Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

style="margin-bottom: 0">
16mm Prints From Super 16

Published : 5th July 2004


Hi all, we are shooting a short next month with the Aaton XTR. the gate is set up for super16. We are also using a Bolex h16 for some work in the water.

My question is, when we go back to print will this super16 footage be a problem to match with the footage from the Bolex?

If I frame all in the Aaton within the standard 16 frame in my ground glass will they be able to extract just that for the IP or will we have to do a full blowdown?

I know that the gate can be switched but the person lending us his camera is reluctant to do it without good reason.

Thanks for any help!

Andrew House!
Cinematographer
Cork, Ireland



You can shoot with both cameras in regular 16mm. The extra gate area on the Aaton means nothing--it will be ignored. Just use the correct markings in the viewfinder and make sure the fibre optic screen is properly centred for regular 16mm.
That's it.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



Mitch Gross wrote:

>Just use the correct markings in the viewfinder and make sure the fibre >optic screen is properly centred for regular 16mm.

And that the lens is centred for regular 16 -- especially wide angles and zooms!

Jeff "checklist" Kreines



Andrew House! wrote :

>wonderful information there guys thank you. How is it that I check to >make sure these lenses are centred?...

Be sure the lens socket on the camera is adjusted over from S-16 to regular 16.

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614



You can easily make your own framing chart. Just draw a rectangle of the proportions of the aspect ratio on a sheet of paper (an A-4 size sheet will do, just leaving some margins around. For a quality finishing, software like CorelDraw can make it easily and fast; and you can do it for all aspect ratios in one sheet and write the corresponding proportions, so you can use it for framing every aspect ratio you could ever need).

You can laminate the sheet to protect it so it will last a very long time with a little care. Or if you want, I can send it to you already made (and also a Siemens star you can laminate together with the framing chart, as I did).

Arturo Briones-Carcaré
Filmmaker
Madrid (Imperial - but recivilising - Spain)



Make sure the Aaton is set for regular 16 on [both] mount and viewfinder/screen. Most people now keep the camera on S-16 setup(as I do mine), but in your case, to match the Bolex and since your quest is to go to print regular 16, revert the Aaton to regular-and as mentioned, don't forget to do both mount and viewing system.

For extra info on switching from super to regular you could go to the ever informative www.aaton.com site and double check the manual. When switching the mount, you should double check the flange/focal depth tolerance to make sure it didn't change.

Best regards,

John Babl
Miami



Mitch Gross writes :

>Just use the correct markings in the viewfinder and make sure the fibre >optic screen is properly centred for regular 16mm.

Jeff "checklist" Kreines comments that :

>the lens is centred for regular 16 -- especially wide angles and zooms!

Wonderful information there guys thank you. How is it that I check to make sure these lenses are centred? When I was in school we once shot on an ACLII and had to use a chart to specify where the centre of the frame was for the telecine operator.

Would this be the same thing? The film house here in Cork is small and I'm not sure if they have the facilities (or the framing charts) to set the lenses up properly if they were not already. so will a centre point at the head of each reel with the color chart do?

Thanks again!

Andrew House!
Cinematographer
Cork, Ireland.



Andrew,

Be careful about what you're doing. I think many of the recent responses to your question forgot that you had originally stated that the owner of the XTR you are using did not want you to switch the camera from Super 16 to standard 16. So I think you might have misunderstood some of their responses regarding centring lenses, etc.

If you were shooting for telecine, then simply using the centre of the Super 16 ground glass markings, and framing for the centre of the Super 16 image in the gate would be no problem. In a telecine bay, you could easily choose to use that centre portion of the frame.

But your first post indicated that you were making a print. If you are making a print, I do not believe the lab can extract the centre of the Super 16 negative and create a standard 16 print. You should confirm that with the lab that is doing the work. Most likely, all of your framing would be slightly off to one side, which would of course be disastrous. If you look at the difference between Super 16 and standard 16, they both share a common side (can't remember if it's the left or the right), but they do NOT share a common centre. Standard 16 is centred on the film plane, but Super 16 is extended off to one side and not centred on the film at all. That is why the proper way to do what you are doing is to re-centre the lens mount on the camera and re-centre the ground glass to match. There is no re-centring of the lenses themselves - the centre of a lens is always the centre. It's really not a big deal, and your best option is to convince the camera owner of that.

If you MUST keep the camera set for Super 16, but you want to shoot standard 16 for a print, then you need to use the SIDE of the ground glass, not the centre, because that is the portion of the negative that the lab will be printing. That is very different than the standard 16 markings you currently see in the centre of the XTR ground glass while the lens mount is still centred for Super 16. I do not recommend using the side of the image at all, but I did just that for a standard 16 film that I shot using an SR2 that was set up for Super 16. I used a ground glass that was already marked for the correct side of the frame. But when you do this, you are also using the SIDE of the lens.

