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#1 Thanasis Diamantopoulos

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 03:56 PM

Hi
At my new project there are some scenes that must looking like the old bw movies before the ww2 i can manage the flicker and the apochromatick look technicaly but the lenses those years where not coated like the newest. At the tests some taylor hobson and some zeisss sonnars and some sneider didn't look like those
Specialy in whites like mariage dresses the old lenses canot handle the white reflection at all as you know.
The point is that i am shooting with an arri 2c and i need to know what old lenses can i use to mount on the camera.
Thanks.

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#2 Jon Kukla

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 07:08 PM

Well, if you really want the old lenses look, then I think you have to stick with old lenses. So you have a few options - you can look for a different set of older or uncoated primes, you can work to more carefully flag off the ambient light hitting the lens, or you can control your frame thru your lighting, art design, and wardrobe. One of the old tricks was to dye white items something slightly off-white, like cream or very light gray, so that the cinematographer had an easier time giving the fabric a bit of texture without needing to blast too much light at everything else in turn.

Good luck!
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 08:21 PM

I'm confused -- are you saying that you don't like how old lenses handle things like a white wedding dress but that you want to use old lenses?
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#4 Thanasis Diamantopoulos

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 04:50 PM

Well, if you really want the old lenses look, then I think you have to stick with old lenses. So you have a few options - you can look for a different set of older or uncoated primes, you can work to more carefully flag off the ambient light hitting the lens, or you can control your frame thru your lighting, art design, and wardrobe. One of the old tricks was to dye white items something slightly off-white, like cream or very light gray, so that the cinematographer had an easier time giving the fabric a bit of texture without needing to blast too much light at everything else in turn.

Good luck!


Thanks for the advice of the tricks . Do you know what lenses can i use i mean what old lenses uncoated are availiable for modern 35mm cameras or 2c arri standar?
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#5 Thanasis Diamantopoulos

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 05:10 PM

I'm confused -- are you saying that you don't like how old lenses handle things like a white wedding dress but that you want to use old lenses?


Sorry for my bad English.
I want to create the look of the movies where done at the years 1905-1915. With all the problems for a past time scene in the movie that i am shooting. I need old lenses with all their problems to do that. The real problem is the camera that we are going to use for the movie is an arri bl4s pl mount. For this scene i can use my arri 2c . Thats the older camera we can get. The ideal was to get an old camera of those years but we couldn't find a desent one that works. I am trying to find out what tupe of lenses i can use.
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#6 Jon Kukla

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 11:32 PM

Remember that the age of the camera itself is irrelevant - the camera is just a lightproof container for advancing the film thru the gate. That being said, for a very early 20th century look, I'd guess that you'd want to handcrank it.
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#7 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 06:59 AM

Alot of those old films were a lot steadier than the bad transfers that we see of them.
Why not shoot it in 16mm on a springwound Bolex with older lenses on it and transfer to 35mm later?
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#8 Thanasis Diamantopoulos

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 07:46 AM

Handcranking would be ideal but the producer things that this is very timeconsuming. And i have never done it before. I thing that i am going to use some old olanars made around 1937-38. I trying to get sime hight contrast film internegatife or that for titles and test it.
Thanks.

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#9 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 02:11 PM

Most lenses are coated for 35mm cameras, since they were introduced after the habit of coating lenses first started. Finding ones without coating is virtually impossible in PL mount (or B or A mount). All the old Cooke's, Schneiders and whatnot are coated.

I suggest you get some really old lenses adapted to fit your camera, or rent specially prepared lenses that have had the coating removed. Most big rental houses can provide you with a connection to such lenses - they might not have them inhouse, but can probably get them from Munich, Paris, Rome or London for you.
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#10 K Borowski

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 05:58 PM

Handcranking would be ideal but the producer things that this is very timeconsuming.

Thanasis Diamantopoulos
Cinematographer
Athens Greece.


