19370300 about filming
[Undated, but filed between 21/2/1937 & 24/3/1937 ]
This letter is undated, and labelled No Hurry, it was filed here between these two letters. It simply contains very sage advice about cinematography, for Betty had sent her exposed cine films back to England to be processed, and then to be sent to heather, who was to edit them, add titles, and splice them onto larger reels. Much of the advice is still relevant to today's "video-ists"; in particular, do not spray. Move either from right to left, or left to right, but do not go forwards and then backwards. And generally, the camera shoud remain still, and the people or animals should move.
NO HURRY ! PAX.
I'm waiting still till I have a long stretch of time ahead of me so that I can write you a real genuine Trunk (American Cabin Trunk) of a letter. But before I do that, I must just send you a special Number with regard to FlLMS.
Duckie, your films are marvellous, and everybody loves seeing them. Nearly all of them are well exposed and well taken.
But before I go any further I must tell you the chief glaring error - which is nothing to do with the actual photography at all, but that at the end of every film you waste about 10 feet (which is quite a lot out of every fifty) by taking Nothing. I expect the little foot indicator thing tells you lies, and tells you that the films has run out before it has.
So the result is that you run off a whole lot of blank or what is really rather funnier, you go on taking something without realising it, and the result is Trees waving about and falling over, people leaping about on their sides, and all sorts of extradordinary things, which flash by too quickly to see what they really are.
But as for the actual taking of the things themselves, they are nearly all excellent.
The ones of the barges are absolutely Marvellous, as are the Baby animals, and the Logging Train ones.
On one or two occasions there are a few slightly under exposed pictures - i.e. too dark. (For example, the picnic amongst the Logs, You in your machila, various sunsets almost too black, and G. shaving) Under exposed is not enough light let in, i.e. it should be put at a smaller stop - which is a bigger opening (so muddling and silly!)
Another trouble, but only very lesser as it does not occur very often, is when taking a picture and moving the camera round. You do that very nice and slowly, but then you Swish back again, over the same subject, which does not give a very good effect.
All those animal picturs are lovely and everybody Yells with laughter at the Baby Bush Pigs, and gosh, aren't those Tiger cats fierce little beggars!
Now duckie, the enclosed list is of ell your film up to date. At present they are stuck together in exactly the order I have received them, and they form 3 reels altogether, and including your wedding at the beginning; and the numbers on the very left hand side of the page indicate the numbers corresponding to what you wrote on the outside of the little yellow cartons which the films arrive here in.
Then besides that I have numbered each sort of Paragraph of film, so that I can move them into a different order, and get most of the animals near together, the mattress and the refrigerator together, etc.
To give you some sort of idea of what I thought of doing, I think all Sesheke might go in together, don't you. Then the tours in their order. And then Lusaka and Robin will be able to follow on, and then Mankoya. Because to people at home it will be rather muddling if we keep on jumping back and forth from Sesheke to Mongu, and Sesheke again and then Mulafu, and then Sesheke again, and then Mankoya, and then why didn't they go back to Sesheke again after that last tour, etc.
If you took any more of Livingstone when you were down there the other day, I could put that in with the bit you took when you first got out to N.R.
So I will enclose a list of the Intended Order for the Films. but I won't actually do them until I hear what order you want.
Your writing the number & contents on the outside of the films is such a help!
Dad has made out the enclosed captions which are being done.
There was no attachment to the letter when it reached me.
When you have finished reading this, just kill this Wndow to return whence you came.