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Nagra 3 and Nagra 4 in digital age


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#1 foreignfilm

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 07:12 PM

Hi,

I've come across a used Nagra 3 and a used Nagra 4. They are in a now-defunct film studio. The owner would sell them for about US$200 each. I might be able to get lower prices from him.

I plan to shoot a 16mm film in the future and am wondering if I should get one (or both) of them or get a digital recorder like a Tascam tascam HD-P2 instead. How do you transfer sound from Nagra 1/4" reel to a digital format? How much would it cost?

Thanks.
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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 09:24 PM

If you can get the pair for $200 bucks or even $400 bucks if the guy won't come down, DO IT! they go for a minimum of like $350 each on Ebay. Check the Nagra 3 though, it may have been a "wild" recorder used for gathering ambulant sound and sound FX. Some had a pilot port for sync and some didn't. What model is the 4? The 4.2 with time code are the most desirable and can still bring over a grand. As for digitizing, there are still places in LA that can do it I believe but they're becoming more scarce as digital takes over. I'm going 100% old school myself, to save cash so I bought a Magna Tech film recorder to do transfers to mag reels from my 4L for editing on a flatbed KEM, I've got a sync box setup I picked up on Ebay but am not sure how it hooks up. Tobin did make an external box for 24 FPS sync as well as another box for 29.95 (?) for video sync that plugged into the pilot socket and he may have some in stock, I think they run about $250 bucks or something like that, plus shipping. His stuff is excellent from what I've heard. He also make a 16mm to video transfer system but I wouldn't even venture a guess as to what that costs. If only we could get him to build a 35mm system! :rolleyes:
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#3 Bernhard Zitz

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 06:16 PM

I plan to shoot a 16mm film in the future and am wondering if I should get one (or both) of them or get a digital recorder like a Tascam tascam HD-P2 instead. How do you transfer sound from Nagra 1/4" reel to a digital format? How much would it cost?


For fast and hassle free sound-work a digital-reocorder might be better. It's light weight, Compact-Flash-Cards are getting very cheap, don't know how it compares to magnetic tape, but in the end it might be cheaper to get a digirecorder....


A Nagra 4 (4.2) will certainly have better preamps. Another thing is that magnetic tape handles overload much better than digistuff, instead of distortion like on a digitaldevice you get tape-saturation. In certain situations this is a big advantage, like very percussiv sounds, gunshots, loud unpredictable sounds, etc... but these are very special aplications. Depending on the tape speed you have to change tapes rather often. A Nagra will be heavy. You need to transfer it to your computer, you can get an audio-interface to diy but this costs aigain.

It depends what you want and like, they have different sound, it's as well a question of taste.

For everyday fast work I'd choose a digi-recorder. BUT as a gear-junkie I wouldn't hesitate a second to get a nagra 4.2 for 200$. The 4.2 was the state of the art machine in the 80ies, and it still is soundqualitywise, if in condition.

What camera do you use for your 16mm-stuff? if you have a noncristal Camera with pilottone then a nagra would be better...
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Visual Products

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