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Arri BL (regular 16mm) still OK for short student film?


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#1 sonickel

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 02:30 AM

Hello everyone,

I am a student, who wants to shoot her first film (this year) on 16mm. Locally, the best camera available is a rental Arri BL, regular 16mm, 1977 model. However, I've heard that the Arri BL is a bit loud, and my film has indoor synch dialogue in it.

Do you think this camera will be suitable for my project, or should I save up more to rent an Super 16 Arri SR2 from interstate, which will be far more costly?

Many thanks in advance.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 03:06 AM

First of all, you need to go to My Controls and edit your Display Name to a real first and last name, as per the forum rules listed when you registered.

An Arri-16BL needs to use blimped lenses. If you have those, you might be OK with just a blanket over the camera when it gets too loud, unless you plan on shooting really close to the actors with a wider-angle lens, rather than being farther back.
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#3 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 03:15 AM

Hello STRANGER ...

For the first flick on 16mm I reckon you will be more then OK with the BL.

The BL is good as long as you got all the accessories to go with it (for instance the SYNC add on [make sure it has that and that it runs either 25fps or 24fps crystal, if it has Tobin installed or is BLEQ dont worry about this] and as David mentions blimped lenses - you will probably get a ZOOM lens with the KIT and will be fine using that).

Remember to get a light meter out too :)
For hand held work getting a swan neck viewfinder out helps too....
Have fun
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#4 David Sweetman

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 03:36 AM

The 16bl is a very good camera, i've even become more endeared to the 4:3 aspect ratio lately. Take a look at Notre Musique and Mirror. (both 35, but amazing examples of how to frame for 4:3.)
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#5 Kathleen Lawler

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 04:09 AM

Changed the display name (must have changed the rules since I was last here :huh: )

Anyway. This camera has a blimp for the zoom lens and the prime lenses, (they are rented separately). It also has crystal lock at 25fps, no details on what kind of crystal motor it is. It comes with a light meter, but I also have my own, which is analogue and a bit wonky.

Another question - I'm used to shooting super 8, where the auto exposure works well. But with 16mm, I'm still having trouble getting manual exposure right. Where abouts can I get good information about light metering, so my images are consistently beautiful?
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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 07:03 AM

Changed the display name (must have changed the rules since I was last here :huh: )

Anyway. This camera has a blimp for the zoom lens and the prime lenses, (they are rented separately). It also has crystal lock at 25fps, no details on what kind of crystal motor it is. It comes with a light meter, but I also have my own, which is analogue and a bit wonky.

Another question - I'm used to shooting super 8, where the auto exposure works well. But with 16mm, I'm still having trouble getting manual exposure right. Where abouts can I get good information about light metering, so my images are consistently beautiful?


The best way is to use an incident light meter for setting your exposure.

http://www.kodak.com...af9/index.shtml

http://www.clubfree....ra/scr_exp1.htm

http://en.wikipedia....iki/Light_meter

You should practise using the meter by using it to manually set the exposure on test stills. 16mm film is a bit expensive just to do this. Although, once you're comfortable with the meter, it's well worth shooting exposure tests on the stock you plan to use by deliberately underexposing and then overexposing it a stop at a time from the your correct exposure. You'll then be able to see how much detail the stock will hold when under or over exposed.

There are quite a few books on the subject of exposure, which your college library should have.

Edited by Brian Drysdale, 14 March 2007 - 07:05 AM.

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#7 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 07:51 AM

Hello Kathleen! If you own a reflective light meter rather than an incident type, a grey card can be a very handy accessory. For years in still photography, I took light readings from mid toned areas within the scene around me and although the majority of my exposures turned out fine, there were still many frames that I had ruined by overexposing or underexposing. Of course what looks like a mid tone to our eyes may not reflect exactly 18% of the light falling on it. So it's quite easy to get fooled. When I bought a grey card, my exposures became much more consistent. Bear in mind though that grey cards do become lighter over time and this can lead to underexposure and so they need to replaced every once in a while. A brand new grey card should last a fair while. I guess you'll be shooting negative film so if you overexpose a little bit, you should be fine.

By the way, last I heard - Teds Cameras had some Jessops grey cards in but that was a few months ago.

Edited by Patrick Cooper, 14 March 2007 - 07:53 AM.

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#8 timHealy

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 08:35 AM

Changed the display name (must have changed the rules since I was last here :huh: )

Anyway. This camera has a blimp for the zoom lens and the prime lenses, (they are rented separately). It also has crystal lock at 25fps, no details on what kind of crystal motor it is. It comes with a light meter, but I also have my own, which is analogue and a bit wonky.

Another question - I'm used to shooting super 8, where the auto exposure works well. But with 16mm, I'm still having trouble getting manual exposure right. Where abouts can I get good information about light metering, so my images are consistently beautiful?


If you are directing and producing this film you may want to get someone to help you light so that you aren't dealing with too many hats on the day. It will help in the long run. Especially if you have someone to be the grip and or gaffer who is more knowledgable than yourself.

Best

Tim
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#9 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 09:09 PM

back to the subject of BL for a sec, how much are you renting it for for a day $$$? just curious :)

Thanks
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#10 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 11:09 PM

I shot my first sync sound film with the BL and it worked out nicely. A few shots were very tight quarters but there were no unwanted noises on the soundtrack. Just keep the barney on it, use the blimped lenses and maybe a few towels if it sounds too noisy.

Good luck.
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