Blade Runner Replicant Eyes

November 3, 2020

Recreating Blade Runner Replicant Eyes with my wife Becky

I’ve wanted to recreate Blade Runner replicant eyes for a few years and have finally got around to it. I half-heartedly tried a couple of times in the past, buying the wrong things and setting up wrong. It turns out it was easier than I was thinking and I had the necessary materials lying around.

Although the original inspiration is a movie, my aim was to shoot photographs on film.

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Koh Samui, back in 2016

October 12, 2019

When we lived in Sydney I bought 3 Canon EOS film cameras for about £25. I still use the EOS 50E, I gave one to a photography assistant there and the last one I gave Becky to use. I gave her a roll of cheap film and a lend of ones of my lenses (probably the nifty fifty) and she shot a roll when we met up with my parents in Koh Samui, Thailand.

Grenery near our accommodation

We both forgot all about it when we got back – and seeing as she hadn’t used the camera since – the roll was left in the camera, undeveloped. I finally found it when I was looking at the camera when going through equipment for a shoot.

My dad and me, fishing at Top Cat's

With my home darkroom, it’s so easy to chuck an extra roll in with the rest and here are some of the results. I developed, scanned and coloured these, but Becky took them!

We visited Bangkok for a few days and then spent the majority of our time on Koh Samui. Thailand was a weird trip and I’m not in any rush to go back, but have some fond memories and glad I got to visit when we were living not too far away.

Me napping :)

I took some photographs when we were there too, I posted one a while back.

Using Cheap eBay Video Capture USB on MacOS

September 30, 2019

I’ve been wanting to find a cheap, easy and fast way to capture (digitise) footage from my VHS and Hi-8 cameras into MacOS, so I could use them on projects. I found this generic video USB adapter that cost £7 and I’m actually pretty happy with it so far. Maybe there are more reliable or better quality options, but – for the price – this does exactly what I want.

Generic UVC USB Adapter plugged into my laptop for Video Capture USB on MacOS
Video Capture USB on MacOS

At first I spent some time looking for drivers and software (it’s bundled with a CD but I don’t have a disc drive) but eventually found out that it’s plug and play and works fine – I just needed to know how to capture.

Quick Guide to Video Capture USB on MacOS

Turns out you can use Quicktime Player (other software will work too). If you open up QP and then hit Cancel (you don’t want to open other media just now). Then hit File > New Movie Recording.

Screenshot of Quicktime Player Settings for Video Capture USB on MacOS

After that, hit the down-arrow beside the record button and make sure to select USB 2.0 PC CAMERA and USB 2.0 MIC. On my first try I missed the audio and it recorded through my Macbook Pro mic. I spent a while fixing it in Final Cut before realising my error.

Once that’s done, hit the red record button (then play on your camera to capture something pre-recorded. Or go to record mode in your camera to film something live).

Finally, when you’re done recording, hit stop and make sure to save the video.

There’s lots of these available online – on eBay, Amazon, Alibaba and so on. Maybe others work differently, but I read that a lot of them use the same video capture chip.

Come to think of it, I’ve started adding videos to my portfolio and have a video section on my website now, where you can watch some things and also my YouTube channel for older videos, some from when I was at film school.

I’m looking forward to more video making soon and will leave you with the first test I shot. The blue screen is a camera issue that I fixed after this shot but errors and issues are things I love to embrace and work with:

How to fire a Pentax 67ii without film in the camera

July 1, 2019

Let’s get straight to it, here’s how to fire (release the shutter) on a Pentax 67ii without film, also known as dry-firing:

  1. Open the back cover of the camera, shut it, then cock the shutter advance twice*. The camera should now dry fire.
  2. If you want to fire the shutter with the back door open, hold down the multi-exposure lever while cocking the shutter once.

*If you try to advance further it should maybe go 1 ‘click’ forward then lock in place. This is a good indication it’s ready to fire.

Pentax 67ii with back open and instax pack where I needed to fire without film

I’ve wanted to do fire the 67ii without film in the past, learned how – and then forgotten the procedure – so I thought it might be good to document it here.

My reason for dry firing the Pentax 67ii recently is actually not ‘dry-firing’, I’ve been loading Instax as I mentioned in my last post.

So I hope this helps any Pentax 67ii users who want to fire their camera without any film. It’s useful for testing the shutter is working and the aperture and other things.

Also: a reminder to treat the winder with care, I spent £320 getting mine repaired recently.

Feel free to leave comments or questions below and I’ll be happy to help out.


And now some life updates…

I had a great time in Belfast for Becky’s cousin’s wedding but I didn’t really take pictures. I stayed up late on the converted school we stayed in, looking at the stars. In the pitch dark, silent, middle-of-nowhere and listened to lots of Radiohead in preparation for Anima.

If you’ve not yet watched it, I’d recommend the PT Anderson-directed ANIMA on Netflix.

Becky and I went to Clissold Park to drink gin and soak up the sun at the weekend. Hopefully we’ll get to do that more this summer and have a BBQ with some of the fab veg from the local shop, like we did last year.

We’re off to Edinburgh this weekend for another wedding – our loves Adrienne and Eoin – hopefully I’ll take some pictures this time!

Shooting Instant Film on Medium Format

June 5, 2019

Disassembled Polaroid Sun 635 QS

Background

Since the demise and rebirth of Polaroid, one thing that has become increasingly difficult is the ability to test medium format film shots instantly on shoot. I’ve begun thinking about experimenting with shooting instant film on medium format cameras.

Lots of medium format cameras had Polaroid backs allowing you to swap from colour negative film to polaroid/instant, to show the client etc. the shot instantly.

The majority of these used peel-apart style film (Type 100). This is what I used when I first had a medium format camera with a Polaroid back. Not long after, the Polaroid version of this film was discontinued but fortunately Fuji were making their own version, the FP-100C. However, this was also discontinued a few years back and the second-hand supply is running low (and expensive) on eBay and elsewhere.

The solution for many photographers (other than having stocked up or paying through the nose for FP-100C now) is to use a tethered digital camera to test the shot, something I’ve done often.

However, I prefer the instant film solution as I am more fond of practical and tactile workflows. I think the digital often doesn’t do film results justice (in some situations it does, don’t get me wrong). And I also prefer to have something I can stick into my ongoing scrapbooks.

First stage of research into shooting medium format instant was disassembling this Polaroid Sun 635 QS
Polaroid Sun 635 QS innards

Plans

With all that said, I’ve been toying with ideas and researching interesting camera engineers and hobbyists, looking for practical solutions. I’m still a complete amateur and this is purely for my own interest and enjoyment, but I plan to record the results and post them up here as I make progress.

I hope to make solutions for shooting instant film on medium format cafor my Pentax cameras and possibly some more original instant contraptions – likely utilising Instax due to its low price and ubiquity.

Shooting medium format instant film will involve rollers like in this Instax patent diagram

Resources

Here are some interesting links and projects I’ve come across on the subject:

I’d love to hear from anyone experimenting themselves, or if you know of any similar articles etc.!