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Old October 8th, 2004, 02:00 AM   #1
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Anyone have footage from a 35 mm cam?

I'm thinking of shooting my first short on 35 mm, specifically a Konvas 2M. Does anyone have any footage from a 2M, or any other Konvas? Any footage from similar 35 mm cams that you might recommend? Thanks.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 02:25 AM   #2
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Charlie:

Unlike video, footage from 35mm cameras are essentially identical. It's the lenses, film stock and processing that make the difference in "look". Film cameras are chosen for their features, viewing system, reliability, operating noise levels and portability, none of which can be evaluated by examining footage. The only issue I can think of would be the degree of steadiness/weave, which is generally only an issue at high speed (slow-motion photography). And that is generally determined by whether the camera in question has a pin-registered movement.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 11:20 AM   #3
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If I can expound on what Charles said, regarding the specific camera that you mentioned, for a minute . . .

It's cheap - and that's a big plus 'cause your going to be spending a fair hunk of change on buying and processing your film.

But the price tag comes with some drawbacks. The Lomo lenses the camera uses are fine (I've never had a complaint about them) but not the best in the world. If you really want to put good glass on the camera, it's going to have to be outfitted with a new mount, and that's going to cost (actually, now that I think about it, Elite makes newer lenses specifically for that mount, but I've never tried them, so I don't know how good they are).

Picture monitoring isn't the best in the world. Video taps do exist, and aren't too pricey, but they all fit into the eyepiece socket, so you can't use the eyepiece and the video tap at the same time. I know one or two guys that machined their 2M's to be able to use both at once, and that's really the only option for that right now.

It's also noisy. If you're going to shoot synch sound, you're going to have to replace most of your dialogue in post (which I've done, and it's a real pain, but it is doable). You can blimp the camera to a point, but I haven't seen one (albeit in my limited experience) that cut the noise down to a point where you won't have to do serious post processing or dialogue replacement.

On the other hand, it is possible, with not too much work, to put a crystal synch motor onto a 2M.

Still, for a short, unless you are planning on shooting the entire thing in 1 day, the 2M is still more economical than renting. Just be aware of its limitations and have a plan for working around them, or your will find yourself with quite a few problems when you get into post.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 12:46 PM   #4
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I've actually researched all these things, but I still appreciate the feedback. I've chosen the 2M for its reliability, huge online support, and of course the price. The reason why I wanted to examine some footage was to decide for sure if 35 mm is really the way I want to go. If the quality isn't too coaxing, I may just hold out for the HDR-FX1, which would certainly make shooting much easier. Also, I thought that footage from one of the cams I'm considering might imply the kind of quality I could capture through compatible lenses and film. Then again, with enough mods, I guess compatibility becomes less of an issue, and some random footage from other users becomes less comparable to what I could shoot.

Joshua, you mention a mount -- the PL mount? I've read a lot of good stuff about it on various sites. Or is there another mount I should consider? As for the crystal synch, I've found a lot of 2Ms that come with it (which is good, because I don't want to have to install anything).

The biggest drawback to the 2M is the noise level -- I'd really prefer not to dub (especially the FX), and I don't want the cops showing up while I shoot at night! Fortunately, I'm only shooting a short, so whatever grueling work we have to do in post won't be too horrific. But I'm still open to other 35 mm cams that might be quiet enough for me to get audio on the set. I've also been eyeing the Arriflex 2 and 3 C, but I really have no idea about the noise levels on these (or any other cams). Do you happen to know of anything quieter than then 2M you might recommend? Thanks a lot.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 01:37 PM   #5
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If the quality isn't too coaxing, I may just hold out for the HDR-FX1, which would certainly make shooting much easier.

As long as you light competently (and that goes for the FX1 as well as for film) there is absolutely no comparison between 35mm film and HDV. The real quality of the image only partially comes from the camera (I should say the lens, as a film camera body, unless it's broken, doesn't really have anything to do with what the final shot is going to look like - they're made to expose film, and that's pretty much all they do), a lot of it comes from the film itself (the opposite of video cameras). Different film stocks have different latitudes that will give you different contrast levels, different amounts of grain, etc. Video tape won't do that, so videa cameras (and post houses) have to go to a lot of trouble to mimic what film will do naturally. Like Charles was saying, if you have two 35mm cameras, with the same lens, the same film stock, shooting the same subject under the same lighting conditions, you will get an identical image from the two cameras.

HDV is cheap alternative to film (though it has it's own problems), but it's not film, and getting video to look like film (which I assume is what you're going for, if you are thinking about film in the first place) is an expensive and time-consuming process. If you can afford to shoot 35mm, shoot 35mm there's nothing on video (at the sub-$5,000 level anyway) that comes close.

Joshua, you mention a mount -- the PL mount? I've read a lot of good stuff about it on various sites. Or is there another mount I should consider? As for the crystal synch, I've found a lot of 2Ms that come with it (which is good, because I don't want to have to install anything).

A good machinist can put any mounty you want on it. I've seen it with PL mounts, with Bayonet mounts, with Nikon mounts . . . For filmmaking purposes, I think the PL mount is the way to go (that's just an opinion, mind you). Most of the best lenses for rental have PL-mounts, so that's a good way to go.

I've seen some 2Ms that have crystal motors, but not a lot. The motor it comes with, the 17EP, isn't a crystal synch motor (although it is pretty steady).

