Flicks

For years now, I have been idly online window shopping for a method to digitally scan cine film. I’ve seen many expensive solutions come and go and whistfully dreamt of supplementing my income through the conversion of people’s home cine and videos to edited masterpieces of memory.

This year I set my heart on making at least some of the fantasy real and, using good old Amazon next day delivery, forked out £350 for a shiny new toy. Ladies and germs, I give you the latest Gnomepants Cottage addition, the Winait DV-180N digital cine scanner.

Winait DV-180N

It doesnt look like much but believe me, it is little ten year old Stegzy Gnomepants’ dream come true. A marvel of modern engineering and the key to accessing forgotten family memories.

Now see, recently my dad, with whom I have been discussing the possibilty of doing such a project over several decades, relinquished control of a sample box of cine memories after I expressed my intention to finally purchase the Winait this year. I guess he is still too scared to release the family vault of memories incase he never sees them again or I damage them irrepairably and would rather keep them in a dusty old attic to perish unobserved. Which is understandable.

After some farting about and a bit of swearing, last night I got the Winait to begin its little purpose and began scanning the first sample of home cine.

The first being Laurel & Hardy’s 1927 silent classic, The Sugar Daddies, or at least a 3 minute extract from the film.

For those who are a bit daft and those that are too young to remember, Cine was a kind of proto-Youtube. See back in the olden days of 40 plus years ago, there was no Youtube and television was a piece of furniture which you would watch one of three channels as a family group.

Of course, this also meant that there was no video either. Yep, Blockbusters was but a name for a type of explosive dropped on communist Vietnam by the agents of capitalist imperialists, Netflix was something you did to get soot or flying ants out of net curtains and Red Box was something you kept the Christmas decorations in.

So for entertainment families bored of prescribed government propaganda such as Coronation Street, Hadleigh or the Onedin Line would send dad up to the loft to grab the cine projector so they could watch the family memories projected on a screen and replay the holiday in Portmadoc or Barry Island with the metronomic soundtrack of the clicking projector and occasional “What was their name again?” or “Remember that shirt mother?”

Bleak eh? Boomers and GenXers had it hard and slow.

As technology improved and video became more accessible, some enterprising boomers opted to video the projections and throw away the rushes of the prized cinefilm confident that video technology would never improve beyond the 4:3 aspect ratio and began to thin out the cine projections of little Uncle Jonnie’s 4th birthday party in the 1960s and crop out memories of Aunt Mavis because she was just standing out of shot of the video camera.

So scenes like this
Would become this

Poor old Aunt Mavis. Forgotten. See, bet you’d forgotten you had an Aunt Mavis….

So as you can see, video projection cine preservation is a bit pants. Filming a projection onto magnetic video tape is problematic as not only is the projection washed out and discoloured because of your nicotine yellow projection screen

The affects of filming onto a projection effected with nicotine

Moreover, video tape is MAGNETIC and magnetism fails over time and the encasing plastic cassette and tape deteriorates despite what the Scotch tape skeleton sings. Memories were lost, poorly preserved and worse.

I didn’t want my grandparent’s tours of post-war Yugoslavia and Europe lost forever and regularly looked into methods for preserving the Gnomepants historical record.

Anyway, spin forward to the future and it’s 20 years plus into the 21st century. We are zooming about in space cars, going to Butlins on Mars and nipping to the Moon for sack of cream cheese whilst GenZ are having school via video phone and the wife is wearing that skin tight plasticy vinyl all-in-one space suit thing and sporting purple hair and silver eye make up. Meanwhile I am sat in a rural Northamptonshire cottage doing this….

Scanny scanny scan scan

The Winait is scanning the cine film at 2 frames per second then, after a bit of a wait, you get the final film.

Isn’t it awesome!

Picture of the Day: Funicular, Lamport [2015]

Judging by the quantity of photos and films on the topic it seems that May is the traditional start of the Steam Rally season. I love going round steam rallys and looking at the old workhorses many fully restored and condemned to a life of display. 

Most of the time the motors are doing nothing but running but occasionally they power things. Like this funicular which I have seen in many steam rallys over the years, each one it looks a little more dog eared.

Picture of the Day: Fairground Organ, Hollowell, UK [2013]

Sometimes days go by where it appears that over previous years there are days where I havent taken any photos. Then you get to times where there are photos and videos because of annual events. Usually around this time of year is the Hollowell Steam and Heavy Horse Show so my photostreams seem full of my visits there

Picture of the Day: Bloxham Steam Fair 2014, Bloxham [2014]

Sometimes I like to turn my pictures into little videos. I’ve been doing this since about 2008 when I learned how to do it while doing a degree in Television Production. At least it makes me feel like it was worthwhile eh?

Anyway, here is a collection of photos taken today in 2014 at the Steam Fair in Bloxham. Although I go to a lot of steam fairs I do not own an anorak nor do I enjoy flasks of weak lemon drink.

Picture of the Day: Fairground Organ, Bloxham, UK [2018]

I love these things. Whenever I go to a steam fair or county show, I look out for them so I can film them. There will come a time when these things will fall silent for the last time and I fear generations to come might not care to preserve them as well as people today. 

Picture of the Day: On the Beach – 2014

Forty years ago, if someone had said your camera can take video pictures, you would have probably have asked how the cassette fitted into the back of the camera. Six years ago, it appears that I was exploring Norfolk and the sleepy town of Sherringham with my camera phone. Today’s picture is a video taken of the roughish North Sea at Sherringham.

The North Sea at Sherringham – April 2014

Sherringham itself is a quaint little place. Located on the north Norfolk coast about five miles outside of Cromer, it hails boutique shops, hipster cafes and high property values to match its upper-middle class pretentions. There are a few restaurants for evening pre-theatre holiday sustenance as well as a fish and chip shop for those wanting to rough it like the commoners. It also boasts some of the best crab outside of Cromer but then where in Norfolk doesn’t?

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