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Just starting out - S16 what and where to buy


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#1 Matthew Riley Alcorn

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 04:56 PM

I own nothing and want to start shooting S16 ASAP. I'm looking for recommendations on gear (camera, zoom lens, accessories) enough to start shooting and learning. Most of all I'm looking for recommendations on where to buy. 

 

My initial research points to Arriflex SRIII Adv w/ Canon 8-64mm.

 

More Questions:

Is it worth getting the SRII and converting it to shoot S16?

If so, who does this now?

Where do you shop for gear besides ebay?

Has anyone purchased from Kitmondo?

What are the essential components for a fully functioning cam (mags, batteries, charger, etc)

What are the essential accessories? (video tap, loading bag, matte box, rods, etc)

 

More Info

I have no experience and just tidbits of knowledge in working with film. I'm looking to buy a Super 16 camera package w/ zoom lens to shoot S16 for a feature project that combines several months of road trip doc shooting (think Qatsi Trilogy/Baraka/Samsara) with traditional narrative shooting (think Freaks/Even Dwarfs Started Small/Eraserhead). I'd say 3/4 of the film will be shot ext locations in rural CA and AK. I'd need something durable in hot/cold weather, reliable mechanics and quality enough for feature presentation. I'll be teaching myself all things S16 before I commence the project so camera's learning curve is not an issue. Obviously I want to spend the least amount of money possible, but prefer to pay more for quality products over unkept cheaper items.


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#2 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 05:42 PM

I wouldnt get an SRII and have it converted. I would get one that is already converted.

 

This ebay auction is one I am watching and would recommend. It's an SRII that is converted to S16 and PL mount

http://www.ebay.com/...984.m1423.l2649

 

Besides ebay, you can try these cine marketplace, craigslist depending on where you live, Visual Products, and rental house sell offs.

 

A fully functional cam is dependent on the camera and what you want to do with it. Most cams can function well with body, lens, and power source (whether AC adapter or DC battery pack/belt etc)

 

There are no "essential" accessories. That is why they are accessories. However, some may be needed depending on what you wish to do. If you are doing jobs for others, you may want a video tap and monitor so they can see what's going on. Matte box is good for outdoors (although lens hood is cheaper alternative if light is the only concern), filters may be needed in outdoor situations. Indoor can be corrected with gels or in post. Rods are needed for heavy lenses (PL mount, for example) and follow focus is useful but not necessary.

 

If you are on a tight budget (I understand as I am as well; but I am shooting on R16) then I would keep to the zoom lens, don't rent because you will eat a huge amount of money that way (and also add hefty premiums due to insurance), keep your film ratio tight, and try to find a deal on processing and scan because these actually cost more than the stock itself. I have a Kodak rep I am working with and since I am a grad student, I get the 30% discount. If you have no discount, I recommend you "go back to community college", get a student ID, and get your 30% discount.

 

Hope this helps.


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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 05:51 PM

It would probably cost more, to convert a camera to Super 16 as it would be to buy a Super 16 camera. Aatons are also great cameras and probably better for hand held type shooting than SRs.


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#4 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 10:08 PM

Arri SRs would be great for what you're looking to do. Aatons and Eclairs are also great, just make sure they're in good shape because they're a little older. A CP-16 would be a little heavier, but are also nice solid cameras, and can be converted to s16. I love my Beaulieu R16, but that might not be enough camera for what you want to do, plus it's unlikely to be s16. Same with an Arri S or Bolex. Great cameras, but probably not enough for what you want. Now, you mention Baraka and Samsara, so if you're thinking about doing long exposure time lapse stuff, that's a whole other thing.

 

So in addition to whatever camera you land on, get a changing bag (pop-up changing tents give you more room to work in), a GOOD light meter, extra empty film cans (you probably get these from your lab/definitely get them at Fotokem), tape, canned air, lens cleaning fluid/paper, sharpies/pens, and camera reports (you can make/print them out yourself, or you can get some from Fotokem). And you're really going to want a good quality fluid-head tripod.

 

Good luck! You're gonna have a blast.


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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 01:27 AM

16mm Aatons have been in production until quite recently, while Eclair stopped camera production in 1986. However, like any older camera you should carefully check any earlier LTRs,before buying. A later LTR 54 or early XTR would be in the time frame of the Arri SRII and were designed for shooting Super 16..


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#6 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 01:37 AM

 A CP-16 would be a little heavier, but are also nice solid cameras, and can be converted to s16.

As a past owner and a present owner of this camera, i would not want to lug it around and shoot it handheld. it is 15-17 lbs loaded up with film and zoom. about 18 with battery pack.the battery pack alone seriously weighs 15 oz. to put that in perspective, my boom pole weighs less than 15 oz. my mic weighs 5 oz and the shock mount weighs 3 oz.


