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Interesting in shooting 16mm.


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#1 Sam Evanz

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 12:53 PM

Hello,

After watching a bunch of videos filmed in 16mm, I must say, I'm really interested in shooting the format. Problem being, I'm a complete noob, not only with 16mm, but with film altogether.

I've thought about getting a Krasnogorsk 3 off eBay, seeing as they're cheap and seem to be high in availability, but if I had the camera, I wouldn't know where to start.

Basically, I'd appreciate it if someone could inform me of the process of filming something, transferring it (telecine I believe it's called), where I could get film and anything else that you think would be useful. Perhaps someone knows a website or article that could help me?

Thanks in advance!
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 01:40 PM

It's pretty simple.

on the K3 you'll want to order Daylight spools of film, which you can get from Kodak and/or Fuji. You load the camera up, take a light meter reading (based on the frame rate and the films EI (also called ISO and ASA). You'll need a light meter for this, most of the time, to figure out what to set your lens at (F stop also called T stop).
You shoot the film and you take it to a film lab, depending on your area, and you fill out their paperwork etc and they develop it. Normally this is done overnight. You can also have the lab "telecine" the film, which won't be a supervised transferr, but can be a "one light" they correct for the film's first shot and then just let it ride, or a Best light, where they correct for each scene (off of the first frame and let it roll). This is transferred normally to an SD tape stock, DvCam/DBeta etc, though a lot of people are opting for an HD route (HDCamSR/DVCProHD) and some places will do it to a digital file, normally in the ProResHQ format, which works primarily on Final Cut Pro.
From here you edit. And you can either live with it as is, or you can export something called an "EDL" from which you rescan just your "selects" those pieces of film you've actually used in your edit, and correct all of them (basically like doing a Digital Intermediate) at very high quality which is then laid down to a high quality color corrected master which also gets your titles/sound etc. Normally this is put on HDCamSR for "future proofing" and form that you make your "deliverables," such as SD Master for making DVDs, HD Master for making BluRay etc.
Hope that helps. It's not as complcated as it sounds. Basically, buy film from kodak, they poop it, load it, develop it, transfer to tape and edit.
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#3 Robert Hughes

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 01:53 PM

Hello, Sam. We all are noobs sometime, welcome to the club. I assume you've used a video camcorder somewhere along the line; film shooting is similar in that you are capturing a fleeting moment for playback later, but the technologies used are of course quite different.

Film has been around since the 1830's, and moving pictures (MP) since about 1890. Using a film camera in comparison to a video camcorder is similar to driving a manual transmission car versus an automatic - you have to do more work to get it to do what you want. The biggest issue is that most MP cameras do not provide autofocus or autoexposure - you have to set the appropriate f/stop and focus to get a usable image - just like with a manual camera.

As a matter of fact, one good way to practice filmmaking is to shoot a lot of still photographs with a 35mm camera set to all manual mode. You need a lightmeter to tell you the exposure level and you need to focus to get a clear image of your subject.

Once you are able to reliably expose a roll of still film, you are ready to shoot 16mm movie film. Find an appropriate camera (a Krasnogorsk K3 is a good one, also consider other makes (Bolex, Bell & Howell Filmo model 70, Arriflex, etc). Make sure the camera you get still works - many of them are over 50 years old by now. Track down an operator's manual - often you can find copies on the Internet. Buy a few rolls of Kodak PlusX or TriX reversal film (100 foot daylight spools), load up your camera, and go to town! It's really not all that hard - people have been doing it for over 100 years, and you can too!

One thing to note about film shooting - film stock is expensive! You measure your shots in seconds, unlike in video, where people often let the cameras run on and on, waiting for something interesting to occur. With film, you set up your shot, get just what you need, and stop immediately. Most film takes are between 10 and 20 seconds.

Another item of note - basic film shooting is "mit out sound" - there is no audio track. You are making a silent film, so plan to tell your story with visuals. Audio would be added later, in post production, from separate audio recordings.

