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16mm camera and processing


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#1 Klaus Capra

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 12:20 AM

Hello all,

 

Have been lurking the forums for information on film and cameras for some time, and have found lots of answers just by researching. Many thanks to all the resourceful contributors..

 

I'm a film maker currently living in Shanghai. I've been making films with digital, and quite eager to start working with film, so have been saving for a solid/lasting 16mm package. Although my current work heavily inclines towards the experimental/cine poem I would like the have the option of eventually shooting sync sound. I make all my films in 4:3, so anything that isn't easily converted to super16 is good. 

 

I'm intrigued by the portability of the Arri 16 ST/SB. But as I understand it, it's a non sync camera. In general the aesthetic of out of sync sound is quite appealing to me; e.g. Fellini, Rossellini & co. but is syncing dialogue and atmosphere sound (by myself) in post really such a work of love as people make it out to be? If one doesn't have money for a self blimped system (sr2, aaron etc), nor the knowledge on post syncing sound, is it crazy to shoot even small pieces of dialogue non sync?

 

I'm available to different easy to hand hold options; Eclair, Kinor. But maybe not the smaller clockwork types like the Bolex or K3

 

My price range for a ready to shoot camera package with lenses working battery is 1300 euro/1600 USD (film and processing not included). I see some ebay sellers such as DUALL have physical shops that restore/overhaul cameras. Is the above budget realistic? Because I'm living in China it'd be best for me to find something that is ready to put to work without repair as from my research it seems the resources for repairmen are almost non existent! 

 

 

Lastly, I found some labs for processing/telecine in Beijing and Hong Kong using some reputable scanners machines for coloring; but does anyone here have any real experience with processing and telecine in China? 

 

 

Many thanks in advance,

Klaus


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#2 Klaus Capra

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 12:46 AM

Alright.. never mind the camera advice

 

How about processing and telecine for those with experience shooting in China/Hong Kong? Would really like to hear from anyone who has worked with film on this side of the world..


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#3 Will Montgomery

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 11:21 AM

You should be able to pickup a decent Arri S with lenses in your range. Plan on about $300 for a clean and lube from Duall or Super16Inc.com. These are U.S. based shops. There are some good people in Australia but don't know about the Asian market. Must be some people in India I would think...


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#4 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 02:04 PM

I do not have experience with Chinese labs, but I'm sure there are some good ones. Sorry I can't help with that.

 

Arri Ss are amazing cameras. They're solid, built like tanks. An old teacher of mine told me they used to attach them to airplane wings during WWII. So, wonderful cameras, but they are very loud. You would have a hard time getting clean dialogue with one running nearby, but yes it is technically possibly to get short pieces of dialogue and then sync it by eyeball during editorial. But again, unless the camera is far away from the actors, the camera is going to be audible.

 

If you really want to be able to shoot sync sound and stay small and handheld, I'd recommend an Eclair ACL. I actually just bought one myself at an unbelievably low price (plus it's super16, has a video tap, crystal speed controller, custom rail supports and even an old wired remote follow focus!!). It didn't come with any lenses (which can easily be the expensive part these days), but it was well within your budget. Each Eclair package is different with respect to its features and accessories, but if you're willing to wait for a while and look around, they do come up now and then for very reasonable prices. So I'd keep that in mind.

 

You should be able to find a nice Arri S with a decent zoom lens, or couple primes, and possibly with the external magazine for your budget. In fact, here is one from an very reputable seller with two magazine and mattebox for $1000 OBO. (No lens though, so it isn't a steal or anything although he is open to lower offers. Just showing you that it's within your budget.)

 

 

Edit: I've decided to give away my secret backup Eclair since I already bought one: http://www.igorcamer...e_equipment.htm

I've never bought anything from Igor Camera so I can't vouch for him or his services, but he has an Eclair ACL with Angenieux 12-120mm zoom lens, with two mags and battery listed for $875.


Edited by Josh Gladstone, 03 December 2014 - 02:07 PM.

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#5 Klaus Capra

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 10:56 PM

Thanks Will and Josh for the info despite there being another recent post on camera choices,

 

That's a good deal on Igor Camera, I wrote an email to see if the camera is refurbished before shipping.

 

Both the Arri and the Eclair seem ideal for my projects, each in their own way..

 

I remember seeing some making of footage of Claude Lelouch's A Man and a Woman, reportedly all shot on 16 and 35 with sync sound Eclairs. The camera was very** loud, and yet there were sound techs with boom mics, nagras just a meter or two away from the DP.

 

How can one reduce the hum in post? Anything to look for in FCP? Or maybe any noise reducing software? 

