From: JEFFREY PAULL (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Feb 03 2009 - 17:16:28 PST
Good morning, Marco, ( and all Bolex fans and S16 lusters everywhere)
Marco, please note that what I've said below about equipment is completely separate from the fun you are having putting together a rig. That has its
own aesthetic and pleasure and adventure.
But regarding the gear only-
Re, your comment: ", . . . but the cameras you get to shoot S16 are so much better (arris and zeiss)"
JP - Of course both of those companies also make equally superior reg.16mm gear - That's how Arri got their start, way back. Arri's have always
been excellent at steady picture as they have pin registration to lock the film‘s position in the gate at moment of exposure. And the registration pin
is shaped to solidly engage the sides of the sprocket hole so as not to deal with the top and bottom of the sprocket holes which may have become
the slightest bit deformed by the pull-down claw.
(Oh, those Germans!)
There may be some even steadier S16 camera out there, but any difference in steadiness between Arri's 16mm excellence, (or even Bolex - see
below) and anything beyond that, will be a really minor influence, considering the other possible deviations of other parts of the image chain.
Example: How steady is the lab's machinery when they print a projection pos. from your 16mm or S16 neg?
How steady is the projector you'll be using?
And IF there is any difference between projecting 16mm and projecting S16, I can't imagine it would even show up unless all your shots are on a
tripod, and there is very little action which, then, would make any slight gate weave more noticeable.
In my opinion, however, anybody in your audience who would notice that gate weave would be not very interested in the art work itself. This
situation is similar to the classical music concerts: People go because they love music art, and are entranced by the real live
human being making the music in the same room with them. Of course there are a few buffs who go to concerts poised, WAITING for the pianist to
hit a klinker. Any person who'd notice any unsteadiness in a projected image,
or wait for the pianist's klinker so they could pounce on it, wouldn't be there for the art or music, or the human beings who make them.
Moviewise: the perfection of CGFX and green screen have supplanted imperfect models of full-sized objects, and the wires needed to move them.
That technical perfection hasn’t made the movies any better.
The Bolex, by the way, has always used a "captive" registration pin: the pull-down claw stays in the sprocket hole during exposure, locking each
frame’s position in the gate.
I thought it would be a good idea to find comments from people who use Bolexes and Arri’s 16mm and S16 in their everyday professional work.
Here are observations by feature film producer, Sam Sherman, who brought many B-pictures to the screen like “Satan's Sadists“, “I Spit On Your
Corpse“ and “Blazing Stewardess“. The following are excerpts from a discussion at a celebratory screening of his films:
"Appreciate the value of Bolex cameras.
It's the most wonderful piece of equipment, because for $300 you can buy a Bolex Reflex 16 and it's capable of many different things.
I wouldn't shoot a sound film on it. But if you were shooting with a sound camera you could still do all your pickup shots and MOS silent scenes with
your Bolex. It's small, it's crank wound and you can take it anywhere. In film we have what's known as a registration pin which makes it very steady in
the gate and a Bolex camera has a registration pin. People don't generally know that.
And you can blow it up to 35mm, which I've done, and it's incredibly steady and sharp."
I found the following at, http://dvxuser.com/V6/archive/index.php/t-99636.html
06-15-2007, 11:38 AM
“I've shot for snowboarding vids for years using both Arris and Bolexes. The Bolex has a great image, perhaps a bit sharper
than an Arri S with the same lens. I think this might be because the shutter angle is a bit smaller with a Bolex. A few shooters I know have ditched
their Arri S to get a new Bolex super 16. The disadvantage with a Bolex is not being able to shoot for more than 17 seconds at 24 frames. If you are
still looking, my friend is selling his full Arri S package,
with a 10-150 Angeniuex, and a 5.9 mm wide, battery packs and chargers for $1700 Canadian. That's around $1580 USD. Plus shipping of course.
It's located in Whistler BC. Email me if you're interested. He's shooting with a Bolex now.“
Almost nobody on the web sites I visited had bad things to say about Bolexes, or Switar or Angenieux lenses. They were almost universally praised -
even in the Bolex type C mount, much less the newer larger bayonet mount.
Context for my remarks:
I write to you as a person frequently involved with issues such as yours. For 38 years I taught film production in college-university level production
departments. My classes were split between experimental and fiction films.
I’ve taught both in Canada and in YankeeLand.
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.