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Blackbird,fly – Loading Film


fter a few enquiries and the fact that I have been meaning to put together and upload this for a while but just never got around to it, here is an otherwise boring (insomniacs if you need a cure look here) visual tutorial on how to load film into your BBF (blackbird,fly) camera, I hope it is of use to someone out there.
As I said, I have been planning on uploading a guide to loading film into the blackbird,fly camera for a while, but life (and having fun taking photos!) sort of distracted me. The reason I initially planned to do this has not changed; when I first got the prototype version of the camera I was initially very unsure if I was actually loading film into it correctly – and this is someone who is used to loading film into cameras, so I could only imagine how approaching the job would be for people not as familiar with film photography!

The trick with loading film into the bbf is patience and practice. When I first got the camera I found it quite fiddly as my fingers are fat sausages in relation to the fine workings of the camera, so I felt quite clumsy (which I am anyway) but even I got there in the end.
(loading film into a Horizon panoramic camera is far more of a challenge IMHO)

Please note – if you find that you are winding the film on after loading and the film advance knob does not ‘lock’ in place then this means the film leader has not properly engaged in the take up spool and you will need to open the back and try again.
(After each exposure the film will advance a certain amount and then the film advance knob will stop winding on, indicating that the camera is ready for photography and the shutter needs to be released before the wind on knob will advance again)

Loading Film Into the BBF from artpunk on Vimeo.


  1. beckNo Gravatar wrote:

    Screw the camera…I’m concentrating on that goddamn dreamy voice of yours. I think I heard your nose whistling instead in the new podcast. I blamed Don. Haha. That’s a great video. Perhaps someday I’ll invest an interest enough to purchase one. Honestly, I would rather have a groovy Swiftshot Box camera. It’s nearly identical to the Fly series with colors and such. Now there’s a camera you should review. Hello…

    Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 10:37 | Permalink
  2. CameronNo Gravatar wrote:

    LOL Beck, you’ll make me blush! It probably was my nose whistling, I’ve had an on and off cold the last month thanks to Melbourne’s interminable hot one day, cold the next weather this summer. Thanks for the heads up on the Swiftshot Box camera, I will check that out. Happy New Year Beck.

    Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 11:04 | Permalink
  3. beckNo Gravatar wrote:

    The Swiftshot is an Auzzie made camera and very cute. I’m sure you or Marky have fondled one before. Groovy little gems.

    Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 13:56 | Permalink
  4. CameronNo Gravatar wrote:

    Thanks Beck, it must have been Skorj who has fondled one, in my ignorance I had not heard of them before (and me an Aussie and all!) Shame on me. Coincidently I discovered the site you linked to after reading your first comment and doing a search for these gems. It does differ from the bbf in that it is a MF camera and thus will be necessarily larger, but I agree with your assessment, very groovy!

    Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 15:09 | Permalink
  5. fjoIVNo Gravatar wrote:

    great post! i always enjoy the stuff you upload to the flickr group. i have found that some films, primarily the lomo brand, don’t like to wind properly and the sprocket holes don’t engage well with the take up spool. i usually have to bend and roll the film a little prior to loading to get it to be happy on the takeup spool’s little sprocket teeth. otherwise the film’s innate tension will snap it away from the teeth before it begins to roll.

    Thursday, January 1, 2009 at 01:58 | Permalink
  6. jayNo Gravatar wrote:

    do u have any videos on how to properly load film in a horizon kompakt camera?

    Friday, January 2, 2009 at 04:17 | Permalink
  7. CameronNo Gravatar wrote:

    @ FJOIV – thanks! I have found some films I have used (most notably with older/out of date film that tends to be brittle) that occasionally I have had some problems with small parts of the film breaking off (at the sprocket holes) either during advancing the film and/or rewinding. This has happened regularly in other cameras, most commonly in the supersampler from lsi, where the film tensioning seems to be greater than in other cameras.
    It has not been a big problem though, and has only happened a couple of times with the bbf. You just have to make sure you clear the inside of the camera of little bits of film that may lodge somewhere and interfere with the camera mechanism or cause ‘hickeys’ on your next roll.
    @ JAY – that may be a project for later on. I have thought about it, as personally I find the horizon camera the most difficult camera to load film into. (I have the Horizon Perfekt, but the loading is the same as the Kompakt I believe)

    Friday, January 2, 2009 at 09:10 | Permalink
  8. Ben LoganNo Gravatar wrote:

    Thanks Artpunk for the video. I enjoyed the background music as well as the tutorial. I appreciate your generosity to the plastic camera enthusiast community. Thanks for sharing your time and creativity (and patience!).

    Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 16:08 | Permalink
  9. simonNo Gravatar wrote:

    thanks very much appreciated…

    only downside is the soundtrack makes it sound like a porn movie !


    Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 09:59 | Permalink
  10. BrandonNo Gravatar wrote:

    Thanks a bunch. I got one for Christmas from my girlfriend, and I guess I was trying to wind the film up too tight. Apparently less than I was doing is fine. Thanks for the video.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 20:08 | Permalink
  11. Excellent video..almost as good as the edits below..LOL!

    Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 15:20 | Permalink
  12. great video..I was about to throw the whole thing out the window..but because of your oh so professionally done video I think I have it…no..really…it saved the camera!

    Friday, May 8, 2009 at 06:11 | Permalink
  13. samNo Gravatar wrote:

    hello! im having problems rewinding my film back.. is it possible for you to upload a video?

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 14:05 | Permalink
  14. MorganNo Gravatar wrote:

    Thanks! This was really helpful. The manual was pretty confusing.

    Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 07:01 | Permalink
  15. GarrettNo Gravatar wrote:

    Hi, so I recently got a BBF, but without instructions. Any ideas where I can find some details on how to use it?

    Saturday, October 10, 2009 at 04:53 | Permalink
  16. CameronNo Gravatar wrote:

    Hi Garret, I’m not sure where you got your BBF from but if it was new it should have had the instructions in the box. I can scan in mine and make them available as a pdf if you like (give me a few days)

    Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 09:10 | Permalink
  17. MegganNo Gravatar wrote:

    How do I unload the film from my BBF???

    Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 03:36 | Permalink
  18. chadwickNo Gravatar wrote:

    Has anyone fixed a busted rewind crank? Mine fragmented tooday

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 04:22 | Permalink
  19. ben loganNo Gravatar wrote:

    Thanks for the tutorial, Cameron. Just got my BBF. Looking forward to my first experiments. Thanks for doing what you do. Your images consistently make me feel that going through the “work” of playing with toy cameras is worth the fuss (compared to ridiculously easy digital). Thanks for the inspiration.

    Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 14:45 | Permalink
  20. carolbrowneNo Gravatar wrote:

    Thanks for this tutorial. I would have NEVER figured that out without it. I’m borrowing this camera from a friend and just can’t wait to try it out.

    Friday, October 22, 2010 at 01:14 | Permalink
  21. A CanuckNo Gravatar wrote:

    Thanks for the video! I’ve been shooting film for 40 years and was really struggling to load film into my new BBF – specifically, getting it to catch onto the take-up sprocket. After viewing your video, it was clear that I had too much slack in the film. Adjustment & voila! A picture (or video) really is worth a thousand words.

    Friday, November 12, 2010 at 03:42 | Permalink
  22. AllenNo Gravatar wrote:

    I love my blackbird but have not used it in months. Reason why is that I keep getting these damned lines through the pictures, almost like perfect scratch lines. I cannot figure out why it’s doing that. I’ve shot a few rolls and it’s the same every time. So I stopped using the camera. Anyone know why it happens? I’ve read numerous other stories of people having the same issue but never a solution

    Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 16:07 | Permalink
  23. LeilaNo Gravatar wrote:

    I just got a blackbird fly as a gift from a loved one. While trying to load the film I don’t know what happen. It was too fast that tue winder became stuck. The film slipped out and I could not longer winder the winder. It says I’m not suppose to wind opposite direction but now it cant wind the normal direction anymore. Like it’s stuck.I hope you can help me out here. It’s a terrible feeling. Like I was so happy a min and now terribly disappointed in myself.


    Friday, September 30, 2011 at 04:23 | Permalink
  24. John McAdamNo Gravatar wrote:

    A great help! First time I forgot to adjust the film counter and couldn’t figure out why I got so many exposures. Just now accidentally broke off one of the 3 tabs securing the film counter, hopefully can get a replacement.


    Monday, October 10, 2011 at 11:50 | Permalink
  25. eneNo Gravatar wrote:

    Hi there could you help me with my blackbird fly camera as I think the film advances but the counter doesnt. not quite sure what’s happening. certified noob here.. thanks!

    Friday, March 7, 2014 at 21:27 | Permalink
  26. CameronNo Gravatar wrote:

    Are you absolutely sure the film is advancing? Chances are the film is not engaging on the sprocket cogs, as that is what advances the counter…

    Friday, March 7, 2014 at 22:19 | Permalink

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. bbf 開工! | blog 你個頭 on Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 20:01

    [...] 說上片有點難,所以search 過上片教學video… [...]

  2. The Plastic Lens ~ words › Starting Out on Monday, May 10, 2010 at 17:25

    [...] There is a tutorial video for loading a Diana + with 120 film made by the lomo people here There is one made by squarefrog for loading film into a Holga here …and for the blckbird,fly (BBF) camera (which takes 35mm film but can still be a bit of a challenge for a first-timer) there is a tutorial made by yours truly here! [...]

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