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16mm camera for horror films


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#1 Ken Moss

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 02:42 PM

hi im a special fx artist for horror films. im looking to shoot my own film. im new at this and i need some help choosing what camera i should get? im wanting to shoot the style of a 70's or 80's style of film. im looking at 3 cameras.
1.Bell and Howell 70dr filmo
2.bolex h16
3.Krasnogorsk k-3

im looking for one with the best film rate options like 24p, and i want it to look kind of grainy like the 70s but still with some professional look and features to it.
i have a good choice of editing applications, like final cut pro ,adobe after affects, magic bullet suite.
also how much does 16mm film go for? and how much is 16mm film transfer to dvd go for?
if anyone can help i will be so thankfull
thanks.
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#2 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 07:57 PM

hi im a special fx artist for horror films. im looking to shoot my own film. im new at this and i need some help choosing what camera i should get?
1.Bell and Howell 70dr filmo
2.bolex h16
3.Krasnogorsk k-3

im looking for one with the best film rate options like 24p,
i have a good choice of editing applications, like final cut pro ,adobe after affects, magic bullet suite.
also how much does 16mm film go for? and how much is 16mm film transfer to dvd go for?
if anyone can help i will be so thankfull
thanks.

Film is shot 24 ALL AT ONCE. All of your cameras will handle that just fine.

The Filmo is the odd man out as it does not have through the lens viewing. The bolex may or may not depending on the model, look for another thread to find the Link to Clive Tobins tutorial on packing abolex. IF you get a reflex bolex it should use the Special refelx bolex lenses because of the Prisim in the image path.

The K-3 is a refelx that takes inexpensive PENTAX M42 lens (if it is the version with the M-42 mount, otherwise it takes Russian CIne lenes. In either case it normaly comes with a fairly good zoom.

The Filmo can take just about any C mount lens going, except for the special Bolex ones.

All three take 100 ft loads (2+ Minutes) the Filmo HR and some bolex can take a 400 ft magazine, but in both cases the camera becomes harder to use and the filmo needs AC power in that configuration.

None are really compatible with sound recording.

Film and processing are expensive, Figure 40-50 cents a foot for film, and anotehr 20-40 cents per foot for processing. You may get short ends a bit cheaper, but then you have a messy job to re-spool them onto a camera spool.

Spend a while playing with the search on this Board, and then if you still have questions come back
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#3 Kevin Masuda

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 08:06 PM

hi im a special fx artist for horror films. im looking to shoot my own film. im new at this and i need some help choosing what camera i should get? im wanting to shoot the style of a 70's or 80's style of film. im looking at 3 cameras.
1.Bell and Howell 70dr filmo
2.bolex h16
3.Krasnogorsk k-3

im looking for one with the best film rate options like 24p, and i want it to look kind of grainy like the 70s but still with some professional look and features to it.
i have a good choice of editing applications, like final cut pro ,adobe after affects, magic bullet suite.
also how much does 16mm film go for? and how much is 16mm film transfer to dvd go for?
if anyone can help i will be so thankfull
thanks.



24p refers to digital video and not film itself, all those cameras you mentioned shoot 24fps. I don't mean to be rude but it sounds like you've never shot film before. If that's the case then you might want to reconsider and practice on something a bit cheaper than 16 like Super 8. It really doesn't matter what camera you use if you want the grain, it depends on film stock and lenses. If you want grain then maybe you should look into using a high speed stock like a 500T and using maybe an older lens. Shooting on film will be expensive so you should shop around to various places on the net such as Cinelab or Fotokem. Are you a student? If you are then you can get a discount from Kodak or Fuji if you buy directly from them. Most labs will transfer the footage for you but again this can be expensive, they usually charge by the hour, at Monaco Labs here in San Francisco they charge $300 per hour.

