Jump to content

Film flicker in the viewfinder (film camera operating)


 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Sustaining Member

So it's a really peculiar thing to see the film flickering by as you shoot on 16mm or whatever it is when like me, you come from stills photography. Is this predominantly why people use video taps (aside from other obvious reasons like more than one person seeing what one is grabbing)? I find i get used to it and it doesn't bother me after a while....anyone have any tips on camera operating a film camera with a viewfinder......for example when you have to refocus cos you are on a minus budget personal project shooting film?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No. Video monitoring on a film movie camera was not invented to do away with flicker.

You mean a reflex viewfinder, don’t you? What you need to do for focus control is to let your eye accomodate to the finder brightness. Close your eye socket with the elastic eyepiece on the ocular, keep all extraneous light out for about 20 seconds. Prior to a take you can have the lens diaphragm fully open for brightest view and shallowest depth of field, you set focus. Then stop lens down to necessary aperture and continue to observe sharp-unsharp during exposure. It’s a matter of practice.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
9 minutes ago, Simon Wyss said:

No. Video monitoring on a film movie camera was not invented to do away with flicker.

You mean a reflex viewfinder, don’t you? What you need to do for focus control is to let your eye accomodate to the finder brightness. Close your eye socket with the elastic eyepiece on the ocular, keep all extraneous light out for about 20 seconds. Prior to a take you can have the lens diaphragm fully open for brightest view and shallowest depth of field, you set focus. Then stop lens down to necessary aperture and continue to observe sharp-unsharp during exposure. It’s a matter of practice.

 

excellent advice and yes.....I find i get used to it.......yes set focus at T2 and then go down to T8 etc and its a matter of finding the key elements that give away focus and its a good challenge indeed but gratifying....still, the big guns have focus pullers etc so framing is not the issue at all....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

I follow the same practices Simon explains. 

I'll start the shot with the aperture wide open and get my focus checked. I'll only stop down during the actual filming and generally the lighting isn't set until you're ready to roll anyway. On longer lenses its easier to tell focus of course. 

For documentary work, a trick that I've used since my ENG days, is to always use a zoom lens and zoom in, get focus and zoom out. This trick DOES work when the camera is stopped down and running. When I see something I want to shoot, I'll turn the camera on the moment I pick it up to put it on my shoulder and I'll zoom in, focus, zoom out with it running. The XTR has a built in meter, so I know where I need to be stop wise but it only works WHEN RUNNING. So you do waste a few feet of film, but I've found that I miss stuff if I don't turn on the camera first. Now of course if you're staging things, then it's a whole other story. 

Some cameras also have much bright viewfinders than others. Arri has always done a great job with this aspect. Everything from the 435 onward, the viewfinders have gotten brighter and brighter. The Arricam's, 235 and 416 have super bright viewfinders, way brighter than the other mainstream brands ever got. Of course Panavision cameras have excellent, super bright viewfinders as well. 

One aspect of Aaton cameras I never liked is the viewfinder. They hired PS Technik to make a better viewfinder for the 35III and Penelope. Those viewfinders are excellent, but the off the shelf LTR/XTR viewfinders are pretty bad. The aftermarket PS ones for the 35III are very rare and I'm not sure if they're backwards compatible with the 16mm cameras, they most likely are as the 35III viewfinder is pretty much the same as the XTR only with a different magnifier. if I ever found one for sale, I'd swoop it up! 

Oh and it wasn't until very recently that video tap's were "flicker free" thanks to the advent of frame buffering. It's actually a complicated system that buffers each frame based on the shutter location, stores it in memory and then translates it to the given frame rate of the video output. Many people have 24/25p HD taps today, but none of them are frame buffering. They still flicker when you turn the camera on and off, something you don't get with an actual frame buffer video tap. One of the major reasons I stick with my SD tap and SD wireless kit. it just works better and the HD tap's I've seen for 16mm cameras, still aren't great for pulling focus on the Aaton's especially. The Arricam taps are a lot better, but with 35mm, all the optics are much larger, so things are very different. Indyassist is an Austrian company who makes taps for the Arri's and they're very good, but also very expensive. 

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

Forum Sponsors

CineLab

FJS International

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera

Metropolis Post

New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Film Gears

Serious Gear

Visual Products

DMX-iT

Cinematography Books and Gear



×
×
  • Create New...