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Alessandro Malfatti

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About Alessandro Malfatti

  • Birthday 10/02/1989

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    Dietikon, CH

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  1. I realize there have been some similar threads, but I'd like to compile a general overview of what cameras are still practical and reliable at least for next couple of years/decades. So I ask anyone with more knowledge than me to add his bit of information on what brands and models are still good to go, which ones have exposure correction or manual override, and which ones contain technology that is doomed to imminent failure. In my case I'd be interested in a mid-range model, something not too expensive, without much bells and whistles but if possible manual exposure override, and of course no problematic technology. I've owned two Nizos before which sadly have become unusable in recent times.
  2. Power is getting to the meter, it reacts to the battery check, and it reacts to light, just very weakly. It also moves manually, just not further than 2.8 more or less. I might try as you said to open it and see if it's jammed, I guess I don't have much to lose at this point. Thank you.
  3. That was actually the first thing I did, and it didn't help.
  4. So the lightmeter system on my Nizo 801 died on me. I say lightmeter system, as apparently the metering is linked to the iris. This means I can't set aperture manually either. Can this be fixed at all? I could live with a non-working light meter but manually adjustable iris, if that were a solution.
  5. I must say I think there's some truth to this. When I was studying I often found that having seen certain films commonly considered as "canonical" was more a mark of elitism rather than actual learning. Noone wanted to be "that guy" who hasn't seen X or Y movie, because OMG how could you liek NOT have seen that, it's totally amazing and brilliant, when in truth, most people couldn't even tell you what makes those films so incredibly amazing and relevant. And that's not to say that those movies aren't relevant or great, just that there's an inertia in praising them which in turn makes opinions that cast doubt on that praise just get scorned. I think Max is completely right in questioning these "canonical" films, and if they are so great, it should be quite easy to point to all those things that make it such a great film, which some people have done, but others haven't. And adding to that, there's a lot of amazing films which get so little praise and consideration, while they maybe should be up there with those great classics. I think one such underrated masterpiece is Nothing Sacred from 1937, an amazing screenplay full of multiple layers of irony, one of the in my opinion greatest opening scenes ever (the one with the fake arabian prince), great Technicolor photography... It isn't even among the greatly remembered screwball comedies, yet I think it should be one of the most respected ones. But it isn't. Just one example of films that I not only believe to be impressive and underrated, but I could even objectively defend why they should be more highly praised than some "great classics". And, in the case of Citizen Kane, let's not forget that it rides a lot on the original hype and controversy of back in the day, of going after the big media mogul Hearst (someone whom many people who so greatly praise Kane wouldn't even know who he was), which also was somewhat kicking him when he was already down. It's ironic how there's so much overreaction among the liberal/progressive thinking intelligentsia when a certain someone criticizes journalism and the media, yet those same people greatly praise a film doing exactly that. I know I'm playing devil's advocate here, but just some thoughts I wanted to get out of my system. Like I said, I nevertheless think Kane is a great movie and certainly worth a watch. But not greatly enjoying it or not immediately being dumbstruck at its genius does in my opinion not mean someone is somehow ignorant or incapable of being a good filmmaker. More importantly, I think it would be worrisome if we became so close-minded that we don't even want to accept someone questioning such a commonly accepted idea. I believe filmmaking is first and foremost storytelling (some people might disagree, that's fine). Someone who wants to be a storyteller should also be someone who thinks for himself, and someone who thinks for himself should be someone who questions that which others just accept without question. And when something becomes such a universal truth then it's the perfect moment to question it. If we become so cowardly that we just don't want to stick out from those commonly accepted truths then we have betrayed all that which we supposedly stand for. When I started studying film, this was probably my greatest disappointment, finding me surrounded by people who not only didn't want to question the Zeitgeist, they even reacted aggressively to someone who did, shielding themselves through the groupthink. Instead of an open dialogue of different opinions I found a hivemind where no one wanted to stand out. Was this what filmmaking was about? Pretending to be different and original but really just going with the flow? I find the same thing when I go to film festivals, and I find it greatly frustrating and depressing. Everything I see follows certain tendencies, nothing stands out because everything is "different" in more or less the same way. The supposed avant-garde has become ridiculously conservative, simply assuming those values that were progressive maybe 40 or 50 years ago as this conservative baseline. I sometimes think that this is the real reason why cinema is dying -- there's simply no interest in new ideas. Neither in the commercial production, nor in the alternative production. Instead of a tendency of approaching each other, avant-garde and commercial production are just drifting apart, settling in boring habits of just the same over and over, while the new ideas have left this medium and moved on to all the other emerging media. Similarly (or perhaps at the root of this phenomenon) I find the human panorama in cinema to be just an endogamic elite which favours others thinking alike, not wanting to give anyone with new ideas a chance. Perhaps they see it as a threat to their established position. I say all this from a purely European point of view, where our cinema works very differently than in America, but that's my experience. When I study how things worked some decades ago it seems like there was this whole spirit of innovation, of trying new things, of giving young people a chance, of being open to different ideas... now it's all just crusty old farts (often just mentally old, not physically) who don't want anything to change, because they have theirs and that's all they care about. Anyway, sorry for my digression. Just some things I wanted to get off my chest I guess.
