From: marco poloni (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Feb 05 2009 - 15:19:18 PST


Sorry for my late reply. When busy I tend to respond to short eamils first and leave more complex messages aside for a while.

From the reactions to my mail I realize I was probably a bit too adamant in praising S16mm over 16mm...

I came to S16 at a moment when there was a regain of interest in the format. On one hand, new and second-hand gear was very sought after because it proved a good format for filming TV series. The camera format was very compatible with the aspect ratio of the new 16/9 TV format. On the other hand visual artists (those coming from the galleries and museums circuit) saw the interest of it for transfers to HD video: pretty good gestalt with the rewarding idea that “– hey, I'm shooting on film, not video!” Add to that the arrival of Aaton's A-Minima, new stock from Kodak, and a whole new range of outrageously expensive lenses from Zeiss. That was the basis of my remark about the fact S16mm was not just 16mm with an increase in image surface, but that there was sharper, more precise technology available for it. Just have a look at Arri's new 416 S-16mm camera, it's a monster of technology and connectivity (and price).

Of course this doesn't make film. You can produce pure poetry out of a beauty such as the Bolex H16, and make boring, predictable images with the best Aaton that's around. As to what the registration pin adds, it's wonderful of course. But depending on the type of work, I do not mind a bit of ill-registration. I am also a fan of Super-8mm, if this helps contextualize my remarks.


-----Original Message-----
>From: JEFFREY PAULL <email suppressed>
>Sent: Feb 3, 2009 8:16 PM
>To: email suppressed
>Subject: PIP-THIS MAY BE A DUPLICATE OF 2 MINUTES AGO. RE: Using 16mm and S16
>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?
> - and:
>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,
>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.
> JP
>For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

Marco Poloni, Korsörer Strasse 1, D-10437 Berlin
gsm +41.78.6322028, skype marcopoloni

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.