THE PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA

My Film Career

 Robert Gutteridge

Mr Gutteridge (far left) shown with Programme Director Gerald Loban, stepped away from his previous presentations on the hardware and history aspects of film to share with us his personal experiences using cameras to create films during his career as a teacher here and in Europe. Short clips were shown from a number of films created by Mr Gutteridge, some of which won awards. The films were taken with various 8mm, Super 8mm and 16mm cameras. Larry Boccioletti dug into his collection to provide the necessary projectors while Mark Singer operated the various machines, stopping and starting the clips in sync with the talk.

I have only a few images to show here due to the rather low illumination from the projectors and the release delay on my digital camera which combined to make many images blurry or even thwart my efforts to snap a particular scene by delaying the image capture. I have briefly described each film in the order in which Robert showed the clips - generally they are in chronological order.

Earliest. Like many others, Robert's earliest efforts where traditional home movie fare - recording the family during special events and holidays on 8mm. Camera was a Bell & Howell Director Series.

Underground. Robert loves trains. This clip was taken in 8mm through a window on the London Underground along an above ground stretch during a trip in the summer of 1962.

Kid's Hockey. Robert photographed students near Sarnia playing hockey. By this time he had moved up to a Kodak 16mm camera which used magazines.

Mozart. Taking a Bolex 16H camera on his next European trip, Robert did a short movie in Austria about Mozart (first image).

Switzerland. During a visit to the Bernese Alps, Robert succeeded in capturing a clear shot of the famous Matterhorn (second image) which is in cloud or fog most of the time.

Beethoven. Robert's career behind the camera reached a turning point in the summer of 1970 while he was teaching in Zurich. He visited Vienna to make a film about Beethoven (flower image). This was his first effort to include a sound track.

Bruegel's People. His 1973 project was a film about the 1500s Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder (two painting images). The film was distributed commercially by a company in Chicago. A French version was also released.

What Are Contour Lines? In 1974, Robert completed a student/teacher project in Switzerland. The film won an award at the Scottish Amateur Film Festival. Copies were sold in Canada.

Presto! This movie shown in its full 2.5 minutes was created at Fanshaw College in London, Ontario. It took about two months to create using a darning needle to hand scratch the detail on the 5,000 plus frames. It was drawn on 16mm stock and printed on high contrast film. The film is synchronized to a piano sonata by Scarlatti. The film was all plotted on paper first. Frames were added during editing to maintain sync.

Cassation. This clip was from a film in the early musical form using animation to interpret 20th century electric music. Four rolls of film were used to create the film which was screened at the 1978 summer symposium in Alabama.

Ambiance. This clip is from a film which used the human form tracked in mirrors.

Compilation Film. Robert used this film to express his feeling for Salzberg. It uses real scenes - a selection of clips from earlier films tinted in the lab with a Mozart sound track distorted in the studio. And fantasy scenes - the Salzberg Marionettes doing a special performance of the Magic Flute for this film.

Ephemeral Perpetuity. This clip was from another experimental film. This one featured the animated movements of a dancer later synchronized to pure tones from a Synthesizer. The first four images in the second row below are from this clip. Each shot includes a number of film frames due to the slow shutter speed I needed to capture the image.

By-Pass. This experimental film shot in Toronto was shown at the Ann Arbor film festival. In 1980 it won an award in the experimental film category at the Canadian International Amateur Film Festival.

Swiss Movement. This film was shot with a Super 8 Leicina during a late 1990s visit to Switzerland and features a series of constantly moving scenes of traffic, etc. (this film shot with the Leicina gave the largest and sharpest image).

Album. A film of a nostalgic look through an old photo album.

Inferno. The last clip features Rodin's "Gates of Hell, Cantos V & VI" Statues. It is shot in B&W and inverted to project a negative image (last image in second row).

Robert noted that many of the films were thought to be lost when the film labs he was using folded. He later discovered that copies had been sent to the National Film Archives and saved. He also noted that the cost of 16mm processing sky-rocketed making it very costly to complete his later projects. The extracts are from a selection of his work. The longest film, some 32 minutes in duration wasn't included as it is not yet finished.

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