Not such a big deal with medium to long lenses. But when using a wide lens, it can be a problem. When looking up at a room for example, the left wall will not angle out quite as steeply as the right (or vice-versa). So you have to manually level the frame to look good to your eye, even though it is not actually level at all. Again, none of this is recommended. And you would need to somehow mark the ground glass to know exactly where your frame was. Again, your best bet is to properly re-centre the lens mount and the ground glass.

Good luck.

Erin Harvey
L.A. cinematographer



Correction to my previous post :

No need to mark the ground glass if you elect not to re-centre the lens mount. I now see what Mitch Gross was originally suggesting. You could choose to leave the lens mount centred for Super 16 and simply re-centre the ground glass for standard 16. But you would still be using the side of the lens if you did this, and it would still create occasional problems when shooting wide angle.

Erin Harvey
L.A. cinematographer



>No need to mark the ground glass if you elect not to re-centre the lens >mount. I now see what Mitch Gross was originally suggesting. You >could choose to leave the lens mount centred for Super 16 and simply >re-centre the ground glass for standard 16.

I don't know if the XTR ground glass is user removable but the LTR's GG is not. A camera technician has to remove it or so I was told. Be careful screwing around with the GG. You don't want it to be shifted to some non-standard position. I would talk to the lab about what you are trying to do and see what they come up with.

Tom McDonnell
DP/Operator
New Orleans, La



>I don't know if the XTR ground glass is user removable but the LTR's >GG is not. A camera technician has to remove it or so I was told. Be >careful screwing around with the GG. You don't want it to be shifted to >some non-standard position. I would talk to the lab about what you are >trying to do and see what they come up with.

They both use a "combo" ground glass with markings for Super-16 with a regular 16mm-sized area centred within. To properly recanter that 1.33 area for the Regular 16mm framing, the ground glass (actually a fibre optic screen) can be shift to the side by 1mm. This is done by loosening a single screw through the lens port, shifts the GG over (it's housed in a metal rig so it's pretty safe and easy to do. Just be sure to rotate the mirror out of the way so you don't risk scratching it.

It's really easy to check to see which way the GG is centred. Simply spin the mirror in and out and compare the frame line markings to the actual camera gate.

It is best to re-centre the lens mount so that you are using the centre of the glass and any optical distortions that do exist (barrel distortion, chromatic aberration, focus breathing, etc.) would be equally balanced across the frame rather than weighted to one side. But in practice this is often not a big deal depending on your lenses and what type of photography you're shooting. When shooting Super-35 for anamorphic 35mm extraction but protecting for a taller 16:9 video frame many professionals choose to use a "common topline" approach, meaning that the centre of the lens is not centred vertically in the film extraction. Not a huge problem.

Remember that even if you do not re-centre the lens mount, the Super-16 frame covers all of the regular 16mm frame plus more, so there is no way that a lens that covers S-16 will not cover R-16 no matter which way it is positioned. However, if a lens only covers R-16 then you must properly centre it of you will have the corners dark.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



>However, if a lens only covers R-16 then you must properly centre it of >you will have the corners dark.

The other reason to re-centre is zooms -- they'll track off-centre otherwise.

Jeff "coming from Mr. Wide-Angle prime, that's almost funny" Kreines



Arturo Briones Carcaré wrote :

>Or if you want, I can send it to you already made (and also a Siemens >star you can laminate together with the framing chart, ?as I did).

Maybe Geoff could put it in the download section on the website?

Best Regards
Anders Thorsby
Clapper/loader & video assistant
Copenhagen, Denmark



>Maybe Geoff could put it in the download section on the website?


Just send it to me

Cheers

Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based
www.cinematography.net



>They both use a "combo" ground glass with markings for Super-16 with >a regular 16mm-sized area centred within.

Ah my mistake. Is there a offset Reg-16 lines inside the S-16 fibre screen? Zooms would drift off-centre. The lab can't do an centre optical extraction from S-16 for a reg 16 print? Would it involve a slight blow-up instead of a straight contact print?

Tom McDonnell
DP/Operator
New Orleans, La



>The lab can't do an centre optical extraction from S-16 for a reg 16 >print? Would it involve a slight blow-up instead of a straight contact >print?

Maybe a "blow-across" ?

By that point, cheaper to rent a camera set up for straight 16 !

Sam Wells



You're making this so much harder on yourself than you need to. In the end it really doesn't matter how big the camera's gate it--they're generally bigger than the frame anyway.

