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Christian Schonberger

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Everything posted by Christian Schonberger

  1. Hello, Christian here. Thinking about getting a Scoopic. So I would like to ask if you think it is possible to do an Ultra 16 conversion at home by yours truly having patience, reasonable skills and tools. Any kind of information highly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. Well I own a K-3 which runs fine after the obligatory steps (gate polishing, loop formers removed, light leaks taped, etc.). When the spring runs out, the shutter stops at a random position on my K-3, but it takes just a small touch counterclockwise with the wind up blade (if that's the right word) and the shutter mechanism safely snaps into place. This also ensures that the pulldown claw is engaged and the film is held firmly in place. Hope this helps.
  3. Hmm, there are a lot of 1990s and 2000s movies shot and Kodak (source: IMDB - I might add that I provided a lot of information which was approved) and I am not sure that being cheaper has to do with it. Also: how does a particular print film stock affect the final result from a print neg on a contact printer? I think we need to know the entire process (printers and every film stock used at each step). Sorry if I sound nitpicking, but each step is important.
  4. Excellent point! I see a lot of emulation of the '60s and '70s look with its often muddy browns, some even on smaller film formats (35mm 2-perf Techniscope for "American Hustle" comes to mind) but somehow the '80s look (I am simplifying here obviously) seems to be hard to nail. "It Follows" tried that on digital and it was more the set design and subject matter that evoked the 1980s than he actual image. And of course it has to do with the genre "Hell Or High Water" (loved it!) is what you could call a neo-western. I was put off by its digital look constantly - despite otherwise great cinematography, story and acting. I think it would have looked miles better if shot on Super 35mm (or even Super 16, as Wes Anderson proved with Moonrise Kindom, all Vision 3 200T, Super 16). BUT it might have been just the color grading and digital post. I usually still can spot very fast (often after just a few shots or less) if it's film or digital. I cannot overemphasize it enough: I'm not a film purist. My preference for film (there is a certain quality that still seems very hard to emulate, especially when a movie tries that), especially on an emotional level, is my own personal opinion and I fully respect others.
  5. David, Thanks for the information. I am positive that some remaining (please keep in mind that I am not an expert) characteristics of film can be emulated to near perfection in the D.I. IF one wishes. I am talking about things like highlight roll off in certain situations (it obviously all becomes more evident on smaller film formats) or different grain patterns on different hues. It's just a matter of creating the correct algorithms. I remember a few years ago when digital simulations of tube distortion and speaker saturation (all very desirable effects in certain genres of music) were completely unconvincing. Now these can be re-created by software extremely convincingly. So my conclusion is that any organic behavior of film which can't be recreated convincingly yet (if desired, that is) it will be just a matter of time. Well I still personally prefer the look and feel of film for certain moods and feels, but I don't believe in "magic". It's definitely just a matter of truly understanding how it works and it can be modeled (simulated) with software. Again: if desired. Thanks for your input, Christian
  6. Mark and Philip: Thank you for the information! Well I was aware of the soft filters (stockings) and (at least with Vision 3) the 200T with an 85 filter is quite popular. I know that the Vision 2 looks somehow slightly colder than the later Vision 3. Pull processing would also be one of my guesses, but the article in American Cinematographer actually explains it in accurate detail. Anyway: love the look and feel of the movie. Very unique and perfect to create the intended mood an feel. Thanks again, Christian
  7. Hello Group, Just watched "Atonement" (2007) and it immediately looked like Fuji to me. It had those typical saturated and "airy" colors - as opposed to the more "earthy" colors usually found on (Eastman) Kodak stocks from EXR through Vision3. I know that's a broad generalization, but words can say only so much. IMDB states that it was shot on Kodak Vision 2, but somehow it doesn't look like it at all. Perhaps the digital color grading changed it dramatically without looking "tweaked". With recent digital color grading it is hard to tell anyway which film stock was used, especially when the grading is heavy. Still, my bet would have been Fuji (I know there were different neg stocks, not only regarding speed (ASA/ISO), but to my eyes this almost screams Fuji, both in the daylight and in the night time footage. Any information about how this (great) look was achieved and which stock was used is highly appreciated. Thanks in advance, Christian
