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MANUALLY OPERATED

by
in Filmmaking
on Apr 14, 2006

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Over at his blog, Self Reliant Filmmaking, Paul Harrill interviews one of our “25 New Faces of Independent Film,” Jake Mahaffy, who who discusses the artisanal techniques he brought to the production of his film, War:

I shot most of it on a 16mm Bolex camera, which doesn’t have a battery, by disengaging the motor and winding the rewind key forward. So, I manually pulled the film through the camera, like silent film-operators used to do. That’s not a clever attempt at art. It was a practical necessity. With the Bolex, a spring-wound camera, you only get 20-second shots… many of the shots run 30-seconds to a minute.
I recorded the sound separately with a hand-held microphone and a field deck. So, I could concentrate on picture and sound separately and give full attention to each element for its own sake.

Then editing in Final Cut, I’d piece things back together- footsteps, doors…. I basically made a silent picture-film and a radio-play, composing each for its own sake, then tied them together at certain points, weaving the sound in and out of sync with the image.

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