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Scope setup cost question


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#1 John Young

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 09:55 PM

So, I understand the questions surrounding the use of wide or square shots... subjects are vertical or horizontal and what not. However, I am in love with scope. Call it nostalgia, call it a weird giddy excitement when the theatre curtains open and display the CinemaScope logo...

My question is this: If you planed to shoot everything (as in independant film maker) in scope, would it be better to invest in a 16mm set up or some sort of 2-perf 35mm system?

If I have my understanding correctly, super16 is basically the same as 16:9 (1.78:1) TV, and 2-perf 35mm IS 2.40:1 automagically without the need to crop the frame. As I am poor currently, I am looking to the Russians for a camera that I can use and learn on. I'm an analogue fan as well, and have done some testing on my HV20... with mixed results. Croping 8mm works well but I would like to move up in the world. So its a question of cost.

Please feel free to correct me if I have said something wrong.
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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:17 AM

I have Russian equipment and is is very cost effective when compared with western equipment. You can find OCT-18 mount anamorphic lenses very inexpensive. The 2 piece are the least expensive but a little hard to come by thought they do come up on Ebay every once in a while. You could conceivably get a small Konvas anamorphic package with a Konvas-1 or Konvas 1M, for $2500 bucks total (2 piece anamorphic lens set 35, 50 and 75mm-$1000, Konvas-1 or 1m w/ mags and spherical lens set-$1000, de-anamorphic viewfinder-$250, anamorphic gate-$25, shipping for all-$250) The camera would be MOS but it is a complete anamorphic package. The square front anamorphic OCT-18 is the next least expensive with an avverage of 4 to 6 hundred a lens, then the square front OCT-19 mount which are about 800 to 1500 but will not work on Kinor 35mm cameras. The OCT-18 round fronts are about the same, the OCT-19 Round fronts are the most expensive at 2 to 4 grand each. 50 and 75mm come up every once in a while, the 35mm are hard to find and the 100mm up are damn near impossible to find. There are bargains in other Russian mounts but you have to have the camera they go to because they can be a bit pricey to convert.

The thing is, 2 perf is not truly anamorphic. it is techniscope and techniscope just doesn't look the same so bear that in mind when you make your decision. Also the cost of converting a camera to 2 perf is expensive but should you decide to do that, Bruce at Aranda is the best especially for the Russian equipment. I have 2 Kinors a 35C Rotovision 5000 that was done by Bruce and the work is stunning and a 35PII he has and is working on now. Now these are not 2-perf conversions but it does show the absolute dedication to perfection in his work.

Both cameras are set up to be able to shoot anamorphic ( I lucked out and was able to find and buy the RARE as hen's teeth, anamorphic viewfinder converter piece for the 35C and the 35PII came with everything it needed) and a small set of anamorphic lenses including a 35mm which I ALSO was able to get through Bruce ( what can I say, that guy really is GREAT) and it is wonderful. I will be shooting my feature, Blood Moon Rising on these cameras in anamorphic.

HOWEVER, I would be remiss if I didn't mention, there is another alternative. Investing in all this equipment can run into the 10s of thousands of dollars. The alternative would be to rent the equipment. If you are a student, you will get pretty good rates and you can get a weeks rental at a 3 day rate so it may be a better way to go, but of course that would be for you to decide.

Now 16mm, whole other ball game. They are REALLY cheap but almost invariably are front lens adapters that screw on to a spherical lens ( so far as I know, there is no such thing as a 16mm anamorphic gate). I have an Old Delft adapter for my Beaulieu 16R Angenieux zoom lens that uses a prism system. It is a miniature version of their big 70mm Cinerama system. The positive side is it can also be used on the projector to de-squeeze the image. There are other makers like Sankor as well that build a more traditional anamorphic lens adapter. It may be cheaper, if you're on a budget to shoot 16mm until you can afford 35mm. I guess it's all in what you plan to do with the films you make. If you plan on trying to sell them, 35mm is the way to go, if you want to make shorts and enter festivals, go 16 until you can afford 35. If you want to do that and can afford 35, go 35. :D

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 09 February 2009 - 02:20 AM.

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#3 Bruce Taylor

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 07:38 PM

Yes, pretty much what Steve said. You can shoot full 4 perf 35mm 'scope with a turret Konvas for very little money-- shoot $0.05 a foot short ends and it is crazy cheap and true anamorphic.

2 perf 35mm has the aspect ratio you love, but won't have the artifacts (oblong bokeh, short dof, interesting flares) and hassles (slow, cumbersome lenses) that anamorphics will. 2 perf 2.4:1 will however have a hell of a lot more film real estate than any 16mm format, and have something more like the shorter depth of field you'll see in 3 or 4 perf 35mm. Uses 1/2 the film too.

The cost of 2 perf conversion is around $6000 plus the camera and lenses. Not a small financial commitment.

If you're more interested in experimenting than a working production package, you can have a lot of fun experimenting with 16mm or S8 cameras and optical attachments. I see a lot of wild set ups on this board that look interesting and very cheap to make. Shoot reversal film and direct project the camera original-- cheap and fun.

Alternatively you can rent any of what you probably want. I share your fascination with 'scope aspect ratios and have Russian cameras in 35mm 4 perf anamorphic and 2 perf configurations available. A complete Konvas anamorphic (35,50,75mm primes or 40-200 zoom) camera package is $355 a day.

Good luck and have fun!

Bruce Taylor
www.Indi35.com
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