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    Quiet and portable 16mm cameras for weddings
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    Greetings,

    I recently came across this article about a company that shoots weddings only on film (prices starting @ $12,500, for 16mm $27,500):

    http://www.fiftyfootfilms.com/nytimes.html

    So I'm thinking about adding 16mm weddings to my repertoire.

    Important things I'm considering in buying a camera are <1> quiet operation (for the ceremony), <2> small size for mobility (preceremony prep). From perusing these forums, I've understood that quiet cameras include the Eclair ACL, CP16, and the Arriflex 16bl (looks like the guy in the articles picture is using a Scoopic, which I understand to be very loud).

    Which would you use for run and gun? Not much actually running, but you know.

    I've also learned that MOS cameras are quieter. Found this list of MOS cameras for sale. What do you know about their levels of noiseness?

    http://www.visualproducts.com/store03.asp?ID=32&Cat=17

    Thanks guys - looking forward to learning more.
    jones, film novice


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    Bronze Member Robert86's Avatar
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    Hey Mason Jar,

    Nice to see people are keeping the film section breathing. I have an Arriflex 16S and to tell you the truth as long as you keep your frame rate at 24fps or lower, or maybe just a few frames higher, you should be good. Keeping it at low frame rates will keep the noise down. It still gives a bit of noise but nothing like that of the K-3. Also, if you decide to go with the Arriflex 16S, do not use the 400 ft magazine, I REPEAT DO NOT USE THE 400 FT MAGAZINE. It will just make matters worse as it is really loud. Also try getting a blimp or barney for your camera to draw less attention to the sound. I hope you find that perfect wedding camera


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    Senior Member Chris Stearns's Avatar
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    Wow, what a lot of work.

    I've used my Bolex on a couple of events to supplement the video footage with a 100ft roll of 16mm, but a whole wedding? Wow.

    We had a chance to demo a couple Aaton's in school, and they were really quiet compared to the Arri's and Eclair's we used.

    Don't forget about sound though. You would need something like a Nagra crystal-sync recorder, or a DAT recorder. Without these achieving sync-sound will be nearly impossible.


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    Quote Originally Posted by The Mason Jar
    I recently came across this article about a company that shoots weddings only on film (prices starting @ $12,500, for 16mm $27,500):
    But would you get any takers? Be aware of what the actual market is, and why they're able to charge those prices, and if your market would hold the same potential. And with that said, I sold some of my Super8 cameras to a guy who claimed that he did weddings for a certain ethnic group that eschews video, so Super8 was the only appropriate medium to record on. If you're the only guy doing it, and they need it, then maybe that would justify higher prices...

    Plus, it obviously depends on your location. If you're in NY or LA it looks like it would be far more practical (considering the list of celebrities and entertainment-industry clients they mention in that article), whereas if someone was in Kansas or Wisconsin I'd think this idea would be DOA.

    I've understood that quiet cameras include the Eclair ACL, CP16, and the Arriflex 16bl (looks like the guy in the articles picture is using a Scoopic, which I understand to be very loud).
    He is using a Scoopic, and yes it's coffee-grinder loud. An ACL would be a good choice as it's the smallest sync-sound quiet camera out there, but ACLs are fragile and will need some maintenance. CP16s are bulletproof, and cheap, but it's going to be bigger and heavier and bulkier than an ACL. I never used an Arri 16BL, but IINM it requires a lens blimp which seriously restricts your options as far as lenses go and adds to the bulk.

    The proper tool for this would be one of the Arri 16SR family, or even an Aaton A-Minima. A-Minima is probably ideal for this type of work, it's quiet and tiny and modern, but it only uses 200' film loads so that limits you to 5 minutes maximum run time. Then again, the longest film magazine in normal applications is 400', which would limit you to about 11 minutes anyway.

    I've also learned that MOS cameras are quieter. Found this list of MOS cameras for sale. What do you know about their levels of noiseness?
    No, 180 degrees wrong. MOS cameras are designed for applications where you're not recording sound, so they're the loud noisy bunch. Exactly what you wouldn't want.


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    Senior Member SomewhereinLA's Avatar
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    An Arri S quite...LOL I have own anArri S for over 10 years, and unless you use a blimp, it's on of the loudest camera there is. If you want to shoot 16mm quite, get a Aaton A-Minima Camera, it's a fantastic camera. However do you have a 12k+ 16mm clientel? 12K is what they charge, but trust me I doubt they make that much profit...