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#7 Matthew Riley Alcorn

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 01:55 AM

Thnx for all the help everyone

 

After reading about each camera mentioned I'm realizing I need to consider weight for the "running around" necessary for my prod.

 

It seems Aatons are more for "run and gun"... and SRII not so much?

Anyway if high frame rates are also important is a SRII HS my only option?

 

So far I'm eyeing these:

 

cameras

http://www.visualpro...&Cat2=30#bigPic

http://www.ebay.com/...=item3f35a082aa

http://www.ebay.com/...=item417f830f33

 

w/ lens

http://www.calkovsky...-speed-control/

http://www.ebay.com/...=item258cbc5970


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#8 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 02:38 AM

As a past owner and a present owner of this camera, i would not want to lug it around and shoot it handheld. it is 15-17 lbs loaded up with film and zoom. about 18 with battery pack.the battery pack alone seriously weighs 15 oz. to put that in perspective, my boom pole weighs less than 15 oz. my mic weighs 5 oz and the shock mount weighs 3 oz.

 

The CP16R is one of the best hand held film cameras because of it's balance, together with the front handle, and was used for many years by news cameramen. There are many lightweight cameras which aren't good hand held cameras because their balance is poor and are front heavy..The earlier CP16 non reflex version is a bit lighter and is better balanced, but the dog leg reflex viewfinder is limiting and you can't change lenses.

 

The CP16 regularly gets mentioned with the Aaton as examples of good hand held designs.


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#9 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 08:47 AM

 

The CP16R is one of the best hand held film cameras because of it's balance, together with the front handle, and was used for many years by news cameramen. There are many lightweight cameras which aren't good hand held cameras because their balance is poor and are front heavy..The earlier CP16 non reflex version is a bit lighter and is better balanced, but the dog leg reflex viewfinder is limiting and you can't change lenses.

 

The CP16 regularly gets mentioned with the Aaton as examples of good hand held designs.

Why do you always argue with me? Its like you follow me around from thread to thread and say the opposite of what I say. It is balanced but it is heavy. There are simply better alternatives these days because this isnt 1975 anymore. Come on man, are you for real? Why not lug an Arri BL IV around then?

 

EDIT: Brian may be right but if you take his advice with the CP16, trust me, you better have a chiropractor. 


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#10 Will Montgomery

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 09:34 AM

I have two SR2's. The cameras give amazingly steady pictures and can be paired with the best lenses available for 16mm (or 35mm!). If you're on a tripod it rocks. If you are carrying it on your shoulder it's like carrying rocks. Make sure you have one of those sandbag type shoulder pads. I have one of the pads Arri made for them and it does almost nothing to ease the pain of carrying them.

 

The quality in an SR is what you want and if it's a feature you should be on sticks more than not so go for it. They are reliable and plenty of techs and parts out there for it.

 

If you are doing more handheld then maybe an Aaton would be better suited. I've never shot a CP-16 so I can't speak to it but I believe it was designed as a news gathering camera so it's probably great handheld.

 

You can see me struggling to shoot an SR1 handheld  in this video...lots of camera movement. They can be rigged out better and shooting narrative will be easier than trying to follow kids around with one...but still not easy.

 


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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 11:30 AM

I never have had too much trouble hand-holding the SR3, but the Aatons were much better. I Don't even deal with all the shoudler mounts-- I had one and used it maybe once. I just roll up a towel and put it on my shoulder. Or if you want to get really swish with things, you can get an easy-rig.

I will say the only problem with the SR is the viewfinder getting in the way of mounting some lenses.

I recall buying a few lomos thinking, man, this'll be awesome, and the damned things in their PL mounts didn't fit because of an odd focus ring thing.

 

That said, if I had to pick any camera out there, for any situation, it would be an Arri. They have never given me a problem, and taken a beating. In fact, aside from scratching one mag of film on my SR (my own fault, my first shoot with the thing) the only issue I can think I've ever had with an Arri was a squeaky mag on a 435 which a quick thromp from the 1AC cured.


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#12 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 11:47 AM

Why do you always argue with me? Its like you follow me around from thread to thread and say the opposite of what I say. It is balanced but it is heavy. There are simply better alternatives these days because this isnt 1975 anymore. Come on man, are you for real? Why not lug an Arri BL IV around then?

 

EDIT: Brian may be right but if you take his advice with the CP16, trust me, you better have a chiropractor. 

 

I'm not arguing with you, just pointing out information and the CP 16 is pretty similar to an Arri Alexa in weight terms. I've owned a CP16R and shot hand held material with the camera.

 

I've hand held an Arri 35 BL IV, but I've also hand held a Panafelx, which is much better balanced than the Arri.


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#13 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 05:12 PM

It seems Aatons are more for "run and gun"... and SRII not so much?