  6. I'm currently looking to get a short film off the ground here in Switzerland (Zurich area), it's a humorous satire on the world of finance. If anyone is interested in collaborating somehow (for starters by helping out in finding financing or a production company that can help with that), just drop me a line, here or at alessandro_malfatti@hotmail.com. Natürlich auch auf deutsch. Cheers!
  7. I subscribe this 100%. I've had a great experience with the Scoopic, as far as compact and affordable 16mm cameras go it's likely one of the best. I recently intercut some Scoopic (standard 16mm cropped to 16:9) with some SR3HS footage (Super16) and the difference is barely noticeable. It's also silent enough that I wouldn't be afraid of taking sync sound for a non-fiction project, so long as the location isn't too quiet (like an exterior). The main downside is probably that it can't really be practically converted to Super16, but then again that probably helps keeping its price low. There's also the thing with the fixed lens, this may not be everyone's cup of tea. I'm fine with it, opening to 12.5mm is fine for my needs, and for anything better I'd rent a proper Arriflex right away (hell on my last project I got the Arri with a zoom anyway because primes were too expensive and would have slowed production down too much, we had a tight schedule as camera rental is hella expensive). For me it was either a Bolex or a Scoopic, but honestly I just didn't want to keep winding the damn camera like I used to do with the K3, and the Scoopic was much cheaper than a well-equipped Bolex with a motor. tl;dr the Scoopic isn't a perfect camera, but if it fits your need it does its job quite well.
  8. I have to agree with the idea that ever improving technology is hurting the movie theatre, which is ironic. We all know that classic Renoir quote, about how perfect realism brings on perfect decadence. I don't know if I'm being subjective and/or nostalgic when I say that film quality has, on average, continually worsened since the onset of digital, but sometimes I fear I may be right. Film as a production format in its latest iterations before r&d was discontinued some years ago is really at an ideal point of being of enough quality that it can be watched with great visual pleasure, but imperfect enough that it still invites artistic quality. Perhaps the issue is not so much of how cinemas project, but what they project, and how films are shot. And that shooting on film, with its inherent qualities and difficulties is essential to the artistic challenge of filmmaking. So for all those reasons though I agree that it's unrealistic to consider cinemas to go back to film projection, it's quite the contrary in matters of shooting on film, and that maybe the little push that would be needed is not of discouraging digital projection but discouraging digital cameras, just like back in the day where any minimally serious effort had to shoot on film, even if just 16mm film. Many countries like the US, Britain and Germany kept shooting on film, 16mm or 35mm, for television even long after video cameras had become much more practical, I'm talking into the 90's and 00's. Video was just video, in a despective manner. It wasn't a serious format for most proper fiction or documentary, let alone TV movies, even though in the end it would go out onto regular analogue SDTV. Only poor countries like Spain switched to video right away. In Spain, video took over television production in the 80s, in the 90s even TV movies were being done on video, while any self-respecting US sitcom shot on 35mm well into the 00's, Michael Palin travelled to the Himalayas with 16mm equipment in 2003, and the german Tatort only ceased shooting on 16mm in 2011 (iirc). Because video was just, well, video. If opinions could be skewed back into appreciating the visual quality as well as the effort involved in shooting on film, I'm sure that the current panorama would be somewhat different. Many of us here might know how a shoot with film cameras acts as a sort of filter, the investment required eliminates the bottom-of-the-barrel films (in this supposed scenario relegating them to second-grade digital productions), the necessary know-how keeps amateurs at bay, and in general it demands a certain respect from the cast and crew. I finished shooting my second short film about three months ago on 16mm, apparently the first 16mm production this year in the Barcelona area as there's only one rental house left here with 16mm cameras and I was told it was the first 16mm rental they'd had so far (interestingly, they also told me they had no plans of discontinuing film camera rentals, since the equipment wouldn't go out of date; btw the camera rental was also somewhat cheaper than a top-tier digital so there's that). Mainstream opinion is so obsessed with technical quality, and I guess it makes sense since for the last 100 years there's been a continuous race for technical improvement, sound, color, wide-screen, large-format, better emulsions, and finally digital technology. I think it's hard to change the mindset from this constant improvement to a