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Who does Canon scoopic super 16 upgrades?


Chantel Beam
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Hi there !

im hoping to get a Canon scoopic soon and get it modified to shoot s16. After reading the forums here I came across a man named Bernie who seems like the go to for this service . Unfortunately when I called I learned he has retired. Does anyone have a recommendation of where to have this done? Is there anyone who does the crystal sync modification and the s16? Would love to kill two birds with one stone .

 

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I don't know why people are so obsessed with Super 16. It's 1mm of added image really isn't the end of the world. Scan at a slightly higher resolution and put little tiny matte bars at the top and bottom and say it's "super 16" nobody will know. 

 

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10 hours ago, Simon Wyss said:

Thank you, Tyler.

It’s a tiring fad but each generation has them. We had long hair, platforms, and Super-8.

I'll never understand it. I'm honestly going to buy a standard 16mm reflex camera like an SR and start shooting everything on standard 16 just to prove that IT DOESN'T MAKE A BLOODY DIFFERENCE! I'm also going to do a video about it soon, once my new scanner arrives and I can scan 16mm at 4k. So stick around for that one. 🙂

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17 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

I don't know why people are so obsessed with Super 16. It's 1mm of added image really isn't the end of the world. Scan at a slightly higher resolution and put little tiny matte bars at the top and bottom and say it's "super 16" nobody will know. 

 

I'm looking for information, not shame.  Please do not gatekeep film stuff!  Let people shoot what they want to shoot.  

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Have you looked on ebay? There are already converted scoopics. Try contacting Visual Products. Rick is extremely nice and knows everyone across the country it seems. Du-all camera is also extremely nice and may have answers to your questions.

 

Whatever you do, don’t mind the haters and gate keepers. One of the above posters spent his entire day attempting to help me and disputing what I wanted to do with a camera and wrote it off. Just today I found the conversion tech to do the work and the price is extremely reasonable despite otherwise expert opinions.  Only you understand why you may want to work how you do. 

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1 minute ago, Ezra Bassin-Hill said:

Have you looked on ebay? There are already converted scoopics. Try contacting Visual Products. Rick is extremely nice and knows everyone across the country it seems. Du-all camera is also extremely nice and may have answers to your questions.

 

Whatever you do, don’t mind the haters and gate keepers. One of the above posters spent his entire day attempting to help me and disputing what I wanted to do with a camera and wrote it off. Just today I found the conversion tech to do the work and the price is extremely reasonable despite otherwise expert opinions.  Only you understand why you may want to work how you do. 

thank you!  I tried calling Visual Products and they didnt answer or call back.  I'll try again monday.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Chantel Beam said:

I'm looking for information, not shame.  Please do not gatekeep film stuff!  Let people shoot what they want to shoot.  

So being logical is shaming and gatekeeping? Why would anyone ever recommend going down a road that is futile and will always give you poor results? Being honest up front and stating fact, saves people from the expense. If money is no object, just buy an already converted camera. 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
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34 minutes ago, Ezra Bassin-Hill said:

Just today I found the conversion tech to do the work and the price is extremely reasonable despite otherwise expert opinions.  

Good luck and just remember, when your film always comes back damaged, you can't get your money back for the work done. 

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16 minutes ago, Ezra Bassin-Hill said:

Whatever you do, don’t mind the haters and gate keepers. One of the above posters spent his entire day attempting to help me and disputing what I wanted to do with a camera and wrote it off. Just today I found the conversion tech to do the work and the price is extremely reasonable despite otherwise expert opinions.  Only you understand why you may want to work how you do. 

Some people are a bit over the top with their advice, and can seem unnecessarily antagonistic, I agree. I don’t think there’s any need to denigrate people for looking into options. 

However be careful of people offering services at prices that seem too good to be true. When it comes to camera modification, anyone can easily open out a gate. What’s harder is making sure there will not be scratches or scuffing to the film, or that your viewfinder matches the frame, or that the shutter still covers the entire exposed area during pull down, or that the lens is centred to the new frame, or that the flange depth hasn’t shifted at all when the gate was removed.

