APS Film and the 1990s TV Photo slideshow
In. This video I'm going to be taking a look at ApS. Film but really more in the context. Of it being used in this device, this photo player, should enable the developed ApS film to be displayed on a television screen, or at least that's their idea I bought, this about a year or so ago and I thought it would be a nice fun simple, video to put together but he's turned out to be anything but. ApS. Arrived on the scene in 1996. When a number of film and camera manufacturers, got together in an attempt to update the format as well as to get everyone to buy new equipment it. Met with the most success in the point-and-shoot. Market, where the compact, and easy to handle drop, in cartridges, resulted, in slightly, more compact, cameras, in, addition a magnetic, layer on the film could be written to buy more advanced, cameras, which, would provide additional information, to the photo developing, lab, although, the pro photographers, had little interest in the format due to its 24, millimeter, film size resulting, in reduced, quality when compared to the existing 35, millimeter, films, ApS. Was killed off by the rise of digital cameras, in the early 2000s. Now, back in the 90s when ApS turned up in the stores I was aware of its existence but I wasn't interested in it because I didn't take photos, back then when I went on holiday I used to take a camcorder, along, with me in fact when this particular model came out I just, bought the first mini, DV, camera there JVC, grd. VJ, 70s, it was known in the UK however. I did eventually get. A camera, but it was only when digital came, out and became a little bit more affordable this. Is the canon exes from 2000. It was known as the digital elph in the US and Canada this is 2.1. Megapixels. So ironically. The APS camera would have taken better photos, than this but then but, it's very hard to compete, with the idea that once you bought the equipment all the rest of the photos you take after that are pretty much effectively, free now. Getting back to the point of this particular video I wanted to demonstrate this, device but because I don't have any developed, ApS films, I've had to go and buy myself a new ApS, camera, well I think it's secondhand but I got it off eBay and it's in very good condition so. First thing you have to do set the date and time notice, it starts off in 1996. Because that's the it could possibly be for this particular camera, and I'm changing it to the 8th of August 2017. Because that's the date I was shooting this segment. Now. Back when ApS came out I remember them making a particularly, big, deal about the introduction, of the index, card this was something that was introduced, with ApS although it was subsequently, adopted by, 35-millimeter, developers. They showed a thumb-sized. Picture, of all your images that you'd had develop, so for example you look at your index card you, like the picture that busts you, say I'll have some more of those done so, that's three more number 12s, and you go into your photo developers, take, back your film cartridge which they gave you back when you had it developed which has got your negatives. Rolled up inside and they'd print those out now getting. That cartridge, back with the negatives in it means that you can store it in a nice little box along with those index cards because they've got a number on the side which matches up with each one but also you can tear that cartridge and put it into, a film, scanner, connect it up to your computer and it's a relatively, easy way to get your photos onto, a computer for, 1996. But, they also did this version which is the one I want to demonstrate which. Instead of scanning them into a computer shows. Them on your television, in the form of a slideshow, on. The bottom of the box I found this sticker which dates it to the 12th of July 96. Inside, the box everything that should be in here is and, that includes, the wire to attach it up to a television the, power lead and, the remote control and, of course the instructions, on the front various, controls, for manipulating. The images, that are being displayed and. Around the back as well as a composite, and s-video, output there's, an audio, out so I'm intrigued to find out what kind of sounds, this thing is going to make after all there's no audio, recorded, on an ApS film but the first thing I need to do is to find out whether or not it's actually functional.
