So, today I ate lunch with Caleb and we chatted about a portrait idea I have for the authors of Some New Trend that in some way involves either borrowing Alan's 4x5 (which has a PC Sync built into the shutter) OR figuring out a way to make my old Speed Graphic sync with...well..anything. I have an old Pacemaker Speed Graphic which is only equipped with a Bipost sync for old school flash bulbs and such. See below:
So, if you are even vaguely familiar with flashes or strobes and how to hook them up you'll realize this is a connector you may never have seen. This is even older than the household plug style (I think?). Anyway...the bottom line is I have connector that could realistically connect to the Bipost. I did some digging online (shocker) and found some info (a while back) and (just now today) decided to try to cobble together my old cord (instead of buying a custom cord). I had an extra, short PC Sync > 3.5mm cord hanging around so I clipped and stripped it to see if i could manually wrap the wires around the posts and get the shutter trip to close the circuit. Well...straight away that worked. I hooked the wires to the posts and plugged in the 3.5mm jack thing into the Pocket Wizard which trigged my flash perfectly.
The next step is to find a better way to make the cords stay on the Bipost so I rummaged through my box of cords and found an old hard drive closure power supply that had a cord (it was one of those cords that are in two pieces. One piece from wall to transformer, another fixed cord that goes from transformer to the device) looked like the cord you'd plug into your old school electric razor...the two little hole things. Perfect. Only, it was larger than the electric razor ones (which people had said work) so I had to
hack the shit out of it do some surgery on it so I could make it pinch together and cram on the posts.
IT FREAKING WORKED.
So now I have a custom cord made from crap I had lying around anyway. I set up the camera, ghetto-cord, pocket wizard, and then a flash with umbrella and another PW. Busted out the 4x5 polaroid (gotta have instant gratification on this one) and made Kevin stand in, as he was in the studio writing (see Some New Trend link above) for a test shot. (Anyone sick of my parentheses yet?)
Focus. Close shutter. Pull polaroid thingy. Click. Close and remove polaroid. Wait. Pull polaroid.
Well, shit. It didn't look like it fired.
The tests looked fine. I.e. it seemed the flash was firing during the exposure. It apparently wasn't.
I have read about a small capacitor that may need to be shorted out in the bipost BUT the F-X setting for the bipost (as seen above) is SUPPOSED to be 0ms and thus should fire the flash when I ask it to. For now it doesn't. Or it may have. The above photo of Kevin is the second shot I took of him and I had the umbrella on the other side and it LOOKS like it filled his right side even with the ambient. But then, I can't really tell. There seems to be a small catch in his eye (our right, his left) but who knows.
So my next test will be to create ANOTHER cord to serve as the sync cord and go straight from the Bipost to a strobe pack. Too lazy to bust them out tonight. If that doesn't work...I'll have to dig more. And if I can't make it work I'll just borrow a more modern 4x5 to shoot SNT stuff. I'd hate to just shoot it digital. Gross.
Okay thats the end of the nerd out.
And just a note of goodness. I've been listening to Damien Jurado a ton today. I suggest him for what ails you. He posted a couple of new random tracks on his space. Solid, of course.