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70's film look


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#1 David Owen James

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 09:51 PM

I'm new to 16mm and looking to buy a camera, some lenses and other necessary equipment. I'm looking to achieve the look of film that was popular in the early 70's. i've been going on youtube and checking out the different 16mm cameras and film stock used in the production, but I don't know how useful this is given the many variables that go into the look. I imagine vintage camera and lenses is a necessity. does anyone know much about this?

thank you,

david
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 10:31 PM

I'd say it's not necessary in the least, especially not for 16mm, but "vintage," can mean so many things. I would go good on the camera, something solid yet cheap, like an ACL, LTR, or SR1 or 2. If it's S16mm already, great, if not, all of those can be converted to S16mm (assuming you want a 1.85:1 ratio, else you'd want normal 16mm for 1.33:1).
Now, onto Lenses. This will be your biggest expense. Just because a lens is older doesn't mean it'll automatically be "vintage," looking. A lot of that look is not from the camera or the lens, but from the film stock and the production design. This being the case, I would go for the best lenses I could get because I could always "funk" them up later on with filters.
On the film stock front, you're in a quandry. Aside from Reversal, and Black and White, every stock out there now is from the late 90s and today. I'm not 100% on how old F64, Rela 500D, and Eterna 400 are, but they predate, I think, the oldest available Kodak 16mm color neg stock, the 50D. But this isn't necessarily bad. These stocks are tremendous today. They have a lot of room to lay down your exposure and are, in truth, hard to screw up too badly on. So you'll be wanting to build your look with Filters and Production design.
Those two things, what you put in front of the lens, literally, will sell your look more than anything else "vintange." Get props and choose colors which work for the look you're going after. Look at the lighting styles prevelent in the look you want to emulate. Then go to filters on the lens and/or older lenses to hep get you further there, and the rest, is a tweak in post. And in post, these days, the sky (if you have the time or money or both) is really the limit.

Perhaps, too, if you gave some broad examples of what you're after we could help, but before you stop reading (you didn't stop reading yet, right?) let me say to save your damned money. Buying a camera is a loosing investment and unless you have money to burn, you're just going to wind up broker. It almost always makes more sense to rent the gear you need. Hell, some places/people might part with a 16mm package for a case of beer for a few days! So save that cash up and put it where it counts, on the screen as opposed to behind the scenes.
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#3 Will Montgomery

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 10:38 AM

This is an extreme oversimplification, but the easiest way to get a 70's look today is probably to shoot Ektachrome 100D reversal film. You'll get closer to that 70's look this way vs. shooting it on modern negative stocks then spending much time and money with a colorist to achieve that look. Not a perfect solution but possibly a quick one.

On negative stocks older Fuji emulsions will probably get you closer as well.
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#4 Geoff Howell

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 01:46 PM

Is Velvia 50 still available in 16mm?


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#5 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 08:12 PM

Is Velvia 50 still available in 16mm?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMlmwhkmu90&feature=related

Spectra is advertising it, and I belive that there are some suppliers in europe.
http://www.spectrafi...o.com/Film.html
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#6 David Owen James

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 08:20 PM

Velvia 50 looks nice.

So, it seems like the camera body is not at all as important as the other elements such as film stock and lenses.
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#7 Will Montgomery

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 08:57 AM

So, it seems like the camera body is not at all as important as the other elements such as film stock and lenses.

It all adds up. Lenses are probably the most crucial but if you have a camera that isn't rock steady you will see tiny fluctuations, especially in a blue sky or areas of solid colors. If you are going mostly handheld then that becomes less of a factor.

I shot this as an experiment to see how steady my finely tuned Scoopic MS (care of Bernie at Super 16 Inc) could be and I saw a slight flutter no matter what I did. I've tested 4 different Scoopics and always had this issue to one level or another; usually much more apparent at higher speeds. This cameras have a great lens but are designed for a run-n-gun style of news gathering rather than cinema. Cheaper cameras just can't compare to the higher end professional ones in some situations.

Scoopic and Eyemo Test

With Super 16mm cameras sitting on rental house shelves like they are, I suggest renting an Aaton XTR or Arri SR and shooting some tests compared to whatever cameras you are looking at. I'm sure you could get an amazing deal for a week rental on these cameras and they are even showing up used in the $3000 range. Can't even imagine getting one of those cameras for less than a Canon 5D.
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 10:01 AM

I'm sorry; but I do not agree that lenses are the most important aspect of a given look. Lenses and film and cameras can only record what is in front of the lens; so if you really want to sell a 70s look you need to design things as such.
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#9 John Holland

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 11:42 AM

If you have a nice lens thats good , you can always stick filters of all sorts in front to mimic the "70s" look as the stock then used would have been 5254/7254 which is long gone ( still best Kodak Neg ever ). I would go for a Fuji Vivid now and as Adrian has said some 70s set dec and costume.
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#10 David Owen James

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 01:04 PM

Will can you elaborate a bit on this statement regarding tiny fluctuations: "a camera that isn't rock steady you will see tiny fluctuations, especially in a blue sky or areas of solid colors. If you are going mostly handheld then that becomes less of a factor. "

I'll be shooting on a tripod with simple but well-planned camera movements.
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 01:32 PM

It means you'd notice weave/jitter in the images, pulsations ect and in lower-contract areas your eyes looks more for changes so you notice them more.
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#12 David Owen James

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 05:13 PM

What is the cause of the jitter?
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#13 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 09:36 PM

What is the cause of the jitter?

Camera wear, or perhaps design. Maintenance or lack there of. Amateur cameras tend to have a simple pull down claw, pro camera often have registartion pins, or a claw that stays in the pref for the exposure. also sturdier construction.

IF they camera is steady (enough) it does not have a major effect, if the camera is unsteady, it will be the first thing you notice, But even inexpensive camera like the filmos of the world can produce steady looking shots as long as the are not having to be used along with give away things like superimposed titles.
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#14 Will Montgomery

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 03:42 PM

My Scoopic was extremely well maintained, the problem is they are simply not designed for super fine-tuning like you can on Arri or Aaton cameras. Bernie explained it as if you make a little adjustment one place it will lead to things being out of adjustment down the line. They were never meant to be flawless, just good enough and rugged enough for news gathering or an assistant football coach to shoot films of practices. Today when we transfer to HD on these great telecine machines every imperfection comes out.

It's not always noticeable, but in the quest for perfection flaws are there. Still gives you a great picture and is a fun camera to use.
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