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PD170 dirty head? Drop timecode?


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#1 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 09:52 AM

Hey guys,

got a PD170 that recently started to drop some time code on me every once in a while...(every 5 tapes or so) it will usualy be for about 2 frames or so, but when importing you loose about 10 for the FCP and Adobe Premier seem to go into spazam or something... (irrelevant to settings)

Anyways, my question lies in the 2nd paragraph... this one here :D What are the expeceted drum hours on PD170 before something like this is to occur? I tried the cleaning tape, and that is when this problem first started - it was fine till then (dont know why i put that tape in there)... the current read outs are as follows:

· Operation 60 x 10H
· Drum run 18 x 10H
· Tape run 14 x 10H
· Threading 57 x 10

Obviously i could try and run the cleanign tape through it again, leave it in for longer... or i could fork some moneys out and get it cleaned properly... but wanted to see if anyone else has an opinion on this and experience with it. I heard that it is rather common with PD170s...

By the way I am in Australia, Brisbane if anyone knows of a tech to recommend for the cleaning job. I was going to hit SONY and/or Video Pro?

Thanks!
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#2 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 05:28 PM

The expected lifetime for heads/drum in a PD-170 (and most Sony DV cams/decks) is about 1,500 hours or so. After that it's possible they may require repair or replacement. The heads/drum in your cam are almost new.

So, unless your cam's heads/drum have been frequently subjected to adverse environmental factors (such as very dusty, gritty or damp conditions, and so forth) and have worn-out prematurely, it's most likely the heads/drum require cleaning.

Cleaning tapes should only be used by following the directions on their package. A cleaning tape is relatively abrasive (that's how it cleans), so it should be used sparingly or only when necessary. Typically you'd run it in a cam/deck once for 10 seconds, and if that doesn't resolve the problem, run it again a second time for another 10 seconds. If the problem persists, the cam/deck should be inspected by a qualified video technician.

One thing to generally avoid is using multiple brands of videotape because this can cause more frequent head clogs. Common practice is to pick one brand of tape and use it exclusively. If you occasionally must use a different brand, run a tape cleaner once before and once after to keep the heads/drum clean. But avoid doing this too often.

EDIT: Concerning FCP: Apple published a technote which points out a number of software and system configuration issues which can result in "dropped frames":
http://docs.info.app...ml?artnum=58640
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#3 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 09:28 PM

Thank you Peter!

That was a wonderful answer to a question that has had me puzzled for a while. I too have heard that the cameras head drum may require proffessional cleaning after about 1000 to 1500 hours of use, and was concnern since my camera didnt make it that far and was having issues... but hearing you say that using different TAPE STOCK could be the problem, I am left stunned...

I have done exactly that since the first day of owning this gear, used every single tape brand under this sun that i could find. It stared of with SONY Mini DV tapes (rearly do i use DV CAM tapes) and then went onto Panasonic (i think it was for budget reasons) and then back to Sony... Sony started making some cheap once, in different colours (here in Oz) and they started to drop the time code so i moved to more expensive TDK once that have been the best thus far. Needless to say, i used some TDK and Panasonic even through the times when I considered myself Sony man.. oh man... it makes sense now;

I got a brand new cleaning tape before me - Panasonic Digital Video Head Cleaner Tape HARD TYPE (thats what says on it). I'll use it for 10sec like you said (also written on instructions on the tape) and see how i got.

Again, many thansk for the informative reply!
Cheers,

PS. If the problem persists I have found a tech through SONY that can clean the camera heads for $150AUD - which in my opinion is good price. I know the camera is too young for any head cleaning, but hey, if the problem is still there I dont see any other options. Thanks Peter.
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#4 Greg Gross

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 03:13 AM

Can you post the serial # for your PD-170 so that I can reference the year it was man-
factured and see if its expected to have any problems. Are you sure that you have the time
code formatted correctly in menu,camera set up properly? I personally do not know any op-
erators who have had any problems with these cameras at all. You know it may not be the
camera. The audio on these cameras in my experience has been flawless. The time code is
set between 00:00:00:00 and 23:59:59:29. Auto sets code per tape in camera. DF selects
the drop frame mode. NDF selects the non drop frame rate mode. Rec. run- Time code ad-
vances only while recording. When making the time code continuous at back space editing,
select this setting. Free run- Time code runs freely regardless of the current operating mode.
Have you tried re-setting time code. In the NTSC standard, the time code value is based on
30 frames per second, but the actual video frame rate(frequency) is in fact 29.97 frames per
second and the real time, or 18 frames per 10 minutes. Drop-frame mode corrects for this by
skipping two frame counts at the beginning of every minute which is not a multiple of 10. In
drop frame mode,however,no frame counts are omitted,and there is a gradual deviation of
the time code from real time. Once you set TC Make to Regen in the menu,even if TC is set
to free run, the running mode is automatically set to Rec Run. Just wanted to go over basic
set-up,menu with you. Have you gotten any condensation at all in the camera? Condensation
in this camera will make it do some crazy damn things. Self diagnosis on the camera will dis-
play an error code of C:21 when condensation is present,the last two digits of the error code
are two small squares. Dirty video heads will display error code of C:22 and two small squares.
E:61 and two small squares is a malfunction you need to contact Sony about. E:62 and two small
squares,call Sony. Hope something here will solve your problem.

