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Quieting an MOS camera with a Blimp


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#1 Tim Carroll

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 05:07 PM

Was able to win the eBay auction for the ARRI Lightweight Fibre Glass Blimp 16 last month. It came from the inventory of RIT's film department and I had talked with their equipment person about it. He assured me the Blimp was like "Brand New" and he thought it had never been used.

Turned out that it probably hadn't been used in decades, ever since someone broke it. A number of the wires were broken off down inside the sound proof housing and many little parts were missing. Luckily it's a typical ARRI piece of equipment from that period, which means it's totally rebuild-able. I was able to disassemble the whole thing, fix the broken wires, find numerous lost small parts lodged deep in the guts of the inner cavity, and get it all back up and working. Now even the little interior lights work. It's really a cool piece of equipment with its built in follow focus and iris controls. It is quite heavy though at 42 lbs with camera and full 400 ft load.

And it is quite large:

Posted Image

Ever wonder if a Blimp really works? Or if it really quiets the camera that much? Or just how much it does quiet the camera? Well I added a new page to the "How To" section of the web site. You can view it by clicking on the link entitled, "Quieting an Arriflex 16S - Part #2, Using an ARRI Lightweight Blimp 16".

Arri16S.com

It compares the sound levels (with audio clips) of the camera running by itself (Naked), the camera running in the Custom Upholstery Products Barney, and the camera running in the ARRI Lightweight Fibre Glass Blimp 16.

Enjoy,
-Tim
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 05:49 PM

Those sound clips would have been even better if you weren't talking over them the entire time ;)

Especially the clip with the blimp

42 lbs!!! I'd rather rent an Aaton or Arri SR
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#3 Tim Carroll

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 07:33 PM

Those sound clips would have been even better if you weren't talking over them the entire time ;)


Yeah, I debated about that, but decided to have a voice on there so that there would be a reference instead of just the camera running. With just the camera running you can turn the volume down and they all sound fine, or turn the volume way up and hear the camera inside the blimp. With a voice on there it gives you a frame of reference as far as volume goes, and it shows how the camera noise would interfere with or not interfere with dialog, which is the whole point of sync sound shooting anyway I figure.

Anyway, was real surprised how well the blimp worked, especially since it was stored improperly for decades.

And I agree with you, a modern camera sure is alot lighter and alot easier to move around. You need a big tripod head and sturdy sticks to steady this thing.

But from an engineering standpoint, especially given the period it was made, it's awesome. Especially the follow focus and iris adjustment set up.

-Tim
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#4 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 10:22 PM

I actually think the test are perfect I love the 3 examples, and that blimp is great, I know is heavy and probably a best , but hey you can get the job done!
Greta Job Tim
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#5 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 10:34 PM

With a voice on there it gives you a frame of reference as far as volume goes, and it shows how the camera noise would interfere with or not interfere with dialog, which is the whole point of sync sound shooting anyway I figure.


Ahhh, I get'cha :)

Nicely done, I'd like to see some footage shot and synced with some sound too. Got future plans to do so?
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#6 Tim Carroll

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 12:12 AM

Ahhh, I get'cha :)

Nicely done, I'd like to see some footage shot and synced with some sound too. Got future plans to do so?


That's a fall or winter project. Been a very busy summer, lots of cameras to service for the film schools during their summer break. Heading down to Tehachapi to apprentice with Axel again in August and he has some cameras he wants me to bring back up here and do, so not gonna have much time for the next few months.

I actually think the test are perfect I love the 3 examples, and that blimp is great, I know is heavy and probably a best , but hey you can get the job done!
Greta Job Tim


Thanks Martin.

-Tim
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 12:16 AM

I'm glad someone is getting all that gear and using it. I helped to clean out a lot of RIT's extra unused gear before I graduated in May. Kevin (RIT's equipment manager) is a great guy. If you need parts he just might have them.
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#8 Tim Carroll

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 08:27 AM

I'm glad someone is getting all that gear and using it. I helped to clean out a lot of RIT's extra unused gear before I graduated in May. Kevin (RIT's equipment manager) is a great guy. If you need parts he just might have them.


I hate to see quality gear, even though it might be quite old, getting thrown out. Especially when it can be rebuilt and still be very usable. Most of the old ARRI gear is that way.

-Tim
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#9 Oliver Smith

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 08:52 AM

It sure is ugly. Still, if it gets the job done...

What's its secret? Apart from being completely sealed, is there an air gap or is it stuffed full of absorbent materials?
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#10 Tim Carroll

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 09:08 AM

It sure is ugly. Still, if it gets the job done...

What's its secret? Apart from being completely sealed, is there an air gap or is it stuffed full of absorbent materials?


It's lined with foam padding and a very heavy corduroy material and the fibre glass is pretty thick. The camera is mounted on a rack inside the blimp and that rack is rubber mounted to the blimp.

If you haven't listened to the clips you should, it's amazing how it works.

-Tim
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#11 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 10:39 AM

I hate to see quality gear, even though it might be quite old, getting thrown out. Especially when it can be rebuilt and still be very usable. Most of the old ARRI gear is that way.

