Jump to content


Photo

Bolex issues for single frame animation


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Shawn Gallagher

Shawn Gallagher
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 24 posts
  • Other
  • Brooklyn, NY

Posted 09 February 2006 - 11:43 AM

Hi Everyone,

I have a few questions about the perfromance of later model Bolex's regarding single frame (cel) animation and was hoping that someone could demystify the issue. I am eternally grateful for any help you could provide.

So, I'm looking for a Bolex with a 1:1 drive, 10x (or greater) reflex viewfinder, and a zoom lens with a minimum focusing distance at less then 6". I'm not really interested in super 16 conversion or the ability to attach a 400' reel.

From what I understand, one of the first models to come with a 1:1 also came with a nice standard Vario-Switar 86EE zoom lens. I am considering buying one of these from ebay. It could only hold 100', but for single frame that's fine for me. I am also looking into a RX-5, SB (with bayonet mount) or an EBM.

My questions are:

(1) I have heard that the spring driven motor provides inconsistent performance in shutter speed, especially when the spring begins to wind down. Is this true?

I don't mind hand cranking the spring motor (my setup is very sturdy) but I need even and consistent exposure. Is this possible with the spring mechanisim?

(2) I've also heard that a single frame animation MOTOR is needed for single frame animation. Although the only one I could find (and possibly afford) is the Meritex Inc. K206 animation motor, but this is currently not available. Is an animation motor necessary for consistent performance?

(3) Does the electric model (EBM or later) provide an option for single frame exposure (and rewind)?
And if so, is it any good?

(4) This is a shot in the dark, but does anyone know if the short Bolex Matte Box will work with the large Switar 86EE zoom lens? It looks like there are two other things projecting from the base of the lens (I have only seen pictures) which would possibly get in the way of a Matte.

(5) Any suggestions as to the best Bolex setup for single frame animation would be deeply appreciated.

Thanks so much for your help.
-Shawn Gallagher
Brooklyn, NY

Edited by Shawn Gallagher, 09 February 2006 - 11:44 AM.

  • 0

#2 Clive Tobin

Clive Tobin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 402 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Spokane Valley, WA, USA

Posted 09 February 2006 - 06:40 PM

(2) I've also heard that a single frame animation MOTOR is needed for single frame animation. Although the only one I could find (and possibly afford) is the Meritex Inc. K206 animation motor, but this is currently not available. Is an animation motor necessary for consistent performance?

(3) Does the electric model (EBM or later) provide an option for single frame exposure (and rewind)?
And if so, is it any good?


You haven't looked very hard! We have sold hundreds of the Tobin Time Lapse TTL motor which is $495. This has single frame animation plus time lapse filming from 2 seconds to 1 hour per frame. This can be seen on the Tobin website www.tobincinemasystems.com .

The spring motor will drift in exposure as the spring winds down.

The EBM is not equipped for single frame. In fact it doesn't even have a run-stop switch for normal filming, this needs to be in the handgrip or a switch in the power cord.

The EL will do single frame but I have been told that it shouldn't be used as the camera will beat itself to death eventually.
  • 0

#3 Boris Belay

Boris Belay
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 210 posts
  • Other
  • Brussels, Belgium

Posted 09 February 2006 - 09:12 PM

Hi, I'm not so familiar with animation work but I can provide a few more answers.
I would take Clive Tobin's word on the spring motor wind-down : he's one of (if not THE) specialist on Bolex motors, and you should seriously consider his gear.
Besides that, I would think the motor option is safer and more practical, but you could always rewind a lot if you have more time than money, as many of us do ! Bolex made several animation motors of their own, which show on eBay now and then and may be a cheaper option. The Bolex MBF-A motor must be used with the power and control units that went with it (MBF-B, MBF-C) but these are fairly old by now, bulky and heavy to ship, and could have damaged circuits. A later series of Single-Frame Motors (S. F. Unit 2 & 3) are smaller, and the control box is far more modern and smaller -- those may be fine. They all require 1:1 motor axes, present on all Bolex cameras from the mid/late-60's on (Rex4/5, M4/5, S4, SB, SBM, EBM -- and yes, those later Units will work on the EBM, they mount on the matte-box threads). If you're going to trigger the camera by hand only, you don't need the 1;1 shaft and can go for any model (but earlier models may be less relaible, etc.).
The EL uses its own electric motor for single frame shooting, and Bolex designed a (rare and sophisticated) Remote control box. I don't know if it will eventually kill the camera... perhaps not with the controler... But it should be nice overall, if pricier than a Rex-4 set-up.
With any Turret model, I would lock the turret down with a locking turret plug for animation work. H16 M4 models may make good economic sense for you if you don't need the reflex viewing or if you end up getting a reflex zoom (Berthiot) : the camera is the same as the Rex-4, with a fixed C lens mount (no turret) and no reflex viewfinder (and no prism to worry about). Some of these were (very little) used as security cameras in the 60's and make for great deals today.
Regarding the lens : the Kern Vario-Switar 18-86 was introduced around the same time as those cameras, that is true, but you absolutely don't have to use them together. The EE (and later OE) versions of the V-S 18-86 had a built-in exposure meter and iris control that was a big selling point in the Bolex line of the mid-60's (first H16's with light-metering!). There was also a plain version that will certainly not interfere with a matte-box (the 'extra bits' at the base of the EE model being the lightmeter), although the lens itself is quite long, perhaps too much for the rods on the short matte-box.
Other possible zooms in the same price/quality range (and Bolex RX-compatible) are the SOM Berthiot Pan-Cinor 17-85/2, 12-120/3.3 (very short for its range) and the tiny 17-85/3.8 Compact, which would pose no problem with any mate-box. Both 17-85 models have a zoom lever which may be more convenient for your set-up than regular zoom rings. The 17-85 Compact also has convenient Macro and Wide-angle complements, if that's helpful to you.
But if you're not going to actually zoom-in or out in your shots, I would recommend using fixed focal lenses for your work.
-Boris
  • 0

