I haven't shot a 16mm film in quite a decade. It was a requirement for film school, and I am grateful for the opportunity. It was both instructive and enjoyable. Unfortunately, not many individuals nowadays have access to film cameras. It isn't as complicated as it appears to be. You may begin shooting 16mm yourself with a little work and digging.
In this article, we highlight the tips provided by filmmaker Brae Hunziker, on how to shoot film on 16mm. He has prepared a helpful guide on how to choose a camera, film stock, develop and scan your photos, and why it's worthwhile.
The positioning of 16mm between the home movie vibe of Super 8 and the commercialized Super 35 is part of what makes it so appealing. It adds exactly the right amount of grit and grain, as well as some personality. If you want to go for an aggressive movie appearance, this is a great option. For their shoots, several professionals use 16mm.
If you want to do this on your own in 2021, 16mm is a bit of a process due to the lack of readily available equipment. It's difficult to find a camera in the first place. The Bolex H16 is one of the most popular, with the Reflex type being particularly useful because it allows for looking through the lens.
For a second-hand model, expect to pay several thousand dollars. I believe it is a good investment if you have the funds.
If you want to save money, there are a few options available. Krasnogorsk-3 (K3) is one of them. Between 1971 and 1993, it was a Soviet-made spring-wound 16mm mirror reflex camera. The key components are the spring-wound and mirror reflex. It means you can use it without batteries and there's a reflex viewfinder so you can compose directly via the lens.
If you're interested in one, Brae discovered a man named Max who runs the K3SUPER16 Instagram and does a fantastic job restoring and even customize them. This implies a K3 with Super 16mm or Ultra 16mm gates, as well as a Canon EF or PL mount, is available.
16mm comes in several varieties. Super 16mm has a 1.66:1 aspect ratio, whereas standard 16mm has a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Ultra 16mm, which has a 1.85:1 ratio, is also available. What you want to achieve with your footage will determine this. Standard 16mm is OK, while Super 16mm is more common, and Ultra 16mm provides an even greater widescreen.
The Meteor 17-69mm f/1.9 lens comes standard with the K3. It doesn't cover the entire Super 16mm or Ultra 16mm frame, which causes vignetting when using focal lengths greater than 25mm. Brae didn't see any vignetting, but I imagine image quality at the corners won't be great, and not all versions of the game will be available.
Now it's time to choose a movie. The K3 accepts standard 100' daylight spools in a variety of colours. Colour negatives and reversals, as well as black-and-white negatives and reversals, are also available from Kodak. If you're coming from the world of photography, you'll need to consider the film's speed or ISO.
A nice place to start for daylight photography is with some 50D film. The grain is finer, and it performs well in daylight. Also, keep in mind that the through-the-lens perspective on film cameras is limited by what is visible through the lens. You'll lose your ability to monitor using the viewfinder if you have to use dark ND filters.
The 250D is ideal for overcast or dim lighting, while the 500T is ideal for night and interior photography. In simple terms, the number represents the ISO speed rating, while the D/T indicates the colour temperature at which the film is balanced. Natural light, D, or Daylight, will look balanced, whereas T, or Tungsten, will look best under yellow artificial lighting.
If you're going to use your lights, keep this in mind because newer LEDs often come in daylight colour temperatures. Some filters allow you to use daylight film in tungsten light and vice versa, but you'll lose a lot of light.
The technique of loading film is a little more complicated. Because daylight spools restrict light from reaching the majority of the spool, you may load it up in the daylight. Open the cover and blow out any dust with a blower. Remove the take-up spool from the old roll and place it carefully in the new one. Remove a few feet of film from the roll to load into the rollers. Form a loop around the top and bottom of the bag and ensure the perforation is engaged.
Place the pressure plate back in place and load the film onto the bottom set of rollers. Take the surplus and place it in the take-up spool after closing all the guide pieces and rollers. Run the movie through a few times to ensure that everything is in order. If you want to be extra cautious, apply tape to seal any edges where light might enter.
Working with film necessitates a different approach to exposure than when working with digital. The opposite of digital, film benefits from overexposure and suffers from underexposure. You can achieve a richer negative by overexposing by 1-2 stops.
A roll of 16mm film will set you back $133 to shoot, transport, develop, and scan. Each roll of film is just around 3 minutes long, so it's a bit pricy. If you want to test out a film, it's also a good investment. You don't have to do everything on film all of the time; keep it for rare occasions or when a specific cinematic feel is required.
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