Making a Slit Scan Camera

3

Looking for a fun new experiment? Like those old fashioned finish photos? Then let me introduce you to the wondrous world of slit scan photography.

Credits: stratski

Some time ago, I ran into the phenomenon of slit scan photography. A slit scan camera does not have a shutter, rather it only has a small slit that lets in the light continuously. If the film doesn’t move, a narrow strip of the film will be very overexposed. If you pull the film along the slit, the film will be normally exposed. You will take a picture of the same narrow bit of reality which sort of repeats itself again and again. Everything will still be a blur, but things that move along in the opposite direction of the film will be shown like that in a normal picture because a new bit of reality will be exposed every moment.

Fun fact: the *Lomography Spinner 360°* is also a slit scan camera but because the film and the camera both move in opposite directions, the Spinner image looks normal. Take a picture with the Spinner while holding the body in the same position, and you’ll get the slit scan striped effect. I’m not very good at this so-called time scan, but saidseni has some excellent examples.

I either forgot to include a moving car or I just missed it.

This technique was used to make “finish photos” back in the day since you can make an image of a specific location over a period of time. For instance, the finish line from just before the first horse finishes, to a few seconds after. So this picture does not shop 15 meters of track, but only a very small bit but was done over a period of 5 seconds or so.

A narrow strip (left) will be repeated/stretched (right). Like you would select a strip of picture of one pixel wide in Photoshop, and stretch that horizontally (middle).

Anyway, enough with the technicalities, on to the fun part: making our own slit camera! It’s actually really simple.

What you need:

  • A simple focus free/fixed focus camera: check your local thrift store, or re-use a single use camera
  • An empty soda or beer can
  • Tape
  • Small screwdriver
  • Sharp knife

1. First, you need to remove the shutter from your camera. It’s not too difficult: screw the camera open. Screws are often located in the rewind crank, and inside, where you put the film. Pull off the front of the camera. Some small items may fall off (like the shutter button) but don’t worry, these are usually pretty easy to put back again when your screw everything back together. Next, screw off the plate that holds the lens. Behind this will be a small paddle, this is the shutter. Just pull it off. Now screw everything back together, taking care to put all the fallen off bits back in place.

The shutter is located behind the lens.

2. The next (optional) step is cutting two notches out of the camera mask. This way, you’ll expose the sprockets as well, and who doesn’t like exposed sprockets, right? Just a notch in the middle of the mask, where the slit will be is enough. Careful though, there might be bits of mechanism or flash wires hidden beneath. Also, you could create unwanted light leaks. A bit of black tape always works miracles if you cut too deep. I forgot to take a picture of this step, so here is some Paint art.

Pixel action!

3. Lastly, we’ll make the slit. I cut out a bit of aluminum so it would fit the camera mask. Then I snipped it in two. I cut out two corners to make room for the advance mechanism and taped both bits of metal in the camera with a narrow slit of about half a millimeter between. Make sure the metal is nice and smooth, no sharp bits sticking out.

And that’s it! Your slit scan camera is ready to use. Time to hit the street. Well, first load up some film, cover the lens, and shoot and wind the entire film. We want to pull the film along the slit in one smooth, continuous movement, and we’ll do that by rewinding. So shoot up the whole film in the dark, push the rewind button, and now you’re ready to go.

Find a spot next to a road, put your camera in a steady spot (I placed my camera on a small wall next to the road) and wait for a car, or cyclist or something. It has to be something that moves in the opposite direction of your film. So if you pull your film from left to right, the car should go from right to left.

More pixels!

Try to wind as even as possible, if you stop the film, or slow down too much, you’ll get white overexposed vertical stripes on your picture. If you stop between shots, you’ll get the same white stripes between shots that also separates different Spinner shots.

It took me only a few shots to fill up a roll, and it takes a bit of experimenting to figure out how fast things should move to get captured the best, but the results are pretty cool I think. I’m looking forward to seeing your slit scans!

Credits: stratski

written by stratski on 2014-07-31 in #gear #tipster #select-type-of-tipster #timescan #slit-scan #modification #requested #camera-modification #finish-photo #hack #camera #select-what-this-tipster-is-about

3 Comments

  1. clownshoes
    clownshoes ·

    Cool read. I like slit scans. If you haven't yet, try the Cokin slit scan filters. They come as two filters in different sized openings. Slap one of those onto a threaded lens, advance the roll, bulb exposure then roll it back. >.> some place on my lomo-home is an attempt at a slit scan. But the filters themselves make for interesting depth of field if you shoot normally.

  2. mafiosa
    mafiosa ·

    Excellent. Thank you for sharing. I can't wait to try making one myself :)

  3. saidseni
    saidseni ·

    Thanks for mentioning! :))))

More Interesting Articles

  • Rewind: Lomography Event Recaps From Gallery Stores and Embassy Shops

    written by shhquiet on 2015-12-30 in #world #news
    Rewind: Lomography Event Recaps From Gallery Stores and Embassy Shops

    2015 was a super exciting year for the world of creative photography. We introduced new products, paid homage to analogue photography and collaborated with like-minded folks. If you missed any of the festivities, don't worry - we promise that there will be more fantastic things to come next year! In the meantime, here's a look back into all the happy Lomography memories!