 

In Beijing I received a really good quote for processing, but the scanning/telecine lab recommended to me (by the processing lab) using Arri and Spirit machines quoted me at 160USD per 100ft and around 325USD for a 4 minute film (the guy laughed at me for such a small film and said he'd give me a discount if it was exposed well… …)How do these prices compare to labs out there yonder? 

 

 

Many thanks again,


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#6 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 12:08 AM

 

......Claude Lelouch's A Man and a Woman, reportedly all shot on 16 and 35 with sync sound Eclairs. The camera was very** loud, and yet there were sound techs with boom mics, nagras just a meter or two away from the DP.

 

....In Beijing I received a really good quote for processing, but the scanning/telecine lab recommended to me (by the processing lab) using Arri and Spirit machines quoted me at 160USD per 100ft ......

 

 

All cameras have a different noise.  An ACL has a sort of tick-tick-tick...which varies with film stock and how well adjusted the camera is.  Drape a soft barney over it,  even without zipping it up and it can be almost inaudible to the operator, even in a quiet room.  So,  minimise camera noise at source and with sound recording technique. 

 

Check scan prices in the States.  $1.60/ft sounds bizare to me.


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#7 Mark Dunn

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 06:32 AM

16mm. runs at 36ft/min. So the two prices aren't consistent anyway. 144' at $1.60/ft isn't $325 unless that price includes a grade.

US prices are closer to 40c/ft. London, 30p if you can find any.


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#8 Pavan Deep

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 07:55 AM

Based on a recent job at Cinelab London the costs for both processing and scanning Super 16 was 29p per foot.

 

Pav


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#9 Zac Fettig

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 02:59 PM


Arri Ss are amazing cameras. They're solid, built like tanks. An old teacher of mine told me they used to attach them to airplane wings during WWII.

 

Josh, your teacher told you a fib. Arri developed the 16S in the 50s, after the war was over, at the requst of Disney.

 

The price could be correct, if they have a $325 minimum charge.

 

You don't have to do the telecine locally though. If you process it locally, the film is stabilized and can be shipped.

 

Here's a link to Cinelab's (USA) commercial rate card:

http://cinelab.com/P...ateCard2014.pdf


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#10 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 05:32 PM

 

Josh, your teacher told you a fib. Arri developed the 16S in the 50s, after the war was over, at the requst of Disney.

 

You're right, he must have meant Arris in general. That's interesting about Disney, though. Do you know if I could read more about that anywhere?


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#11 Klaus Capra

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 11:12 PM

Thanks Gregg, 

 

A barney should be something made especially for the camera model, or could be mcguyvered with some suitable material assuming the camera is quiet enough as it is?

 

 

For sure some things may have been lost in translation in the phone conversation with the guy in Beijing;

 

The lab, one of few in the mainland, may also never be approached by independent film makers.. that may explain the high cost? 

 

Zac, thanks a million for the idea, I didn't know that the film once processed could be shipped. 

 

That means I could process the film in China and have a lot more options for the telecine in Japan, Taiwan, India…

 

Any precautions to take when shipping film? Or is it quite basic? My god, what if it's lost? 

 

 

Thanks,


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#12 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 06 December 2014 - 12:13 AM

 

A barney should be something made especially for the camera model, or could be mcguyvered with some suitable material assuming the camera is quiet enough as it is?

 

 

There are barneys that were made proffessionally for the 16mm sync cameras and they sometimes come up on eBay fairly cheap.  They will fit well and be easy to use with the camera on your shoulder.  But you can improvise. I used to use an Arri (BL) barney dropped on top of an ACL.  Worked well,  faster for gate checks and mag changes. 


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#13 Will Montgomery

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Posted 06 December 2014 - 11:06 PM

Any precautions to take when shipping film? Or is it quite basic? My god, what if it's lost? 

Lost isn't nearly as much of an issue as X-ray and handing issues. Not so much a problem when shipping domestically in most countries, it's when you cross borders that it becomes more of an issue I would think. Never know what a customs agent will do even if you label everything "do not X-ray".


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#14 Klaus Capra

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Posted 06 December 2014 - 11:51 PM

Learning, learning… 
 
Will, the film risks x-ray damage even after it's processed? 
 
I suppose I could physically take the film to the closest places, Tokyo/Osaka, hoping to have the film rolls hand checked through the security check.
 
But I imagine this being a luck of the draw, depending only on the staff at that second. Anyone reading have experience trying to take film as carry on luggage? 
 
My only other option is to pay extra(or bargain) for the telecine in China, being that all the other cheaper options become more and more unaffordable. Or, take a holiday every time I finish a film… 
 
Thinking out loud at this point, but the information may come in handy for film makers living in China, or even other Asian countries with limited sources. 
 
 
Thanks,

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#15 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 07 December 2014 - 01:22 AM

Film is not susceptible to x-rays after it has been processed. It is susceptible before that, so before exposure and after exposure, but once it's processed there's no risk from x-rays whatsoever.

