Hi Mark,
Ross here (writing from Charlotte's account) -
as always you make many excellent points!  However I thought it important to
write, because I fear that some of the opinions expressed here veer
dangerously to "thou shall not!" which I'm sure is not your intent.  I'll
stay away from engaging in a point-by-point debate (especially as I agree
with a lot of what you say),  but will clarify my own take, stated simply:
"there are occasions when blow-up is desired, and others where it's not."
the fun of course, is determining what those cases might be..
my (hopefully non-elitist) two cents.  and good luck with your project!

From:  Mark Toscano <mrkt...@gmail.com>
Reply-To:  Experimental Film Discussion List
Date:  Tuesday, March 17, 2015 9:21 AM
To:  Experimental Film Discussion List <frameworks@jonasmekasfilms.com>
Subject:  Re: [Frameworks] Super 8 to 35mm Optical Blowup

Hi Chris, 

I'm glad you asked, as it's a subject I feel fairly passionately about.

I'll first just clarify that the super 8 to 35mm blowup I'm seeking is
purely for a project of my own which has to do with the large stretch
between the two formats (i.e. it's a film which has specifically to do with
the extra large blowup).  As soon as I have the details hammered out on
that, I'd be happy to say more about it...

As for blowups in general, though - since it's no longer possible to do
run-of-the-mill contact printing in 8mm or super 8, and since there's
already a decades-long tradition of blowups of 8 to 16, I think it's a less
problematic way to make smaller gauges viewable on film, when duplication is
necessary.  It's still a translation, though.  Some filmmakers shot super 8
with the express intention of blowing up (as with some of Brakhage's films,
James Otis's films, and many others), some shot and printed super 8 with
only that intention, no blowup in mind, but then decided later on to blow up
to 16 for whatever reasons (usually a matter of making the work more
accessible, preserving it, etc.)

Blowing up 16mm to 35mm on the other hand has nearly always seemed a really
problematic step to me (unless of course the artist has that specifically in
mind).  From a preservation standpoint, it can cost twice or even 3-4 times
as much as doing the work in 16mm, it's inherently changing the nature of
the film in terms of scale, grain structure, etc., and it makes, I think, a
somewhat elitist political statement that only venues capable of showing
35mm will now have access to that film.  I've been saying (here and there,
to whomever would let me blather about it) for a dozen years that, on top of
these aesthetic/political concerns, the preservation question of 35mm being
somehow more "archival" or likely to have increased longevity over 16mm was
almost certainly going to be totally false.  In terms of archival stability,
the stocks in 16 and 35 are the same in these purposes, and would have the
same chemical longevity, more or less.  And preserving in a gauge not the
film's own changes its essential nature, so that very aspect of its identity
(its gauge) is lost in the preservation.  Plus I've never followed the logic
that primarily commercial archiving entities make, that
bigger/sharper/faster/etc. is better, because it's clearly bullshit.  What's
better is preserving a film as unfussily in its original format as is
possible.  And as for 35 outlasting 16, we've seen where that's gone - only
a handful of devoted cinephiliac venues and museums can handle 35mm now, and
a lot of those handle 16mm too.  PLUS, any number of classrooms, galleries,
microcinemas, backyards, whatever, can and do show 16mm on any number of
projectors kicking around out there.  The 35mm projection knowledge base
(especially regarding maintenance) is supremely limited, whereas a ton more
folks have figured out how to run and even maintain, to some degree, the
16mm projectors they have.

Anyway, I'm ranting.  But bottom line, my feeling is to preserve 16mm as
16mm as long as it's possible!

Mark Toscano

On Tue, Mar 17, 2015 at 8:36 AM,  <direc...@lift.on.ca> wrote:
> Mark,
> Since we're on the subject, is there a reason you're going to 35mm rather
> than 16mm? Although 35mm is definitely more robust and beautiful (with a
> great soundtrack potential), my sense now is that a 16mm print might have
> longer life than a 35mm print.
> Now that so many places have taken out their 35mm projectors, its less of
> a presentation medium for many places. 16mm, on the other hand, is still
> very portable, so you can always bring the projector in if there's
> interest.
> My 35mm prints sit on the shelf. My 16mm prints occasionally get taken for
> a spin.
> Do you have a more positive take on the future of 35mm vs 16mm?
> thanks
> Chris
> _______________________________________________
> FrameWorks mailing list
> FrameWorks@jonasmekasfilms.com
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