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Kuba Bojsza

Most "Modern" Standard 16mm Camera?

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Curious if anyone here can point me towards the most "modern" 16mm camera that was manufactured with a STANDARD 16mm gate? Tried to dig, but doesn't seem to be a whole lot of info online on cameras outside of the s16mm cameras that are experiencing a resurgence right now.

The reason I ask is two-fold. One, I'd be great to have an option for a 16mm camera that can capture a 4:3 aspect ratio which I enjoy working in (it's rather popular in music video and fashion work, atm), and I find it to be rather paradoxical to crop s16 footage to 1.33:1 ūü§™ Secondly, I'm very intrigued at the prospect of pairing standard 16mm with a modern set of 2x anamorphics. I'm well aware of the possible caveats (desqueezing, lack of focal lengths, etc.), but iirc I read somewhere that the films "Japon" and "I Stand Alone" where shot with this type of combo - both of which have a very unique image quality. I'm also a huge fan of pairing Vision 3 stocks with the Zeiss Ultra 16 lenses which achieves that one-of-kind crisp quality on 16mm (& makes sense that it's the go-to lenses for most of the recent films shot on 16mm). It makes me wonder what the result would be if you paired 16mm with say Master Anamorphics, for example.

I've personally been shooting quite a bit of s16 recently and I've gotten very comfortable using SD video taps and even finding solid solutions to convert and transmit the signal wirelessly. It'd be amazing to find something with those technical capabilities in the standard 16mm format. As a matter of fact, does any body know what Christopher Blauvelt shot Mid-90s on? iirc, I read somewhere that the production used standard 16mm cameras and the final aspect ratio of the film is indeed 1.33:1. I imagine on a production of that scale, they must've had a camera outfitted with at least the most basic of SD video taps...

Anyway, thanks in advance to the gurus on here willing to help out the digital-age kids who love shooting on celluloid! ūüôĆūüéěÔłŹ

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Posted (edited)

apart from the lens centering and the need for correct gg markings there is no practical difference between using a S16 gate camera or N16 gate camera for the work you describe. 

If wanting to shoot anamorphic I would definitely go with the most modern S16 camera I could get, especially because the anamorphic viewfinders for 16mm cameras are very rare and only few have them... and if not having one you would need to use the video tap and desqueeze in the monitor to see the actual framing which necessitates better quality video tap.

So, for N16 1.33 (1.37) shooting any camera would do if it only has the proper ground glass markings for 1.37. the N16 lens centering thing is important only if you are shooting for photochemical release. for scanning the S16 centering is actually easier because the scanners are already setup for it.

But for anamorphic there is very limited options if wanting to be able to shoot effortlessly with it. Basically the Arri 416 is the only option I know of where you can get both the optical desqueeze viewfinder and a good quality video tap. it is also the most modern camera available (not a coincident because 16mm anamorphic shooting for cine release is a relatively new thing which probably only happened after the film stocks became good enough for it in the 2000's )

Edited by aapo lettinen

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I don't know the most modern standard 16mm camera, I'm sure someone else will.

However I read that mid90s was shot on the Arri 416 Plus. This is also the camera listed on IMDb tech specs and other Google searches for the movies camera.

On Arri's info it says the cameras gate is Super16 only (see technical details). My guess would be that their video taps/monitors on set, had an overlay for 1.33 : 1 so the crew could frame up in that ratio. This can be done using QTAKE. Then when it came to editing, they would have thrown the same ratio on whatever programme they were using.

This is all just my guess and my technical details may not be 100% accurate. I'm sure someone else on here who knows more about 16mm can answer your questions better.

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I remember the SR3 having a N16 gate available so that was pretty modern. The 416 is much newer, I think it is something like 2004 or so? 

as said the gate size does not matter at all when shooting for digital release. At most it may make things more difficult to have the standard16 gate (more possibility for gate reflections when having light sources near the frame edges)

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you can setup custom framelines in either IVS or the onboard monitor or both, it is not an issue at all :) 

as said if not needing the optical desqueeze in the viewfinder there is even multiple options for a camera body because most modern onboard monitors have built in desqueeze options to view the monitor image in the correct aspect ratio.

operating anamorphic with a non desqueeze viewfinder may be pretty annoying though so I would go with the proper viewfinder if in any way possible, helps the operating a lot

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7 minutes ago, aapo lettinen said:

apart from the lens centering and the need for correct gg markings there is no practical difference between using a S16 gate camera or N16 gate camera for the work you describe. 

If wanting to shoot anamorphic I would definitely go with the most modern S16 camera I could get, especially because the anamorphic viewfinders for 16mm cameras are very rare and only few have them... and if not having one you would need to use the video tap and desqueeze in the monitor to see the actual framing which necessitates better quality video tap.

So, for N16 1.33 (1.37) shooting any camera would do if it only has the proper ground glass markings for 1.37. the N16 lens centering thing is important only if you are shooting for photochemical release. for scanning the S16 centering is actually easier because the scanners are already setup for it.

But for anamorphic there is very limited options if wanting to be able to shoot effortlessly with it. Basically the Arri 416 is the only option I know of where you can get both the optical desqueeze viewfinder and a good quality video tap. it is also the most modern camera available (not a coincident because 16mm anamorphic shooting for cine release is a relatively new thing which probably only happened after the film stocks became good enough for it in the 2000's )

Thanks for the info. So in regards to anamorphic, have you ever seen a 416 with a 2x optical desqueeze? It seems like there is a 1.3x desqueeze viewfinder available to be used in tandem with the Hawk 16mm anamorphic line of lenses. Just curious how they might have pulled it off on the film I listed above, especially since they date 1998 and 2002.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Kuba Bojsza said:

Thanks for the info. So in regards to anamorphic, have you ever seen a 416 with a 2x optical desqueeze? It seems like there is a 1.3x desqueeze viewfinder available to be used in tandem with the Hawk 16mm anamorphic line of lenses. Just curious how they might have pulled it off on the film I listed above, especially since they date 1998 and 2002.

I have only seen that Hawk in use on some stuff posted here... most of the anamorphic stuff is shot on 35mm sensors or film anyway and the 16mm option is very uncommon . You should ask the local rental houses about the available options and if it seems to be too complicated you can decide whether wanting to go without the optical finder or updating to larger film format 

 

Edited by aapo lettinen

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