So apparently I'll be the Cinematographer

A friend has a short film project coming up, and he wants me to be in on it. He’s going to send me a couple-hundred feet of film to test it in my camera. I assumed he’d want me to send the camera out, and I’d do something-or-other on the film. Today he sent an email that introduced me and another guy, saying that I’m the Cinematographer.

I hope the camera still works! And I hope I remember how to shoot! :stuck_out_tongue:


Where’s the shoot?

Someplace in Mississippi. Not sure where.

Good luck. Watch out for snakes! :eek:

Real film! What is this, the dark ages?

& banjo music! :eek:
How long is the trip? Better check your camera soon.

It will be nine days at the end of May. My friend will send me a short roll of the film he wants to use in a couple of days. My camera and matte box are both accessible. The magazines should be nearby. Need to find the external battery and charger. (The onboard batteries and charger should be in the camera case.) I’ll spend some time reacquainting myself with loading the magazines in a changing tent.

Ha! Apparently a lot of people are returning to super-16. My friend’s MOS camera is ultra-16. Keeping up with video is insane. Every six months someone comes out with something ‘better’, and everyone has to go out and buy it – only for it to be ‘obsolete’ the following year. I mean, who cares if you can make images that have ten times the resolution the human eye can detect? Film is film. You choose the stock you want, and it gets transported past a shutter and gate. The resolution is the same for a given film stock whether you run it through a used, $100, wind-up Bolex H16 or a $25,000 Arri SR3. Great lenses are available for rental near where we’ll be shooting.

Film is expensive, but it’s cheaper than buying a new Pro HD X-Ray Specs Infrared Ultra Rezo Fourth Dimensional video camera every year.

Just stay off any train tressles.

Is this out already? Anybody want a slightly used Pro HD X-Ray Specs Infrared Ultra Rezo Three Dimensional video camera?

Oh… Ouch!

Good luck, Zebra. Nobody is buying the Pro HD X-Ray Specs Infrared Ultra Rezo Three Dimensional video camera anymore. Gotsta have the 4D (at the minimum!) if you want to even think about raising a budget!

How old are the batteries; will they still work long enough to do what you want vs. just power up for a few minutes? Add that to your testing as you might want to buy new batteries.
If you find they don’t make 'em anymore, I can get you a good deal on a slightly used Pro HD X-Ray Specs Infrared Ultra Rezo Three Dimensional video camera. :wink:

“She said don’t I know you from the cinematographer’s party? / I said who am I to blow against the wind?”

– Paul Simon

Ooh, good point! Johnny, don’t throw any parties, or Paul Simon might show up!

Finally got round to digging the camera out. The Pelican case contains the body, the lens, lens-to-body adapter, series 9 filter ring, rail and handgrip with switch, two on-board batteries, and two magazines.

An aluminum suitcase has two Minolta IV-F light meters, three 4-pin chargers, the Aaton on-board battery charger, and 4-pin cord. I can probably fit the external battery in there, too.

I really should get a case for the matte box/rails/flag/follow focus/whip.

The camera is together, and whaddya know? It runs! I need to find a dummy load to practice loading after so many years. I can’t find my #85 conversion filter, but we’re shooting daylight stock in daylight anyway. Still, I ordered a new filter. And a new slate with colour stripes on it. The plan is to shoot the test footage, send it, the matte box, and the electrical stuff to my friend, and bring the Pelican case with the camera in it with me on the plane.

Now what else do I need? Oh, yes… Some sunshine would be nice! I’m testing daylight film, after all.

This is turning into an expensive gig.