So Put the power in the. Light comes out on the front so just a matter of pressing the eject button after, a bit of whirring that door pops down I'm ready to accept its first film so I might as well go and get some there's. Just one problem though and that's that they don't make a PS film anymore the packet that I bought here expired. In February, 2011. In, fact they kept making it up until, 2011. I've, got an idea what date those expired, but that will have passed by now. As well so there's no telling. What kind of results I've got to get out to this film well there is a way to tell and that's to take, some photos with it and see what happens one. Of the features, of aps, cameras, was this ability to choose between three different aspect, ratio, C was a narrower, type image H was the full-frame, 16:9. Aspect ratio and P was for panoramic, images, the only problem was they all use the exact same film, frame and the full frame was developed. As well it was just that when you got it printed you specified, which, version. You wanted of that print so if you asked for a P image, which is what you'd selected on that dial you just got the sensor part of the image printer which was a lower quality than if you'd have got the full one done but you could go back later and get, reprints, of the other versions, but anyway I've got my photos, done eagerly, stood outside the shop opened up the container, and thought hold on a minute where's the flipping cartridge. That was the whole point in getting this thing done so I thought well maybe they're not mine have a look inside yeah, these were definitely, my, photo, so. Perhaps, the the cartridges falling out in the shop or something so I went back in I said oh hold on the APS, film cartridges missing out here and the shop, assistant, there look something goes no may the rear sticks a grubby finger inside the container. And pulls out the negative. There it is mate there's you there's, your film umm I know but this was an ApS, film it's, supposed to be developed inside the cartridge you get the cartridge back it looks like this and. She looks me with this blank expression this, kind of I don't know what you're talking about you old not oh and she wouldn't do either the last person had got one of these develop probably did it 15 years ago in that shop, apparently. They said it didn't go through their machines, that they'd had to send it off to their head office to get done and this is what they done with it so pretty clueless operation, all the way through but they had ripped it off the inside of the cartridge as you can see there I thought, well nothing, I could do about that now what I'll do I'll take apart one of my other film, cartridges, the ones with unused. Film in it of course I'll be destroying that film but hopefully, I'll, be able to spool. This film onto that roll and then I'll be able to put it into my machine and finally. Watch, it on a TV screen so, that's exactly what I did going, back to that photo developing, place, for a moment there it's a high street retail, chain, and I was surprised when they said they could develop ApS, films but I mentioned it on their website and when the missus went into town one day she took the film along with her and took it in and said do you do these I said oh yeah that'll be no problem it'll be ready in a couple of hours anyway, a couple of hours later they ring me up and say oh they're, having problems is. Going to be another week and then a week later that's, when I got back but hopefully, now I've been able to resolve the issue and I'll be able to have a look at these so let's pop it in the Machine and see what happens.
Unfortunately. The machine identified. The cartridge as being an unprocessed. Film and refused to play it now how could it do this well on the side of an ApS film there are some markers, that indicate, the current status of, that film, it's a white dot which moves around in a clockwise direction, at. The moment it's in the number one position that means this is a new unused, film to would be partially, exposed three, will be fully exposed and four, would be developed. And as a key to these on the side of the film itself, there. Is however a further indicator, and as you can see the difference between these two cartridges, is there's a hole punched out on the right hand side of one that's a properly developed, cartridge, when, it gets developed that hole gets punched out a little bit like the write-protect, notch on a cassette and there's a corresponding switch. Here a pin that pushes into that hole and if it can go into the hole it knows you've put in a develop, film if it can't go in it thinks it's unprocessed. And therefore, won't take the film out of the cartridge because of course if it could, take the film out to read it it would expose, her undeveloped. Film so just a matter of me punching out the hole on this one I put together putting, it back in the machine and hoping, for the best No. Just. It like it's all the way I'd wound it up or something it just made a horrible screech, I've tried multiple times to put the film back into the cartridge different ways he just did a lot to load it so I, ended up putting this project on hold over winter but during which time I did contact a local photo, developing lab, and asked them if they developed aps films and put them back in the role just like they used to do back in the day and they said yes they did so the next time I went on holiday I took the camera along with me with a different, role of aps film took, some photos sent, them off to this chap he sent them back and sure enough this, time he did send me back the aps film inside the cartridge. Unfortunately. At some point light, has either got into the camera or perhaps ball, into the film cartridge so the first nine images are no use but from there onwards I can use those in fact if you look at number 10 you can see I must have accidentally slid that switch up to the C position and then, that shows you a frame around that part of the image so that's what gets printed however, you could go back to the developers, and say where I want the full image and then you get the full frame, of it but. Yeah some of these photos didn't, come out bad at all so I'm, looking forward to putting this cartridge into the machine and having, a look at these finally, after all this time on the TV screen now when. You turn it on it tells you to wait for a few minutes that's while it gets the light inside, up to the full strength, and while it's doing that you can hear it's playing some background, music that's the audio that comes out of the back of the machine so now we've found out is just background. Music, really but, now we, finally getting to the point where it's going to read the film so it starts pulling the film out of the cartridge and then it says is, it a cleaning cartridge, Wow, what's, this now, so. I select no, and. From. That it then goes alright then I'm just chokes, the cartridge out of the front of the machine so oh. So. I put it in a few more times kept going, through the same process say, no so I thought right well this time I'll say yes yes it's a cleaning cartridge go on there so what it does it takes the film all the way out of the roll and.