#4 Bernhard Zitz

Bernhard Zitz
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 342 posts
  • Other
  • Z├╝rich, Switzerland

Posted 10 February 2006 - 06:49 AM

Hello,

For a small budget DIY animation motor check: http://www.saunalahti.fi/animato/


:D

cheers, Bernhard
  • 0

#5 Shawn Gallagher

Shawn Gallagher
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 24 posts
  • Other
  • Brooklyn, NY

Posted 10 February 2006 - 10:06 AM

Hey Guys,

Thanks for all the helpful info!!

Clive, I checked out your website and it looks like you have just what I'm looking for. I guess I'll contact you through your website sometime soon. Thanks for the link.

Boris, the info on the lenses was very helpful, thanks again.

The link to the animation site is also pretty awesome, thanks Bernhard.
  • 0

#6 Steven Budden

Steven Budden
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 347 posts
  • Other
  • San Francisco

Posted 11 February 2006 - 04:29 AM

I've done some stop motion and other camera trickery with the bolex. I haven't had much trouble with the exposures changing as the spring winds down, but it is rather difficult to rewind the camera while keeping it very still.

If you'd doing regular 16mm I'd recommend a Vario Switar MC 12.5 - 100mm with macro switch if you can find one. Macro can be very useful for animation and they're relatively fast for a zoom. POE vario switar is a decent lens as well. I like the bayo mount more than the turret mount, practically speaking. The turret looks a little cooler though... more of a classic.

You could start your animation project or just start shooting some tests with whatever you come up with, and then let your collection evolve with your needs.

I thought the smaller matte box tapers towards the body of the camera so the chunky auto exposure parts of Vario Switars wouldn't fit?

Steven
  • 0

#7 Boris Belay

Boris Belay
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 210 posts
  • Other
  • Brussels, Belgium

Posted 11 February 2006 - 06:27 AM

B)-->
QUOTE(Steven B @ Feb 11 2006, 10:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I've done some stop motion and other camera trickery with the bolex. I haven't had much trouble with the exposures changing as the spring winds down, but it is rather difficult to rewind the camera while keeping it very still.

If you'd doing regular 16mm I'd recommend a Vario Switar MC 12.5 - 100mm with macro switch if you can find one. Macro can be very useful for animation and they're relatively fast for a zoom. POE vario switar is a decent lens as well. I like the bayo mount more than the turret mount, practically speaking. The turret looks a little cooler though... more of a classic.

You could start your animation project or just start shooting some tests with whatever you come up with, and then let your collection evolve with your needs.

I thought the smaller matte box tapers towards the body of the camera so the chunky auto exposure parts of Vario Switars wouldn't fit?

Steven
[/quote]
Right, it's the exposure meter and power zoom motor that would get in the way of the small matte-box (barring the rods being just too short). This is true of the V-S 18-86 EE, 18-86 OE, 16-100 POE, and 12,5-100 POE. But both the 18-16 and 12,5-100 were made in regular versions (no light-meter or power zoom), so these are at least slim enough.
And yes, the Vario-Switar 12,5-100 MC is an amazing lens, better than the much earlier 18-86, but it's also a lot more expensive. The macro switch you mention is in fact the Aspheron wide-angle attachment button that also doubles as a macro function (nifty!). I think it's on all V-S 12,5-100 made for Bolex.
Finally, you're right, the most important and practical is to begin with a simple set-up that seems fine and only build on that if you find out you actually need more. Filming in general, and animation filming in particular, is a very pratical art form where machines play a big part, but not so big that the machines should hide the forest (so to speak)!
Film, film, film, try, try, try, then reconsider your gear if necessary -- that seems like the best pproach to me. And Bolex cameras are great, cheap and flexible machines to get your foot in the door of 16mm. filming!

-B.
  • 0


Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Technodolly

The Slider

CineLab

CineTape

FJS International, LLC

Abel Cine

Opal

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

CineTape

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

Visual Products

Opal

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

Aerial Filmworks

The Slider

Abel Cine

Metropolis Post

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Broadcast Solutions Inc