December 6, 2007

Week 15: 49-Hour Video Race

. . . and the mystery prop is . . .

6X1 students had 49-hours to create a video using a "mystery prop," which had to appear somewhere in their 1 to 3-minute film. The mystery prop was revealed to the students only 2-days before their films were screened. To make things even more challenging, students could not use "any device who's primary service [was] for producing motion pictures" (i.e. video cameras and film cameras). That's right, students had to rely on such possibilities as digital still cameras (still and movie mode acceptable), cell phones, scanners, etc. but could not initially capture their images on strips of celluloid or video tape.

Films were produced by each of the students and screened on a vinyl shower curtain liner tied to two trees in the backyard of the Silva compound.

Earlier in the semester, the 6X1 class discussed the idea of "the Rough Theater," so the shower-curtain-liner-as-movie-screen was merely a manifestation of this.

The screening was part of a larger end-of-semester extravaganza which included installation projects from the experimental class and short documentaries from the doc class.

Week 14: Goodies from the 6X1 Factory

Assignment #4: One-Shot (4 films: 1-minute each)

Film Studies students at UNC Wilmington, create a minute-long take using a Bolex and 16mm hi-con film. The film is then processed and transferred to video. The, shoot, processing and video transfer all take place within 4 hours. A soundtrack is later added.

Assignment#3: Rayograms/Hand-Processing (4 films: 1-minute each)

Film Studies students at UNCW place various objects and film strips directly on 16mm hi-contrast film stock and process the film, in class. Afterwards, the film is transferred to video, effects are added in places and a sound track is added.

Assignment#2: Multi-Plane Animation (4 films: 1-minute each)

Students in UNC Wilmington's Film studies department create 1-minute animations using a super 8 camera and a multi-plane animation set-up. Students worked in 4 groups of 3 or 4.

November 8, 2007

Week 13: 13th Annual Cucalorus Film Festival

This week, class is at the festival. It's like an all you can eat film buffet.

November 1, 2007

Week 12: Supereee-Dooperee-Projection-Loopery

These next few weeks, the 6X1 class will be exploring film/video as process oriented instead of strictly product oriented.

In other words, the film is also an EVENT which can not be replicated in movie theaters because each experience is different. The audience and participants are one in same.

Getting there isn't just half the fun - it's part of the film itself!

Does this still all sound strangly vague . . .

Well check out one such film event in the series of videos, BELOW: the 1st Annual My-Loop's-Bigger-Than-Yours-athon.

The class was divided into two groups. Each group was to start out by building a 5 foot 16mm film loop.

The goal was to see who could build the longest film loop and have it projecting for a continuously for a minute without falling apart.

Teacherman had to throw the class a few curve balls because the loops just kept growing . . .

. . . and growing. And both groups were unphased by the initial challenge.

The first NEW rule was that the film could not touch the ground.

The end of class kept inching closer and both groups were running strong, despite the new rule.

So Teacherman did a sort of shortest-straw-type game where he wadded up tiny balls of paper. All were blank, except one. On that one was written the word, "BANG!"

Whoever in the group drew the "BANG!" had to sit out. They could help strategize. They just couldn't hold the film as it projected.

So the groups got a little smaller . . .

And thus it was that eventually the Ambitious Chinchillas (yes . . . Teacherman made each group chose a team name) were done in by a broken splice.

And the . . . what was the other group's name . . . the someting Lemonades - was it the Pink Lemonades?

Anyway, the Pink ( . . .?) Lemonades won the loop-off.

But do they have they have the LONGEST loop?

. . . hmm. Perhaps we shall find out next week.

October 23, 2007

Week 11: Rhythmic Editing Exercise


Repeat variations on the above pattern 43 more times

Add 40 more frames - freestyle

And you have a film that's exactly 1 minute.

October 20, 2007

Weeks 9&10: One-Shot Bolextravaganzahhh!