Then, Puts it all the way back in again presumably that's what it would do if it was a cleaning cartridge that would be a process of cleaning the, optical, path inside, the machine but it's not much use to me it means that I've got a second, film developed, now that I'm unable, to display. Using, this particular machine so at this point I'm pulling my hair out okay. Now here's what I think has caused the problem if you shoot an ApS film with a compact, point-and-shoot camera. It puts this optical. Data next to each frame which includes, simple information such as what the frame number is however, if you use a more elaborate, camera like an SLR for example some of them have the ability to write to a magnetic, data, layer on the, same film, and that could include information that was more akin to what we'd know now as exif. Data stuff, which would be used by the developing, labs so, my theory, is that the machine that this guy used to develop this ApS film isn't writing the information that this machine is expecting, to be on that magnetic, data, so it tries to read it finds there's nothing there and it assumes that what you've inserted in the front must be a cleaning, cartridge, so. I've got no doubt that that first film I got develop would also be missing this necessary, magnetic, data and therefore even if or having able to get the machine to unspool, it from the roll it would have refused to read it anyway so with very little else I could do I thought well I'll take the lid off this week and at least have a look inside and see how it all fits together but, then when you look in here there's not much to see there'll be a big circuit board below that metal panel at the bottom, at the backs of power supply and at the front is the scanner, mechanism. And, it's all contained, in this small area it's the kind of thing that I couldn't really take apart without completely, destroying it but, yeah you put the film in on the right hand side it pulls it across on the left-hand side there's a bright light in there that scans it and. Displays. It on your TV screen, there's really not much else I can say come and see the film coming in heir to the role where of course it doesn't want to get dust on it but there you go that's, the insides of it so that's really all I can show you as far as that goes but. I didn't want to give up just yet, I had one final idea I asked the people who support, me on patreon. If anyone, had any developed, ApS films they wouldn't mind me showing in a video unfortunately a, few people got back to me the first one was Phil who said he had quite a few and, he sent me three in the post and thanks, to Phil we can now finally, see, this machine working as, it's supposed to do so just a matter of putting one of his films in here which will have been developed, properly, back in 2000. 2001, by a lab which will have out all the right equipment they'll have written the data to the film, all the rest of it so you put it in here you can see it starts getting further than it's got Boothroyd shows, the film coming out on the bottom and then start generating thumbnails. For each of the images of it scanned as the film was going by. So. Once all the thumbnails that appeared on the screen I decided to start a slideshow now to do this you just pick the first image, that you want it to start and, then it works its way through the rest of the film sequentially. Now it doesn't store all the images, at the beginning, what it does is it scans each one and then displays it on your screen what at a time now, in between each image it displays, some kind of wipe or zoom or a crossfade. Type effect, randomly. And of course as this music playing in the background but I think this is really. Quite effective to me this is a very interesting and slightly awkward meeting, of two very distinct, areas of photography, for years people have done slideshows. But they've done it with slides. And the projector. And then after, this product came out just a few years later people were doing slideshows. With digital, photos. Using some kind of software this. Is right in the middle we've got analog, photos, then scanned, digitally, and displayed on a TV, screen.
