Working with film

“Cinema is not a craft. It is an art.” – Jean-Luc Godard, French-Swiss film director, screenwriter and film critic. 

For my first MEDA201 project, I am to work with 16mm film to comprise a work based on the theme of “Rhythm”. A task which seems simple enough until you realise just how hard it is to physically edit film. A process which, has since made me greatly appreciate the early pioneers of cinema and screen art.

For my project, I wanted to play with colouration of the film, as well as distortion (through scratching, bleaching etc.) Last seminar, I used textas to colorize the celluloids, and used a sharp-edged tool to precisely scratch-out the film. Outlined below are a few techniques I have since used on the film reels, fingers crossed they turn out nicely.

Method 1: Bleaching


I used lemon juice, warm water, and lots of bleach. I kept the film in for about an hour and stirred regularly. The result – most of the colour was saturated leaving the film looking white.

Method 2: Scratching

Using a grater, I scratched the film at regular intervals. When this is fed through the projector it should produce a regular ‘beat’ of scratches.

Method 3: Painting

Using acrylic paint, I covered the film reel and then using a paint brush dipped in water, I used a splash technique over the top.

I am still to see the final results of the film reels when projected, but will post the results soon.

[cover image source]

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