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Optar Illumina set rental?


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#1 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 08:54 PM

Hey all,

I'm shooting a reg. 16mm SFSU grad short in January, and I'm sourcing lens rentals possiblities at the moment. I'm looking for a set of Optar Illuminas in B-mount (8, 9.5, 12, 16, 25, 50mm). I've gone thru the whole Reel Directory but haven't had any luck. Does anyone know who might have these in B-mount besides Utterbach and Chater? I know that DP Dan Schmeltzer has a set, but they're in PL mount.

Thanks guys.
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 07:39 PM

Perhaps you could check on a PL mount body?
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 07:43 PM

I don't think I've ever seen optars in a B-Mount. I know the ones I have are in PL. I would look up Gregory Mirond. He's the US rep for the Optars (optarillumina.com). Very nice man to talk with, though can be tough with his accent at times (not that mine was a help either!).
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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 08:39 PM

Hey Chris,
I'd love to have a PL mount camera! Unfortunately, with the budget I'll be lucky to even get the Optars for the whole shoot. You know how it goes on these student films. It's a first year film not a thesis, so the director's less willing to go all out on the budget. The school's camera is an Arri SR1 in B-mount, and their package includes a T3.1 Zeiss 10-100, a 9.5 Mk.1 Superspeed (no focus gear), and various Cooke Kinetal primes. A lot of the lenses don't even have lens caps and are covered in dust and fingerprints!

What I want to do is shoot on 100T stock @ T2 for the whole show for a super clean, sharp look. It's all interiors, but most of it will be on a soundstage where we'll have access to 10ks and 5ks. Another lens option is a T2.1 Canon 7-56, but I'd want to stop down to T2.8 with that lens. Naturally, I'd prefer to light to 50fc instead of 100fc! I'm also looking into a set of Mk. 2 Superspeeds which should be easier to find in B-mount. I'd prefer the Optars though because I figure they'll be better matched, though I'll test of course.

Hey Adrian,
I know that Luma Tech offers the Optars in B-mount, so there must be some out there. I will give Gregory Mirand a call though and see if he has any leads up here in SF.

Thanks guys.
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#5 Alex Worster

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 09:09 PM

Cool to hear you're shooting a 1st year film. I was trying to feel out shooting one but I don't think anything will come of it so count yourself lucky. Although I don't know where you could get those Optar's I'm curious to now why are you wanting to go with those over some Super Speeds which Lee doesn't charge too much for? Let me know if you end up needing a 1st, you're sparkling personality would be compensation enough, Satsuki. Good luck man, I'm sure it'll end up looking good.
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#6 Mitch Gross

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 09:53 PM

They did make them in B-mount. That's what I used to own. But even old superspeeds will be an improvement over that ancient Zeiss zoom. The Canon is not too bad a lens at all. It is essentially the same as the excellent 8-64, just with a different rear element that didn't spread the image to cover S-16. The 8-64 I owned for more than a decade was a converted 7-56. One thing to know with any of these older lenses is that no two are the same and it should be checked to see just how good it is or isn't.
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#7 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 03:21 AM

Thanks Alex and Mitch.

Alex, I actually was going to ask you to be the 1st AC! I was waiting for an updated script from the director to send to you, but the job is yours now if you want it. The shooting dates are 1/9/08-1/16/08.

The reason I'd prefer Optars over the Superspeeds is that a Superspeed set is usually a mixed bag, whereas the Optars are all matched. For example, the 50mm Zeiss is often a 35mm Mk.1, with the triangular aperture. Plus the Optars all cover Super16, so even though I'm shooting reg. 16mm, I know I won't have any vignetting issues on the wider lenses. And finally, a full set of Optars is usually 6 lenses: 8, 9.5, 12, 16, 25, 50mm. With Superspeeds, you don't get the 8mm or 50mm unless you shell out extra (although that depends on the rental house, I guess). I think the 8mm at Lee's is a standard speed T2.1. Collimation could still be an issue with the lens mount on SFSU's camera body, which is why I'd prefer primes over a zoom. A heavier zoom lens can cause a poorly maintained B-mount on the camera body to sag, throwing off the FFD. I've had this problem with SFSU's Arri S/B and a Zeiss 10-100 T2.

Mitch, thanks for the heads up on the Canon zoom. I'll definitely test before renting. With a good 7-56/8-64, are there any issues I should know about (besides the flaring problem)? Is stopping down to T2.8 generally enough to get the sharpest image, or does it really need to be stopped down to T4?

