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What film stock to use for high speed cameras?


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#1 Jordan Hassay

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 01:37 AM

Preface: I'm a student.

Problem: I just picked up a high speed camera that shoots 60-8000 fps. I'm shooting a sequence with it for my next project, but I'm thinking no higher than 1000 fps. It's an interior shoot. I'll be using three 750 or 1000 watt Lowells to light the frame from a close proximity. My question is, do I use kodak 200T vision 2 film, or 500T vision 3?

I'm going to drop my lights very close to the action so I can get enough exposure to make up for the 1/2000s exposure time, and this will likely make for pretty high contrast. I can use the 200T if I can balance the lights correctly and have one act as fill... but I'm just not sure if I can diffuse/bounce one of these lights and keep it strong enough to impact exposure much. On the other hand, I might not have enough flexibility to get a good value range for the Vision 3.

Thank you for your help!
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#2 Ian Cooper

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 03:45 AM

Does the camera take single-perf stock, or only double-perf?

From what I've read, some high speed cameras only take double. If that's the case then I think your stock choices are going to be a lot more limited.
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#3 Mike Williamson

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 03:54 AM

Vision 3 500T because you will need the speed.

You may want to look at some of the other threads on this site that discuss shooting high speed, one of which deals with flicker from smaller tungsten lights (anything below a 5K) when shooting at higher speeds like 1000 fps. I haven't shot anything at those frame rates myself, but it sounds like your lighting package is very small for the job at hand. Kevin Zanit is a great resource in this area, so you should see if he has any advice to offer. Best of luck with the shoot, let us know how it goes.
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#4 Stephen Williams

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 05:23 AM

Vision 3 500T because you will need the speed.

You may want to look at some of the other threads on this site that discuss shooting high speed, one of which deals with flicker from smaller tungsten lights (anything below a 5K) when shooting at higher speeds like 1000 fps. I haven't shot anything at those frame rates myself, but it sounds like your lighting package is very small for the job at hand. Kevin Zanit is a great resource in this area, so you should see if he has any advice to offer. Best of luck with the shoot, let us know how it goes.


Hi,

For sure 750w lights will flicker at 1000 fps. I think you will beed bigger lights to get the stop you require in any case, probably 10K tungsten as a minimium.
You have to check what pefs the film needs to be for the camera, the film may be special order only.

Stephen
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#5 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 05:45 PM

I have worked with a jet engine manufacturer in their high speed testing for faa certification, frame rates in 16mm range from 8,000fps to 13,000fps (Vis Inst HycamII's brand new-ish ) double-perf estar base 500t (98, 18 and 19 stocks) lights were 1K lowell omni lights just 450 of them !! no flicker problems at any frame rate. I recently did a 380fps shot on plus-x reversal with two mole 2K's using a locam shot at a 5.6 and under rated the stock to 140iso, plenty of room to go faster.

Mole or Lowell 1K's or 2K's are good and a Photosonics action master will get you Super-16 at up to 360fps or std 16 at 500fps a Lo-Cam is a good option too, available cheap or free at rental or ebay and takes C-Mount lenses. A Hycam well setup will go as fast as can be reasonably done and with 500T vision 3 makes a really great picture even though it is a rotary prism camera.

-Rob-
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#6 Jordan Hassay

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 08:00 PM

The camera is a Fairchild HS101A, recently nabbed on ebay. There is very little documentation I can find on it anywhere, but I figured it was worth a shot.

((Click for pictures of the beast))

The strongest lights I can get are 1k Lowells... I'll have three of them. I'll also have two 750s. I think at close range they'll pump out plenty of light. And by close I mean "one or two feet." I can't tell if the camera is single or double perf... this sequence might be hosed if it's a double perf camera.

Thanks for the replies so far!

Jordan

Edited by Jordan Hassay, 13 October 2008 - 08:02 PM.

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#7 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 08:54 PM

I can't tell if the camera is single or double perf... this sequence might be hosed if it's a double perf camera.

pull of the cover and trace out the film path. if you find sproket(s) with a double row of pins, it's double perf. Look at the Claw if It has one, it if it two rows it is double perf.

