A multi-disciplinary journey in music, sound, and field recording.


Posted: October 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: found sound objects, sound design
The Kodak Brownie. Man, what ever happened to lens turrets, anyway?

The Kodak Brownie. Man, what ever happened to lens turrets, anyway? I

I bought this Kodak Brownie 8mm film camera at a yard sale, way back when I was actually gonna shoot with it. I never did, so it wound up on my desk as a tchotchke, next to my baboon skull, remote control zombie, and tofu skeleton.

This turreted Brownie, as best as I can tell, was manufactured from 1955 to 1963 (the Brownie brand, by the way, is 109 years old this year). Its most prominent feature is a wind-up motor on the side of the case. There’s a small catch that clicks on every seventh rotation, but otherwise it’s a neat, small sound that has a fair amount of character. It has a rhythmic, “breathing” quality to its sound. I wound ‘er up tight and opened the side lid for sonic clarity. The low volume required a large diaphragm mic to capture it in loads of detail with a super-low noise floor.

I thought that it was evocative of clockwork servos on a steampunk robot, or as a smaller loop on top of  footage that’s treated to look like a newsreel or home movie. It’s pretty midrangey, so it holds up well to being sped up or slowed down. You’re guaranteed to hear or see this used in actual media to be posted on Noise Jockey in the future!

Brownie by noisejockey
[Røde NT1a mic, Sound Devices 702 recorder]

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One Comment on “Brownie”

  1. 1 Michael Maroussas said at 4:54 am on October 23rd, 2009:

    really nice sound – was really surprised at how little time you get to shoot before it’s fully unwound!

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