There are many reasons for even a large budget film and television productions have shifted to the use of digital cameras—the most obvious being that filming is expensive. That’s why amateur filmmakers rarely choose the 35mm cameras that have dominated Hollywood for years, but Utah Ikeya found a way to to make them more accessible with plan and 3D printing a movie camera from the beginning.
No one is going to pretend that the top digital film cameras commonly used in the industry today are cheap, but they eliminate the cost of film stock and the extra steps of developing and then digitizing footage so they can be sorted, edited and edited post-production. But there is a certain aesthetic to film shooting that digital may not yet fit, so amateur filmmakers on a smaller budget will be shooting at 8mm or 16mm instead of 35mm, but saving resources has the cost of reduced resolution and results. that do not look so professional.
In one of the most technically impressive attempts we have ever made for a budget guerrilla film, Yuta Ikeya designed, modeled, and 3D printed most of the components needed to assemble a custom 35 mm film camera. Parts that do not come from a 3D printer include a single DC motor to drive all the motors inside, an Arduino to control it, a power supply and optics: a lens on the front and a mirror inside to separate the incoming light so that the shooter can control the framing through the viewfinder.
Ikeya also chose to shoot at a more affordable 35mm C-41 based film instead of the more expensive stock used by the film industry. For the test material it recorded, Ikeya joined two rolls of Ilford HP5 + film mounted on a custom 3D printed film cassette, which is then inserted into the camera.
The drawn material has a very distinct lo-fi aesthetic that suffers from problems such as light leakage and weaving of the gate. Without knowing where the shots came from, it would be easy to dismiss it as overly artistic, but the fact that it was captured by a DIY 3D-printed film camera on the contrary leaves us incredibly impressed with what Ikeya has achieved. There is obvious room for improvement, so we really hope so Ikeya finally decides to share printable designs for the camera so that the 3D printing community can contribute ways to upgrade its performance and improve the results it captures.