Santa Cruz County History - Films

Full Text Newspaper ArticleSanta Cruz Daily Surf. April 4, 1916. p. 3


Finishing the First Film Backed by Santa Cruz Scenery

by John M. O'Keeffe

By the time that this article is in print the first release of the Fer Dal Film Manufacturing Company of Santa Cruz, Cal., will have been completed, a two reel photoplay entitled "The Tip," valued at $3,000. Out at the studio in Laveaga Park Sunday afternoon Wade Mullen and his assistants finished the printing and development of the positive films that are used in the projection machine, and Managing Director Edward Ferguson did the final cutting and inspecting that marks the completion of a production.

Monday morning "The Tip" was given a private exhibition at the studio projection room and the final O. K. was placed on it.

Laboratory Complete

Sunday was a busy day at the laboratory. Early in the morning the negatives that had previously been developed were assembled and sent thru the printer. This is a huge affair containing a powerful lamp which may be adjusted to get the proper density. The unexposed film that is to be printed is threaded in on a spool that is concurrent with the strip of negative film and the light passing thru the negative film via a small window in the printer prints the images on the unexposed film. This is now sent thru a metal developing bath, the long, thin strips of film being stretched on wooden frames, and when fully developed they are immersed in a fixing bath which completes the operation.

After a half hour wash in clean water the films are rolled on a drum or revolving frame which is rotated in order to facilitate the drying, and from here they pass into the hands of Mr. Ferguson, who assembles the scenes according to their contiguity and gives the film the final touches.

Thus is the entire work of photographing, developing and printing done right here in Santa Cruz. Everything from the large chemical vats to the delicate cutting and trimming tools are included in the equipment of the Fer Dal Company, and it is truly an interesting trip to follow the progress of the picture making thru the many little light-tight rooms that comprise the company's laboratory.

"Welsh Rarebit And Pickles"

Visitors to the studio on Sunday were given an opportunity to see how scenes are obtained of a rocking room such as were conspicuous in Charley Chaplin's "Shanghaied." In Mr. Ferguson's third production, "Welsh Rarebit And Pickles," the scenario calls for a hideous nightmare scene, in which the partaker of a Welsh rarebit goes thru all the horrors of a voyage thru heavy seas. The three sides of a room are mounted on a movable base which may be teeter-tottered or rotated. The camera is stationed on a motionless platform and the sea sick effect is obtained by rocking the room.

"Welsh Rarebit and Pickles" has been partly finished and will be the third production of the company. The second release, "The Call Of The Pipes," will be completed today and will be shown at a local theater perhaps tonight.

Manager Ferguson is very proud of his studio and takes delight in showing visitors about. The dressing rooms are fully equipped and very convenient. When scenes are being taken on the stage the direct sun light is filtered thru diffusers which gives the desired light effect. Offices for the directors and officials of the company are included in the makeup of the studio, which is as complete as it is compact.

Santa Cruz can certainly feel proud of this, its new industry, which has thus far had such a successful beginning.

Copyrighted by the Santa Cruz Daily Surf. Reproduced by permission.