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Rob Goldstein

How hard is it to work with 16mm?

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Hi.

 

I recently purchased a 16mm camera(Krasnogorsk 3), mostly for learning purposes. I don't do any professional work. I make skateboarding video between me and my friends. I wanted to know how hard it is to get started with 16mm cameras? I've only had expierence with MiniDV, which isn't any work as far as camera operations. 16mm obviously has a bit more than popping in a tape and shooting.

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Hi.

 

I recently purchased a 16mm camera(Krasnogorsk 3), mostly for learning purposes. I don't do any professional work. I make skateboarding video between me and my friends. I wanted to know how hard it is to get started with 16mm cameras? I've only had expierence with MiniDV, which isn't any work as far as camera operations. 16mm obviously has a bit more than popping in a tape and shooting.

 

Well, you've got to learn how to load the film in the camera properly, and then know how to expose the film properly. If you've never done film photography before, exposure will be your biggest concern. If that's the case, you could benefit from picking up a book about the technical basics of photography.

 

Since there's no "white balance" feature with film, you'll need to pay attention to the color balance of the film you're using (daylight or tungsten), and use the proper color filter on the lens if need be.

 

If you're planning on using the camera for your skatebaording videos, then you'd probably start off with a slow-speed daylight balanced stock. I don't recall if the K3 has a built-in TTL light meter, but if it doesn't you may want to pick up an inexpensive light meter as well. Under sunny conditions you can always just rely on the "sunny 16 rule," which says proper exposure is film speed over shutterspeed at f16 on a sunny day. In other words, 50 ASA stock at a shutterspeed of 1/50 (close enough for 24fps) gives you an f16 in full sunlight.

 

How are you planning on viewing your film footage? Are you going to have it transferred to video, or do you have access to a 16mm projector?

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Loading was the biggest concern. I looked at pictures from another topic, and it didn't seem amazingly complicated, so I am willing to try.

 

As far as viewing, I don't have a projector. I'm not going to be taking super-hollywood shots. I doubt I would have to review it afterwards or anything. I hope to get it transfered to MiniDV or a DVD (Which is better?).

 

Yes, seems kind of dumb. But like I said, it's not for any profesional work.

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I hope to get it transfered to MiniDV or a DVD (Which is better?).

 

between those two - definitely miniDV - less compression and easier to load if you have a miniDV device - which I gather you do.

 

Since you're going through the expense of telecine, you might want to record to to something like digibeta just for archival purposes and might want to do something more with the video some day.

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Hi,

 

Get someone else to load, I did, and it's not the kind of thing you want to get wrong. It's all too easy to spend thousands on stock, process and telecine - and only once you have done all that, and perhaps spent more actually doing whatever it is you want to shoot, will you know if it is wrong. It's a terrifying possibility and not one I would countenance.

 

I found shooting 16, being used to video, to generally be a pain in the backside. You can't just run around and run off pickups like you do with video, there's a whole cavalcade of stuff to do before hitting the "go" button and focus becomes a task unto itself (less so if you're shooting outdoors at F/16, but still.) Constantly budgeting what you can get on the end of a roll, how much you have left available, what you can load into what mags. what you've got covered and what you haven't, what you can afford to retake or what you'll have to go with - it's a logistical nightmare.

 

Even with decent crew I'd allow one and a half to two times as much time to shoot on 16 as opposed to a little handycam, and probably more.

 

Phil

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......and focus becomes a task unto itself (less so if you're shooting outdoors at F/16, but still.) Constantly budgeting what you can get on the end of a roll, how much you have left available, what you can load into what mags. what you've got covered and what you haven't, what you can afford to retake or what you'll have to go with - it's a logistical nightmare.

 

Even with decent crew I'd allow one and a half to two times as much time to shoot on 16 as opposed to a little handycam, and probably more.

 

Phil

 

I think that Phil is overstating things.

 

First - yes you need to focus - and that is one of the best bits about 16mm, having some Depth of field - one of the things that distinguishes 16mm from DV (that means being able to manipulate the focus, as opposed to video where everything, from near to far, appears in focus).

 

"having" to focus will give to about 10 times more image control than you have with your mini DV, just to kick off with.

 

Second - it really is not that difficult to load a 16mm camera. Admitedly you want to practice a little first - I did - I practiced with an old roll - I think it took all of 3 goes. Ideally get a manual for the camera bacause this will give a little help about the "loops" - the film needs to loop above and below the gate and not be too tight or too loose.

 

Third - Exposure. Regardless of whether you have a built in light meter (if you have in the K3 I would not trust it anyway) These are available on E-bay, or you could get a new one. I could recommend the very handy and quick to use Seconic L-308B. Go out to shoot your skate boarding, set the meter for the film speed and take an incident reading by pointing it at the light source - eg the Sky - and fire away.

 

The best thing you can do is order 2 roll 3 rolls of reversal film (apparently the Kodak 100D 7285 is a great new stock) Try and make some notes about the meter readings and the aperture settings you have used so you know when you view your footage - you will learn a LOT this way, especially about getting the exposure right. You will be able to look at a scene and very quickly determine how you want to expose.

