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Jackson Glasgow

Vertical Streaking w/ Bolex

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Posted (edited)

Hi all,

I just bought a Bolex off of eBay and shot a roll of black and white reversal to test it out. After getting the scans back I noticed some weird vertical streaking in most of the shots. I emailed the guy who sold it to me and he said it's definitely just the lighting, but this is happening in shots with completely different lighting situations and different lenses (25mm Kern and a generic Sony zoom).

I think it might have something to do with the pressure plate or maybe a developing issue. Any thoughts? I'd appreciate it.

Here's the link to the full scan: youtu.be/Sdm4M-8Fwd8

 

 

Screen Shot 2020-07-28 at 12.40.58 AM.jpg

Screen Shot 2020-07-28 at 12.42.13 AM.jpg

Screen Shot 2020-07-28 at 12.42.41 AM.jpg

Edited by Jackson Glasgow

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Looks very much to me like the shutter is mistimed, so the frame is being pulled down before the shutter is completely closed. Actually it looks pretty bad, as if the shutter isn't even nearly closed when the film starts to move.

This was famously done deliberately, if a bit more subtly, for parts of Saving Private Ryan (image at bottom.)

I don't know what the procedure is to adjust this on your camera, but it will probably be adjustable somehow. You can have the same problem with projectors and I've adjusted them; it can be a real pain to get right, and as far as I can see the only way you'll know if you've fixed it is to shoot tests and have them processed.

Maybe load a dummy roll, put some sharpie marks on it so you can see when things are in motion, and have a look down the lens port. I suspect with the degree of problem you have there, you'll clearly see the film start to move before the shutter closes (bearing in mind you should never see the film move, it should always be obscured by the shutter.) The trick with this is that the shutter is designed to only obscure the film for the absolute minimum possible amount of time to allow for the healthiest exposure, and it can be incredibly hard to see if the film starts to very fractionally advance before the shutter is properly closed. Very tough to get right.

Look up how to fix it, and fix it, or give it to someone to fix.

Saving-Private-Ryan2.jpg?mtime=201807030

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You can get that streak effect by using a time shift accessory on an Arriflex 435 Xtreme, for example.

"The Time Shifting Box is 435 Xtreme compatible accessory that alters the phase relationship of the mirror shutter to the movement, so that the film is exposed while being transported. Creating vertical streaking effects that can be adjusted from very faint to very strong, and the amount of jitter, a random fluctuation in the strength of the effect, can also be set to various degrees."

Phil is correct, your camera shutter and/or movement needs fixing.

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did you load the camera correctly?

you will get exactly similar looking vertical streaking if your loops are too large and they hit the loop formers when the camera is running. It is much more likely that the effect is caused by this and not the shutter.

When I got my first Bolex at the age of 13 or so, I misloaded the first rolls with too long loops and got that same vertical streaking effect to all of them. It was an interesting effect back then and it fit the style of the film but as soon as I learned to operate the camera correctly the effect instantly went away

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2 minutes ago, aapo lettinen said:

did you load the camera correctly?

you will get exactly similar looking vertical streaking if your loops are too large and they hit the loop formers when the camera is running. It is much more likely that the effect is caused by this and not the shutter.

When I got my first Bolex at the age of 13 or so, I misloaded the first rolls with too long loops and got that same vertical streaking effect to all of them. It was an interesting effect back then and it fit the style of the film but as soon as I learned to operate the camera correctly the effect instantly went away

it works this way because the too large upper loop pushes against the loop former creating a spring force which is able to move the film down during the exposure. It cannot be fully controlled how much the film actually moves unintentionally but the end result is just that weird vertical streaking if you do this long upper loop mistake with a Bolex

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3 minutes ago, aapo lettinen said:

did you load the camera correctly?

you will get exactly similar looking vertical streaking if your loops are too large and they hit the loop formers when the camera is running. It is much more likely that the effect is caused by this and not the shutter.

When I got my first Bolex at the age of 13 or so, I misloaded the first rolls with too long loops and got that same vertical streaking effect to all of them. It was an interesting effect back then and it fit the style of the film but as soon as I learned to operate the camera correctly the effect instantly went away

This would of course be preferable. Hopefully Aapo is right.

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2 hours ago, aapo lettinen said:

you will get exactly similar looking vertical streaking if your loops are too large and they hit the loop formers when the camera is running. It is much more likely that the effect is caused by this and not the shutter.

It’s quite easy for someone to accidentally throw out the shutter timing on a reflex Bolex by simply removing the front. The loop is usually good because the Bolex auto threading mechanism is pretty reliable. 

The timing is easy enough to check, as Phil described. Mark a length of film on the emulsion side with a sharpie, remove the lens and observe the film through the lens port as the camera runs. If you see the film move, the timing is out. Easier to see if you manually inch the mechanism, or hold the winding lever as you run and let it slowly turn.

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5 hours ago, Simon Wyss said:

To me clearly mechanism out of synch. Most probably a REX model, am I right?

Yes, REX-1. Is this a common issue?

 

6 hours ago, aapo lettinen said:

did you load the camera correctly?

you will get exactly similar looking vertical streaking if your loops are too large and they hit the loop formers when the camera is running. It is much more likely that the effect is caused by this and not the shutter.

When I got my first Bolex at the age of 13 or so, I misloaded the first rolls with too long loops and got that same vertical streaking effect to all of them. It was an interesting effect back then and it fit the style of the film but as soon as I learned to operate the camera correctly the effect instantly went away

This is definitely possible, I hadn't used a Bolex for a couple years before this.

