Wednesday, March 29, 2017

More Videos and Type-In Prep

Downtown Java Joe's
It's been a busy several weeks, though that is not in itself adequate justification for ignoring this blog for nearly two weeks. There's a certain amount of irony in the observation that a recent video was about the power of blogging; a power which I've apparently ignored.

This week I've produced four videos for my YouTube channel, three of them about photography. The first two were about the Stearman Press SP-445 sheet film developing tank, a new product which promises sheet film processing in daylight, using a changing bag. In many ways it offers a similar result to a rotary tank, with the added benefit of not requiring constant agitation, as is the case with rotary processing, and thus permits stand development methods to be employed. I found my test results using the SP-445 to be satisfactory in terms of uniformity of development, but did note a bit of emulsion scratching along the very edge of the film, due to the way the thin, ABS plastic holders clamp the film. I didn't think this was a "deal-breaker," however.

I did experience one negative detach from the holder sometime during either the five minute fix (using continuous agitation) or the initial rinse cycle. But the image results were fine. My biggest concern with this system, aside from a few dribbles of liquid leaking from the o-ring sealed lid during inversions, is the seeming flimsiness of the internal plastic baffles and film holders. Longevity will only be proven over time, I suppose.

I produced another video, at the prompting of a viewer who liked the camera I'd been using for the film development tests, presented as a 75 year-old camera review of the Graflex Anniversary Speed Graphic, which has been my primary workhorse for large format and experimentation with adapted lenses; since it has a functional curtain shutter, any lens that projects a usable image can be employed, even if it lacks its own shutter. I've over the years employed several decidedly unphotographic devices as lenses, such as the front objective to a 7x50 binocular, a plastic, credit card-sized fresnel magnifier, a Xerox machine lens and a brass pinhole. Certainly newer field cameras are lighter in weight, but they don't offer the flexibility of a functional curtain shutter, along with a wire frame viewfinder to augment the ground glass view screen. This camera I had purchased from a local camera store years ago, and it's been worth every penny to me in return.

It's been several weeks since I made a typewriter-themed video, and as I was looking through my video production notebook I found a post-it note I'd made to myself about a potential video idea, that being making a log book for one's typewriter collection. The idea is to have a separate section for each machine, with detailed data on date of acquisition, serial number, age, past service, present mechanical issues, date of last ribbon replacement and one's own personal observations about the machine. It might also be of value to include a log of how each machine is getting used, in the form of a list of entries documenting the date of use and for what purpose - letter writing, blog article, short story, etc.

The video itself ended up morphing into more of a Confessions of an Office Supply Junky theme, as I delved into using the Staples Arc system (compatible to Levenger's Circa) of disc-binders for making customizable notebooks. Since making that video I've decided to also update my ad hoc video production journal with the Arc binding system. So now there are a plethora of little colored paper chads dotting the floor in my office, as the cheap little Arc hole punch likes to spew chads intermittently.

My wife and I spent several hours of the last three days spreading posters and fliers around town for the upcoming ABQ Type-In, scheduled for April 23 at 1 PM at Nexus Brewery. One downtown coffee shop we wandered into resulted in us meeting a poet who writes via typewriter, whom we invited to the event. You just don't know which venues will lead you to meeting creative people who employ typewriters in their work; one reason why I wanted to visit as many coffee shops as I could, since creative types and caffeine seem to go together.

At a downtown bookstore we talked to the proprietor about the Type-In, who in turn suggested we contact a local poetry collective, many of whose members might also be interested. All of a sudden I'm getting this feeling that our venue might be too small; a good problem to have, I suppose, but I can remember just a few weeks ago when it seemed like I was worried about nobody showing up.

I've contacted a local alternative newspaper about getting a notice for the event in their paper, and I'll also be contacting more local media in the next few weeks.

I'm also amassing a small stack of letters and postcards from new pen pals. This is another good problem to have, since I haven't been in regular correspondence with out-of-town folk in many years. Time to get that fountain pen filled and the Facit 1620 typewriter's type slugs cleaned and readied for use.

I've also been working on making my small video studio more efficient. It's funny with television production, you can't tell from the perspective of the viewer what a studio looks like off-camera. My local PBS station, for example, has a dumpy, cluttered studio, having visited on numerous occasions; but you can't tell from watching on TV.

My own production studio is in a corner of my bedroom-based office, where I employ some dark blue curtains in front of the closet doors, and some LED lighting in metal hardware store reflectors, clamped to wherever I can manage. I had been using a folding wooden tray table as my presentation table, but that's proven a bit too small, and also I've been needing to change the height of the table relative to my seating position, in the case of presenting some object on the table where I still want my face to be in the frame.

My solution was to employ an old Bruneau's Pneumatic Tripod, that I've had for decades, with the large metal mounting plate attached to a sheet of wood, atop of which I can set my new carpet-covered plywood tabletop, now wide enough to cover the camera's 16:9 field of view and able to move up or down with the tripod's pneumatic elevation system. I also attached two hardware clamps to the back corners adjacent to the camera, upon which I can now clamp my lights. And best of all, the whole shebang disassembles and stores away, for when I'm at work and don't wish for the office to appear quite so cluttered. Perhaps a future video will be a show-and-tell of my new video digs. Until then, have a great week!

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Blogger pdlagasse said...

Joe, I enjoyed your video on the typewriter logbook and just for fun I created a template for the log headings 2x on landscape letter-size paper. Let me know where I can send you the PDF if you'd like a copy (

I created it in OmniGraffle. If you have a Mac and that app, I can send you the Graffle file and you can tweak it to suit.


10:14 AM  
Blogger Richard P said...

This type-in may be epic ...

8:20 AM  

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