 

Fourth - on the colour temperature issue. The film stock mentioned above is balanced for daylight (Hence the "D") This means that if you shoot it in daylight colours should be rendered pretty much as they are. IF you shot it under artificial tungsten light everything would appear too warm and too red - this is because tungsten light is a lower colour temperature and the film is balanced for the higher colour temperature of daylight - which is bluer.

 

However you can correct this very easily. If you want to shoot Daylight balanced film in tungsten you can use a blue colour conversion filter (80A) and this will mean colours are rendered accurately. If you are using tungsten balanced film (and most motion picture film is tungsten balanced) you could use an 85 filter to convert for use in daylight. You ahve to remember though that these filters do "steal" some light - the 85 about a third of a stop - so a 100ASA film becomes a 64ASA film - and the blue 80 filter steals a huge 2 stops (if I remember rightly) This is why normally the conversion is tungsten to daylight for practical reasons- but if you know that you are only shooting outside then daylight stock could be a wise choice.

 

The best thing you can do is just try a couple of rolls - use the 100ft daylight loading spools -

 

And for your purposes, a transfer to MiniDV will be ideal - you could then use you camcorder to feed the footage into a computer and edit it, add music etc etc.

 

You would need to transfer the film for this and that is another topic.....

 

Matt

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Hi,

 

There's a whole cavalcade of stuff to do before hitting the "go" button and FOCUS becomes a task unto itself...

 

Phil

 

You mean you don't focus when you shoot video?

And you don't use a lightmeter to check exposures?

What kinda videographer are you?

 

You should do the same thing for video as I do when shooting film

Check your focus (albeit you don't have to measure...)

Check your exposure

Load the tape properly (shoot a min. of color bars and it takes as long as film)

 

People who say video is easier than film are lazy & don't know how to shoot video.

It takes just as much hard work to properly shoot video.

 

Now with that said; it can be scary getting accustomed to shooting film

Especially when one is accustomed to seeing the image they shoot immediately

 

But shoot enough film and you'll get used to it

If you trust your judgement, know your stock, trust your AC...

Trust your lightmeter, trust your gaffer, and trust your lighting skills...

You'll know almost exactly what you'll get when you send your film to the lab.

 

 

And always remeber-->use the force :)

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First, thanks to everyone who has replied. Very detailed information :D

 

Some of the things i'm not sure are that you guys are talking about. I'm pretty new to all this, so I'm kind of confused. What exactly does the light meter do? Another thing I was wondering was where you could purchase kodaks film of thier website. I see alot of information but no where to buy it. My camera came with 2 rolls of film, so I plan to fool around with those to get the idea of how to use it, then buy more from kodak.

 

Sorry for all the questions, but like I said, pretty new to these things.

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Hi,

 

> You mean you don't focus when you shoot video?

 

Yes, just not as critically. At the same stop, my 1/2" video camera has almost identical depth of field to super16 for the same vertical field of view. However, my camera is at least twice as fast as commonly used filmstock, so it's something I can do if I want to and avoid if I don't.

 

Personally I think the problem with focus on film is the insistence of having someone else do it - someone tell me please why it is a good idea for someone who can't see the image to judge whether it's in focus or not, I kept wanting to bat the AC's hands off the controls, it drove me nuts.

 

> And you don't use a lightmeter to check exposures?

 

No, of course not, I want my image correctly exposed, thanks!

 

> Check your focus (albeit you don't have to measure...)

 

Two minutes saved.

 

> Check your exposure

 

Two minutes more.

 

> Load the tape properly (shoot a min. of color bars and it takes as long as film)

 

Balls. Overlooking the fact that you don't need to shoot bars to digital formats, it's still much faster.

 

> People who say video is easier than film are lazy & don't know how to shoot video.

 

I'll take the insult in the spirit in which it's intended, then, shall I?

 

> It takes just as much hard work to properly shoot video.

 

It is an incontrovertible material fact that it doesn't.

 

Phil

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<Personally I think the problem with focus on film is the insistence of having <someone else do it - someone tell me please why it is a good idea for someone <who can't see the image to judge whether it's in focus or not, I kept wanting to <bat the AC's hands off the controls, it drove me nuts.

 

Phil,

 

I often do my own focus shooting 35mm. If I am on a long lens at T2 or hand held following action its much easier. Otherwise my assistant starts saying there is less than 1 inch DOF, and starts getting nervous! Remember the DoP is the boss!

 

> People who say video is easier than film are lazy & don't know how to shoot video.

> It takes just as much hard work to properly shoot video.

<It is an incontrovertible material fact that it doesn't.

 

I think shooting on film can be easier than video! mabe even quicker if you don`t have a video tap! (you don't have to explain what your doing! ) There is a greater dynamic range on film so I think it's easier to get great results!

 

 

Stephen Williams DoP

Zurich Switzerland

 

www.stephenw.com

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I strongly suggest doing some still photography with a completely manual camera and an external light meter and taking notes.

Reading a good book about colour photography will give you the basics about filters etc.

While it's true that I have far more experience with film than with video I found that video has far less latitide than film and the overall logistics of HD are more time consuming especially when there are alot of set-ups.

