Anyone can shoot something digitally on a cheap smartphone, but you’ll need some serious (and very expensive) equipment to shoot a big-budget movie on, well, film. A filmmaker is looking to make film cameras more expensive and just made one with a 3D printer.
The high price of most motion picture cameras is one of the reasons many filmmakers are switching from the once popular 35mm cameras to more streamlined and powerful digital versions. This is especially true for amateur filmmakers, whose work is constrained by even smaller budgets. Going digital saves tons of money not only by eliminating film, but also by skipping the labor-intensive film development and editing processes (and paying talented people to do all this). This is true even though these filmmakers have given up on using 16mm or even 8mm film.
But the beauty of shooting on film still appeals to most filmmakers who have ever had the pleasure of using this medium. Why is money becoming the deciding factor? Isn’t there another option for amateur filmmakers who want to shoot on film? Thanks to clever filmmaker Yuta Ikeya, there’s another option: just 3D print your own film camera.
Ikeya sat down and designed, modeled, manufactured, assembled and tested his 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 the internal mechanisms, an Arduino to control things and a power source, were purchased elsewhere. Ikeya says this camera is a “new concept in a lightweight, affordable, [and] easy to use.”
The filmmaker said that “the project was initiated by my interest in analog cinematography. As a film photographer, I knew that shooting a film with film was incredibly expensive. Hopefully Ikeya is happy with this prototype and plans to share the plans with others interested in the well-designed and affordable concept.
As for the film, Ikeya worked with affordable 35mm film instead of the high-end stuff used by major movie studios. For the test images seen in the YouTube video (above), Ikeya used Ilford HP5+ film. The result? Aesthetically grainy images with a fantastic and unique look. The result too? A functional alternative to extremely expensive cameras that will hopefully open the doors for more amateur filmmakers to realize their artistic dreams. We can’t wait to see what they will create!