You still have the hard to answer qustion as to if it wants Negative or Positive pitch film. A normal speed camera will often run with the wrong pitch, just make a lot of Noise, a high speed jobbie will just make mince-meat out of the wrong film.

Also consider the run time, looks like it takes 100 ft of film. there are 40 frames a foot (more or less) sp the run time is well under 10 seconds at the speed you are talking so you action has to be well timed.
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#8 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 09:52 PM

That's a pretty interesting camera, do you know if it is a rotary prism system? or a open gate? do you have a photo of the lens mount and shutter? If it is a rotary prism camera the minimum F-stop will be about a f4 because of the optical system. I would be interested to know more about the camera.

-Rob-
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#9 Jordan Hassay

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 03:31 PM

I should add that I don't actually have it yet... still coming in the mail. So really all I've got to go on is the info in that auction and whatever else I've gleaned about the fairchild empire. There is a deafening silence out there regarding this camera, I haven't been able to find any information on it anywhere.

I assume that it's a rotary prism camera, because a registration camera with an 8000 fps capability would be an engineering marvel for the 1960s.

That the rotary prism would affect the f-stop is news to me, but I guess it makes sense. How does a rotary prism affect exposure?

Again, thanks. I talked to my professor about this and he suggested I ask the community at cinematography.com, it felt good to tell him you guys were already on it. You guys are invaluable resources. :D

Jordan
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#10 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 06:17 PM

I haven't been able to find any information on it anywhere.

I assume that it's a rotary prism camera, because a registration camera with an 8000 fps capability would be an engineering marvel for the 1960s.

That the rotary prism would affect the f-stop is news to me, but I guess it makes sense. How does a rotary prism affect exposure?



I also have never seen this camera, I own two brand new HycamII's (circa 2005) which are currently used widely in high speed scientific photography. A rotary prism camera will have a minimum F-Stop due to the properties of the optical system, I know that with my HyCam's the minimum stop is a F4 and if you open up the lens more than that, i.e. a 2.8 or a 2 you will get allot of flaring from the prism.

Love to see some more pics when you get it, maybe it would be more adaptable to single perf than the hycam is, the rotary mechanism with sprockets on the hycam is titanium, very hard to machine.

-Rob-
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#11 Jordan Hassay

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 11:24 PM

So to convert a double perf camera to single perf, you've just got to grind down the extra sprockets on the wheel?

I'd be afraid that the film would shred... just wanna make sure I'm not misunderstanding. I've never played with the guts on my cameras before, except to try and correct the pressure plate on one of my bolexes.
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#12 Ian Cooper

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 04:47 AM

So to convert a double perf camera to single perf, you've just got to grind down the extra sprockets on the wheel?...


Well that's the theory, but things aren't always that straightforward!

I aquired a nice Vinten scientific 'gun' camera complete with 200ft magazine to use for some timelapse work. The magazine was actually for double-perf, so I removed the feed sprockets and mounted in a lathe turned off the extra set of teeth (making sure I removed the correct ones!).

I currently have a camera which used to feed double-perf no problem, but now with single-perf film keeps dropping off the sprockets, leading to lost loops and torn film. :angry: It's now another project on the bench, waiting for me to look into modifying it so the film stays where it should. :rolleyes:

Just a warning that although conversion seems straightforward - there can be unexpected problems around every corner!! :lol:
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#13 timHealy

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 04:59 AM

So to convert a double perf camera to single perf, you've just got to grind down the extra sprockets on the wheel?

I'd be afraid that the film would shred... just wanna make sure I'm not misunderstanding. I've never played with the guts on my cameras before, except to try and correct the pressure plate on one of my bolexes.


On a camera like that it may have two perfs for a reason like stability. I wouldn't just grind them off.

Best

Tim
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#14 Jordan Hassay

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 09:20 AM

On a camera like that it may have two perfs for a reason like stability. I wouldn't just grind them off.

