BAM and the Em Dash


Yes, I know BAM and the Em Dash sounds like a great title for a film, but this post is going to take a break from Obscure Topics in Film Editing and focus on Obscure Topics in Typography.

At least since I’ve lived in Brooklyn—and probably a lot longer—the Brooklyn Academy of Music has used an em dash (—) between dates rather than an en dash (–), which is the correct punctuation to use between dates. Every time I go there—or see one of their posters around the neighborhood—it drives me nuts. Three years ago I took the time to send a complaining e-mail to them. This was their response:

Hi Kyle,
Thanks for taking the time to study our ads in such detail.
We do intentionally use em-dashes even though we realize
that it is not technically grammatically correct.

The en dash is basically only used in ranges, so I guess they’re trying to drop it like an appendix. Apparently they think the em dash looks nicer, even though it clearly does not. It looks like a big ugly hunk of space that shouldn’t be there. Of course the bad kerning in the example above doesn’t help. Kudos to BAM for playing Eyes Wide Shut though!

An Update on my 3D Bolex Progress

Since I last posted about my Bolex Stereo system, I’ve made a bit of progress getting the whole thing together. I bought an old 16mm projector on E-Bay, which doesn’t quite have the right size lens mount, but the stereo lens fits inside, so I’m sure I can improvise something to make it a snug fit. I bought an ancient Norwood Director light meter on Craigslist, but the sensor seems to be dead. I’m going to try using my digital still camera as a makeshift meter.

I finally figured out how to take the polarizing filters out of the projection lens. It’s in a little metal ring pressed up against the glass. There are small tabs on the inside of the barrell that you can just pull on gently and the whole thing slides out. The filter is severely wrinkled, and is unlikely to work. I’ve ordered a set of linear polarizing filters for 3D projection (and some classy glasses) from Berezin Stereo Photography.


I was under the impression that I needed a split reel less than 400′, but it turns out the split reels I’m used to using were a lot bigger than 400′ (I think they were 1200′) which makes sense since in my head what I’m looking for is just about the size of a 400′ roll of 16mm film. So I’m planning to get one from Motion Picture Enterprises this week. They’re a few blocks from the office I’m editing in these days.

We’re almost there. Next up is actually running some film through the camera. We’ll see how that goes.