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35mm or 16mm camera?


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#1 george kosmas

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 11:32 PM

:unsure: I know this question may have become a bit redundant in other posts but i'll ask all the same ... I'm directing my first feature come November and eBay is offering a range of arriflex cameras, from a 16mm SB design to 35mm IIC . The short films I've done in the past have relied on an old Bolex camera which has fallen into disrepair .

Im looking for a good silent camera (sync sound) ; the script has a lot of dialogue and there are a few minor action scenes which require pretty good focus and a steady shot (apparently the arri's have a registration pin which is perfect) .

So which is the best camera? 16mm or 35mm? And which design of each? 35mm BL or 35IIC,
or the old 16mm 'square' models? Pros and Cons?

I'm at a loss guys lol
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#2 David Auner aac

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 01:36 AM

:unsure: I know this question may have become a bit redundant in other posts but i'll ask all the same ... I'm directing my first feature come November and eBay is offering a range of arriflex cameras, from a 16mm SB design to 35mm IIC . The short films I've done in the past have relied on an old Bolex camera which has fallen into disrepair .


Hi George,

IMHO you should get a DP to shoot your film if you want to direct. Doing a director's and a DP's job well is a huge load of pressure and requires lots of preparation. In case you still want to do it yourself, stick with 16mm for now and do a search of the 16mm subforums where this question was covered numerous times in recent times.

Regards, Dave
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#3 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 01:52 AM

For a shot, 16. You really have no chance of selling it so format isn't critical. You may at some point shot 35 when you get some extra cash just for the experience but if you DO decide to make a feature DEFINITELY seriously look at going 35.
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#4 Andrew Koch

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 02:40 AM

35mm, as I'm sure you already know costs more in raw stock and processing than 16mm, but a major advantage is that you can make a contact print with 35mm for release. There is no need to do an optical blowup or costly DI. Nailing your exposure becomes more critical, but hey, cinematographers have been able to do it without DIs for over a hundred years. This is why it is important for you to hire a skilled cinematographer and have he/she decide what camera would be best for your shoot. I would also recommend that you rent the camera instead of buying an old one that will be more likely to break down on set. If you have a problem with a bought camera on set that can't be solved by the ACs, who do you call to fix it? Do you call yourself? A feature is a huge investment of time and money as I'm sure you already know. Why risk the efforts of yourself and the hard work of your cast and crew by shooting on a camera that may not be as reliable?

As far as an Arri S 16mm camera. That camera is a coffee grinder. You will not be able to sound with it and it does not come with a crystal sync motor. The Arri SR is a sync sound camera, but some of them can be a bit noisy. The Arri IIC 35mm is also not a sync sound camera because it is also very loud, same goes for the Arri 35III. The BL's are sync sound. If you do decide to buy a camera, make sure you get it checked out and serviced if necessary before the shoot.

Another reason to rent is so you can get all the necessary accessories and proper lenses. You will get a better deal from a rental house on things such as a follow focus, filters, lenses, if you rent the camera from them as well.

The only reason I could see you wanting to buy a camera is if there are no rental houses in your area. Where are you located?
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#5 Richardson Leao

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 03:56 AM

i am more for the buying than renting. u can buy decent regular 16mm cameras for the price of few days rent and u can familiarise yourself with the equip. i see some differences in price with 35mm but they are not exorbitant. if you buy shortends/recans, the only thing I believe will cost more is the processing. the telecine is generally paid by the hour. So, there's not a real difference. Also, the cameras off course are more expensive. But, if u have 5K to spare, u could get a kinor 35 converted to to perf and then u would save a lot of film and film in native 1.66 ratio.

35mm, as I'm sure you already know costs more in raw stock and processing than 16mm, but a major advantage is that you can make a contact print with 35mm for release. There is no need to do an optical blowup or costly DI. Nailing your exposure becomes more critical, but hey, cinematographers have been able to do it without DIs for over a hundred years. This is why it is important for you to hire a skilled cinematographer and have he/she decide what camera would be best for your shoot. I would also recommend that you rent the camera instead of buying an old one that will be more likely to break down on set. If you have a problem with a bought camera on set that can't be solved by the ACs, who do you call to fix it? Do you call yourself? A feature is a huge investment of time and money as I'm sure you already know. Why risk the efforts of yourself and the hard work of your cast and crew by shooting on a camera that may not be as reliable?

