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Strange results from Bolex H16 with Kodak 250 D 16mm film


Francesco Mussida
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Hello, everyone, 
This is my first time to post in this great community, I hope I am doing it in the right place.

I recently purchased a fantastic Bolex H16 Rex 5 from a trusted person who was already using it for some work, and I shot my first 250 D Kodak film.

The result is strange, in that in some scenes there is a kind of "phase shift" effect of the film plane... not on all takes though! 

Some data:

  • I shot everything at 24 frames.
  • I mounted a Matt Box and had two lens hoods made with a 3D printer to fit both lenses I used:
  • A 25mm Ken Paillard Switar RX 
  • A 10mm Ken Paillard Switar RX Macro

Pictured is the setup I used. The light was quite low, the film was overexposed by 2 stops when shooting (exposed at 50 ISO), maybe too much...

Do any of you have any idea what might have caused this? 

I also checked:

- The slide and the proper functioning of the shutter (although I don't think they are responsible)...

Do any of you have any ideas or suggestions? 

Thank you very much 

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Bolex-H16-Rec-5-strange-things_1.22.1.jpg

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That kind of effect normally happens of the film moves during exposure. Causes vertical blur and streaks. 

I would check that your loops were correct and the camera was otherwise loaded right. If the film loops touch the loop formers during exposure they may cause the film to shift in the gate.

It is also possible that there is an isdue with the movement or pressure plate or both. But I would check the loops first.

You can run the camera with dummy film and door open and see if you can catch an obvious issue with the loops or movement

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Thank you very much for your quick reply Aapo, I actually loaded this first roll practically in the dark, and I wasn't sure if the film wasn't touching the edges of the loop.

I will try then to load a fake film and see how it behaves, so if by chance I see that it touches the edges of the loop is there anything I can do? 

Regarding the pressure plate, this one is fixed well, clean and seems to me to be making the correct movement with its spring, but I couldn't tell if it is good or not.

Thank you very much

Francesco

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You don't need to load daylight spools in the dark- just out of direct sunlight, preferably indoors, but it's not essential. Just keep the spool out of bright light.

If the loops are touching the formers they're too big. Reduce them by one frame or whatever's necessary to get them clear.

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51 minutes ago, Mark Dunn said:

You don't need to load daylight spools in the dark- just out of direct sunlight, preferably indoors, but it's not essential. Just keep the spool out of bright light.

Se i cappi toccano i primi sono troppo grandi. Riducili di un fotogramma o qualsiasi cosa sia necessario per renderli chiari.

Thanks a lot Mark, 

Do you know how I make these "reductions"? Do you mean manually ungrip the film and reposition it?

Anyway is clear I must fine tune my Bolex film loading  procedures, and your help is very precious 🙂

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I haven't loaded a Bolex since 1980 but I'm sure there must be plenty of H16 loading videos on Youtube.

I see that the Rex5 has automatic threading- have you disengaged the loop formers after threading?

Your software isn't translating "loop former" properly. I can't help with that. Do you have instructions in Italian? How's this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rF81ynqejeo

Edited by Mark Dunn
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Due to the fact the image is crisp, it's not the pressure plate. 

Usually this is when the pulldown isn't engaging on every pulldown. So small loops, which is a very common issue on Bolex's, especially the bottom one, could be the problem. 

Since it's not on "all takes", it's clearly not a generic mechanical issue like an out of time shutter. 

So run some dummy film through it. The cool thing about Bolex's is that you can see the film exit the gate area and you can look at the perf. With a flashlight, you can look at that perf when it's running. It should seem like each hole is the same hole, like it's not moving. The moment you see it look like the perf is moving, you'll get the effect you're seeing above. The pulldown is just not engaging. 

It probably just needs a CLA my guess. 

 

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28 minutes ago, Giray Izcan said:

It looks like the shutter timing is off. 

The camera works fine most of the time. If it were shutter timing, it would be off all the time. 

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Thank you all for the kind responses!

