Moving over to 16mm - Need Advice

Luke Hill

New member
Hi all,

I've been a filmmaker my whole life. As a kid I shot on 8mm, then Super 8 and eventually VHS. As an adult I've shot one thing in 16mm, then a lot in mini-DV and for the last few years I've been shooting in HD (well, HDV) often using a 35mm adapter. Anyway, I'm going to be shooting a feature later this year and after considering the Red and many other options, I've decided that I want to shoot on either Super 16 or Ultra 16.

Whilst I'll most likely rent a camera for the shoot (if possible - I live in Austin and haven't found any place that rents them) I would like to go ahead and buy a Super 16 or Ultra 16 camera now to replace the Canon XHA1 I've been using. So... I'm going to sell my HDV Camera as well as my lens adapter and lenses and I figure once all that's gone, I should have about $3,000 to spend.

I need a camera that shoots on Super or Ultra 16mm, preferably with a zoom lens and crystal sync motor that's quiet enough for sync sound work - is this possible with what I have to spend?

I'm familiar with some of the options available, the NPR, H16, etc. I just don't know whether I can reasonably expect to get what I need for around $3000 (or where to look). I just found out about Ultra 16mm - perhaps that would be a more affordable route to take than Super 16?


Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Cheers,
Luke
http://LukeHill.com
 

Luke Hill

New member
Thanks for the advice - I think I've been, quite literally, learning more about what I need/want each day! I'll definitely contact the people that were mentioned and see where that takes me...

Thanks again for the advice,

Luke
 

Lazlo

New member
I know this is rather late, but I just want to throw out there to others thinking about buying a 16mm camera, that unless you have unlimited funds: Don't. Why? Firstly, film is slowly being phased out, so the demand for renting such a camera (if you wanted to make some of your money back) is going waaay down, and the demand for such cameras as the EX1, HVX200, and RED are waaay up. Secondly, even if it's soley for your personal use, you have to buy film stock, you have to develop it, you have to telecine it, all of which will put you back at least 400-500 dollars on just a short 10-15 minute film every time. Then there's the problem of accessories. Since all film equipment is highly specialized, and in less demand than it's digital counterpart, you can count on spending even more ridiculous sums buying highly necessary items, such as lenses, video assists, follow focus, tripod, magazines... A good film lens is unprecendently good. A set of zeiss primes will set you back about 12,000 dollars. Not that you need to get a set of zeiss primes, but the point is that ANY film lens will be very expensive. Then there's maintenance. These are highly specialized machines that are incredibly intricate and complicated. Now, not that high end digital cameras aren't, but you will find the servicing of these cameras to be both more expensive, and more frequent. The frequency due to the many automated moving parts. There's so much more that can go wrong.

I recommend renting film equipment.
 

LOQUE9

New member
16mm isn't a great long-term option

16mm isn't a great long-term option

Not sure why you would want to go with 16mm in this day and age. As a cameraman who started with 16mm (more years ago than I want to remember) the difficulties in lighting, consistency of the film stock and overall cost are prohibitive.

If I had the kind of HD equipment as a student that is available today I would have had a greater opportunity to experiment more and hone my craft.

Besides, there are dozens of HD camcorders with interchangeable lenses available, most of them being the same type of cine lenses you'd find on film cameras and with more options.

For a few bucks more, get an XL H1.

Here's some good links to videos on cameras and optics for today's equipment. The Mark Schubin video gives pretty solid reasoning for the HD option.


Take it from me. I'm a guy who LOVED film. Shooting it, editing it, projecting it - but it just doesn't hold a candle to whats available today. Furthermore, when I was 22 I went out and bought an upright moviola and a Convergence video editing system for 3/4". Within a year - when Betacam took over completely, my investment was a waste of money. Food for thought.
 
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Mexguy316

New member
Moving over to 16mm - Need Advice

While there are some aesthetics to film that separate it from the digitized world of HD cams, it suprises me that there are still people out there that choose this format. While I have worked with both Arri and Eclair my experience on the NPR has been everything you're looking for. A quiet motor with lens mounts that allow you to have the versatility of two or three primes while at the same time using a zoom when needed. All in all the Eclair NPR should suffice your needs and you can easily find a rig under 3K, good luck!
 
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