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Old January 29th, 2005, 04:09 PM   #1
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anyone have any experience with a bolex?

Hi-
I'm doing a documentary project on dv, with a few brief shots planned to be shot on a bolex 16mm camera, at 64fps for true slow motion. I have worked briefly on 16 with the K-3, which was a little more simple as I can remember. Anyway, I have the camera and i got the film, loaded it, correctly i hope, with the loop formers, and started to roll. I was shooting at 16fps for starters, just to run a few feet through, and i noticed it started to slow down considerably, and eventually stop. I opened the cover and found the loops had tightened so much that the camera could no longer function. I corrected the problem, by reforming the loops, and tried again...same thing. I tried it once more with the cover off and saw that the problem seemed to be that the take up reel was moving faster than the claw could run film through, so that the bottom loop tighted up. Actually i'm not een sure if this is the real problem, because sometimes the film would run at an odd angle through the bottom path, and pop out a little. And sometimes the top loop would tighten up, but only after or with the bottom loop. Is this camera just really crappy, or can anyone help me?
thanks-
-alex
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Old January 29th, 2005, 04:46 PM   #2
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Hmmmm, been a while. But NORMALLY, the camera won't close if the pressure plate is not in place, and that's what it sounds like to me. WHich model is this, Reflex or not?

Are you certain it is working properly? IE Did you borrow it from someone, rent it from a shop or buy it on Ebay?

Charles Paupert can weigh in on this one more difinitively than me, I'm sure. Last time I used one was about four years ago. Great camera though.
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Old January 29th, 2005, 04:52 PM   #3
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Alex,

A quick google yielded

www.evergreen.edu/media/pdf/Bolex_Manual.pdf


There is a pressure plate locking switch, which, if it is not engaged, will cause the pressure plate to slip. Like I said, normally, as I recall, the camera case won't close if the plate is not engaged, not sure about it being locked. Try that.
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Old January 29th, 2005, 05:35 PM   #4
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I borrowed this camera from someone, and I'm pretty sure that the pressure plate is closed and locked. I checked google to see more about the plate, and it said to push it forward, and if there is a clicking sound than the plate was not engaged but is now. I did not hear any click, and i can visibly see that the plate is snug against the film, and also the camera closes nicely. It still seems to be the problem with the loops tightening up. Could I have the pressure plate to tight? Or is that not possible, since it locks into place? Maybe the claw is slow, although it seemed to run nicely without film, or maybe i'm just forming the loops wrong. As to whether reflex or not im not sure, how do you tell?. Although i did find the serial number 44949 on the inside cover.
thanks-
-alex
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Old January 31st, 2005, 11:31 AM   #5
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I've been shooting with a bolex for a few years now and I've never come across the problem before. The pressure plate should only close down to certain amount and no more. Though I suppose it could tighten up over time if the camera is old enough. There may also be a problem with the internal gears (I'm assuming this is a spring wound version - not running off an external motor) moving the film. It sounds like the camera needs servicing.
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Old February 1st, 2005, 10:38 PM   #6
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I've only used an H16 Reflex a few times, and didn't have to form the loops for that one.

As long as the film is properly loaded, the claw and take up should move in tandem, and your loops should be preserved.

The H16 speeds were not crystal synced, though, and the speed would vary from what the dial said, and would waver very minutely while shooting (ruined my synch sound!). I think it's just a function of the spring losing its, well...spring.

Anyway, I too think the camera needs servicing, and if you use a film camera withot crysta-sync run it without film and check all the speeds against your watch. (I'm assuming your model "clicks" as every time it advances 24 frames)
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Old February 1st, 2005, 10:51 PM   #7
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Alex,
The take up reel is simply tensioned with a spring...it's not strong enough to pull the film off the sprocket roller, it just takes up the slack. If, as you say, the film is slipping off that roller, then the roller itself may be misaligned or wobbling on it's shaft. The camera may need repair. Bolex cams are generally almost bulletproof. Can you get hold of another one for your shot?
Ken
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 05:31 AM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jesse Bekas : The H16 speeds were not crystal synced, though, and the speed would vary from what the dial said, and would waver very minutely while shooting (ruined my synch sound!). I think it's just a function of the spring losing its, well...spring.
-->>>


There are ways to deal with that, and I did lots of films in the '70s and '80s with Bolex cameras.

To start with you will need a motor driven Bolex, not a spring one. Or you will have very short takes.

Motor driven types used to have a pilotone sync output, which you can record on a Nagra or a two channel audio recorder. If you don't have a pilotone output or crystal motor you can't use any film camera to do sync sound, because it certainly won't sync.

A spring camera is certainly not a way to do sync sound, even if there was a way suggested by an article in American Cinematographer, many years ago, on how to do a sync generator from a spring-motor Bolex camera.

All Bolex cameras are noisy though, particularly spring ones, so you will need to build a "blimp" to filter the motor noise.

Not everything is lost if you need to do sync sound takes with a spring Bolex. As takes are short, you can use a Nagra with variable speed and adjust the audio speed accordingly. You will need some tests but it can be done, as the camera should keep that variation. That is only possible in 30" takes.


Carlos
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 09:53 AM   #9
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I ended up making it work on the 8-plate because everything was very close. I shot with the cam covered by sound blankets...in the summer (talk about hot!). There was an audible sound but it was extremely low compared to the voices.
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 07:30 PM   #10
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I think i may have found the problem...located here

http://www.tobin.freewebsitehosting.com/page51.html

Its in the last paragraph of #7
this states that any bolex with a serial of less than 77,000 is double perf film only. The camera i'm using is around serial #45,000...and i was of course using single perf. does this explain the problem?
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Old April 18th, 2005, 01:35 PM   #11
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This is an old thread, but in case you're still puzzling over it or someone else has the isssue later, here's a tip:

i got into film with my school's Bolexes-- eventually bought 3 for myself, so i've been around them a while. I have some ridiculously arcane data about these cams still floating around in my head. And the cameras are still floating around my closet.

That serial number (44xxx) is pretty low, i'd guess from the early to mid 1950's (yes!), and from what i recall, the loop formers on really old ones have to be retracted by hand-- that differs from the later reflexes (H16 REX, SBM, EBM etc) that most of the guys here have prob. worked with.

On the old models, you'd move the little lever down, opening the loop formers-- snip the end of the film, insert via the guide into the feed sprocket (there should be white painted arrows inside the film chamber showing the thread path). Then hit the firing button and run through enough film to wind around the take-up spool. Snap the take-up spool onto its shaft and.... here comes the difference...you then MUST turn the little lever for the loop former back to neutral (pointing straight back to the rear of the cam. This closes the looper. Put the lid on and lock it and you're set.

This differs from all later Bolexes in that they made a little spring latch button thing on the loop former lever-- after threading the film as described above you just put the camera door back on and as it seated it pressed the little button which released the looper automatically.

Hope this helps. If anything this proves how nutty i was about Bolexes 10 or more years ago.


Michael Pace
Davis, CA
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