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Bibhusan Basnet

Digital Bolex for a feature film

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Hi everyone, I'm a filmmaker based in Kathmandu, Nepal and I'm currently in the financing stage of my first feature film. I've been on the look out for a camera system that has a super 16mm sensor, is very light weight (There are parts in the film where I plan on making the child actors operate the camera themselves), has global shutter and can output a 4:3 image directly out of the sensor.


The Digital Bolex ticks all the boxes except for a fact that it can't output a 4:3 image despite knowing that the sensor actually is capable of doing so. Since I feel out of options, I don't mind post cropping the image to get the desired output. The resulting crop will be 1536*1152.


I currently don't own a DB but we plan on getting 2 units once we have enough money. However, i have a few questions. I really hope that people here who have experience with the Digital Bolex Camera will help me out.


1. Is there anything that I need to be aware of before I jump in and decide on the Digital Bolex route ? What's your take on it's Color Science ? I've been looking at test footage, music videos and shorts posted on Vimeo and there are a handful that seem to nail the image :) But I don't know better because I've never used it myself.


2. Are there any technical/firmware glitches that didn't get proper attention before the company stopped the production of their camera ?


3. What mount should I go for ? There are parts in the film which will be shot in night vision mode and will require an EF or a Nikon mount. I was also looking at the Canon CN-E 18-80 4.4 lens because it's parfocal and light. But, how would I change the aperture ? Can I electronically zoom in and out (assuming that I would be able to do so if I paired it with a Canon C200 for example).


4. If an EF mount servo zoom lens is out of the option I'm also open to C, PL or m43 lenses. What would be some affordable and lightweight parfocal zooms that could work with the Digital Bolex ?


5. What would be a nice monitoring option for the camera ?


6. What's the smallest possible microphone solution for scratch audio ?


5. How much footage can I record on a 500 GB SSD ?


I know that I'm still unsure about a lot of things but I think that pretty much covers it for the time being. I am really looking forward to your suggestions.



Thanks :)




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Not used the digital bolexs - but have used the Ikonoskop Acam - which I believe uses the same sensor.


Things to note its not great in low light 200ISO and gets grainy fast if you push it (you make like that look)


Its RAW so you can get the colour to look very nice - but takes a bit of work in the grade. The Ikonoskop looked quite strange out the box and needed time in the grade to nail.


If your cropping to 4:3 I would be looking for some pretty wide glass, I would be looking for a 8 or 9mm to cover the wide- we used 16mm superspeeds the T1.3 was helpful with low light.


500Gb is probably about 90 mins of uncompressed 2k RAW.


Heres some roughly graded ikonoskop footage I shot that has a similar vibe:

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Thank you for your suggestions Phil ! I have made a short film with the Blackmagic Pocket and although it's a small sensor, we did well with low light situations. I'm assuming that both Ikonoskop and Digital Bolex would handle low light in a similar fashion. Or are these cams more light hungry because of the CCD sensor ?


Anyone else who owns the camera or has rented it for production ?

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The CCD sensor requires more light - the Ikonoskop is native 200 ISO (which I assume is the same for the Bolex) vs the Native 800 ISO of the Blackmagic's CMOS sensor.


I suppose one option might be to carry a spare blackmagic for those situations where you need the extra stop.


We shot some night exteriors on the Ikon and it was pretty challenging to get enough exposure. We could only afford a 2KW generator which basically gave us 2 x 800 W Redheads - which don't do very much at 200iso. But we got away with underexposing and pushing in post - it got a bit (a lot) grainy but we found the neat video denoise plugins worked well enough to control the worst of the noise.

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