I agree. No doubt he was hampered by a film crew and a journalist following him round, stirring up dust. And perhaps he liked dark prints, anyway.
I wondered about the glass plates. They showed something being painted onto glass with a paintbrush. Can that have been the way Burton did it? The Gandolfi, as used by Burton, had an international back instead of the hinged plate-holder back that Burton must have used. I was entirely baffled by the plate-drying technique – "we put them in a box...". Even if they couldn't lay hands on a proper plate-rack, an ordinary dish-drying rack would have sufficed.
His dark slides had the white side out both before and after the shot, but he'd had them modified to take glass (see the imprint of a wire in each corner) so perhaps they were single-sided.
On the whole, though, I was very glad to have seen it. It certainly raised my respect for the originals. I now wonder how Burton metered.
If this has whetted anybody's appetite, it's worth looking up Flinders Petrie, a pioneering archaeologist and eccentric, who used pinhole photography to record his digs. The advantage for him was that the long exposures removed all the workers, leaving a "clean" image of the site. And of course, a pinhole camera is very robust and very cheap.