Some of these issues are not a dealbreaker for people, some people like having scratches or obvious film artefacts, or don’t mind if they can’t see the exact frame they’re exposing, or if the images aren’t as sharp as they should be. It may not matter to them if a lens isn’t centred and has a vignette on one side, or a zoom tracks off to one side. I’m a trained camera tech, so I look at these things differently to a young filmmaker just wanting to experiment with film. But it’s worth knowing what you’re getting into, what issues might get introduced, and whether the expense of a modification is worth paying for, as opposed to investing in a better lens or a head or lights for example.

There is a lot of interest in 16mm these days, and unfortunately there are people with  limited knowledge offering services to make a quick buck. I’ve had a few Super 16 converted Bolexes in for repair recently that were full of problems, and the buyers angry after having paid decent money for them expecting them to work properly. Some other cameras just aren’t good candidates for conversion, like Scoopics or early 16mm Arriflexes.

But then, one of the attractions of film is it’s experimental qualities, and people have been screwing with cameras and lenses since day one. As long as people aren’t getting ripped off, it’s all good.

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On 4/29/2021 at 10:43 PM, Tyler Purcell said:

I don't know why people are so obsessed with Super 16. It's 1mm of added image really isn't the end of the world. Scan at a slightly higher resolution and put little tiny matte bars at the top and bottom and say it's "super 16" nobody will know. 

 

While I get the point you're trying to make, your point would be better made if you didn't make demonstrably false statements in the same breath.  (Nevermind not even trying to answer Chantel's question in a constructive way...)

Super 16mm isn't "1mm added," it's 2 and a quarter millimeters wider.  By itself, that's a 20% increase in area; but if normal 16mm has black bars added (i.e., if the image is cropped) to make the same aspect ratio as Super 16, S16 has 49% more image area on the negative.  And because film resolution is determined by the size of the image area, having ~50% more area is a compelling and perfectly understandable reason to prefer Super 16. 

Yes, plenty of us have gotten away with mixing the two formats, myself included; and standard caveats about aspect ratio / extraction areas apply - there obviously would be no difference whatsoever if one intended to deliver 4:3 or 1:1.  But if you have some weird axe to grind about the difference between formats, you might consider getting your facts straight in the first place - especially facts that are so trivial to look up. 

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if you are shooting in low light situations and/or your lens choices are limited, then it makes lots of sense to use Super16.  For example if you need fast wide angles then it may be more practical to convert the camera than to try to get away with the N16 gate and cropping.

Personally I have always used N16 for everything. Part of the reason is that I don't have any reasonably converted S16 camera available and the main reason is that the cameras are pretty old with dim viewfinders so I am always shooting with low speed stocks to be able to see enough through the viewfinder. Practically it means that I am always shooting either 50D or 250D or the about 100ISO b/w stocks. No reason to shoot 500T because it is more expensive, I can't see anything through the viewfinder and you need to be more careful with the 500T if storing the raw stock or shot footage for long before developing (budget reasons)

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7 hours ago, Dom Jaeger said:

Some people are a bit over the top with their advice, and can seem unnecessarily antagonistic, I agree. I don’t think there’s any need to denigrate people for looking into options. 

However be careful of people offering services at prices that seem too good to be true. When it comes to camera modification, anyone can easily open out a gate. What’s harder is making sure there will not be scratches or scuffing to the film, or that your viewfinder matches the frame, or that the shutter still covers the entire exposed area during pull down, or that the lens is centred to the new frame, or that the flange depth hasn’t shifted at all when the gate was removed.

Some of these issues are not a dealbreaker for people, some people like having scratches or obvious film artefacts, or don’t mind if they can’t see the exact frame they’re exposing, or if the images aren’t as sharp as they should be. It may not matter to them if a lens isn’t centred and has a vignette on one side, or a zoom tracks off to one side. I’m a trained camera tech, so I look at these things differently to a young filmmaker just wanting to experiment with film. But it’s worth knowing what you’re getting into, what issues might get introduced, and whether the expense of a modification is worth paying for, as opposed to investing in a better lens or a head or lights for example.

There is a lot of interest in 16mm these days, and unfortunately there are people with  limited knowledge offering services to make a quick buck. I’ve had a few Super 16 converted Bolexes in for repair recently that were full of problems, and the buyers angry after having paid decent money for them expecting them to work properly. Some other cameras just aren’t good candidates for conversion, like Scoopics or early 16mm Arriflexes.

But then, one of the attractions of film is it’s experimental qualities, and people have been screwing with cameras and lenses since day one. As long as people aren’t getting ripped off, it’s all good.