When you send in your reversal film to get processed, ask your lab if they can make a video copy to VHS, DVD or some other consumer format. You will have to pay extra for the video transfer, but be careful not to go to a professional post house, where they have those million dollar telecines. Your first several films will be terrible, and you don't want to spend good money on a great transfer of your terrible shots. Matter of fact, you might prefer to try to track down an old 16mm projector, and make your own video transfers, shooting "off the wall" with your camcorder as you project your films.

One last note. Shooting video is easy, but filmmakers get all the hot chicks. So start now and beat the rush!
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#4 Sam Evanz

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 05:25 PM

Wow, thanks guys! I really appreciate you taking your time to write all of that. :)

A few more things I'd like to know, if you wouldn't mind:

  • How are film burns achieved? (The reddish/yellow flame effect. My guess is that it has something to do in the telecine process? Exposing light to the film, perhaps?)
  • How are film flashes achieved? (The quick white flash transition. I can do this in post, but legit flashes actually seem visually appealing.)
  • What is the 16mm camera alternative to a record button on a digital camcorder? Is it a trigger? How would I know when the camera is recording?

Thanks!
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 05:49 PM

You'll hear the camera running and also when looking through a mirror shutter camera you'll see the image flickering in the viewfinder. Others have small flashing lights here or there to show they're running; but with film, the camera makes noise when you're shooting.
The white flashes, depending on what you're referring to, are due to the camera coming up to speed or slowing down to stop. It's a change in the level of exposure until it eventually over-exposes. And, film burning, well if that's one of the effects where the film literally burns/melts etc. No, that won't happen in a telecine. It's a effect of a projector stopping and the lamp melting away the film. there are FX plugins for that I'm sure but you'd never want to do it with a camera original.
Yes, it's a trigger; and it varies camera to camera. My own SR3 has a trigger on the hand grip and also a "run" button on the body.
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#6 Sam Evanz

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 07:10 PM

Cheers man!

So basically, the flashes mark a new take? For example, I record a chair, stop and record a wall. When played back I get the chair, followed by a flash transition to the wall? That's all I need to do?

As for the burn effect, I was referring to the red and yellow 'flames' that overlap the image. I think it's called a light leak? I have lots of stock footage for this anyway, so I could always add the effect in post.

Also, one final question that seemed to slip my mind. How do I film in different framerates? Would it be possible to film in 48fps on the K3?
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#7 Richard Tuohy

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 07:31 PM

The K3 has a continuously variable speed dial from 8 fps to 48 fps. Note that as a spring wound camera, the faster the frame rate, the shorter the amount of time you can pull the trigger before the spring in the motor winds down. The K3 is a basic camera, cheap to buy, worth much more than they sell for, is a little fiddly to thread and can produce nice images. They have an internal light meter which is very useful for people not used to shooting film, and it means you don't have to buy a separate light meter. Note that they have the reliability and finish that the soviet factories specialised in ... ie, you take pot luck when you buy one. Mine works fine. Buying any cheap 16mm camera is hit and miss anyway. Get one and shoot a roll of film and see what you get.
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 08:41 PM

Despite the internal light meter, a seperate meter (like an analog sekonic) is pretty cheap and basically a necessary investment if you plan on working on/with/in film. Well worth the cost in my opinion; and the most vital part of my kit (hence why I have 2 just incase!)
And yes, that would be light leak. You'll get that on a daylight spool load at the front and end. Normally you try to avoid light leak.
Variable frame rates is set differently on different cameras. The basis is 24 for the US, 25 for Europe, or 30 for the US (sometimes). Most film cameras have some form of variable frame rate on 'em normally from around 8 --->48, sometime just up to 32 (as on my Konvas 2m).
As mentioned the K3 is luck of the draw, but can make pretty awesome images if you get a good one. For the price, well worth the risk to get your feet wet.
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#9 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 09:26 PM

As for the burn effect, I was referring to the red and yellow 'flames' that overlap the image. I think it's called a light leak? I have lots of stock footage for this anyway, so I could always add the effect in post.

if you are talking about the yellow edges to the image that are sometimes seen, that is the after effect of loading the camera in too bright a light. Light gets in the edge of the spool and exposes the edge of the film, sometimes so much that it intrudes on the image.

Unless you load and unload the camera in the dark, I am sure you will get to see that "effect"
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#10 Ian Cooper

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 03:48 AM

Hi!

