I am ready to shoot! Well, kinda. I am a student looking forward to the inner workings of the film world. But instead of the standard "what is a good cheap beginners camera", I would like to ask what is a GOOD camera.
I am want to explore the ins and outs of film, and imagine shooting hundreds of feet in the process of learning how to have everything come together. I have no project as of this moment, just a desire to learn the medium so that when an idea (I am working on one) finally gels I will know what the heck I am doing. I am looking for something beyond the standard "beginners" camera. The Super 16mm format is what I have chosen. I need a camera that is capable of shooting film worthy to be feature. Every major option and control needs to be acounted for. I plan on experimenting, and need the flexibility to learn. I would like thie same camera to be able to produce a finished product. I know there are forums and posts kind of covering this, but I need to combine them here for my peace of mind a clarity. After all, this will be my creative device, and a substantial investment.
Thanks in advance,
08-04-2005, 05:20 AM
I have been considering an ARRI or aaton, as the occasional deal from a power seller does arise. I just would really like some experienced peoples help.
08-04-2005, 06:09 AM
Ok, just to be talking like that you have to be rich, I mean you are rich arenít you? Do you know how much it would cost to:
a:buy the camera
b:buy the film
c:process the film
d:transfer to a usable medium
You are aiming way to high for just being a student. Start with a bolex or something of that sort. Heck, start with video because if you donít got what it takes you will have no reason to know the "inner workings of the film world." And you your time and money spent on the film you shot will have been in vein. If young filmmakers today started out with the most expensive equipment (film) we would only last until the bill collectors came for us.
Are you aware that today, even George Lucas uses cheap video camera's to experiment? But heck, if you got the money dont let me, or Lucas, stop you.
This is the kind of camera you describe: Camera (http://www.optarillumina.org/filmequipment/Cameras.htm)
08-04-2005, 07:18 AM
Relax. I am brand new to this world of film, I am just starting out. If you think that it would be best to start with a bolex, then GREAT! It will save me ALOT of money, which I barely have. I just know that the bolex would be able to allow me the ultimate of control. I asked because I don't know. I thought the arriflex was an option because of the high praise it receives and the occasional deal that shows up on ebay. I have made short films on my DV camera. Please don't attack me like that. Everyone starts somewhere. Thank you for your input.
08-04-2005, 01:57 PM
Hi Rivet, Aaton and Arriflex are nice Super16 cams. I've used an Arri before and I like them. If Super16 is what you want to shoot , then shoot it. If you can better afford a regular 16, then a Bolex will do the job (I had two windups at one point and they are nice workhorses to learn on). I believe a member of this forum, INDYCINE, may be able to advise you on how to shave the gate of a regular 16 to the ratio of a super16, if you want to pursue that size but can't afford the super16 cam. Just a thought.:)
08-04-2005, 02:38 PM
Thank you, Bird. The feedback that I had gotten up to this point had been disheartening, prompting my rather contrived answer to it as to avoid ridicule. I needed to hear that it was OK to get an ARRI, the brand that I have had my eyes set on for a while. I will definately look into the conversion process that you mentioned as well, in case I find myself with a standard 16mm ARRI like a 16bl. I really needed that confidence. Now I feel vindicated, because the image type and quality that I am looking for can only be captured on a ARRI or other higher drawer brand. Of course, that doesnt mean that I won't be playing around with the old super eight camera I have lying around ;) .
09-20-2005, 12:57 PM
"I'd like to get into driving, and the type of ride I am looking for can only be captured in a Ferrari or other high drawer brand" - Well yeah, me too, but ...
Rivet, the camera doesn't really decide the quality of the image, the lenses and the DP do that. You can A/B shots from a Russian K3 or 50 year old Bolex which can rival the results from an SRIII if you put on equivalent lenses. Of course the Aatons and Arris are better cameras, and worth their price on commercial projects. But an SRIII costs about 100x as much as a Bolex. The older Arri cameras such as the 16-S and the -BL were not originally Super16 cameras, and my understanding is that the 16S cannot be converted to Super16, and the BL conversion price is as much as the purchase price.
Let's talk money. There are about 3 levels of 16mm cameras by price:
- Portable non-sync std 16, 100' spools, $100-$1K: Filmo 70DR, K3, Bolex H16, Pathe, Arri S
- Sync std 16, $1K - $10K: Auricon, Cinema Products CP16A/R, Eclair, Arri BL, Arri SR, Mitchell
- Sync Super16, $10K -up: Aaton, Arri SR2/3
The associated lenses follow the same price envelope: a 25mm lens can be bought as a $100 C-mount Angenieux or a $10K PL-mount Zeiss. The latter lens is obviously the better one for critical shooting and commercial work, but the Angenieux is no slouch and takes perfectly good images in the right conditions.
