Still more office hours w/ faculty (though fewer this week than last):
Early last week I tracked down a Steenbeck repair and maintenance business out of Boston and sent an inquiry to the generic email contact address.
I got a reply from Dwight Cody (pretty sure he’s a one man operation) and was completely thrown when he asked if I was using the parts for an art project. It took me a few but I realized my school email signature mentions ITP. He must have done some googling. Another round of email and I had photos and quotes for the parts I’m looking for.
It was thrilling to have tracked down a vendor but I had to exercise some restraint to keep from impulse buying without first laying eyes and hands on something physical. So I wrote Natalie LeBrecht, the Program Admin for Graduate Film at Tisch, in search of a Steenbeck.
Natalie was at a loss but later that night I ran into classmate Ryan Grippi who works at Tisch full time in Production. He pulled out his phone, made a call, hung up and said I’d find what I was looking for at 721 Broadway in Room 1171, adding if I asked for Ben Pessin in Post I’d probably make his day.
That was Tuesday.
On Wednesday I found the flatbed shoved in an alcove, forsaken and all but forgotten, in a room full of students cutting video on high end workstations.
I went out of my way to tell the TA what I was up to but he must have narc’d on me because Ben Pessin showed up not five minutes after I started playing with the console. Nice guy. He looked vaguely amused when I told him what I was up to but eager to help and gave me contact info for a Paul Tomasko in Saugerties who also maintains and refurbishes Steenbecks.
I gave Paul Tomasko a ring the next day. Another nice guy. Old school film technicians are often lovely people. Can’t say for sure what was going through Tomasko’s head when I told him I was sourcing Steenbeck parts to build a control surface for reading electronic text but he stopped to think when I asked him if he could describe the difference in ‘feel’ between the two different designs (detents and cam-actuated microswitches vs magnetic steps and a pot). He had a hard time giving it language and kept defaulting to lever position and speed in frames per second but he seemed to appreciate that I was interested in specifics.
I suppose the kooks who started this whole ‘physical computing’ thing at ITP must have had some idea what they were doing.