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Arri BL and SR1 question


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#1 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 12:39 AM

Hi there,

I own an Arri 16BL with BLE 25fps motor, Minilock (not working), 2 x Jensen505, 4 mags, 3 different blimp housings, swan neck eyepiece and zoom lens (Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar 1:2,8/10-100mm T3.3-clean). I plan to shot an indi feature, with just enough money for the stock and development (and some telecine now :blink: some later....)

I have been trying to experiment with finding a proper video split/tap/assist for the BL that wont break my budget. Nothing came to mind and I am currently still looking at Pulnix cameras with appropriate lenses. I also got worried about the weight of the camera (approx 9kg) in doing some hand held shots or even on the off chance of having a steadicam righ and an operator out for a day... so i started to look into SR1s.

Would you know it, i made an impuls dessision (VERY SILLY) and i bought an SR1 for about $4200USD, spending my film's stock money. This of course means i can not hang on to both cameras, and will have to sell one away.

I know that the SR is better (Even though i haven't received it yet and am not sure if it is a French or German motor operated) but can not help have the dilemma of getting rid of the BL that has been cleaned and tested at Panavision for the last month (done up to be as good as it gets)...

What would you advise on doing? Could I attempt selling a BL and for how much, since i spent fortune getting the accesories and all the extras that are very hard to find and come across - its in tip top condition. Or should I forget about the SR1? I dont even know what motor it has... Is there an obvious way of recognising the French against German motor just from pics? The seller didnt know either... It comes with 2 mags, 2 batteries, belt, eyepiece, and Zeiss 10-100 T* lens (meant to be very clean and smooth on focus, zoom, etc...)

i guess it was just getting frustratign trying to find all these accesories for BL that were always more available for the SR, so i bought it, but wish to ask if you recommend hanging onto it or not. I have 2 Cine Xenon primes, 10mm and 16mm that i would hang on in both cases. Other primes I'd rent for the shoot, and have the blimp housings to get myself covered when using them with BL (although it would be a bit longer and harder swapping process).

Let me know if you think this upgrade is worth while or if i should just start shooting the film already...

Thank you. Sorry for the long post... :blink:
PS. Havent slept in days, all this happened instantly. I havent spend this much money on anything before, not even my car...
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#2 Mark Williams

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 02:59 AM

The old saying a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush springs to mind...If the Film is all that matters I would go with the BL Because everything is A1 The SR1 Is untested..
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#3 Tim Carroll

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 08:54 AM

If the SR1 has the German motor and the Zeiss 10-100 T2 lens, that's one heck of a camera and lens combination that can be converted to Super 16 down the road and will last you for a very long time. So in that case, I would definitely keep the SR1.

If it has a French motor and the Zeiss 10-100 T2.8, that is a different story. That motor has some issues and the lens is not that spectacular and you can pick them up pretty cheap. In that case, I would keep the BL.

Also, when was it serviced last? That is an important question. Last time we had our SR1 fully service at ARRI New York it was $1300. And last time we had our Zeiss 10-100 T2 serviced at Duclos in L.A. it was about $400. Also, what shape are the batteries in? Will they hold a charge or do they need to be re-celled? Once you know all that information, it will be easier to make a decision.

But again, if the SR1 has the German motor (once you get the camera, call ARRI and give them the serial number and they can tell you if it has the German or French motor) and the good Zeiss 10-100 T2 lens, I would consider the investment to have it fully serviced, because that camera has an awful lot more potential in the long run than the BL, in my opinion.

Best of luck,
-Tim Carroll
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#4 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 09:22 PM

I would tend to agree with Tim. Even thought the BL is in very good condition now, those cameras are pretty tempermental and difficult to find service for. So it sounds kinda cynical but if you had a problem with it down the road, you might have a hard time. On the other hand there are MANY people who would be interested in it as it is and you might get some good money for it. In my opinion, the SR1 is a very decent camera and more "user-friendly" and again, can be easily converted to Super 16. It seems like you should be able to put together a good SR1 package- and it will not be as hard to find parts as it was for the BL. It's a tough choice though- good luck!
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#5 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 09:33 PM

Thanks for the 3 great replies, both of whcih were very helpful in this moral dilemma.

I have found out that the lens on a SR1 is T* Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 1:2, 8/10-100 (so unfortunately its not the T2) and still do not know which motor is running the whole set-up. I think I will wait till I find that out before i make my final dession, as Tim suggested. Is it as simple as ringing ARRI with a serial number and asking? I thought that the difference between the two could be told by looking at the camera, by the different number of screws on the inching assembly? http://www.cinematec.../arri_16SR.html


I did experience some problems with my BL few weeks ago (it can be viewed on my web site) but the techs couldnt find any problems with it when servicing and performing tests on it for the last 2 weeks... The conclusion to the "bad night test shoot" we got was that the COLD got to the battery, made the motor on the BL go crazy, shoot at 10-12fps and cause major flickering that was also influenced by the 50Hz lights that were not on a flickerfree balast.... I must run another test shoot on the BL this week, irrelevant to getting the SR1 or not. Any ideas on what to shoot? Street lights?

