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K-3 and general 16mm questions


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#1 Dory Breaux

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 05:16 PM

Hello, my name is Dory Breaux and I am independent action/extreme sports producer. I do most of my own everything, camera work, editing, directing and most anything else. Up untill now I've been using the local TV stations video equipment, and its been great. But I'm starting to realise that video just doesnt cut it in sub zero temperatures in snow, or most of the other situations I find myself in. I'm looking into 16mm because its been reccomended to me by many of my colaberators/acomplices. I found the K-3 on eBay and after a little research it looks like it may be a good choice. However, I have some (ok alot) of questions about the camera and 16mm in general. So, here goes nothing :D :

1. It looks like this camera is relitivly small, but how small is it? Would it fit into a standard sized back paco easily?
2. I read somewhere on these forums that it records around 20 seaconds per winde-up. This is ok, because generaly I only record about 5-15 seaconds at a time. But does it slow tword the end of this time period?
3. What is the loading proces like? I'm used to just ploping a minidv tape into the drive and being good to go. Is it a drag to load in lit cinditions, for example on a ski slope with hi-noon sun? I've heard that there are specific types of film made for situations like this.
4.How expensive is 16mm to develope? I've heard its not too cheap, but I'd like to get an idea of what "not too cheap" means.
5. Normaly I just run a mic back to the camera and into an XLR port. Whats the best way to record sound (yes I know what a slate is for) with the K-3? Just use a mini disk or DAT recorder and sync in Post?
6.What is the lense like that comes with the K-3? Eventualy I would plan to upgrade/expand my lense assortment, but for now I'd plan on just using the stock lense.
7. May sound like a stupid question, but how is exposure handled? Can you set it by looking through the VF. or do you need an external light reeder?
8 What is the best way/servace to convert film over to digital for editing?
9. How delecate is the k3? I mean, if I fell while doing a moving shot on skis and it fell on an ice patch, would the camera itself be dammaged badly?

Thanks for bothering to read this,
Dory
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#2 Tomas Stacewicz

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 05:42 PM

1. It looks like this camera is relitivly small, but how small is it? Would it fit into a standard sized back paco easily?


Yes.

2. I read somewhere on these forums that it records around 20 seaconds per winde-up. This is ok, because generaly I only record about 5-15 seaconds at a time. But does it slow tword the end of this time period?


It takes approximately 28 seconds. And it holds its relative speed all the way through.

3. What is the loading proces like? I'm used to just ploping a minidv tape into the drive and being good to go. Is it a drag to load in lit cinditions, for example on a ski slope with hi-noon sun? I've heard that there are specific types of film made for situations like this.


There is a autoload but I wouldn't recommend using it. I have bad experience of it. Better to load manually and while it is a bit complicated with training it won't be a problem. You use daylight loads (100') and it can be loaded in bright daylight but you will ruin a few feet or so of film in the process. But its better to see what you are doing just to make sure that everything is done properly. If not (if you haven't loaded the film properly) you will find yourself with bad feeding and winding, with double exposure etc. Better to ruin some feet of film and load it manually and properly.

4.How expensive is 16mm to develope? I've heard its not too cheap, but I'd like to get an idea of what "not too cheap" means.


Almost as expensive as buying the film.

5. Normaly I just run a mic back to the camera and into an XLR port. Whats the best way to record sound (yes I know what a slate is for) with the K-3? Just use a mini disk or DAT recorder and sync in Post?


The K-3 is a MOS camera, which means it is to loud to be used with dialog. It is used as a camera for silent shots and you can apply sound-effects in post. You could do ADR in post but that is a time- and money consuming process (I have heard).

Also, as it is a wind up camera it doesn't hold speed accurately enough to sync sound in post; it looses sync quite fast.

So forget about using a K-3 for sync sound recordings.

6.What is the lense like that comes with the K-3? Eventualy I would plan to upgrade/expand my lense assortment, but for now I'd plan on just using the stock lense.


It's o.k. Reputedly a litte bit soft. Not one of the better russian zoom-lenses. You can either buy a K-3 with the M42 (Pentax) mount and you can buy an assortment of good tele and zoom lenses. But it is hard to find a good wide lens, with the exception of the Pelang 8mm lens. If you buy a K-3 with the bayonet mount you can (with an adapter) use the good assortment of lenses for the Kinor-16 SX-2M family. The 10-100mm zoom lens is reportedly wery good for its money.

7. May sound like a stupid question, but how is exposure handled? Can you set it by looking through the VF. or do you need an external light reeder?


You cannot change the shutter speed. So you are left with the apperture (f-stops). The K-3 has an internal exposure meter. It is notorious but I have had good experience with that myself. It depends on how old the camera is and storage. Everyone recommends an external meter but for fast shots the internal meter is a good alternative.

