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Current Film Stocks and Ultra 16- 4K Scanning


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#1 Scott Pickering

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 10:07 PM

I plan on getting a Bolex H16 (depending on Rex 5, SBM, or even EBM). I will have the camera converted to Ultra 16. How do the current color and B&W neg stocks hold up to 4K or even 5K scanning? I have some Plus X 16mm and some 50D variants in my possession. This includes Fuji F64D, Kodak EXR 50D, Vision 2 50D, and Vision 3 50D. Does 16mm have enough sharpness for 4K, or does the image look mushy? Is grain very noticeable or is it smooth? I also have a Panasonic FZ1000 camera that does 4K video, and was wondering how the look of scanned Ultra 16mm would look in comparison? Image will of course be 16:9 or even 1:85 at end result.


Edited by Scott Pickering, 19 February 2015 - 10:10 PM.

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#2 Scott Pickering

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 10:58 PM

I'll also add I have both variants of Plus X 16mm, reversal and negative.


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#3 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 12:19 AM

If you did want optimal image quality out of a 16mm scan, I would recommend going with something with pin-registration and using lenses with higher resolving power. For the price of your Bolex endeavor you can get an SR2 or even SR3 and spend a little more for a Super Speed or Optar Illumina. Then you can scan at 4K and get a great image, albeit even at a 3K scan you will probably be happy with the results. 4K is kind of overkill for 16mm
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#4 Scott Pickering

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 12:57 AM

They SR3 packages are around 5 grand I see online. Doesn't include lenses. I can get a Bolex SBM with everything needed for $1200- 1350. And then the cost of conversion to Ultra 16. I have read the Arris, at least the SR2, doesn't like conversion for Ultra or Super 16. And I don't think the SR cameras like 100 foot rolls, as far as I know.


Edited by Scott Pickering, 20 February 2015 - 12:57 AM.

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#5 aapo lettinen

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 05:01 AM

They SR3 packages are around 5 grand I see online. Doesn't include lenses. I can get a Bolex SBM with everything needed for $1200- 1350. And then the cost of conversion to Ultra 16. I have read the Arris, at least the SR2, doesn't like conversion for Ultra or Super 16. And I don't think the SR cameras like 100 foot rolls, as far as I know.

you can use 100ft daylight spools on the feed side of an SR camera (the spindle is the same type and size, you just have to remove the core adapter and leave the roller arm to the loading position where it does not touch the flanges of the daylight spool) 

 

The daylight spools create unnecessary additional noise however so I don't see the point of using them with SR unless you have remaining stock inventory on daylight spools or you want to load without changing bag.  On take-up side you still need to use cores so unloading still needs the changing bag.

 

the camera doesn't mind if you spool down the raw film to 100ft loads on core, they work just like any other load. you just have to load the mags more often if you use loads this short


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#6 aapo lettinen

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 05:06 AM

if you consider arri sr I would buy a set which is already converted to S16, they are not that much more expensive and save a lot of time and hassle and probably also money


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#7 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 08:09 AM

Here's an example of a 2k scan made on our scanner in 5k mode. That is, the full 5k sensor is used, to output a 2k file. If you look at the Super2k example, you can see that the grain is much more finely resolved than a straight 2k scan done on the same scanner. I realize you're asking about 4k, but the question is whether the detail is there, and the answer is clearly yes, whether the scanner is scaling down to 2k or to 4k.

 

http://www.gammarayd...og/case-super2k

 

Assuming you're using a scanner that has extremely high quality optics in it (like our ScanStation), the main factor in terms of sharpness is probably going to be the lens on your camera. I'd second the suggestion to use a pin-registered camera like an Arri SR, though you could also look at Eclair ACLs or Aatons, both of which produce extremely stable images and are available for reasonable prices these days. Lens options are better on all of these cameras since they have more "professional" mounts available, where the Bolex is just a C-Mount. Nothing wrong with C-mount, but if you were to rent lenses, you'll probably have a wider range to choose from if you've got a variety of mount choices at your disposal. My ACL, for instance, has a C-mount built in, but also has an Eclair mount ring that allows for Eclair's bayonet mount. There were similar adapters for this camera for Nikon and PL mount, I believe.

 

Your choice of stock and the lighting will affect graininess. Generally, overexpose a bit with neg. The scanner is really resolving grain, so as long as you're working with a high quality scanner, the rest is up to you in terms of the lens and lighting...

 

-perry

 


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#8 Dennis Couzin

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 10:13 AM

If you did want optimal image quality out of a 16mm scan, I would recommend going with something with pin-registration ...

...

Is grain very noticeable or is it smooth?

 

The Bolex pulldown mechanism is pathetic, but I think the film is static during its abbreviated 1/66 second exposure (at 24 fps).  The inconsistency in its frame positioning should be routinely removed within the scanner's image processing.

