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Dom Jaeger

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    Cinema camera and lens technician

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  1. Variable shutters on cameras like this were mainly for doing in-camera fade-ins and fade-outs. You can keep the same aperture setting (so depth of field remains the same), while reducing the amount of light hitting the film until it goes black. If you rewind the film a little, then do a fade-in you can get nice superimposed fades between shots. As others have mentioned, film cameras always need a period when the shutter covers the film while it gets moved to the next frame. A faster pulldown can allow for a larger shutter angle, but it requires a more sophisticated mechanism to avoid introducing instability, especially at higher frame rates. A lot of basic pulldown mechanisms just use a claw that pivots on a rotating cam, so the film is being pushed forward for around half the cycle. Add a little safety margin either side and you end up needing a shutter angle of around 150 degrees. You can use the variable shutter to change the look of the footage - a smaller shutter angle means a quicker exposure, more time between images and each image having less motion blur, so in playback motion appears more stuttery. You can also use the variable shutter as a way of controlling your aperture, to avoid being stopped all the way down on a sunny day, or to make your depth of field shallower. Reducing the shutter angle means you need to open up the aperture to compensate for less light hitting the film. But you only have 2 stops of adjustment and it does affect the look of motion, so ND filters are usually a better method for this.
  2. It’s not entirely clear to me whether that is fungus or cleaning marks to be honest. Fungus tends to look like spindly tendrils, not linear. But it could be. Some examples I’ve cleaned recently: It can be slowed with sunlight or UV, or opened up and cleaned off. Sometimes after cleaning it might leave a mark where it has etched into the coating, but that usually has minimal effect on the image, unless a large portion of the surface has been etched. I’m not convinced it will automatically spread to other optics. I’ve had fungus lenses stored in the same room as other lenses and never had that problem come up. The spores exist naturally everywhere, but only start to really grow in dark, humid or moist environments. If you’re concerned, I would just leave it on a window sill in the sun for a while. And don’t store any gear where it’s dark and dank.
  3. You’re not getting any Arri SRs for $1500, let alone a S16 one. The only S16 option in that price range is a K3. Might work ok, might not: https://www.ebay.com/itm/155280694620
  4. Someone was selling a P&S Technik Evolution SR here a few years ago and detailed the Evolution upgrades they had: Not every Evolution upgrade had all those things, I think the basic version was just a S16 conversion, but they were very good conversions. Some more details of P&S Techniks S16 conversion are covered here: http://cinematechnic.com/resources/arri_16sr/arri-16sr2/ http://cinematechnic.com/super-16mm/super_16_conversion_16sr/
  5. No worries René, I was just curious. The world-wide community of Bolex techs is a small one, so I'm always interested to hear about people I didn't know about. I can understand wanting to remain anonymous if he's semi-retired, he'd probably be swamped with people asking him to convert their cameras!
  6. Yes the viewfinder is the weakest element of the Bolex system. The 13x viewfinder as found in later models like the SBM is quite an improvement, but they are expensive cameras these days. If you can find a non-functioning SBM/EBM for cheap you could replace your viewfinder. Otherwise, definitely use a slower film for outdoor day filming, and learn to utilise depth of field - often you don’t need to nail a focus pull if you are stopped down or using a wide angle lens. It usually becomes more critical at close distances or when shooting at open apertures with shallow depth of field. You could also learn to use the distance scale on the lens and estimate the distance to subject. If your camera hasn’t been recently serviced it can help to have the optics cleaned. I professionally service Bolexes and often find a lot of haze and sometimes fungus in the optical path, which doesn’t help matters. A good eyecup can also be useful to shield outside light and allow your eye to adjust.
  7. That gate modification doesn’t look good, normally there should be a thin support rail left at the side of the expanded aperture. Ideally also the entire left side support rail should be machined back so that no part of the exposed film area is in contact with the gate. For this reason the early SR I Gates with inset support rails are not really suitable for S16 conversion, see this post where I attached some photos of proper SR2 and SR3 S16 gates for comparison: I would also be concerned that whoever did this modification didn’t do all the other things that need doing. The mirror shutter needs to be enlarged for instance to cover the expanded gate (the shutter angle was typically reduced from 180 to 172.8 degrees), the mount and viewfinder need to be shifted across, the mags need to be modified. Does the camera have a S16 fibre screen (ground glass)? If none of these things have been done I guess you could still use it as is and crop to R16, but there is the risk of emulsion dust build up from possible scratching where that gate support rail is missing, or the possibility that the gate was not re-fitted properly after being modified. With the added problem of faulty electronics I would be sending this camera back and asking for a full refund. Or you could ask the seller to cover the cost of a professional check/repair.
  8. Can I ask who it is you know who can convert a Bolex EL to Super 16? Finding people who can competently do Bolex S16 conversions these days is quite rare, and rarer still are people who can work on EL models.
  9. Posted January 6, 2013 On this post you  had a diagram of the front cover of a filmo 70. I could not get the diagrams to load(Blue question marks where the pics were)  If you still have those available I could use them. I just disassembled a Filmo D and straightened out the flimsy 180 shutter. Thanks Mike Leake

