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Reducing camera noise at source


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#1 Rab

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 11:23 AM

I'd be interested in anyone's experience of trying to treat camera noise at source rather than just adding blimps barneys and the like to muffle what there is. What, for example, are the noise-reduction benefits of giving the relevant bits a good loooob, and then which are the most relevant (as in noisy) bits? Are there any routine (and for me it has to be really routine) maintenance treatments that people have found cut down the clatter? Does an add-in pressure plate make any difference one way or another? My camera is a Bauer S715XL, but I guess any solutions might be of wider interest. Any thoughts? Rab
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#2 santo

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 03:12 PM

While that's the smartest way to approach these things, and lubrication will help a little or a lot depending on the camera, it's still going to come down to camera design which is something you can't change.

I'm not sure if you're aware of it or not, but there are two models of Bauer 715. One that uses all gears, and another that uses some belts and cuts down noise considerably. At least that is the reports I've read from some people who have owned many of these cameras and opened them up. The one I used to have was on the noisy side, but not all that bad. I never opened it up to see. It's also a good question as to how easy it is to open one up and get to the points of what needs to be lubricated. I've got a Canon 814 electronic I picked up cheap and for a diversion I'm working on opening it up and doing a little simple lubrication with a few drops of oil and a little swab of lithium grease here and there on the metal shafts and whatnot -- but it isn't so straight forward as a camera that was engineered for servicing and ease of maintenance, I can tell you that! <_< Your Bauer may or may not be a challenge, too.

The pressure plate did help a bit with camera noise in the Bauer and other cameras when I used to employ one. But the only camera I've used that was quiet enough for synch sound is a sound Nizo. I still own it, a bargain priced 3056 in excellent shape, but I haven't used it much recently. It uses a rubber belt system. Provided you're outside or you've got a big room and are shooting with a shotgun mike, you can get away with using it. Probably a barney would be all it would need for more intimate settings. I've never tried to lubricate it.

That's about all I know. I do all my super 8 dialogue with post dubbing. Just aim a miniDV camera at the scene, let it run as I do a few takes and different angles, then turn it off. Link it to the shots in post and edit. Then get nice clean dubs from the talent when I've got everything put together. Invisible lip synch is not all that hard as it can also be fine-tuned in post if needed. A modern version of the 1950's - 60's euro indie filmmaker school. Worked for Polanski and Godard making KNIFE IN THE WATER and BREATHLESS with noisy Arriflex 16s and Bolex. Works for my humble little films.

Have you done some tests with your Bauer and a shotgun mike? It might be quiet enough for your uses, even? A cartridge of reversal and a crude off the wall video transfer and edit experiment, maybe? Tests are invaluable.
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#3 Rab

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 10:07 AM

While that's the smartest way to approach these things, and lubrication will help a little or a lot depending on the camera, it's still going to come down to camera design which is something you can't change.

I'm not sure if you're aware of it or not, but there are two models of Bauer 715. One that uses all gears, and another that uses some belts and cuts down noise considerably. At least that is the reports I've read from some people who have owned many of these cameras and opened them up. The one I used to have was on the noisy side, but not all that bad. I never opened it up to see. It's also a good question as to how easy it is to open one up and get to the points of what needs to be lubricated. I've got a Canon 814 electronic I picked up cheap and for a diversion I'm working on opening it up and doing a little simple lubrication with a few drops of oil and a little swab of lithium grease here and there on the metal shafts and whatnot -- but it isn't so straight forward as a camera that was engineered for servicing and ease of maintenance, I can tell you that! <_< Your Bauer may or may not be a challenge, too.

The pressure plate did help a bit with camera noise in the Bauer and other cameras when I used to employ one. But the only camera I've used that was quiet enough for synch sound is a sound Nizo. I still own it, a bargain priced 3056 in excellent shape, but I haven't used it much recently. It uses a rubber belt system. Provided you're outside or you've got a big room and are shooting with a shotgun mike, you can get away with using it. Probably a barney would be all it would need for more intimate settings. I've never tried to lubricate it.

That's about all I know. I do all my super 8 dialogue with post dubbing. Just aim a miniDV camera at the scene, let it run as I do a few takes and different angles, then turn it off. Link it to the shots in post and edit. Then get nice clean dubs from the talent when I've got everything put together. Invisible lip synch is not all that hard as it can also be fine-tuned in post if needed. A modern version of the 1950's - 60's euro indie filmmaker school. Worked for Polanski and Godard making KNIFE IN THE WATER and BREATHLESS with noisy Arriflex 16s and Bolex. Works for my humble little films.

Have you done some tests with your Bauer and a shotgun mike? It might be quiet enough for your uses, even? A cartridge of reversal and a crude off the wall video transfer and edit experiment, maybe? Tests are invaluable.


Thanks Santo. I'm planning to take the lid off and do some prodding because I'd like to carry out Robert Hughes' mod on ASA readings, so while I'm in there doing the brain surgery I might as well sort out the intestines too. For most purposes I'm very relaxed about the noise, but it struck me someone (an ex-engineer for example) might have some steer on things that can be done inside without a PhD. I've just bought a shotgun mike, but not yet put it to use. However I'm planning one interior car shot where a shotgun mike wouldn't do much. Post-dubbing looks like the way.

While I've got you, so to speak, have you ever mixed cameras on films or do you always stick to one for consistency in all shots?

Good health
Rab
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#4 santo

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 12:18 PM

Certainly in Super 8, lenses are all over the place, and differences can be seen pretty clearly when you intercut. I try not to, but using a lens that's softer than others for close-ups seems to be okay, and that is a classic techniques which works. Keep in mind that even shutter speeds are all over the place so you get a different motion look, too. The Nizo has a 230 degree shutter compared to a 160-150 in non xl cameras. That does give a noticeably different look to footage of movement. Shots taken with my 3056 and my Leicina Special of the same subject, same lighting, look noticeably different. But doing medium and wides with the Special, and a close up with the 3056, and the differences seem to be okay away to my eye, the one time I did it. Sort of like a portrait photographer doesn't want a razor sharp 90mm or 135mm lens, they want it a little softer and more flattering.
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#5 Rab

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 05:26 AM

Thanks again. I look forward to hearing how your Canon project goes.
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Broadcast Solutions Inc

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Technodolly

Tai Audio

Opal

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

CineLab

Visual Products

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

The Slider