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Isaac Brooks

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  1. Hi, Yes, I second the move towards an SR. You're looking at a camera of around the same weight as the M series, with a way better build, newer design, and WAY better mags. I'd recommend an SR2. An original SR in good condition is fine too, but regular SRs differ in quality from one another, and you have to make sure you get a later one that has a German motor and circuit board. If you just want a regular 16 camera, the SR2's are actually pretty cheap havable, now more than ever. Only the Super 16 versions go much beyond 2,000 USD. They are simply a newer camera, with improved features on a camera that was pretty much perfect already. The SRs, in general, should be more serviceable too, and are a better investment. The M and the Arri 16BL are both good examples, and sometimes are findable very cheap- but this is because the availability of parts and the earlier, less ergonomic and less usable design of the displacement mags holds them back. The 16S series is really the sole survivor of that era of Arri 16 cameras because if it's usability, quality, and the correspondly large number of spare parts available. That said, if you're set on an M, don't pay more than $750-1000 for good condition KIT, with spare mags, a few accessories, perhaps even a zoom, and some sort of explanation for the camera, like a service history or a conversation with the previous owner as to how the camera was used (rentals or more personal use). If you can get the extra money, go for as late a model an SR as you can find, and enjoy one if the greatest machines ever made.
  2. Hi, I have a few cameras, and the SR is solid and wonderful, but I'm imaging it being Ultra capable, and I like the idea. I'm looking for an option that doesn't cost as much as the super 16 mod, plus the cost of a pl mount being installed, which I would prefer if it was in super 16. I think ultra is pretty viable. I make films on standard 16 as well, and the camera will be more or less preserved in that capacity. CineLab, Cineliscious and few other places offer good deals on transfers on recently updated, high quality machines, and if a lab can process super and regular 16 both, ultra is possible too. That said, I prefer the generally improved quality in optics and camera features that accompany super 16. I recently sold my xtr prod which is actually haunting me a bit. But ultra exists as an option if you want a camera original / negative that is affordable but a little more market friendly. I appreciate the council though, as I hope to win back a super 16 rig at some point. So if anyone else has experience with the trusty SR2 in Ultra let me know. I'd really like to see footage too.
  3. There have been a few threads about this: some folks at a US lab did a pitch comparison between Orwo and Kodak. The Orwo has an irregular pitch length, and these folks were shooting the stock in both Aaton and Arri cameras with bad results: mostly jams and bad camera noise. Orwo needs to manufacture differently for the stock to run on more precise sync cameras.
  4. Hi, Has anyone converted an SR2 for Ultra 16? Been thinking about doing this on a 1985 SR2. Any hugely known pros or cons for how the format mixes with the SR would be of help. Is the gate usually replaced, or modified? Also, I have a viewing screen that is marked for standard 16, and quite nicely, as the camera is a relatively late model SR2. Via the CE speed control, the screen's markings are illuminated by the speed control panel. With a newly marked ultra 16 screen, will it be possible to have similarly illuminated markings? Not a deal breaker, but I like how the viewfinder is usable in low light conditions, and would not want to loose that function with a custom-marked screen. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks, Isaac
  5. Hi, So, post-travel, my Sachtler 20P system came out of the shipping tube, and the 2-stage heavy duty carbon fiber sticks got the usual examination for damage, and, suddenly I had CF splinters in my hand from a fair-sized crack in one of the outer sticks. These are the heavy duty 2-stage sticks, from a awhile back I'm assuming, as the 20P is a few models ago. I'll need to look into the stick model, specifically, sorry. If it helps I can take pictures later. But I assume you can imagine the damage. Anyone have any tips for repair? Is sending to Sachtler the main option? Experiences with any other Sachtler-ready outfits or shops would be most welcome. Also, what can I expect to pay for a new / replacement (single) stick (for the outer, upper stage)? Thanks a million, Isaac
  6. Hi, I'd try Bernie O'Doherty of Super 16 Inc. Isaac
  7. Hi, I have a set of used cables for an Arriflex 16S. They are a little cracked due to the substantially aged rubber – but worth saving if possible. Is there a preferred brand of compound for fixing power cables, something that can handle frequent location use? I want something that will bond with the rubber, essentially getting rid of the cracks / separations, but that will be safe for electronic use as well. Any ideas or recommendations welcome. Many thanks. Isaac
  8. Actually, one other thing, Is it OK to use cleaner (Pancro) on the rear element, if the bower isn't getting off the hard to get stuff? I seem to remember being instructed that it's sometimes best to let well enough alone back there unless it's a big emergency. Thanks. Isaac
  9. Ok, thanks Dom. Most of the stuff has actually come off. Pancro does wonders. Just the smallest mark or two left. remnants of time, no doubt.
