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Dom Jaeger

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Everything posted by Dom Jaeger

  1. 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
  2. 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/
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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).
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. It's been a long time since I worked on Sachtler heads but from memory be careful opening up the bowl - on some models it's part of the pan drag mechanism. Got a drawing of the pan assembly? These are not simple machines, with pre-loaded bearings and sprung pins that can easily pop out of alignment, and a complicated sequence of re-assembly. The holding bolts need to be tightened to specific torques to correctly compress the drag disks etc. I remember the repairs we did were not cheap. It sounds like the lock-off thread on the inner ring is stripped, so replacing the lock-off alone won't fix it. I can't remember how much of the pan assembly you need to disassemble to access that brake ring. You might need to find some old-timer repairman who used to work on Sachtlers 20 years ago.
  13. I'm sure they would be super sharp and contrasty, but they cost $1700 USD, so not really a budget option. And only f/2, so not super fast. From the specs they have quite deep exit pupils, so would work quite well with reflex Bolexes as well.
  14. Most parts between standard and HS SR cameras are interchangeable, there are only a few differences, so it wouldn't have been too hard for Arri or an authorised service centre to convert one to the other back when parts were easily available. Expensive, but not too hard.
  15. Talk to Callum at Memorylab about 16mm 4K scans. I think he charges AUD$77 for 100 ft (which is less than USD $0.50/ft so cheaper than a lot of US labs), and less for bulk or students. He has a Scanstation, very good scanner. For a bit over a hundred bucks you could test your theories - get a HD scan and a 4K scan of the same 100’ roll, then crop down to 16:9 and see how they compare on whatever medium you’re using to sharing your films.
  16. Good catch, thanks Mark! You are right of course.
  17. I used to do a lot of double exposure steady tests and my approach was to expose the second pass about a stop under the first. That seemed to give two images with similar densities. If you err on the side of underexpose you won’t blow out too much information, but I think it’s the sort of thing that needs testing and experimentation, and depends in the scene in question. In terms of exposure calculations, filming at half the speed will reduce your exposure by a stop. If you want to get more precise, calculate the exposure times by multiplying the shutter angle as a fraction of 360 degrees with the inverse of the frame rate. So 24 fps with a 180 shutter is 180/360 x 1/24 = 1/48th second. Double exposure work best when there are complementary light and shadow areas that allow each layer to be visible, so don’t overlay two bright sky/dark landscape shots for instance, reverse it so the second shot has a dark top and light bottom, etc. Arris generally aren’t the best cameras for experimental filmmaking like this, you’re probably better off with a Bolex that allows you to hand rewind, with a frame counter, behind the lens filter slot for mattes, and the possibility to do single frame and shutter fades etc.
  18. Not all Ultra Primes fit, just the standard sized ones. I posted a pic of a CP.2 on an SR3 a while back, maybe compare the profile of Sigma primes to CP.2s, using the PL mount as a size reference and see if you think they’ll clear.
  19. The 100-POE manual I linked to will tell you how to select auto or manual aperture. Basically pull out the silver cover on the aperture tube and turn it counterclockwise all the way to make it manual.
  20. Generally I would say use primes rather than zooms if you want the best image quality, although zooms have certainly come a long way. But there are always design compromises in zooms, and back-focus is quite crucial to keep the image perfectly in focus as you change focal length. It sounds like you're having issues with your camera rather than the lenses if you can pull sharp images from the stills camera. I'm not really familiar with BM cams, so whether it's the flange depth, the OLPF, the sensor or something else I can't say. You might want to rent a different camera and see what results you get.
  21. Yes the whole question of "what are the highest resolving lenses" is not really a simple one with a straightforward answer. There are multiple focal lengths in a lens series, all with unique attributes, so I really should be specifying "the 65mm Zeiss Supreme" for instance. But then we also have the question of aperture - is it fair to compare a T1.3 Master Prime to a T1.5 Supreme to a T1.8 Signature Prime? I should be stopping them all down to T1.8 for a fair comparison, in which case the MP performance is considerably improved. But then any lens will get sharper as you stop down, so maybe I should be comparing every lens at say T2.8, especially if it's a studio environment where lighting can be absolutely controlled and the operator wants the sharpest image they can get rather than a particular depth of field for instance. At T2.8 almost any modern lens that hasn't been designed to have "character" will be pretty sharp. Then we have lens coverage. As it happens, Signature Primes and Primo 70s are generally sharper than Master Primes even if we only compare a S35 area. But again it will vary by focal length, particularly for the wides and longs. In lens design, angle of view is what dictates many decisions rather than focal length, so while 25mm for instance is a pretty wide angle full frame lens, it's not so wide for S35. To complicate matters, a lot of S35 lenses are being used on larger sensors these days (or S35 Open Gate) and while they may cover a larger area they weren't originally designed for it, so you can get further image degradation. Then there's the question of contrast and apparent resolution. A Master Prime has slightly more contrast than a Zeiss Supreme, but (depending on focal length again) it may also have more abberations at the edges of the S35 frame. But the higher contrast can make it seem sharper. Then we could talk about the types of abberations causing image softness. Is a bit of colour fringing at the edges (which Master Primes have) worse than a bit of spherical aberration or coma? It might depend on the lighting, or the colour of the scene, or the contrast ratio. Some aberrations disappear quicker than others when you stop down as well. In the end, when I mention Signature Primes or Primo 70s, I'm thinking about the consistency across focal lengths and the performance right to the edges. I've only seen a few focal lengths in the Supreme range, but what I saw was impressive. I'm also making certain assumptions - based on observation - that there have been design advancements since Master Primes (which used to be the benchmark for S35). The current mood is for lenses that are not "perfect", so a lot of designs now are going for vintage aesthetics which means choosing to retain certain abberations.
  22. This lens was made by Kern, the same company that made Switar, Yvar etc primes. The battery should be accessible by unscrewing the second half of long tube that holds the light meter cell. Your lens seems to have been modified to fit that camera. The run plunger/auto diaphragm selector is missing (the short plain black cylinder part) and the back has been machined flat (normally there is a protruding part that fits over the Bolex run button). See this description: http://bolexh16user.net/VarioSwitar86EE.htm Many of the functions are similar to other Kern zooms, like this one: http://www.vintagecameras.fr/images/MonSite/BOLEX/H16_Reflex/_Doc/Vario-Switar_100-POE.pdf Main difference is the meter on the 86 EE is external, parallel to the lens, rather than TTL like the 100 POE. If you google search "site:cinematography.com Vario-Switar 86EE" you'll find a bunch of threads from this site with information about this zoom.
  23. The highest resolving lenses I’ve seen (as a rental house lens tech who checks them on a lens projector) are Signature Primes, followed by Zeiss Supremes and Panavision Primo 70s. I haven’t had a chance to look at the new Leitz Primes but from the price I imagine they made no compromises. But many other lenses resolve very highly if you stop them down a few stops. It can vary by focal length too. Some lenses might be super sharp in the centre but drop off at the edges. Most modern cine lenses that aren’t deliberately designed to have some “character” (meaning aberrated) are pretty sharp though.
  24. No. It’s not a question of collimation (back-focus adjustment), it’s different optics. If you shoot with the lens stopped down past f/3.5 it shouldn’t matter much. There’s a relatively affordable RX one on eBay now (a little beat up but optics might be ok): https://www.ebay.com/itm/255689434281 Most seem to have been bought up by the Calkovsky “buy it on eBay then sell it for twice the price on eBay” store, but if you’re patient you can find them cheaper.
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