I confirm that the problem is not always but occasionally. 

Below are two links:

I don't have a film to test yet, but I will retrieve it before I do a subsequent shoot and do the tests you suggested.

Thank you so much!

Francesco

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Hmm, the video is very interesting. Since I don't see any slop in the frame line, I'm gonna have to say it's probably a shutter that's not screwed on tightly or something. It for sure seems more like shutter timing than bad loop. You'd see some problems with the frame lines with a bad loop and/or pulldown issues. I see nothing wrong, the camera is moving film just fine. So it's gotta be slight timing in that case. It could be off always and we just aren't noticing it without direct sunlight because its so damn close. 

I can tell you how to check timing, but you'll need a piece of blank film you can destroy and the little mechanical reversing lever. 

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1 hour ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Hmm, the video is very interesting. Since I don't see any slop in the frame line, I'm gonna have to say it's probably a shutter that's not screwed on tightly or something. It for sure seems more like shutter timing than bad loop. You'd see some problems with the frame lines with a bad loop and/or pulldown issues. I see nothing wrong, the camera is moving film just fine. So it's gotta be slight timing in that case. It could be off always and we just aren't noticing it without direct sunlight because its so damn close. 

I can tell you how to check timing, but you'll need a piece of blank film you can destroy and the little mechanical reversing lever. 

All right Tyler, so so so thank you for your help! And also very compliment for your celluloid reaming project!! That's amazing!!

So at this point I will use a piece of the 16mm reel that has already been ruined by these technical problems.

It is true that this first reel was often shot with large beams of sunlight to the side or front. Another aspect was that the film was exposed at 50 iso instead of 250 (+ 2 1/2 stops), and even this overexposure perhaps served to emphasize the problem, in that sense it was a good thing.

If it's okay with you try to write down what I should do for this test and (I hope) to align this frame misalignment myself.

I will try what you tell me and make a video to post here

Thank you very much

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

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I agree with Simon and Giray, the shutter timing is out.

You can actually see it in all the footage, a slight downward flare, but it’s most obvious when there is a strong highlight. Every time the sun is in frame for instance. The streaking only extends about an eighth of the frame height, so the timing is only a little bit out. The smear is downward, which indicates that the timing is out at the end of the exposure phase ie the shutter is not covering the film just as it begins to be transported.

To double check, you will need a strip of dummy film which you should mark with a black marker on the emulsion side (the side that faces the lens). Make a long squiggle that goes from one edge of the film to the other, for at least 30cm. Then load the film and advance it until the squiggle mark is in the gate. Remove any lens so you can look through the front. If you have the small rewind crank, use it to slowly advance the film while observing the marked film. You need to have the motor disengaged and the run switch on. Watch for any movement of the film while the shutter is open. I suspect the film will start to move just before the shutter covers the gate.

To reset the timing is probably best left to a Bolex technician, as it requires removing the front and remaking the light seal. I would recommend Simon Wyss in Europe.

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4 hours ago, Francesco Mussida said:

f it's okay with you try to write down what I should do for this test and (I hope) to align this frame misalignment myself.

Sadly, you can't fix it yourself, you'll need to bring it to a tech to fix. You can check timing, but because the problem is so minute, it maybe hard to see without the proper tools. You really need a magnifying system to see the edge of the gate up close. You also need a way of turning the camera over manually. I use the little rewind tool, it works great. If you don't have that tool, it can be tricky because you need a consistent way to do it so you don't damage anything by accident using the motor. 

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54 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Sadly, you can't fix it yourself, you'll need to bring it to a tech to fix. You can check timing, but because the problem is so minute, it maybe hard to see without the proper tools. You really need a magnifying system to see the edge of the gate up close. You also need a way of turning the camera over manually. I use the little rewind tool, it works great. If you don't have that tool, it can be tricky because you need a consistent way to do it so you don't damage anything by accident using the motor. 

It’s easy to see if the timing is out and you’ve marked the film. You just need to advance the film slowly.

