Moving Image || Tools of the Trade – part II

Advanced technologies may have rendered them museum pieces, but these marvels of engineering were made to last.

RCA Colour Broadcast Camera, Model TK-41C, 1954

Fearless Camera Company Panoram Dolly, c. 1940, with Houston-Fearless Cradle Head, date unknown

This camera was the first commercially produced for colour television; it was the industry standard for fifteen years. A beam-splitting prism directed the red, green and blue elements of the picture to their own three-inch-diametre image orthicon camera tubes. At 310 pounds, the weight of the camera head and viewfinder severely limited the camera’s mobility.


International Projector Corporation 35mm Simplex E-7, 1938, with RCA Photophone Soundhead, MI-9054A and Hall and Connolly Lamp, dates unknown


Western Electric Vitaphone System 35mm Universal Base Projector, 1927, with Vitaphone Soundtrack Disc for The Desert Song (1929)

The projector exhibited here was originally used at the Aldine Theatre in Philadelphia, and is one of the only surviving Vitaphone projectors that is still operational. It has both a phonograph player for soundtrack discs and an optical sound head built into the projector. The projector is set up as if it were going to screen a film using a soundtrack disc. The record player and projector as powered by the same motor, which makes it possible for the sound and image to play in synchronicity.


Nicholas Power Company 35mm Cameragraph No. 6B, with Universal Model a Soundhead, c. 1928

When talkies arrived, optical soundheads were added to existing silent film projectors, such as the Nicholas Power Company’s No. 6B. Shown here is the Model A Universal soundhead, which made licensed use of technology patented by the Jenkins and De Forest television companies.


Duplex Motion Picture Industries 35mm Step Printer, c. 1920

Manufactured in Long Island City, this step printer was an industry standard for many years. Print density could be controlled automatically.


Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, New York

May 13th, 2018

Design is Everything

It will always find its place in a museum collection, even if it wasn’t enough to help up the sales at the time.

Sony Miniature, Model 5-303W, with carrying case, 1962


Philco ”Safari” Model H-2010, 1959

This television set was the first to make use of the new transistor technology that had already revolutionized the portable radio. Powered by a 7.5-volt rechargeable battery with a four-hour operating capacity, it employed an optical projection system that magnified the small cathode ray tube image to create and eighty-square-inch virtual image.


Philco Predicta Model 4654 ”Barber Pole”, Television, 1959

In an effort to combat the industry-wide decline in television sales that began in the mid-1950s, Philco decided to exploit recent developments in picture tube and transistor technology. The Predicta line was the most revolutionary of several models introduced at the time. Designed by Catherine Winkler and Richard Whipple, the Predicta treated the screen surface as a ”semi-flat” element largely detached from the body of the set. Because the new tube was unreliable, sales were poor.

Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, New York

May 13th, 2018

Busted

Head Sculptures, Starman, 1984
Designer and maker, Dick Smith
Actor, Jeff Bridges

In an early sequence of Starman, an alien assumes a human form by growing from infancy to adulthood overnight. Designer Dick Smith fabricated more than one hundred full-size heads, each one conveying a minute step in the transition. The sculptures were photographed sequentially, occupying only a single frame of film. The result was a fluid, five-second transformation enlivened with eye blinks and a slight head turn. Today, an effect like this one would be created digitally.

Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, New York

May 13th, 2018

Real life stories, humans and papier-mâché faces

Art that looks back at you looking back at art.

Gauri Gill’s ”Acts of Appearance”, is a series of vivid color photographs for which the artist worked closely with members of an Adivasi community in Jawhar district, Maharashtra, India. Gill’s collaborator-subjects are renowned for their papier-mâché objects, including traditional sacred masks. In these pictures they engage in everyday village activities while wearing new masks, made expressly for this body of work, which depict living beings with the physical characteristics of humans, animals, or valued objects. A range of scenarios and narratives, situated in both “reality” and dreamlike states, come together in the photographs, which simultaneously portray symbolic or playful representations as well as the familiar experiences of community members against the backdrop of their home and culture.

Night at the Museum: Springtober Fest @ MoMA PS1

May 5th, 2018