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Bolex S16 vs. Arri or another S16 camera


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#1 Noelle Kale

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 04:38 PM

Hi, my husband and I are about to make our second film. Our first one was a TV documentary film about the baby abandonment issue and it did quite well. We used a combination of 16mm (for dramatizations/visual inserts) and DVC-Pro (for the interviews only--but would have used all film if the budget permitted-we weren't happy with the video quality and will never use it again).

We've used the Bolex H16 for years and used it for our doc. The images looked beautiful and was suitable for TV aspect ratio.

For this production we know that we want to shoot S16 film MOS and ADR in post, with intentions of theatrical release. From our experience, distributors take you more seriously if your project is on film but ultimately we just love the results film renders.

Two issues present themselves...

Number One: We're having difficulties deciding if we should have our Bolex converted to Super16 or save the money and just rent another S16 film camera. We're just not sure which camera to use and then there's the lens issues--I don't think the Bolex can use Zeiss, etc.

Number Two: The blow up factor. When blowing up S16 to fit theatrical ratios, what kind of results do you get? We didn't have the opportunity to see "13" or "Leaving Las Vegas" in theaters which we've heard were really good examples of S16 blown up.

Any input/opinions would be great. Thank you.
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#2 Noelle Kale

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 05:10 PM

An addendum: We're also debating on the best film stock. 85 percent of the shoot is outdoors in mountainous terrain and the remainder inside a car. We've worked with Vision 500T in the past and were pleased with it is there better? We'd appreciate any input. Thanks.
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#3 cruz

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 06:51 PM

Hi, my husband and I are about to make our second film. Our first one was a TV documentary film about the baby abandonment issue and it did quite well. We used a combination of 16mm (for dramatizations/visual inserts) and DVC-Pro (for the interviews only--but would have used all film if the budget permitted-we weren't happy with the video quality and will never use it again).

We've used the Bolex H16 for years and used it for our doc. The images looked beautiful and was suitable for TV aspect ratio.

For this production we know that we want to shoot S16 film MOS and ADR in post, with intentions of theatrical release. From our experience, distributors take you more seriously if your project is on film but ultimately we just love the results film renders.

Two issues present themselves...

Number One: We're having difficulties deciding if we should have our Bolex converted to Super16 or save the money and just rent another S16 film camera. We're just not sure which camera to use and then there's the lens issues--I don't think the Bolex can use Zeiss, etc.

Number Two: The blow up factor. When blowing up S16 to fit theatrical ratios, what kind of results do you get? We didn't have the opportunity to see "13" or "Leaving Las Vegas" in theaters which we've heard were really good examples of S16 blown up.

Any input/opinions would be great. Thank you.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


A.d. 1 http://www.sci.fi/~a...to/s16/s16.html
A.d. 2 seen vera drake? if exposed correctly looks great,
a.d. 3 the stock you use should match light conditions, and your needs. Since you're shooting mostly outside you should pick a daylight stock or shoot tungsten with 85 filter, If you need versatile stock that'll handle most light or no light situation i guess it's good choice. But for some shots you could use lower speed material the grain is finer and the look more contrasty.

Edited by cruz, 06 May 2005 - 06:57 PM.

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#4 Rik Andino

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 07:20 PM

For this production we know that we want to shoot S16 film MOS and ADR in post With intentions of theatrical release.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The Bolex is a great MOS camera...
And you can mount Zeiss lens on a Bolex with a special adapter...
But I would still rent an Arri SR3 or an Aaton XTR-Prod.

Why?
Well because the Bolex isn't as good as those cameras.

1) the Bolex doesn't have a registration pin...
So the image isn't as steady as with the Aaton or Arri.

2) the Bolex is an MOS camera and can be very loud
And although you said you want to shoot MOS...
it's easier and you might find it necessary to shoot location sound at some point.

3) the Bolex is as easy to handhold as the Aaton XTR-Prod or Arri SR3

4) the Bolex doesn't have the necessary production features you might need
i.e. video-tap, orientable viewfinder, timecode burn-in, etc...

5) the Bolex is a camera converted to S16
It isn't better than a camera designed primarily for S16 like the Arri and the Aaton

You'll stumble upon other reason why it's better to rent a newer camera
Basically I recommend you use the Bolex if you don't have another choice...
Or as a B-camera--though that registration pin problem (the lack of it)
Will make it difficult to cut footage from the other cameras and the Bolex together.

As for filmstock...I recommend choosing something with a slower speed...
If your intentions are to blow-up to 35mm...to minimize the grain when blown-up.

