Recording Images To 35mm Film

Images can be recorded to 35mm print or slide film using the AGFA Film Recorder located in Room MS617.


Film Type

For making slides, we recommend you use Agfachrome or Polachrome 100 ASA professional slide film. Extachrome Elite is not recommended since it tends to make slides reddish (blue becomes purple).

Recent experience has shown that both Agfa and Fujicolor film work well for prints, but Fujicolor tends to be slightly better. Also, for prints, images are shot with a double exposure. This is set with the film recorder menu (see Using the Film Recorder Menu for details). Select the SET REPEAT VALUE menu. For each of red, green, and blue, hit SELECT and use the NEXT button to set the number to 1. IMPORTANT: when you have finished, reset the repeat values to 0 - this is the assumed default value! Note that this information assumes that custom prints will be made, matched to slides of the same images. It should still be valid even if you are using autmatic development (ie: at your local photo shop).

Proper Image Format

The Conductor software which runs the film recorder will only accept files in an uncompressed TIFF format. For image file conversion information on UNIX systems, see Converting Between Image File Formats. Note that the Conductor program seems to have some trouble with RLE files converted to TIFF using the imconv program. If you want to use imconv, first convert to SGI RGB format and then to TIFF.

No information is currently available for image file conversion on the Macintosh. Most Mac programs that can save image file will provide the option to save as TIFF.

Best Image Sizes

The AFGA Film Recorder can record images in two sizes: 4096x2730 and 2048x1365 (widthxheight). Since these sizes result in extremely large TIFF files, smaller dimensions for images can be used and the Film Recorder will automatically scale the images up. For maximum slide/print coverage, retain the 3:2 size ratio. Some good images sizes are 1024x683 and 512x341.

MacBinary File Format

The TIFF files must have the proper MacBinary header on it once it has been transferred to the Mac. This can be done in a couple of ways.

The easiest method is to use the Fetch Macintosh program. For further instructions, see the next section.

A second option is to use a program called mcvert. This program is not currently installed on the system, but may be in the future.

A third option is to add the header after the files are on the Macintosh. This can be done by getting info on each file using ResEdit and changing the file type to TIFF.

A final option is to use the macsend program on the Suns. This program is not documented here.

Transferring Files to the Mac

If the TIFF files are not already so, they must be transferred to the Macintosh. There are a couple of options for this process.

The first is to use the Fetch program. Open a connection to a UNIX machine and locate the directory with the TIFF files. Select all the files. If the files all have the extension .tiff or .tif, and the Automatic button is set, when the image files are transferred (by hitting the Get button) a MacBinary header will be added with the TIFF file type and the MTRX file creator.

The second option is to use the NCSA Telnet program on the Mac to open a telnet session on a UNIX machine and use the regular ftp command to send the files over. All files should be transferred in binary mode. Remember to use the <clover-leaf>-D option to set the directory in which to store new files and <clover-leaf>-F to start the ftp session. If the files already have the MacBinary header on them, also make sure MacBinary mode is turned on (from the File menu).

There is an external hard drive attached to this Macintosh specifically for the purpose of temporarily storing files for recording. It is therefore named Slash Temp; a named derived from a directory on UNIX machines which serves a similar purpose. If there are any files on this disk that are more than a couple of days old, you are free to delete them without permission. If they are less than a couple of days old, please check with the owner before deleting them. If the owner is unavailable, you are allowed to delete them since it is assumed that people will shoot their images immediately after having transferred them to the Mac. Remember: you are only allowed to delete other's files that are on the Slash Temp disk, and your files may be deleted by another if you leave them on the disk too long.

Using the Film Recorder Menu

The film recorder is turned on by hitting the switch on the lower right-hand corner of the back (as viewed from in front). The recorder menu is turned on and off by hitting the MENU button The different menus can be selected by hitting the PREVIOUS and NEXT buttons. Pressing SELECT on a menu will allow you to select a menu option. The options can be scrolled with the PREVIOUS and NEXT buttons, and selected with the SELECT button.

Loading the Film

When the recorder display reports READY, open the camera with the slider on the left edge. Place the film in the camera and pull the end of the film until it lines up with the red mark. Close the camera.

From the film recorder menu, select LOAD FILM. You should hear the film advance three times. If you hear only one, that indicates the film didn't catch on the sprockets and the film should be removed and re-loaded.

Note that the latch to secure the door on the camera is broken. Use an elastic band and place a couple of heavy books on the camera, this seems to eliminate stray light.

You may wish to select a film type using the recorder menu to match the film you are using.

Shooting the Film

The film recorder should report READY at this point. If it doesn't, make sure you the menu is turned off. Start the Conductor program on the Macintosh. Ensure that the device type (from Devices... option in the File menu) is set to PCR II. Select New Queue... from the Queue menu. Add your files to the queue using the file and folder add buttons. When the desired number of images are in the queue, select Shoot Queue... from the Queue menu. It is a good idea to set your film type in the succeeding dialog box.

Unloading the Film

When all the images have been shot, select UNLOAD FILM from the film recorder menu. Then pull the slider on the bottom of the camera and push the button beside it at the same time. The camera will then automatically rewind the film. Once rewound, the film can be removed by opening the camera (with the slider on the left side of the camera). Finally, switch off the film recorder and quit the Conductor program. Please do not leave film in the film recorder for extended periods of time (except, of course, to actually shoot the images).

Film Processing

The University of Calgary Bookstore (in MacEwen Centre) does a respectable job of processing film and can produce results in a couple of hours. We have successfully used ABL Photo to produce custom prints (at ~$12 per print for any size less than or equal to 5"x4").
Last updated on December 15, 1997 by Mark Tigges (