Kev
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#4 Ken Moss

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 07:43 PM

ok thanks for the reply guys. no ive never shot film ever im looking to start shooting a movie. im not a student . is there any 8mm film cameras out there that i should use then? im looking for one with multi film rate features for stop motion and things to. and is film transfer to dvd exspensive? cause like i said i have alot of pro apps for my mac for editing.
thanks.
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#5 Leslie Bates

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 08:46 PM

hi im a special fx artist for horror films. im looking to shoot my own film. im new at this and i need some help choosing what camera i should get? im wanting to shoot the style of a 70's or 80's style of film. im looking at 3 cameras.
1.Bell and Howell 70dr filmo
2.bolex h16
3.Krasnogorsk k-3

Wasn't the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE shot with an Eclair NPR?
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#6 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 10:24 PM

I don?t think I would recommend transferring directly to DVD. With DVDs, you normally cannot edit. I know there is software available that would allow you to transfer footage from a DVD to another format for editing but there is a loss in quality involved. Most people transfer movie film to an editable format like MiniDv, DVCam or, if they have the budget, Digital Betacam. I notice there are some transfer houses that give you the option of transferring to your hard drive. Once editing is completed, then you can transfer the finished work to DVD. As film contains so much detail and colour depth, it makes sense to use a high quality transfer process to try and retain as much of this visual information as possible so the end result will look good when finished on video. People who are really serious about quality will get their film footage transferred with a Rank or Spirit machine but unfortunately, you have to pay very steep prices.

A more affordable option is a business who owns a Moviestuff Workprinter or Sniper unit. Transfer rates with these units will generally be much cheaper than a Rank or Spirit session and the quality is still quite good for the money. However, with a Workprinter or Sniper, you may or may not be able to transfer negative film, Super 16 is most unlikely, and also dynamic range will not be as great as with a Rank or Spirit. A Rank or Spirit also offers more advanced colour correction.

If you are hell bent on shooting 16mm film, then the Bolex H16 will have the most versatile frame rates. The top running speed of the Bolex is 64fps. And it can do single frame, and from what I have heard, more efficiently than doing single frame shooting with a K3. Though as Charles mentioned, all three cameras are quite noisy and would be a pain for shooting dialogue. A blimp might help though.

Kevin made a very good suggestion shooting on super 8 rather than 16mm. Super 8 is considerably cheaper and so mistakes will be less costly than 16mm. Super 8 is a great way to learn the basics of film cinematography. And if you want grain like you said, then super 8 is ideal! Even a relatively ?fine grained? film stock will appear ?grainier? in super 8 than shooting that same stock in 16mm. Though it is possible to obtain surprisingly fine grained footage in super 8 too if you want to.

There are many good super 8 cameras out there but I will recommend the model that I use as my main super 8 camera ? the Canon 1014 Autozoom Electronic. This is quite a versatile camera. The 1014E will give you full manual exposure control as well as full automatic exposure control and also semi-automatic exposure, manual or automatic zoom (two speeds), 10x zoom with macro capability, optical effects like fades, dissolves and superimpositions (though these can be replicated in digital post editing), a socket that can trigger a flash unit, 18, 24, 54fps, single frame, and compatibility with a wide range of asa film speeds (which is particularly important today because Kodachrome 40 has been discontinued.) Many super 8 cameras can only read two asa film speeds (one of which is 40asa) and there are now a variety of super 8 film stocks available with all sorts of different speeds which are not compatible with many cameras.

Going back to the Canon 1014 Autozoom Electronic, it is usually reasonably priced on the second hand market which also makes this particular camera an attractive buy. There is a more later version of this model, the Canon 1014 XL-S but this is a very expensive camera ? it nearly always goes for high prices. The XL-S does have a built in interval timer which will make time lapse less a lot easier than shooting single frames manually and referring to a stop watch. The Autozoom Electronic requires an accessory interval timer which plugs in but this is an extremely rare item. Though some people have had success making their own interval timer. Lastly, the Autozoom Electronic has one great feature lacking in the XL-S ? a top running speed of 54 fps. This produces beautifully smooth, graceful and very steady slow motion footage. The XL-S only goes up to 36fps.

Edited by Patrick Cooper, 17 December 2006 - 10:25 PM.

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#7 Ken Moss

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 11:38 PM

wow thanks for the reply and tips. very helpful since i am new to film making i looked at the Canon 1014 and i likes its features. how hard is it to transfer the super 8 to a computer? with that camera? and is the quality of the camera close to a semi pro camera? thanks again.
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#8 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 04:37 AM

Firstly, I hope that i'm not going too off topic by talking about super 8 in the 16mm section!