Dom,

 I’m curious what issues with an arri 16s might you have with conversion. I found a tech referred through visual products who says he has done the convert  many  times. Just curious what i should be asking about.

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1 hour ago, Daniel Klockenkemper said:

While I get the point you're trying to make, your point would be better made if you didn't make demonstrably false statements in the same breath.  (Nevermind not even trying to answer Chantel's question in a constructive way...)

I literally talk to people about this on the daily. I was being a bit antagonistic with my response because it's such a repetitive discussed non-problem. If everyone who owned a film camera just shot with it instead of wanting something they don't have, Kodak would never have any financial problems. With 16mm the holy grail is Super 16 because god forbid you shoot with a fine grain stock and get a 4k scan with your camera that has a built-in, non-replaceable, non-recenterable lens. I get the hobbyists who just want to muck with cameras, blowing thousands to have something nobody else has, most of which leave their cameras on a shelf collecting dust. At the same time, anyone who gets bent out of shape over the comment "I don't know why people are so obsessed with Super 16. It's (mistype, I meant to say 2) 1mm of added image really isn't the end of the world. Scan at a slightly higher resolution and put little tiny matte bars at the top and bottom and say it's "super 16" nobody will know." To which two other people in this very same page agreed with.  

My comment was constructive, it states the clear and obvious; why bother? When I ask for advice on what car to buy and someone says "why the crap would you buy that car" that makes me think, "maybe I should do more research" and ya know what, hopefully Dom's explanation above, does explain why the thought process of modifying this camera should be examined a bit. 

I have both s16 and standard 16 cameras and no, with fine grain stock, you can not tell the difference, period. I will prove it in an upcoming video for my youtube series, just so everyone is on the same page and can put these questions to rest.

 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Ezra Bassin-Hill said:

 I’m curious what issues with an arri 16s might you have with conversion. I found a tech referred through visual products who says he has done the convert  many  times. Just curious what i should be asking about.

Who is making you a new shutter in 2021? Does your tech know they need to manufacture a shutter or they just going to glue a piece of metal to the end of it and call it a day. I personally can't wait to see what you wind up with after ignoring everyones warnings. 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
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This question was for Dom who had showed the capacity to share knowledge without feeling threatened by other film users with different ideas than you.

 

 I’m going to assume it will be ashutter extension just like almost every other s16 conversion.

 Does your precious $5k bolex install a new shutter?

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1 hour ago, Tyler Purcell said:

 If everyone who owned a film camera just shot with it instead of wanting something they don't have, Kodak would never have any financial problems.

it is much easier to make up all kinds of excuses why you CAN'T shoot a movie with your current equipment than to actually just stop complaining and make the darn movie. After all, about 99% of people just seem to collect film cameras and not actually shoot anything with them. they just love to compare their technical specs and nitpick about their differences and manufacturing quality of the parts.  The "I will shoot a movie with this gear soon" argument is just meant to justify the money and time spent on the gear when the wife asks what the heck is that new pile of transport cases in the livingroom 🤣

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4 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

I literally talk to people about this on the daily. I was being a bit antagonistic with my response because it's such a repetitive discussed non-problem. If everyone who owned a film camera just shot with it instead of wanting something they don't have, Kodak would never have any financial problems. With 16mm the holy grail is Super 16 because god forbid you shoot with a fine grain stock and get a 4k scan with your camera that has a built-in, non-replaceable, non-recenterable lens. I get the hobbyists who just want to muck with cameras, blowing thousands to have something nobody else has, most of which leave their cameras on a shelf collecting dust. At the same time, anyone who gets bent out of shape over the comment "I don't know why people are so obsessed with Super 16. It's (mistype, I meant to say 2) 1mm of added image really isn't the end of the world. Scan at a slightly higher resolution and put little tiny matte bars at the top and bottom and say it's "super 16" nobody will know." To which two other people in this very same page agreed with.  

My comment was constructive, it states the clear and obvious; why bother? When I ask for advice on what car to buy and someone says "why the crap would you buy that car" that makes me think, "maybe I should do more research" and ya know what, hopefully Dom's explanation above, does explain why the thought process of modifying this camera should be examined a bit. 

I have both s16 and standard 16 cameras and no, with fine grain stock, you can not tell the difference, period. I will prove it in an upcoming video for my youtube series, just so everyone is on the same page and can put these questions to rest.

