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Making the switch to film, yikes!


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#1 Kevin Ray

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 03:21 PM

I've been making movies for fun pretty much for as long as I can remember. I've always used home movie cameras until the past few years, where I upgraded to a Canon XL1. I've decided that the time has come to start doing this thing for real and take the next step to using film. Problem is, after a life time of video, I'm really nervous about the switch.
Any suggestions for getting a start on film?
I figured I'd start out on Super 8 and make my mistakes on the cheaper format before moving on to 16mm.
Buts thats about all I know.
To make matters worse, I'm on a college students budget.
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#2 AdamBray

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 05:41 PM

Don't be scared of 16mm. Pick up a Bolex H16 with a reflex viewfinder or an Arriflex S and simple light meter like a Sekonic Studio Delule III, and just start to practice. As a student, I think you get a discount on film stocks and processing/telecine. You can be tempted to get a K3, but I think you would be more happy in the end with one of the others. I have read about too many problems with the K3. I have yet to see a post about scratched up films or camera jams with the Bolex or Arriflex S/B.

I have no experience with S8, so I can't comment on it.

Good luck.
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#3 Zamir Merali

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 10:16 PM

I definitely agree with Adam about how you should try 16mm first. It is alot easier to get a nice 16mm camera where you can get support. It is also alot easier to get 16mm developed. Most importantly, the results from 16mm will make you much happier. 8mm might look worse than an xl2 to you but 16mm will looks amazing compared to what you've been shooting so far. Just try one 400 foot roll as a test and see what happens. www.thedrgroup.com has amazing prices for film.
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#4 John Brawley

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 10:30 PM

Go for 16mm. It's much easier to get a better result. plus, one of the advatages is the filmic depth of field as well, especially compared to your XL.

What mistakes are you worried about making ? If it's loading and such, then most rental companies will let you practise loading on magazines and their cameras. Kodak will often have out of date stock or dummy loads that you can practise with.

If you're worried about exposure then dont ! I actually reckon it's easier than video. I've forgotten to stop down on exterious and ended up being 5 stops overexposed ! Although it was noisy, it was still correctable in telecine. And telcine is am amazing place. You'll wonder how you went without it before.

I find film is much less work and much more forgiving than video. You'll be hard pressed to make a mistake short of fogging a mag...!

Go forth and conquer !
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#5 Kevin Ray

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 11:10 PM

I guess it's just fear of the unknown. If you mess up on video, you can tape over it. Thanks for the advice. I wasn't really looking foward to shooting in Super 8. I've heard that sound sync can be pretty tricky with 16mm. Any ideas of fixing this without spending alot of cash?
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#6 John Brawley

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 11:26 PM

umm..aside from banging two sticks together ? aka the slate ?

Not sure what're youre asking. Any crystal sync camera should have no problems. Of course you need a separate recorder of some kind. If you're thinking of recording double system sound with a bolex or the like...well....yeah....you'll have problems with it going out of sync...because it's a clockwork camera.

But you'll have even bigger problems with camera noise ;-)

I know the bolex is a useful camera but i find them a little unfriendly, especially to an inexperienced operator.
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#7 Robert Hughes

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 10:05 AM

You don't absolutely have to have sound sync. Remember that the movie industry ran for decades without a single syllable of speed, and almost every feature still uses "MOS" shots where the shot doesn't use audio. I saw a beautiful Super 8 film a few weeks back that was done silent with audio interviews done at some other time, and I didn't have any problem believing the person on the sound track was the one working in the image.

The Bolex is a worthy camera. I got one 25 years ago and still use it when I need its flexibility, like single frame shots for animation.

Edited by Robert Hughes, 01 August 2007 - 10:07 AM.

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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 11:25 AM

Hi,

Super-8 is almost as expensive as 16mm, even in the US.

Phil
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#9 AdamBray

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 12:47 PM

umm..aside from banging two sticks together ? aka the slate ?

Not sure what're youre asking. Any crystal sync camera should have no problems. Of course you need a separate recorder of some kind. If you're thinking of recording double system sound with a bolex or the like...well....yeah....you'll have problems with it going out of sync...because it's a clockwork camera.

But you'll have even bigger problems with camera noise ;-)

I know the bolex is a useful camera but i find them a little unfriendly, especially to an inexperienced operator.



Unfriendly how? It does not get any easier than a reflex Bolex.
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#10 Kevin Ray

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 02:52 PM

I like to shoot alot of dialog, how do you guys feel about Canon Scoopic 16?
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#11 Michael Nash

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 01:45 AM

I like to shoot alot of dialog, how do you guys feel about Canon Scoopic 16?


What? I can't hear you over the sound of the camera... ;)

Quiet, synch-sound 16mm cameras aren't quite "entry level." You're basically then looking at something like an Eclair NPR or ACL, an Arri 16BL, or a CP-16.
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#12 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 02:09 AM

You can get a Russian 16s (Kinor and the other one) pretty cheap and buy film off ebay, in fact that's TONS of 16 stuff on ebay more than any other format. I think there's a 16 flatbed editor going for like nothing right now and they come up all the time, film, various cameras. Just don't get the cartage cameras, they're a pain in the ass to find film at a good price for. Take a look. I think you could get everything, camera, viewer, film for under a grand if you're careful about what you buy. Go for an MOS for right now until you learn about film, why complicate your life with trying to sync sound and all that. B)
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#13 John Brawley

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 02:22 AM

Unfriendly how? It does not get any easier than a reflex Bolex.


