August 31, 2016 at 2:32PM, Edited August 31, 3:31PM


Best Way to Get Super 16 Like Footage??

I am looking to shoot my gritty indie short on something that would replicate super 16 film footage. I was set on the Digital Bolex D16 camera but it seems that is going away. If anyone can tell me about the Digital Bolex D16 that would be great. I have access to the Red, A7s, lots of different cameras at the school I go to. I would even shoot on actual film. But I'm looking to do some test footage first. Also any filters or editing tricks to make it look vintage, retro, indie, super 16, all around crappy/distorted like would be great. My number one inspirations for this film are Trash Humpers, and Listen Up Philip, shot by DP Sean Price Williams.



Use the RED , and get the plugin "Red Giant Film" and use a 16mm film stock within the plugin.

You can either window the sensor from within the RED, or just crop it in post to get even close to the 16mm look. I would not be purchasing a camera to replicate a old look, use post-production to emulate it.

September 1, 2016 at 6:20AM, Edited September 1, 6:20AM


In my opinion, the "look" of Super16 is based of the following factors:

1) The Format. The imaging area of Super16 is approx. 1/2 that of standard 3-Perf/S35. Thus lenses will effectively appear to double in focal length because of the narrower Field of View (FOV). However, the Depth of Field (DOF) remains the same. Consequently, when filming on Super16, wider lenses are often necessary to achieve wider perspectives which then in turn impacts perspective and DOF. -

2) Film "Look". If you are referring true Super16, then you must also be alluding to the "look" of celluloid. This is a distinct look. However, newer technologies enable one to now emulate that look quite effectively. -

3) Grain. Super16 often "appears" grainer then it's 35mm counterparts, but this is misleading since essentially they are all the same stock, meaning grain particles essentially the same. The big difference is projection ratio. Since Super16 is a smaller format, it must be projected/magnified to a larger degree, thus increasing the perceived appearance of grain. Again, film emulation tools allow you to emulate this on digital devices. -

So, in my opinion, take a look at cameras like the Digital Bolex*, Blackmagic Pocket/Micro Cinema, and GH4 in 4k UHD mode which all have a format close to Super16.

If your budget allows, the ARRI Mini and Amira have a center crop mode that "windows" a Super16 equivalent area out of the normally Super35 sensor (this would be my preferred personal route since the ARRI sensors have a "look" that is very similar to film).

I love the Super16 format and I am very happy to hear your willing to give it a try. Happy Shooting!

* Noam Kroll recently had a blog on this same subject:

September 1, 2016 at 8:38AM, Edited September 1, 8:49AM

John Dimalanta
Freelance Photographer/Cinematographer

Thank you so much. You helped a lot!

September 8, 2016 at 5:14PM, Edited September 8, 5:14PM

Rachael Hoffman
DP, Director, Production Designer

Well, at the risk of sound a bit revolutionary, the best way to get 16mm footage, is to shoot on a 16mm camera!

For your consideration - the Krasnagorsk-3 - a vintage Russian 16mm clockwork movie camera that shoots on 16mm film and uses M42 lenses.

By the way, the native image aspect ratio of 16mm film is 16:9, so you could, in theory, shoot on any 16:9 camera and play with the colours. Don't forget, even the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera has a 16mm-size sensor, and so would not be a bad place to start, but who can resist an old Russian clockwork camera and a few rolls of Kodak film to get you motivated?!

September 2, 2016 at 5:33AM

Ian Nicholson
Head Tutor at Sydney Short Film School

I'd personally go for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera with some Super-16 glass. It actually has a bit more dynamic range than the D-16, so you can get a bit more information from the highlights. There's a guy on Vimeo that uses this combo and get's great results:

He also used this Kodak 2393 LUT which gives a nice retro brown look. Reminds me of "Hannah and Her Sisters" or "Margot at the Wedding". The LUT can be found here:

For diffusion I'd go with the 1/4 and 1/8 Black Pro Mist filters from Tiffen. Sean Price Williams used them on his film "Christmas, Again". You can see them in action here:

Here's a link to the ASC article with Sean talking about his lighting process on that film:
And BTS footage from "Listen Up Phillip":

September 11, 2016 at 7:48AM, Edited September 11, 7:48AM


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