Monday, 10 September 2012 Lab Bolex 16mm Workshop

After my recent venture into the world of film making, I've been invited to some pretty cool things.

I attended one event on saturday,
Thanks to YAM (Youth animation & Media).

A small group workshop on Bolex cameras at lab

We spent the day learning how to use these fabulous mechanical pieces of equipment.
Also how to take light readings with nice old light meters, and we even got to shoot, develop and screen a 2 1/2 minute film using the old equipment. 

Here are a selection of images from throughout the day.

The workshop started at 10.30am

Figure 01. The Bolex my group used for the day

Figure 02. The location... Shhh it's top secret
or you can click on the link above for the address :)

Figure 03. Bolex's, film boxes and lenses

We were shown all the little gadgets and nobly bits on the camera and every detail was explained about the use of each one over the course of around 2 hours.

Followed by a working lunch with each group to come up with an idea for the film.

After lunch we were given an hour and a half to film what we needed and be ready for development by 3pm.

Figure 04. I'm in this film - roasting 5000W lamp

Figure 05. Clapper boards are great

Figure 06. My first sighting of 8mm film

Figure 07. Another group while filming

Figure 08. Our team name - 100ft of lightening
 (100ft roll of film)

Figure 09. Developing the films

Here in the development room, we developed our own films with help from James, the workshop leader. All parts of the process were timed. Very similar to photography film development.

Figure 10. Developing the films

Figure 11. Waiting for our films to dry

Figure 12. James demonstrating how to splice films together

After all films were dry, we rolled them back onto spools and were shown how to splice them all together into one film ready for projecting.

Figure 13. First sightings of our films

Figure 14. The screening

Figure 15. Im in this one

I even got to see something I've always wanted to see - when something goes snap in the projector and the projections turns into burning bubbles with smoke coming out of the projector.

It felt like a true all round film experience :)

Our film is called 'The Editor' and the group we happened to be put in consisted of 3 people that had been on the DIY Thriller course, so they all knew how I looked after days of sleepless editing. This story seemed to be inspired by me so I played a bit of a maddening editor with the lovely visual quality of B&W old films.

I don't yet have a copy of these films but once I get hold of them they'll be on here like a shot. 
Overall, this was a great experience, I'd recommend these workshops to anyone interested in all aspects of film making.


  1. Who would have thought, even 2 years ago, that you would have this mass array of experience & opportunities fall at your feet. Well done Natz, keep it going :-)
    Mum x

  2. Hi Nat,

    Weird thing. I'm actually VERY VERY interested in buying at Bolex in the near future, specifically the HI6 Reflex model. Pricier, but a bit more functionality and durability. I just need to muster the courage to go through with it! I understand Ebay is probably my best bet, but if you have just been privvy to some insider information about somewhere more personal to buy them please let me know. Also, what's the process like of of processing the film without a proper studio? Are there a lot places which can do it? I have a projector (in Canada at the moment!) so that's fine, but I want to get the film onto a digital format so I edit easily.

    Sorry - long post, but your forays into film-making are fascinating I'm probably going to have to steal you at some point to plunder your new found knowledge. Let me know when other things of this sort are occurring.

    1. Really?? You're getting one?? I'M THERE! :D
      I've emailed James, the guy that ran the workshop, for some advice and I'll let you know what he says.
      As for developing, I understand there are a few places in london that still have a development service, so that should be accessible, I'm not sure about cost though. Getting it onto a digital format is doable, but we ran out of time before that could be explained. Is the projector film or digital? Anyway, I'll keep watching for a reply and keep you posted. It's great that you're thinking of getting a Bolex.... I hadn't used one until the other day and it had this weird feeling like holding history and greatness in your hands....