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A one of a kind 16mm reel of gorgeous Kodachrome from 1962 looks as good as it gets, and gives us a peek at an unedited reel of original camera footage from the production of an educational film about electricity back in the heyday of the genre. Enjoy!
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15 thoughts on “Making a science film 1962”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars King ForADay says:

    My school had an AV room where teachers would bring their class to watch a film. (LONG before VCR's) I was a "filmboy" whose job was to thread the film and then rewind/rethread for the next viewing. Kids were always trying to get me to "sabotage" the film or projector so they wouldnt have to watch it or make it last the entire class. Actually didnt have to as the film or projectors would often break on their own! Also many times the filmboy from the previous period would not rewind the film or would have the wrong one on the projector ready to go! It was always funny to hear all the moaning, groaning, and comments from the audience when something did break!

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Tucson Analog Workshop says:

    The reason we are saddled with so many of the horribly faded negative/positive prints in 16mm was the common practice of making internegatives of any 16mm film that would have had wide distribution. They shot and edited in reversal 95% of the time and made final prints via an interneg to cut costs, especially if they were making hundreds of copies or more. Though there were a few outliers that went the more costly reversal route for final prints and these prints are a treasure due to the excellent color stability

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Tucson Analog Workshop says:

    One other thing, and then I'll shut up–clearly this is a Kodachrome work print (not camera original) as I can see splices on many of the cuts, so some of this footage might very well have ended up in the final film

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Tucson Analog Workshop says:

    Hey Fran, 16mm production was mostly shot on Reversal stock up until the early 80s–and there was a whole ecosystem of both color and B/W reversal print stocks in different contrast grades for work prints/dailies depending on what kind of stock you originated on. The most popular camera stock was Ektachrome Commercial ("E.C.O." for short) which was a low speed, low contrast tungsten stock with an ASA of 25. Probably 95% of industrial films from the late 60s-80s were shot on that stuff. In 1962 they could very well be shooting some variation of Kodachrome, and there were even Kodachrome print stocks at that time. The reason negative was used for 35mm but not 16mm was partly due to a lower apparent grain level in reversal film (a critical characteristic for the small formats) and partly due to the amateur origins of 16mm as a home movie format in the 1930s. Many of us filmmakers still lament the loss of this whole reversal ecosystem and the consequent switch to color negative. The great thing about reversal, besides the amazing color, is one could choose to omit the work print altogether and edit the original

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars oldtvnut says:

    I think you are misinterpreting what these shots were. I think they are test shots, intended from the beginning not to be used in the final film. Note the expressions on the young actors as they try repeatedly to make the demonstrations work. Also, note that the clapboards are never clapped, but apparently only used as slates. So, I think these were the trial runs to determine how the demos could be done smoothly, and that the lighting and camera angle showed the result clearly, etc. Whether the final shoot was done on Kodachrome, we don't know for sure. These trials could have been on Kodachrome just to skip the extra step of producing positives from negatives at this point. but then again the actual shoot could have used Kodachrome followed by production of an internegative.

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Combless Man says:

    I remember Ace combs, … sigh.

    BTW, A.Goodell is a nom de plume for Stanley Kubrick. One can see where he got the idea of the spinning ship from the spinning tubes.

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars eDoc2020 says:

    The film is nice and all, but I want that TV in the corner of the room! A nice old console TV, with, as Dave Jones would say, none of that "colour" or UHF rubbish.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars peteb2 says:

    Damn cool Fran to see the set pieces! My home as a young kid looked exactly, clear as anything in my memory! We especially had the orange coloured foot-stool pouf 'thing'….Neat to see one all clean & new compared to the odd one the last decades i noted looking decidedly worn out & stuffed at yard sales for a buck…

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars RS Gabrys says:

    —————- wondered once or twice if Kodak's marketing department ever sent PaulSimon a Christmas card…. no question quality film especially large format still reins supreme over digital

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars roy Yung says:

    As someone who has been working with broadcast video tape since 1960 It bother me when people refer to video recordings as footage. That term is never used in video production. They are called segments or takes. Footage cant be applied to video tape as we never had to worry about how much tape was left on a reel like film people had to.
    I now restore 2" quad broadcast video tape machines which were once the broadcast standard. More specifically the AMPEX line

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars eima isack says:

    "making a video" with digital has become so easy that few of us remember what was "shooting a film" just a ja bunch of decades ago. So much easier and popular. But if you lack "ideas" technology is nothing.

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Geoffrey Waldo says:

    In school 5th grade I was given the job of projectionist by our teacher, (who suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis). Loved those old films. Learned a lot.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars nathan moak says:

    hey fran, thanks for 1962! i would be the same age as the kids in the film. that was a truly scary year with the cuban missle crises. the teachers actually let us bring a transistor radio to school so we could listen to hear if the world was going to end! spoiler alert-it didn't, it just got worse with the president's assassination the next year. been downhill since then. by the way, oswald was never tried or convicted in spite of what the history books say. 1962–innocence denied.

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars sclogse1 says:

    The other story is how these young people were found. Were they kids of people in the entertainment business or kids of people in science, or just part of the flotsam of people who came to New York and L.A. for film work, or rejected Mouseketeers?

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars alpcns says:

    A testament to the longevity, sharpness, color accuracy and lovely saturation of Kodachrome. Will 60 years from now any digital medium be preserved as well? Maybe the formats are by then long forgotten. These are really interesting time capsules. Thanks for sharing, Fran!

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