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Camera affecting film quality


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#1 Tom Norris

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 04:35 AM

When viewing clips (on youtube or vimeo) that were filmed with Russian cameras, or older Arri cameras (or even with the Aaton A-minima), I find they have a poorer quality than videos I've found that claim to be shot with a Arriflex 416 or an SR-3. As such, I am curious as to whether or not an older camera (or cheaper camera, in the case of an A-minima) would affect the image quality in any way. As well I am curious if simply better operation or if a better lens was used, that the DP could attain just as good an image with a 416 as with a Krasnogorsk.
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#2 Chris Millar

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 04:45 AM

In general the better the camera the better the image steadiness ...

But its really the fact that these cameras are usually a part of a much larger package of a professional production, if you are using an SR3 you'll likely have a good collection of prime lenses and a project with a budget to work with - equating to a better transfer, grade, selection of lighting, um, wotnot and so on - but also that this budget is being spent on and by a professional DP who brings a wealth of experience in lighting and the subtleties of composition etc...

In comparison your average K3 user may still be learning exposure.

A professional will very likely get some beautiful results from a K3, whereas a beginner might simply break a better camera and get well, nothing...
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#3 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 08:01 PM

When viewing clips (on youtube or vimeo) that were filmed with Russian cameras, or older Arri cameras (or even with the Aaton A-minima), I find they have a poorer quality than videos I've found that claim to be shot with a Arriflex 416 or an SR-3.

There is so much compression typically applied to a video that will be seen on a 4 by 5 inch window on a screen, that the quality of any of them will not be well represented.
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#4 Tim Carroll

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 08:41 AM

or older Arri cameras


Shot with a 52 year old Arriflex 16S:

Arriflex 16S footage

Best,
-Tim
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#5 Robert Hughes

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 03:26 PM

Yes, even non pin-registered cameras like Bolex or Filmo can make beautiful shots with acceptable steadiness (as long as you're not requiring rock-solid, video-like registration). Of greater importance to me is the caliber and condition of the lens. Does it focus sharply? Must you have a zoom, or can you get your shot with a fixed lens? Is the lens clear and are the coatings undamaged? Is a bit of "vintage" look appropriate to your production (lens flare, bokeh, vignetting on short lenses, etc)? I'm watching an old Hitchcock film on Hulu (Blackmail) with lots of vintage look due to the 1920's era Cooke lenses they used - and it looks, well, old.
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#6 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 08:15 PM

...I am curious if simply better operation or if a better lens was used, that the DP could attain just as good an image with a 416 as with a Krasnogorsk.


As Chris said, the $50,000 camera most likely has a great lens and an experienced DP operating it. Also new cameras have generally better accessories that make it easier - video assist, brighter viewfinder, accurate light meters, etc. But, I do think a skilled DP will know how to get the best from whatever gear they have. Here's a nice piece on YouTube that looks great despite the terrible compression - - according to the info this was shot on a spring-wound bolex with standard c-mount kern lenses.
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 08:31 PM

Neither youtube nor vimeo can properly represent any of the formats or cameras in question. They are much too highly compressed and you're generally viewing them on a small screen.
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#8 Rob Vogt

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 11:28 AM

A camera is just a holder for film. The only way it affects the image is A: if there is something mechanically wrong B: The type of lens mount C: The shutter angle and D: The motor allowing for adjustable speeds.

Edited by Rob Vogt, 24 August 2009 - 11:29 AM.

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#9 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 09:57 PM

A camera is just a holder for film. : if there is something mechanically wrong

Of course, that could be a weakness in the design, such as a mechanism that is not capable of placing consetutive frames in the right spot.
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