What a way to finish our stint with film (now, the 6X1 class moves videoward)! Today, the 6X1 class produced 4 one-minute films shot on 16mm, then processed and finally transferred to video - all within 4 hours. Though the class was divided into groups of 3 and 4, the groups intermingled and created tiny films on a grand scale. Blue-afro space cats, sombrero decked guitaristas, brainy monsters and others coexisted in surreal harmony.

The weather was great - a little warm for October - but sunny, really sunny - so sunny that we had to ditch our original darkroom because despite great efforts to black out the windows, sun insisted on peaking through. So we developed film in the guys' bathroom with a couple of tubs of chemicals and a red flashlight.

October 4, 2007

Week 7: Life After Rayograms and Contact Printing

This week, we transferred about 5 minutes of 16mm hi-con footage to video with the goal of editing the footage in such a way as to present a one-minute trajectory with a beginning, middle and end. Sound will really facilitate the making of a whole from the fragments. And, of course, how the image track(s) is edited will determine the thread or story of your one-minute films. But beyond simply cutting and pasting, you might also play with colorizing the video, slowing it down or compositing two or more clips. The example above shows these techniques, starting with an unmodified clip of film.

September 20, 2007

Week 6 Prep: Assignment #3

CLICK HERE to see an example of assignment 3 from last semester. This semester, things will be a little different in that we'll be making 4 short one-minute films instead of one long 4-minute class film.


Sixbyoners: choose one above swatches as your theme for the contact printing section of the assignment, next week. I've only posted 8 frames of the few-hundred-long-frame-long filmstrips you will actually contact print, but this should give you an idea.


These images will serve as a (perhaps the only) grounding base for your Assignment #3 film. Much of you film will be an abstraction of photograms, so these images might help you decide which objects you bring for the photogram/rayogram portion of the assignment.

Also, remember that you will create a soundtrack to tie all the visual elements, together. Your final film may be narrative, in nature or more abstract and conceptually based. It's up to you and your group.

September 15, 2007

Week 5: Film Processing

This week, the 6X1 class learns to process 16mm motion picture film. We are using a hi-contrast film stock (Kodak 7363), which allows us to process under a red safe-light and thus see the film as it "cooks" in the chemicals (Dektol).

Also, we'll try something completely different. From freeze dried coffee, washing soda and some asorbic acid, we'll brew up some coffee developer and see what it does to our film.

Eventually we will shoot film on the 16mm Bolex camera and process it, but first, we will focus on just the film stock through contact printing on the stock as well as making rayograms (laying objects directly on the film, exposing the film to light and then processing the film to get a negative impression of the objects).

For examples of what rayograms look like CLICK HERE

September 13, 2007

Week 4: Animation Shoot

4 groups of students in UNC Wilmington's FST 398 006 6X1 class animate stop motion style with Super 8 cameras and cartridges of Ektachrome 64T film. Each of the groups animate using a multi-plane animation setup so that multiple levels of depth in their scenes could be achieved. After the 4-hour animation marathon, the film will be sent to the lab and transferred to video. Then the groups will edit the footage and add sound. Stay tuned for the finished animations.

September 7, 2007

Week 3: Film Painting Exercyzzzze

This week, we spent about 20-minutes of class time painting on about 17 feet of clear leader 16mm film, projected and videotaped the result. This is the last in a series of class exercises dealing with film manipulation techniques (the other two were scratching on scrap footage and magazine transfers).

August 30, 2007

Week 2: Fall 07 Magazine Transfer Projectoravaganza

16mm clear leader was rolled across a group of long tables and students from UNCW's FST 398 006 ("6X1") class slapped strips of wet packaging tape that had absorbed ink from magazines, phonebooks, etc. onto the film. Since the strips were still a bit wet, they had trouble staying on the clear leader as it ran through the projector but the result of this was still pretty cool.

The music was uploaded from our media ( - rights free - but quite a bit of reverb was added.

August 26, 2007

Week 2 Prep: 16mm Film Magazine Transfer

This week, we will be tearing up bits of magazines, newspapers, phonebooks etc. and sticking these bits onto clear packaging tape.

Then, we will cut the packaging tape into strips, dunk the strips into buckets of warm to hot water, leave the strips immersed for about 3-5 minutes and then rub the magazine pulp off the tape.