Anyway if high frame rates are also important is a SRII HS my only option?

 

Is there a way to determine what frame rates you really need?  Later ACL,  Aaton,  SR all do 75fps I think.  If you need 200fps then the SR high speed camera is the only one.  I think they are a bit noisier at 24fps,  so consider that carefully,  especially re the actual condition and service history when buying.

 

If you can live with 75fps you have more choices.  Best way is to try some of these cameras on your shoulder and you may get a feeling or an aha moment,  a little epiphany that helps your choice.  They are all capable of sharp images for the cinema.  If you have to choose without looking at these cameras,  for a project that is several months on the road handheld then I would probably go for an XTR,  maybe an ACL II if you are short of money.  Then again,  SR prices are being driven down,  I think because of the shear numbers of them shifting out of proffessional use.  You might love an SR,  without having met it,  sort of like being on the American frontier and getting a mail order bride....


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#14 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 06:12 PM

Just thought to add.  The extra junk you add onto a camera all adds weight.  Like Brian says,  balance is the key.  When you add weight you commonly shift the ballance,  and going front heavy is often the result.  Strip it down as much as you can.  Do you really need a video tap hand held.  Ideally the video tap is only on when it's really needed.  Waving the camera around blind,  or emulating steadycam style moves hand held,  a tap is usefull for framing,  otherwise its just weight.  Matte box,  only if it's super lightweight.  If onboard batteries improve the ballance,  ok,  otherwise,  try them (batteries) on a belt or in a bum bag with a spiral stretchy power cable.  And so on.


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#15 Matthew Riley Alcorn

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 09:50 PM

Figuring out frame rates makes a lot of sense... As I'm ignorant about the frame rates of slow motions shots I'm thinking of...

 

Maybe you'll could help.. What are the frame rates of some of these slow motion shots:

 

How did Doyle do this?

 

what is this FR?

 

lots of Reggio shots seem to be at this speed...

 

the opening couple minutes of Chungking Express with this amazing blur effect


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#16 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 02:06 AM

The Fallen Angels looks like it has been shot a low frame rate, with the foreground actors moving slowly, so that when played back at the normal frame rate they move normally, while the background moves faster.

 

Mood for love seems around 48fps.

 

The Reggio  seems to have a mixture.

 

Chungking Express looks rather like the effect you get when you don't use a shutter in a digital camera.  But since it's film, it could've been shot at a low frame rate and optically printed so that it plays at the normal action speed, with a lot of blur because of the slower shutter speed at low frame rates..

 

You need to decide if the camera you want is for mostly shooting dialogue or for shooting at high frame rates. If you wish to film intimate dialogue scenes, the high frame rate Arri SR is nosier than the standard one and could be less suitable for this type of work.  


Edited by Brian Drysdale, 14 May 2014 - 02:07 AM.

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#17 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 03:09 AM

The piece from Fallen Angel has been discussed on the forum before.  You might find that somewhere.  Re the fps,  it looked to me like he is undercranking the camera so those walking through the background look artificially quick while the two actors in the foreground were acting,  in real time,   in slow motion,  trying to move smoothly.  When the undercranked film (prints therof) is projected at 24fps  the forground actors still sometimes feel a bit slow motion, but to me it looks inconsistent,  not in a bad way.  It's interesting,  a bit strange feeling.  I wish I could see a crisper version.

 

I watched half of the Mood for Love clip.  I think that it is just looked slightly overcranked but it's hard to tell how much.  You can work it out from the swinging lamp if you can see the cable length.  I couldn't really,  but at 1m length the pendulum's period in real time would be about 2 seconds,  half what we see in the clip.  But 50fps feels like too much.

 

Just read Brians post as I went to paste in this.  He's probably nailed Mood for Love at 48fps.

 

When I looked for Fallen Angel on Youtube there was a short clip from the very end,  the girl and the guy on the motorbike.  Stunning!  I'm gonna find time to see the whole thing.


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#18 Matthew Riley Alcorn

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 03:22 AM

USA Netflix has a lot of Wong Kar-Wai... him and Doyle together are hypnotic, in the best way! I recommend all his films.

 

All this makes it seem that a camera that can do 60fps will be plenty for my needs.

 

So what's the point of this CEI speed control, like on this SRII?

What would be the highest frame rate on this camera with the speed control?

 

http://www.calkovsky...-speed-control/


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#19 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 04:03 AM

I don't know that speed controller.  Arri had a standard variable speed unit but there were maybe some third party ones.

 

Speaking of bargains on eBay

http://www.ebay.com/...e#ht_497wt_1197

 

You would need to contact him urgently and get more info on the service history.


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#20 Will Montgomery

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 08:36 PM

I was thinking of selling my standard 16mm Arri SR2 but with prices like that it might be better just to hold on to it.


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