If someone doesn’t have the rewind crank, it’s not too hard to make a tool - use a tube and make a slot in the end with a file. Or something I often do is just use the winding lever as a break - set the speed to lowest setting and engage the winder as if you’re winding the spring. When the camera runs, the winder will spin around, just hold it and only let it slowly turn. Not as elegant as using the rewind crank, but it works.

But to reset the timing, just send it to Simon.

 

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4 hours ago, Dom Jaeger said:

I agree with Simon and Giray, the shutter timing is out.

You can actually see it in all the footage, a slight downward flare, but it’s most obvious when there is a strong highlight. Every time the sun is in frame for instance. The streaking only extends about an eighth of the frame height, so the timing is only a little bit out. The smear is downward, which indicates that the timing is out at the end of the exposure phase ie the shutter is not covering the film just as it begins to be transported.

To double check, you will need a strip of dummy film which you should mark with a black marker on the emulsion side (the side that faces the lens). Make a long squiggle that goes from one edge of the film to the other, for at least 30cm. Then load the film and advance it until the squiggle mark is in the gate. Remove any lens so you can look through the front. If you have the small rewind crank, use it to slowly advance the film while observing the marked film. You need to have the motor disengaged and the run switch on. Watch for any movement of the film while the shutter is open. I suspect the film will start to move just before the shutter covers the gate.

To reset the timing is probably best left to a Bolex technician, as it requires removing the front and remaking the light seal. I would recommend Simon Wyss in Europe.

Thanks a lot Dom,

I will try, yes, I have the rewind crank, but in any case I understand that the camera needs a professional to repair it...

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1 hour ago, Dom Jaeger said:

It’s easy to see if the timing is out and you’ve marked the film. You just need to advance the film slowly.

If someone doesn’t have the rewind crank, it’s not too hard to make a tool - use a tube and make a slot in the end with a file. Or something I often do is just use the winding lever as a break - set the speed to lowest setting and engage the winder as if you’re winding the spring. When the camera runs, the winder will spin around, just hold it and only let it slowly turn. Not as elegant as using the rewind crank, but it works.

But to reset the timing, just send it to Simon.

 

Yes, I' think I'll send It to Simon. Thank you all for your kind support guys. 

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12 hours ago, Simon Wyss said:

Somebody had the front removed and put back without knowing what can happen, this. The shutter and the claw cooperation is off.

Goodmorning Simon,

Thank you very much for your precise intervention. I think I will send you the Bolex at this point.... 
If you agree, I'll email you and we'll arrange it. 

Have a nice day, 
Francesco 

 

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I note that no one has yet mentioned an operator trap.

That is to make sure you release the loop formers after loading the film. On cameras which have a few miles up, the donkeytraps in the door can be defeated and the loop formers may remain closed if the operator has forgotten to pop the little silver button and the loop formers have not sprung back out. This will also cause the registration issue you describe. 

I gather you are also aware of the little scissor blade in the bottom of the camera enclosure. Before you autoload the film, you trim the end of the film with it before feeding in to the operating mechanism. when loading it is best to set the camera speed to its slowest. 

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6 hours ago, Robert Hart said:

I note that no one has yet mentioned an operator trap.

That is to make sure you release the loop formers after loading the film. On cameras which have a few miles up, the donkeytraps in the door can be defeated and the loop formers may remain closed if the operator has forgotten to pop the little silver button and the loop formers have not sprung back out. This will also cause the registration issue you describe. 

I gather you are also aware of the little scissor blade in the bottom of the camera enclosure. Before you autoload the film, you trim the end of the film with it before feeding in to the operating mechanism. when loading it is best to set the camera speed to its slowest. 

Hi Robert, 

Thanks for your message. I'm sure I've press the little button there to open the scissor blade before close the camera cup.

I was so ossessionate with this scissor blade that I unload and reload the film from the top to be sure of that crucial step. 

Now I've semd the camera to Simon. I'll update this threed soon. 

Francesco 

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