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Tyler Purcell

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Tyler Purcell last won the day on March 22

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About Tyler Purcell

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  • Birthday 07/28/1978

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  • Occupation
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    Los Angeles
  • My Gear
    Aaton XTR Prod +, Aaton 35III 3 perf, Bolex EBM, K3, Blackmagic Pocket Camera
  • Specialties
    Cinematography (digital cinema and 16/35mm) and post production (DaVinci/Avid/Final Cut Pro)

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  1. My .02 cents are worthless because 1) I absolutely hate autofocus and electronic lenses. Nearly all of them are made specifically for stills, not video. So they don't do what YOU want them to do. Plus, unless you spend a lot of money on lenses, nearly all of the mid-grade and lower-end lenses are very slow at focusing. 2) iFrame non-mpeg cameras are the only one's I even contemplate owning. Give me Pro Res, DNXHR, Jpeg2000, Blackmagic Raw, Pro Res Raw, Red Code or Arri Code any day of the week. Outside of Go Pro, which there is no alternative for, any camera I do work with must be a real codec. .h264/.h265, doesn't matter how good they CAN be, I can still see the compression and I absolutely hate that look. XAVC- I is OK, but Sony's support in Mac OS is horrible, they're still 32bit drivers, so it's just very slow to manipulate the footage. 3) I wouldn't own a camera that doesn't have some serious sound capabilities anymore, after owning the pocket cinema cameras and learning it's possible to buy shitty preamp's these days. The new Pocket Cinema 4k has excellent pre-amp's and mini-XLR input. It's the only camera of that size to have anything like that. 4) Where full-frame imagers are nice for those wide shots, they also limit what glass you can use. 5) Double ISO for the win. I don't understand why everyone isn't double ISO these days. It's a very clever design and it allows for a cleaner, more dynamic range image in the lower ISO's and higher ISO's without much compromise. Cameras like the A7SMKIII have a HUGE compromise in the normal ISO range, to get a decent high dynamic range image out of them, you have to use tuns of ND. They're really great for super dark tens of thousands of ISO stuff, but outside of that the A7SMKII and MKIII are just toys. I know a lot of people swear by them, but that's because they have the large imager look. They also have crappy .h264 8 bit 4:2:0 internal capture, which is so subpar these days. 6) Outside of PL, I'm so tired of the strict lens systems that most name-brand camera manufacturers require today. It's way better to buy a camera with a short flange distance that can adapt to ANY glass, then a camera with a fixed lens system. You spend all this money buying into a system and then 2 years down the road when the camera body is worthless and the manufacturer doesn't make anything good, you're stuck with it. I've run Arri B, PL, Nikon, Canon and C mount glass on my Pocket camera. Plus, nearly all of the modern glass made for those name-brand systems, aren't designed for cinema in any way. You NEED CINEMA GLASS TO SHOOT VIDEO! 7) There is a happy medium that Panasonic figured out years ago in imager size. Full frame imagers require a lot of power, so the full frame still cameras always have some sort of got-ya's when it comes to shooting video. Poor codec's, poor audio, shorter recording times, etc. If you reduce the size of the imager, you can decrease the amount of processing power it takes to drive it. Panasonic was the first to come to market with a hybrid still/video camera using the 17.3x13 imager size (the blackmagic 4k is 18.9x10 imager size) and it's a great size because it doesn't use up a lot of power, so the manufacturer can add a lot of functionality. Obviously, if you have a lot of money, you can buy an Alexa mini and not worry about most of these issues. However, when you're like me, broke and just trying to buy a cheap camera and lenses, you have to be very mindful about these things. You have to wave each issue I pointed out above and see which ones have the most merit to you. These are the things I care most about, notice how slow-mo or camera size aren't in there. Some people need slow-mo, some people need a super small camera. For me, these are things I need based on my experiences.