  8. Phil, My basic idea is that Super 16mm, even with modern Kodak Vision 3 neg stock, is not
  9. Robin, No need to apologize. I mean it. Got all the information I need from the thread. Thanks for that. Will look around for a really nice, reliable S 16 camera and good glass. Knowing how to work with it and digital post done just right will deliver all I'll ever need. Merry Christmas to all! Christian
  10. Robin, Thanks for the reply. No problem with the grain on S16. It's fine enough (obviously depending on stock) for my projects and I tend to be really careful to nail the exposure (including lower ASA/ISO ratings on color neg if needed). About threading: at the moment I am shooting with a humble S 16 modded K-3 (loop formers removed, quirks solved) and I have no problem with the really fiddly threading, including double checking and open running a few bursts, before closing and tape sealing, to make sure the loops are good, stay and all runs fine). Sure: with a coax mag it's different. No film chamber and the pressure plate is part of the mag itself. I'm fine with both - I'm not a professional, so I take my time (and keep the gate clean hahaha) as long as the body/mag work perfectly. IMHO 16mm/S 16 needs really good glass, because you don't need to "bang up" an image that's too clean unless you want the Roger Deakins (deakinizer) effect. Happy holidays, Christian
  11. Tyler and Stuart: thanks a lot for your kind replies! Yup: after thinking it through: Super 16mm is the way to go - it is easier to get a good body and good glass - and modern scans of the camera original neg look really good. Yes: that was my idea: since I also crop the sides (on 2-perf 35mm that is), I guesstimated that a standard lens would be 30-something millimeters. of course I would go Super 35mm 3-perf in the blink of an eye. But that will be forever out of reach. Thanks again for sharing your thoughs and expertise! Merry Christmas (or whatever it is you are celebrating)! Happy shooting (with a camera of course)! Christian
  12. Samuel and Tyler, Thanks a lot for your fast replies. Don't have the $$$ right now, otherwise I'd buy that sweet Arrifex right now. That model even exceeds what I was hoping for. AWESOME! Gotta wait until I have enough money. Thanks for the info regarding the focal lengths. Since I am very likely not shooting in the "scope" format (1:2.35-ish), but rather (as I mentioned) in 1:1.85 or the slightly less wide 16:9, for various reasons - the crop factor comes in. I know it's all a matter of the way one looks at it. A 50mm lens is always a 50mm lens. On 2-perf 1:1.85 I just have the sides cropped off a little (will compose protected for it though), hence my estimated 30 simethingmillimeter as a standard. But one can see it as a cropped 50mm. No problem: got all that figured out. BUT that's all a pipe dream as for now. Just wanted to check. LOVE the good old Arriflex 35 IIC. Kubrick loved this machine (as you all know of course) The new restored versions (I suppose from the camera originals, so no dye transfer and/or optical anamorhic printing onto 4.perf 35mm) of The Leone "Dollar" trilogy and Once Upon A Time In The West look just outstanding. "Shame" (2001, Arricam Lite, Techniscope) also was filmed on 2-perf. Looks great! Have a great Holiday season and thank you! Christain Thanks again
  13. Hello Group, A couple of times I heard that 35mm 2-perf is an excellent alternative to Super 16mm film. Lately I discovered some sources (facebook), where older, used film cameras are being sold in near perfect condition - for very accessible prices (no glass though). No worries: I won't buy anything without making 100% sure I know what I will get. I am obviously on a budget, but doing all the math: 35mm 2-perf (even with the sides cropped to 1.85:1 or 16:9) seems to be excellent value for money since the improvement regarding grain and resolution is clearly visible and the price for film stock and procesing is only slightly higher - I get about 22 minutes from a 1000ft load of readily available 35mm camera film stock. My only two concerns: I can't afford a modern camera which has a -perf option factory built-in (such as some Aaton models). So I was thinking of the expertly converted Arriflex 53 IIC, which was used very successfully as a Techniscope camera and is great (if not as great as modern cameras) for hand held. And I don't know if 2-perf scanning is easy to come by. Let alone the price for good glass. I have no idea which focal length is considered standard (when assuming that 50mm is the average standard for 35mm spherical and 25mm for 16mm. That would make it for Techiscope around 38mm I suppose (?). Any suggestions (including talking me out of the idea) highly appreciated. Please take into consideration that I am located in the EU (the good stuff is usually all in the US). Merry Christmas to all members of this great board. I have learned a LOT from the very helpful members. Here is a huge Thank You!!!! Christian