8 What is the best way/servace to convert film over to digital for editing?


A rank telecine process.

9. How delecate is the k3? I mean, if I fell while doing a moving shot on skis and it fell on an ice patch, would the camera itself be dammaged badly?


No. It can take a lot of battering. It's built like a tank. Professionally, it is has found a popular role in car crash scenes.

Edited by Tomas Stacewicz, 07 September 2006 - 05:45 PM.

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#3 Will Montgomery

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 06:12 PM

Film is a completely different animal, so expect quite a learning curve. Here are some things to consider on a very basic level...

Some major advantages for extreme sports:

1) Real slow motion - by running the camera at a higher speed, you'll be capturing many more frames than video does which will give you amazing slow-mo shots of snow flying and people doing tricks

2) Film looks great outdoors on a sunny day - lighting is less of an issue with that big ball of hydrogen burning in the sky

3) 16mm can be telecined to HD easily and with a good colorist it look amazing. As new HD formats are developed, you just have to re-telecine in the new format (super HD?)


Disadvantages:

1) On the camera you're talking about, only about 3 1/2 minutes of film per 100ft load.

2) No AUTOFOCUS, and if you're used to having it, it might be difficult to adjust to not having it

3) Having to be aware and concerned about EXPOSURE. You'll be carrying a light meter and constantly taking readings until you're comfortable with an educated guess

4) Loading and handling film is difficult at first, and you might miss that great shot while loading


When you talk about specific cameras there are a million issues to consider. The K3 you are talking about is very inexpensive, but also unreliable in general. Another good starter 16mm camera for you might be a Canon Scoopic. It has automatic exposure system like Super 8 and is considered fairly reliable and easy to load.

Sound: Best not to even try if you can avoid it. There are some unprofessional cheats you can do like use another camcorder to record sound and try to sync it later... or use a DAT, but its quite a setup and not very flexible if you're moving around alot.

K3 Size: with the handle attached figure about 14" square or so. Kinda big and awkward, but not too bad once you're used to it.

K3 Winding: Yes, only like 20 seconds per wind... the problem isn't the time, its having to WIND THE DAMN THING. I have indentations in my palm from twisting that thing. Plus, you always miss that one shot you wanted while you're winding.

Film Costs: Figure about $35 for a 100' roll of negative stock, and maybe $18 to develop it. Do that's $53 for 3.5 minutes. Wow. Makes me wonder why I do it... I know, it looks amazing.

Then, for decent telecine, expect $300/hr (that doesn't correspond to running time, just how long you use their machines, expect to transfer 15-20 minutes of footage in 1 hour)

How is expsure handled: On almost all 16mm cameras you carry a light meter and manually set it. The K3 has a meter inside, but I've never used it or trusted it

How Delecate is the K3?: Its built like a Russian tank, but its still a mechanical device. I would expect it to do a little better than a heavy video camera and be easier to fix since there are so few parts compared to video. Best idea is not to slip.
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#4 Dory Breaux

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 08:02 PM

Thanks much! I think the only big problem for me is money for the stock.
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#5 Will Montgomery

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 08:36 PM

Thanks much! I think the only big problem for me is money for the stock.

...and processing, and telecine. Equipment can be cheap, the technology and research & development is in the film stock.

Try some Super 8 to start. Its about $15 per cart and another $15 maybe for processing. It has its own cool look.
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#6 Dory Breaux

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 09:12 PM

Yea that too...
I found a place that runs $.16 per foot for processing, and a place thats about the same for stock. As far as film to DV conversion... I think a servace like http://www.videoconversionexperts.com/ would work just fine.

All in all if I can get underwriting (the general way me and my co-workers do things) it should turn out nice.
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#7 ryan_bennett

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 10:16 PM

The K3 is anything but a delicate camera. It's a harsh, cruel, heavy, beast of a russian tank. You won't believe our posts but it's true once you get it in your hands. Yes, there's heavier cameras but winding the camera does get extremely annoying. I have gotten the camera pretty wet and it's fine. I can't see the camera breaking if dropped but the lens would if it drops the wrong way but that goes true for any camera.
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#8 Dory Breaux

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 10:43 PM

Well, if I can find a way to pay for all the film and servaces, I think I'll be purchasing one of these little tanks from eBay :D !!!
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#9 Sir Alvin Ekarma

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 11:16 PM

Re: cranking the K3. I'm buying a handcrank accessory off Ebay that's supposed to make winding much easier. It's around $30US.

Re: manual loading. This may sound nuts, but loading this way is way easy and with a little practice, I've been able to load it in a changing bag by touch alone.
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