film developing process.

We’re running out of Retrotechtacular topics. If you know of something that might be worth a feature please send in a tip!

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From cinema to stills, camera lens gets new life

[Timur Civan], with a beautiful merge of past and present, has taken a 102 year old camera lens (a 35mm F5.0 from hand cranked cinema cameras) and attached it to his Canon EOS 5D. While this is not the first time we’ve seen someone custom make a camera lens or attach a lens to a different camera, such as when we brought you plumbing tilt shift or iPhone camera SLR or Pringles can macro photography, the merge of old tech with new warms our empty chest cavities hearts. Catch some additional shots of 1908/2010 New York City after the jump.

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