What is a Cinetract?
A 16 mm, 100-foot, silent reel, lasting 2 minutes and 44 seconds at 24 frames/second, on a political, social or similar theme, intended to provoke discussion and action.
Cinetracts are designed to express our beliefs and our reactions.
To: protest – propose – shock – inform – question – affirm – convince – reflect – yell – mock – denounce – educate
By what means?
– A wall, a camera, a lamp to light wall.
– Archival documents, photographs, newspapers, drawings, posters, books etc.,
– marker, Sellotape, glue, measuring-tape, stop-watch.
Document shooting order is crucial, as is shot duration. This requires short screenplay and/or schedule.
Break basic idea down into component images, according to material available. Remember not to be satisfied with first attempt. Forego overambitious effects. Distil text (beautiful, highly legible title-cards, as in silent movies) down to essentials. Make as clear and concise and striking as possible.
Test before shooting, stopwatch in hand, to determine required shot-length. Where there is text, this is easy: correct duration is time taken to read slowly. Where there are images, “sense” pace, according to image “weight”, aesthetic connection between successive images and image function (information, commentary, punctuation, atmosphere). A succession of images builds a discourse loosely or more intimately connected with discourse to be commented upon. The contrast and interplay between such discourses will prove shocking. They will ensure a Cinetract’s likely effectiveness.
If possible, use zoom not for zoom effects (very occasionally unavoidable) but to gain time by accurate framing (close-up shots of documentary archive material and other details) without shifting camera.
Shoot frame-by-frame, if camera allows, or using stopwatch. Use in-camera editing, without intervening blanks. Cinetracts are not usually edited. They should be ready for use on leaving lab.
We are showing a dozen or so Cinetracts prior to a similar number of feature-film screenings.