Greg Gross
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#5 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 04:10 AM

Hi Greg,

The serial number is 1218920, or so i think anyways - its on the bottom (base) of the camera;

The camera has been wonderful, and i have used it without trouble for a while - and yes, i am guilty of mixing tape stock, i wasnt aware of that being an issue till reading Peters post... the sound is fantastic, never had any issues with it;

The problem happened some 2 months ago, when we were using SONY Fx1 and Pd170 to shoot some gig and my mate pulled out the cleaning tape from his case. I never ran a cleaning tape through the PD170 before. Did it that day, for 10sec... since then, every 5 tapes or so i would get digitized frame drop out. I say digitized, cause that is what it looks like - big chunk squares...

It happened to me initialy whislt using Mini DV SONY (red - standard once) tapes. I was shooting a wedding on SP and the tape wouldnt want to start up... in other words, i would put it in and couldnt record. This was the first time it happened. Error C:22 (I think it was C:22 - dam I should have wrote it down); I couldn't re-set the error, i swaped tapes and had to get battery off to re-set it (was in a rather bad time, as the bride was getting into the limo-anyways i missed the shot)... from there on i stoped buying them SONY tapes... moved to more expensive TDK once.

Then about every 5 tapes or so of filming the digitized time code drop out would happen. maybe i am phrasing it wrong, maybe it isnt time code that drops, but definitely looks like it. When importing in, either via FCP or Premier 6.5 and Pro, it stops import or if set to "do not stop if drop frames thingy" then it drops about 10frames or so...

Then one time i had been importing for a while (6th tape in a row) and HUGE lines appeared on the screen.. like the fields have been split in half! this was the first time i saw it in my life! I freaked out! I stoped the tape pressed play again, it was still there. i thought the tape was ruined, but then i rewinded a bit and played again and everything was fine - there wasnt evne that 2 frame drop out as per some other instances...

anyways, i ran cleaning tape again (after reading Peter's post) and haven't had much chance to go filming with it yet. Hopefully soon i will and then i will watch it back to see if it skipped stuff on me again... i actualy have another small (consumer crap) mini DV camera now that i use for VTR - not to waist the hours on the PD170;

Since my camera is PAL i presume there is no issue as per NTSC and 30fps cameras would have...

Now regaridng your question of do i have it set-up correctly? I am not sure... i mean, ive used it for a year or so without issues till recently - never changing TC settings; here is what they are just by clicking on the menu screen and reading of the panel TC/UB Set:

TC PRESET - 01:00:00:00
UB PRESET - 00 00 00 00
TC RUN - REC RUN
TC MAKE - REGEN
UB TIME - OFF

Ill be honest mate, ive never really understood or questioned much of this TC stuff. Reading your post lots of it makes sense now and is very helpful! ive always had it set to regen ...

Ive consider condesation as well, but dont think there is much possability for it. It is always packed in nice dry place in its pelican and it doesnt get used much on bad weather conditions... it could be that there was some somehow though, i guess you never know... one rainy day filming is all it needs... but the day i had that C error flashing was a hot sunny day, and i think it was diry head error message, the C:22;

After this big of a break down i presume the problem was the dirty head; if the serial number helps you see when the camera was manufactured and if it is expected to have any problems that would be great;

I appreciate your post Greg!
I'll use test the camera over the next few days to see if i get any more drop-outs;

Cheers!
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#6 Greg Gross

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 04:39 AM

Okay Mate,
Here's what you do if you come inside and camera displays C:21 and two small squares.
Per Sony:
Place camera into a plastic bag that the camera will fit(fill up) and seal bag closed tightly.
Tape closing edges if necessary. Let the bag fog up, form condensation on it. Remember
you are inside now at inside ambient temperature. When bag clears of fog(condensation)
the camera and bag will have warmed up to ambient temperature inside. The camera is
supposedly free of condensation at that time. Now this does not apply to a camera that has
gotten soak and wet in the rain or submerged in water!!!!!!!!!! I hope your problem is solved
mate and happy shooting.