In 35mm they're usually MUCH bigger than the extracted image area. Right now the Aaton is likely has its ground glass and lens mount centred for Super-16. Recentering the ground glass will tell you where the regular-16 frame is and you can then do standard simple contact printing to regular 16 and just ignore any additional image recorded to the film. Tell the lab or transfer house that you're shooting regular 16mm and they will make proper work prints and/or video transfers. Because of the optical issues already discussed in this thread, it is a smart idea to re-centre the lens mount, but it if you don't you will still get a completely useable image.

Don't shoot with everything set for S-16 and try to deal with correcting the film printing in post. It would be far cheaper and easier to rent a standard 16mm camera instead or even just PAY the Aaton owner to have his camera reset. Hell, even at an expensive rental house it's a maximum of $100 in labor time to switch the camera over.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



>Ah my mistake. Is there a offset Reg-16 lines inside the S-16 fibre >screen? Zooms would drift off-centre. The lab can't do an centre optical >extraction from S-16 for a reg 16 print? Would it involve a slight blow-up >instead of a straight contact print?

The ground glass does have both markings but not an offset 16 frame. Isn't the norm for making 16 prints from super16 an optical blowdown? Would we be just the same blowing down to 16 and having a 1:66 frame from the super 16 and framing the Bolex for 1:66 as well? Does this become a problem for the negative cutter? If the Bolex is shot for 1:66 and then that part of the film printed with a 1:66 hard mask, would that match a 1:66 blown down super16 frame?

The Aaton owner is out of town, so I am trying to cover all bases before he returns.

Thanks once again for the excellent help guys!

Andrew House!
Cinematographer
Cork, Ireland.



>the ground glass does have both markings but not an offset 16 frame. >isn't the norm for making 16 prints from super16 an optical blowdown?

I agree with Mitch. Just find a camera that can be reset for normal 16. All this repositioning and fibre screen shifting in the long run is going to cost more money than it's worth.

I shoot with a Aaton LTR-54 set for S-16. I only go to telecine so I just shoot framing charts for centre extractions. If I ever need to go to print now I know!

Tom McDonnell
DP/Operator
New Orleans, La



>I agree with Mitch. Just find a camera that can be reset for normal 16. All >this repositioning and fibre screen shifting in the long run is going to >cost more money than it's worth.

Whoa, hang on. That's not exactly what I said. I too own an Aaton LTR-54, and it's very quick and easy to shift over the fibre optic screen. I've done it plenty of times. The lens mount isn't much harder, but does take a few minutes to align properly.

The instructions on how to do so are in the XTR manual and I believe available on the Abel Cine Tech website. I think the whole manual might even be available as a download in the archives here, right Geoff?

It takes maybe two minutes to move the fibre optic (really taking it slow) and perhaps half an hour to reset the lens mount. It ain't brain surgery. I generally keep my camera in Super-16 and centre a 1.33 image within for video finish, but there have been a number of times where a standard 16mm film finish was required and it was no big deal to switch over.

People are acting like it was the rebuilding of an engine or the chemistry of baking a soufflé. It's easy.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



>Whoa, hang on. That's not exactly what I said.

Oops sorry!

>I too own an Aaton LTR-54, and it's very quick and easy to shift over the >fibre optic screen. I've done it plenty of times. The lens mount isn't much >harder, but does take a few minutes to align properly.

Good to know. I'm need to find that info and pack it away in my camera case.

Thanks,

Tom McD
New Orleans



>and perhaps half an hour to reset the lens mount.

Or you could get one of those custom made PL mounts that is an eccentric on a pin, and then it just rotates over, no need to fudge with the lens sitting un-mounted on the camera ready to fall as you nudge it with your head.

Ahhhhhh.

Steven Gladstone
www.gladstonefilms.com
Cinematographer - Gladstone Films
Cinematography Mailing List - East Coast List Administrator
Better off Broadcast (B.O.B.)
New York, U.S.A.



Just go to  www.aaton.com  and follow the manual.

If you are mechanically inclined (some people can't hold a screwdriver) you should have no problem switching. As previously stated, once the mount is repositioned, depth should be checked. So you can do the switching and then bring the camera to a rental house to be checked, or if you have a friend w/ gauges, collimator etc. If you tighten the screws too much you can quickly destroy things (I've had a good friend teach me a lot and I've worked on a variety of cameras old and new).

But if you don't normally take things apart and have little experience fixing things, I would caution to stay away. (I've fixed most of my things since I had my first bike, took apart a YZ 80 engine when I was 16, and grew up w/ friends messing with V8's, VW and two stroke engines.) Of course working on cameras is a delicate matter so if you venture into it be very careful.

John Babl
Miami



Thanks for all of your help on this subject.

I just returned from a shoot to find that my producer has secured me a standard 16 because the owner of the Aaton refused the switch. So all's well there, and at least now I know how it can be done should it need to be!

Thanks for the help again!

Andrew House!
Cinematographer
Cork, Ireland