Lomokino digital workflow

I like Lomography, follow them on Facebook, and enjoy seeing what their community is making.  I love what the movement stands for and think that, even if one doesn’t necessarily like the whole aesthetic, it’s done a lot to keep film photography going.  I can’t say that I’ve been impressed with a lot of their cameras, except the Lomokino.  It’s a concept I’d never have thought of, and I’m not sure anyone else had either; it’s a pretty unique idea and brings filmmaking to a much lower budget, though admittedly it’s at a Lomography level of quality.  I still find it to be their most intriguing camera.  When I originally wrote this I feared the camera had been discontinued but it looks like they’re back in stock now.  One would hope that if the camera is eventually discontinued it is because they have a new and improved version; it has its quirks and there are few features I wish it had:
-a more robust winding mechanism
-an M42 lens mount coupled with a focusing screen

Last fall I bought a Lomokino to finish up a super 8 project I started during my Experimental Cinema class Spring 2017.  Shot two rolls of Tri-X over Thanksgiving 2017 but then just sat on the footage for almost a year.  The super 8 footage has been cropped to 1.66:1 so to keep the proper aspect ratio for the Lomokino 2.66:1 footage I had to get some pretty large scans.  I opted to send the film to North Coast Photo Services in California (if you’ve browsed Ken Rockwell’s site you’re probably familiar with them; I’ll admit that it’s where I heard of them) because of their 5035×3390 scans.  It turns out that they’d never had anyone send them Lomokino footage before and had a pretty tough time with it.  I got 4 frames per scan (which I expected, the Lomokino is 2-perf and regular 35mm cameras are 8-perf) and the top frame of each picture was slightly cut off so it wasn’t ideal, but better than scanning it myself I think.  I also asked for flat scans but it seems that they either can’t do those or forgot; oh well (though they did email me the scans right away for approval, at no extra cost, so I have to give that to them).  Total cost with shipping there and back: ~$60.  Then all the frames have to be cut out and stitched together digitally.

The best way I found was to not crop the individual frames out, just take the scans and turn them vertically and import them into Final Cut (thankfully my school has Final Cut Pro X on all the Macs on campus).  Drag each picture into the timeline and make them 5 frames long (a length I had to decide beforehand), then duplicate them 3 times.  Then, working in a custom 3390×1234 framed project, I cropped each frame one by one working down each picture.  It took about an hour and a half per roll and the footage is a bit jumpy, but it worked.  Labor intensive, yes, but how was I to know that only a couple weeks later the Film Photography Project would announce their scanning service for Lomokino films?

I already mentioned they’re scanning super 8 (and 16mm and 35mm as well).  There really are no cheap (and acceptable quality) routes for scanning movie film so it’s usually a question of whom you send your film to, for developing and also scanning.  Get the film developed by your local lab (or develop yourself), send it to FPP for $20 per roll of film (and they even mention volume discounts for super 8), with no headache of having to deal with cropped images, jumping frames, and it’s not going to cost much more either.  Something tells me this is going to be a pretty damn popular service; I certainly will be using FPP the next time I shoot the Lomokino, and probably for super 8 as well!

I emailed Michael Raso who is the grand poobah over there, here’s the info he gave me:
-they have a Lasergraphics Scanstation
-no LOG (flat) scans, but it is HDR so you’re not losing any information.
-the price for a roll of Lomokino 135 film or 50ft roll of super 8 film is a flat $20, whether you scan in HD, 2K, or 4K.
-options for cropped scan or overscan
-volume discounts are based on how much film you’re sending in (6+ rolls), email Michael@FilmPhotographyProject.com

Photographs courtesy of Michael Raso at the Film Photography Project.


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