Time-Exposure Cameras

Most of the strange-looking sequences in Sleep Always were shot with special time-exposure cameras which Mitch devised from otherwise broken super 8 cameras. These cameras were nicknamed "Midge" as a bit of a joke - sort of like a brunette side-kick in a beach movie - and for some reason it stuck.

"Midge" Mach I (top photo) 

This camera started as a Bell & Howell 2123 XL which would not run. The shell and guts were removed until the shutter wheel (a) was exposed. The camera is run be either turning the shutter wheel by hand or by touching the wires (b) to a battery. (A "dead" battery will run the camera at very slow speeds.) Camera speed can be varied by messing with the battery contacts. A level (c) is used to assist with framing since the eyepiece was removed. A black plastic plate (d) was attched to offer some protection from the elements. A soft black cloth is placed over the body when shooting to prevent light leakage.

"Midge" Mach II (lower photo)

Started as a Nikon Super Zoom 8. Modified by the same principal as Mach I. Shutter wheel (a) is at the back and wires (b) at the top. On this model the eyepiece is still functional and the motor can still be powered to three different speeds. Mitch later discovered that these Nikons can be modified by simply cutting away a piece of the body to expose the shutter wheel (a), thus leaving the entire camera otherwise in tact.


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