 

Of course the grain is very noticeable in 16mm, especially B&W.  That is the hallmark of 16 mm cinema, and capturing the look of the B&W grain requires higher resolution scanning than capturing the image sharpness per se.  Or are you going to shoot 16mm not to look like 16mm but as a cheaper way to capture the film look of the much less grainy 35mm.  Then you should plan to de-noise the scan.  Since film grain is frame-to-frame random 3D de-noisers work well on it.


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#9 Dennis Couzin

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 10:28 AM

... the Bolex is just a C-Mount. Nothing wrong with C-mount, but ...

 

Unfortunately the Bolex RX cameras are RX-mount, not C-mount.  Mechanically it's a C-mount, but there's a 9.5 mm thick prism between the mount and the film necessitating special RX-mount lenses.  My ancient writeups about this: https://sites.google.../RXCrule_87.pdf and https://sites.google...Xrule_76-78.pdf

 

To Scott: For fast lenses on the Bolex RX, you're limited to old rare ones.  Why not benefit from the later advances in lens design?  Film is an expensive medium.  Why go cheap with the camera?


Edited by Dennis Couzin, 20 February 2015 - 10:29 AM.

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#10 aapo lettinen

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 10:32 AM

 

Assuming you're using a scanner that has extremely high quality optics in it (like our ScanStation), the main factor in terms of sharpness is probably going to be the lens on your camera. I'd second the suggestion to use a pin-registered camera like an Arri SR, though you could also look at Eclair ACLs or Aatons, both of which produce extremely stable images and are available for reasonable prices these days. Lens options are better on all of these cameras since they have more "professional" mounts available, where the Bolex is just a C-Mount. Nothing wrong with C-mount, but if you were to rent lenses, you'll probably have a wider range to choose from if you've got a variety of mount choices at your disposal. My ACL, for instance, has a C-mount built in, but also has an Eclair mount ring that allows for Eclair's bayonet mount. There were similar adapters for this camera for Nikon and PL mount, I believe.

 

Your choice of stock and the lighting will affect graininess. Generally, overexpose a bit with neg. The scanner is really resolving grain, so as long as you're working with a high quality scanner, the rest is up to you in terms of the lens and lighting...

 

-perry

 

you can add PL mount lenses to C-mount camera using for example Visual Products PL--->C adapter, but I think all the screw type mounts are non-ideal for cine use because it makes using follow focus systems more complicated and the Bolex turret and the c-mount itself is not very sturdy construction for for example remote focus use. But yes, you can use Ultra16 lenses or Master Primes with Bolex cameras if necessary or attach a Angenieux 24-290 to it  B)


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#11 Dennis Couzin

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 10:33 AM

Sorry, in my post #9 the first half of the quote is from Kenny S., but the second half is from Scott P.  My post should have been addressed to Scott P.

 

I'm used to being able to edit and re-edit what I write.  This forum's anti-edit policy is maddening.


Edited by Dennis Couzin, 20 February 2015 - 10:36 AM.

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#12 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 11:27 AM

I don't doubt that the Bolex image is *relatively* steady, but I would prefer knowing with certainty that I have a pin-registered image (or something like that employed by the Aaton). I've seen great stuff shot on Bolexes, but especially scanning at such a high resolution, I would hesitate to risk needing post-stabilizing when you could achieve it in-camera for not much more money out the gate.

 

I do agree that the benefits of lens design since the era of Bolex RX would go farther than anything, especially where resolution is concerned. Also, the title of this thread suggests "current" film stocks, and of the four mentioned only one is currently in production. 

 

As for pricing - here is an S16 SRII HS for $1400 OBO. That is a steal. 


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#13 David Cunningham

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 12:26 PM

I highly suggest avoiding a Bolex for 4K work.  Although Super16 (and probably Ultra 16) are worthy of a 4/5K scan for final distribution of HD/2K work, it's not quite 4K quality.  But, due to grain aliasing you DO have worth-while advantages to a 4/5K scan.

 

As mentioned above, but I will summarize and confirm, you have a few issues with Bolex Rex models:

 

1.) They are very expensive to convert to Super16 and Ultra 16 is not quite as much image area as Super16.

 

2.) The prism causes all kinds of issues such as light loss, distortion, etc.  Your prism could be dirty, discolored, etc.

 

3.) Related to the prism, using modern and high-end lenses (especially at fast speeds) is not possible for optimum performance.  For example, if you were to buy or rent an Arri Zeiss Ultra Prime lens you would not get the full image sharpness of that lens and would definitely not be able to take advantage of the fast 1.3 F-stop.

 

4.) Related to the c-mount...  you would need a very expensive adapter.  The cheap adapters are not good and usually do not have the distance pin-point accurate.  I frequently find cheap c-mount to whatever-mount adapters not perfectly sharp at infinity.  You would need a high quality adapter AND a check-up to ensure proper lens collimation.

 

5.) You are severely limited by the 100Ft daylight loads used in a Bolex.  Although later models have magazines, they are not like modern magazines.  They are very slow to load, very heavy and clumsy to cary/work with.  They were an after thought.