more settled perspective, were technology has reached a certain peak to the point of dangerously invoking Renoir's suggested "perfect decadence". More than ever I think the comparison film-digital and painting-photography is adequate, and should be promoted as a way of recognizing the value and effort of shooting on film as a basic necessity to, let's say a certain way of filmmaking, as in not excluding digital video completely, but relegating it to a completely different position, just as photography and painting are two wholly different disciplines. Hell even Lloyd Kaufman of the ever-cash-strapped Troma insists on shooting his own directorial projects on 35mm on shoestring budgets. It's difficult that this may happen, but I don't think it's impossible. I like to think that the film medium has passed its worst moment, and assumed its niche positions, with centralized film labs somewhat firmly established (centralized as in few of them concentrating lab services for larger regions) and the more or less secured continued availability of film stock. The whole thing just needs a final push toward that sort of technical "discrimination" that will give film as a support the added value that it deserves, and situates it similar to back in the day as the dividing line that separates the grain from the chaff, the novices from the pros.
  9. I dislike Rolf Lyssy's self-hating rhetoric, which he expressed quite well in Die Schweizermacher. Ironically, in the conclusion of said film he sort of advocates for emigration and travel, for getting to know other cultures. When, however, you get to actually know other cultures you learn that all cultures that have some ambition to them tend to be critical with themselves, and that they all share that very idea that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Lyssy has that 1960's-counterculture idea of cinema as an art form defined by elitist arthouse production (which I'm familiar with from having had an established long-time film critic as a teacher during my studies), hence why he mentions Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands and Belgium, yet not Germany which is one of the main producers of cinema in Europe. Cinema is by definition a massive medium, it's the popular productions which won't garner praise from snobby film critics which create the industrial basis from which arthouse cinema emerges, and small countries have a difficult time keeping up with an industrial production since they simply lack the spectators. Cinema as a cultural phenomenon is largely a game of numbers, the more films are produced, the more likely it is that excellent films will be produced. Inversely, the more excellent films a country produces, the even more mediocre and bad films it will produce. Cinema is a very complex craft that matured very quickly, there's still a lot of practice and trial and error involved. Collectively, advancement of cinematic culture requires the production of many inconspicuous or even infamous films as the "mistake" from which to learn. If there isn't a continuous industrial production, cinematic talent won't be promoted, because it can hardly find a chance to express itself. Translating that into saying that a society is mediocre is laughable, as if the cinematic output of a society or culture were a defining element to its supposed mediocrity. Switzerland excels at many disciplines, just not cinema. It may yet master this craft eventually. Many countries with renowned cinematic production started out relatively late, such as Japan, India, China, Spain. On the other hand, the great cinematic pioneer that was France is nowadays generally said to be falling short of what it once was. I think what bugs me most about Rolf Lyssy's statements it's that you could take like 90% of it and put it in the mouth of some spaniard cultural snob and it would fit perfectly. The same pretentious discourse about mediocrity, the same jealousy of foreign culture. One thing that largely holds back cinema culturally is the obsession with other countries and cultures, and the resulting incapability of evolving by itself, instead plagued by envy and inferiority complexes. Of course cinema, unlike previous art form, was a relatively globalist art form from the start, so those cultures that had the strength repressed the weaker once, hence the US's global hegemony, and in Europe relating to Switzerland there were three relatively important cinematic powers surrounding it: Germany, France, Italy. A similar situation arose as with the US and Great Britain, that a related culture is taken over by its more massive cousin. British films have always had a hard time competing with american films, as unlike in other countries the cultural barrier was much weaker. Same goes for Switzerland and its neighbours. I think that just with Britain and the US, Switzerland needs to accept that it must be a cultural satellite of its neighbours, but there's nothing wrong with that and it doesn't negate an own cultural identity. I think people who think like Rolf Lyssy are one of the great obstacles that hold back cultural advancement and maturity.