  2. 1) I'm unaware of any program in the country that is entirely film, like it was when I was going to school. There are a few colleges and high schools for that matter, who offer credit for classes related to film. The program I ran at LACHSA was one of two in So Cal and I was told, there were three others country wide, but not sure where. Most of the colleges have switched to digital as their mainstay and have shelved the film cameras, if they still have them at all. I know some of the recent students who have moved from other places to Los Angeles, talk about their recent experiences at college and how it was difficult to get knowledge AND working equipment from many of the film schools in the US. Thus, the moment they get the money together, they find someone like me, who can train them up and get them ready to shoot film. 2) I hate to say it, but the days of free 16mm cameras are over. 10 years ago, if you had a 501c3 charity, you may have been donated a lot of equipment like I did. However, today people are holding onto their film cameras like they're made of gold and one day they'll be worth a fortune. I've spent quite a lot of money building my camera fleet and honestly, I have more rentals/work for those cameras, then I could ever imagine. Last year my rental business shot over 60 rolls of 16mm and over 100 rolls of 35mm on short fillm's. This year alone, my 16mm kit has been out nearly every weekend and it's been on TWO features! Talk about an uptick in the amount of film shot. Coming from Boston and doing all my education there, I gotta say Massachusetts does have quite a few resources. There are film cameras for rent, there are film workshop classes for both still and motion picture. The east coast's premier flatbed editing table shop. The country's premier projection provider AND the most comprehensive lab facility on the east coast. Heck, the city even has some very cool theaters that still show film prints. Amherst is not that far away from the city, I spent much of my childhood out there visiting relatives. So you shouldn't have any resource issues. I also have taught motion picture film classes on the college level AND spent two years teaching at the high school level full-time. What I have learned is quite interesting and for sure not what I expected. Students these days are not as interested in the 'retro' aspects as you'd think. Showing 16mm prints will probably not get anyone interested in shooting film. What does get everyone's attention is first; showing how good film can be and how easy it is to shoot. This is hard to do with a Bolex, but with my XTR Prod package, you don't even need a light meter. If you bring film to a level where students find it easy to use, then they will be intrigued. Put a monitor on it, shoot modern color film, process and transfer it well. You'll find a lot of eyeballs on that screen getting excited about shooting on film. If you make it look like some "old fashioned" way to make movies, using black and white stock, processing by hand and shooting with old equipment, I'm afraid it will just turn most people off. Sure you'll get the nerds in the class who would like it, but I doubt anyone will consider using it outside of your class. I work with a few professors at two of the biggest film schools in LA. They send students to me for camera rentals and we have a pretty good business going on, getting students into packages, film, processing and transfer for WAY less than the competition. Our goal has been to provide a one stop service, like Pro 8mm, but at a cost that's more receptive to the student projects being shot. Sadly due to financial reasons, we've had to put the program on hold, hopefully it will only be a year or two as we re-build our infrastructure. However, what I've learned during the time we were operational was basically what I said above. Most students are into the film look because it differs from digital, but they care greatly about quality. All of the students wanted 4k scans and a crisp/clean image. Where I rarely get to see results, I have scanned some of the students work myself and what they've shot was great and you can see how excited they were pre shooting and post shooting about using film. Cost was always an element, but somehow they made it work out. My cameras are currently booked out 2 months in advance, that's how many students and other filmmakers are wanting/needing film cameras to rent. I found the high school students enjoyed editing film a lot. I never tried it with the college level, but at the high school level they were really into holding the film in their hands, seeing the image on the viewer and cutting it. I bought a bunch of splicers and two sets of rewinds/viewing screens from a friend of mine for cheap and that's what I used in the class. We shot negative, got prints made and simply cut the prints up so the negative would stay un-harmed. The goal was to cut the negative, but nobody was willing to work me a deal on the price, so we just used the print as our final. I already had the cameras and projectors, so the cost was simply the editing supplies and film stock/processing. No matter what you will need to have some sort of budget to deal with those things. I hope some of this was insightful and not too negative. Please let me know if you have any questions!