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    Not to mention the pure logistics of shooting film during a wedding... 400' of 16mm film will give you what... ten minutes? Do you plan on changing loads in the middle of the ceremony? Don't get me wrong... film is great, but you have to factor in everything that's involved, such as costs and time. $12k sounds like a lot, but you also have to factor in that it costs a lot to do... $2500 of film (assuming a total of 6-7 hours of footage), $2500 of processing, and tons of investments in additional gear (cameras, lenses, telecine unit, and tons of extra magazines for your camera - to name a few).

    It's obviously possible to shoot film for a wedding (especially if you don't even offer ceremony coverage), but just be aware that it may involve a whole lot more than you are anticipating. Just don't get in over your head!

    -Pasty


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    Thanks for all the responses. Thanks especially Barry for the clarification on MOS. All I've learned about 16mm has basically transpired in the last 48 hours.

    Barry - on the wedding market. I'm in the Dallas area, and couples love to spend money impressing their family and friends. Probably one of the top 3 wedding markets in the U.S. Routinely, event designers will bring in "cinematographer"s or "documentary filmmakers" out of NY or LA to do what someone locally could've done sans the zip code on the final return address packaging :->.

    You're correct about location (Kansas, Wisconsin). But the magic of the internet (and having a local airport) is being able to market worldwide.

    About film loads - not terribly concerned about the size. 200' would be good, but with this type of production, you're not aiming for a full ceremony camera switching sync up. It's more of an art film - get the highlights, some soundbytes, create (or re-create) the emotion. 2 cameras and an assistant to load.

    So for budgeting, in the case of fiftyfootfilms, they're delivering a 45 minute final product. Probably shooting around twice as much film. 90 minutes - what would that cost and what would the profits be?

    SomewhereinLA, you mentioned 12k+16mm clientel. I've done 12k + on SD (it's the exception), but there is a certain level of ridiculous wealth to whom you sell the experience. People who own private jets, collect rare automobiles, and as is the case here in Texas, oil wealth. Robb Report readers - speaking of, fiftyfootfilms did a 35mm wedding for $200,000 which will be featured in that magazine.

    Also, with wedding clientele, one doesn't have to always have the framing or lighting perfect. They are buying the experience of seeing themselves on film, but more importantly, they are buying their memories - there is the inherent priceless value there. Take a look at Stellar Films. Probably the least impressive cinematography I've seen, but they're banking, doing short weddings films starting @ $7,500.

    BTW, 16mm would be more than 12k - fiftyfoot was doing 16mm for $27,500. Super 8 @ 12k. 45 minute final products. I'm more comfortable with a 25-30 minute production. Would probably offer something around 10k/20k for that.

    Blimps and barneys - where would I find those?

    Thanks guys, you've been very helpful.

    jones


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    Senior Member Spartacus's Avatar
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    This Stellar Films site made me angry...
    Bashing video for its suppar quality but filming like a drunken monkey - just on 16mm...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus
    This Stellar Films site made me angry...
    Bashing video for its suppar quality but filming like a drunken monkey - just on 16mm...
    It's all about how you market yourself! Most consumers are not very discerning (they might not've noticed that he's shooting with what looks like a pd-150 in the photo under the 'cinematography' link).

    ----jones


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    #10
    Senior Member Spartacus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Mason Jar
    It's all about how you market yourself! Most consumers are not very discerning (they might not've noticed that he's shooting with what looks like a pd-150 in the photo under the 'cinematography' link).

    ----jones
    I saw that too and thought I had missed sth (lost in translation...)
    Well, my mums old super8 films from the 70s look better than this stuff...
    I normally try not to bad mouth other peoples work, but this "film is so f***ing special blabla" on this site upset me from the start and than I saw the mediocre at best filming and started insulting my computer screen...
    But as you said, most people will be satisfied with just anything...
    Not saying that film in general doesnŽt look good...

    Edit: just saw the stuff from the first link fiftyfootfilms.com - now thats nice! But If I had the money IŽd rather pay for 6 HVXs and get all the important moments covered, than 1 35mm perspective...
    Last edited by Spartacus; 12-16-2006 at 06:18 AM.
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