Only the ink remains on the tape. Then, just slap the strips of tape onto 16mm clear leader film (avoid the sprocket holes) and project.

See an EXAMPLE of what we collectively made in last semester's class.

August 21, 2007

Week1: welcometosixbyone fall07

Hi Fall Sixbyoners (and any curious observers)

Our first assignment involves painting, scratching, bleaching etc. 16mm film (i.e. film manipulation). I've included, below, an image of film sizes. It's good to think about these differences as we explore the idea of film manipulation. For example, if I make a mark with a sharpie on a 35mm frame and another mark with the same sharpie (same thickness) on an 8mm frame, the mark on the 8mm frame will take up a larger percentage of the frame and thus be projected as much thicker than the mark that is projected on the 35mm strip.

Needless to say, our choice of film stock size affects style and the amount of control we have over the frame. There's no ideal stock size. It just depends what you're going for.

May 1, 2007


Well, the semester has come to a close. We've made a lot of 1-minute films - 43 films to be exact. That's a lot of films produced by 15 students in four months. It's been an experience. Below is the class project (assignment #3), "Sport and Light," which will play on a much larger screen at the UNCW Film Studies Spring Semester student screening on May 5.

Watch the Video

April 11, 2007

One-Minute One-Shots

Below are the 4 one-shots created by the Spring07 6X1 class.

By one-shot, we mean that the film is composed of only one shot with not even in-camera editing. The film begins when the camera starts rolling and ends when the camera stops rolling.

For this assignment, students used 16mm Bolex cameras and some hi-contrast film. The Bolex cameras are hand-wound, rather than battery powered and each wind has roughly 28 seconds. Since this class is all about making one-minute films and this assignment was all about a one-minute take, we had to cheat a little.

We slowed the frame rate of the Bolex to half the normal frame rate. This meant that when projected, the film would play twice the normal speed but it also meant that we could shoot for a full minute because the camera wind was running at half the speed.

Then, we processed the hi-con film using a red safelight. f4 and f5.6 seemed to yeild the best results for the sunny mid-afternoon light with which we had to work.

Then, the film was transferred to video. As I mentioned, the film ran twice as fast in the projector, so we had to slow it down to half the speed in Final Cut Pro. Also, since the film was processed as a negative, we also had to invert (or change to a positive) the video transfer.


One-Minute SuperDuper8 Animations

Below are all of the four group animations for the Spring 6X1 class. These were filmed using Super 8 cameras and Ektachrome film and the project utilized a multiplane animation technique.

For the multiplane setup, an 18X24 inch glass panel was propped up by two apple boxes so that the ground below the pane was visible through the glass. The ground level served as a background and was often decorated by a backdrop. This first pane was a mid-stage of sorts. Then a second glass panel was propped up about 8 inches above the first panel. This top panel served as a front stage. Finally, the scene was decorated with props, lit and a Super 8 camera hovered about 4 feet above the glass panel.

To see some pictures of the actual class shoot visit the post on the animation shoot

But don't forget to also check out the mini-epic animations, right here!

April 4, 2007

Extremely Short Festivals for Extremely Short Filmz

So, soon you will have left this class having completed six one-minute projects. Six fun, challenging and I'm sure at times frustrating projects.

So now what?

Well, of course you have a few films to add to your reel . . . AND you can also choose to enter these films into festivals.

Right now, Drucilla (Dru), our Chiweenie (Chihuahua/Dachshund) dog is curled up in my lap. She's got a tiny dog collar for her tiny dog body and a tiny leash, some tiny dog toys and so on. There's a whole market for tiny dogs out there that caters to providing things for these wee creatures.

Likewise, there is a film festival market out there for your tiny films (epic in content as they may be). There are festivals such as the Aurora Picture Show Extremely Short Shorts for any film 3 minutes or under (postmark deadline May 1).

Stay tuned to the Sixty-Second Film Festival which is currently joking that it will "be back in a minute."

There are also festivals that cater to films that originated on film (you will have four of these film films by the end of the semester).