Something like 100T or 200T---7212, 7205, & 7217 are some good stocks

Eitherways as you should know you'll have to do alot more research on your own.


Good Luck
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#5 Noelle Kale

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 02:00 PM

Rik, cruz, thanks a bunch. Haven't seen Vera Drake, another we missed in the theaters, but will take a look at it on DVD. I didn't know there was an adapter for the Bolex for Zeiss lens-thanks. I see your point re: Bolex not being as good as Arri SR3 or an Aaton XTR-Prod. We noticed a bit of that image unsteadiness from time to time, we didn't know what that was from, (well, except for that one shot where our son tripped over the tripod-lol) now we do-thanks.

You bring up a very good point about maybe needing to get location sound. We've always had bad experiences with sound. We are completely inept when it comes to getting good sound, barely passable as a scratch track. If we were to forego MOS and shoot location sound, would a DAT recorder work well? We've used the NAGRA before and it's just so clunky to take around on location. I'm going to look around this forum to see if there's any info re: sound. I'd appreciate some guidance or equipment recommendations in the sound area as well.

Thank you both for your input, it's truly appreciated. Have a great weekend.
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#6 Robert Morein

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 05:59 PM

Rik, cruz, thanks a bunch. Haven't seen Vera Drake, another we missed in the theaters, but will take a look at it on DVD. I didn't know there was an adapter for the Bolex for Zeiss lens-thanks. I see your point re: Bolex not being as good as Arri SR3 or an Aaton XTR-Prod. We noticed a bit of that image unsteadiness from time to time, we didn't know what that was from, (well, except for that one shot where our son tripped over the tripod-lol) now we do-thanks.

You bring up a very good point about maybe needing to get location sound. We've always had bad experiences with sound. We are completely inept when it comes to getting good sound, barely passable as a scratch track. If we were to forego MOS and shoot location sound, would a DAT recorder work well? We've used the NAGRA before and it's just so clunky to take around on location. I'm going to look around this forum to see if there's any info re: sound. I'd appreciate some guidance or equipment recommendations in the sound area as well.

Thank you both for your input, it's truly appreciated. Have a great weekend.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


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#7 Rachel Oliver

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Posted 08 May 2005 - 02:05 PM

Hi;

I've been shooting with a Bolex RX5 that was converted to S16 and had a new hard bayonet mount fitted, I use 2nd generation kern primes and often a tobin motor. I also shoot alot of doc mos sequences and find this set up to work really really well. My registration has always been very solid and the Kern primes are stunning (if a tad "retro") I'd say if budget is a concern and you already own a good Bolex then get it converted, It's definately worth it. For "drama" type work it's maybe not so perfect but for a small doc it can provide very professional results indeed.

Olly
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#8 Sam Wells

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Posted 08 May 2005 - 08:44 PM

Aaton don't use registration pins either.

Pins aren't everything.

A well tuned Bolex can have very good registration in fact. But they need care and feeding.

ACL doesn't have them either for that matter.

An XTR-Prod, SR3 or even an LTR would be better suited for doc "A camera" however.

-Sam
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#9 andrewbuchanan

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 09:40 AM

I'd upgrade that Bolex for sure (even if you rented from time to time), because no body uses regular 16mm anymore. Also, even though the Bolex registration is great, I'd definitely get a tune-up and run a registration test before I shot anything for 35mm blow-up. Problems that look small (or invisible) in telecined 16mm look a whole lot worse when the image is 7 feet tall (I've learned this the hard way).
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#10 Steven Budden

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 10:12 PM

Hi;

I've been shooting with a Bolex RX5 that was converted to S16 and had a new hard bayonet mount fitted, I use 2nd generation kern primes and often a tobin motor. I also shoot alot of doc mos sequences and find this set up to work really really well. My registration has always been very solid and the Kern primes are stunning (if a tad "retro") I'd say if budget is a concern and you already own a good Bolex then get it converted, It's definately worth it. For "drama" type work it's maybe not so perfect but for a small doc it can provide very professional results indeed.

Olly

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hey, did les bosher do your conversion? It's working out well still? What was the cost?

Thanks!

Steven
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#11 Noelle Kale

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 02:47 PM

Hey, did les bosher do your conversion? It's working out well still? What was the cost?

Thanks!

Steven

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Thanks for all the input everyone. I was reading a thread about conversion, there's a guy in Vegas that does conversions, not sure if he's good or not. At the moment, I can't for the life of me recall his name.
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