Total Hours: 5

Perpich, Rebecca Bullen, 5 Hours

Today at Perpich, Rebecca and I started with the morning darkroom class. This week they were finishing up one of their assignments and making final prints. The assignment was called “A Sense of Place,” and most of the images were of either places that students routinely frequented, were emotionally significant, or were a sort of externalization of personal identity. 

To finish the assignment, students had to make a final black and white print of the image in the darkroom. Since they were familiar with doing test strips from their contact sheets, they started with doing this for their final image. I really enjoyed helping the students with their test strips and prints—we mostly talked about getting true blacks and highlights, contrast filters, and gauging what makes a good exposure.

We also got to dive into techniques of dodging and burning, where you use tools like cut-out shapes or your hand to block certain parts of the print to either lighten or darken exposure on select areas. 

One student wanted to burn certain areas of her print, but her overall exposure time for the print was too short, so I told her that she’d have to start over on another print entirely. I said that she’d have to increase her f-stop from 4 to 16, so she would have more time to expose the print while she was burning. This involved doing a lot of math calculating the stops between exposures. I did my best to explain the concept of exposure stop reciprocity, and how one could semi-easily calculate different exposure times with different f-stop numbers. I also helped another student experiment with quite a few contrast filters on their final print.

Then, as always, we headed up to the afternoon narrative class. This was mostly a work day for the students, as they are getting closer to shooting their final films.

My favorite part of this class day was helping one group scout a location on the Perpich campus. They were going to be shooting a post-apocalyptic short film in the woods. The script was nice, and very practically shootable. We talked about the structure of the script and the antagonist’s motivations. I was really excited, because I was able to help him with a sort of problem in the script. I went back to the classroom after scouting the location, sat down, and read his script a few times.

I discovered that by switching a few lines of dialogue between characters, it would make the antagonist’s motivations more clear and add tension earlier in the story that would foreshadow the ending well. I was really happy that he liked the suggestion, and he ended up stopping me and thanking me before I left. 

It felt good to have something to contribute that made a significant impact on their project! I’m very excited to see how the film turns out!