For example, there are several Flicker film screenings aroud the world. These screenings are more informal than your average festival screening though no less fun. The only rules are that your film be under 15 minutes and that it originate on film (though it can be, and in many cases is, shown on video) A great place to start your Flicker curcuit tour is with the founding Flicker in Chapel Hill. The next screening is May 7. There is NO ENTRY FEE for entering the Flicker screenings.

In general, one-minute films are great for festivals. Though they may not serve as the meat and potatoes of any shorts festival (outside of the extremely short shorts category), they are easy for festivals to program because of their length and are nice bursts of fresh air.

March 23, 2007

Collage and Found Footage within a Cultural Context

How many letters in the alphabet can you link to a brand?

Earlier in the semester, I posted the Humument project as an example of a collage work. Though Tom Phillips was working in book form, you might easily draw a parallel between what he did and what you as a collage film/videomaker might do when you arrange nuggets of media together to create a new meaning.

Below is a talking point that does not necessarily express absolute truth but will be a jumping off point for class discussion:

Both the Lethem and the the Garnett and Meiselas articles have argued, in one way or another, that painters, filmmakers, musicians, photographers etc. do not live in a void and are not only directly influenced but quite often borrow from other artists' work.

Though this has been going on for centuries, it can easily be argued that this is especially the case in the 21st Century, where we are indundated with the omni-presence of media. Brands, TV shows, movies, advertisements, and so on make up our cultural landscape. It is not as simple as chosing to either embrace or opt out of this cultural landscape. We can not decide to turn our backs on the media culture - unless we choose to live in total seclusion. As we walk down the street, advertisements becon us from buses, bilboards, the bumpers of cars, TVs in restaurants and so on.

As filmmakers, we can not help but be influenced by this steady stream of media and create work that, intentionally or not, borrows from artists who create this media and who themselves have, no doubt, been influenced by the media stream as well. So how does this effect our views of plagerism?

March 2, 2007

Looking toward the One-Shot Assignment

16mm hi-con print stock (kodak 7363) was shot on a Bolex (undercranked at 12fps). The film was then processed as a negative using Dektol developer. The negative image was projected and captured on video. In this video, you can see the original image side by side with the positive image (inverted through a filter applied in Final Cut Pro to produce a positive). Above the two images are f-stop #s which correspond to the exposure.

For the next assignment, a group of 4 will have a sufficient amount of 16mm hi-con stock (good ol' 7363) to shoot a single take long (duration) shot. We'll be learning the basics of using a Bolex 16mm camera and returning to a little bit of hand-processing. I know those windows in the above video are small so you'll have to use your imagination, a little, to see a parking lot and cars whizzing by on a busy road in the distance. Notice that as the screen gets lighter in the left video widow (negative) it gets darker in the right window (the positive).

One other detail. Bolexes are hand-wound, not eletrically powered, cameras. In other words, you wind the camera and start shooting. Each wind gives 28 seconds of roll time. But we need to make a one-minute film using one continuous long shot so . . . we will undercrank (slow the frame rate of the Bolex) to 12 frames per second when we shoot. Then when we project the film at 24fps the action will be double the natural speed and the one-take will speed by at 28 seconds. When we slow the footage down in Final Cut to HALF the speed, we will get a 56-second continuous shot.

Still not quite a minute, you say. Add titles and slug and it is!

February 23, 2007

A Humument

Have you ever taken a page from a magazine or book and "edited" it to your liking - crossed out most of the sentences except for a few choice words, which, when read in their new sequence, take on new meaning?

The above is the first of 370 pages in a 19th century text transformed into hundreds mini-canvases. I thought this might be fitting, considering we are starting to talk about collage and appropriation. CLICK HERE to see a the full 370 page gallery of Tom Phillips' eternal work in progress. You can also click on the image above for a larger view of the first page. I have included, after a introductory blurb, which I borrowed from the humament website, a few more sample pages/pictures below. Again, click on each of the images for a better (larger) view of each page.