  10. Hi, I have a Canon 8-64, which for the most part is clean and solid. Under ambient sunlight, even up close, the front element and coating are both mostly pristine. Under the beam of the flashlight with which I occasionally inspect the glass, however, there are definitely some marks. Some are tiny scratches that I simply know are the result of the lens getting on in age, but there are slight streaks too, broader than the scratches. Are those cleaning marks? I have my method down for cleaning, with a blower bulb to start (or the delta 1 camel's hair brush for really resistant dust) and then Pancro fluid for whatever gunk is left of the surface. But, obviously I want to limit my cleaning of the element for the sake of preventing wear, and I just don't know when to stop. Am I being obsessive? Or should I go until there is nothing left but the most obvious permanent marks? Thanks.
  11. Slightly old thread, but I have to say: Yes, if you're industrially inclined, location of a school can have a huge effect. Folks who go to film school in NYC or LA often end up working there or in one or the other. Other large and cinematically productive cities like Austin, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston (just naming a few) also tend to be magnetic because of their smaller communities of professionals, companies, and collectives. If you think you might work in a place other than the area your school is located, then plan ahead. Make sure you know people. I will not offer the usual "the film industry is incestuous, it's all about who you know" because that is not the only truth at work. However, after experience has been acquired, and someone has learned enough to get some sort of job shooting or editing etc., your little sphere of people, contacts, and friendships will have a huge effect of where you land and what you end up doing. There is a practical side to this, and that is the hugely collaborative nature of filmmaking. It's only natural that people talk up other people and opportunities are had, and careers are launched. As far as a graduate program goes, I believe that graduate school offers the potential for students to involve themselves with the learning process in new ways, ones that are often less formal, more mentored, and more advanced. AFI, USC, NYU, UCLA are all world class institutions in film production, but be honest with yourself what educational priorities you are after. Those schools will orient you specifically within the artistic and aesthetic principals of the commercial film industry, the LA schools to a huge degree will push you within the bounds of the American / Hollywood standards, while NYU is a little more open the singularly driven "auteur" practices. Like I said, all great schools, all enormously wealthy, and otherwise they have all proven themselves as world class universities in every other field of endeavor (except for AFI, which is still superb within those bounds). But they are traditional. They hire people, sometimes famous, expensive and BUSY personalities to help teach their courses. I have heard from friends and colleagues that this can be the sort of experience that leaves some students at a bit of a loss, because teachers in a directing class (for instance) may not even require students to be done for their thesis project by the end of the year. I know of a few instances where this was the case. I won't say which school it was, but it was a big one, where people were walking away after having only shown rushes or something of a similarly non-advanced state. Now, I know people who, after five years out of leaving this program, are still picking away at their 20-minute movie. Big problem, and not practical, even for the so-called standards that drive the film industry, which runs on time and money almost exclusively. These schools have such a high success rate partially because 1) They are centrally located within their industries 2) Because of that the connections available are top-notch, and student have there choice of which area of the top-tier they will occupy. 3) Additionally, these places demand a certain amount of dedication, and in the grad programs especially, you can rest assured that none of those who are granted admission are non-workers. You will find yourself among a diverse array of students, and they are all there essentially because they are willing to out so much effort forth. That environment is one thing that these schools offer– a state of mind where one witnesses people constantly practicing what they are after with top-of-the-line facilities at their disposal. So I encourage you to call these places and see who you can get on the phone, see who will meet with you for a tour, see who is open to the projects that you are interested in. There are many great schools out there, far more than the five or six that are most frequently touted in this country, and you may find yourself suddenly attracted to an institution because of some unexpected factor. Lots of options.
