RedShark News

23 Jan

Now that the Digital Bolex is shipping, we're getting the first location footage

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Digital Bolex Location Footage Digital Bolex Location Footage Peter Haas

When I shot on the D16 last year with Joe and Elle in New York City's Central Park, I was able to get an initial impression of the camera (which I wrote about here.) Now that cameras are shipping to KickStarter backers, I was able to get my hands on one and take to the streets to start shooting!

Waves of change

My co-producing partner at Left Turn Productions, Keif Roberts, and I are currently producing a documentary about the Peter Pan Bakery and Pastry Shop, a long standing establishment that seems unaffected by the waves of change that have engulfed its Brooklyn neighborhood. Having spent some time with the D16, we decided that the camera's aesthetic image combined with some vintage lenses would an appropriate fit the for the bakery's story.

Yesterday we took the D16 on location to test the variable lighting conditions we would be experiencing. There is no exact science applied here, and I encourage viewers to remember that the lighting conditions are as raw and rough on-location as you can get.

 

 


Taking the dailies back to our edit bay, we were very pleased with the images we got out of the camera. I was impressed at the latitude we were able to capture, as the lighting conditions were (literally) all over spectrum and we were commonly working with pools of light that had a 5-7 stop difference!
The location is incredibly small so we won't be able to do much in the way of tripod shooting, and we didn't have a shoulder rig handy for the location scout. The form factor of the D16 with its pistol grip felt great ergonomically and provided enough stabilization to get what we needed

Keif and I look forward to updating everyone on the progress of our documentary!

Footnote:

Some folks have already commented on the highlights, and I think that it’s a little too early, and this footage is a little too run-and-gun to make an assumption about the extent of the camera’s ability.  This shoot was about as run-and-gun / raw / on location as you can get.  There was no chance to hang or use filters or ND, we were working with all natural light and various lighting fixtures including high-intensity food service lamps.  On top of all this there was literally a blizzard raging outside!  I didn’t have my trusty Sekonic light meter with me, but the hard splits between what we were exposing for and what was being blown out would have been insane for any camera.

For everyone interested in checking out / playing with some of the DNG files, I’ve shared them here.

 


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  • Did you see Peter's explanation of that in the article?

    He said: "Some folks have already commented on the highlights, and I think that it’s a little too early, and this footage is a little too run-and-gun to make an assumption about the extent of the camera’s ability. This shoot was about as run-and-gun / raw / on location as you can get. There was no chance to hang or use filters or ND, we were working with all natural light and various lighting fixtures including high-intensity food service lamps. On top of all this there was literally a blizzard raging outside! I didn’t have my trusty Sekonic light meter with me, but the hard splits between what we were exposing for and what was being blown out would have been insane for any camera."

    Comment last edited on about 7 months ago by David Shapton
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  • Yes, I did read the article.

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  • In the old days, film had a much wider latitude than video. I remember color reversal film had about 7 stops between pure white and pure black, color negative had maybe 10 - 11 stops. Video had around 5 stops. Super-expensive video cameras have progressed to where they now rival film. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is: the wider the latitude you can record between extremely bright areas and extremely dark areas, the more options you have later. The footage I saw from the Digital Bolex looked like it didn't have a very wide latitude.

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  • Hi Seth,

    Yes, I do understand that, and you're right. I just don't think in the conditions that Peter was shooting in you can necessarily make that sort of judgement - but you're right: from the film, those highlights look well and truly blown. We're going to have some more footage in the next day or so that should be a better illustration of the dynamic range of this camera.

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  • I have high hopes for the Digital Bolex. I shot a million feet of 16mm film in the 60's and 70's, a lot of it on my old trusty 16mm Bolex. I even borrowed an anamorphic lens and shot one reel of home movies in Cinemascope! Maybe someone could shoot a gray-scale chart with the new Digital Bolex so we can see its latitude?

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  • Hi everybody! Wanted to chime in -- something also to consider is that these are also compressed videos that are streaming off of Vimeo. I've made the DNG files available for anyone who wants to play around with them, and, like David said, there is more footage (and DNG files!) coming soon that will better demonstrate the camera's abilities.

