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I've ordered a Bolex REX 3 and I am so excited! I've also gotten a Sekonic L398, so I've really got the cliche film student package, haha. Honestly, the simplicity/limitations of the tools is what I find inspiring and fun.

A few things I'm still trying to grasp:

- Shutter angle: When to adjust and how, for effect or utility

- Aperture: How to compensate for the viewfinder? 

- In what situations is it practical to push or pull the film more than an aesthetic choice?

- common pitfalls to avoid?

- best places to buy film stock?

- Is using a digital camera for reference an effective way to prevent light flicker? this is one i really want to avoid lol

Thanks to anyone who answers, any info is really appreciated. I am new to the forums and this site is a wonderful resource

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Congrats! One of my favorite cameras.

- The variable shutter is great for cutting down light, notches for a half stop and a full stop. Matte boxes and ND filters are generally rare use with a Bolex, so it's really handy. One thing to remember is that it's also cutting down the exposure time, so you go from 1/80th to 1/120 to 1/160. Your image becomes slightly sharper and movement has slightly less motion blur

- The shutter angle is 133deg, then there's an additional 1/3 stop loss of light from the prism, resulting in 2/3 stop loss. If your lenses say "RX" on them, they compensate for the prism light loss, so you would expose for 1/65 (at 24fps). If the lens is not RX, expose for 1/80 (at 24fps)

- Don't leave your camera wound when packing it away

- Mono No Aware (http://mononoawarefilm.com/) in Brooklyn has great prices for stock, processing, and scanning - a great community to get involved in

 

Please anyone correct any inaccuracies I may have presented. 

@Frank Poole share photos of your camera when you get it!

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1 hour ago, Simon Gulergun said:

If your lenses say "RX" on them, they compensate for the prism light loss, so you would expose for 1/65 (at 24fps). If the lens is not RX, expose for 1/80 (at 24fps)

..Please anyone correct any inaccuracies I may have presented. 

RX lenses don’t compensate for the prism light loss. The f stop marks are just like any other lens. The only things a lens marked RX compensates for is the optical aberrations that the prism introduces, things like spherical aberration and astigmatism.

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@Simon Gulergun 

Thanks so much Simon!  Great info.

 @Dom JaegerI only got the camera body and plan to use my stills lenses with an adapter because they're what I've got. They're Canon FDs if that helps

Edited by Frank Poole

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4 hours ago, Frank Poole said:

I've ordered a Bolex REX 3 and I am so excited! I've also gotten a Sekonic L398, so I've really got the cliche film student package, haha. Honestly, the simplicity/limitations of the tools is what I find inspiring and fun.

A few things I'm still trying to grasp:

- Shutter angle: When to adjust and how, for effect or utility

- Aperture: How to compensate for the viewfinder? 

- In what situations is it practical to push or pull the film more than an aesthetic choice?

- common pitfalls to avoid?

- best places to buy film stock?

- Is using a digital camera for reference an effective way to prevent light flicker? this is one i really want to avoid lol

Thanks to anyone who answers, any info is really appreciated. I am new to the forums and this site is a wonderful resource

Hi Frank, congrats on the camera!

The variable shutter was often paired with an automatic Rex-O-Fader device that closed the shutter all the way down so you could record an in-camera fade out at the end of a scene, or in reverse to create a fade in at the start of a scene. You can try it manually too. Otherwise, a reduced shutter angle could be used to reduce the light hitting the film on a very bright day as an alternative/addition to stopping the lens down (though ND filters are better for this), or to create sharper individual frames with less motion blur, and correspondingly more ‘choppy’ looking movement. Experiment with it yourself.

The prism diverts about 1/3 stop, so compensate by either opening the lens up a third of a stop more than the meter says when set to 1/65 sec, or by setting the ISO on your meter a third stop slower, or by adjusting the exposure time to 1/80 sec (assuming you’re filming at 24 fps). As Simon mentioned before, because the shutter angle is 133 degrees, if your meter in cine mode assumes a 180 degree shutter, then you need to compensate a further 1/3 stop. So some people just use cine mode set to 24 fps and adjust the ISO 2/3 stop slower, so for instance you would rate 100 ISO film as 64. But you could also just set the meter to 1/80 sec with the right ISO set.

See other threads on this topic, eg:

https://cinematography.com/index.php?/topic/80495-correct-exposure-for-bolex-rex-5-color-reversal/

There are also threads in the archives here about pushing and pulling film processing but if you are just beginning maybe save that for later and just concentrate on basics first?

