‘Hangs Upon Nothing’ Trailer – Surfing in 16mm

I’ll admit that my interest in Hangs Upon Nothing isn’t due to its subject matter. Surfing docs are a dime a dozen and I wouldn’t really call myself a fan of the sport. BUT, my interest is ALWAYS piqued when I heard about a documentary actually shot on film. Nowadays it seems to be a pretty big undertaking, both financially and technically, and I’m always curious what drives a filmmaker to bypass the cheaper, easier digital route. After watching the trailer, director Jeremy Rumas has reminded me how much I love seeing documentaries shot on film. Rumas talks a little bit about the process on the film’s official site:

I’m shooting this movie with a Bolex RX5 that was made in 1967. It’s an entirely mechanical camera that operates off a spring driven motor, similar to the way an old wind up clock works. There are no batteries or electronics in any of my camera gear, including my light meter.

My Bolex uses 16mm motion picture film. About a third of the way into production, I decided to convert my camera to Super 16, which just means the film gate is widened(my cousin filed it out by hand), and thus you get a wider native image on the film. So the final movie is going to be a combination of regular 16mm footage cropped in on the top and bottom to fill a Super 16 aspect ratio, and a majority of the footage will be native Super 16.

The rough black borders on the edges of the images are a result of dust, dirt, film emulsion and whatever else happens to get stuck on the edges of the film gate, thus blocking light from exposing the film behind it. So the rough organic edges in the footage are actually from the images on the original film negative.

Stay tuned to the film’s official website for information on how you’ll be able to see Hangs Upon Nothing once it’s finished.