Again, thank you heaps on your help.
You can view the flicker shot here http://www.lavproductions.com/ (current projects) it was pushed to 16:9 in telecine.

Edited by lav, 11 September 2005 - 09:40 PM.

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#6 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 08:02 PM

How cold was it? I mean I don't know the maximum temperature offhand for needing to winterize a camera, but that sounds kinda weird. Was it damp out too?
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#7 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 09:48 PM

How cold was it? I mean I don't know the maximum temperature offhand for needing to winterize a camera, but that sounds kinda weird.  Was it damp out too?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hi, yeah it was real cold - cold for Brisbane Australia. See the temparature was around 0-5 degrees contrasting that day's temprature that was about 19C. So a real DESERT climate... It was really damp too. I had a lot of gear outside, such as my HDD sound recorder and monitors for Video Assist and so on which were literaly covered in water - about 5mm thick, like a poddle! This water got created on the gear in less then an hour of us taking time to eat.
But it still dont make sense though. Because we took the camera inside the house when eating. (it was a shed to be preciesle, but warmer condition). Maybe the few degrees difference of getting it outside the warmer house into the cold exterior again did it???

Till recently i thought that my BLE motor was affected. Before that we suspected that the FILM (KODAK 7218 Vision2) got stuck together on the ROLL A in tha magazine and was preventing the proper feed to the camera to take place. The CROUNCHING noise was coming from the magazine ROLL A; I thought the DAMP condition got to the stock and it was wet, sticking together. The LAB was told this was what i suspected so they paid special attention to Yellow spots on the neg. Couldnt see any, so i did a telecine on it - to see the BLUE dots...there were only a few, a hand full, showing that YES there was some of this on the night, but as the KODAK rep told me, not enough to stop the film rolling... I had Panavision people look it, KODAK people, Telecine people, other BL owners, DOPs, and still no answer...

Flicker could be from the inhouse fluoro on the door of the Shed, visible in the shot, that wasnt on flickerfree...(I directed not shot) this in combination with the poor runnng battery or motor caused flicker. Why did the speed drop to 10fps? Donno... next morning, around 10AM, i took the camera out of the case, with the 2nd magasine of the night still attached (problem persisted after we swapped magazine) and i rolled the film... it took 2-3 secs to CROUNCH some more in the mag on ROLL A and then it ran like a dream at 25fps! I am standing by that is has to be the COLD, for the next day brought SUN. But i dont know how or why... :blink:

IN regards to the SR1, mentioned above, the serial number is 61531. I will try and find out if it is French or German motor. If anyone knows from looking at that, please let me know.

Cheers, Lav.
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#8 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 09:54 PM

perhaps it wasnt the camera that needed to be winterized, but rather the batteries. A respected DOP told me this just two days ago. In his opinion, the batteries seem to loose function in the cold. This is not a reflection on how good the battery really is nor weather it will work the day after.
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#9 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 07:23 AM

Well I was going to say pretty much the same thing, it seems to me like more of a humidity or condensation issue. I live in Savannah and believe me we've had problems with both! especially with batteries. I don't know if this would help you but what sort of casing are the batteries in? If you were to insulate them more you might not have the problem.
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#10 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 07:40 AM

Well I was going to say pretty much the same thing,  it seems to me like more of a humidity or condensation issue. I live in Savannah and believe me we've had problems with both! especially with batteries. I don't know if this would help you but what sort of casing are the batteries in? If you were to insulate them more you might not have the problem.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Believe it or not mate, i had a home made battery that i insulated extremely well... this one we didnt use, cause it was home made...

see, i was given 2 other batteries by Panavison, which were great and had a charger and were in perfect order... and i used them. they were in Metal casing all around... cold as it gets.

What can i say a lesson learned on these batteries and a film well destroyed. Not only was my shoot gone, but i had to stop the entire production searching for the problem on the camera that was not there... pay for this and that... no answers, keep searching..... hmm.

Not to mention that the entire time i had my own battery there, that was well insulated. When the camera got stuck first, we opened the mag and checked for stuff inside. the loader decided to change a mag, just in case it was mags fault and whilst he did that i ran the camera on my battery-dry no film. it ran 25fps. we put mag on, took it outside, put panavision battery on and bum, no go...

so like i said, a life lesson learned...always insulate batteries on cold weather. what can i say, i just didnt know this. The thing is, the batteries are not to blame. They are fantastic and work great the next day... its not a reflection of how good the battery is, but rather the temparature itself...

Thanks mate.
lav

PS>Maybe we should post a thread in this forum (or maybe there is one already :blink: ) that says, keep your batteries well insulated in cold weather or you will get this, and show my test shoot... it could be a valuable lesson to some new fellows. Just a thought.
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#11 Tim Carroll

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 11:52 AM

Lav,

Just heard back from George at ARRI, I emailed him your serial number and he said it is the German motor and electronics. He also mentioned that he just got an email from you, so I guess you are getting this same information. Congratulations, that is a great camera and if it is in pretty good shape, you got a good deal on it for the price you paid.

-Tim Carroll
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