I notice you're located in South Wales, UK. As a fellow UK resident I bought a K3 to start playing with about 18 months ago. They're available for about £100 or so from EBay, and are a basic camera. There are many posts and threads on this forum regarding the camera, quality, issues and mods. (eg. removing auto-load film loops).

As already mentioned, shooting film is not cheap, but with a little planning and care it is possible to have fun and afford small personal projects without breaking the bank. A full wind on the K3 is about about 27-30 seconds at 25fps. This is a very effective way of preventing boring long shots - a feature of many home videos! With care you'll probably find a shot length of no more than 10 seconds is usually adequate, often with planning as short as 5 or 6 seconds will suffice when editted together into a sequence.

The K3 is noisy and the film speed varies as the spring unwinds. Having said that, by running the camera and looking at a TV screen through the viewfinder it is possible to fairly accurately set the speed to 25fps. Also, whilst filming outside so long as you keep a shotgun microphone at least 15 or 20ft away from the camera, you can get adequate sound without hearing the camera. Note: The imprecise camera speed would make syncing up speech difficult, but this technique is fine for filming cars, boats, planes, trains and other general noisy things!

You need to decide what you actually want at the end of the process. The cheapest way to shoot film is to use "reversal" film, this is processed to produce a strip of positive 'normal' images which can then be shown against a screen with a projector. To edit this you will need to cut the film itself and glue/tape it back together again. For all practical purposes on a limited budget you are not going to be able to get a second copy of it.

If you want to see your film on TV, then it will need to be telecined. You can telecine reversal film, but unless you actually want to project it you're probably better off using 'negative' film. The only real advantage of sticking with reversal is that a lot of the high street (or mail order) companies offering to transfer 'home movies' to video will be able to handle 16mm reversal, whilst 16mm negative needs to be sent to professional post production companies around London. Bear in mind you usually get what you pay for! The equipment many of the 'home movie' companies use may not be a match for the quality produced from the London production houses. Reversal also has the slight disadvantage that you have to get the exposure/aperture settings pretty much spot-on to prevent under/over exposed footage. Negative film is a lot more tolerant to exposure errors and can usually be corrected during the telecine process such that you'd never know you'd got the exposure wrong!

The first fly in the ointment is that the K3 only accepts 100ft daylight loads of film (2.5 minutes). The only colour reversal film available is Kodak 100D, which is not available in the UK on 100ft dayload spools - only 400ft cores (that need handling in total darkness). You could of course purchase 100ft spools of it overseas and get it shipped here though!

Second slight difficulty is that the number of movie labs in the UK which process colour reversal film (E6 process) is very limited to say the least ;) The vast majority of film shot is 'negative' film, so the labs are set up to process (ECN2 process) and telecine this. To shoot reversal you'd probably end up sending it to Europe or USA for processing.

Probably the cheapest place to get fresh film in the UK is to phone Kodak themselves, they will happily sell you just one 100ft spool of film which including VAT comes to about £30. If you keep an eye on EBay you will often find 100ft spools of film for much less, but you have to bear in mind you have no idea how well it may have been stored, or even if the seller has accidentally fogged it :angry: .

Once you've exposed the film you'll need to send it to a lab for processing. In the UK these are all located in the South East London area, so you'll need to post it to them. Here comes the third point to watch! Although you can easily buy just one 100ft spool of film, you'll struggle to find a lab prepared to just process one spool!

Most labs either have a minimum footage they'll accept, or a minimum order value they'll handle. In both cases this usually equates to about 400ft of film. The best bet is to contact the labs yourself for prices and details, but to give a rough idea of costs you'll find them starting from £70 to £100 for processing and best light telecine. All the labs I've contacted in the UK offer 'best light' as standard, and don't generally charge less for 'one light' if indeed they'll even offer that. You'll need to discuss with the lab what format you want the video delivered on: MiniDV, BetaSP, DigiBeta etc. etc.

So, using fresh stock, 400ft of film will cost roughly £100 and process & telecine will cost roughly another £100. which in round figures means you've spent £200 for 10 minutes worth of moving video images - shoot wisely! The only thing that costs more than shooting film, is to shoot just for the sake of shooting and to waste it!

