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Fun look at how it was done before our time
  • That camera looks huge, but actually it's a sound booth to stop camera noise.


    Maria Montez sur le tournage de COBRA WOMAN de Robert SIODMAK ( 1944 )

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  • 55 Replies sorted by
  • Vintage! Looks like a matte painting backdrop?

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  • I have $20 that says those Mole Richardsons still work! :D

  • I would tend to agree with you:

    Those MR lights look like Carbon Arc lamps... the predecessors to HMIs for ca. 20k of daylight. I was still ACing in NYC 14 years ago I last saw them used. That film was shot in 1998. 3 years later I moved to Europe and never saw one over there, just on big budget Hollywood films. They required one man per light, unheard of today; but, the method yields the smallest light source after the sun and the cleanest, consistent daylight color temp, better than HMIs (so a Gaffer told me).

    If memory serves: the light is generated by pumping DC current down a rod of carbon, until it arcs to a rod of copper. The carbon burns faster than the cooper and rotates and feeds forward to burn the rod evenly. After ca. 5-10 minutes the light starts to flicker and needs to be trimmed using the knobs on the back and a built in sight glass which looks like welders glass. All that burning generates smoke which comes out the top and sometimes requires ducting to keep if from blowing into the shot! The sides of the lamp open up to change the rods when they become too short and eventually to service the feeding mechanism. Another old timer Gaffer told me he once had an electrician that would bring a raw chicken wrapped in tin foil to work and stick it inside his arc lamp. When they called lunch, he was all set with his slow roasted chicken!

    Often it was the Gaffer who wanted to use carbon arcs to cut down on the PITA discrepancy in color temp between aging HMI bulbs when shooting celluloid (before digital intermediate was available)... pure "analog" as a European friend called film.

    From my NYC dayz... Gaffers: Gene Engels, Dick Quinlan and Tim Guinness were all fans of arc lamps; as were the DPs they lit for Caleb Deschanel, David Watkin and Rob Hahn (Gene said he had to convince Rob to use arcs...)

    Here is a theater in New Jersey advertising carbon arc projection! Wow!;f=8;t=001797

    Old but good technology, and it needed a lot of man power! Makes me appreciate my GH2 even more.

  • oh, yeah, that looks like a technicolor 3 strip camera in it's blimp next to the arcs.

  • Thanks guys, for starting and contributing for interesting topic.

  • It really is amazing, isn't it? The dream factory was something else. GREAT anecdotes, CFreak! Big Siodmak fan, too, so thanks Rambo.

  • One old , one new

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  • image image Easy Rider (1969)


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  • These are great! Keep em coming..

  • Oh! I bet that last one is from "Grand Prix" with James Garner

  • Hanging on for life!

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  • Just saw this on Facebook and thought to revive this old post! Now that's a BFL!

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  • I still dig this thread PV dudes! There's a lot more to see here:

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  • A locations soundguys favourite moment in the morning is when he asks for the blimp to be popped on lol DPs don't like it, the joy of location film politics.

  • Steve McQueen, enough said!

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  • The target in that camera is only slightly larger than the GH2's sensor!

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  • New technology brings change. The extermination has begun:

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  • Simply wonderful! From the SOC (Society of Operating Cameraman, USA):

  • Thanks @CFreak for the video -& keeping the thread alive- :)

  • It is a great thread!

    I have this poster framed in my editing room.

    @CFreak - That SOC montage put a lump in my throat. After watching that, I went and sat downstairs, where I have a room full of film prints. Thanks for posting that!

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  • Kubrick


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  • This is Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone). He is sitting next to an un-blimped Mitch (probably model "NC")


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  • I think the guys on the thread about how far the video camera has come will get a kick out of this one.

    A friend pulled focus for Tom Richmond and said he is quite an eccentric guy. His photo stream has some gems.


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