"A HUMUMENT is eternally a work in progress. Tom Phillips started his treatment of W.H. Mallock's Victorian novel in the mid sixties and an initial complete version was privately published by the Tetrad Press in 1970.

With Thames and Hudson's first trade edition in 1980 A HUMUMENT rapidly became a cult classic. It was seen to be a defining product of post modernism linking traditions as various as medieval illumination, experimental poetry and non-linear narrative with the procedures of modern art."

February 21, 2007

Earth, Wind, Fire, Water

Students in UNCW's 6X1 class were assigned the task of representing "the four elements," using 16mm clear leader, inks, paints, salt, oil, magazines and packaging tape. The video is a class compilation of each of the one-minute "element" projects.

Sci-Fi, Horror or Circus Theme?: The Class Movie Gig

So, as I mentioned in class, now that we have all these hand processed strips, the next task is to create sort of a collage video which makes a whole of all these separate parts. The only stipulations are that this be a video in four parts (each part, one-minute long) and that each person in the class participate in a designated role. I'll pass around "a hat," from which you will draw your position. If you want to swap positions, fight, pull hair to get what you want, etc. fine - as long as all positions are filled.

What will be the genre of this movie? . . . a bit experimental, of course. But beyond that, it's completely up to you: Western, Musical, Musical Western, Infomercial for the Dammed, 50s Melodrama, etc. Everyone in the class has a specific role but all are welcome to pitch in on genre ideas and semi-narrative themes when we watch the spliced version in class, next week.

Below is a list of all the roles with the number of people needed in each role and a basic description of the job.

Log and Capture/Tape Wrangler (1): Log and capture the footage


Rough Cut Editors (4): Assemble a rough cut of the four parts and add a title and also an inter-title (for each of the four parts). Each section need not be a minute long at this stage and, in fact, may only be 30 seconds long. That's fine. The Fine Cut editors will stretch out the footage to a minute per section.

Fine Cut Editors (2): Slow down sections (be mindful of frame-blending/whether or not you want it), super-impose or loop sections.


Dialogue/Voice (1): Find some interesting bit of narration or voice that seems to fit the theme. might be a good place to start. Lot's of rights-free stuff from the mundane to the bizarre. Look in the audio section.

Ambient (2): You can record your own on mini-dv or find some online or . . . just use your imagination. Remember though that ambience implies background so your sound should fit this description and not upstage the voice or snd fx. It should also be something that is capable of stretching through the length of any one section.

Sound Effects (2): Again, create your own or find fx on line. Typing in "free sound effects" in the google search bar will turn up a lot of results.

Sound Mixers (2): Make sure the three above tracks are mixed properly - that they work with each other and don't all scream for attention at the same time (unless that is your intention . . . for part of the film).

Print to Video (1): Print that bad boy and turn it in to me.

February 14, 2007

Hand Processing Footage

The above example is a result of laying objects directly on unexposed film and then exposing the film to light - a process of creating Rayograms. Below you'll see an itemized version of the above 16mm handprocessing demo footage from the 6X1 class. Various objects such as glass beads, salt crystals and rice were placed directly on strips of 16mm hi-con film (Kodak 7363), the film was then briefly flashed to light and processed in Dektol developer. This filmstock and developer are ideal for the process because it allows filmmakers to see the film develop before their eyes, under a red safe-light.

Pictured first in each of the below examples is the filmstrip as it would be seen in its physical form. Then there is a very short video clip that shows that filmstrip as it would appear projected. Oh, and a little frame blending was applied to the video. I actually prefer the above composite video without the frame blending because you can more clearly see the objects on the film - but hey, that's just me.

1. Glass Beads and Bubble Wrap

(click on image for larger view of filmstrip)

2. Super 8 Film Footage: Telephone Booth Number Pad
(click on image for larger view of filmstrip)

3. Contact Printing: Stars and Leaves

(click on image for larger view of filmstrip)

4. Contact Printing: Sliced Up 16mm Stock Footage Taped to 16mm Clear Leader

(click on image for larger view of filmstrip)

5. Rice, Salt and Pushpins

(click on image for larger view of filmstrip)