Most of the clips on my youtube account have been shot on a K3 (with awful youtube compression), although I've since got a Beaulieu R16 as well, but the clips do detail what they were shot with.

Best of luck and have fun if you do decided to delve into the world of 16mm!
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#11 Sam Evanz

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 05:32 AM

Thank you for all the help guys! Love this place. B)

@Ian Cooper: I just checked out a bunch of your YouTube videos and they're pretty good. I like the warm colours on some of them, which is one of the many reasons I'm deciding to shoot on 16mm.

I'd probably want to shoot on Reversal first, seeing as it's cheaper and I'm obviously far from experienced with film, so I won't get into Negative straight away.

Would it be fine if I bought this stock, and have the footage transferred from this website? They seem to offer a good service.
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#12 Ian Cooper

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 09:33 AM

I'd probably want to shoot on Reversal first, seeing as it's cheaper and I'm obviously far from experienced with film, so I won't get into Negative straight away.


There are two arguments for choice of reversal over negative if you're not experienced with using film.

On the one side reversal film is the raw unadulterated truth - if you mess up then that's it and you know it! This has the advantage that you get to see what you're doing wrong and can quickly learn from your mistakes. The alternative is to use negative film which can allow you to be perhaps a couple of stops away from the ideal exposure and still get acceptable results. If you screw up reversal then you're screwed! If you screw up negative then you'll probably get away with it and not waste your money! ...unless you really screw up!

If you want a cheap way of comparing then get a cheap manual 35mm stills camera off ebay and try running a roll of slide film (reversal) through, eg. Fuji Sensia. Try taking the same scene with different exposure settings. Next put a roll of negative film through the camera and repeat the exercise. After you've sent the two films to be processed you can hold the reversal slides up to the light and see how the exposure alters the image. You can then hold the strip of negatives up to the light and see how they too alter density according to your settings, then finally look at the set of prints you receive from the negative film - these probably will all look the same with no great difference in exposure! - If you're going to spend £200 to film something and aren't 100% confident about your abilities, which type of film are you going to choose?! ;)

Putting negative film through your K3 will almost certainly result in acceptable looking results, reversal might lead to expensive mistakes whilst you try to learn.

100ft rolls of negative film can be easily bought and processed in the UK.
100ft rolls of reversal generally can't be bought or processed in the UK.


Would it be fine if I bought this stock,


In a word - "no"! - that's a 400ft core of film and won't go in the K3.

All 100ft loads of film are supplied on a 'daylight' spool. This has metal sides to it which protect the light sensitive film inside from being fogged by exposure to light as you load the camera.

All 400ft loads of film are supplied on what's termed a 'core'. This is a small plastic hub around which the film is wound with no side support or protection. If you open a 400ft can of film in daylight then the film inside will get fogged and ruined! Usually the film is actually also in a lightproof bag inside the can, but you're risking £100 of film to open the can in daylight and just rely on that alone, as the bag might not have the end folded over properly! 400ft loads of film have to be handled in total darkness and are usually loaded into a detachable camera magazine. The magazine can then be attached to the camera in daylight without fogging the entire roll of film.

As I mentioned previously, Kodak 100D is not (generally) available in the UK on 100ft spools. This is because Kodak UK only handles the 400ft version. Any retailer selling Kodak film in the UK will be getting it from Kodak UK, therefore will also only be able to supply 400ft cans. Now there may be some smaller retailers who aim for the 'hobby' market who are buying it in 100ft loads from Europe/America and getting it shipped to them direct, but I'm not aware of any. The alternative would be if you had access to a darkroom, then you could buy the 400ft load and respool it yourself... but I wouldn't recommend that for a beginner who hasn't really handled much film before!


and have the footage transferred from this website? They seem to offer a good service.


I don't know what quality of service that company provide, although they are the type of 'home movie' transfer firm I was referring to earlier.

I must stress that I have no experience of this company and do not know what equipment they use. However, if you read through the various 8mm forum postings I'm sure you'll get an idea about peoples views on the equipment and services such places provide, from the down right awful at one end of the spectrum through to exceedingly good at the other end! One comment I would make about that company: I can't see a specific reference that they'll handle 16mm film, only super-8 film.

