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Deja Vu - Making the Stereoscopic Film Box Pinhole Camera 2.0

I recently made a 3D stereoscopic pinhole camera from some empty film boxes and being a perfectionist, I decided to give it another go. This tutorial will show you how I made an improved version with the added feature of shooting half framed sprocket shots too. Go grab yourselves some film boxes!

Ducks are best :)

What you’ll need;

  • 35mm film box
  • A roll of 35mm film
  • An empty 35mm film canister with a small piece of film still attached (You can get these at any photo lab, just ask them, they throw them away so they’ll be more than happy to give them to you)
  • Aluminium foil (I cut mine from a foil food tray)
  • Needle
  • Pen/pencil
  • Black marker
  • Ruler
  • Scissors/craft knife
  • Black tape
  • Regular tape
  • Black card
  • Paper clip

Begin by taking your empty box and opening it up like so

Mark a X, drawing from corner to corner

Draw a horizontal line across this X

Ignoring the original X, use this new horizontal line as a guide and draw two new X’s. Add small squares at the two new centre points and cut using a craft knife

Making the pinholes
Cut out a small square from your aluminium foil, 2cm by 2cm will be enough, and pierce the centre. Just push the tip through, but not the entire needle. Repeat this on another piece of foil

Taking one piece of foil, align the pinhole to one of the squares of your film box. Tape in place with some black tape then repeat with the remaining pinhole. You may also need to cut down the size of the foil pieces if you have trouble taping them down

Using a pen, extend the original horizontal line to all panels

On the right lip, cut to form a V

Measure the original centre line, I used an Agfa film box and this measured 3.5cm

Using that same measurement as a guide, cut a square from black card. My example is 3.5cm by 3.5cm

This part’s a little tricky so my tip here is – be patient. It also helps if you have small hands and for some reason I have strangely tiny hands for a guy but let’s leave that conversation for another time…

Anyway, you need to tape this new piece of card to the film box but precisely along the horizontal line that you drew earlier

Tape the other side to secure the card in place, being careful not to cover any of the pinholes

Fold upright one of the other sides of the box and again, tape in place

Repeat this with the opposing side of the film box

At this stage you should have three sides of your film box attached to this piece of card, with one of the flaps (the side that’s the back of your camera) still free

Fold down this last flap and tape along the long edge

NOTE – For illustration purposes I did not darken the inside of the film box with a black marker. When making your camera I would advise you to do so as it reduces internal reflections, which in effect greatly improves the quality of your photos

Making the shutter
Take some black card and cut out two pieces. One 4.5cm by 3cm and another 10cm by 1cm

Using the squares on the pinhole camera as a guide, mark and cut two small squares from the short, thicker piece of card

Cut two extra slots on either side, roughly 10mm by 1mm

Carefully thread the two pieces together

Using a pen, draw around both boxes

Pull out this piece of card and cut out the marked boxes

Re-thread this card and your shutter is complete! Test it by pulling it to the right or left

Now tape this to the film box, remembering to aligning the holes of the shutter with the pinholes of the box/camera body

With the back of the camera facing you, cut the flap as shown

Repeat on the left side

Loading film
Take out a fresh roll of film and cut off the header

With the camera facing forwards, thread the film from the left

As you perform this step be careful not to loosen the card/divider inside the camera

Once the film is through, tape the tip to the film tip of the empty canister

Fold the flaps to close your box, making sure the film runs freely. Cut/adjust the flaps where necessary

Tape the edges, push in the lip of the canister and secure with more tape

Repeat with the other canister

You now need to light proof the camera by covering the entire box with lots of tape. Pay extra care around the film spools. The aim is to tape up the areas where the film is entering the box (to avoid light leaks) but at the same time allowing the spools to spin freely

Box covered!

Finish touches
Cut yourself a small piece of black card, my example here is 4cm by 1.5cm

Add a piece of tape to one side

Fold the tape on itself by roughly a third. Repeat this process on the other side

With this little piece of extra card you can now shoot half framed shots. Just cover any one pinhole and use the shutter as usual

For the twin image shots, just stick it to the centre when not in use

All that’s left now is to add a paperclip as a winder and tape a piece of paper/tissue to add tension to the whole winding mechanism. Adjust the tape by winding slowly and if it doesn’t spin back, you’ve got this right

Camera complete!!!

Optional extra
Due to the new orientation of the film box to my initial design, the film canisters now protrude on either side making the camera sit unsteadily. You can remedy this by using, yes my favourite, a roll of tape!

Place this on the underside of the camera, tape if necessary, and viola! Instant tripod!

Shooting
Many people prefer to use pinhole calculators to determine exposure times (just search “pinhole calculator” on Google) and I would normally recommend this too but at the time of shooting I just guessed as I always have done :)

With these shots I used 200 ISO film in daylight. I was in a hurry to test my camera and shot regardless of the bad light/weather so they’re a little underexposed as you can tell

To advance by one frame, turn the paper clip counter clockwise by roughly one, one and half rotations

3D imaging
Due to the distance and placement of the pinholes on the film box, the images captured on each frame will be at slightly different angles. If you overlap and animate each half frame, alternating between them, you will get the illusion of 3D. To see the effect, click on the image and play the mini-movie

Pink pony

3D unicorn anyone?

3D unicorns! Hella yeah!

I tried taping coloured gels over each pinhole to create images that could be view with 3D glasses (those blue and red tinted glasses?) but I sort of messed up as you can tell

Underexposed again and the multiple exposure effect was probably caused by the gels not being flush against the pinholes.

For the first few frames I also didn’t advance correctly resulting in overlapping shots

Happy accident?

Here’s a few examples of the pinhole shooting as a half frame camera

For more examples you can check the full album here

As always thanks for reading guy and girls. I’ll get working on the next tutorial and I’ll see you next time :)

LLK aka That Pinhole Guy

written by lostlittlekid

5 comments

  1. kineaux

    kineaux

    sos un genio! many thanks this is inspiring, really inspiring
    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  2. mafiosa

    mafiosa

    Brilliant as always.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  3. lostlittlekid

    lostlittlekid

    Thanks for the support! Many thanks! @kineaux @mafiosa

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  4. shack_81

    shack_81

    I rather like the overlapping shots with lots of santas!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  5. lostlittlekid

    lostlittlekid

    Thanks :) @shack_81

    over 1 year ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Spanish & Deutsch.