"how hard is it to transfer the super 8 to a computer?

Not hard at all if you transfer your super 8 footage to a digital video format like MiniDV or DVCam etc. The only 'hard' thing would be the cost of the transfer depending if you chose a Rank, Spirit, Workprinter, Sniper or Flashscan 8. Regardless, once you have the film footage transferred to tape, let's use MiniDv as an example, you then load that MiniDv tape (containing the transferred footage) into your MiniDv camera which is connected to your computer via firewire, then open up your editing program and away you go.

"is the quality of the camera close to a semi pro camera?"

There is very little equipment in super 8 that would be considered 'professional' or 'semi professional' even though some cameras are surprisingly versatile. Afterall, super 8 was initially introduced as an amateur format by Kodak. However, super 8 has evolved since those humble beginnings. As enthusiastic amateurs became more demanding, super 8 camera manufacturers responded by making more advanced and sophisticated cameras, boasting features normally found on 16mm production cameras. There were occasions where super 8 was used for 'professional' applications. I was reading that during the 1970s, super 8 was used by some South American tv news companies. Regarding image quality, the lens of the Canon 1014 is considered quite good, certainly better than many other super 8 lenses. Though I wouldn't say it is the best.

Here is a music video clip shot entirely on super 8 with a Canon 814. The transfer was done with a Flashscan 8 device. The 814 is almost identical to the 1014 except for a shorter zoom range (8x) and to my knowledge, no 54fps running speed. Lens quality would probably be very similar but don't quote me on this.

When you get to the 'Family Planning' site, click the clip named 'Lisa Lindal / mattias' on the top row, third from the left.

http://www.familyplanning.se/#

There are some disadvantages to using super 8 for professional applications. There is no true pressure plate, unlike most other movie film formats. Instead, the plastic of the film cartridge is used instead. Though many people are critical of this design, pointing out that it is does not do the best job of keeping the film the precise distance from the lens consistently. In general, I have found few problems with this. There have been some occasions however, when focus seemed slightly soft which may be attributed to this perhaps. If you use a very thin film stock, you will almost definitely have problems getting optimal sharpness. Additionally, because you are working with such a tiny film frame, there is huge magnification involved so mistakes are magnified significantly too. Basically, this means that focussing becomes extremely critical. If your focus is even slightly off, it will be very noticeable.

Additionally, super 8 cameras are quite loud so not the best for shooting dialogue unless you have a good blimp. And you must find some way of having the film run at the same speed as the sound recorder so that they can be synched up later.

A super 8 cartridge contains 50 feet of film and lasts for 3 minutes and 20 seconds when running at 18fps, or alternatively 2 and a half minutes when running at 24fps. If you are shooting for sound or so called 'semi-professional' applications, I would recommend shooting at 24fps.

There is another variation of the super 8 format you may be interested in if you want to use super 8 for serious projects. This is double super 8. It operates in a similar principle as regular 8 in that the loaded film is 16mm wide and it comes in 100 foot loads. Only one side of the film is exposed. When you reach the end of the film, the film is flipped over and the other side is then exposed. After the film is developed, it is split down the middle and joined end to end, creating 200 feet of film. This is a very good idea economically because you are only paying for 100 feet of film but you end up with 200 feet. You get 5 minutes of footage on each side of the one film.

Additionally, double super 8 cameras have a true pressure plate, just like regular 8, 16mm and 35mm movie cameras, for maximum picture steadiness. I believe that double super 8 was designed as a semi professional format but unfortunately it never really took off. Only a handful of manufacturers made double super 8 cameras. These were Elmo, Pathe, Canon, a Russian company and there may have been one or two others perhaps. They are quite a rare sight on the second hand market and when you do come across one, they are usually being sold at a very high price. There is currently one company who are considering releasing a brand new double super 8 camera if they get enough orders. Your choice of film stocks in this sub-format are extremely limited. I think there are a few black & white films. For colour, Kodachrome 25 has been discontinued not too long ago - a pity as this was a very fine grained film. Though there is another colour film now available in double super 8 - Ektachrome 100D which is renowned for vibrant colours, fine grain and high sharpness.