Video cameras are far more fragile as well and problems are more likely to need a highly trained technician to sort out.

Film obliges you to think more about what you are doing which I feel is a "more focused" way of working.

I have never seen post-prod slo-mo that looked as good as in-camera stuff shot on film. And slo-mo is definitely a technique that has a place for skateboarding stuff.

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I spent a good number of years with Pentax K-1000 Manual SLR's. The ability to play with ASA's, fstops, shutter speeds and focal lengths and cheap processing taught me a LOT about how film works, how to properly read and expose with a light meter for reflective readings (ie. if you have a light source in a frame its a big no no, it will give you a false reading and you'll end up underexposing) and how one adjustment on any of these factors can change your outcome dramatically. I picked up a Minolta MD not too long ago at a swap meet with a stock 50mm lens for under $30, I suggest doing that to test out how it all works and what the prints look like before shooting expensive motion picture stock.

 

Firewire/Mini-DV is totally the way to go over DVD, the compression scheme is better.

 

Now I'm not an expert with 20 credits to my name so take my comments with a grain of salt if you wish, but 16mm and 35mm motion picture film are pro formats, and like all pro tools require knowledge about the tool and the process of what your are doing with it. If you want a film camera you can just slap a cartridge into and go, they make s8 cameras just for that. But Skateboarding, if done right, could be really, really sweet on 16. Just get used to what you are doing.

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Guest fstop

Whenever someone posts in this thread on the main board it reads:

 

16mm

How hard is it to work with...

*insert curent posters name here*

 

LOL!

 

The S16 shoot was quite an experience for you by the sounds of it, huh Phil?

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Personally I think the problem with focus on film is the insistence of having someone else do it - someone tell me please why it is a good idea for someone who can't see the image to judge whether it's in focus or not, I kept wanting to bat the AC's hands off the controls, it drove me nuts.

 

Phil, for drama the focus has to be dead on with the action. If there's a any slop or "buzzed" moments trying to "find" the focus when following an actor, it kills the shot. Even when shooting video, for really precise pulls I have someone else pull focus for me.

 

The focus rings of film lenses are also geared differently than ENG lenses. ENG lenses have a very small amount of rotation which makes it easier for the operator to pull focus with one hand but harder to nail a precise mark (it's easier to buzz the focus by rotating too far); film lenses have a larger degree of roatation which makes it easier to hit a precise mark with a follow-focus, but more difficult to do with one hand while operating.

 

These days AC's usually CAN see the image via an LCD monitor, so the AC knows what the operator is framing.

 

And lastly, you CAN pull focus by yourself with a film camera, but many times the advantages of having an assitant outweighs the simplicity of doing it yourself. Sometimes the spinning mirror under low-light or heavily ND'd situations makes it hard for the operator to see critical focus while the camera is rolling.

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Guest jeremy edge
Also, where is a good site to buy film? I've been to Kodaks site, but don't see where to actually purchase it. What other sites are good?

 

filmemporium.com

thedrgroup.com

raw-stock.com

bhphotovideo.com(limited selection but decent prices)

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Wait a sec. How much does one roll actually go for? I'm looking at filmemporium's kodak rolls, and it says they're only 12 to around 35 cents. Is this right?

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Heh, well that makes sense now.

 

What is the different between the cans? I see Factory, Shortends, Recaned. What makes one better than the other?

Edited by Rob Goldstein

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Direct from Kodak is .36/ft for 100' loads of any stock. Shipping is pretty good though.

 

You need to call your local Kodak representative, 800-621-FILM

Edited by Trevor Greenfield

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Something else the US has on the UK is the use of the telephone alphanet. I mean, c'mon, to live in a world where I could be 1-800-PHIL.

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Phil is right about the work & trouble involved, but once you see the end product, it's all worth it.

 

It's kinda like if a virgin asked a person what sex was like, and the answer was:

 

Oh man, it's really hard work, you sweat a lot, it's messy, you need to learn all this weird technical stuff, probably buy books to find out the "secrets", then there are all these health concerns you have to worry about it, blah blah blah.

 

Uh... yeah, but the results are worth it!

 

Reminds me of a saying I heard a long time ago:

"Good sex is great. Bad sex is OK"

 

Matt Pacini

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Hi,

 

> Phil is right about the work & trouble involved, but once you see the end product, it's all worth it.

 

I used to agree. I just don't think it offers enough of a bonus, if you're finishing to video. You end up throwing away the extra dynamic range in the transfer just to give it a bit of snap, or it looks so flat and milky it's completely horrible. Okay, so it's that I'm inexperienced in the medium, but if that's the case then it's just a matter of knowledge and frankly it's somewhat easier, hugely cheaper, and at least factor-two faster to get better results out of electronic imaging. I would contend that anyone who disputed that simply didn't know what they were doing with video.

 

I'm not going to turn into a PD-150 nut; the sooner we can get rid of the over-DSP'd, compressed and subsampled systems currently in vogue the better. Even now, though, as far as I'm concerned film is an overpriced, capricious pain in the neck which doesn't offer nearly enough advantages to make it worth my while to put up with it.

 

Phil

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