George Eastman Museum makes 35mm motion picture film from scratch

Drawing on techniques used in early motion picture film production, George Eastman Museum conservationists have fabricated black and white 35mm motion picture film outside of a commercial manufacturing environment. Although these techniques and emulsion formulas are widely known and used to make historic still film material, Process Historian Mark Osterman and Historic Process Specialist Nick Brandreth successfully applied the emulsion to a flexible strip of polyester film base to create a film stock similar to that used in early cinema formerly produced, amongst others, by Eastman Kodak Company.  The film strip was then perforated, slit and run through a camera. Both the newly produced film and the filming method for this premier shoot use techniques from early motion capture and the exposed result was incredibly similar to the look of early silent films.

This whole endeavour was trialled publically during a workshop led by Osterman and Brandreth as part of the recent annual Nitrate Picture Show in May but George Eastman Museum aren’t in the market to mass produce this film. Instead, they place importance on understanding processes and technologies of historic cinema which in turn helps to guarantee the survival of film in the future. As well as housing over 40,000 still and 28,000 moving images of archival material, education is a key focus of the George Eastman Museum, with masters programmes at the University of Rochester, a commitment to publishing and workshops in all of the 19th Century photographic processes. The next 35mm motion picture film making workshop in June is sold out, but more are planned for 2017.

Read more about George Eastman Museum’s achievement in their press release

Image from eastman.org