Also note that the professional lab in europe/USA that you'd have to send the film to for E6 processing would probably offer a telecine package as well, probably using the same equipment as they'd use for negative film telecine - therefore they would be able to offer you the best quality transfer. The 'home-movie' transfer companies are generally speaking catering for grandad's dusty old cine films he shot in the dim and distant past, where the customer's expectation of quality is possibly less and doesn't warrant spending a couple of hundred thousand pounds on a telecine machine and keeping it adjusted ;)


Personally I feel unless you have a projector, or are planning to get one, then you are best not even considering using reversal film in the UK. Getting and processing the film is more difficult than negative, if you're new to film then exposing it right is more difficult than negative, and getting a 'good' telecine is also potentially more difficult. The range of negative films on offer is also a lot wider, from slow 50asa stock for use in good lighting conditions through to high-speed 500asa low-light film.

I suggest you get x4 100ft rolls of film then over the course of a couple of weeks/months plan out four different subjects to try filming, bearing in mind you only have 2.5 minutes of each (if each shot is only 10 seconds long then you have about 15 shots per roll!). Try contacting somewhere like iLab to get their prices and minimum order values ;) .

When you get your first film back from the lab you'll have 4 different subjects filmed over a period of time to watch, rather than 10 expensive minutes of playing around in the garden. You'll also have had the film processed and transferred at a full "Pro" facility, and each of your shots will have been balanced and graded by somebody who works in the "industry".

Once you've done all that feel free to experiment with reversal, and try some of the other options to see if you can find a cheaper work-flow that offers quality you are happy with - but I'd start off with a solid reliable process to get used to things and see what sort of quality is achievable.
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#13 Sam Evanz

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 04:19 PM

Thanks again!

I've been unsure as to what a spool actually is for a while, but I finally understand now that you've said. :)
I also watched a detailed video on YouTube, which shows the process of loading a K-3. That clarified some things too.

Oh, and cheers for the link to the iLab site. I bookmarked it, so I can contact them once I've shot some things. Is that where your YouTube footage was developed?
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#14 Ian Cooper

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 04:50 PM

...Oh, and cheers for the link to the iLab site. I bookmarked it, so I can contact them once I've shot some things. Is that where your YouTube footage was developed?


Actually no, so far I've used a couple of others - but they are probably who I'll be using next and I have found them most helpful with answering my questions, ...and a number of other posters on this forum use them! ;)


A couple of useful YouTube clips to show the difference between 100ft and 400ft loads of film might be:

Loading a K3 with 100ft daylight spool of film

Loading an Arri SRII Magazine with 400ft core of film
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#15 Ian Cooper

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 04:57 PM

...this clip of me loading a Beaulieu R16 also clearly shows what a 100ft daylight spool looks like.
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#16 Sam Evanz

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 05:31 PM

Loading a K3 with 100ft daylight spool of film

Yeah, that was the one I watched today.

It seems like quite a straightforward process, which is certainly not a bad thing! :D

Thanks for all the help again!
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#17 NYC Film

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 02:55 PM

Hello Everyone I noticed this Forum is pretty old But I figured I asked a question anyway.
I am pretty new to 16mm Film Making. I plan on buying a K3. My question is, Once I am done filming with my K3 Camera can I just take that film and play it on my 16mm projector at home? Or does the film have to get processed or anything else in order to play that film negative on a 16mm projector from home? Any Help on this matter would be greatly appreciated, Thank You
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#18 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 10:26 PM

Hello Everyone I noticed this Forum is pretty old But I figured I asked a question anyway.
I am pretty new to 16mm Film Making. I plan on buying a K3. My question is, Once I am done filming with my K3 Camera can I just take that film and play it on my 16mm projector at home?

Hi Joseph, I think you posted your question in a new thread, and I hope that the answers there were helpful.

There are a few places (very few these days ) that will make a print from a negative for you so you can look at it in a projector. But no mater what film you use, it will have to be processed before the images show, and must be kept in the dark (real dark) until it is processed.

If someone has not asked you already, this forum uses FULL names.
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