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Laser Etched Film

ll As part of a course titled 'Movie Making Machines: Learning About Cinema in the Maker Space', some students at UNC have been studying the history and science of early cinema. In this course, they have designed and made zoetropes and pinhole cameras. Their latest project involved laser etching 16mm film strip, and several of the students have written about their experience on Instructables.

How to Laser Etch a 16mm Film Strip by LaurenR76How to Laser Etch a 16mm Film Strip by LaurenR76

Along with moving pictures, they also experimented with adding sound by etching patterns of lines, dots and squiggles into the sound portion of the film roll; producing more experimental sounds. It would be interesting to see what would happen if someone attempted to etch a soundwave.

 

Laser Etched 16mm FIlm by jmurph2 on Instructables Laser Etched 16mm FIlm by jmurph2 on Instructables

This certainly makes for an interesting project, and it's something we haven't seen before! If it's something you're interested in replicating, it's worth noting that film base can be made from various different plastics such as cellulose. Different plastics can be highly flammable, and can potentially contain poisonous formaldehyde; or chlorides which are both poisonous and corrosive to your machinery. Always make sure your materials are laser safe before putting them in your machines!

If you want to read more about this project, I've compiled all the write-ups I could find here:

Laser Etching on Film by HollieR7

How to Laser Etch a 16mm Film Strip by LaurenR76

Laser Etched 16mm FIlm by jmurph2

How to Laser Cut a Film Strip by DaisyM46

Laser Etching Images Onto Black Film by anjany