Greg Gross

P.S.- Take tape out of camera before sealing in the bag.


Yes I see that you have PAL version so dis-regard my fps info but I'm sure you are
aware. Hey mate what do say we switch to Panavision equipment and get away from
from all dv bullshit. I swear my head,brain is like a lap top storing all this menu stuff!
What do you say we switch to film?

Greg Gross
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#7 Marek Stricek

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 04:40 AM

Ive consider condesation as well, but dont think there is much possability for it. It is always packed in nice dry place in its pelican and it doesnt get used much on bad weather conditions... it could be that there was some somehow though, i guess you never know... one rainy day filming is all it needs... but the day i had that C error flashing was a hot sunny day, and i think it was diry head error message, the C:22;


Even if this was sunny day it might happen. The problems can start when you move camcorder from cold air conditioned room to hot outside. (Or if you step out from your air conditioned car). It happened to me few times like this, and right now I was asked to shoot a wedding where the ceremony will be in the building, then people will go outside and then they move to a restaurant by cars. I am located in northern hemisphere so we have winter now. Thus shooting the ceremony will be OK, if I will come early enough to stabilize temperature in my gear, after that the move outside will be OK again, because I will move from hot to cold. But what I am afraid of, is the step after shooting the cars outside and then moving to hot restaurant - that might be a challenge. So I am thinking now to have prepared second camcorder in the restaurant to avoid such troubles.
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#8 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 05:11 AM

Hey mate what do say we switch to Panavision equipment and get away from
from all dv bullshit. I swear my head,brain is like a lap top storing all this menu stuff!
What do you say we switch to film?

Greg Gross

Greg mate, i am down with that!
I own some 16mm gear, the good old BL, with bunch of primes i picked of eBay and Zeiss zoom T3.3 not T3 (nothing good anyways);
Also I am working on shooting an indi feature in July on 35mm BL3 and ARRI III (mate's gear) with which we are shooting a trailer in Feb - crazy mess in how much work one needs to do for all this.

So yes, id love to put all this DV stuff behind me, but bread on my table is still paid with weddings (unfortunately). We are shooting the EPK for the feature on HDV, and it will be on Fx1 but i really wanted that JVC Gy-HD100 (dam that camera is nice); Every now and then there is a video clip on 16mm but that is no where as consistent as my 50 weddings thus far; and whilst on the subject of Panavision, I am off there on Monday to perform some tests on this film gear, check out some primes and so on...

funny thing is that a mate just did a TVC on Panavision Genesis HD, and reckons many ACs were winging at the menues on them cameras, being that they are used to film gear - whilst he found it to be more enjoyable and easier, coming out of DV background... i dont know how good of a point this is and what it means exactly, i sure dont mean nothing by it and prefer film ANY time...

Any plans for film shoots yourself?
Cheers!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Marts,

I didnt think that the PD170 would be able to experience condesation problems that easily. I mean, i had this happen to me with my 16mm camera once, where the temparatures between INT and EXT were so vastly different that the lens fogged up (even though Oz is known as HOT place, it is desert climate here, which means nights can be freaking cold and it differs from days so much so that even rocks can break - in theory anyways)...

I watched Russian Ark on DVD the other day and in the behind the scenes they had the same issue of fogging up the lense when going from EXT to INT in -27 degrees;

I dont know why, somehow I never assumed that the Pd170 would require temperature stabilizing as such. But of course it would! And i can definitely see your point of trying to secure 2nd camecorder for the restoraunt; I hope it goes well and your gear gets through it!

Thanks mate!

PS> I will do the plastic bag thing tonight/tomorrow - see how it goes;
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#9 Greg Gross

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 05:14 AM

I guess I've been lucky when shooting weddings. I use two dv camera operators and
two stills photographers. I shoot stills and dv. We cover a wedding like CBS is covering
Iraq. Never have had a condensation problem yet,shooting inside and outside. I suppose
it will pop up when we are not expecting it. We shoot inside and outside.

Greg Gross
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#10 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 05:20 AM

We cover a wedding like CBS is covering Iraq.
Greg Gross


I hear ya man! I too feel like a sniper sometime when shootign on the legs into the crowd. Often, during the SPEECHES i pretend i am a sniper and i am shooting them all down :D just playin... but seriously, it can get boring;

we also handle multiple camera jobs when the client pays enough. They can also have steadicam (glidecam v20) there should they choose it, stage lights, dance floor lights, smoke machines, bubble machines, strobes, etc etc... ive been in this for too long, i really need OUT :blink:
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#11 Greg Gross

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 05:26 AM

Jesus Mate,
Filmmaking is hard,heart breaking work!! Why do we want to do it? Where do these men
and ladies come from to work so hard for almost no recognition,sometimes achieving a
great award,only to stand in the spotlight for fifteen little minutes. When Mr. Eastwood
shot "Million Dollar Baby" I was on my knees saying dear god please give this man what
he deserves for such a beautiful film. When I saw him walk up to the podium to except
his award, I swear I had tears coming down my face. Why do we keep trying to do it mate?
What makes a filmmaker tick?

