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A Phd in I told you so


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#1 Ian Birtall

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 06:45 PM

Well there hasn't been an 'I'm new to 16mm.......' for a while so here goes.

I'm new to 16mm cine photography and I'm having a few problems getting started. Hopefully some of you can help. I've aquired a Bolex H16 non reflex, purchased originally in 1951. The 9th of October to be precise and a Bell and Howell TQIII projector, not quite as old. I used to have a Super 8 camera and projector and found the operation and subsequent lab processing easy. Shoot the film, post it off in the supplied envelope and ten days later a developed reel would arrive on the door step. I was under the impression that 16mm would be as easy, just bigger.

The first stumbling block is that my Bolex has double perf sprockets. I really am a beginner. If any one wants lessons in not looking before leaping give me a call. My wife thinks I've got a degree in it. (She has the Phd) Now I've read some of the previous threads in this forum and it appears other people have converted cameras to single perf. At least I'm lucky enough to work in a factory that I can have parts machined to high tolerances, having a go at the conversion myself by machining the teeth off doesn't bother me but can anyone who has already done it get in touch and advise me of any pit falls?
1. Do the sprockets return to the same position on the shaft with the two retaining screws locating into holes or are they grub screws just tightening down onto the shafts at any position?
2. Is the pitch of the holes on single perf film the same as double perf? If it's different, machining the teeth off one side will be a waste of time. Am I right in thinking that the perforations are down the right hand side of the film as you look out through the lens from the camera

I'm also confused about the different films available. I really want to run a film through to see what sort of quality the camera produces and it just seamed that a black and white reversable film would be the cheapest option to start with. I've looked at so many web sites for processing and I don't think many places in the UK do reversable. I'm not in the film industry (obviously) and I'm not a film student. As I said I used to have a Super 8 camera and really liked using it in the same way other people use a video camera. Can someone explain:-
3. If I buy negative film, does the lab automatically process a print for projection? After all thats ultimately what I'm interested in.
4. You don't have to recommend anyone but it would be nice if you did, what sort of film should I be looking for to get me started. Negative, reversable, colour or black and white, double perf, if there is any sustainable quantities out there, or single perf (the conversion being successful).
5. What sort of price should I be paying in the UK for purchase and then processing?

I know this is a long one but could someone help. I just want to get started.

Ian
Sussex, UK.
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#2 Mike Lary

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 08:10 PM

1. Do the sprockets return to the same position on the shaft with the two retaining screws locating into holes or are they grub screws just tightening down onto the shafts at any position?

The wheels need to be perfectly aligned, as they were, when you return them to the spindles. If not, one wheel will put tension on the film, resulting in tears and jams.

2. Is the pitch of the holes on single perf film the same as double perf? If it's different, machining the teeth off one side will be a waste of time. Am I right in thinking that the perforations are down the right hand side of the film as you look out through the lens from the camera

The only difference between single perf and double perf is the extra set of perfs. Remove the pressure plate and you can see the claw. That is where the single perfs will be.

I'm also confused about the different films available.

Run black and white reversal, and buy it directly from Kodak, at least for your test roll. That way you can be assured you have fresh film and most likely any problems you run into will be camera related. You can special-order double perf film, but it might cost more (I've never done it myself). Make sure to buy some gaffer tape and, before you shoot, run it the full length of the camera cover, to block possible light leaks.

When you send film to the lab, you need to tell them exactly what you want by marking it on the film cannister (process and print, process only, process and prep for telecine, etc). They will not make a print from a negative unless you ask them to.

I'm not in the UK, so I can't give you any recommendations on labs.

Have fun!
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#3 Steven Budden

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 12:09 PM

Double perf will work fine if you can get double perf film. Make sure you get a little air blower and just blow all the junk out of the inside and particularly out of the gate. Does the camera run smooth? It could need a pro lube job but it might be ok.

What do you plan to do with the final project? Most shoot negative these days but you need to get a workprint made to see it (because it will come back from the lab as a negative, like the neg that comes with still film). Generally people shoot negative, get a workprint made and edit that, and then conform the original negative to match the workprint and send that off to get prints. Or use a computer which can be costly too.