As far as an Arri S 16mm camera. That camera is a coffee grinder. You will not be able to sound with it and it does not come with a crystal sync motor. The Arri SR is a sync sound camera, but some of them can be a bit noisy. The Arri IIC 35mm is also not a sync sound camera because it is also very loud, same goes for the Arri 35III. The BL's are sync sound. If you do decide to buy a camera, make sure you get it checked out and serviced if necessary before the shoot.

Another reason to rent is so you can get all the necessary accessories and proper lenses. You will get a better deal from a rental house on things such as a follow focus, filters, lenses, if you rent the camera from them as well.

The only reason I could see you wanting to buy a camera is if there are no rental houses in your area. Where are you located?


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#6 george kosmas

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 03:59 AM

35mm, as I'm sure you already know costs more in raw stock and processing than 16mm, but a major advantage is that you can make a contact print with 35mm for release. There is no need to do an optical blowup or costly DI. Nailing your exposure becomes more critical, but hey, cinematographers have been able to do it without DIs for over a hundred years. This is why it is important for you to hire a skilled cinematographer and have he/she decide what camera would be best for your shoot. I would also recommend that you rent the camera instead of buying an old one that will be more likely to break down on set. If you have a problem with a bought camera on set that can't be solved by the ACs, who do you call to fix it? Do you call yourself? A feature is a huge investment of time and money as I'm sure you already know. Why risk the efforts of yourself and the hard work of your cast and crew by shooting on a camera that may not be as reliable?

As far as an Arri S 16mm camera. That camera is a coffee grinder. You will not be able to sound with it and it does not come with a crystal sync motor. The Arri SR is a sync sound camera, but some of them can be a bit noisy. The Arri IIC 35mm is also not a sync sound camera because it is also very loud, same goes for the Arri 35III. The BL's are sync sound. If you do decide to buy a camera, make sure you get it checked out and serviced if necessary before the shoot.

Another reason to rent is so you can get all the necessary accessories and proper lenses. You will get a better deal from a rental house on things such as a follow focus, filters, lenses, if you rent the camera from them as well.

The only reason I could see you wanting to buy a camera is if there are no rental houses in your area. Where are you located?



i really appreciate this ... First off, I'm in a small town in Melbourne, Australia and the only hiring houses in the area concern themselves with a few old video cameras but thats about it . I've looked into a hiring firm in the city but they only hire out for big productions - and in any case I'm told their camera fees alone are in excess of AUS $2000 . So the only option left was eBay . At this point, I've had an interested seller who's offering a 16mm BL (and I know that the 35mm IIC is not a silent camera so that's that) . Ive got a really good price for it and the man has agreed to upload a test screening but my main concern is, yeah, that it might break down or otherwise produce a poor image . At the end of the day, Im looking for a good camera, that gives sync sound and is reliable ... which arriflex model is the best?
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#7 Richardson Leao

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 05:15 AM

i really appreciate this ... First off, I'm in a small town in Melbourne, Australia and the only hiring houses in the area concern themselves with a few old video cameras but thats about it . I've looked into a hiring firm in the city but they only hire out for big productions - and in any case I'm told their camera fees alone are in excess of AUS $2000 . So the only option left was eBay . At this point, I've had an interested seller who's offering a 16mm BL (and I know that the 35mm IIC is not a silent camera so that's that) . Ive got a really good price for it and the man has agreed to upload a test screening but my main concern is, yeah, that it might break down or otherwise produce a poor image . At the end of the day, Im looking for a good camera, that gives sync sound and is reliable ... which arriflex model is the best?


concerning arri models, the BL is not one of the best models but it's a very good camera. we filmed a short recently with a friends camera and it was damn silent. you have to be a very unlucky person to have this camera broken,. Unless off course you don't maintain, lubricate etc. Poor image is also unlikely. The bl is a sync cam and it's very stable. Go for it man... if the camera is runing smoothly when u get it and u maintain it well, that will be with u forever. i'm a russian gear advocate but if u need silence... i guess i have to agree that the bl is better. Just a few remarks:

NOT MANY PEOPLE CONVERT BL TO S16. I don't think Aranda (in australia) does nor the Les Boshes (forgot the spel) in the UK, so, if u wanna the 16x9 you'll have to crop.
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#8 Freya Black

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 05:43 AM

At the end of the day, Im looking for a good camera, that gives sync sound and is reliable ... which arriflex model is the best?


