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Need help with an upcoming project - S16, U16, 35

Henrik Efskin

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Hi guys!

I’m currently in the pre-production stage on a project that I am planning on shooting this coming summer. It’s a music video that follows a group of people with emphasis on one of them and her experience and discoveries about herself during their stay at a music festival over the course of about ten days during the summer vacation. I’ve been toying with this idea for some time now and I’ve realized that I really want to shoot this on film. I really feel that film is the way to go, both in the way I would end up working and also in the end result. I really think a slightly soft and grainy and warm and beautiful S16/U16 (or perhaps even 35) Kodak Vision look would suit the subject matter very well. This is where I need your help. I am looking for a robust and light camera system that, if 16mm, would easily convert to Super or Ultra 16, preferably hand cranked, although this is not a requisite as long as the system has interchangeable batteries that last long and can be charged from a standard 220V socket as I will be staying with the group the entire time with limited access to electricity. A hand cranked camera would probably be a better option. I already own an H-16 Rx that I have some experience with, however it is not ideal considering I limit myself to Rx lenses and 100’ magazine and a viewfinder I’m not super fan of; too small and too dim imo. Basically, what I’m after:

A light and portable S/U16 camera
400’ magazine preferably seeing as I will be shooting a lot of slowmo
24-48 fps
Hand cranked is a plus
Turret mount is a plus

That being said … I have also been toying with the idea of shooting 35mm. I’ve seen several labs that scan 35 at a lower price than 16. Difference in the price of film isn’t that big either. Something like a Konvas looks almost perfect for what I’m after. The only problem being that it maxes out at 32fps and I’m not too familiar with old Soviet electronics. 3-perf would be more ideal than 4.

What are my options, and what do you guys think? I’d really appreciate some input and help. Tried posting this in the general section as well, but I haven't gotten any responses. I hope you can help me out ^^

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Well, there are many options. I myself think 16mm would make your life easier since the camera and film don't weigh as much.


There are many options:

- ARRI SR, not the lightest but probably a camera that won't give you too much headache. Also with SR2 or SR with VSU you have lots of options for different frame rates

- Eclair ACL, with heavy duty motor you have frame rates up to 75 although not stepless. The c-mount allows using many different lenses. Switars are very light weight but really deliver sharp images. I own a S16 modified ACL and I like it, although I have had some problems with mine. It uses both 400ft and 200ft mags, very handy.

- Eclair NPR, not as lightweight as ACL but has been used on many documentary projects. Also has c-mount and 400ft mags. Depending on the motor there are different framerates available. 2-lens turret. Some have converted NPRs to S16, others to U16.


Some people like Bolex but I wouldn't choose one. In my opinion it is a bit difficult camera to hold in hand.

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What about a 235? If you don't need sync and want 35mm.

Aaton LTRs and XTRs would be a good S16mm choice if there is a lot of hand-held. And with the right adapters, you can use many batteries on them since they're not 24V like lot of the current arri cameras.

I love my SR3, and a block battery will last me for awhile, so long as I'm not running video taps all the time.


Perhaps use something like and SR3 for the main camera and then sub out to a bolex for inserts?


have you considered S8mm as well? Could be an interesting look, if you really commit to it. Some of the cameras are very good as well.

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I'm not sure what model H16 you have, but Rex5's and SBM's are available with a 400' magazine mount on top of the camera. They convert cheaply and easily to S16. Bolex also makes a very nice shoulder brace that frees both your hands, but even the 13x viewfinders are a bit challenging to follow the action through. If you really want something that has a hand crank internal motor, then you're definitely limiting your choices. There are very few cameras that shoot slow-motion at a decent rate with a spring motor other than a Bolex, so if you're willing to sacrifice that and go with battery power then any of the cameras suggested by the gentlemen above would be the way to go.

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