  3. Robin, I think you may not understand what I'm talking about. We're referring to stock footage only here, not broadcast, not sync-sound material, just those filler shots that you can't afford to get for whatever reason. The goal of having stock footage online is to "sell" said stock footage. So if your footage doesn't fit the specs properly, then you won't sell it. If you have a 23.98, 24, or 25fps clip, it's impossible to use it in a 29.97, 30, 59.94 or 60fps environment without adding cadence to the file. This makes it look bad, especially from 25 to 29.97 which is the most common conversion. If you have a 30 fps clip, you can very easily make it work for 29.97, 59.94 and 60fps. Plus with a very simple header flag change on the file, you can make it playback at whatever FPS you want LOWER then 30fps. So if you have a 25fps sequence, you can easily get 30fps media to work, all be it at a slightly slower frame rate. This generally isn't an issue for stock footage, as it's very easy to manipulate frame rate in the NLE system and add frame blending instead of cadence. If I were to sell stock footage, I would shoot everything in 4k and at either 30fps or 60fps so that no matter what, it's convertible to any other media standard.
  4. Yea there are issues for sure, I had issues mounting them to the IIC because the mirror angle is more steep then the other cameras evidently. Some other lenses have issues with iris adjuster hitting the PL mount and on the SR's, they hit the viewfinder of course.
  5. I've used the CP2's with film cameras, but I'm not much of a fan due to the cost. It really depends on what features you're looking for in a lens? If you want a fast wide angle lens, that's going to cost a lot of money vs a slow longer or standard 24, 35, 50mm lens. I could only afford what I bought, which were the Rokinon Xeen's and let me tell ya, nobody can tell what they are with the final footage on film. People spend so much time focused on glass, they kinda forget that most glass is fine. I had some college kid argue with me about my recently serviced Optar primes "not being good enough" for his student film. It's that kind of attitude which kills me. I'd rather have three lenses that work, for the price of 1 lens that doesn't do anything better, but has a more recognizable brand name on the side.
  6. Sadly Final Cut was never designed to work with film. There were a few plugin's made by Automatic Duck that helped that a bit, but getting a flex file out of Final Cut 7 is impossible. So the only way is to work with a burn in, but honestly that doesn't help because you still can't create the file required for the negative cutter. For a negative cut, you need to use Avid. Any version will work really and for $199 you can get a year subscription. It's a bit of work to get functioning, but it does work way better than FCP7 and all of these "film" issues are solved. It has so many options for film it's kinda crazy. On a side note, negative cuts on 16mm kinda suck for many reasons. The big one is that it's a multi-reel A/B/C standard. They do this to cover up the splices and it works well, but it's really annoying to cut AND to print, using a multi-pass system. You would not only need to do a negative cut, but also make an IP for archival reasons. This means, you'd have to spend the time and money to do a color pass and dissolves on film, which lowers the quality of the final output. Far better to scan all your negative at 2k using a lower-end system. Then simply re-scan the sections you need at 4k for the final cut. Then you can laser back your film onto 35mm with soundtrack and use that as your archive.
  7. It's gonna be hard to find a good working SR of any kind for $1200. Most of those sub $2k sync sound cameras of any brand are in rough shape, either missing things like batteries, chargers, magazines and usually are "untested" which means you'll probably need to send it in somewhere for a re-build. SR's are workhorses, but when they wear out, they create a very wobbly image (registration issues) until serviced. Also the vast majority of SR's are Arri B mount, which is a good thing if you wish to own your own glass, but a bad thing if you wish to rent glass as most rental houses only have PL mount 16mm glass. So be very careful what you get because it can easily turn your film future career into a nightmare.
  8. I have a complete Super 16 package with Optar's available in LA. Just hit me up!
  9. Yea I read the American Cinematographer article, he's got a lot of fun details in there about camera, lensing and lighting which was fun to read. As a pretty die hard Aaton guy myself, it was nice to see someone do a feature with 16mm and 35mm Aaton cameras, much like my own. There is a set for sale right now on this very forum that is the best deal I've seen in a long time. $10k for a set of 5 Arri Super speeds for Super 16. I have the Russian knock off's called Optars and they're a bit soft, but they really work well for super 16. I haven't had a lick of complaints from the people who use my camera and they're around $6k for a new set of 5, but again they're hard to find. Remember, you can always start with a zoom lens. The Canon 11-165 is the defacto standard and there is one of them for sale on here for $2800 euro's if i recall. I have a Zeiss 12-120, were it is much smaller and lighter then the Canon, the Canon is a crisper and nicer piece of glass with a better range. Ohh and watch out for "mount" types. Quite a few 16mm lenses are Arri B mount. You'll be needing PL mount for any modern camera.
