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Digital Bolex D16 cinema camera gets huge upgrade

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Is it a working prototype?

No. That's been my point all along. Its a very nice looking non-functioning body.

they didn't even shoot the "meet the d16" video with a prototype. .. that was shot with a 5d2!

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Edirol, Sound Devices, Marantz, those are the best imo for low noise field recording at an indie level. You can crank the gains and you still get a clean sound. Aside from the recording device an additional field mixer does the job even better with getting unwanted highs or lows. but whatever works for whoever. I choose the best low noise latter.


We're going around in circles here, if you'd read my posts you'd know I'm talking about shooting situations where you can't afford sound guys and you don't even have time to properly set up the sound yourself, and having one less device to operate would be a huge help. These situations are not as rare as many people think. If you have a sound guy, even if just one, you probably won't be using in camera sound, I was not advocating the use of in camera sound for every purpose.

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Audio recording in camera is a modern reality. A fair amount of production work relies on this, which is why these cameras DO include audio (unlike the original Bolex or Arris). Expecting a documentary, or run and gun shooter to settle on inferior audio while upgrading the picture leaps and bounds reflects on a lack of production experience. Anyone who has ever attended a film market can also testify that quality audio is everything, and it's often more important than clean picture.

 

Yes, in a perfect world you should employ a sound mixer AND a boom operator....and you should be feeding them, alongside your focus puller, and camera operator....but in this day and age, people pull their own focus, and hand hold themselves....and yes, they set rough audio levels too....that's life. The days of double system and shooting entirely on Prime Lenses aren't gone, but they are a luxury, that's overkill in many cases, thanks due to the available technology. The technology is available!!! Why cripple the product!? Attaching a mini recorder, or XLR convertor just to record audio is akin to expecting someone to attach a video light to get an exposure, and thinking low light isn't important, because you should be using real lights. 

 

The technology exists to partner with companies who specialize in such engineering. We're talking about a camera with an on-board battery. Certainly clean on board audio recording must be a priority.

 

The form factor of this Bolex is a little Fisher Price Pixelvision for some reason, but I'm confused why anyone would want it box shaped instead. Cinema cameras like the Eclair, Arri, and Bolex were never box shaped, in part because of how they needed to be balanced. The pronounced back end should be more ergonomic for a heavy lens.

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Please keep on behaving as cynical haters - that will leave more cameras for those recognizing a honest, transparent, user-centered and - yes - somewhat idealistic project that is very close to turn into one of the coolest indie film-maker's tool(set).

I'd be surprised if the first camera batch is not produced before Q1 this year.

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BTW, the form factor makes much more sense to me than the BMCC. The fact that the camera is usable out-of-the-box is a plus in my opinion and you'll be able to rig it anyway.

 

Sound: a true analog gain stage with knobs is a very nice feature. XLR or balanced jacks don't make a huge difference - just make a proper cable and you're set.

H4n may not be the ultimate recorder but I was told by a friend of mine who works for a major post-prod company that it's what they use a lot as it's sound image is very much surround-systems compatible.

 

All in all, I'd better invest my money in a small company of passionate film-makers growing a true community, than in a "regular" profit-oriented company. To each his own.

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H4n's strength is the stereo field. It's increrdibly noisy, and the built-in mics are pretty harsh, but it is one of the best for stereo atmosphere tracks on a decent budget.

 

The preamps are surprisingly nice given the price.

 

I wouldn't really entrust dialogue to it, I'd hire some nice Sound Devices or similar for that.

 

***

 

I think I prefer the look of this to BMD cam, just seems more tactile and ergonomically sensible.

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Audio recording in camera is a modern reality.

 

Sure, but so are single shooters, doing everything on their own and coming up with pretty damn unique work too, which wouldn't have been possible before DSLRSs or if shooting with crews, no matter how small. Of course using a Zoom h4n or equivalent is a compromise, but it's not as big of a compromise as using the camera audio from a Canon DSLR. It's also a modern reality to have the vast majority of your audience seeing your best work on tiny YouTube or Vimeo windows, with highly compressed image and sound...

 

This all goes back to how many excuses can you get to not got out and shoot your best ideas just because the tools are not quite there yet...

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I have pretty high standards when it comes to audio myself, in fact I recorded an album for a fellow last year, and traveled with the Benchmark ADC1 and DAC1 because I didn't want to use any other converters. Though i got them as bargains, to get the modern versions on the street that's three grand just for stereo conversion, nothing else. But it's pretty amazing conversion...

 

So seeing statements like "we bumped up to 96kHz 24-bit" seems a bit silly. Regardless of sample rate, a convertor is a convertor. I'd take my Benchmark at 44.1kHz over a SoundBlaster at 192kHz for example!

 

As long as it's a nice enough circuit in this camera though, I'll be happy. Because I can't always get Sound Devices or Edirol on set (I've never used a Nagra, but touched one at a trade show once), in fact I've even used the Beachtek adapter to get audio into an SLR. A bit dirty, right?

 

Even if your standards and ear tuning are both very high (I spent a decade doing audio mixes etc before touching a camera) sometimes practicality wins over...

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On the visual side, one of the less talked-of parts of CCD structure is the off-chip ADC, so it'll be interesting to see if you can adjust and programme things at analogue to digital conversion stage from the sensor.

 

High-ISO cleanliness is still a worry though, what with CCD and  small chip size... let's wait and see...

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It's the same sensor as the ikonoscop it I remember correctly.

Audio wise, of course I'm all in favour of having the best possible quality, which means getting additional qualified people and equipment, but that's not always possible. Amazing works like Undercity or Hell and Back Again would simply not have been possible with a crew bigger than one single person, and I'm all in favour of making it easy on such artists so they keep coming up with more and better work.
jgharding likes this

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which wouldn't have been possible before DSLRSs

 

I'd say Standard Digital video in the era of the VX1000 preceded the practical use of DSLRS for video...the quality of the preamps just declined and high level production required double system.

 

DSLR brought with it even more limitations like with audio metering, so it forces people to look outside the camera for solutions. 

Meanwhile, if you're weren't a one man army, there were better tools on the market, but it becomes a matter of budget. A working cinematographer/filmmaker needs the most versatile tools possible.

adetrybed and gebybaidway like this

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I would love to see a 4K version of this with a Metabones Speedbooster-type adapter. Run-and-gun with relatively light lenses, then add a Speedbooster when you want shallow DOF. I would also like to see removable SSDs and maybe CineForm RAW, but I suspect that internal processing power couldn't handle it.

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Looks awesome. I hope they get it working.

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