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Diagnose my Bolex H16 issue.


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#1 Sean McHenry

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 10:04 PM

Hello folks. Took the Bolex H16 and a roll of Kodak 250D out for a spin finally last weekend. As I have been doing with new cameras, I had the lab send me the negatives rather than do a TC on it simply for cost savings right now. The roll I got back has a vertical smearing to the frames. I am including a picture which is a scan of a few frames I did on my HP 35mm Negative scanner.

You can clearly see the dress of the young lady is smearing downward into the subsequent frame. My question would be this, is this telling me I need a cleaning and the shutter is hanging open too long and the claw is advancing the film before it is closing? Or, is the shutter opening too early or late? I am leaning toward the first answer because there is a clean upper and lower edge to each frame showing me the shutter seems to be opening at the right timing, but hanging open a bit too long.

Notice too that it does seem over exposed which would also indicate to me the shutter was hanging open too long. Is this an issue that can be easily fixed or am I looking at a dying camera here?

I sent this same image to Bernie but he has real work to do and it may take him a day or so to find time to get back on this one. No problem there,. I respect Bernie and the amount of time he has to answer questions like this. I do however have the camera body packed up and ready to send to him tomorrow.

My last question is one of camera settings. It is my understanding that the "I" and "T" settings on the Bolex body are Interval and Timed. I shot this in the "I" position thinking this was what the manual was saying was correct for normal shooting and that the "Timed" was for single exposure where I wanted to control the duration the shutter was opened for. Was shooting in the "I" position correct or could that have been the issue?

Thanks everyone. When I can't find an answer, I turn to you folks.

Sean McHenry

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  • Bolex_16H_Test_Smear.jpg

Edited by Sean McHenry, 22 August 2007 - 10:06 PM.

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#2 AdamBray

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 10:37 PM

Maybe I am doing it wrong, but I have been shooting mine in the T position. I have shot one roll that looked fine. My second roll should be in the mail any day now.

The owners manual does not really say what the "I" is for other than "Instantaneous". Whatever that means. It says the T means "Time Exposures" for poor lighting conditions such as indoors.
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#3 Jeremy Rumas

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 11:56 PM

I'm pretty sure the I/T lever only effects the shutter during single frame operation. It should not have any effect on continuous filming. For single frame, if set to "I", the shutter stays open for roughly 1/30th of a second(you'd want to meter for 1/40th second taking into account the prism). The "T"setting is for timed single frame exposures...as long as the shutter button is engaged, the shutter stays open.

-Jeremy
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#4 Mike Lary

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 12:43 AM

Hey Sean,

What Jeremy said about the I/T settings is correct. Your problem looks like a pressure plate issue. When the pressure plate isn't snapped down, or if the pin holding it in place comes loose, the film will not be flush against the gate. The result is usually a streaking effect. If the plate is loose, the claw can slip off the sprockets and drag the film downward while the frame is being exposed. It can also cause the film to buckle and jam.

Mike

Edited by Mike Lary, 23 August 2007 - 12:45 AM.

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#5 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 01:16 AM

Yeah, definitely some pin registration issues there since the image is streaking through to the next frame. It could be that as a result the frame rate is also slowed down a tad, giving you some overexposure.
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#6 Olex Kalynychenko

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 01:41 AM

Hi.
I think, your camera have problem with synchronization between shutter disk and transport mechanism.
The shutter disk adjusted wrongly and shutter disk open at part of time of move of frame of film.
You can compare of dark lines from every side of picture and between frames.
The frame bar must have similar value.
And part of image ( clothes ) set between frames.
You need service and adjust of your camera.
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#7 Nick Mulder

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 01:45 AM

Bolexes have no pin - just the friction of the pressure plate ...

So yes it could be lack of friction causing the momentum of the pull down to keep the film moving a little after the shutter has opened, this could be proven somewhat by testing at fast and slow speeds ... Fast speeds should have more smear, slow speeds maybe even none.

The claw and shutter are mechanically connected so no amount of cleaning will fix it if they are mis-timed - its not too hard a check/fix if you have a rewind crank - stick into into the hand-crank / '0' and 'M' mode and wind it slowly and see is if the claw is pulling down when the shutter is open - assuming it isn't, read on...