The emulsion (the dull side of the film) faces out. I'd start with black and white reversal. Here price is approx 15 cents a foot to process negative/ color, and 27 cents a foot for workprint. Maybe 17 cents a foot for reversal.

Hope this helps.

If you look before you leap you may never leap anywhere!

Steven
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#4 Michael Carter

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 09:39 AM

HA Ha, you may even have the H16 DeLux I sold as I left the UK, because it had double perf.. I wish I had kept the lenses.........
Bolex Swiss will sell you the wheels, or Chambles will change them for the same price, not a bad idea if you are going to have it serviced anyway.
Nothing wrong with shooting Negative as it comes in 2R anyway. I'd try to find out all the 2R stocks sold and shoot one for a while. Negative is much more forgiving of exposure changes. Exposure will be your first big test, as in getting correct exposures.
Find out the exact camera running speed for 16fps and 24fps on the speed dial. It will NOT be where it says it is supposed to be. Run some old film through, count the frames or measure the length and time the runs. Take an average. Mark the dial. Now you are ready to expose with a good light meter. And there is nothing wrong with an old $10 Weston, as long as it zeros out and reads the North Sky at Noon on a clear sunny day correctly (320???)
Another camera with 1R wheels will be cheaper, after all the lenses will interchange. I've shot many negative reels and reversal, including some 7363 as reversal processed at Andec in Berlin with excellent results with my H16 DeLux 1R camera and I miss it soo much.
Now, on to my H16T :) he he he.
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#5 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 09:54 AM

The Kodak motion picture catalog still lists a variety of films available with 2R-2994 (both sides of film) perforations:

http://www.kodak.com...amerafilm04.pdf
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#6 Ian Birtall

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 08:59 AM

Thanks everyone for your replies, they were a great help and Stevens last comment spurred me on.

I?ve now actually converted the sprockets to drive single perf film and everything runs pretty smoothly. I think it?s easier to get single perf film over here. In fact I now have some.

With regard to filmmaking, I think you?re lucky in the USA. Steven, you suggested a price of around $0.17 per foot for processing B&W 16mm reversal. Well, when I did find someone in the UK to do it, they quoted just over £35 ($63) for a 100 foot reel. Thats $0.63/Ft. And then it was a four week turn around!

Anyway, now I?m going to have a go at developing as well. When I bought the film I got some chemicals and an old but very good condition LOMO developing tank so I?m going to try and do what you said Mike and have fun (steep learning curve). Thanks again and I?ll probably be back asking further questions at a later date.

Ian
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#7 Evan Kubota

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 07:22 PM

Ian,

How did you remove the sprockets? Using a gear puller or something? I have a 2R camera and removing the second row of teeth doesn't seem hard, but I can't get the stupid wheels off.
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#8 Ian Birtall

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Posted 27 September 2005 - 06:09 AM

Ian,

How did you remove the sprockets? Using a gear puller or something? I have a 2R camera and removing the second row of teeth doesn't seem hard, but I can't get the stupid wheels off.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Evan, I?ll try and explain what I did.

I removed the film guides (34 and 36 in the manual). They?re assembled like a door hinge on a central pin and with a bit of leverage from the bottom slide off. I then removed the screw in the film guide (at opening 30). This guide won?t disassemble but removing the screw allows it to move enough to allow the removal of the sprocket.
After removing both retaining screws from the top sprocket and lining up the teeth of the sprocket so they wouldn?t score the guides, I covered a small screwdriver with tissue paper to prevent any other scratches and levered the springy part of the top loop guide out of the sprocket. At the same time I pushed the film guide at opening 30, down. There isn?t much space and I could have done with another hand but by going slowly, taking the tension from the guides and pulling the sprocket in stages, it was possible to ease the sprocket off its spindle.
Repeating this for the bottom sprocket the only difference being no film guide to lever out of the way but a smaller guide retained by two screws, which I removed completely.

If you?re methodical, deliberate and work slowly I?m sure you?ll get them off without any mishaps. A good magnifying glass and plenty of light is also a great help. Good luck.

Ian
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