Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Big Wind Up

Bell & Howell Dial 35 I'm a little tightly wound right now. Our parish is gearing up for their annual festival/carnival/fete/what-have-you and my home is overtaken with decorations for it. School is drawing to a close, and my young'uns are getting progressively more animated and anxious, especially as that means that the vacation is now only a month away. Everyone's quite busy at work, heading for our twice-a-year project deadlines. Everything is my life is in motion now, like an armload of ping-pong balls tossed down a stairwell.

I know I've been talking about it for a while here, but I'm also finally getting back into film, slowing acquiring the necessary bits to hang on to this particular bit of outdated knowledge. And of course the camera-acquisitions have been going on unabated, though like my typewriter bender of last year, I think I'm just about sated, having more toys than time right now. I say this now, still basking in the post wind-up excitement of a long-awaited delivery, pictured above. You can look up the particulars yourself but the short version is: it's another half-frame, squeezing two photos into the space of a typical 35mm negative, and for the true retro-geek, it's got a clockwork film advance. About as useful as the "Power Space" key on a certain typewriter line (and twice as noisy) but really... could I resist it? On the bottom of the winding knob/handle is the legend "Wind Up." Very Alice in Wonderland. I've wanted to find out about this camera since about 1992, when I first saw it in use on a repeat of The Prisoner (see Many Happy Returns, at the 9:00 mark.) I've already confessed my love of all things Cold War-spy-era, and the camera lust goes back well before that. Luckily for me the Intertubes finally caught up with my random obsessions. Curse you, system of networked computers that makes every impulsive wish come true!

And speaking of impulsiveness, I have 2/3 of the ingredients for Caffenol, thanks to the coffee and pool supply sections of Safeway (sodium carbonate = "pH Up" for those of you playing along at home in swimming pool-friendly areas.) I'm in for a penny now, so I'll be ordering some fixer and film, and yes, probably some real developer as well from that selfsame place that got me into this mess in the first place and maybe the only place that will survice the Econolypse: the accursed/beloved 'Net. While I'm agressively refreshing that "shipment status" page I can get myself all worked up about The Prisoner remake that's in post-production now.

Wind Up


Olivander said...

Thats funky!

I don't know about that "Prisoner" remake/revisit/whatever. I personally think that attempting to remake it is like trying to capture lightning in a bottle. It will either try too hard to be just like the original, and miss the mark, or will miss the point entirely and turn it into a conventional "good guy vs bad guy" story.

The only "Prisoner" redux I'd like to see would be based on the comic book miniseries.

Or perhaps this one.

Be seeing you.

Elizabeth H. said...

Whoa...they're remaking The Prisoner? Why didn't anyone tell me?

Wonder if the original music will be in there...and if the Rover will be as unexplained and giant-bubblegum-bubble like as it was in the show.

One can hope....

I am not a number! I am a free man!!

Strikethru said...

I know nothing about cameras, but I like that thing anyway.

More toys than time, AMEN.

Mike Speegle said...

Rover terrified me as a child, especially the sound he/it made when he/it was chasing some soon-to-be-suffocated escapee down.

Great, now I am going to have nightmares.

Mike Speegle said...

In other news, my God, is that camera beautiful

Duffy Moon said...

I'm expecting a full report on caffenol. I still haven't given my homemade pinhole camera a shot (I mean the box camera one, not the converted 35mm one, which I've used to some limited success several times) and it would be awesome to be able to develop the enlarging-paper exposures in a home-brewed bath.

mpclemens said...

Re: the remake.

I agree that it will likely suck, but at least they seem to be trying to keep with the spirit of the original, and supposedly it had Patrick McGoohan's blessing (before he went and left us for a great Welsh village in the sky.) He was so notoriously prickly that my inner fanboy just wants it not to suck. It remains to be seen... but I'm still excited. And I have hopes that the production team was informed by the success of the Dr. Who remake, which is great fun, even if the aliens aren't wearing obviously cheap rubber suits.

Besides, it's got both Jesus and Gandalf in it... how bad can it be? (Famous last words.) It would be a crime if Grainer's theme music doesn't make it in there somewhere. Actually, it will be a crime if it's not exactly like the original, even the "goofy" episodes.

Re: caffenol. Like film developer, this stuff can supposedly also be used for paper -- it's the same chemistry, after all. I still need to pick up some vitamin C which supposedly helps clear some of the fog from the film, and I'll need commercial fixer to stabilize the image. Those are the next purchases.

Caffenol sounds perfect for pinhole photography. You can see from the Caffenol flickr group that the results are kind of grainy and dreamy-looking. If you process paper in it, I would expect some of the tannins(?) from the coffee to soak into the fibers and present an interesting stain. You'll still need a fixer, though.

Ted said...

... and of course you have a Dial 35. I've been hoping one will show up in the thrifts. Don't wanna drop a Ulysses on one on Ebay. :P