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very basic newb question about loading film


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#1 Greg Britting

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 12:01 PM

I got a Bolex H 16 (Rex 2 I think) several years back, but I haven't had the pleasure of using it much mostly due to the cost of 16mm film and the fact that I've been very happy shooting super 8 (which is expensive enough though slightly more economical).  I've always held on to it though as I knew someday I'd want to get more serious, and now with the absence of color reversal film, I think the time has come to give this format another shot.

 

Just a very basic question before I get started though...  As far as Kodak Vision negative film is concerned--do I have to load that in the camera in complete darkness or just subdued light?  I thought I had heard once that "daylight spools" could be loaded in a daylight environment--that is to say, slightly shielded within a camera bag or something, even if outdoors (in other words, no special trip to the dark room required every time you load a spool).  But I notice on the label of Kodak Vision film it states "load in complete darkness"...?  This could be a problem for me as I've used the thing so infrequently that every time I open it up I have to ask myself, "okay how does thing work again"!

 

On a side note: I've only exposed three rolls of B&W film though this camera before, I believe it was all Plus-X.  The first two rolls had quite a bit of exposure problems.  It was weird--the exposure was locked on manual and the picture would be fine at first and then just wash out bright mid take and then go back to normal again, and so on.  The third roll came out much better (which has helped renew my interest) though the exposure still flickered slightly in some of the outdoor daylight shots.  Oddly, that roll had the worst storage of the three as I had kept it unrefrigerated in my closet for at least 5 years before exposing (the other two rolls had always been refrigerated before loading in my camera, yet much poorer results).  I loaded all three rolls in my light subdued (but far from totally dark) bedroom.  Should I have done this in total darkness?


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#2 Mark Dunn

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 01:42 PM

Loading only affects the first few feet of film, though it should always be done in subdued light as you have done. What you have sounds like a light leak. Are the door seals on the camera in good condition?

Tt would be helpful if you could post some video here (you don't need a transfer, just video off a projected picture).


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#3 Greg Britting

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 06:14 PM

Thanks.  Yeah, that's what I thought... probably a dumb question but the box saying "load in total darkness" caused me to question this notion.  In regards to my Bolex--I just checked it out and it seems like the door seal is fine.  It does seem like light leaked through there somehow on my first two reels.  I'll have to rewatch my footage, but I seem to remember this happening often towards the end of a take--which originally had me wondering if the shutter somehow was hanging open after I had released my finger from the trigger.  I just had a look with the door open while holding down the trigger, but I cannot see the shutter past the plate so I am unable to verify if this is the case.

 

I did however just have another thought...  I looked down the lens while I adjusted the f stop but I cannot see the iris opening/closing...  Now this is the huge Vario Switar 86EE (18mm-86mm f2.5) and my house is dimly lit, so I might just not be seeing it (I'll have to check it out in the sunlight).  But when I got this thing and shot my first two reels (like 8 years ago), I didn't know much about it and am only now realizing that this lens features auto exposure.  There is a knob to select the f stop and it turns freely, so I had always set it manually (and I hope I didn't mess up the mechanism since it is apparently supposed to move on its own).  But the fact that I can't see the iris open or close when I adjust the f stop makes me wonder if it is stuck all the way open at f2.5...  which could explain parts of the film being way over exposed, especially the outdoor daylight shots.  In fact, the latest reel that I shot (which was MUCH later--just this past fall) incorporated an exposure test where I started the scene outside of a house and walked inside, all the while running the camera.  I set it at f2.5 from the beginning thinking that the beginning of the shot would be way over exposed having started the scene outside in the daylight...  Actually, the beginning outdoor part of that scene looked very much like the rest of the footage I shot outside on varying f stops between f8 and f16--that is to say, over exposed to the same degree as most of the other outdoor shots on that reel--not nearly as bad as the footage I took 8 years ago on those first two reels, but I think only because it was fairly overcast that day.

 

I don't even know where the PX-13 battery goes in this thing, but I'll have to figure that out next to see if there's an old corroded battery in there.  Perhaps I'll have better luck with it after a good cleaning of the battery terminal and a fresh PX-13 (or whatever modern equivalent).  But until then, my next test will be with a much simpler lens so as to eliminate any possible faults of my current lens--it's a 10mm prime that's set manually--I'm still waiting for it in the mail (with much anticipation).  I got it super cheap too, so if my camera is having any other issues, at least I'm not out a whole lot of money.

 

Ideally, I would like to post some video examples to show you guys exactly what I'm talking about with my older footage.  Unfortunately I don't really have a suitable video camera at the moment, but I'm hoping to borrow one this weekend for some very home-brew super 8 transfers.  So I'll see about transferring those 16mm reels while I'm at it.


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