To be honest, I never had much faith in the LomoKino. I didn't really care for the films I saw, and thought it wouldn't be my thing at all. Still, I decided to give it a chance. I must admit, I'm slowly coming around.
When the LomoKino first came out, I thought it might be a fun toy for some people, but not for me. While I have always been a movie lover, I never really felt the urge myself to start filming. I wouldn’t know what to film, who to film, and besides, it would eat way too much precious film.
But then I had this shit load of piggies, and the LomoKino was on sale, and I had pretty much all the camera’s I wanted from the shop, and most film was out of stock anyway… In short, I succumbed to the new toy. Even so, I had low expectations. Most LomoKino films I had seen were either not very exiting, or way out of my league. But what the hell, I lugged it along on a wintery hike to see what it could do. These are my first impressions.
First of all, 35 seconds per roll of film is not that much. I mean, you can do a lot of things in 35 seconds of course (kids have been conceived in less time…), but only when your timing is absolutely spot on (or you’re very lucky). My timing is not that good, so I have longish stretches of people almost throwing a snow ball, only to run out of film by the time the action starts. So it really eats a lot of film (plus, that indicator thingy is pretty useless if you ask me, it’s not very accurate).
Another thing I learned: you have to really make sure you snap the winding crank into the right position before shooting, or the shutter won’t fire. I have a whole roll with half the frames blacked out to prove it.
Next, scanning these films is a royal pain in the ass. So many tiny frames! It bloody takes forever! And then some! Yeah, yeah, get the smartphoneholder I hear you say. Except I don’t have a smartphone. Then forget about digitalizing them and use the LomoKinoScope, you say. Weeeelllll, I tried that. But
- A. I can’t get it to work very well, all I see is a stuttery mess (it’s probably just me, not the Scope),
- B. My films can really do with some editing, and
- C. The failed film with the blacked out frames can’t be seen properly.
So I’m stuck with scanning the strips, then snipping them up into separate frames in Photoshop (more efficient in my opinion than scanning each frame separately), saving them in the right order, and then stitching them all together in an editing program.
So is it all a huge disappointment? Am I going to throw the whole kit onto ebay first chance I get? Well, no. You see, there is something very satisfying about the cheerful rattle of the LomoKino when you’re recording. I feel like a proper old-school director when I’m using it. Fiddling with a editing program is fun (I admit, I can be a bit of a computer geek when no-one is looking). And while I recognise that my films are probably extremely boring to other people, I actually love them!
I have dozens of photographs of all kinds of hikes, but seeing those images actually move is so much fun! I have made short film clips with a digital camera, but they really don’t have the same feel to them, the warmth, and low-fi nostalgic vibe of an analogue film.
I still have much to learn about what are fun things to film, and how best to handle filming. For instance, keeping it steady without a tripod is a bit of a challenge. (Designers, what were you thinking when you decided to leave out a neck strap?! You could at least have included some rings on the sides so I could attach my own strap.)
But I can see how I might learn to love the LomoKino, and I’m glad I gave it a chance.