How do I make cheap slide captions?
January 17, 2008 1:18 PM   Subscribe

I'm after for a cheap solution to create very (very) basic captions and turn them into slides for a clunky carousel projector. Lo-fi is the aesthetic - it's for a theatre show.

I have plenty of slide mounts from doing similar a few years ago, but then that involved a mounted camera, and developing slide film, which is now harder and expensive. Digital-to-slides via the print shop is also more than I want to spend. Is there a very good reason why I can't use OHP transparency film and just laser them, and then break out the scissors?
posted by klaatu to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does it have to be a projector? If you are going lo-fi, an overhead would work and be easy to setup with transparancies.
posted by Loto at 1:24 PM on January 17, 2008

I seem to remember drawing directly on a roll of transparent film with markers when I was a kid and running it through a projector of some kind. Not a slide projector, and not a 24fps movie projector. I think it was a projector we had at school for showing films that you played one frame at a time manually synchronized with a cassette tape. It was very low-fi but it worked.

With a slide, you want to make sure that the heat of the projector won't melt the transparency, but if it can handle a laser printer, I would think it'd be okay.
posted by Jeff Howard at 1:43 PM on January 17, 2008

I've done just what you're doing but with inkjet OHP transparency film and it worked just fine although I guess the resolution will be crisper if you're using a laserjet. Inkjet looks more low-fi (read slightly blobby) though if that's your aim.
posted by merocet at 3:19 PM on January 17, 2008

I did exactly this for a project* during art school. It works fine -- use a white font on a black fill. For best results, copy the transparency with the darkest settings possible, then grab a sharpie and darken the 'dark parts' of each slide so that you shut out as much light as possible. I would use a paper cutter over scissors, and possibly just pay for cuts at kinkos (on their machine) if you have a great number of slides.

* My partner and I rigged up a magnetic switch to an elevator in Berkeley's Kroeber Hall (which shared evenly with the Anthropology department -- a people much less approving of ART SHENANIGANS). When the elevator doors closed, the switch was triggered, turning off all the lights and leaving the occupants in complete darkness. A hidden CD walkman hooked up to a pair of battery-powered speakers played dark ambient music, and a projector flipped through a series of caption slides that all said "NO". When the passengers reached their floor, the doors would open and the lights would flip back on.

We decided against placing a note at the door of the elevator informing potential participants of the installation because that "would've made the project less interesting". We were thoroughly and deservedly reamed for that one.

posted by fishfucker at 3:20 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I was so caught up in thinking about how I did this in Elementary school that I didn't think about how I'd do it now. I'm pretty sure I'd print out the captions on a laser printer at 200% actual size, but with black text on white background and then get a PMT (photo-mechanical transfer) reduction/negative onto film rather than paper. Not a lot of places have photostat cameras anymore, but if you're in a large city you might get lucky and find a prepress shop that can handle it.
posted by Jeff Howard at 10:05 PM on January 17, 2008

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