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have trouble visualizing a positive image from looking at a negative.
In a pinhole photography workshop this can lead to discarding a promising
image or struggling to get a print out of a bad negative, rather than
going out to experiment with a better image. Getting an instant positive
preview is also just nice instant gratification.
used television cameras to display a positive, and rather enlarged,
image of a paper pinhole negative.
image "special effect" is common on many Hi-8mm camcorders and almost
universal on mini-DV camcorders. (The first camera I used was a
black and white camera from the 60's with a "reverse" switch on
the back.) These cameras also usually have sufficient close up capability
to fill the frame with a 4 x 5 and probably smaller negatives. Inexpensive
diopters are also usually available to get even closer
of these smaller camcorders include a small LCD panel to view the
image, but almost all also include composite video out that can
be routed to a monitor with a video input. Some also include RF
output on Channel 3 and 4 like regular VCR's if you only have a
TV receiver with a cable or antenna input.You could also connect
the camera to the video inputs of a VCR and connect that to the
TV over the antenna/cable input. Displayed on a standard 27" classroom
television, this makes for a rather impressive although fleeting,
It can take
some adjustment to avoid getting glare from a wet, glossy paper
negative, but placing the camera between banks of fluorescent overhead
lights, rather than directly under them will do the trick. A copy
stand would be the ultimate support.
I have used
Hi-8 and Mini-DV cameras that also allow exposure adjustment, simulating
variations in print exposures. Ancient black and white TVs used
to have a Brightness knob that could do this, and I suppose the
Brightness adjustment on new TV's controlled by the menu could work,
but I haven't tried that, and you'd want to make sure it was reset
to normal brightness when you were done so you didn't irritate your
local media specialist.
will not stay in the camera mode for more that five minutes without
recording in order to protect the tape heads from excessive wear.
When the camera drops out of the recording mode, it can take a few
adjustments not readily apparent to an unfamiliar user to get it
back into the "negative" mode. The solution is just to put in the
longest tape available and put it on record. That can give you at
least 2 hours before the camera has to be reset (and coincidently
provides an audio record of participants reactions to their photographs).
Some camcorders will stay in the camera mode indefinitely if there
is no tape loaded.
When I do this
this younger audiences, at least a few minutes get used with a kid
under the camera and the rest laughing at the negative image, but
the novelty of that wears off and they're excited to see the instant
positive version of their negative.