Thanks again!
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 08:14 AM

You know it's times like this where I wished i lived on the west coast. I'd bring my SR3 and Optars out then you'd solve the whole PL mount problem!
Best of luck with your shoot, though!
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#9 Alex Worster

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 02:03 PM

If you throw in some King Cobra I might be persuaded. As far as matching goes... I've worked on a couple things now with Lee's 16mm Super Speed's and seen them projected and they matched fine. The particular project I'm thinking of did go through Spy Post so they might have worked a little magic on it or something. Also, I hear Chater hand picks his lens (at leased he hand picked his 35 SS) so he might have also done that with his 16mm set. Maybe that's why they're a little pricier. I'll be going down there in the next week or two so I'll slip in a question and see what he says about matching. Both those sets come with a 50 but I don't know what to tell you about the 8mm... have you seen anything projected from Optars 8mm? Noticeable distortion? My personal personal preference keeps me away from the ultra wides (too much distortion) unless it's called for by the story.

Also, have you ever used Lee's J-bar video tap they rent where they take State's SR and replace the J-bar with their own that has a tap on it? It's decent and might be something to push for, budget depending but I don't think to recall it being a real bank breaker.

Edited by Alex Worster, 21 November 2007 - 02:04 PM.

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#10 John Mastrogiacomo

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 03:13 PM

I don't think I've ever seen optars in a B-Mount. I know the ones I have are in PL. I would look up Gregory Mirond. He's the US rep for the Optars (optarillumina.com). Very nice man to talk with, though can be tough with his accent at times (not that mine was a help either!).



I have a full set with the B-Mount. I bought them new from Gregory a couple of years ago.

Unfortunatley, I don't rent them out. :(
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#11 Ray Friera

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 05:05 PM

Hey Satsuki,

I was going to volunteer my Zeiss 10-100 MK1 T2 I got from Tim Carrol a few months ago just to see how it performs. I can also used some production experience, so if you need some warm body I be grateful to help out.
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#12 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 11:42 PM

...A lot of the lenses don't even have lens caps and are covered in dust and fingerprints!


This just adds to a long list of complaints that I've heard concerning State's cage :/

Hey, if you're in a bind AC wise, feel free to give me a call too!

Lens rentals here in the Bay Area are so limited. I got a set of Zeiss superspeeds from Chater recently. They had a bit of wear to them, but were fine for us because we were shooting on a Pro35 adapter, so sharpness wasn't as big a concern.

Film Arts regularly rents a Zeiss 10:1 zoom from Lee for Aliano's lighting class which shoots on the SR1, but I don't recall how fast it is. It's pretty sharp though.
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#13 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 02:57 AM

Wow, thanks for all the replies!

Adrian, it's the thought that counts, I guess. It's appreciated. :)

Alex, nothing but the best for my crew ... which means Pabst. :wacko: Good to hear about Lee's Superspeeds matching. I saw Optar footage projected several years ago, but that was Tri-X reversal B&W so I have no idea how the lenses render color in projection. The 8mm looked very sharp and pretty rectilinear, if I remember correctly. I rather like rectilinear distortion (not so much barrel distortion) but what may keep us from going that wide is the height of the stage flats -- we may end up seeing above them in 1.33:1. Didn't know about the J-Bar, thanks for the tip. Of course, then we'd have to rent a monitor too. ;)

Ray, thanks for the offer, I'll take you up on your offer to help crew! Can you PM me your contact info? I do like sharpness and color of the 10-100 T2 Zeiss, but it does tend to breathe A LOT, which makes focus pulls very obvious so I try to avoid using it for narrative work (which is the only stuff that gets shot on 16mm these days!). Also it only focuses to 5' (actually 3'6" if you don't mind some vignetting) which can be a serious problem.

Jon B., I still don't have your phone #. Can you shoot it to me via email or PM? I'm sure we'll find a project to work on together eventually. +1 on Chater's 35mm Superspeeds, they match well as far as I could tell.
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#14 Alex Worster

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 03:16 AM

Ah, that sweet SFSU 1.33 groundglass. I didn't even think about it earlier but they also will replace State's GG with their own 1.85 (not sure of the cost but that really can't cost that much and would actually be the very first thing I would spend money on). The frame lines are pretty homemade looking but it is definitely a big improvement over shooting 1.33 with a 1.85 crop in the back of your mind. Money money money. You gotta pay to play.
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#15 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 06:07 PM

Ah, that sweet SFSU 1.33 groundglass. I didn't even think about it earlier but they also will replace State's GG with their own 1.85 (not sure of the cost but that really can't cost that much and would actually be the very first thing I would spend money on). The frame lines are pretty homemade looking but it is definitely a big improvement over shooting 1.33 with a 1.85 crop in the back of your mind. Money money money. You gotta pay to play.