 

 

4 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Who is making you a new shutter in 2021? Does your tech know they need to manufacture a shutter or they just going to glue a piece of metal to the end of it and call it a day. I personally can't wait to see what you wind up with after ignoring everyones warnings. 

it's interesting you're claiming your misinformation on s16 gate size was a typo when you had said the exact same wrong size before. I think you might need to take a big step back and learn to admit mistakes as well as maybe take a break from the responding to us "helpless" souls.

 

as I said before I appreciated you giving info, but it was unsolicited and apparently at times incorrect.

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56 minutes ago, Ezra Bassin-Hill said:

Dom,

 I’m curious what issues with an arri 16s might you have with conversion. I found a tech referred through visual products who says he has done the convert  many  times. Just curious what i should be asking about.

Hi Ezra,

the main problem is getting the mirror shutter to cover the expanded frame. If you look at this picture from my cinetinker blog about the 16S you can see that the mirror will only just cover the edge of the frame nearest the turret hub. That’s the side that would be expanded by about 2mm for S16. (The picture has the camera on it’s side.)

image.thumb.jpeg.c7b83f419a4cee186d0d80c49eb7b4a6.jpeg

 

In order to still cover the frame after it’s been expanded, the mirror diameter needs to be extended. That’s a problem in itself, but because the mirror is at an angle to the film plane, if you simply extended it by 2mm it would protrude past the gate. So as well as being extended, it also needs to be positioned forward of where it normally sits. (For other cameras that require a mirror extension, like SRs, the extension is simply to the shutter angle, not the diameter.)

These are difficult engineering problems to solve, requiring a new mirror and precision machining of the the camera body. On top of this, the existing viewfinder optics won’t cover the expanded frame, and the lens mounts would all need to be shifted to be centred, or a replacement hard front fitted.

The gate is also a problem because of how the side rails that support the film are positioned set in from the edges. The expanded S16 frame extends past the left rail, so the rail can’t be machined back. This means the expanded S16 area is in contact with the support rail as it transports through the gate, potentially causing scuffing or scratching:

C183574F-2BB0-4C61-9AC2-5288678175DD.jpeg.ed46528dd6856516bf6af9bbbe74937f.jpeg

 

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7 hours ago, Ezra Bassin-Hill said:

I’m going to assume it will be ashutter extension just like almost every other s16 conversion.

 Does your precious $5k bolex install a new shutter?

Supposedly no shutter extensions are required on the bayonet mount lens, 170 degree cameras like the EBM and SM. Not sure about the older cameras. Also, even if there does need to be an extension, its just a little piece of plastic glued onto the angle of the shutter. The S/M will need an all-new shutter and hopefully whoever you found to do that job, understands that. I have a feeling if it's inexpensive, they probably don't know that yet. 

The modification on the Bolex is quite simple. The entire front "reflex" part of the camera that holds the lens mount is simply shifted on special screws that put it off center from its normal position. Then there is a brand new Super 16 gate installed, either made by Bolex in Switzerland OR made by the person doing the upgrade. Very few people cut/modify the stock gates, which is the biggest problem with most older camera modifications. There of course are a few other small mods that need to be done, but none of them are tricky for a real machine shop. I haven't studied how they actually alter the viewfinder, but for the kind of pricing people are charging for the work ($550 - $1000) its probably not complicated at all. 

So yes, today people charge a lot of money for these cameras because they can. People aren't blowing $4k on an EBM because its a bad camera, they're buying it because it's the cheapest good camera on the market. Lots of parts and accessories available, excellent registration, integrated battery solution, crystal lock capability and consistent motor drive, built-in filters, compact use, hard bayonet mount with short flange distance so you can use nearly any lenses you want from C to PL, 100ft and 400ft loads, beam splitter reflex meaning no decrease of brightness when shooting, which is very beneficial for documentary/hand-held work. As someone who shoots with film cameras, these features are outstanding. The only TWO downsides to a Bolex are the lack of beam splitter system for a video tap AND no adjustable position viewfinder. Neither things exist for the S/M either. 

It's sad that the pricing has gone so crazy, my EBM is probably worth around $4k today with the accessories, but I have less than $900 into it with lenses. You may notice on eBay, the older Arri cameras like the S/M and 16 BL, do not sell for anywhere near that money. There is a reason.

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