Hi Guys,


I just got an old Arri-3 35mm movie camera. It has an intervalometer. I was wondering If anyone has had experience of using this camera for stop motion. It has a fixed 1/3 shutter speed when on single frame mode apparently.

Cheers

P

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When I was moving up from my 16mm Bolex to 35mm, I looked into Arris. Unfortunately I found that the shutter allowed a very small amount of light leakage. This was not an issue for normal shooting, or even for fairly rapid timelapse. But for animation, where the amount of time between shots can vary, and can be quite long, light would leak in and fog the film. My colleagues in the Natural History unit used Arris, and for timelaps shots they always fitted a capping shutter. This is external shutter that sits in front of the lens, and closes after the shot to exclude all light.
I actually tested a couple of their 16mm Arri SRIIs, and an older Arri C 35mm that was for sale, and all showed this light leakage. (May not apply to the Arri 3 though, it is later.) I ended up getting a Mitchell S35R instead. It had a dual shutter - a rotating mirror shutter like the Arri, and a focal plane shutter as well, and that seemed to keep out the light.
But In 2004 I switched to a Nikon DSLR for my own projects, even though the Mitchell was sitting there unused, and I even had a 400 ft roll of film left. The cost od processing the neg and making a work print would have exceeded the cost of buying the DSLR and a couple of lenses. I also found that actually seeing my shot - not just a grainy video assist version but the final images - took a lot of stress out of the process. Sometimes there was a camera fault (or, to be honest, a camera operator fault) that affected the film but didn't show on the video split, and by the time I got the film processed, I had broken down the set. So I wouldn't find it easy to go back to shooting on film. Results on 35mm were very good though, cleaner and steadier than 16mm.
I know. Shooting on 35mm on paper is daft. What with digital camera etc. but I'm going for as good an image as possible and unless you're using an arri alexa with Cooke/ zeiss glass . In my opinion you just get that pro Sumer type of look. If I'm investing half a year for a 1 minute film. The last thing I want to skimp on is image quality. 35mm stop motion is the ultimate. Cheers for the reply. God where can I find a definitive answer for using the arri 3 ?
If you love the look of film, and are prepared for the uncertainty ( or are so good with your lightmeter and camera handling that there is very little uncertainty) I can't argue with shooting on 35mm film. Or with Zeiss superspeed lenses. I tested some with a chart and they certainly beat the remounted Nikon lenses I used on the Mitchell for lines of resolution. But the Nikons were more than good enough.

I really don't know for certain about the Arri III. The 35mm I tested was really old, virtually the same as the ones the Germans used in WWII, probably made in the 50s. But if the III still uses the same mirror shutter design, I would think the light leak issue may still apply. You have to test it, Leaving it pointed at a brightly lit set for a couple of minutes between exposures to see, and of course every test on film costs money and time.
On the Mitchell it was important to cover the viewfinder eyepiece with a spare lens cap, as light can go in through there - same with the Bolex or any reflex camera I would think. For light coming in through the lens, A loose fitting cap could probably be whipped off by hand just before taking the shot, and put back on just after the shutter closes, if it is only long periods of time that allow enough light in to show up. Provided it doesn't jiggle the camera. Otherwise, a black disc with a hole in one side, almost but not quite touching the front of the lens, would probably work, even if you had to turn it by hand each frame.
I just googled Arri III light leak - and they can have this problem. Se the reply on this forum:

http://www.cinematography.net/edited-pages/%5Bcml-pro%5D%20single%2...

About 3 or 4 posts down from the top, starting with "if you are forced..." and all the posts following. They seem to be confirming what I was saying.

You find your definitive answer by loading up 100' of 35mm and shooting a test. Cameras with that much mileage/years on them all have their own quirks.  You absolutely need a capping shutter with an Arri 3 (and most other mirror reflex cameras) and even then...This guy has a capping shutter on his 2c but you can still see light leaks around 1:39:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_UphwAfjhk


Phil Thompson said:

God where can I find a definitive answer for using the arri 3 ?

Ah, the Arri III... great workhorse MOS camera from the 80's... the first 35mm "production" camera I ever AC'ed (My Wall didn't count) in '85.  It wouldn't register as cleanly as cameras with dual pins, but we used it pretty successfully over the years, even for VFX.  It was also the cheapest rental camera when the 235's and such came out, so we kept using it right up until about '98 or so.  

I never did use it for time-lapse or animation, as these light leak stories were common even then, and I would have had to rent it, then test and that was too much money when I could just use my Bolex or my 35mm Wall.  It's pretty loud (like a sewing machine!) running 24fps, so for sync sound we used the appropriate BL3 or BL4.

Is the intervalometer from Norris?  What lenses do you have with it?

For time-lapse, stop motion, here in 2012 you'd be much, much better off with an under 600 dollar US Canon Rebel T3i and a few Nikon manual lenses.  In fact, buying a 400' roll of film, processing and transferring will set you back almost that much for one test!... add in the fact that the lack of uber pin registration combined with anything less than high end scanning will negate any marginal "value" you might get from film... remember, you're controlling your lighting and can with care won't need that last bit of dynamic range you'd need for live action shooting in an uncontrolled environment.

Oh, and there's no "romance" to not being able to see your work as you go... trust me on that.  You'll not be able to check shot by shot, but rather scene by scene at best.  Blah, I'm done with film!

Not trying to make you feel bad, I actually think it's really cool.  I'd LOVE that camera setting in my studio for show and tell...

Regards,

Jim Arthurs

Film has a vibe that you'll never get with a canon 5D plugged into frame thief. Yeah, it's more expensive film, more margin of error. But boy when you get that neg back. And when it works. thats magic. Life is short. But I'd take a Phil Tippet AT-TAT walker scene over a DSLR vibe any day.

Phil, I'd never get between a man and his vibe.  :) 

Best of luck and report back often... there's years of one-frame-at-a-time film experience here on the site if you run into issues...  

Regards,

Jim Arthurs

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