I very much get the impresion that the question you are asking isn't the one that you are looking for an answer to. :(

In a recent thread about which was the most popular 35mm camera in the industry the answers in regards to Arri were:

Arricam ST and LT
435
SR3

The thing is that I suspect you won't be able to afford any of them. :(

Your situation is especially compounded by the revelation you are in Australia which I suspect puts a whole different spin on things. I've heard from a lot of people in Australia who have difficulty access to film related stuff. You need to do some reasearch into what the situation in Australia is.

For example, one person here said 16mm is much cheaper than 35mm. Another said that they are similar in cost (a third person might even claim that 35mm can be a bit cheaper), the irony is that all of these people are totally right. Where I live 35mm processing is much more expensive than 16mm, there are no short end/recan services left in the country and working in film is generally very expensive. Brand new 16mm stock is much cheaper than 35mm of course, and quite often brand new stock from Fuji is the only real option for a serious project over here.

In the U.S. on the other hand there are a variety of film buyback places that sell on re-cans, short ends and even sometimes unused factory sealed stock. Processing is very cheap and sometimes processing 35mm is cheaper than 16mm even! They are often a similar price. Oh and of course re-cans and short ends are often more available and cheaper over there in 35mm, as thats what the industry is shooting and has left overs of mostly, so in some cases 35mm could even be cheaper!

I suspect Australia will be different again, and you need to look into what is available to you and how you are going to go about things, in paticular where you will get film stock from and how much it will cost to be processed and transferred.

I suspect strongly that 16mm may be the way to go where you are but I am really guessing wildly as I don't have enough information about the situation there. If you can get access to cheap 35mm re-cans or stock it could all be different.

love

Freya
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#9 george kosmas

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 06:15 AM

In a recent thread about which was the most popular 35mm camera in the industry the answers in regards to Arri were:

Arricam ST and LT
435
SR3



I really appreciate all the help guys . In answer to someone's question earlier, this is a low budget feature, and what we're relying on (crew-wise) is a number of friends and family who want to be a part of the film in some way . Actors have been arranged for a script finalised in eye of a Nov-April 2009 shoot .
The options that we have in Australia are not so limited that I won't be able to get good film stock or get it processed . So, that said, the camera options that I've got lined up are as follows:

An arriflex BL film camera
An arriflex (S) 16mm camera
an arriflex 16mm SB - this is one im looking into, its only 800 ???
and finally
an arriflex 16mm ST camera and kit set

At its base, this is an amateur production ; we're all studying film at the moment, and Im off to the NYFA in Los Angeles in 2 yrs ... the problem is there are so many choices and so many pros and cons for each that its hard to find a good camera at a low price, u kno? any feedback will be greatly appreciated, thx so much guys ...
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#10 David Rakoczy

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 06:49 AM

If you think you are going to purchase a truly usable 16mm Package for your Feature, for under 5k, you are sadly mistaken. My Super 16 Sr2 ran over 42k USD! We are not just talking about a Body... you need a hell of a lot of 'stuff' to go with it. You'll want a full blown 'Hollywood' type Package including Video Tap etc.. Standard Sticks, Baby Sticks, Hi Hat and much much more... sweet Lenses can run $3 - 5k each... and a host of other necessary attachments to actually 'shoot'. ). Heck.. a decent Fluid Head ALONE will run $3 - 5K USD. Tho I completely agree with Andrew... I must disagree with it in this application. Look, I don't mean to be a downer but the odds of your Feature going to the Big Screen are minimal at best (not that it can't)... So 35mm is (I would say in this case unnecessary). Short ends are a pain in the ass. A roll of brand new 16mm is $150 and a roll of 35 is $750 USD. I would shoot Super 16 on an SR2 or 3. For straight to DVD this is a fantastic format! If you have the cash to shoot a feature you have the $30 - 40k to buy a 'proper', COMPLETE S16 Camera Package.

But to answer your question the way you originally phrased it, 35mm is best.. but for what you are doing.. S16 is 'best'.

(Freya, I am sure that was a typ-o, but SR3s are 16mm)

Edited by David Rakoczy, 18 August 2008 - 06:51 AM.

