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Daniel Miler

hand cranking tips

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I am going to shoot a short film soon on 16mm. 

We want to shoot a dream sequence in the film in hand crank. We did some testing on my bolex R4 (which were going to use for that sequence) and it looks real nice. 

Its gonna be all tripod - dolly work, and the main concern is the physical difficulty of hand cranking for a whole 2 days of shooting! and of course, trying to operate the camera while hand cranking. (was thinking to get an assistant to crank for me...)

second concern is about keeping the rhythm. How to make sure I keep (relatively) the rhythm I want? and is there a way besides a-lotttt of expensive film exposing tests to learn which rhythm is "normal" speed (24fps)?

Any tips on these or other points regarding hand cranking would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers

Daniel

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One more thing to observe is that there’s no attachment of the crank to the shaft. It simply sits there, so beware of the crank coming off the shaft.

For 24 frames a second you have to give the crank shaft three revolutions per second. The camera’s governor will brake your energy to a selected speed, no worry about rhythm. You can of course set the speed dial to greater speeds, then you won’t have the governor act against your movement.

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The normal rewind crank on a Bolex is pretty small and hard to crank consistently, especially if trying to do 3 revolutions per second. If you can fashion a slightly larger crank that would help your cranking technique. 

In the old days, camera operators would hum a tune to keep their cranking speed accurate.

For 16 fps you need 2 revolutions per second beats or 120 bpm songs like Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough" for example. 

https://jog.fm/workout-songs/at/120/bpm?order=desc&sort=popularity

For 24fps you need 180 bpm songs, like the B-52s "Rock Lobster".

https://jog.fm/workout-songs/at/180/bpm?order=desc&sort=popularity

Alternatively you could use a metronome.

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On 5/13/2019 at 6:31 PM, Simon Wyss said:

For 24 frames a second you have to give the crank shaft three revolutions per second. The camera’s governor will brake your energy to a selected speed, no worry about rhythm. You can of course set the speed dial to greater speeds, then you won’t have the governor act against your movement.

Thanks Simon, that is super helpful info!

So if I understand you correctly if I roll faster than the fps speed set on the camera (for example 24 fps, and rolling faster than 3 rolls p/s) the camera's governor will break up the energy and roll the camera at a steady 24fps. But if i roll slower then the set speed (say 1-2 rolls p/s at a 24fps camera setting) then I will get the camera rolling at a variable and changing fps according to the slight changes in my rhythm.  

Is that correct? 

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