  12. Hi, I'm about to shoot a scene where someone is pulled over in a car, with a traffic cop behind them. I don't have access to a real police cruiser, and was planning on filming it tight. It's sort of a dream-scene type thing, and the close-up of the driver is really what's important. I've got an omni light to do the whole flood / spot light that the cops sometimes do when the pull you over, but I was hoping to have something that mimics the flashing light atop the car. I'm looking at those magnetic lights for use on non-commercial vehicles. Anyone tried this? Or know of more effective, affordable solutions? I'm shooting on black and white reversal 16mm, and I've got a set of zeiss super speeds. Thanks in advance. Isaac
  13. Hi, Old thread, I know, but since I started it... I got the cam serviced and asked that the electronic problem be addressed in addition to that. The camera had gotten to the point where it was acting erratically even when the power source was not low. The tech told me eventually that the wires going from the CE controller (this is one of the ones that is mounted on the side of the cam body where the light meter would have been) to the camera were PINCHED by the controller itself, and had been squashed together. He addressed that, and since then, until last night at least, there were no issues. However, I reached low power again last night on a battery belt, and it did it again. I was engaging the claw / pin after a gate check and the thing actually started RUNNING when I pushed TEST, AND KEPT running for a minute. No hand on the TEST button, the RUN switch in the OFF position. That only happened once, after that, the speed simply jumped around. The sounds where not that crazy this time. None the less, a crazy new development. All in all, I'm still torn as to whether to pack it off to the doctor again. Dom, Mohammad– rereading your posts hushed me a little as to just how big of a problem this is. On the other hand, some of those moments really seemed erratic to me. It could be though that it is just within the character of the cam, and since it's possible for it to run wild in during low power, I guess anything is possible that qualifies as running WILD. I'm wondering what difference the CE controller would make in all this. Worth talking to CE about? Despite the huge downturn in the demand for these system, CE still appears to have some support for their SR configurations. I like the controller a lot, a nice option for variable speed. Thanks for your help.
  14. Yeah it should be fine. Airport / security personnel maintain that stocks rated BELOW 800 ASA / ISO are safe. I used to avoid bringing film through the machines in airports, as I didn't trust their info, but I have done it a few times now, with numerous stocks (rated up to 500 ASA) and have not had problems.
  15. Hi, Well, Arri on-boards are available from places like Visual Products in Ohio, and will come re-celled and guaranteed, which is nice. It'll cost you though. If you are looking for more economic solutions, I simply recommend a 12-volt power source that is not made by Arri, like a battery belt. This is different ergonomically from the onboard, but there are a few advantages: Modern Ni-Cad belts are capable of holding a lot of 12 volt power- one with over 10 amp hours will set you up for AT LEAST a days's shooting, unless you are putting over like 30 x 400' rolls through the camera in one shoot. Some people prefer the belt to the onboard as the extra weight in on the operator's hips or slung around the tripod legs. Also, one of the VERY few SR design flaws, in my opinion, is the battery system. It puts stress on the XLR input, even with the magnetic connection between the mag and battery. The connection between the 4-pin to battery mount is also delicate– if an inexperienced assistant wriggles and or twists the battery off the coupler, then that may crack the battery. Belts are perfectly safe for the SR 1 & 2– if they are 12 volts. I'm a little hazy but I think that 14 volts may be a little high for any original Arr SR I or 2 motor. Maybe not though, I know you can exceed by a little. When possible though, pushing UP on the volt scale is something I avoid with my SRll, for the reason that it is such a great machine that deserves as little stress as possible. Now, I currently have a 12-volt Bescor battery belt for sale on eBay (sorry, I'll be brief, here not sure if it's appropriate to introduce business to this section of the forum), one that was purchased for with an ARRIFLEX SR ll. If the idea of a belt does not offend you, then this item, or something similar, will solve your power problems– absolutely. It's 12-volt with 12 amp hours, and is in essentially new condition. Perfectly safe for the SR (not the SR 3, which runs on 24v). A real steal, as you will get a new condition belt for about half the NEW price. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bescor-12-volt-Battery-Belt-/130724519469?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e6fc9de2d#ht_500wt_1103 As for jerry rigging another camera battery as an onboard– I wouldn't. Camera power is one field that people will explore with many home-made options, which is great, but unless you have old onboards that needs re-celling or something, it may be more trouble than it's worth, and it's possible that the typical Arri onboard problems will only be exacerbated by the unusual design of another system's battery. Ok, I hope this helps. Isaac
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