 

3 hours ago, Dom Jaeger said:

It’s quite easy for someone to accidentally throw out the shutter timing on a reflex Bolex by simply removing the front. The loop is usually good because the Bolex auto threading mechanism is pretty reliable. 

The timing is easy enough to check, as Phil described. Mark a length of film on the emulsion side with a sharpie, remove the lens and observe the film through the lens port as the camera runs. If you see the film move, the timing is out. Easier to see if you manually inch the mechanism, or hold the winding lever as you run and let it slowly turn.

Okay thank you I will try this today.

 

 

The guy is still saying the camera is fine, and that the black and white film is just really sensitive to the light. The only reason I could see this being the problem is that the roll I used was a few years old, and always just stored room temperature. But it seems like a weird effect for expired film.

 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, Jackson Glasgow said:

Yes, REX-1. Is this a common issue?

No, it isn’t. The Reflex models are only more often attacked by untrained people and then reassembled with this fault. REX-2 through -5 are still more prone to that because the front comes simply off after undoing four screws. With the early reflex models things are a bit different, just a bit.

The guy is telling nonsense. Camera is out of whack.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Phil Rhodes said:

Looks very much to me like the shutter is mistimed, so the frame is being pulled down before the shutter is completely closed. Actually it looks pretty bad, as if the shutter isn't even nearly closed when the film starts to move.

This was famously done deliberately, if a bit more subtly, for parts of Saving Private Ryan (image at bottom.)

I don't know what the procedure is to adjust this on your camera, but it will probably be adjustable somehow. You can have the same problem with projectors and I've adjusted them; it can be a real pain to get right, and as far as I can see the only way you'll know if you've fixed it is to shoot tests and have them processed.

Maybe load a dummy roll, put some sharpie marks on it so you can see when things are in motion, and have a look down the lens port. I suspect with the degree of problem you have there, you'll clearly see the film start to move before the shutter closes (bearing in mind you should never see the film move, it should always be obscured by the shutter.) The trick with this is that the shutter is designed to only obscure the film for the absolute minimum possible amount of time to allow for the healthiest exposure, and it can be incredibly hard to see if the film starts to very fractionally advance before the shutter is properly closed. Very tough to get right.

Look up how to fix it, and fix it, or give it to someone to fix.

Saving-Private-Ryan2.jpg?mtime=201807030

 

8 hours ago, Uli Meyer said:

You can get that streak effect by using a time shift accessory on an Arriflex 435 Xtreme, for example.

"The Time Shifting Box is 435 Xtreme compatible accessory that alters the phase relationship of the mirror shutter to the movement, so that the film is exposed while being transported. Creating vertical streaking effects that can be adjusted from very faint to very strong, and the amount of jitter, a random fluctuation in the strength of the effect, can also be set to various degrees."

Phil is correct, your camera shutter and/or movement needs fixing.

 

I went ahead and tried out the sharpie test, here is the video: 

 

I don't see much when running at 24 and 8 fps, but single frame you can clearly see some movement. I'm not sure if this is normal?

Edited by Jackson Glasgow

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There's your problem. As others have said, film shouldn't advance at all when the shutter is open. There is a timing issue.

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I'd be inclined to inch it through very slowly and watch for the film to start moving slightly before the shutter closes, or after it opens. Someone with more Bolex experience than me (which wouldn't be hard, never shot with one in my life) may be able to comment on whether that strangeness with the single frame advance is normal. Doesn't look like I'd expect, I'd say, but I don't know.

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6 hours ago, Jackson Glasgow said:

The guy is still saying the camera is fine, and that the black and white film is just really sensitive to the light. The only reason I could see this being the problem is that the roll I used was a few years old, and always just stored room temperature. But it seems like a weird effect for expired film.

The seller is talking out his arse. Vertical streaking is not an effect caused by sensitive film. 
 

5 hours ago, Jackson Glasgow said:

I went ahead and tried out the sharpie test, here is the video: 

I don't see much when running at 24 and 8 fps, but single frame you can clearly see some movement. I'm not sure if this is normal?

There should be no movement when the film is being exposed. 

You can’t see it properly at normal running speeds. Like I said before, you need to manually inch the film through (see the manual), or hold the engaged winding lever while the camera runs and force it to only slowly turn. Set the speed to slowest setting to help. But from the single frame example it looks like your camera has a timing problem.

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You can clearly see that the film moves shutter open. A technician should adjust shutter and claw timing.

It’s a REX-2, by the way.

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The most obvious evidence for a misalignment is that the mechanism stops shutter open!

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On 7/28/2020 at 5:47 PM, Jackson Glasgow said:

The guy is still saying the camera is fine, and that the black and white film is just really sensitive to the light.

Well he would say that wouldn't he. He doesn't want it back. If you have the option, send it back.

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if the seller gets difficult just use the return options on eBay.  Broken/defective or Not as described. Most sellers are helpful and care about their feedback but there is always one or two who just want to take the money and run...

If you still want to keep the camera you can ask for partial refund and then get the camera professionally repaired. If the seller does not want it back then they would most likely agree for partial refunds even if the price they get is much lower

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if the camera was cheap I would personally ask for partial refund like 50% refund and then repair the camera by myself (that is just me, other persons would do differently and I like to open cameras just for fun to see what is inside). If the DIY repair would work well, then I saved lots of money. If it didn't, I still would have 50% of the original sale price to spend on professional repairs. 

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