  14. David, Thanks a lot for your very comprehensive insight! Much appreciated. Christian
  15. Hello group! Just finished watching the great Wes Anderson film: "Moonrise Kingdom" (2012), which - according to IMDb - was all shot on Kodak Vision 3 200T Super 16mm (A-Minima and Aaton Xtera). It looks fantastic IMHO. I wonder how the night scenes were done. These look underexposed on purpose, which of course is the correct choice, but I can see no coarser grain anywhere. Was it perhaps exposed correctly and darkened in post (or pull processed)? The grain pattern is really nice and very even throughout the movie (it seems to have a few zoomed-in shots done in post, making it just a bit softer, but not grainier). Text and graphics (inserts) seem to be all shot or done (computer graphics) on digital, which I think is O.K. (better than with added fake film grain which doesn't quite match the real deal). Also: does anyone have the information if the V3 200T in daylight was used with an 85 type filter (or gel) or color corrected in post? Any information regarding avoiding excessive grain in the shadows with 16mm Vision 3 color film stock highly appreciated. Thanks in advance, Christian
  16. Awesome! Congrats! How did you come across and get this treasure? IMHO this is still a fantastic film camera to this day. I hope it is in fine working condition and you can go out and shoot some great images (unless you prefer keeping it untouched). Anyway: congrats again!
  17. Freya, Absolutely! I'm more than fine with the K-3 and my two lenses: the stock meteor zoom and the Zenitar 16 prime. Not sure if 10mm is free of vignetting on a Super 16mm converted Bolex. Yes: I largely prefer Super 16mm. The 3:4 format (it's a matter of taste only) looks not only odd (by now) pillar boxed inside a 16:9 screen, but I am also used to frame composition for 16:9 (1:1.77...) or 1.1.85 - you can have a group of people naturally without irrelevant image information top and bottom and it's perfect for simply two people talking together in any situation. Did I mention landscapes? Any true step up would mean an external magazine without it being as fiddly as an add-on (Arri-S, Bolex, Beaulieu, 1 and 3 are next to impossible to convert to S 16 anyway) because it's as fiddly to load if not more than internal 100ft spools, a crystal sync motor and not having to live without a true mirror reflex system. That means a LOT of money - if you can find one in top notch condition. If I had the $$$, I wouldn't hesitate a second buying a truly professional S 16mm camera. As for now, I'm fine with the K-3. I'm willing to make heavy compromises and workarounds just to use real film and have it color graded to look like the film stock I used (unless a project calls for some "creative" grading/compositing). No substitute for that when it comes to telling a great story and make the images endlessly rewatchable. Just my opinion.... i wouldn't even dare dreaming about 35mm, not even 2-perf. Thanks, Christian
  18. Freya, Didn't know about the 25mm limit on many of the old 16mm turret cameras, especially since 25mm is considered the "normal/medium" focal length (kinda) the equivalent to 50mm on 35mm cameras. No worries, I don't use wide angles because it has become fashionable. I love seeing details in the background in, say, establishing shots. 16mm is the smallest format that can get you that kind of detail (not super crisp, but it's there and easy to watch). I am also fully aware that wide angle lenses are not very flattering to the human face when shot at a close distance. Obviously - I will use a longer focal length if I want to create a certain distance (if the set piece or location allows for that - it should. It's the first thing I look for after the general look and feel: do I have enough space for the camera to choose the focal length freely or am I forced to use wide angle. I live in Europe where many cities are built incredibly narrow and small compared to North America. You want to film part of a block and already bump into the one on the opposite street? You'll need a wide angle. 