It turns out the Kodak 250D is too fast for sunny days. I ordered a couple of Series 9 ND filters (1 stop and 3 stops). One of my magazines is suspect, so I need to have it checked out – at $65/hour. My lens doesn’t cover super-16 at shorter focal lengths. I friend put me onto a Zeiss 10-100mm that had been modified to a 12-120mm one that covers super-16. And it has a PL-mount (native Arri bayonet). Well, I have an Arri bayonet adapter in my kit, so there’s a lens. The bad news is that it cost more than I wanted to pay. The good news is that I got it for ⅓ to ¼ what they’re actually going for. The PL mount alone used to cost almost as much as I paid for the lens. But wait. What’s this? Another camera kit similar to mine? For a bargain price? And it has a PL mount on the body? And if one of my mags is bad, there’s two more in this kit? Plus batteries and other stuff? Heck, it would be like buying the accessories and getting the body for free! It arrived today.

I moved a bunch of gear to storage yesterday. Sometime in the past, a trailer was built onto the house. I use it for storage, and it’s inaccessible since there’s now a shelf, litter box, and recycling bins in front of the door. Better to start moving stuff to the storage unit. Farther away, but I’d rather drive than move stuff out of the way of a door!

Now, lest anyone tell you filmmaking is glamorous, let he tell you the gear is heavy! My hostess tray (used for mounting motion picture cameras to car doors, hence the name) must weigh 40 pounds. And a light kit. They call them ‘lights’, but they’re not! The good news I have this doorway dolly. The bad news is that it was the least accessible, and was basically the last thing I took out. Also, while the dolly and wheels fit through the doorway between the laundry room and the kitchen, the nuts on the wheels didn’t. :smack: And then there’s the skateboard dolly. I built mine from two layers of ¾" marine-grade plywood. It has the double trucks like the one in the photo, tie-down ring, aluminum H-bar handles, the holes for the handle are reenforced with aluminum plate, the exposed wood is painted with spar varnish, and the deck is painted with grey aircraft wing-walk compound. I’d match this puppy against a professionally-built one any day. But it’s heavy, and you can’t roll it without the tracks. In the end, I completely filled up the bed of the SO’s Tacoma pickup, topped off with one desiccated corpse. Without help. And then I had to unload it at the storage place.

But here’s the sweet part. I found a suitcase with 4" x 4" Tiffen filters:

#82C CT ½ Blue (‘Darkest outside’)
¼ Coral
Blue 1
Pro Mist
Soft contrast #2
Softnet 1

I got them from the studio where I used to work from time to time. I didn’t have a matte box at the time. I do have a compendium for the Arri 16S, but it takes smaller filters, and it only fits with prime lenses. I do have a matte box now, and it does have a 4x4 non-rotating stage. (The rotating stages are 4" x 5.62".) In the past, the only filter I’ve ever needed was a #85B for using tungsten film outside. Now I’ve found I need a neutral density filter. I have an ND3 and an ND9 coming (Series 9, round), but the square one might come in handy. I might find a use for the #85C (corrects daylight to 3800K instead of 3400K like the #85B), and the pola might be useful even if I can’t rotate it. I reckon whoever put this filter kit together chose those filters for a reason. I’ll probably find a use for most of them.

And the thing that started this day of heavy lifting: I pulled my round #85B out of a kit so that I can use it with my new kit. :slight_smile:

Wait. this OP is so cool. Always wanted to be a film-maker but…
One inquiring mind wants to know, dessicated corpse?


Do you have a lab picked out for the processing/transfers? You gotta be careful with Super-16. I was the editor / post supervisor for a feature shot on Super-16 twenty years ago. The lab assured us they had worked with Super-16 and had all the right equipment for a transfer to video (I edited the work print on Beta, then we made an EDL to conform the neg).

When I got the video transfers, about 1/6 of the shot was cut out on one side. It looked like they had used a regular 16 gate but they swore this wasn’t true. We made them fix it. I think they had to go buy the proper gate.

Anyway, make sure your lab is up to snuff. Super-16 was always a little out of the norm, I think, and these days with fewer labs working with film, it could be even dodgier than it was 20 years ago.

Good luck!

Well, you know how things accumulate.

I was going to use it for a shot in a film I never got round to making.

He does. He sent them some Ultra-16, which they said they did. He got back standard 16 on the digital file. They re-did it for him at no charge. Shouldn’t have any problems with super-16.