    1. Michael Leake

      Michael Leake

      Sorry to bother you, again.  I disassembled my Filmo 70 DA, without the help of a service manual.  It is not quite a disaster.  NOT knowing the minimal amount of screws  needed to be removed I removed them all. Well now I know what the clock mechanism looks like in pieces.  Any thoughts on where I might get hold of a service manual?? I am sure I can get the gear box re-assembled, but a manual would help.


      Michael Leake




    2. Michael Leake

      Michael Leake

      Well, I did a little research and found your cinetinker blog. I found the Eyemo 35mm (?) teardown, and It looks very similar to the filmo70 16mm.  This may help me get my filmo 70 DA back together. Thanks


  10. Thanks for the info James, I hadn’t heard about that synchro-lens. Is it branded a Prominar? Is it a D mount? Pretty sure that wind up camera is Standard 8, not Super 8. Very few Super 8 cams had interchangeable lenses.
  11. I assume that would be using a Kowa projection lens mounted in front of the Super 8 zoom? That’s somewhat different to the Kowa Prominar lines of complete, single-focus anamorphics the OP is talking about, though you are in good company: according to The Cine Lens Manual some of Kurosawa’s anamorphic films (The Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo) were shot in an early version of TohoScope which utilised a front anamorphic adapter made by Kowa. The Cine Lens Manual doesn’t list any early films using the Prominars, but it does mention that in the 90s Clairmont had a set that was used in conjunction with other anamorphics on various films, including Body Snatchers (1993), Scream (1996) and Blade (1998).
  12. Madame White Snake, a Shaw Brothers movie from 1962 was shot with the then new Kowa anamorphics. Probably a bunch of others filmed in Shawscope. They were no doubt used on a multitude of low budget movies over the years that couldn’t afford or didn’t have access to Panavision lenses. Many countries and studios had their own anamorphic trade names, such as Franscope, Hammerscope, Tohoscope, Shawscope etc. Some used copies of the original CinemaScope lenses, or cobbled together their own versions. Kowas would have been used on some of these productions. There was a Kowascope, but I can’t find much info about the movies shot on it. To give you a sense of how many different scope systems there were, here’s a list of widescreen films from the 20s to the 90s that gives the format trade names: http://www.redballoon.net/ws.txt
  13. Eclair Cameflexes are noisy, so dialogue would have probably been shot on the blimped Arri 2C shown in one of the bts shots here: https://www.magnumphotos.com/arts-culture/cinema/magnum-on-set-american-graffiti/ The Cameflex may have used Nikon’s, but the Arriflex was probably fitted with something like Zeiss Standard Speeds.
  14. I think there were a few reasons camera designers moved away from the Geneva mechanism. Noise reduction would be one, something which was beneficial in cameras from the late 20s as sound came in, and absolutely essential with blimpless cameras from the 60s on. Projectors, by contrast are commonly situated in sound-proof booths so noise is less of a factor. The other reason I think would be the ability of cam and multi-link movements to create custom pulldown curves with dwell periods to help stabilise the film and prevent perf damage. A Geneva movement pulls down in about 90 degrees, which is much faster than most camera movements, so the acceleration is very abrupt, and would probably damage celluloid perfs at high camera speeds. I suspect stability in film capture is more important than in projection, though someone else might have more knowledge about that aspect than I do. There is a real dearth of literature on the history of movie camera technology. One of the few decent books is this one: https://www.amazon.com/technique-picture-Library-communication-techniques/dp/0803871643 Googling dwell mechanisms is an interesting window into the technology of movie camera movements.
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