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16mm sync sound


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#1 Tim Myers

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 09:18 PM

Hey everyone, I know ther are thousands of posts relating to this topic already, but I'd like to ask anyway. In early April I'm going to shoot a short 16mm movie that needs to have sound. The college I'm attending loans out free Bolexes, but from what I've gathered, they aren't a good idea for anything but silent films. Then again, Peter Jackson shot Bad Taste with a Bolex and that's got plenty of sound.... Anyway, is the Bolex a no no for my needs? If so, what do you suggest instead? I've got a few months between now and the actual shooting, so I've got time to rent said camera and learn how to use it. Thanks for any help, it's appreciated, guys!
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#2 Clive Tobin

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 10:33 PM

....... Anyway, is the Bolex a no no for my needs? ...

If you can cope with the camera noise a Bolex is a fine camera. I would use one myself if the alternative was to spend a lot of money to rent a quieter model.

We do still have some crystal motors for Bolex. Talk your school into buying one or two maybe. The catalog page is at http://www.tobincine...com/page34.html . I also have some tutorials on the website about double system sound etc. Good luck.
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#3 james smyth

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 10:58 PM

If you shoot on busy city streets or with a long enough lens in a semi-noisy area, you won't hear the bolex. You could also layer on blankets and barney the sound a bit. Crystal sync isn't really something you need unless you plan on long takes. Even if you do long takes, some patience adjusting film speed in FCP/Premiere/etc and a willingness to slightly compromise quality will get you the results you desire.

These are by no means graceful solutions, but they are options that will let you get what you need for cheap.
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#4 Nick Mulder

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 11:12 PM

I'd agree with the others posts above, it can be done - some xtal sync motors unfortunately add a little more noise to the system, so you have to trade that off also...

couple of other points worth considering either way you go:

Of the three wind-ups I've tested lose up to a few fps from a full wind to the end of a wind, so you will get sync issues here, and the slow down isn't linear, very boring in post ... So stick with short shots of dialog if you can... Or get a coffee grinder attachment (xtal motor)

The other point is you don't mention what kind of bolexes you have on offer from your school has. The electronic models if well maintained can be reasonably quiet themselves (Still considered MOS cameras though), see if they have an EL or EBM you can try out, and if these have the sync boxes then all the better ...
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#5 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 11:34 PM

Then again, Peter Jackson shot Bad Taste with a Bolex and that's got plenty of sound....


Watch it again and notice all the ADR and Foley that was done...it's pretty much all sound recorded in post, which isn't unusual, but it's very noticeable.

I've seen Bolex's with crystal sync motors. But, if you can get your hands on an Eclair NPR or Arriflex SR, that would be ideal in my mind.

:)
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 12:49 AM

Unless your dialogue is very minimal, in short bursts, I'd make my life easier in post and shoot with a quiet sync-sound camera... but for a typical multi-page dialogue scene with coverage, you don't want to mess with ADR or 100' daylight-spool loads in a Bolex, long lenses only with heavy blankets over the camera, etc.
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#7 Kevith Mitchell

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 01:34 AM

Nothing wrong with shooting the whole film silent and doing sound in post.

The type of camera has very little to do with it. I've seen several movies where they shoot dialougue scenes wide so lip movement is not that noticable and they ADR the dialogue. Shoot coverage such as reaction shots. Also shooting the speaking character offscreen or shooting from the back while they talk (Hitchcock did that) . This is more of a directing trick than anything. This also makes your film look different because your forced not to the standard setups. Or you can do the oldest trick in the book. Add character narration. (Mean Streets)

I've shoot several films and to be honest, I hate shooting with sound. The shoot literally drags because of all the sound issues. Even if you have the best camera in the world. You still have sound issues.
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#8 David Sweetman

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 03:06 AM

I'm not sure where Pleasant Hill is, but if you're close-ish to LA (i'm about an hour north), I've got an arri 16bl you could borrow if you want, provided I'm on the set when it is. Drop me a message or email if you're interested.
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#9 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 03:43 AM

The Pleasant Hill I know is in the San Francisco East Bay

I'm from Concord, right next to it
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#10 Tim Myers

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 05:22 AM

Yup, I'm right next to Concord, and just a short drive from San Francisco. Thanks for the offer though, David, it's generous people like you I hope I continue finding.

As for what specific kind of Bolex I've been offered, I can't remember. I haven't seen them since last semester, but I'll find out on Monday and post here.

Now, my plan all along was to avoid close ups during dialogue scenes for the very reasons you guys have mentioned. I'll use lots of wide shots, and the shooting from behind idea is also clever. I'll start storyboarding all this stuff right now. Being organized for once, go me.

What I need is a simple, easy to learn camera that won't drown out dialogue with that terrible coffee grinder noise. Oh, and cheap too... I know, not a good combo!

Mr. Bowerbank, we're in the same neck of the woods, do you know anywhere I could find such a camera?

My script is done, my actors are ready, and we're close to securing the locations we'd hoped for. I'd like to shoot this thing over spring break, so between now and then I'll focus solely on finding a camera and getting to know it like a new best friend. All prayers will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a lot to all you guys, you're more help than DVC's stone age film program! (Though Ken White still rocks the house.)

Hope to continue hearing from you.
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#11 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 01:09 PM

HEY TIM
If you want you can pm me.... I have great contacts that can boost your film, the idea of going into shooting without a solid camera crew is alittle bit of a technical suicide, let me know, I'm might be able to get you some deals or pull some favors for you

Best Regards
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#12 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 02:34 PM

Now, my plan all along was to avoid close ups during dialogue scenes for the very reasons you guys have mentioned. I'll use lots of wide shots, and the shooting from behind idea is also clever. I'll start storyboarding all this stuff right now. Being organized for once, go me.

What I need is a simple, easy to learn camera that won't drown out dialogue with that terrible coffee grinder noise. Oh, and cheap too... I know, not a good combo!


This is something I did one afternoon with friends, but its exactly how Rodriguez shot El Mariachi, shoot the scene then record several takes of dialougue on location. It was shot with a clockwork K3, and a Bolex sounds as sweet as honey compared to a K3.

http://www.jumpcut.c...EBC2EF149F8C96D

Its all very rough (due to being shot so quickly, bad telecine etc.) but it was a very educational thing to do, it really makes you think more about the audio-visual relationships in filmmaking. You learn a lot by doing it this way, writing to avoid extensive dialougue, use of off screen dialougue etc, location atmosphere etc.

However, don't push your self to shoot only on wides, bizarly it actually has the opposite affect of what you would expect. Firstly the viewer senses when you are avoiding a close-up shot and gets suspicious, thats probably because we need close-ups emotionaly and for emphathy. Secondly having things on wides actually makes it harder to correctly sync up the dialugue to the mouth movements, so the acuracy actually gets worse. There will be sometimes when it simply will not sync up, but it is better to hide that by cutting a away.

Best of luck,
Andy
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