The Beaulieu R16 … so pretty it’s got “beau”-tiful in the name.
I just came up with that. No seriously. I did.
Originality aside this camera is one sexy piece of French engineering. 16mm with a stock 100ft worth of film (200ft if you add mouse ears up top) and was made well into the 80’s despite having that sweet 60’s swinging style. I mean just check out that instruction manual if you want to be schooled in sick typography:
Just looking at this camera makes you want to smoke unfiltered cigarettes and do poorly choreographed dance moves at a well lit cafe, you know what I mean? (Yeah you know what I mean Quentin) Add on that sweet Angenieux 24-250 zoom lens and you’re ready to Godard hard, chaknowwhatImean?
This baby is more then just a pretty face… it’s battery operated and also records sync sound which is amazing because it sounds like a fucking automobile plant in full swing when it’s rolling. Don’t believe me? This is what it sounds like:
Subtle as a Sphynx. One of the other amazing benefits of this little beau-uty… (Im here all night) is how it loads. A standard gate 16mm roll simply slaps right in there. Look how easy it is to load:
No problem right? Sure, just like sex it’s super easy with the lights on right?! Now try it in pitch black which is how you normally have to load film:
I should note at this point that the camera weighs exactly 2.8kg which is enough to put a hole through 6 inches of plaster wall if thrown at full force! Fantastic!
But more then just a demolition tool used in construction this camera also takes moving pictures, so the “reel” question is (again, all night) how the hell does it look? Well there are two options…
OPTION 1: 70’s cop film
OPTION 2: Cheeseball karaoke video
I think we can all agree that it is no longer a secret what they shot Garth Brook’s “Friends in low Places” Karaoke video on, is it? No. No it’s not. It is no longer a secret.
What is a secret is why this beautiful little paperweight isn’t used more often. It’s a stellar piece of film equipment, with a wide variety of lens options, offers sync sound, and damn she looks fine. Looking forward to running some celluloid through her.
Fun fact! The Stasi (East German Secret Police during the Cold War) actually chose to use this baby as their espionage of choice:
That was a clip from my travel vid about the Stasi Museum in Berlin. You should hop on over and check it out, East Germany during the Cold War was a RIOT!
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The Vintage Camera Quest is an adventure through vintage cameras by director Roberto Serrini who records his adventures in word, photography and film. . Check him out on instagram @vintagecameraquest or twitter @oldcameraquest or subscribe to his blog www.vintagecameraquest.com – thanks for reading!