I would recommend getting hold of a manual and getting familiar with your camera, practice loading and keeping the gate and film compartment clean. Check that the camera automatically forms a good loop and the film passes smoothly through the gate when auto-loading. Get familiar with removing and refitting the pressure plate. Check that a filter holder is fitted, otherwise you could get a light leak. Make sure to set the eyepiece diopter for your eye so that the ground glass texture is visible before you start filming. Wind the spring up before each shot to keep more consistent speed and in case you need a long take. The camera should run fairly consistently for most of the spring wind, but may slow down a bit in the last 5  seconds or so. If it seems to slow down a lot more than that, or the take-up spindle turns unevenly, or the auto-load isn’t working, the camera needs a service. 

As a tech myself, I always recommend getting an eBay camera checked anyway, but that’s your call.

Not sure what you mean by using a digital camera as a reference to avoid light flicker? 

You can use your FD lenses, but you may find they are fairly telephoto on 16mm, where 25mm is considered a normal focal length, and 10mm would be a wide angle. As well as this, for focal lengths of 50mm and under, the Bolex reflex prism will introduce aberrations (softness at the edges etc) unless you stop the lens down to at least f/2.8 or more. For best results with a reflex Bolex you want to use C mount lenses marked RX, which were designed to negate the optical aberrations introduced by the prism. But it‘s an additional expense if the camera didn’t come with those lenses, so using FD lenses makes sense for the time being.

 

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@Dom Jaeger

Thanks so much Dom! that is super helpful! I had to read your answer and your older post about metering several times but it's finally starting to click.

What I meant about the flickering is, since I will be working no/low-budget, I will likely be using these RGB LED smart bulbs I have at home in various setups, and when they are dimmed, they can cause an intense flicker I found when shooting my mirrorless cameras. I was asking if using the mirrorless cameras at 24 fps would accurately represent how the lights may be captured on film running at the same rate. I've done some reading on the subject and it seems the best bet is to never dim them because the "refresh rate"(?) for lack of a better term, becomes very visible. Keeping them at full blast and using diffusion and bounce cards as needed seem like a clear fix. My inexperience is showing haha. 

As a tech, what are your first guesses when a Bolex motor is jammed? I bought an original Reflex a couple weeks back for cheap "As Is" because I could see it was cosmetically pristine and might only need CLA, I've heard stuck motors are pretty common.

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EDIT: I meant horizontal banding type flicker. i dont know if that's only a digital problem..

Edited by Frank Poole

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4 hours ago, Frank Poole said:

As a tech, what are your first guesses when a Bolex motor is jammed? I bought an original Reflex a couple weeks back for cheap "As Is" because I could see it was cosmetically pristine and might only need CLA, I've heard stuck motors are pretty common.

Could be a few things.

The obvious one is when the MOT/O lever is set to O which means the motor is disengaged (easily fixed by reading the manual 😉).

Otherwise, I’ve come across cameras where things are loose or poorly reassembled and the mechanism has jammed. A common one is if the I/T lever (or knob in later models) feels loose or doesn’t switch properly. Usually I need to open the camera up to access the mechanism to see what might be wrong. I recently had one where a little set screw in the shutter hub had unscrewed to the point where it was hitting the housing and stopping the shutter.

Worst case scenario the spring motor itself is broken.

Check this recent thread for some tips on a jammed Bolex:

https://cinematography.com/index.php?/topic/84752-bolex-h16-reflex-winding-issue/&tab=comments#comment-532855

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56 minutes ago, Frank Poole said:

EDIT: I meant rolling shutter not flicker

Rolling shutter is associated with digital cameras where the sensor reads in a sequence rather than all at once (global shutter). Film cameras are basically global shutters so they don’t exhibit rolling shutter artefacts.

Flicker is the right term if you mean the fluctuating light when a light source frequency is out of sync with the camera exposure frequency. I’m not knowledgeable enough on LED lights to give advice, so maybe someone else can help you there. But I suspect avoiding dimming them is a good idea. 

Spring powered Bolexes don’t run accurately enough to sync them to a flickering light source anyway. Film speeds and exposure times are just estimates, and will vary as the spring runs down, so even if you replicated 24 fps with 133 degree shutter or 1/65 sec exposure on your digital camera, your Bolex will be drifting around those settings. I think to avoid any flicker issues with a Bolex you probably just need to avoid light sources that are problematic as best you can. But maybe others can advise you better on this.

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About flicker using a spring powered camera:

You may get flicker with any non continuous light source such as HMI or common fluorescent lamps. Light only using tungsten lamps to avoid flicker or use sunlight 🙂

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