 

Having film hand checked to bypass x-rays is very possible in the US, but from what I have heard, it is fairly unlikely in other countries. But that depends on the country. And again, this is only for unprocessed film. Processed film can go through x-rays, be exposed to light, etc.


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#16 Will Montgomery

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 09:31 PM

Having film hand checked to bypass x-rays is very possible in the US, but from what I have heard, it is fairly unlikely in other countries. But that depends on the country. And again, this is only for unprocessed film. Processed film can go through x-rays, be exposed to light, etc.

It's very easy as long as you:

 

a) Don't CHECK IT! The big x-rays used for checked baggage will nuke the film and there's no option on checked bags

B) Remember to pull it out and ask for hand inspection when going through security

 

Keep in mind that security folks will tell you that their x-rays only affect film of 1000asa or higher which is NOT true. 

 

There's aways this cautionary tale:

 

Film from hit show "Lost" wrecked by airport X-ray

http://seattletimes....lostfilm09.html


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#17 Will Montgomery

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 09:33 PM

B) Remember to pull it out and ask for hand inspection when going through security

I actually put a B ) but it reinterpreted as the above emoticon. I was not implying you should pull anything but film out for hand inspection. B)


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#18 Klaus Capra

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 12:17 AM

So, the safest way is to get film locally and process it locally. Telecine/coloring can be done at that point anywhere. Got it.

 

Many thanks to all!

 

My problem now is.. the Kodak distributor I spoke to in China sells 16mm Vision 3 way above market price, I'm assuming because of import tax. But I see on the Chinese equivalent of ebay 35mm V3 film being sold all the time at good prices, apparently shipped to China avoiding x-ray machines.

 

So because of unexpected circumstances, it may be easier to shoot with 35 instead. Is exposing 35 roughly the same as any other film, or am I jumping the gun without experience shooting smaller gauges first?

 

I see prices on Ebay for Arri II,IIIc, and russian 35mm cameras can be in the same range as Eclairs, and have read in other discussions on the site that processing and telecine can also be quite close.

 

I really like the aesthetic of the smaller formats in experimental films. Do you think the difference in aesthetic results between say Brackhage and Nolan are due to stock gauge, or equally gauge/artistic vision/lens/post? I wonder why experimental film makers, as far as I know, always opted for super 8 and 16.. perhaps because they were self funded artists, and the production cost with smaller gauges was cheaper.. 

 

If I were to shoot in 35, is the aspect ratio dependent on the camera system, as it is with standard/super/ultra 16? I want to shoot my films in 4:3.. couldn't find much info online..

 

 

 

Will, the hand inspection bit is pretty good :ph34r:


Edited by Klaus Capra, 11 December 2014 - 12:20 AM.

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#19 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 12:44 AM

Film is film, so exposing it is the same regardless of whether you're shooting 35, 16, super 8, still cameras, etc. Shooting 35 will be more expensive than shooting 16. The camera package will be more expensive, and so will the lenses and other accessories. Not to mention that film will be more expensive, and you will shoot more of it. Where 400 feet of 16mm will get you 11 minutes of footage, in 35mm you'd need 1000 feet. 16mm cameras are also generally smaller, lighter, and more portable.


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#20 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 06:58 AM

I really like the aesthetic of the smaller formats in experimental films. Do you think the difference in aesthetic results between say Brackhage and Nolan are due to stock gauge, or equally gauge/artistic vision/lens/post? I wonder why experimental film makers, as far as I know, always opted for super 8 and 16.. perhaps because they were self funded artists, and the production cost with smaller gauges was cheaper.. 

 

If I were to shoot in 35, is the aspect ratio dependent on the camera system, as it is with standard/super/ultra 16? I want to shoot my films in 4:3.. couldn't find much info online..

 

People like Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, Kenneth Anger & Chantal Akerman most likely shot on smaller formats for all of the different reasons you mentioned - not the least of which was the fact that they were in the experimental genre.  So shooting on something other than the industry standard (which during their respective heydays was always 35mm) was an obvious, non-conformist choice.  Plus, the financial difference between the formats would have made things a lot easier for them.

 

I've never shot 35mm, so others can give you more detail on that.  But yes...as far as I know, there are 2-perf, 3-perf & 4-perf 35mm cameras.  I believe the only real difference would be the size of the gate since each format would render a different aspect ratio.  If you're looking to shoot 4:3, that would be 4-perf.  Take a look at this Kodak link.  It makes it pretty clear:

 

http://motion.kodak....oices/index.htm

 

But why raise the cost of your productions if you're still going to use a 4:3 aspect ratio?  I would stick with 16mm simply for the cost.


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