Best

Tim


That's what I'm thinking... cutting the amount of support in half for film moving at 8000 fps is putting a lot of strain on the remaining perf. Time lapse I can see as a good camera to convert because the physical demands on the film are much lower... but it could be a moot point! I'll see if it's a double perf camera when I get it, in which case I'll probably try some kind of mechanical chicanery.

Will post again when the package is received!
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#15 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 09:48 AM

That's what I'm thinking... cutting the amount of support in half for film moving at 8000 fps is putting a lot of strain on the remaining perf.



I probably should not have mentioned single perf and a 8K fps camera in the same post! There are still plenty of double perf stocks available and they are so good that a center extraction for HD , etc is a option.

-Rob-
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#16 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 08:39 PM

Time lapse I can see as a good camera to convert because the physical demands on the film are much lower... but it could be a moot point! I'll see if it's a double perf camera when I get it, in which case I'll probably try some kind of mechanical chicanery.

I gave a talk to the local antique radio club about sound on film.

As part of my talk I did the calulations of the change in velocity when a 16mm Print which is sitting in the projector and then the shutter closes and the claw moves it .3000 inch starting and stoppiing in 1/2 (open Time) of 1/3 (because you have three blades and 3 flashes of light) of 1/24 of a second.

I forget the number Icame up with but you would expect that a perf would not last even one cycle at the speed which resembled an open road in a low trafic area. and that was a 24FPS!
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#17 Simon Wyss

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 03:29 AM

I assume that it's a rotary prism camera, because a registration camera with an 8000 fps capability would be an engineering marvel for the 1960s.

A registration camera with an 8000 fps capability would be an engineering marvel still today, my friend. There was the french Debrie Grande Vitesse which made 240 fps from 1921 on. Photo-Sonics has a camera that goes up to 360 fps with register pins. With 16-mm film intermittent top speed is 500 fps because its mass is smaller. I have designed a 35-mm film camera myself and know what this is about. By the way, the big marvel of the Sixties is that they achieved to make almost everybody believe a manned moon landing story.
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#18 Jordan Hassay

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 07:22 AM

I think John Woo recently had photosonics make him a special 10000 fps claw camera... but that could be a gross muddling of my memory. And yeah, the words I heard used to describe it then were "engineering marvel." :)
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#19 Jordan Hassay

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 07:35 AM

I think John Woo recently had photosonics make him a special 10000 fps claw camera... but that could be a gross muddling of my memory. And yeah, the words I heard used to describe it then were "engineering marvel." :)

Ugh... better to have stayed silent. The more I look for support on this information, the stupider it seems :P

1000 seems more likely, if even that exists.

In other news, I got the camera in, but I've got a shoot these next couple days and I won't have time to upload any photos. It is indeed double perf. I got some double perf kodak, but it's ASA 40... this will be difficult.
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#20 Clive Tobin

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 07:25 PM

Ugh... better to have stayed silent. The more I look for support on this information, the stupider it seems :P

1000 seems more likely, if even that exists.

In other news, I got the camera in, but I've got a shoot these next couple days and I won't have time to upload any photos. It is indeed double perf. I got some double perf kodak, but it's ASA 40... this will be difficult.

Not all double perf stock is alike. Some high speed cameras require stock with 2R-3000 (long pitch) perforations instead of the more common 2R-2994 short pitch film that is normal for making contact prints from it. Film prints are made with the original and print stock wrapped together around a rotating 40 tooth sprocket with the light coming from inside. Obviously the two films are riding on a different diameter so they shouldn't be the same perforation pitch. The correct pitch differential gives the best print quality.

Irrelevant senior rambling:
Someone at Boeing probably got a big bonus once for suggesting that they film everything with long pitch film even if it was going to be printed. Supposedly this was a cost saving in not having dual inventory. This likely led to all of their prints being somewhat unsharp and unsteady compared to how they could have been. You'd think that selling multi-million-buck gadgets would make them want to get their film prints as good as possible.
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