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Help using Pathe Webo 16mm camera


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#1 Evan Ferrario

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 11:39 AM

Hello everyone, I apalogize if I am asking a newbie question, I have been reading posts on this forum the last few days and I just wanted to make sure I'm on the right track. This is the first time I have worked with film and I am a little nervous.

I am shooting a short film I hope to enter into a few festivals. The movie is going to be shot mostly on HD, but there are a few segments I wanted to do in 16mm. I recently found a Pathe Super 16 camera to use for this. I know the camera isn't super 16mm, but it is okay for the image to be square. I was planning on having bars on the side for the 16mm segment as the rest of the project will be 16:9.

Posted Image

The camera is all in french and I have been trying to figure it out. I can set the fps at 8-80. I also found that after cranking all the way, it will run 24fps for about 30secs, this is more than enough time for what I am shooting. On the front is a switch that says 1/2 OUV, it has an option to be opened or closed. I am not sure exacally what this switch does.

Also there are two viewfinders, i assume one of for focusing and lighting the shot, and the other is just for reference while shooting. Am i right in thinking this. Is the image I see out of the one viewfinder going to be similar to what comes out on film?

The last thing I want to figure out is the film I should buy. I figured the camera would take 100 foot film considering it isn't big enough for 400. Do I need a special cartidge of film for this camera, or will a 100 foot roll of kodak film work in this camera.

I am planning on having the final film telecined to either HD or maybe just DV.

All the camera parts seem to be working. The person who lent it to me told me all the parts were working. I have seen a few people post about these cameras and I just want to make sure it is possible to shoot with such an old camera.
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#2 Christian Appelt

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 11:56 AM

Hi Evan,

it has been many years that I used a Pathé Webo camera, so I have not all answers...

FILM LOAD
You do not need a mag or cassette. The camera will take 100ft./30m daylight spools. When handling these spools, make sure you do not bend the spool flanges outside, otherwise you can get fogging.

When you take the lower spool (with exposed film) from the camera, do it in the shadow (no total darkness required, but when you're out in the sun, get into the shadow, put the paper strip loop that comes with the film around the spool and put it into its plastic box again.

FILM DRIVE
Do not (NEVER) let the camera run without film load at maximum speed. Rewind the spring drive after every shot, even if it was only a few second long, to make sure you do not run out of power.

SHOOTING
Remember that this is a vintage lens design. If you want crisp pictures, you have to stop down at least two stops from maximum lens aperture. Use the Pathé matte box if you can get it.

The Webo is an amateur camera, not a professional tool. They are also quite delicate mechanically, so I absolutely recommend shooting a roll of negative or reversal and project or telecine it (no matter what.

If you want the footage to look like vintage amateur films, use low-speed film, not above 100ASA.
Clean the film gate after each roll, DO NOT USE pressurized air (e.g. DustOut and similar products).


Maybe someone has more on the viewfinder, I have no memory of it.

Edited by Christian Appelt, 15 March 2007 - 12:00 PM.

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#3 Herb Montes

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 06:46 PM

I have a Pathe Webo Super 16 like yours. And I have a manual in English. The lever on the front is for the variable shutter. The viewfinder on the bottom is the reflex one, it looks through the lens for accurate framing and focusing. There a small lever below this to close the viewfinder when not looking through it to prevent fogging the film when using the upper viewfinder. Much like the viewfinder shutter on a Bolex Rex. The upper viewfinder is for filming since the lower one gets pretty dim with the lens closed down. The camera will backwind for multiple exposures. The shutter on the top can be set for continuous run, locking the run button on or off, and single frame.
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#4 Evan Ferrario

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 09:01 PM

Thanks for all the help, I am starting to understand all the pieces of this camera. I had an mechanical engineering friend over last night and we took the camera apart. Right now we are planning on removing the spring that winds and replacing it with a motor. This way I will not be restrained by the time limit of 1 wind which is about 30 secs. Our plan is to put in a motor and use the existing fps switch and on/off switch to control it.

Another part I have been looking at is converting for super 16. I do not want to spend a lot of money and i have access to a few people who are very comferatable with mechanical devices. Is the square film gate the only piece that needs to be widened so the camera will capture super 16mm images? I know that usually the viewfinder is modified, but I think we will be okay guessing. What I don't know about is the actual lens. If i widen the film gate to super 16 size, will I need to recenter the lens in order for it to work properly.

Again, I'm sorry if Im asking stupid questions. I will post pictures after I put in the motor and I am going to try and shoot some regular 16mm film this weekend.
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#5 Herb Montes

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 09:11 PM

Thanks for all the help, I am starting to understand all the pieces of this camera. I had an mechanical engineering friend over last night and we took the camera apart. Right now we are planning on removing the spring that winds and replacing it with a motor. This way I will not be restrained by the time limit of 1 wind which is about 30 secs. Our plan is to put in a motor and use the existing fps switch and on/off switch to control it.

Another part I have been looking at is converting for super 16. I do not want to spend a lot of money and i have access to a few people who are very comferatable with mechanical devices. Is the square film gate the only piece that needs to be widened so the camera will capture super 16mm images? I know that usually the viewfinder is modified, but I think we will be okay guessing. What I don't know about is the actual lens. If i widen the film gate to super 16 size, will I need to recenter the lens in order for it to work properly.

Again, I'm sorry if Im asking stupid questions. I will post pictures after I put in the motor and I am going to try and shoot some regular 16mm film this weekend.


Not having taken apart one of these I'm going to guess the camera uses a speed govenor. You'll have to keep that intact and duplicate the torque of the spring drive with the electric one. The Bolex uses a similar setup with the EM motor.

I don't know if the camera can be made Super 16 because of the pelicle. You might want to ask a Pathe expert like this one if it can be done:

http://www.webodoctor.co.uk/index.htm
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#6 Filip Dobrinic

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 08:13 PM

what is that below the lens 1/4 1/2 3/4 off on
and below number 16 on black circle?
thanks...
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#7 Jean-Louis Seguin

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 09:16 PM

Q: what is that below the lens 1/4 1/2 3/4 off on

A: Different settings of the variable shutter.

Q: and below number 16 on black circle?

A: Footage counter most likely.


Jean-Louis
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Glidecam

Tai Audio

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Opal

Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Visual Products

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS