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Krasnogorsk K3 Super 16 Upgrade Questions, 35mm DI/Blow-Up

Manuel Goetz

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Hi all,


I'm a keen observer of this forum and appreciate all the information thats out there about the K3 camera. There's still a few things im unsure about concerning a Super 16 film I'm planning, and I'd be glad about some thoughts of the community here.


I've had my K3 for a good while now and it does a great job. For an upcoming project I'm planning to shoot in the Super 16 format, scan the negatives, edt digitally and laser the files out to 35mm print film for projection.


About the upgrade of the K3: I'm aware this requires a change of the gates. However, I've read that sending in the camera for an upgrade sometimes also involves a change of the film rollers. I don't see why that is done, considering that film passing through the camera stays the same. Is there a point I am missing, and do I need to change the rollers too (I'm planning to do the conversion myself)? I've already removed the loop formers.


This is quite important, as I'm planing to afterwards shoot in regular 16mm again, as I prefer this format due to its possiblitiy of directly striking 16mm prints. Thus I'd like the 'upgrade' to be reversible rather easily.


I'm not using the original zoom lens for this project, but two Pentax M42 lenses, that should cover more than then entire S16 area. Hence, am I correct in thinking that I won't need the recentering ring?


I am also aware that the viewfinder only covers the R16mm area. I've read about the possibility of adapting the viewfinder to cover more then that. Does someone has an experience with this adaption?


About film formats: The only reason why I'm converting my camera to S16 is the blowup to 35mm. If the recording to 35 is done without any kind of mattes, would the scanned image come out as a 1:1.66 on 35mm film as well? And is this a format cinemas with 35mm projectors can screen? Or is it necessary to crop the image to 1:1.85? I'm really not an expert in formats, so any advice is appreciated.


About an optical Blow-Up: I'm thinking about, after having done the digital blow-up, to also conform the negative to the digital version, enabling the possibilty of an optical blow-up. The main idea being - besides the fascination with negative editing - the creation of a second (different) porjection print, and a comparison for future workflows. I'm aware there's a difference in the grain structure between an optical blow-up and a D.I.? Any thoughts on that matter? Maybe even any projects done in that vein? Do I have to think about this already when shooting (i.e. overexposing my neg when going optical?)


Thanks for reading, any help is greatly appreciated.


Best, Manuel



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Well a few things... First off, 16mm and 35mm are both 1.34:1 format. If you shoot Super 16 1.67:1 format, you will be putting black bars at the top and the bottom of your 35mm frame. You can present the film in "open gate" with no matte on the projector no problem OR do what most people do, which is use a standard 1.85:1 matte.


Second, nobody makes double perf color film anymore, so you won't ever shoot "standard" 16 film. So a camera converted to S16 is fine, all you have to do as the cinematographer is know that your center line is slightly different. You could have the person doing the conversion, put a little mark on the ground glass so you know where the edge of the 1.33:1 standard 16mm frame line is. As aapo says, it helps prevent scratching on the S16 frame width.


Third, lasering out to 35mm is around $350 - $650 per minute. Maybe not too bad if you're only doing a minute, but it's very expensive. It can look crisper than an optical blow up too. However, optical maybe a bit less money depending on how many feet you're doing. I think it's around $2/ft for S16 to academy 35mm. The biggest difference isn't the laser out as much as it's the scan. So you can do a cheap telecine, have someone cut A/B rolls for you and do a blow up, that will cost less money then doing a scan and laser out, basically the old DI method.


Finally, why the k3? It's kind of a very unstable camera and very inconsistent. I wouldn't use it for anything else but home movies that nobody cares about of they come out or not.

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Thanks Aapo and Tyler for your very useful remarks.


I'm going to start with your very last remark, Tyler. I know the K3 is generally anything but stable in its performance, but I must have picked up a good model. I've shot loads with it and everything came out really well, no scratches, no flicker, no leaks, no nothing. And I like my Pentax lenses, so I don't really see a point in changing gear. Obviously though, I wouldn't mind shooting on an Aaton beauty or SR3, but I dont have that kind of cash ready.


One thing I don't quite get, sorry, is what you mean with the center line. Are you saying having a mark in one of the viewfinder lenses to know about the edges of the regular 16mm frame? Or is it marking the old frame edge in the pressure plate? Sorry didnt quite catch that..


Do you guys know how the rollers are adapted for S16? I've havent experienced any scratches in the sound area so far, but will run some blank film through to make sure.


The thing with the scan is that through my work I have a somewhat easier access to an Arriscan and laser. Thus the preference of this workflow...

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