  10. You asked for "Filmer", like Jack Benny said 'you ask a question and I answer'. ;) I've been active as independent writer-producer-director lately, which is like a fancy way of saying that I'm producing my own stuff because noone else will. Just finished my second short film (shot on 16mm btw). I just hope that and my film studies will make for a reasonably interesting CV...
  11. The cost of Super8? You wanna know about the cost of Super8? Well lemme tell you somethin'. The bill just arrived for my latest lab order at Andec. Developing of 8 cartridges of neg, plus 2 of b/w, and HD telecine. Cost me no less than 566,20€. And that's only lab costs, it doesn't even include film stock. This is getting expensive as hell. If I don't find me a better job I can forget about keeping up the ritzy lifestyle.
  12. I think it might be that it's just the lightmeter battery, and that the manual aperture adjustment depends on said battery. When you do the lightmeter battery test (using the aperture knob, not the power switch), the needle is supposed to go to f8, if it was at 1.8 like you wrote then clearly the lightmeter batteries are low, and most likely that's the reason why your aperture isn't working. Try the new lightmeter batteries, maybe it's as simple as that. Here's a link to a user manual for the 801 http://imperfectcinema.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Nizo-801-Macro-Manual.pdf
  13. I recently bought a Canon Scoopic from Du-All Camera, it cost me just about 1K€. Fully serviced ofc. So far I've only run two test rolls, and the results were quite good. Downside is it's standard 16mm and it's apparently almost impossible to modify for Super16. Registration is excellent and as far as I can tell running speed is quite accurate and stable, though I haven't tried synching sound to see if it would maintain sync for longer periods of time. It's comfortably handheld and easy to operate. Again downside, the fixed zoom lens, which is a very good lens, but it is fixed. Also it only takes 30m rolls and has no interchangeable mag. My two cents, make of it what you will. Cheers and good luck in your endeavours!
  14. Super 8 has become expensive as hell, but I guess that's what happens with such niche markets. Nowadays I'm paying per roll 35€+17.50€ developing at Andec+15€ telecine + shipping. That's 67.50 plus shipping which comes to about 10-20€ more per order. That's quite a price alright. However I'll say that it's still noticeably cheaper than 16mm, which would be 50€ + 25€ developing + 30€ telecine, comes to 105€ plus shipping, and shipping will be more expensive because of more weight. That's almost twice as expensive. Within the expensive world of film, Super 8 still has the price advantage. I for one don't much care for the enthusiast aspect of Super 8. I mean, I get that some people look for that, and that's cool, but I don't, I just want to shoot on film, whatever format it may be. If I shat money I'd shoot on 65mm ffs. For now Super 8 is the most economic, so it makes sense. If prices were to keep going up I'd might consider exclusively using 16mm, since I recently got me a Scoopic, which is much comfier than the old K3. There is the issue about the weight and size of Super 8 gear vs 16mm, but it's mostly the price for me.
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