    1
  • A Photo Board of 1960s Fashion

    written by lomographymagazine on 2015-06-06 in #world #lifestyle
    A Photo Board of 1960s Fashion

    If theater has the stage then fashion has photography. It is through pictures that trends and new looks are wheeled from coast to coast. Even 50-year-old prints can sway next generations of fashion plates. Take Jacqueline Kennedy's shipshape style and the mod crowd of New York and London, all veritable influencers until today.

  • Lomo'Instant Love on Instagram

    written by lomography on 2015-10-28 in #world #lifestyle
    Lomo'Instant Love on Instagram

    It has been more than a year since we introduced the Lomo'Instant camera to the film photography world via Kickstarter. Since then, the world's most creative instant camera system has earned a permanent place on the camera collections (not to mention social media pages!) of many instant photography enthusiasts all over the world.

  • Shop News

    Standard Photo Development Services

    Standard Photo Development Services

    Done shooting and want your films to be processed? We can process your colour and black & white 35mm, 120 or 110 films! Development, prints and scans are also included. (Service availability depends on your markets)

  • Imperfection Is In Everything We Do: A Talk With Adriano Sodré

    written by jennifer_pos on 2015-05-01 in #people #lifestyle
    Imperfection Is In Everything We Do: A Talk With Adriano Sodré

    Just as we love the grainy sound of a vinyl record playing our latest jazz favorites, we choose analog photography for its natural imperfections that remind us so wondrously of our own reality. Its shortcomings are what make an analog photograph so appealing. We talked to Adriano Guimarães Sodré, a 26-year-old cinematographer, DJ, and photographer who carefully composes pictures that capture a solitary moment in its most natural beauty.

    4
  • Registering Moments With the Lomo'Instant

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-05-02 in #gear #lifestyle
    Registering Moments With the Lomo'Instant

    Some people say instant photos bring about a feeling of nostalgia. Although I often use the Lomo'Instant Camera with different crazy accessories such as the Splitzer and color gels, I have to agree there is something about it — dreamy vignettes maybe? — that always makes me want to go back in time and experience it all over again. In the name of analogue photography and good old memories, we passed by some classic spots in Vienna and took one shot after the other. Take a closer look at our gallery.

  • Slice and Dice Your Instant Snaps with the Lomo'Instant Splitzer!

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-05-13 in #gear #lifestyle
    Slice and Dice Your Instant Snaps with the Lomo'Instant Splitzer!

    If you are like me and have a penchant for splitting your instant photos, then take a look at our series of cool "splitzants" and get inspired for your next shooting!

    2
  • Shop News

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    Satisfy your hunger for creative snap-shooting with this lens package made especially for Micro 4/3 digital cameras! Don't miss the 20% discount!

  • Caleb Savage: Into the Darkroom, Out in the Open

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-10-08 in #people #lifestyle
    Caleb Savage: Into the Darkroom, Out in the Open

    When asked to recall the moment they first became truly interested in photography, most photographers would remember the magical feeling of picking up a hand-me-down or secondhand camera, the thrill of shooting an entire roll through, and the elation upon seeing and holding their first ever set of photographs. Caleb Savage, however, had quite a unique experience. At 10 years old, he had his first taste of working in the darkroom making prints at Boy Scout camp, thereby beginning a more than a decade-long affinity with photography.

  • Photo of the Day by weidong

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-04-03 in #world #news
    Photo of the Day by weidong

    Ready for an adventure that's out of this world? Take a look at today's featured photo and experience a tropical holiday on another planet.

    1
  • Film Format Fun: Rapid Film

    written by Maaike van Stratum (@stratski) on 2016-02-08 in #gear #tipster
    Film Format Fun: Rapid Film

    We all know about 35mm and 120 film, right? And since Lomography re-introduced 110 film, we have another film format to play with. But in the years past, many more film formats were in use. Let me introduce you to a few golden oldies and tell you about my experiences with them. I'll start with Rapid film.

    3
  • Shop News

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Really want to bring your film photos to life? We’re now offering totally analogue fine art prints in a host of large sizes and formats! Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • Light is Magical: A Talk With Li Hui

    written by jennifer_pos on 2015-04-10 in #people #news #lifestyle
    Light is Magical: A Talk With Li Hui

    Photography is not only an act of documentation or communication, it is also a way of seeing the world. The camera opens our eyes and lets us see what lies behind the obvious, and we start looking at things as potential subjects of a photograph. Every leak of light unveils secrets that talented photographers turn into a piece of art. Li Hui is one of those gifted artists. We talked to her about her work and her sensitive photographs that picture a wonderful vulnerability.

    9
  • Taking Back Tipsters: Fashion Edition

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-09-26 in #world #tipster #videos
    Taking Back Tipsters: Fashion Edition

    In light of fashion weeks currently held at the world's most stylish cities, we've handpicked five community-written Tipsters to provide you with ideas for your next fashion-themed photo shoot.

  • Photo Stories: Police on My Back by bloomchen

    written by bloomchen on 2015-02-26 in #world #lifestyle
    Photo Stories: Police on My Back by bloomchen

    Sometimes when taking pictures I get addressed by strangers either because of my cameras or because they don't want me to shoot something they claim they have responsibility for. But having the police on my back was a new experience.

    5