Greg Gross
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#12 Greg Gross

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 05:47 AM

Hey lav,
I used to hide remote cameras(stills) behind the minister's/priest's podium before the
ceremony and also small flashes with sensors that would fire when triggered. I don't
do it anymore but my crew does. I've got a girl that gets up in the balcony with a Nikon
300mm f2.8,F5 and shoots her heart out. I just turned 58 on tuesday,more and more I'm
assuming the director's position. I to am trying to shoot a great independent film. Hey lav,
one time I caught the bride's mother with a remote camera from behind the podium,she was
crying and all emotional. The bride loved it so much when she saw it and I thought she was
going to pass out as she was so excited. I sold so many copies of that print that I lost track
of them. Bought myself a Canon EOS 1,D Mark II N. The Nikon girl drives me nuts to use it.
I would like to get up in a balcony just one time with a Panaflex and some 400' mags and a
good Panavision prime lens. Sweet Jesus man I'd stay up through breakfast,lunch,dinner and
they would have to drag me down. I think you're PD-170 will be okay.

Greg Gross
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#13 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 05:55 AM

Why do we keep trying to do it mate?
What makes a filmmaker tick?

Greg Gross


thought questions mate... and it is possible the answers differ for each individual... but i assume the bottom line for all filmmakers is the same, there just aint anything else they would rather do. I know that sounds cliche and even somewhat simple, but a story teller is a story teller, a characteristic that is hard to shake off... the ability to be heard is one of the biggest joys for humans, or at least that is my perception on the whole thing; i figure if i weren't writing my film now, id be stuck in the pub somewhere telling a story to another drunk guy, who'd say "oh should have made that in a movie" :unsure:

i know i havent put in years and years of efforth into getting where i am now and where i see myself in 10years time for the sake of any awards, but rather for the sake of being heard. telling an untold story, influencing people and their ways of thinking... leaving something behind, something to imortalise you to a degree; when you break it like that, years of uni, unemployemnt, shitty jobs around studios, etc makes it all seem worth it; dam i broke my neck, escaped war and couple of other things and it was still worth it... just you wait till i make my first 35mm feature <_<

Cheers mate,


I just turned 58 on tuesday,more and more I'm assuming the director's position. I to am trying to shoot a great independent film.
Greg Gross


On that note Greg, happy b'day mate! All the best!

What do you plan to shoot your independent feature on?
Cheers,
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#14 Greg Gross

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 06:00 AM

I shot a wedding one time, total $10,000.00,ex-PA governor's daughter. The reception was lit
with location lighting,mostly Arri's. We used a spot,our light man on the crew is a self taught
gaffer. I swear the room(inside a state conference center) looked like a Francis Coppola/Michael
Douglas set. I came close to using action/cut. The PD-170's did one hell of a job on this set,they
were no slackers! I had guys ask me if it was shot on HDcam.

Greg Gross
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#15 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 06:12 AM

Wow mate, $10 000!!! My weddings are round about $1500AUD :( there is too much competition around for the small guys like my company and too hard to push yourself further up when there are real DPs with feature film experience shooting them as well - in Brisbane at least. This is mainly cause there is no work on films for rather long periods of time... drought;

By the sounds of it that would have been an amazing set-up. Do you have a web site for your business, with samples? Id be interested to see on how you do it all...

Cheers mate,
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#16 Greg Gross

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 06:14 AM

This past fall we ran test shoots here in the city with Arri /16mm. I want to do film this
spring/summer,Super 16. I've been going up to NYC and taking classes from a rental
facility on cameras,orientation to cameras and packages. I'm just finally getting people
to support us,receiving some cash at last. They are starting to like the idea of having
filmmakers in the city. I need money for actors badly, I want to pay these kids,my god
lav they give their hearts and souls to me. They want to act,I used to act and they are
teaching me to act again. I grew up around actors and the film industry, my grandmother's
cousin was the actor Ed Begley Sr.. He directed me in the high school stage production-Oklahoma
and thats how it all started a long time ago. He actually taught me how to act.