Well, it would consume just as much time as shooting with a motor, except that maybe the camera operator would have to take a break to rest his arm every once in a while ;-)

Seriously, why would this take more time? It'd just require the person doing it start practicing now to get good at cranking away steadily.
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#11 Christian Appelt

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 06:33 PM

Some ideas on your project:


1. I would not bother making old lenses look worse - use some old Schneider or Zeiss lenses and put a 4x4 clear filter in your matte box. Then you can experiment with all means of image degradation - I recommend starting with vaseline smeared circular with a clear hole in the middle. Not too much, then sharpness will diminish to the edges of the frame.
Or try using plastic wrapping foil taped over the glass - with a clear center cut out.

2. The silent movie" look needs some vignetting, so make sure that the corners get darker, either by lighting or filtering.

3. Your footage needs scratches and cinch marks to look believable. Don't believe any guy who wants to do it in post. Try this:

- Shoot your scenes, preferably on a high speed, grainy stock like Double-X. Maybe you can get your lab to increase (prolong) processing, getting denser picture with more grain.

- Have a work print done.

- Get the print scratched - use sandpaper, let it run over sharp edges, wind it very loose and pull it tight so you get those tiny "rain" scratches. DO NOT CLEAN THE POSITIVE!

- Talk to your lab. Have the positive it printed on b&W dupe stock.
TELL THEM NOT TO CLEAN THE NEG, YOU WANT THE DIRT TO PRINT THROUGH. NO WET GATE PRINTING!!!

- Now you have a dupe negative with BLACK ("minus density") damage.

- Treat the dupe exactly like before, scratch it and handle it rough. That will give you "plus density" (light) damage. This is what we are used to when watching old footage, it usually has been printed a few times both positive and negative damage visible. Vignetting, strong grain, and if you want to make it perfect, remove some frames to create a jump cut.

- The "treated" dupe neg can be printed or scanned (D.I.), it will look convincing.


Actually, the whole thing is a cliché - silent movies could look extremely good because they mostly were shot with a static camera position, lens stopped down and fine-graines b&w neg exposed in bright sunshine.

But filmmaking is make-believe, and our mind is USED to read certain characteristics as "silent film". I have used the described procedures on "clean" CGI footage of WW2 airplane dogfights, and when the producer saw the result, he asked whether we really could afford the money for so much archival footage... :)

Some things to avoid:

- No camera movement - they didn't do it in that period. Nothing but careful panning, not too smooth.
- No focus pulling - very rare because of the simple lens mounts and lack of reflex viewfinders.
- No zooming - no comment necessary! :)

You can use a DC motor on your Arriflex and let the voltage fluctuate. That will give you fluctuations in density. It is not worth the money to put a crank on an Arri because you cannot get more than 5-6 fps a second, one turn is one frame advance.

Someone suggested buying a DeVry "lunch box" camera. IMHO, this is good advice because:

- It has an old lens, just what you need (1920s design)
- It can be bought cheaply on eBay and usually they work fine both with the spring motor and the hand crank.
- The design is so simple that almost nothing can go wrong - just have to wind your stock on 100ft/30m daylight spools. How wonderful, you do not have to worry about scratches or dirt on th film in that particular case.

It's fun, and anything looks better than depressing "scratch loops" done in post production... :((

Just my 2 cents!
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#12 Christian Appelt

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 06:46 PM

PS:

I could not edit my previous message, so please note this correction:

Under 3.) it should read

- Talk to your lab. Have the positive it printed on b&W dupe stock.
TELL THEM NOT TO CLEAN THE POSITIVE FILM, YOU WANT THE DIRT TO PRINT THROUGH. NO WET GATE PRINTING!!!


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#13 Thanasis Diamantopoulos

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 05:15 AM

Thanks a lot for the advises. I did a test yestarday shooting with some hight contrast film for titles and i am waiting the process. I had used my arri 2 c with an old planar 50mm in 28-30 fps.

KARL the producer things that testing cameras and lenses and films is just to spend his money. :rolleyes:
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#14 Matt Pacini

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 07:22 PM

I find it amazing that nobody has come up with a filter to reasonably approximate this.

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