A big part of the joy in doing The Sound We See is experiencing the ways the project evolves and adapts with each city and each group of participants.
The LA group was comprised of 37 students between the ages of 10 and 19, none of whom had shot 16mm film before. The Rotterdam gang was 17 students between the ages of 13 and 42, none of whom had shot 16mm film before.
The LA film was shot on b&w 16mm and all the footage was processed at a lab called Fotokem. The negative was cut by a very sweet lady named Chris Weber in Burbank. The Rotterdam film was also shot on b&w 16mm but this time Paolo and I hand processed the footage and cut the negative ourselves at the fabulous WORM.filmwerkplaats with the release print made at Cineco in Amsterdam, which sadly has subsequently gone out of business due to lack of business. Sigh.
Due to the fact that there’s virtually no analog film activity currently happening at a grassroots level in Hanoi, we knew we’d need to pack in most of the equipment and materials for the workshop and be totally DIY about our approach so it made sense to go Super 8 rather than 16mm this time around. We’ve got 12 students, all in their early ’20s, all super smart, all used to a collaborative working model thanks to Thi’s amazing tutelage at DocLab. But not only are they shooting Super 8 for the first time, they’re also going to be developing their own b&w reversal film stock (meaning each roll ends up as 3 minutes and 20 seconds of positive, projectable image) in the beautiful Lomo tank gifted to us by Super 8 goddess Dagie Brundert, and splicing it together into the final, 24-minute piece. Wow!
So today it’s time to get down to business: we mix chemicals and process two test rolls we shot during our first class. They turn out…. GREAT!!!! No matter how many times you hand process a roll of film, there’s still that feeling of complete wonderment when those images appear. We are off to a fabulous start.