If you have more queries about super 8, head to the super 8 section of this forum and to www.filmshooting.com

Edited by Patrick Cooper, 18 December 2006 - 04:40 AM.

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#9 Paul Bruening

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 03:02 PM

Hello Ken,

You have gotten some very fine advice, here, so far. I would like to ask, do you consider yourself at the learning stage or do you feel like you are committed to going on to a commercial work of some kind somewhere down the near road?

If you just want to learn film, a used SLR with changeable lenses can be obtained cheaply and will give you some sense of 35mm film minus only the motion aspects. You can learn a heck of a lot with it that translates directly to cinematography.

If you want to learn about scenes, angles, directing, editing and what-not, consider any old pawn shop video camera that works, takes an external mic and can output to a computer.

If you are ready to take the plunge and produce something, you may want to pass an eyeball over 2 perf 35mm (Techniscope). There's lots of threads in this forum going over all the ins and outs of 2-perf. Some here have begun to like it for a great many reasons.

Good luck,

Paul
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#10 Ken Moss

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 03:27 PM

thanks guys for all the great help. paul, im at the learning stage of filming i know the ropes of the movie bussiness since i do some fx work. i just want to get something to shoot my movie with and have some kind of a good finished product and want to do editing on my computer. i just dont know what camera would be right for me? im really dedicated to movie work and this has been a life long dream to work on films. so im willing to give it all. i kind of want a camera that will shoot great black and white or so called "silent films" and i like the reel sound of them. But i also would like to shoot a good quality color picture as well? i know i ask alot for a newby but i have high goals.i have a cine kodak model 60 and a amp sound super 8 id like to collaberate with as well. thanks again for all the help im just clueless on what i should get.
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#11 Chris Burke

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 04:28 PM

Film is shot 24 ALL AT ONCE. All of your cameras will handle that just fine.

The Filmo is the odd man out as it does not have through the lens viewing. The bolex may or may not depending on the model, look for another thread to find the Link to Clive Tobins tutorial on packing abolex. IF you get a reflex bolex it should use the Special refelx bolex lenses because of the Prisim in the image path.

The K-3 is a refelx that takes inexpensive PENTAX M42 lens (if it is the version with the M-42 mount, otherwise it takes Russian CIne lenes. In either case it normaly comes with a fairly good zoom.

The Filmo can take just about any C mount lens going, except for the special Bolex ones.

All three take 100 ft loads (2+ Minutes) the Filmo HR and some bolex can take a 400 ft magazine, but in both cases the camera becomes harder to use and the filmo needs AC power in that configuration.

None are really compatible with sound recording.

Film and processing are expensive, Figure 40-50 cents a foot for film, and anotehr 20-40 cents per foot for processing. You may get short ends a bit cheaper, but then you have a messy job to re-spool them onto a camera spool.

Spend a while playing with the search on this Board, and then if you still have questions come back



shop around for film and processing. The figures given above are really high, more in the 35mm range. I got a great deal from Cinelab, $180 for 400' of brand new Fuji stock, processing and a best light transfer. I am sure many other lab will work a deal for you. Yes film can be expensive, especially if you just up and pay the book rate for it. Shop around, bargain are out there.

Chris
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#12 Richardson Leao

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 09:04 PM

shop around for film and processing. The figures given above are really high, more in the 35mm range. I got a great deal from Cinelab, $180 for 400' of brand new Fuji stock, processing and a best light transfer. I am sure many other lab will work a deal for you. Yes film can be expensive, especially if you just up and pay the book rate for it. Shop around, bargain are out there.

