Saturday, March 15, 2008

View Master

Do you remember view masters; little toys that you put picture reels in and saw everything in 3D? Well It turns out that my wife's grand father had a Stereoscopic Camera for taking those kind of pictures. And most of the family photos were taken and mounted on the reels. I think my brother in law has the camera and paraphernalia for mounting the pictures on the reels and all. But it is a really fussy process to create them. Anyway it looks to be a dying technology because you can't easily get the reels or cameras anymore except on EBay maybe. And hasn't Kodak even gone digital?

Anyway the camera had two lenses set about eye width apart and t00k two images at once with just a little different perspective. The images were taken on slide film and when mounted the different perspective gave the 3d effect. The biggest problem was that if a picture adds ten pounds the 3d being two pictures added twenty so women didn't like it!!!! Also it was a manual fiddly process to take the uncut slide film strips and cut the images into little tiny chips and mount them in the reels. If it had been more popular today's crack users could really get into a career tweaking view master reels but who knew?

In any case, another brother in law has decided to get all the pictures scanned from the reels and I am going to touch them up as put them on CD for everyone in the family. I have done this sort of thing before when I made up slide shows for the in-laws and my parent's 50th anniversaries. Al is doing this for a birthday present for his mom. I think its is a great idea and the fringe benefit is that we get a copy of all the old pictures.

There are a few things to remember when you do this kind of work however. First you are going to see somethings that well are pretty darn funny (ok scary too but mostly funny). The fashions and the hair styles are great for a laugh but don't. Especially not out loud. Some of those pictures may be your loved ones and having lived though it will not see the humour. Remeber they think those pictures are ... normal! They think that people really looked like that can you believe it, ha!

The second thing is that when you are discussing the subjects do not use adjectives. For example do not say "Hey who is that homely kid with the big honkin' schnoz?" because again some of those pictures may be your loved ones (in some cases your wives). They may not have thought of themselves as homely or their schnozes as "big honkin'". Those type of comments will get you a guaranteed reservation in the dog house. Trust me this is the voice of experience.

In spite of that I am looking forward to it. I like old pictures and in case my wife reads this I hope to see lots of pictures of her as a baby. She must have been as beautiful baby 'cause baby look at her now!

Sucking up for all I am worth...


1 comment:

Eleanor said...

This is a total shot in the dark, but have been trying to find somewhere or someone to rent a viewmaster camera and film cutter from. You mention in this post that your brother in law may still have this stuff. Any interest in renting it for a very short period of time? I know this seems odd, but I would greatly appreciate it. You can email me at Thanks.