And if you really need to blow the trust fund on that big project, you can rent a good camera, hire a DP and save enough money to buy film and maybe lunch for your cast & crew.
09-20-2005, 02:42 PM
Rivet, the camera doesn't really decide the quality of the image, the lenses and the DP do that. You can A/B shots from a Russian K3 or 50 year old Bolex which can rival the results from an SRIII if you put on equivalent lenses.
Not true at all. The camera is a big part of it. Shutter angle, mirror shutter, pin registration, etc., etc., all affect the image (clarity or stabilization).
09-20-2005, 04:12 PM
I've used Arri SR2s and SR3 and they are very solid cameras that work forever. They are built in such a way that they can take and indie movie production beating in stride. I have also used the Aaton A-minima which is a dream for steadicam and handheld shooting, but you can't put a big load on it and it is more prone to loading errors, etc. since it is more complex to load the film. If you are always going to load the camera, etc. maybe you don't care.
If I was buying my own camera super 16 camera I would probably go with the sr3 and get a really good zoom and maybe a couple of primes (starting with the wide ones). Don't get carried away with lenses, etc. until you have atleast two batteries a followfocus & a reasonable matte box though. :)
09-20-2005, 04:16 PM
SR III is a great camera!
09-30-2005, 03:43 PM
I highly recommend a Bolex Rex V or Bolex SBM.These cameras will grow with you.They're built springwound to accept a 100 foot internal load BUT,they have the advantage of having the capability of accepting a 400 foot mag and other motors.You can pick one up with a few lenses for around 250 to 500 bucks and add as you grow.They also convert nicely to super 16.
10-13-2005, 04:07 AM
Thanks for the responses everyone. I don't plan on buying anything like that soon. But it is so good to hear others input. Thanks to those who supported my plans.
This is my first post in a while. My computer had to be repaired, and I was without a place with the security that I need to post. Anyhoo, it got back today.
11-09-2005, 08:27 PM
Some engineers at the TV station I work for found an old Canon Scoopic 16mm camera in an old filing cabinet.They let me have it.The only thing it lacks is a working battery and charger.If you're looking for something relatively cheap(I've seen them go on ebay for less than 500 bucks)and easy to learn,but is a step up from a beginner camera.It has a zoom lens,auto/manual iris and several different speeds.It's lightweight and handholds very well.There's one model that has single frame and one model that shot mag striped sound on film,although that would be of no use today.
11-10-2005, 12:41 AM
...maybe you could be alittle clearer on what you mean by 'beginner'.
...if by beginner you mean you have never picked up a camera of any kind, then you ought to set your sights a bit lower. Its fine to go for the 'real' camera, but know what it is you are doing in terms of just being able to know what the controls are for.
...in this case, you can use ANY old video camera to get started and begin to develop an 'eye' for shot composition and get an idea of how to actually shoot something. Edit systems come with alot (most) computers now, so get an idea of how to edit as well.
...to start out with, you can find a cheap beginners video camera at any of those discount stores or better yet a pawn shop to just get started. And this should only cost a couple hundred bucks to start...
...I don't think anyone's intention was to be discouraging, if you know cameras and how to work them, then there have been many suggestions of what kind of camera to start with.
...what do you mean by 'beginner'? If you have an old super 8, why not work with that for the time being...
11-10-2005, 09:30 AM
According to the original post he wants a "camera capable of shooting a feature".I agree a cheao video camera would be his best bet to learn on,but to get a good idea of what film stocks will do for a specific look,he needs a film camera.I suggested the Canon Scoopic as that has all the auto features with manual overrides and it's a simple camera to learn on.That or a Bolex Rex would grow with him and be useable as a "B" camera when he does make a feature.
11-10-2005, 09:18 PM
the easiest answer to this is rent.. then you get whatever high end camera you want for a fraction of the cost.. and if you absolutely must have one, you buy it after the feature makes you money...
"But, what if the feature DOESN'T make me money?" you ask..
Do you suppose shelling out all the dough for a bad ass camera is a good investment in the first place? ;)
In the mean time, pick up a very basic minidv, that will get you shooting and editing on the computer easily, and hone your skills.
After all.. you must learn to crawl before you can run.. must fall off the bike a few times before you can ride in the Tour de France.. and you must LEARN THE RULES, before you can break them. It is much better to learn with video, as it's cheaper and reusable, than to pay for film stock and processing and transfers to be dissatisfied and, in the end, give up before you are ready to 'begin'.
The other obvious benefit of video is its immediacy. You can see what you shot right away, (for FREE) and more quickly (and cheaply) learn what 'not to do'.