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Samuel Berger

I feel guilty about selling a camera. Any advice?

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Back in the Fall of 2017 I was planning to produce a film in 16mm, sometime in the Spring of 2018, so I geared up and had Bernie O'Doherty overhaul my two Eclair NPR cameras and convert them to Ultra 16. I also purchased 8 film magazines and had him overhaul them. Everything looks and works great. I had him work on lenses as well.

 

But, as some of you know, things didn't go as planned and the cameras are just sitting there. I spent a LOT on them.

 

What I'm thinking of doing is selling them. I can't see myself ever saving up the budget for that film again and I have to live in reality. The problem of course is that I will never make on them the amount I spent. So I'll be losing a LOT of money.

 

I don't know if I should sell them or hold on to them. If I ever do make that film, it won't be for several years. I've learned to be okay with digital instead of film because in the end, I'm not rich and I can't find financing. I'd rather be shooting digital than shooting nothing due to having no money for film.

 

Is there a formula for calculating whether I should sell these cameras? Ha. I might have my sister sell one on eBay to see if anyone reaches my price. But even if it sells, the loss will be substantial.

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Don't fall for the fallacy of sunk cost. If you can get money for them and don't imagine them appreciating significantly, sell them as soon as possible.

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Thanks Macks, it seems you're right. I know those cameras are good and will work for someone else. Just not myself due to my situation changing so dramatically.

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Sam, I know how you feel. Unavoidable obstacles have put me on hold for about five years. However, ready to resume quite soon. If you prefer film, you seem to have all you need and cost would only be for feeding camera and processing. If you prefer digital, go that way. There is the cost of computer with graphic cards and programs to handle digital, plus sitting at computer starring at screen for hours (I do use digital for certain projects), so digital is not without costs.

Can you do your project one or two 100 ft rolls at a time over a longer period to make film cost less painful?. A lot of remarkable films have been made that way.

 

Depends on what you enjoy doing. If you do decide to sell, follow advice of above folks.

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Sell ‘em. You have a wonderful Filmo. If you want to become more independent, get yourself a Filmo 70 with 400' magazine that allows you to print yourself. You run the negative spool to spool, raw stock from magazine into magazine.

 

Relative to all factors 35 mm is the cheapest format. A Moviola can be had for 250 to 500 Dollars today. With a pair of rewinds alone you can go through dailies on the kitchen table. CinemaScope aside, 35 mm originals can be assembled in one band, no checkerboarding needed. Stills photo films can be used in an Eyemo, De Vry, Kinamo, Konvas, Sept et al. Relative to image size and later optical soundtrack quality, most bang for the buck. And you’re treated differently by labs with 35. Screening of workprint at next cinema equipped with 35 mm projector(s)

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OP, we all make mistakes. Art is not a precise science that runs by formula. When you work fast, as many of us do, we screw up once in a while. Just gotta suck it up if you are moving on to digital. I have kept some film cams, but I disposed of most of them.

 

Good luck!

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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It's too painful!

 

I've just placed my entire collection of Eclair NPR-related stuff on the table to take inventory. I don't know why I feel an emotional attachment to it but I do. One of my Eclairs was used by George Lucas at one point and then used by Coppola to take BTS footage of APOCALYPSE NOW! How do you get rid of something like that?

 

I like Robert's suggestion of one roll at a time, though.

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One of my Eclairs was used by George Lucas at one point and then used by Coppola to take BTS footage of APOCALYPSE NOW! How do you get rid of something like that?

Take the DNA they left on them and clone filmmaker slaves.

  • Upvote 1

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I can strongly relate to this. I'm selling a lot of equipment now and losing a lot of money. But I find the more I sell, the less obligated I feel to pursue whatever project it is for which I bought the gear and that I wasn't really committed to or have moved on from or changed my mind about since. And it's liberating. I sometimes find myself spending more and more time or money in order to justify a purchase, or inventing a project so I can justify a purchase. And it's really stupid, it's just the sunk cost fallacy snowballing.

 

I envy friends who only rent; it seems they live in the moment creatively, but I like to have a camera around, whether or not it does me much good to have one. Perhaps a very cheap one.

 

On the other hand, I used to shoot 4x5 slide film and sold my view camera and picked up a digital camera to replace it. It wasn't the same. The colors weren't close and tilt/shift lenses perform poorly in my experience compared with view camera lenses and now I'm selling the digital camera, too, and I miss the view camera. So don't pick up a digital replacement just to have something if what you truly want to do is to shoot film. But film cameras are affordable to rent now anyway, so maybe sell and rent whatever it is you want at the time. I can't say, I like shooting digitally. (Perhaps what I really want is a 645 digital tech camera for stills, I just can't afford one.)

 

But you're making me wonder if I should sell my Lite Panel that I have yet to use, and which I bought simply because it was very cheap.

 

I think you're mourning the dreams you conflated with the gear through the promise you saw in its purchase. And selling it is letting go of the person you were when you bought it.

 

Hmm do I sell my Lite Panel...

Edited by M Joel W
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Gear can depreciate - better not to think it as an investment but rather what it allows you to do. If you sold it now what use could you put the money towards - could that kickstart your next film production.

 

Its better to be making films any which way with what every resources you have to hand, thats how you learn and grow. Better to keep turning over small projects and building momentum then saving up for the "masterwork". In the same time period you might be able to become "investible" and receive funding due to having built a portfolio.

 

I've avoided owning kit, to get enough to do proper drama production is expensive and it would be sitting idol 99% of the time. Even if I made a micro budget feature that would mean kit I owned would get 3-4 weeks use in a 2 -3 year period. This year I'm probably making a single short film - no point owning kit for a 5 day shoot.

 

Renting is comparatively cheap, amazing deals and rates are possible if your prepared to be flexible and perhaps use kit that less popular. There must be 1000's of Red 1's gathering dust that could be put to use etc...

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