The history of the Bolex – both the digital bolex and “the bolex”

by planetMitchLeave a Comment

In the last week or so, I've become aware of two updates on the Digital Bolex project and wanted to share them both with you.


Update from Kurt Lancaster

The first is a post by Kurt Lancaster where he's posted an update from the Digital Bolex team and is working on a book about the project.

Here's an excerpt:

I want one
When I first heard about the Digital Bolex camera last year, and its capability to shoot raw video (using Adobe’s open source CinemaDNG format), on a blog post by Philip Bloom, I went to Kickstarter to back the $2500 camera, but they were sold out. I waited until the last day of the campaign, hoping someone would back out at the last minute. They did. I was all in.

And as I started to do more research, I decided to pitch a proposal to Focal Press for a new book. They had published the first and second editions of my DSLR Cinema book, and this new one would cover the latest in video cameras that shoot cinema raw, tentatively titled, Cinematic Storytelling with 16mm Raw: Shooting with the Ikonoskop, Digital Bolex, and the Blackmagic Cinema Cameras. It should be out late fall or early winter. This blog is a work-in-progress excerpt.



There's some good stuff and would recommend you give it a read if you're interested in the project!

Meet Jacques Bolsey – the man behind a generation's worth of moving images

The second item about the Digital Bolex is this kickstarter project that was sent to me – started by the granddaughter of the creator of the original Bolex!

I wanted to introduce you to BEYOND THE BOLEX, a forthcoming documentary about the inventor of the iconic Bolex motion picture camera. I know you have written about the Digital Bolex previously and thought you might be interested in our film.

Our story begins when a young filmmaker named Alyssa Bolsey discovered that her great-grandfather was the inventor of the iconic Bolex. In “Beyond the Bolex,” Alyssa sets out to trace the historical trajectory of this camera from her great-grandfather’s invention though to its current incarnation in the digital age. Alongside the story of the enigmatic inventor, “Beyond the Bolex” explores the parallel, contemporary story of two underdog inventors who are currently taking Bolsey’s invention into the 21st Century with their digital version- the Digital Bolex.

“The best ideas lose their owners and take on lives of their own.” – N. Bushnell

The year was 1927, the industrial age was in full swing, and the world was falling in love with the moving picture. The craft of this new art form, however, remained elite and unattainable; It was a novelty for the masses. Enter Jacques Bolsey and his revolutionary invention – the Bolex. He introduced the world to a cinematic camera that would do no less than revolutionize the fledgling medium, shattering its shackles of high-end exclusivity and setting it free for everyday people to create and experiment.

There is a lot of historical information in the kickstarter page to get you keenly interested in this project!

Here's the project website as well.

(cover photo credit: snap from the kickstarter page)


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