Greg Gross
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#17 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 06:53 AM

Oh mate that sounds wonderful! Being able to pay your actors on top of shooting s16 is an amazing achievement. I am not that fortunate yet, I say yet as we are still in process of collecting foundings, and thus far we are to shoot this picture on deferred payment for crew and cast.

Since we are to shoot on 35mm i am getting people applying to be involved with the project from left and right, merely to collect valuable experience for later in life.

Thus far I have had hundreds of actors cross the auditioning door, with only so many getting casted. The crewing up was a bit different, most of them are my mates from feature film sets here in QLD and NSW; my DP did follow focus on number of big features and earned his way that far through years of work as an AC and before that as a clapper, etc... it seems that everyone involved with this project will get a chance to do something a bit bigger and better then in their usual position....

number of students or ex-students applied to be involved but i can only accommodate so many, in being runners, etc... for even on voluntary basis crew costs money through catering and similar...

hopefully more founding comes through and enables us to move that step further into paying everyone; this might just happen, since we got interest from so many people already;

Your grandmother's cousin Ed Begley, Sr. won an oscar for the best supporting role? Co-starring Paul Newman! That must be something, growing up in the high school with a cousin who won an oscar... dedicating time to you to teach you the craft; It is something one can only envy...

Cheers mate,
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#18 Greg Gross

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 01:44 PM

lav,
Please believe me I'm not bragging sir and I never want to. I'm just saying that I was
fortunate to have known him. A cup of coffee still costs $1 mate. The first time I ever
meant him lav I was awestruck,the thing that impressed me most was how he used his
voice. When he moved and spoke at the same time I was blown away. Needless to say,
he blew my high school director right off the stage. I got him to go to a tea room for a
cast party after our "Oklahoma" production in high school. I of course got to visit some
sets,and I got to meet "Rowdy Yates". I really do not talk about these things much but
to me they are a personal satisifaction. lav, the first time I ever looked through the eye-
piece of a motion picture camera I was blown away. Ed actually did teach me how,to move,
look and speak for my high school production. My grandmother actually told him to,encour-
aged!, him to work with me. She told him not to give us any excuses because she knew him
when he wasn't anybody.The first time I meant him was at a family reunion. He said,"now
come here boy...don't be shy...come on...come on...sit down here...so you like the movies
do you? Well mate I hope we have your PD-170 fixed now,they really are good cameras
but of course few people take the time to appreciate that.

Greg Gross
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#19 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 08:06 PM

G'day Greg,

mate that was a wonderful story and not for a second did i think you were bragging. I enjoy hearing things as rare as these, I am a filmmaker after all, and stories are what I live for.

I can say i envy the support you would have had at young age, wanting to be a filmmaker. it is something that not many get, for many of the parents and grandparents, will try and influence one towards a more 'usual' job, one that is to gurantee some fixed income. I was fortunte enough not to have that put on me.

My father owned a number of different Video Clubs, which allowed me to view all kinds of films, before my age should allow it... educating and opening up my mind to the world outside Balkans, a world into Europe and America and its cinematography. Needless to say pcitures that former Yugoslavia produced were some of the most influencial works for me, and still are to this date;

Dad had the first VHS camera in the town, M7; we still have about 3-4 of those and one MS1 (Panasonic)... they just sit on the shelves collecting dust. They played a big role for me in choosing what i wanted to do in life. First i looked through the film camera was through an old BL, at collage. I made it a task to get one of those and i did, 4 years later i bought it from Television Station where it might have been used by Mr Dean Semler... or so they said; my new film fillm be the first time i direct anything on 35mm. that is something i very much look forward to.

What was the first motion picture camera you looked through? You mention it in your last post briefly...

Thanks Greg,
Cheers,
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#20 Greg Gross

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 06:08 PM

Hello Mate,

I haven't been on the forum for two days now. On the set of "Rawhide" I looked through my
first motion picture camera(eyepiece). I was with Ed Begley Sr. and he was guest starring.
I was too young to appreciate everything and the people that I was meeting and talking to. I did
get to meet "Rowdy Yates." I believe the camera was a Mitchell but I can't remember real clearly,
what confuses me is that I remember seeing Panavision. Maybe a Mitchell with the Panavision blimp.
What I do remember was that I was used to looking through Kodak cameras,so you can imagine how
impressed I was with the frame. I just found out the other day that the Mitchell cameras were using
Panavision blimps,so now I'm just confused about which camera. I always thought that it was a Pana-
vision camera. I used to skip school and shoot with my Kodak cameras and I learned darkroom from
a local photographer. I hope your PD-170 is okay mate. My grandmother told me to stay away from
the motion picture business!!

Greg Gross
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