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#11 Paul Bruening

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 10:05 AM

http://www.arandafilm.com.au/

This guy, Bruce McNaughton, is in your backyard. See what packages he's got sitting around looking for a nice home. A couple of the folks and myself, here, will suggest a 2-perf, 35mm rig. Since you mentioned a BL, ask Bruce what he has in 2, 3, and 4-perf. He does S16mm and, even, Vista Vision, if you're so inclined.
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#12 Freya Black

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 02:41 PM

http://www.arandafilm.com.au/

This guy, Bruce McNaughton, is in your backyard. See what packages he's got sitting around looking for a nice home. A couple of the folks and myself, here, will suggest a 2-perf, 35mm rig. Since you mentioned a BL, ask Bruce what he has in 2, 3, and 4-perf. He does S16mm and, even, Vista Vision, if you're so inclined.


Definitely worth checking out!
I know that he has a Kinor 35mm 2 perf camera there waiting for a new owner!
2 perf is a great option for people on a low budget wshing to shoot 35mm and the kinor could provide the posibility of cheap high quality glass to go on the camera too! :)

love

Freya
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#13 Freya Black

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 02:49 PM

(Freya, I am sure that was a typ-o, but SR3s are 16mm)


Good point!
I've never been near an SR3 but SR2's are not that uncommon over here so it's not that much of a jump to realise that SR3's would be 16mm too! ;)

However I must confess I just cut and pasted it from the popular 35mm camera thread thing without paying too much attention. Having removed it from it's context it may be a bit askew now as is the way when you do such things.

No matter as you picked up on it, and on the upside that gives a recommendation for a nice 16mm camera too! Even better!

love

Freya
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#14 Richardson Leao

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 06:42 PM

Good point!
I've never been near an SR3 but SR2's are not that uncommon over here so it's not that much of a jump to realise that SR3's would be 16mm too! ;)

However I must confess I just cut and pasted it from the popular 35mm camera thread thing without paying too much attention. Having removed it from it's context it may be a bit askew now as is the way when you do such things.

No matter as you picked up on it, and on the upside that gives a recommendation for a nice 16mm camera too! Even better!

love

Freya


there;s a place in Oz that sells recans of both 35 and 16mm, the name escaped from my head now but i bought from these dudes in syd. maybe if u do a search in this forum u can find it.
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#15 Hal Smith

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 07:01 PM

One option with Arri 2's is to find one of the original blimps for them. A good, complete one is a bit hard to find but with luck you'll find a good one for around $2K including the AC sync motor and base. A complete one will have the built-in follow focus mechanism that will work with Zeiss and Cooke prime lenses with focus wings on them. There were two basic blimps, the 400 which has the ff mechanism and works only with primes, and the big elaborate 120/300 studio blimp that had extensions for zoom lenses and both ff and iris pull mechanisms.

They're both pretty heavy, the 400 takes at least an O'Connor 50 head and the big boy needs at least an O'Connor 100. Both work best with a gear head. Large and bulky is a disadvantage for many films but you can always take the camera out for any MOS scenes in your movie.

The most important caveat is "complete", if you don't start with a complete blimp finding any missing pieces can be very difficult.

Studio Blimp with 1000' magazine (from 2001 Christies' auction).

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#16 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 02:47 AM

Posted Image :blink: Jesus!!!

Does that thing come with it's own tractor-trailer? :o

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 19 August 2008 - 02:49 AM.

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#17 george kosmas

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 05:16 AM

I appreciate all the posts guys . At this point, the camera options I have available to me include an arriflex 16 S model, a 16 ST and a 16 BS series . Of course if a 16 BL comes along I'll pounce on it - and I've found a retailer here in Melbourne who specialises in Super 16 concersion for a theatrical release etc. Theres also a matter of finding any good dolly's or cranes for a good price but I suppose we can substitute if there's nothing out there for sale within reason. So final thoughts?
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#18 Sam Wells

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 02:29 PM

So final thoughts?


Yes, get something you can actually afford to use, shoot with, learn stuff.

-Sam
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#19 Hal Smith

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 05:01 PM

Does that thing come with it's own tractor-trailer? :o

Naw, a Heinkel 277 was the factory transport option.

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#20 David Bradley

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 06:30 PM

Arri sr2, just keep on going - will sync sound, pl mount etc etc. Pick one up on ebay for under $9000 US. I would.
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