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Shooting w/Bolex in cold weather


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#1 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 07:14 PM

I recently shot some 16mm footage on a Bolex H16 on a beach where the temperature was about 38 degrees fahrenheit (Lousy midwest weather!). And I noticed that the spring motor didn't sound that great (seemed like it was struggling - compared to what it sounded like indoors.) I have no doubt that it was the weather that caused the spring to lag, because I checked that the film was loaded correctly.

Does anybody know (or could guess) what the consequences will be? Will I not get exactly 24fps for that footage? I only used it outside for 40 minutes. I'd like to know what you guys think. Thank you!
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#2 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 11:59 PM

I recently shot some 16mm footage on a Bolex H16 on a beach where the temperature was about 38 degrees fahrenheit (Lousy midwest weather!). And I noticed that the spring motor didn't sound that great (seemed like it was struggling - compared to what it sounded like indoors.)

38 Fairinheight is 3 degrees C ABOVE freezing. That is not REALLY cold. If your Camara has not be re-lubed in a while it might get slugish I guess. or maybe what they say is true and the filmo is a better than average cold weather camera. I certainly expect any camera worth the name to at least run to -10 C (with the batteries in a coat pocket if required)

The two posibilities if it was cold enough to cause the lubricant to get stiff is that the Part that controls the speed (Govenor) may have be operating at a different point, and may have actually held the speed close to what you wanted. that may sound "funny"

OR the camera would run a Bit slow, giving you over exposure.

Only way to find out what happened on the beach is to process the film and have a look.

You could put the Camera in the refigerator over night, that will take it down to 2-4 Degrees C, and then follow the manual procedure to check the speed. (- If you don't have a procedure in your manual - if you run the camera for ten seconds, it should do 240 frames at 40 frames a foot so it will run 6 feet. You can use some leader instead of real film if you want to mark the start and end and get an accurate measurement.)
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#3 Scott Bullock

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 01:25 AM

Sounds to me like your footage will definitely be overexposed. However, especially considering the latitude of today's film stocks, that is better than it being underexposed; you can't pull an image from something that was never there to begin with. I'd definitely have the camera serviced as it sounds as though the camera's lubricant barely exists anymore. You could run the risk of the camera's mechanisms seizing altogether.

Additionally, based solely on the information you've provided, I'd wager that the camera was running slower than 24fps. Therefore your film will most likely be overexposed and under-cranked; the latter being more difficult to deal with than the former.
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