Anybody can film something digitally on a cheap smartphone, but you’ll need some serious (and seriously expensive) equipment to film a big-budget movie on, well, film. One filmmaker is looking to make film cameras more expensive, and just made one with a 3D printer.
The high price tag most for-movie film cameras have is one of the reasons so many filmmakers are making the switch from the once-massively-popular 35mm cameras to more streamlined and powerful digital versions. This is especially true for amateur filmmakers, whose work is confined by even smaller budgets. Going digital saves tons of money not just from eliminating film, but also by skipping over the labor-intensive processes of developing and editing the film in post (and paying talented folks to do all that). This is true even if those filmmakers stepped down to use 16mm or even 8mm film.
But the beauty of shooting on film still calls to most filmmakers who have ever had the pleasure of using the medium. Why does money get to be the deciding factor? Isn’t there any other option for amateur filmmakers wanting to shoot on film? Thanks to one clever filmmaker, Yuta Ikeya, there is another option: simply 3D-print your own film camera.
Ikeya sat down and designed, modeled, manufactured, assembled, and tested their own custom film camera. Most of the parts were able to be 3D printed with reinforced PLA, and the few that weren’t—like the optics, a DC motor to drive internal mechanisms, an Arduino to control things, and a power source—were procured elsewhere. Ikeya says this camera is a “new concept of an analogue movie camera that is lightweight, affordable, [and] easy to use.”
The filmmaker stated that “the project was initiated by my interest in analog cinematography. As a film photographer, I knew shooting a movie with film is insanely expensive.” Hopefully, Ikeya is satisfied with this prototype and considers sharing the blueprints with others interested in the well-designed, affordable concept.
As for the film, Ikeya worked with an affordable 35mm film instead of the high-end stuff big movie studios use. For the test footage seen in the YouTube video (above), Ikeya used Ilford HP5+ film. The result? Aesthetically grainy footage with a fantastic and unique look. Also the result? A working alternative to extremely pricey film cameras that will hopefully open the doors for more amateur filmmakers to fulfill their artistic dreams. We can’t wait to see what they create!