  10. The A-minima is a "speciality" camera. Not an A, B or C camera, but something you pull out to get that one shot where no other camera can go. It's not a sync-sound camera, so it's louder then an XTR/Xtera and it takes very specialized film loads which are not made by anyone anymore. So you can't just order film and use it with the A-Minima like all of the normal cameras. It takes 200ft loads but they're wound backwards with the emulsion out and need to be threaded in daylight due to the complexity of the camera loading. So you'd need a dark room to re-spool onto the 200ft daylight spools properly or pay a lab to do it, which just adds to the cost. The XTR Prod and Xtera are the same camera mechanically and design, but the Xtera uses the 35mm style video tap which is much higher quality. These are A unit sync sound cameras, designed for production. They take standard 400ft loads or 100ft daylight spools (not the same as the A-Minima at all) and they're dead quiet, only 20db at 24fps. Remember, with film cameras, the image is created with the lens and film stock, not an "imager" like digital cameras. So a 50 year old 16mm camera would deliver identical quality images to a 416 if the lenses, movement and stock were the same. This is one of the biggest things us film people have to explain to digital people who wish to shoot film. They just think they must use the newest and best to capture great images and it gets very annoying, especially when there are only a hand-full of 16mm cameras made in the 2000's +. So in reality, who cares what camera body Damian Chazelle used on "First Man" (all the behind the scenes stills I've seen show a 416). Can you afford the Super 16 Ultra Primes which are what makes the image? If you can't, then it's probably best to rent a camera and lens kit for a while to get your feet wet. Finally, finding XTR Prod's and Xtera's is currently impossible. Every once in a blue moon, one shows up on the radar and they go for $7k easily these days. I haven't seen an Xtera for sale since 2016 and in 2018 I only saw 2 XTR's for sale, one Plus and one Prod, both went for a lot of money. Ya just gotta keep your eye on ebay because nearly anyone who has one, will post it there first. The easiest super 16 camera to find is an Arri SR3, but even those are getting more and more rare.
  11. Prices are going up pretty fast. Last decent A-Minima I saw went for $6k. Remember, no matter what the batteries will need to be re-celled and that camera does have a main drive belt that will need replacing at some point as well. So "mint" condition is hard unless you pay a premium and get all of that done in advance. Another side note, the daylight spools are becoming harder to get, so make sure if you get a camera, you get as many mags as possible with as many spools as possible.
  12. It think you've been misinformed about a few things. There is a low-cost brand that makes mediocre 8mm and 16mm scanners http://moviestuff.tv/ and their price range is around $5k or so for a new scanner. They are the only company I know of making scanners in the $5k price range. Lasergraphics scanners are some of the best in the world, the director sitting right next to the Arri scanner in terms of quality in my opinion. These scanners are used in commercial post production and they use some of the newest imager technology with some of the best cleanup tools around. You can get into a basic scanstation personal without an optical package for around $50,000 USD and the normal scanstation with an optical package is around $90,000 USD. There is not much of a used market for these machines because they're so new, very few people have bought them to begin with. Even people who build their own scanners, wind up spending close to $5k on the camera imager alone, let alone the movement and the electronics/software to drive it. If you're looking to transfer Super 8 or 16mm film to digital files, the simplest way is to buy a 5 blade projector for whatever format you're going to shoot and a decent video camera. Then simply project against a screen and shoot with the video camera. 5 blade projectors help remove the flicker from the image and allow you to capture ok images without a scanner. Obviously the reason scanners exist is because they're better quality.
  13. That's the Eclair Cameflex, it can shoot 16mm and 35mm. The NPR and ACL are both 16mm only. Remember, there were quite a few 35mm cameras made; Bell and Howell, Mitchell, Eclair, Moviecam, Aaton, Arriflex and more. The camera body is the least of your concern. The cost is in the accessories, lenses, film stock, processing and transfer. 35mm is an extremely expensive format to shoot, it doesn't matter how much free stuff you get, it's extremely time consuming to deal with and time is money. I shoot a lot of 16mm and 35mm on a sometimes weekly basis and 16mm is on a different planet then 35mm in terms of ease of use.
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