You'll. Be glad to know there is the ability to switch off that background. Music, but there are some other options in here you can display, the photos, in different orders rather than just have them as, a slideshow you can just show one image, or you can page through them, one at a time and you can even program, the order in which you want them to display you'll, notice you could also choose your print, options here, now this isn't for you to do at home this is to specify what, you want your developer, to do with your photo so you choose which photo you're interested, in how many of that photo you want to print you, can then choose what aspect. Ratio you want it to prints in and, also whether you want data on it like the date and whether you want that on the front or the back of, the photo and. You can even add a title here using this on-screen, keyboard, and once you have sets. What you want you, then write that data to that magnetic layer that's on the film and then, take the film into your developers, and they'll, print out whatever you've requested, now, when the slideshows playing it can't identify pictures. Taken, in the vertical, orientation and. It just puts those on the screen sideways. But you can view those if you look at them individually you, can rotate them using the button on the remote control, and then, you can also zoom in on them if you want you've. Also got four, arrow keys which enable you to look around the image once you've zoomed in on it although they do take, a little bit of getting used to because pressing down moves, the image up pressing up moves it down pressing right lose, it you guessed it left but, yes you can zoom. In have a look around the photos, now. I thought you might be interested in seeing a video capture from this device so I've hooked up the s-video output which is the highest quality to the capture card and that's what you're looking at on screen, now, now, this zoom, function. Of course what he does it scans, the image and then you zooming in on the, scam, any. Other goes to a certain distance, but there is another button on the remote control which, is labeled x2 now what happens when you press that it.
Seems Like it puts an extra lens in front of the scanning circuitry, and then it reese cans the image but only the central, part of it but, then that enables you to look at that area in even more detail, it feels a little bit like the old Blade Runner zoom, and enhance although, there isn't that much detail in an aps photo when. You're looking at an image if you press the information, button you get the frame number press it a second time you get the date the photo was taken, press it a third time it, brings up the data about that particular image in this case we've just got the aspect, ratio but, on some cameras those other fields would have been filled in a fort. You might want to get a full photo slideshow. Experience. So what i'm doing here I'll start it off on a particular photo just let it run through a few after, that and you can watch it happen in real time and just, as a treat I've left you that beautiful background. Music on as well. Now. Just going back to some of those photos I took with my ApS camera, I'm quite happy with some of them it's just the colors are a little bit washed out which of course is no doubt down to the fact the film, was expired, so what I did I've scanned, those photos, into my computer, and put them into a piece of software called photo, lemur which. Will automatically. Enhance, them and it does a particularly good job in areas like this where the image, is all bleached, out it brings back some of the colors and the detail, now, I've got no intention of giving up digital, photography, and just, using film but it's nice to know that the photos, that I took while I was putting this video together, weren't. A complete waste of time and I've got something to show for it at the end I think. The biggest legacy of ApS cameras, is compact. Point-and-shoot cameras. That look like this you, see at the time ApS, came out this is what the rivals, to that model look like these are very much, 1990s. Cameras, cameras just don't look like this anymore, but, the exes, or the elf pretty. Much changed, all that at. Nineteen ninety-six digital, camera, looked like this but by 2000. They, look like this and that, design of camera really doesn't look out of place nowadays, and there's. One thing I'm taking away from this whole experience and. It's that I like traditional, photos, and I'm not talking, about taking them with a film camera sending, them off getting them developed getting them back with stickers on and blurry ones ones with light, in the lens or your thumb in front of the image though it's about holding, physical. Photos. It's something I feel I've been missing out on with all these digital photos, are being taking it all stored on a hard drive somewhere so that's why I got that photo, printer that I did a video about the other week and I'm very happy with the results from that and I just think there's something a little bit special about, holding a printed photo but, taken, with a modern, digital camera. I've got no intention of going, back to film I'm afraid this camera is gonna go in a drawer now and that, means I've got no use whatsoever for this fuji, film ap1, anymore, I can't even take film that I can display with it so what am I going to do well I'll pack it up along with those films that Phil sent me send, the whole lot back to him and then he can watch his old, holiday snaps on, his television. Anyway. That's it for the moment as always thanks. For watching. You.