Chris


Hi Ken,

I was able to shoot 1000m of film (16mm) bought from ebay and in a trip to st petersburg. The negs were over 20 years old and my film has BW and color takes (some color however, are new vision and eterna) but all the BW was done in an old orwo stock. While there are fragments that show some 'interesting' fogging, overall it looks OK, for my purpose it looks great. I also develop all the BW and some of the color myself, so, there was a lot of room for experimenting. Developing of BW negs is very simple and does not require remjet removing as color (BW reversal is also easy and can be projected). So, I would suggest you to get a tank to develop some footage and then compare/learn with the results. You can buy old BW stock uin ebay for about 5$/30m. I'll be cutting the film soon and I'll be posting some clips of different stocks and cameras. Cheers and marry xmas
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#13 Seth Sherwood

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 03:11 PM

Just my 2 cents as somebody who has shoot 16mm for a b-movie / horror film project as well using the K3 and the Film 70DR...

Both cameras are really low down, dirty, and pretty simple. To shoot a feature on them would require A LOT of creativity. As most have said above, they are both MOS cameras-- to loud to record sound near, and not in sync anyway. And both require a lot of wrist killing cranking.

The advantages of the K3 are that it isn't hard to get a decent image-- especially if you are outside in decent light. The zoom is pretty good, and even though it isn't an amazingly high quality lens, it works fine for the format. If you get the version with the m42 mount, you can use 35 SLR camera lenses to some degee.

The downside to the K3 is that (again as stated above) even if you buy a new one, you never know how it will treat your film. Some work fine, some will jam and eat away at it. Even if you know how to load it like a pro, and can listen for the changes as it runs, you might still get screwed. While the lens is great for wide shots, it's no good for close stuff. 2 meters is as close as you can get. Also-- the camera is heavy. Great for tripod work, and if you get the shoulder brace, you can do some handheld stuff, but mobility is limited. You won't be running, jumping or diving with it. Some people pay to have the autoload mechanism stripped out of the machine-- it becomes a lot more dependable if you do that, but it also makes it cost a lot more.

The advantages of the B&H Filmo is that your lens options will be better (depending on what you get). For the same price, if not cheaper, you can find a filmo with a full turret of 3 lenses. You can usually find one with the comat or cooke lense that is good for being about 1 foot away from your subject. Add that to the size of the camera and you can do some pretty cool handheld/close up work. It's the size of a camcorder, but weighs enough that handheld movements are pretty smooth with some practice. It also mean you have a lot of freedom of movement with it-- so not only can you do cool handheld hots, but you can run, jump, dive or fold yourself into the smallest poosible space for a cool shot. These cameras were used by war correspondents so they can take a bullet. Plus, if you're going guerilla, the Filmo is a lot easier to be sly with than the K3. It also takes c-mount lenses so there are a ton of lens options out there from super cheap to way expensive.

The downside to the filmo is non-reflex viewfinder. The side viewfinder has a turret as well, and if you get a complete one, you'll have objective viewfinders that give you a decent idea of what you're looking at, but it isn't exact. Plus, if you're buying it off anyone but a pro that has used it, you can't gaurantee that the viewfinder lenses are matched to the lenses you got. I watched eBay for aa month before Ibought mine, and no two of them ever had the same lens combo. It takes some doing to get used to the lenses you have. If you're new to this sort of thing, you'll be taking a lot of measurements to ensure you're in focus. The easiest thing to do is to figure out the hyperfocal distances of the lenses and just try to keep your subject in the area. It is a pain, but like I said, these cameras were used in the war for battlefield footage, so pointing them in the general direction of action often works out better than you'd think.

Overall though-- I was shooting hoping to get that gritty old-school 60's/70's look and was pretty suprised that footage from BOTH cameras came back looking a LOT better than I expected. The thing to remember is the look of older horror movies may have more to do with the film than anything else. 16 stock is a lot nicer now, and a lot of those films may have employed flashing or lesser than quality developing proceedures to get their "look."

If you get it transferred to DV/HD though, suites like Magic Bullet or DigiTools 55mm cna tweak it to the look you want.
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#14 Ken Moss

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 06:38 PM

hi guys, your all a big help! the thing im still confused about is what camera i should get, my budget is kind of thin right now i only have about $500 to play with? and i want to get a nice camera that i will be happy with and will want to shoot in the future also. like i said im new at this. seth i really like the way you put your post the pros and cons of them.
does anyone know what i should get for a first camera? and where can i get film?
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#15 Seth Sherwood

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 07:31 PM

Film can be gotten direct through Kodak. if you're here in LA, you can drive down and buy a spool for $15 with a student discount. If you're elsewhere I think you can order from their website.

