Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vintage Movie Camera For Film Production?

Filmmaking - Vintage Movie Camera For Film Production?

Patents from 1926 adorn the side of a classic Mitchell studio camera, legally protecting the design of its internal gears and sprockets.

1926 was a long time ago, and that camera is an antique. Could it still be used, in today's modern film production?

Yes, and in fact, many are. No modern movie camera is more precise than those classic pin-registered film movements. They really knew how to build them in 1926, and the cameras still work, millions of feet of film later.

To get a particularly difficult shot, it's not uncommon for visual effects cameramen to dust off a trusty 35mm Mitchell GC, NC, or BNC film camera. To alter time, fast or slow, just add a stop-motion or high-speed motor.

Build the camera on its rig, set the focus, aperture, shutter, and tachometer. Now you can shoot a cartoon, stop- or slow-motion movie sequence. Just like movie cameramen have been doing for a century.

There is much recent talk about new digital movie cameras. Filmmakers line up at seminars and shows, just to see one. Nevertheless, digital cameras still only provide 6% of the footage for feature movies. 94% of movies still are on film.

Digital standards are still evolving, and reliability and ruggedness are still hit-or-miss for digital cameras. Film cameras are tested and reliable, at 10k of resolution, compared to digital's 2-4k.

Hollywood Manuals is a website that offers out-of-print and hard-to-find technical manuals for vintage movie cameras and projectors.

Arriflex, Bell & Howell Eyemo, Cameraflex / Cineflex, DeVry, Mitchell BNC, GC, HS, and S35R vintage movie cameras and projectors are among those represented.

film school
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film production
digital filmmaking handbook

© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved


  1. Great post, and did you know that google favors your blog in the top search for "filmmakers blogs"
    Good work, and thanks for being here

  2. Thank you, Michael.

    I'm happy to, as it gives me a chance to meet many nice film production people, such as yourself.

  3. Anonymous3:04 PM

    great post

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