 

So, yeah..  That's my take.  If you really want to get into this and do it right you will end up spending thousands of dollars on a Bolex system so you may as well spend a little bit more and find a realy-to-go and services SRIII.


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#14 David Cunningham

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 12:27 PM

One more quick note on the film stocks...

 

Vision3 50D (and Vision2 50D to a lesser extent) are amazing stocks worthy of a 4/5K scan.  The other stocks, not so much... other than maybe for better resolving of their chunky grain.


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#15 aapo lettinen

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 01:58 PM

I can also add to the Bolex list that the viewfinder image is relatively dim compared to spinning mirror cameras and the fixed viewfinder can lead to problems if you are shooting high/low angles / anything other than from normal eye level. 

 

 

I meant this adapter when mentioning PL to C conversion: http://www.visualpro...Cat2=135#bigPic

maybe more suitable for ACL because of the RX issues mentioned with certain lenses.

 

About the Ultra 16…. I really don't see the benefit of it compared to Super 16 unless you have a camera which has re-centering difficulties or rollers which are difficult to modify to S16. 

A good quality S16 camera would be much better option I think, ideally in PL mount or maybe Aaton if you'd like use lens adapters. something with very stable image like SR3 or XTR Prod would be ideal.

 

with old lenses you can easily have lots of CA which may be a big problem if you are planning theatrical release for big screen (where the 4K/5K scanning really benefits compared to normal 2K option) so modern lenses would be ideal, although may be very expensive if you really are planning to resolve more than 2K


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#16 Dennis Couzin

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 05:15 PM

For example, if you were to buy or rent an Arri Zeiss Ultra Prime lens you would not get the full image sharpness of that lens and would definitely not be able to take advantage of the fast 1.3 F-stop.

 

Not just the f/1.3.  The prism demands special RX lenses for f/2 too.  Indeed Angenieux made a special f/2.2 12-120 for RX mount. 

 

tmy51ecow811xxq6g.jpg

 

The "about f/2 or f/2.8" clause cannot be made more precise, as explained in the 1987 article.  To be safe, figure f/2.8.


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#17 Scott Pickering

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 11:35 PM

I'd love to get that SR2 on Ebay right now, but in total it will cost me almost 2 grand with exchange rate and duty taxes on top of shipping and item costs. Don't have that right now. Also- there is a 35mm Arri package available to me locally for almost 3 grand, but honestly I just don't have the funds right now. Budget was the reason I was looking at the Bolex. By the time I'd have the funds for the more expensive cameras, they would be sold by then. I guess I'll have to wait till another offer comes up. I have been buying up 100 foot rolls of film expecting to get the Bolex. I may get an older Rex Bolex that has been converted to Super 16, assuming that isn't sold next week as well. Then later on I can look at getting a SR2 or SR3.

 

I should have been a little more specific when I was referring to current stocks. I only bought the older stocks just to see how they compare. And I love B&W as well, which is why I have been getting some Plus X.


Edited by Scott Pickering, 20 February 2015 - 11:37 PM.

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#18 aapo lettinen

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 07:15 AM

with today's film cameras the lens set is usually far more expensive than camera bodies, so you should maybe invest in lenses which you can also use with your next camera body. you can easily spend more on good rx lenses than the SR2 costs especially because the rx lenses have to be S16 compatible. And I'd say the orientable viewfinder is a very big benefit over Bolex.

If you decide to upgrade to SR later you have to sell the Bolex and maybe 2k or 3k worth of rx lenses because you can't use them with the new body and you'll need the money for PL lenses.

 

as said, the 100ft daylight loads can be easily used with sr2 or sr3, the only thing is that you can't use the remaining footage indicator and the daylight spool may create additional noise. It may be much more cheaper to use 400ft loads or clearance stock spooled down to 100ft dl spools if you plan to collect lots of stock before shooting (though spooling them down by yourself may add a little bit of dust to the films depending on how good conditions you can arrange for the operation)


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#19 Dennis Couzin

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 09:17 AM

To add one more Bolex RX disadvantage.  Its 130° shutter angle is significantly less than other 16mm cameras' 170° to 235°.  This not only costs light for exposure but creates a different motion blur than the longer dwell cameras.  Bolex movies have a greater tendency toward motion unsmoothness/stutter than other movies shot at the same frame rate.  Bolex movies have a different "film look" than the norm.

 

To add yet one more Bolex RX disadvantage.  It is badly balanced -- too top heavy -- for hand held work.

 

Bolex RX cameras were the only 16mm cameras I owned during my film years.  They were loveable beasts with sensible build quality.  But at core they were unwisely engineered.


Edited by Dennis Couzin, 21 February 2015 - 09:19 AM.

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#20 Scott Pickering

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 08:44 PM

Ok. I can see getting an Arri is the better way to go, but the price of admission is keeping me from getting it now. I looked for PL mount lenses, and you need 4 grand to even get started. Not exactly something I can jump into. The Bolex at least is affordable, and I can get a camera with lenses for 600 bucks or so. When I get more serious cash, I can jump into an Arri, assuming film is still sold by then.


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