-Tim


That is sad. There are a lot of thigns in the equipment cage there that just don't get used because students view them as antiquated. There are 5 SR2s, all nice packages, that rarely get use because everyone wants to shoot HD video. I think I shot more film projects than anyone in years when I was there.
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#12 Tim Carroll

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 11:02 AM

That is sad. There are a lot of thigns in the equipment cage there that just don't get used because students view them as antiquated. There are 5 SR2s, all nice packages, that rarely get use because everyone wants to shoot HD video. I think I shot more film projects than anyone in years when I was there.


What is the situation there are RIT? I talked with Kevin in April or May and he said he wanted to have all five of those SRII's converted to Super 16 and wanted Axel Broda to do them. I talked with Axel to set it up and told Kevin to call him. Kevin never did. Axel is getting closer and closer to retirement and I am not sure how much longer he is going to be doing Super 16 conversions on the 16SR and 16SRII cameras. If Kevin waits much longer, having Axel convert them is not going to be an option.

And if RIT is not going to do anything with the cameras, they should sell them. I would like to pick up an SRII, though after seeing what shape this blimp was in, after having Kevin describe it as basically brand new, never been used, I would be a little leery of the condition.

-Tim
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#13 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 12:21 PM

What is the situation there are RIT? I talked with Kevin in April or May and he said he wanted to have all five of those SRII's converted to Super 16 and wanted Axel Broda to do them. I talked with Axel to set it up and told Kevin to call him. Kevin never did. Axel is getting closer and closer to retirement and I am not sure how much longer he is going to be doing Super 16 conversions on the 16SR and 16SRII cameras. If Kevin waits much longer, having Axel convert them is not going to be an option.

And if RIT is not going to do anything with the cameras, they should sell them. I would like to pick up an SRII, though after seeing what shape this blimp was in, after having Kevin describe it as basically brand new, never been used, I would be a little leery of the condition.

-Tim


All five of their SR2s are regular 16. Kevin has been having budgetary problems the last couple years getting the money to have them all converted because, this summer, the facilities are getting a total revamp. They're moving to a new location, more higher quality editing bays, et cetera.

That is all compounded by the fact that all student films at RIT are funded by students. Because of the expense (or the job of finding grant money), fewer students are shooting film.

My guess is that Kevin just took a quick look at the blimp, or perhaps one of his student assistants did. I doubt he's even seen the blimp before the big cleanup the last couple months so the functional problems were unknown. Hopefully it's working out fine for you.

Edited by Chris Keth, 24 July 2007 - 12:25 PM.

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#14 Tim Carroll

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 01:25 PM

All five of their SR2s are regular 16. Kevin has been having budgetary problems the last couple years getting the money to have them all converted because, this summer, the facilities are getting a total revamp. They're moving to a new location, more higher quality editing bays, et cetera.

That is all compounded by the fact that all student films at RIT are funded by students. Because of the expense (or the job of finding grant money), fewer students are shooting film.

My guess is that Kevin just took a quick look at the blimp, or perhaps one of his student assistants did. I doubt he's even seen the blimp before the big cleanup the last couple months so the functional problems were unknown. Hopefully it's working out fine for you.


Chris,

Don't get me wrong, I am very happy that I got this blimp. It needed alot of work, but after I found many of the missing small parts buried inside the unit, and fixed or made the rest of the parts in my machine shop, it is now a very complete blimp and will let me add the articles to the web site that I need to add. Finding one in even this shape is next to impossible, especially since they're all at least forty years old by now.

If what you're saying about none of the students wanting to shoot film is true, and I believe it is, I wonder why RIT is hanging onto 5 Arriflex 16SRII cameras? Sell off two or three, use the money from the sale to convert the remaining cameras to Super 16. Seems like a no brainer. Though, having dealt with university film departments for the last few years now, RIT's kind of thinking is not uncommon.

Whatta ya gonna do?
-Tim
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#15 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 01:42 PM

Chris,

Don't get me wrong, I am very happy that I got this blimp. It needed alot of work, but after I found many of the missing small parts buried inside the unit, and fixed or made the rest of the parts in my machine shop, it is now a very complete blimp and will let me add the articles to the web site that I need to add. Finding one in even this shape is next to impossible, especially since they're all at least forty years old by now.

If what you're saying about none of the students wanting to shoot film is true, and I believe it is, I wonder why RIT is hanging onto 5 Arriflex 16SRII cameras? Sell off two or three, use the money from the sale to convert the remaining cameras to Super 16. Seems like a no brainer. Though, having dealt with university film departments for the last few years now, RIT's kind of thinking is not uncommon.

Whatta ya gonna do?
-Tim


Exactly. University thinking is so slow to change. Up until last year our first film production class (for sophomores, freshmen learn basics on video) edited on flatbeds with magstock. Only last year did we see any kind of HD video at all. The school bought 4 HVXs. The school is just in a big period of change, which always makes a few rough years.
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#16 Pete Von Tews

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 04:20 AM

That blimp is a cool looking piece of gear! Congrats on a cool find!
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