Well, there's a good possiblility that we will finish on film (cut neg->IP->dupe neg->16mm print), so I'm planning on framing for the full 1.33 and getting everything in camera. We're also trying to get print dailies (realistically, every-other-dailies) since the director is required to get a workprint anyway. I really hope we can do it -- we're looking to go to a high-volume lab in LA like Fotokem since Monaco can't do weekend runs unless a big show comes to town during that time.
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#16 Ray Friera

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 07:47 PM

Satsuki, i have PM you my contact info.

Guys, I would like to get some feedback on a music video project. Pls. check my posting on super-8 forum titled 'Super 8 music video in progress'. I would appreciate it very much.
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#17 Alex Worster

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 11:50 PM

Is it actually a story that calls for 1.33? Because if not you can just have them 1.85 matte the prints (dailies and release print). I don't see why they wouldn't be able to do it. Unless of course you guys don't want to shot widescreen as a conscious decision. What is you're guys' reason for going the photochemical route? I thought it was not required anymore of 1st years. Just for fun, maybe? Also, I thought I'd heard not to many festivals take prints anymore so you'd have to go digital at some point if that's what you guys wanted to do with the film in the long run.
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#18 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 02:38 AM

I AC'd on a first year grad film earlier this year, and they too had to get a workprint of all their footage.
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#19 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 04:24 AM

Is it actually a story that calls for 1.33? Because if not you can just have them 1.85 matte the prints (dailies and release print). I don't see why they wouldn't be able to do it. Unless of course you guys don't want to shot widescreen as a conscious decision. What is you're guys' reason for going the photochemical route? I thought it was not required anymore of 1st years. Just for fun, maybe? Also, I thought I'd heard not to many festivals take prints anymore so you'd have to go digital at some point if that's what you guys wanted to do with the film in the long run.

We are finishing digitally for the purposes of the class, but the director wants to leave the option open to strike a print if he feels the end product merits it. Thus, I have to shoot with a photochemical finish in mind. I think this mindset will lead to more discipline on set as well, which I'm all for. Also, I've never taken a film project beyond the workprint stage before, so I'm excited to get to see this all the way to a timed 16mm release print, most likely from the cut O-neg. The goal would be to show a film print at Film Finals and other fests which can project 16mm. I seriously doubt we'll ever do a 35mm blow-up, or I'd really be pushing to shoot Super16. We're doing a supervised direct-to-hard drive uncompressed SD telecine at Monaco with John Carlson, so we'll have a high quality SD master to do our online edit from. I understand that the students are required to get a Keycode transfer with flex files, so conforming the O-neg should be possible if we cross all our "T"s and dot our "I"s.

I'd prefer to shoot Super16 at 2.35 actually, but I hate the idea of cropping the already tiny 16mm neg. If we were only finishing digitally, I wouldn't mind so much. Beyond that, I don't want to complicate the workflow too much by framing for 2.35 but protecting for 1.33, making the operator's job harder, requiring special lab work, etc. The 'scope frame would be appropriate since the film is about a young couple in the early stages of an awkward romance and calls for a lot of division of spaces across the width of the screen, so that the two characters can inhabit the same frame but still be completely separated by architecture and lighting. So I think instead what I can do is use the taller 1.33 frame to create vertical divisions in the frame, chop heads and create deliberately unbalanced, open framing. I'm going to look at a lot of 1.33 films for ideas.
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#20 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 03:30 PM

We are finishing digitally for the purposes of the class, but the director wants to leave the option open to strike a print if he feels the end product merits it. Thus, I have to shoot with a photochemical finish in mind. I think this mindset will lead to more discipline on set as well, which I'm all for.


Hey Satsuki, if you could expand on this, that'd be great. My method is to always achieve what I want in camera, regardless of whether I'm going to a timed print, telecine or (someday) a DI.

Is this what you mean, in that you will be more comfortable shooting higher contrast, knowing you will eventually go to a timed print?
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