Bolex Blimp

This is the Bolex blimp for the H-16 I just bought off of eBay. It’s a pretty fantastic find. It came with a motor inside for continuous filming. I created this sample video to give an idea of the noise reduction capabilities of the Bolex blimp. In the video I have the motor running with the top on and then I pull the top off so you can hear how loud it is without the top. Then I run it with the top on. My camera was less than a foot away from the Bolex blimp.

The motor that came with this Bolex blimp would taint any audio for your film if you didn’t use a blimp with it. It’s really hard to show how this thing really sounds in real life. It’s funny the only thing I can really compare the volume of the naked motor to is the motor on my vintage Rain Lamp which uses a small pool pump. :)

The motor the Bolex blimp came with would definitely need to be cut out in post if used outside a blimp but covered inside the blimp, its more like a low hum and I don’t think it would be picked up at all with a directional mic but would be picked up by a lav although probably wouldn’t be too noticeable with good sound design. I also add a low level hum to my films anyway.

With the current motor, it vibrates more on a tripod sitting on carpet and the hum is louder. But I think if I can get my camera in this with the Tobin or MST motors it will be silent. The Tobin motor is definitely quieter than the motor this thing came with. It’s just a matter of if it will fit.

  1. Thanks for posting, Tressa.

    There is still low level hum evident in the audio. I am curious about your technique of inserting a “low level hum”. Does this end up cancelling the source hum recorded in the field.

    By the way as per your other blog post regarding digital to film costs. Congratulations on switching your focus to film. I am a Telecommunication Technologist who finances my film engineering and filmmaking passions with my day job. With more to come. Can I add your email to my modest UltraPan8 mailing list? It is a new motion picture film format I introduced in 2011. It is based on both Bolex H16/H8 camera systems as modified by the one of the last remaining Bolex engineers in NA, i.e. Jean-Lois Seguin.

    Shoot film!

    Best Regards,

    Nicholas Kovats
    Toronto, Canada

  2. Yes, there is a low level hum. However, it wouldn’t be picked up if using a directional mic but would if using a lav; especially if planted on the set to capture dialogue from more than one person.

    Adding low level hum doesn’t cancel source hum. Instead you use the source hum instead of adding a low level hum when you are doing sound design. If I record clean audio with no hum. I always add it during editing; otherwise you have dead audio. I usually also record the natural sound of the room we are shooting in as well and add that as a layer of background audio.

    Also the hum the blimp produces can be easily removed with iZotope RX. I’ve definitely removed worse noise using iZotope RX (i.e. lawn mowers).


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