okidoki, see the plate that the pressure plate clicks into ? its held down by two screws, undo them ... you'll see the claw is connected to a plastic gear that is held onto a shaft via a metal 'thingy' with two bent 'ding-dongs' that go into the plastic gear... you'll see what I mean... this gear needs to be moved relative to the other by undoing it and lifting it above the other so it can spin freely, either use your smarts and move it to the place it should be directly or resort to the 'try here - nope - try here - nope - try here - nope - hmmm, ok try here - yes!' method until you see the claw and shutter are in time with each other, from memory there is only one or two teeth where it is correctly timed - see how the metal thingy with the ding-dong has a square hole and the shaft has a square end... makes sure these are lined up before you tighten it and ruin it :huh:

other than that I can only suggest you also run some test film through the camera in hank-crank/external motor mode and watch to see what is happening with the loop, try also running it ...

good luck and make sure you report back here with show and tell ;)
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#8 Sean McHenry

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 07:20 AM

And that explains why I ask you guys. Someone is always around to bounce things off of. I appreciate the responses. So what I hear then is it shouldn't be a terribly hard thing (possibly) to fix and I might be able to find the issue myself. That's good news indeed.

I will look it over at the shop today and see what I can find out on the claw/gearing sync idea. I'm pretty sure the pressure plate was in the right position as, like others have said, I don't think I can actually get the back on the body if it's out of position (unless it's broken I suppose).

I did the nose grease thing someone mentioned in an earlier "how to" note before running the test roll. I asked the lab to return the original metal reel and box and they out did themselves. They sent me 6 Kodak boxes and 8 extra reels. I love those guys so far. They also thought ahead of me and sent me a roll of unexposed film someone sent through processing to use as test film and leader. Bonus! Now I have a roll to load and check out the loops with.

ColorLab NY was the lab. So far, much better service than Pro8mm (but I won't rehash that here - wrong forum anyway)

I'll print this out and play at the shop with it today but I will likely send it in to Bernie in the end because one never knows where their Ebay find came from or when it was cleaned last, even if I do find the issue with the shutter.

The one thing that sticks in my head is that there is a clean break between frames and it looks like the shutter is opening clean and at the right timing, it's just staying open too long, into when the claw starts pulling. Especially since it looks overexposed a tad, or actually a full stop or so. I was using a Minolta Autometer IV on cine setting (24f) and setting the lens directly with those numbers. All the shots are the same as far as looking a bit overexposed, at least I think so.So even if the film were sitting still, it looks like it's hanging open too long. Just a thought.

Thanks again guys. I'm sure Bernie will have a thought or two as well, then off it goes for a bath. The camera came with a Som Berthoit 17.5 - 70 that I already had Bernie realign. That's the lens I used and it seems flawless now. Very smooth. I guess I should put a few dollard into the body as well and have a good setup I can count on for a few years. Overall, If the camera can be fixed up, this wasn't a bad buy for the $200 or so I paid for the whole setup. It came with a Cookwe and Switar prime but it's missing the 75mm prime.

Thanks again,

Sean
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#9 Sean McHenry

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 12:18 PM

Hey folks. Just noticed this on the Bolex issue. In single frame mode I saw there is a secondary claw at the feed side of the gate. Is that supposed to hold the film steady or assist in any way? It feels like it should be spring loaded as there is some play in it but it's loose right now. I can apply slight pressure and bring it down to the film plane and it will stay where I put it.

From the angle of the hook in it it looks like this is supposed to keep the film from sliding backward toward the supply reel when the claw moves up to grab the film. I'm thinking this may be the culprit. What do you folks think? You know the part I am talking about? Forgive my not knowing what this piece is exactly as this is my first 16mm camera and it isn't mentioned in the manual that I saw.

Sean
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#10 Nick Mulder

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 02:29 PM

Hey folks. Just noticed this on the Bolex issue. In single frame mode I saw there is a secondary claw at the feed side of the gate. Is that supposed to hold the film steady or assist in any way?

Nope, its the claw used when you run the camera in reverse.

Get yourself a rewind crank on eBay - aside from being super helpful in diagnosing problems you can also save yourself a heap of partial loads and do effects etc...

In fact I am not going to help you any more until you do ! heh ;) (just kidding, but seriously without one there aint much we can do anyhow)

Edited by Nick Mulder, 24 August 2007 - 02:34 PM.

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#11 Sean McHenry

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 03:36 PM

Nope, its the claw used when you run the camera in reverse.

Get yourself a rewind crank on eBay



Actually, it came with one. Tried hand cranking it over today but for some reason it wasn't catching on the shaft. I'll look more into that when it comes back. I have heard of the lap dissolves and such using it but I'll be doing all that in Avid most likely. I would however like to play with varying the speed randomly.

It's boxed and ready to ship up to Bernie finally. I was hoping to have it out today but we just finished the live ESPN feed here and I think I missed my chance to hit the post office before it closes. There's always tomorrow. I guess I'll shoot some Super8 Tri-X till it comes back so I'm not Jonesing too much for film.

Thanks,

S.
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