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Kenny N Suleimanagich

Estar stocks in modern cameras

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Hello all,

 

After browsing around in an old thread about Wittnerchrome, I noticed people chiming in about using ester stocks in modern motion picture cameras. Dom Jaeger helpfully chimed in about potential issues with movements when using these as recording film.

 

I couldn’t help but wonder: why does this present an issue, and are there any ways around it? How exactly can an estar base ruin the movement of a camera - is it because the mechanism of a claw is too much for the base to handle and, therefore, gums up the camera?

 

I own and use an Arri 416 (and have a Bolex and K3 for B cameras) and am curious about using estar-base stock in the 416. I would love some info as to how and why (and if) I should steer clear of using this type of stock.

 

I might make calls to camera technicians this week, but wanted some experts here to chime in as well. Figured it was best to put this all in one place.

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Movements have been damaged by polyester-base film that didn’t break. Most accidents happen in theaters when adventurous tape splices cause misalignment and the film gets wound around the intermittent sprocket. Camera accidents occured at high speed. The film loops become instable at some point depending on film thickness and loop size.

 

Welding equipment is valuable to make reliable joints but many do not want to spend the money for an ultrasonic or a mirror welder. Instead they use the Rivas or the Catozzo splicer or simply a splicing block and perforated tape. Over the years the film ends can “swim” apart a little under the tape, enough to provoke eventual derailment. Automatisation practice of cutting off head and end leaders is the symptom, projectionists removed from where they belong is the problem.

 

Uncut polyester film itself is no threat. Thinner-than-usual polyester-base film such as Gigabitfilm 40 runs through cameras since 2005. If a camera “bites” the stock, a sprocket drum likely has little burrs or dents.

 

Perforation errors exist. Be assured that the established film manufacturers sell good stock only. Homemade stuff is reported to be perforated non conform to standards from Germany and England.

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Hi,


there should be no problems when using Wittner Chrome 200D in a K3, Bolex or Arri camera. Even the very tricky Aaton A-Minima gets happy with this stock if the roll (wound "EO" Emulsion side out) was stored long enough in this unusual reverse wind. Nice example can be found here:




Several scenes from "Pawn Sacrifice" also were shot using Wittner Chrome 200D (Arri 416)



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That big roast footage gives me new hope regarding Wittner 200D. My test went very poorly, chunky grain and washed out colors. I wonder if I hit a technical issue somewhere along the line. I think I'll get some 200D in 16mm for the spring.

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I'm curious to know if I could use intermediate print stocks in-camera as done in this test. 2234 is polyester-base and 5234 is acetate with caranuba wax for lubrication. I worry that this lubricant will gum up the movement. Orwo DN21 also has polyester base, which would follow the logic of using 2234. I'd like to try and rate the stock at EI 6 and shoot in bright light, to see what results I would get (hopefully extremely-fine grain). I was so impressed by that test and would like to see how applicable it would be for shooting in, say, a desert.

 

I frequently shoot with Efke KB 25 still film and love low-sensitivity B&W.

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