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Aaton Xtera or Aaton A-Minima


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#1 savio noronha

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 04:39 PM

Dear All,

Your assistance and advice would be immensely valuable, I have 4 queries:

I shall be shooting a feature film in Goa, India in October this year; the weather will be dismal with sporadic showers and bouts of sunshine. A very small crew (4 people) and cast (8 including a goat and a buffalo) is involved and the budget is reasonable yet tight. The story is set in the 70's. I am based in London.

My 4 queries:

A

Super 16 Camera---I have narrowed the choice to the Aaton Xtera OR the Aaton A-Minima. Since this is my first feature, I wish to keep things as simple as possible in order to wrap things up in 3 weeks, the gear should be minimum, a lot of coverage also involves capturing the exploits of the protagonist on his bicycle. I have used handycams and Bolex 16mm cameras (but not with sound) before. If I need to spend a day or two with a professional and practically learn as much as possible on how to operate the Aaton Xtera OR the Aaton A-Minima, who should I approach? Do you recommend approaching a cinematographer or film rental agents? If you know of anyone in London or the UK who could help, fire away.

B

What is the simplest way of recording sound using the Aaton Xtera OR the Aaton A-Minima? I know that Aaton's latest offering in sound equipment is the Cantar but it's quite expensive to rent out. Please bear in mind that mobility during the shoot is critical, some coverage would have to be done with the camera hoisted on a heavy motorcycle like the Royal Enfield.

C

What is the general difference in the final output between the Aaton Xtera OR the Aaton A-Minima? Why would you use the A-Minima and not the Xtera and vice versa?

D

If you have seen the film ?Sideways? by Alexander Payne, how did they achieve the 70?s look? Any suggestions of achieving a similar look as the film is based in the 70?s.


Thank you.
Wishes-Savio Noronha
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#2 Will Montgomery

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 04:44 PM

I have no practical experience with these cameras, but the A-Minima does require special 200' loads that are easy to get from Kodak USA, but not sure about in London or India. Just something to keep in mind.

I believe the Xtera can handle larger loads which could be helpful in some situations.
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#3 Chance Shirley

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 04:53 PM

I'd also guess the Xtera is a bit more rugged than the A-Minima.

As for audio, have you considered going analog? I've heard the Nagra reel-to-reel units are nearly indestructible and sound great. Plus, they're probably cheaper to rent than a Cantar.
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#4 Chris Burke

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 05:10 PM

Dear All,

Your assistance and advice would be immensely valuable, I have 4 queries:

I shall be shooting a feature film in Goa, India in October this year; the weather will be dismal with sporadic showers and bouts of sunshine. A very small crew (4 people) and cast (8 including a goat and a buffalo) is involved and the budget is reasonable yet tight. The story is set in the 70's. I am based in London.

My 4 queries:

A

Super 16 Camera---I have narrowed the choice to the Aaton Xtera OR the Aaton A-Minima. Since this is my first feature, I wish to keep things as simple as possible in order to wrap things up in 3 weeks, the gear should be minimum, a lot of coverage also involves capturing the exploits of the protagonist on his bicycle. I have used handycams and Bolex 16mm cameras (but not with sound) before. If I need to spend a day or two with a professional and practically learn as much as possible on how to operate the Aaton Xtera OR the Aaton A-Minima, who should I approach? Do you recommend approaching a cinematographer or film rental agents? If you know of anyone in London or the UK who could help, fire away.

B

What is the simplest way of recording sound using the Aaton Xtera OR the Aaton A-Minima? I know that Aaton's latest offering in sound equipment is the Cantar but it's quite expensive to rent out. Please bear in mind that mobility during the shoot is critical, some coverage would have to be done with the camera hoisted on a heavy motorcycle like the Royal Enfield.

C

What is the general difference in the final output between the Aaton Xtera OR the Aaton A-Minima? Why would you use the A-Minima and not the Xtera and vice versa?

D

If you have seen the film ?Sideways? by Alexander Payne, how did they achieve the 70?s look? Any suggestions of achieving a similar look as the film is based in the 70?s.
Thank you.
Wishes-Savio Noronha





A) Get the Xtera! 800' loads. More running time means fewer loads, means a more productive day with such a small crew. Much easier to use. If you can afford to rent one, then get the Xtera'.


B) The simplest way to record audio the way you plan to shoot your film would be to have a flashed based audio recorder. there are many out there, one Cantar made by Aaton none the less. You probably won't go that route, but if you are doing it run and gun or really really bare bones, then some sort of flashed based recorder.


C) The output is exactly the same, both are super 16, both can take the exact same lenses. No difference, other than the fact that the A-Minima isn't really a sound camera, unless it is blimped.


D) To get the Sideways look..... I suppose you can do a little research on the internet to find an article or two about the cinematic process. Look at old issues of AC.
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#5 savio noronha

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 05:22 PM

Hi Chris,

Thank you for reverting back. I am not clear on flashed based recorders as you mentioned. Could you possibly ellaborate and guide me to a link on the net? Are these utilised for Super 16mm filming and would there be any compatibility/post production snags?
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#6 Patrick McGowan

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 11:13 PM

The A-minima is so delicate, I mean I'm sure you are very careful, but that thing really needs extra special love and care.


As far as a flash based recorder, have you run into the Tascam HD-P2? It's pretty nice and allows up to 192K 24 bit recording. One drawback is the only model I've seen requires like 8 AA batteries to operate. I think you should be able to synch with 29.97 recording and 48k.

Edited by Patrick McGowan, 02 February 2007 - 11:14 PM.

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#7 Mark Lyon

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 11:16 AM

Hi--

The Xtera will be quieter and run longer loads (400 or 800'). On the other hand, the A-minima will be lighter and easier to rig. For example, if you're mounting to bicycle handlebars or jumping in a rickshaw, you're going to want the A-minima. Your choice will be driven by practical considerations--both cameras will make the same images with the same lenses.

Regarding sound: check with your post house about AatonCode. Both cameras record it, and if you can create audio files with matching timecode, your post synching could be simplified.

Best of luck--

Mark Lyon
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