When I started shooting action sports and mountain biking movies about 10 years ago, my first camera was an old Bolex 16mm camera. Shooting on film was a great learning process, and certainly made you focus on the task at hand. With only two minutes (and $60) worth of film on each reel, you learned to get things right the first time. Set and check exposure with a light meter. Choose focal length, shutter speed and frame rate. Roll camera (clackity-clackity-clack), and cue action! If all went well, you’d find out in a few weeks or months – whenever you got the film developed – whether that shot worked out. Pretty soon, the switch to digital video was made and I’ve never looked back.
Lugging modern high-definition cameras around at a vintage meet somehow seems to defeat the purpose and aesthetic of these events. We immerse ourselves in the atmosphere and culture of a bygone era – especially at events like Goodwood – and yet you rarely see vintage camera gear. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no luddite and the new video and photo gear is amazing, but I’ve been thinking about dusting off my old Bolex H16 to shoot some historic racing this year. Today’s video post on the always wonderful Chicane Blog has me convinced to give it a go:
Filmmaker Dikayl Rimmasch shot some great footage of the 2006 Rolex Invitational at Lime Rock testing two historic film cameras, a Bell & Howell 70 KRM (the KRM was the military model, this example was from the Vietnam era) and a 1930’s Cine Kodak. The beauty of these cameras is that you can achieve a very vintage look (grain, light flicker, etc) without having to fake it in post-production. The result is a gorgeous piece of film who’s technique does a service to the subject matter. Great stuff.