16mm is barely enough where I live. Heard in a "making of" feature (I think it was Jurassic Park) that director Steven Spielberg sees the world in 21mm. Not sure if that takes 35mm Panavision style anamorphic into account, but anyway: on 16mm film that would be (around) 10.5mm. And yes: the meteor zoom has a few slight issues (pincushion distortion at telephoto and barrel distortion on wider angles, starting as soon as 20mm - also a tiny bit of chromatic abberation/color fringing appears on the edges of Super 16mm - but the general quality is very good and I don't mind some lens distortion - this is "the movies" and needs to look and feel right, not be right. They had to keep the zoom range short-ish to avoid the many problems and costs. 17-69mm is O.K. but nothing to write home about. It's an old design from the 1960s. I think it's fine and I use it with confidence. Thanks for sharing your information. Christian
  19. Freya, Yes it's a humble Super 16mm re-centered K-3 with M42 mount. The lenses available for the M42 mount are all for still photography. Because of the crop factor it is impossible to find a real great wide angle lens (that would be something between 10-12mm for the 16mm film format). Got a 16mm Zenitar with moderate (=acceptable) barrel dirstortion, giving me an extra millimeter and a pin sharp, vignetting-free image. The peleng 8mm is unusable for Super 16mm beause the fisheye barrel distortion is very heavy and makes everything look like GoPro footage. The Meteor zoom (quite fast at f/1.9 all through the zoom range) that comes with the camera is just fine. I have no use for, say, 35mm or 50mm prime lenses. Got that covered with the stock zoom. I'm also not too keen on telephoto shots. I like it a little more "cinematic". The camera is way too cheap to invest in an M42 mount prime lens with a focal length I have already covered, only because of certain characteristics (and the faster the lens: the more expensive). The "wide choice" is a bit misleading, since you will have a very hard time finding a wide angle lens. The rare old Takumar 17mm also has barrel distortion and is too expensive when in mint condition. I also heard of an obscure 15mm lens once (probably very expensive if in good condition and fungus free). What makes the "wide choice" not that "wide" is the aforementioned crop factor of the 16mm format. Any old (regular 16mm I should say)16mm camera with a three lens turret had a 10mm or a 12mm wide angle included (often: 10mm - 25mm - 65mm). No such luck with the K-3. Too bad the great classic Arri-S/M/BL cameras can't be easily converted to Super16mm, it needs a very complex rebuilt of many parts (Ultra 16mm is fine, but it has no vertical headroom - you are literally stuck between sprocket holes - and it's not quite the same as Super 16, cropped regular 16mm is too soft and grainy for my humble taste). I won't get into alternatives for the K-3. Been there. Besides: I don't have the money for that anyway. Otherwise I'll probably own a good Eclair NPR, Super 16 converted, with at least a nice Angie zoom that gives me at least 12mm - and of course longer - I obviously don't shoot everything wide angle, but I'm a wide angle lens fan for many reasons (you can shoot from within a conversation, handheld is the easiest, you can include the background in narrower spaces, etc. etc. - without vignetting. Christian
  20. Freya, Not annoying at all! Well I'm a starving musician and I couldn't afford a camera (digital or film) which allows for at least a decent choice of lenses. I know the lenses I have and they are decent (within the dirt cheap). Wouldn't mind having an Arriflex 416 with a huge choice of lenses, working with T-stops and real cinema lenses (long throw focus and all) - or better: a 35mm film camera (while we're at it: of course a modern Super 35, 3-perf) so the film grain is fine enough as not to be distracting and we go from damage control to creativity. Yep: lenses are of utmost importance when you have a wide choice. For certain shots with a wide angle in narrow spaces, I probably would prefer slight barrel distortion over rectilinear which seems to "suck" objects into the corners of the frame. Let's not get started on old uncoated lenses, blooming effect, and even desirable types of lens aberrations. Anamorphic is even more complex with the different brands and series, all with their particular quirks, fans having a field day with narrow depth-of-field, oval bokeh, lens flare and barrel distortion. And yes: the film stock is very important with anamorphic: with coarser grain you can spot the 2x stretching of the grain pattern. Film stock has become kind of a moot point since the last 15 years or so, since many a movie shot on film is so heavily graded. As for color stock: I'm sad that Fuji called it a day a few years ago. They made some killer stock for a certain silky smooth look (PTA's