    The latitude we experienced shooting with the D16 was, in my opinion, fantastic. The lighting situation in that bakery is really tough, this was truly a very rough test / first day out and the camera had everything going against it.

    At ISO 400 exposing for most of the inside of that bakery was demanding a ƒ2 split ƒ2.8 depending on where they were standing, and certain exposures registered around ƒ1.4 split 2. On a day without the blizzard white-out, parts of the window measured way beyond our tiny lens's maximum of ƒ22 ! I hope this info helps put things in a little more perspective.

    Best,
    _pH:.

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  • Everything about the design of this camera seemed silly to me. There is no point in making a camera with the ergonomics of an old 16mm film camera since the only thing that saved those cameras from being worthless was the organic, imperfect nature of film stock which has it's own aesthetic look and feel that forgives blown highlights etc.
    In digital, there's no forgiving lens flares, ghost sensor reflections, clipped highlights, etc. Plus you can't handhold this thing obviously cause it suffers from being way too light and everything looks like an earthquake is happening. It'll be another case where tons of accessories are designed and built to make it a "cinema" camera cause no one willl like the straight up image from a cmount lens with no mattebox. It'll be another ridiculous rig with bicycle handles and barbels.
    The pistol grip worked for a real bolex cause they were actually pretty heavy (I've shot with a bunch including a sync sound EBM package) and film just looks good no matter what. Not the case with Digital.

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  • I'm truly curious of this camera's potential and whether it can deliver pro images. The footage is what it is and I'm not about to judge the camera on it.

    It'll be interesting as to how it tests in a more controlled environment and how flexible the DNG Raw is for grading. I'm not mad about the design. In fact it looks more like a big super 8 camera then the wind up Bolex's I used to shoot with. It's weight is 5lbs is about the same as an Epic, which is fine but for any long takes handheld some rig will be needed. Here's a few issues and or questions, perhaps someone out there can resolve.
    - They offer no specs on the intermal battery, yet seem to pimp the external power battery. Which tells me the internal isn't that practical. But the external seems to compromise its ergonomic charms.
    - 12 Stops of latitude 12 bit while not Alexa/Red territory is competitive with BMC, a stop less than BMCPC.
    - No SDI is a real bummer. BMC 4k has it at 200 bucks less.
    - No Pro Rez Log recording. DNG transcodes still aren't fun.
    - Is it possible to use Speedbooster on it? This would really open things up. Sorry, but I'd rather use the abundant Nikon AIS lenses over C mount.
    - Global or Rolling Shutter?
    - It has pro features like XLR ports, yet HDMI (instead of SDI) and without any 1/4 20 or 3/8" mounts on it, it'll end up being caged which defeats the whole "Bolex" design. They should at least tap some holes into it.
    - What's the native ISO?
    - Internal ND's? If not, have fun mounting ND's on C mount lenses. Mattebox required.
    - It will be compared to the competition: BMC or 5d 3 with ML Hack. Priced at 300 more than BMC 4k with fewer pro options and codecs, larger body, smaller sensor, and more, will it be around?
    - Why do I want this over a BMCPC? I can get three for the price of one D Bolex plus an extra stop of latitude and put in my pocket. Did I mention three copies of resolve?

    If there are any new owners/users/testers, please clue me in.

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  • "Your comments are subjected to administrator's moderation.".. have i said something immoderate?

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  • Hi J.

    No, you haven't. That's not what it means. What it does mean is that everyone's comments are seen by a moderator and then they are usually approved.

    You will often see a delay after you've submitted your comment and before it appears on the site, because one of us has to check the comment first. Some of us may be in a different timezone but we normally approve comments as soon as we wake up!

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Peter Haas

...is a professional raconteur in feature and broadcast documentary and narrative.  An advocate of "ecstatic cinema," Peter masterminds works that have been described as H.P. Lovecraft landscapes populated by the imaginative absurdities of Philip K. Dick. 

His most recent documentary "UNDER THE BUS [www.underthebusfilm.com]," which he co-directed with Keif Roberts, has a national TV debut coming soon on FreeSpeech TV.

Website: www.peterjhaas.com

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