I personally think an arri S is easier. Easier to lace. No shutter angle to set. Better VF. easier to mount accessories like mattebox and FF. I know you can DO more, but im talking ease of use.

Just my personal opinion, but i think the Bolex is easy once you KNOW what all those little levers and knobs mean and set. But for someone just beginning, it's not an intuitive ergonomic camera.
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#14 John Brawley

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 02:31 AM

What? I can't hear you over the sound of the camera... ;)

Quiet, synch-sound 16mm cameras aren't quite "entry level." You're basically then looking at something like an Eclair NPR or ACL, an Arri 16BL, or a CP-16.



Or a nice aaton LTR ?

I guess some of us are assuming that Kevin is going to buy a camera. But it's pretty easy to hustle a low cost sync sound camera like an Arri SR for not a lot of dollars from a rental company. Depends of course what kind of films he's going to make, but I know in my earlier career i was often able to get older rental cameras for next to nothing or a case of beer.
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#15 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 02:57 AM

Here ya go:

Krasnogorsk-3 - 16mm movie camera - EXCELLENT Item number: 280139498640
(and it really DOES look good)

Buy It Now price: US $185.00 Shipping and Handling $64.50

VINTAGE "MOVISCOP" 16mm MOVIE FILM VIEWER W/ORIG CORD Item number: 230157905247


Current bid: US $15.00

Like I said under a grand, WAY under. :D
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#16 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 02:50 PM

I definitely agree with Adam about how you should try 16mm first. It is alot easier to get a nice 16mm camera where you can get support. It is also alot easier to get 16mm developed. Most importantly, the results from 16mm will make you much happier. 8mm might look worse than an xl2 to you but 16mm will looks amazing compared to what you've been shooting so far. Just try one 400 foot roll as a test and see what happens. www.thedrgroup.com has amazing prices for film.


The problem with buying 16mm first is the investment is usually more, there probably are more accessories to buy, and once one is in to the camera for a bit, the newbie filmmaker then realizes there is another 16mm camera they really want, and now they are into their second 16mm camera.

I think it's better to practice lighting, framing, composition, and learning the film stocks, and all of that can be done on Super-8. The Super-8 viewfinder is incredibly helpful for a beginner as well. Although the margin of error is actually smaller in super-8, this is actually a good thing because it teaches one to be more accurate and less careless. Also, with Super-8, one can get away without a crew in the very beginning when one is just learning, and save their friendship freebies for the bigger shoots that are to come.

Also, much can be learned from doing short takes at lower frame rates. I think it's kind of cool to sometimes burn off just a couple of frames to see how a shot looks that I may decide to not shoot. Or when just grabbing a quickie time-lapse shot, those are much harder to do in 16mm.

If a beginner does go the 16mm route, I would only recommend 16mm to a beginner IF they are going to have a 16mm camera that has an orientable viewfinder.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Among the new and used 16mm cameras that do not have orientable viewfinders a Canon Scoopic is probably the most user friendly 16mm camera for a beginner, with a new or used Bolex a close second. The Ikonoscope is an interesting option, but perhaps out of the price range of the newbie student.
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#17 Sean M Murphy

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 10:06 PM

True but if all you're trying to accomplish is to learn how to expose film properly and gain experience I say do it. Shoot elements of a video with a 16mm bolex or whatever and then edit it into the video. Just ask for them to telecine/DI you footage. it's costs some money but as a student you can get discounts in developing and telecine. I used to do it in college and it worked out great especially if all you're sending them is a couple hundred feet.
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#18 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 12:29 AM

"8mm might look worse than an xl2 to you but 16mm will looks amazing compared to what you've been shooting so far"

Not necessarily. For one thing, a film stock like Kodachrome will give your super 8 footage more saturated colour than a Canon XL2 would. I did a time lapse shoot of a sunset on super 8 Kodachrome and those reds were so vibrant upon projection that they literally leaped off the screen. And super 8, being film, has the authentic 'film look' whereas XL2 footage does not. Of course on the other hand, XL2 footage would look crisper and sharper.
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#19 Kevin Ray

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 01:53 PM

I found a Eclair ACL on ebay, is this a good deal? :ph34r:


http://cgi.ebay.com/...1QQcmdZViewItem
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#20 AdamBray

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 04:28 PM

I found a Eclair ACL on ebay, is this a good deal? :ph34r:
http://cgi.ebay.com/...1QQcmdZViewItem




Something seems fishy about that seller to me. They were MIA for over a year and now selling expensive equipment and you have no idea what it was they were selling before. It could of been Beanie Babies.

They don't seem to know what they are selling for some strange reason. They don't seem to know what kind of lenses they are or if it's a French made or not. I find that odd for someone who claims to have run 800 feet through the camera and appears to own it.

I'm thinking this could be a hijacked account. The scammer knows a little something about film cameras, but the potential buyers know more, which explains all the corrections. The scammer can't go back and correct the wrong answers they gave in the Q&A section, so they put the "correction" in the listing.


I would feel a lot better about this if I knew what they were selling before. Then again, maybe I'm just paranoid. I persoanlly would not buy. Too many red flags for me.

Edited by AdamBray, 09 August 2007 - 04:29 PM.

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