Punch Drunk Love for example - that's all Fuji Super-F neg. Very different from There Will be Blood, which used Kodak Vision 2 with its slightly more earthy colors and that again was the perfect choice IMHO). Scorsese's Raging Bull was a mix of Double-X and Plus-X (not sure if the latter was processes as neg). Looks just perfect for me. But all the aforementioned were 35mm formats. Not a film purist, I just happen to love the look of certain film stocks to death (and to feel the film running through the gate when I'm shooting - who loves it will understand). the choice is quite narrow and where I live, the Tri-X is expensive, the cheapest being the Orwo UN54, which is definitely not what I'm looking for. Yet, I might zap a test roll through my camera and see what happens. Just my ramblings. I'm by no means an expert or anything resembling a pro. I wish I was, but you can't be anything you want. That's a fairytale - especially where I come from. Christian
  21. Yep: codec artifacts are nasty, especially on 16mm footage that is not (say) Vision3 50D. As I said: it's a matter of taste. I do like some film grain - the one and only problem I have with Tri-X is that the grain looks very different in dark gray areas than it does above a certain threshold. I see it again and again on 16mm footage. The Double-X is an old emulsion (probably with only a very slight upgrade) and doesn't have the Kodak T-grain. I do like the pattern of negative grain structure though, because it doesn't consist only of dark random "ant crawling" clumps, but it looks a little more complex to my old eyes, and simply a little easier on the eye. I also like the slightly smoother overall look. Tri-X can be a little harsh (but one never knows how much digital sharpening had been applied on an online video or a digital file). Obviously all that can be heavily modified by digital grading. A friend of mine (mentioned him before) did a very nice job reducing the grain of my Tri-X just enough so that I don't lose a lot of detail (any grain reduction has to sacrifice detail, obviously - the software is getting better, but only in very small steps recently) and no crazy artifacts (as happens with Neat Video, which works great with different source material) appear. Still: I like the stock I use being as close as possible to what I'd like to see. Well I'll shoot a 100ft roll of 16mm Double-X, have a nice 2K scan made (Prores, my old computer can't handle larger files) and see what happens. Just to make it clear again: I like film grain, but only so much. When it becomes "image content" and draws away the attention, it's definitely too much. My personal taste is having a silky film look that doesn't try to be anything else than what it is, but with that polished, professional feel - if possible. Thanks, Christian
  22. It's of course a matter of taste, But look at my Tri-X footage (mostly overkanked on a humble Super 16mm converted, lens re-centered, K-3), to smooth out the handheld. Tripods are strongly forbidden in the city where I live, only professionals can get an expensive permit through Film Comission (it's a money grab by the authorities). The vertical scratch is since fixed (polished the gate). Look how sweet the lighter (or slightly overexposed) areas look, and how dirty the grain pattern looks as soon when a "value threshold" is reached. Even, dark gray areas are unacceptably grainy. I have much higher res original file (ProRes from a 2K scan, with the grain not blocking but detailed) - it looks dirty. Not what I'm after. Noticed that on all (!!!) Tri-X footage online. Some have heavy temporal grain reduction. It comes through when things or people move fast (no reference from adjacent frames). IMHO that looks really ugly. But it's a matter of taste. My Tri-X test: The vertical jitter is dead easy to stabilize with an overscan since I have plenty of vertical headroom anyway: Thanks and best wishes, Christian
  23. No problem with halation around strong highlights. Freya, may I ask which one is (was) your favorit B&W stock? I dismissed Tri-X. There is a threshold. Anything lighter and it looks sharp and great, anything darker and you get golfball sized grain with an unpleasant pattern. IMHO not acceptable. Did test footage - that stock it out of the question. That leaves the Orwo UN 54 which I find too soft and grainy (as stated before). Here is the only example online (regular 16mm) at 1440p I could find. Really like it a lot (except for the vertical jitter, but I don't have problems with that): Christian
  24. Mark, Makes all sense. The neg will be scanned anyway, so no problems. BTW: seen some Double-X on YouTube and checked for any kind of halation or other undesired reflections. Looks completely clean.
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