February 27, 2007

The 66" negative

AutoWeek has the interesting story of how photographer Rick Graves uses a modified, motorized camera back which feeds a continuous roll of film past the shutter while it’s open, creating a very wide negative (like this one; scroll it to the right):

"Each image Graves makes is from one exposure on an entire roll of film, not a composite of several different images.

"’A number of people have tried to build this type of camera,’ Graves said, likening it to the finish-line cameras used at horse races. ‘But the difference with my camera is that I have 66 inches of movement [of the film] in one second. The film is moving relative to the moving subject. I developed this camera as a better way to capture motion.’

"The secret to the system is not the camera itself—a standard 500 Series Hasselblad—but in the film back, which contains a small motor and various electronics adapted from the robotics industry. This setup gives Graves control of how fast the film moves when he opens the shutter. If he gets it right, the film is moving at the same speed as the cars, allowing for a photo with dozens of speeding cars, all razor sharp."

NASCAR sells prints that are 4 inches tall by 8 feet long.  Check out many more examples (not all automotive) in the DistaVision portfolio. One slight bummer is that because of the ubiquity of Photoshop-edited composites in the world, a lot of viewers may think these works are simply digital collages. [Via Joe Ault]

On a related note, I happened across an article on slit-scan photography that features a rather trippy photo produced using related methods. [Via]

Posted by John Nack at 2:16 PM on February 27, 2007

Comments

  • Charles — 3:27 PM on February 27, 2007

    This isn’t a new technique, this type of panoramic cameras was invented over over 150 years ago. I notice that Graves’ camera exhibits the most distinctive problem of this method: vertical streaks caused by speed irregularities in the motors pulling the film.

  • Stan Rowin — 6:29 PM on February 27, 2007

    How about a portrait taken with a slit-scan camera?
    The subject (me) was on a turntable as the film was pulled through the camera at the same speed (most of the time) as the turntable. You can see me at:
    http://stanstudio.com/slit.htm
    [Gah--that's pretty offbeat, Stan. Reminds me of this terrible image of me, and this one of Russell Brown. Along somewhat similar lines, check out Danny Rozin's Time Scan Mirror. --J.]

  • Steve Chapman — 10:58 PM on February 27, 2007

    reminds me of:
    Seitz Roundshot camera
    [Rad. --J.]

  • nick — 12:53 PM on February 28, 2007

    just when you think film was dead, i might have use for my hasselblad afterall(without having to wait for the digital back to come down in price, like that will ever happen)…

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