Is the $500 your entire budget for the project, or just what you can spend on a camera?

The three cameras you identified at the top of this topic are the best for beginning along with the Canon Scoopic. Most beginning Cinema 16mm classes at film schools lean towards one of those four cameras.

Like others have said, if you've never shot any film before, Super 8 might be cheaper and easier to start with-- but I never bothered. Since Kodak isn't actively making it anymore, it is a dying format. The film stock you'd by for one of the 16mm cameras is the same stuff used by pro 16mm projects which are a lot of lower budget and indy films, music videos, and even a handful of TV shows. So even if the equipment is antiquated and cheap, the format is something that is a standard and still has a place-- so knowing how to work with it can only be good.
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#16 Ken Moss

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 07:35 PM

the 500 is for the camera. like is said i wont need an fx artist because i am one! :) so the project wont cost as much.. but i want to learn on a camera and then move to an arri or something? seth which one do you think i should get?
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#17 Seth Sherwood

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 07:48 PM

the 500 is for the camera. like is said i wont need an fx artist because i am one! :) so the project wont cost as much.. but i want to learn on a camera and then move to an arri or something? seth which one do you think i should get?


If you watch ebay close enough you could possibly get at least 2 of 3 on your intial list for $500. Certainly both a DR and K3.

K3's will cost you around $200
DR's anywhere between $100-$250
Bolex's are all over the place depending on what sort of accessories they have. Some are dirt cheap, others way overpriced.

When it comes down to it, the K3 is easiest to use as you can see through the lens and just point and shoot, but also has the most chance of causing you technical difficulty. The DR and H16 require a bit more skill, but if they are well maintained, will probably get you better images.

I think ultimately you need to plan out your shoot. This thread, and the others dedicated to the DR and K3 all seem to agree on the pros and cons of either camera. Knowing that, you should get your script/treatment and storyboard it. If you plan out all your shots in advance you can get an idea of what you need the camera to do.

If it looks like a series of long shots with minimal movement, the K3 would be better as you can set up a tripod, look through, focud and shoot.

If you have a lot of frentic camera movement and tricky focal distances, the K3 will probably wear you out and the smaller Bolex or B&H would be better.
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#18 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 04:34 AM

"Super 8 might be cheaper and easier to start with-- but I never bothered. Since Kodak isn't actively making it anymore, it is a dying format."

That's not really true. Kodak currently manufactures five film stocks in the super 8 format - Ektachrome 64T, Vision 200T, Vision 500T, Plus-X and Tri-X. Additionally, it is also possible to obtain Ektachome 100D and Fujichrome Velvia 50 from several small companies who buy the film stock in bulk, slit it, perforate it and then load it into super 8 cartridges - though quality control may or may not be as good as Kodak's official super 8 products.
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#19 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 04:52 AM

The original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was shot using an Eclair NPR 16mm camera. I think they shot a combination of both 100 ASA film and Kodak Ektachrome color reversal film. Of course, blowing it up to 35mm for its theatrical release gave it a very grainy look which only made it look even creepier.

But, if you're going for that look without wanting to blow up 35mm, you should choose a faster stock like Kodak 7218 500T. It has a really great grain to it, and if you're shooting in a lot of available light (just like those old horror films) you'll be able to achieve a better exposure with it.
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#20 Nate Downes

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 08:43 AM

Kodak's introduced 5 new film stocks for Super8 over the past few years. If you know how to handle the exposure and you want a 70's horror look similar to Texas Chainsaw, I would strongly recommend using a Super8 and shooting with the Kodak EPY 64T film and using a Moviestuff Workprinter for transfer. The camera you select is important, a late 70's/early 80's high-end japanese camera such as a Canon 814, 1014, Chinon 1206SM, 800/12, or Nikon R10 would likely give you the best result lens-wise.

if you were local to my area, I'd be happy to help out, as I already own both Super8 and 16mm gear and love helping out the new talent.
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