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 Q&A w/ & Evis Beaton

Casey Affleck as Detective John Hunt in the movie "Old Man & The Gun" in a scene using newspaper microfilm created by  

Q: How did this project come about?

Evis Beaton: was first contacted by Old Man Productions set decorator Olivia Peebles back in March of 2017. She was looking for a microfilm reader for a movie (Old Man & The Gun) set back in the early 1980’s.  Initially their idea was to use the machine with a random roll of newspaper microfilm in a scene to simulate research being done by a detective investigating the case.

Q: Where you able to provide the machine they needed?

EB: Yes, we had the perfect early 80’s machine available, a Microvue XL16 16mm microfilm roll film reader that was in excellent condition but still retained that classic 80’s technology appearance. They did purchase the machine from and we shipped the unit to the studio in Cincinnati Ohio.

This is a picture of the machine before we shipped it to the studio:

Q: The scene with Casey Affleck as Detective John Hunt researching bank robberies on old newspaper microfilm looking for clues to the identity of the suspect showed microfilm images displayed on the reader with articles that appeared to relate to the case, how was that created?

EB: After the initial conversation about the microfilm reader and the intended scene, I remarked to the set coordinator that we could create microfilm for them with content provided by their graphic arts department for a more realistic scene where the camera could capture the screen content which would actually be relevant to the investigation.

Q: How was that idea received?                  

EB: She loved the idea and we were contacted by Tara Tremaine of ISS Props in Sunland, CA for the purchase of the machine and began discussing the creation of microfilm newspaper. They were not aware that microfilm could be created from digital files. We call this process “microfilm authoring” and use a very expensive piece of equipment made by Kodak called an “Archive Writer” to convert digital files to microfilm. The archive writer actually “writes” the microfilm image onto a roll of unexposed microfilm at a very high resolution by way of a sophisticated laser controlled by the archive writer software and hardware. That film is later developed and made ready for use on a microfilm reader.

Q: So you think the scene became more prominent because of your idea?

EB: I think so. Without the microfilm having relevant content displaying on the reader screen there would be little reason to focus the camera on the machine's screen. I would like to think that my suggestion helped provide the director (Robert Redford) with the option to show John Hunt (Casey Affleck) not only researching information on the microfilm reader but to allow the audience to see what he was looking at by zooming into the microfilm article in those scenes.

Q: Was this the first time you created microfilm for a motion picture?

EB: We have sold equipment in the past to movie prop companies that needed era specific microfilm equipment, but it was the first time we created microfilm for a movie scene.

Casey Affleck as Detective John Hunt in the movie "Old Man & The Gun" researching bank robberies on microfilm.

Q: Have you created microfilm from digital images for other non-traditional purposes?

EB: We have created microfilm for several unique applications including highly reduced serial number images designed to be placed on products for security identification called Microdots. We have also created microfilm with religious writings highly reduced for placement in pendants and charms in English, Hebrew and Sanskrit.

Q: Thank you Mr. Beaton for your time and for details about your contribution to the scene in Old Man & The Gun that shows the microfilm reader and microfilm that provided to Old Man Productions and that were used in a scene sequence in the movie.

EB: Your welcome, it was a great project and it is rewarding to see our work memorialized on the big screen in a Robert Redford movie.  Even though we are about the only ones that know of our contribution to the scene, its personally rewarding to know that one of your ideas was good enough to impress Robert Redford to give that scene the time and focus he did. It's an interesting movie and well worth seeing on the big screen, especially since it is apparently the last film Robert Redford will appear in according to a recent interview.


A portion of some of the images used to create the newspaper microfilm for "Old Man & The Gun" shown in the microfilm scene are displayed below:

     This image shows up first in the scene...                                                  This image comes up next                                                   


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