Experimental Filmmaking and the Motion Picture Camera: An Introductory Guide for Artists and Filmmakers, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Experimental Filmmaking and the Motion Picture Camera

An Introductory Guide for Artists and Filmmakers, 1st Edition

By Joel Schlemowitz


240 pages | 80 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-05-22
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Experimental Filmmaking and the Motion Picture Camera is an introductory guide to experimental filmmaking, surveying the practical methods of experimental film production as well as the history, theory and aesthetics of experimental approaches.

Author Joel Schlemowitz explains the basic mechanism of the camera before going on to discuss slow and fast motion filming, single frame time lapse, the long take, camera movement, workings of the lens, and the use of in-camera effects such as double-exposure. A comprehensive guide to using the 16mm Bolex camera is provided. Strategies for making films edited in camera are covered. A range of equipment beyond the basic non-sync camera is surveyed. The movie diary and film portrait are examined. The work of a range of experimental filmmakers including Stan Brakhage, Rudy Burckhardt, Paul Clipson, Christopher Harris, Peter Hutton, Takahiko Iimura, Marie Losier, Rose Lowder, Jonas Mekas, Marie Menken, Margaret Rorison, Guy Sherwin, and Tomonari Nishikawa.

This is the ideal book for students interested in experimental and alternative modes of filmmaking. It provides invaluable insight into the history, methods and concepts inherent to experimental uses of the camera, allowing students with a solid foundation of techniques and practices to be expanded upon in their own filmmaking.

Supplemental material, including links to films cited in the book, can be found at www.experimentalfilmmaking.com.


'An excellent introduction to the basics of experimental filmmaking, with a welcome emphasis on film rather than digital work, and the use of a simple camera, a Bolex. As the author notes, all you need is a roll of film, a light meter, and a camera - add to that inspiration, and you have a handy and accessible guide to DIY independent filmmaking.'

Wheeler Winston Dixon, Professor of Film Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

‘Joel Schlemowitz’sExperimental Filmmaking and the Motion Picture: An Introductory Guide for Artists and Filmmakersgives the reader a concise and informed overview of the history of experimental cinema methodology and application. This is the kind of book that gives those of us with the itch to innovate lots of fun ideas!‘

Peter Hartel, Filmmaker and Associate Professor, Cinema and Television Art, Columbia College Chicago

‘Filling a major gap in the literature while being exceptionally clear, detailed and passionate, Experimental Filmmaking and the Motion Picture Camera: An Introductory Guide for Artists and Filmmakers is a step-by-step guide replete with historical and technical information and creative examples to train a new generation of cinema artists working in celluloid to develop their own camera-based artistic practice.’

Kathryn Ramey, Filmmaker, Full Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Visual and Media Arts, Emerson College Boston and Author of Experimental Filmmaking: Break the Machine

‘This unique book is a love song to The Bolex and all the mechanical tools and tricks of artists cinema. Beautifully organized, bursting with clear technical detail and inspired devotion to the art of films and filmmaking. 3 cheers for Experimental Filmmaking and the Motion Picture: An Introductory Guide for Artists and Filmmakers!’

Jeanne Liotta, Artist/Filmmaker, Professor of Cinema & Moving Image Arts, University of Colorado Boulder

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Dream-vision of the Pulldown Claw and the Hidden Workings of the Camera

Chapter 2: The Machine of Light and Time

Chapter 3: Camera Eye: From Cine-Flâneurs to Experimental Optics

Chapter 4: Cine-Magic: The Trick Film and Beyond

Chapter 5: Tool of the Experimenter: The Bolex H16

Chapter 6: The Camera Roll Film: The Film With No Editing

Chapter 7: Custom Camera Commandos: Tinkerers, Camera Hackers, and the Quandaries of Obsolescence

Chapter 8: Camera as Diary, the Film-Portrait, and the Remembrance of Filmed Past

About the Author

Joel Schlemowitz is an experimental filmmaker who works with 16mm film, shadowplay, magic lanterns, and stereographic media. He teaches experimental filmmaking at The New School, New York. His first feature film, 78rpm, is an experimental documentary about the gramophone and his short works have been shown at numerous film festivals including the New York Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and Ann Arbor Film Festival. For more information visit www.joelschlemowitz.com.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Film & Video