But I'm still open to other 35 mm cams that might be quiet enough for me to get audio on the set. I've also been eyeing the Arriflex 2 and 3 C, but I really have no idea about the noise levels on these (or any other cams). Do you happen to know of anything quieter than then 2M you might recommend? Thanks a lot.

I've never used a 2 or 3c, but I've heard they are pretty noisy as well, and usually a bit more expensive than a Konvas. Anything quiet enough to shoot with sound is usually too expensive to buy outright and have to be rented. On the other hand, the Arri's are built (I believe) to use a video tap with the eyepiece, so you won't have the monitoring problems you get with the Konvas. Still, if money is tight, there isn't another 35mm solution as economical as the Konvas. If your earnest about having a short shot on 35, I'd say bite the bullet and dub in post.


I want to add, though it has nothing to do with your question, that the Konvas is good for animation as well, or titles, or pin-block effects work, or anything else that requires good registration. The two I have used had rock steady pin registration.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 02:16 PM   #6
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The Arri 2 is pretty loud. No way you could shoot sound with it. We used it on "After Twilight" for pick-ups and some inserts.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 03:30 PM   #7
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Joshua, very helpful. Thanks a lot. Richard, good to know. Sounds like the 2M is right for me.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 07:53 PM   #8
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Having never shot on 35 mm before, I have another question. How beneficial is a video tap? Is it essential for serious filmmaking? It's like a reference cam that actually gives you the perspective of your primary, right? How accurately will one of these reproduce the level and color of lighting captured by your 35 mm? Any recommendations for good video taps? Thanks.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 08:24 PM   #9
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Videotaps come in a number of flavors, but most of them "tap" into the viewfinder by taking a reflected image of the pelicle or prism, though some simply mount on to the viewfinder, preventing its use.

As a video image goes, they're not great. Basically a reference for framing the shot and monitoring the action on playback. They are a quick dirty substitute for "dailies". It's possible if you are recording the video feed, to do a rough cut even while you are waiting for the film to be developed. This will give you an idea of what you have in the can, ASSUMING there are no problems with the film.

And we all know what ASSUME spells.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 08:38 PM   #10
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Charlie, think of it this way: imagine shooting on DV (or any video format) and not using a monitor, or even a flip-out LCD on the camera. The only person who can see the image at any time is the one with their eye stuck in the camera. There's no playback to check for issues within the take. Any unusual angles that you can't get your head into the eyepiece (sticking the camera against a wall, or cradling it in your arms, or running it along the deck by the handle), you have to shoot blind. This also means no Steadicam, crane or other remote application.

In other words, it can certainly be done, but it is a handicap.

A film video tap shows you exactly what the viewfinder shows. It is not accurate to color or contrast, only framing, thus not useful for lighting purposes.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 09:23 PM   #11
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I hadn't thought about putting the cam in places where I wouldn't be able to get to the eyepiece. And it would really suck to shoot without playback. At the same time, I definitely wouldn't want to sacrifice the viewfinder either. Once a tap is installed, is it fixed, or can I switch back and forth between the tap and the viewfinder? How time consuming is it to switch between them? Would it be inefficient to do on the set?

Also, what exactly does a registration pin do? I've seen 2Ms without registration pins, thus supposedly enabling more film options. Is this a good thing?
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Old October 8th, 2004, 09:53 PM   #12
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A pin registered movement is more stable. Film cameras (and projectors) work by moving the film when the shutter is closed, then holding it still while it is being exposed (or projected). If a registration pin is in use on the camera, it slides into a sprocket when the frame is stationary, helping minimize shake or weave in the image. All cameras are built to achieve respectable results at 24 fps; the issue comes when you start to move to higher speeds. For instance, an Arri 2C is fine up until about 50 fps, when the weave starts to become objectionable. Most will run up to around 80 fps with significant weave. However the pin-registered Arri 3 could deliver stable frames at 120 fps, and the 435 upped this to 150 fps.

Most of the eyepiece taps I have seen (and the one I own, for older generation Arri cameras, for Steadicam use) are a quick changeover to the eyepiece, just a simple bayonet mount. It's a bit time consuming to switch back and forth during the day, certainly on a shot by shot basis. You could always just shoot "video style"; mount an LCD on the camera and do all your framing off this. You would be leaving yourself open to missing "gremlins" in the frame (flags, lights, marks etc.) because the tap image is not as sharp and detailed as what you are used to from the video world.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 10:42 PM   #13
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Yeah, I think I might just use an LCD most of the time. I wouldn't want to spend a lot of time switching over (although it would depend on where I'm shooting), and I wouldn't trust anything other than the viewfinder for the actual composing and shooting. I guess I'd just use the tap for playback.

Another problem I have with the 2M -- it maxes out at 32 fps. That doesn't leave much in the way of slowmo. I guess that once my footage is transferred to video, I could convert it to a higher frame rate then slow it down digitally to match 24 fps. But how smooth would that look even if done correctly? Are there mods or different motors for a larger selection of frame rates for this cam? Thanks for the help, guys.
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Old October 10th, 2004, 09:21 AM   #14
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Post slow-motion is usually not good at all and easily identified as
being done in post.
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Old October 10th, 2004, 04:26 PM   #15
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That sucks. Thanks for the info. This thread's starting to distort a bit, so I guess I should let it die and start a new thread for any new question I have. Thanks a lot, everyone.
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