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1st 35mm shoot


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#1 Louis

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 07:54 PM

I am a student in the first stages of prepping my first shoot on 35mm. Here's my question: I'm looking at prices at several rental houses, and I keep seeing Mitchell 35mm cameras at a considerably lower day rate than the Arri cameras or even the Aatons. Has anyone shot with a Mitchell for anything, and are they worth getting as a way to cut costs on a lower budget shoot?
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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 02:00 AM

I am a student in the first stages of prepping my first shoot on 35mm. Here's my question: I'm looking at prices at several rental houses, and I keep seeing Mitchell 35mm cameras at a considerably lower day rate than the Arri cameras or even the Aatons. Has anyone shot with a Mitchell for anything, and are they worth getting as a way to cut costs on a lower budget shoot?


Hi,

I use Mitchell's for motion control and MOS work. A bit large and heavy in a Blimp. BTW the early Panavision cameras were rebuilt Mitchell's. The movement PV uses today is based on Mitchell.

Stephen
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#3 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 02:27 AM

Really depends on what the film is all about. Forget handholding a Mitchell, for example.
Their mechanisms are very stable and they are built like tanks.
If the camera is going to be on sticks and you really need to economise on the rental costs - go for it.
Many younger AC's might not be familiar with the camera.
Definitely a MOS camera without the blimp.
Not all Mitchells are reflex either.
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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 04:08 AM

You might consider an Arri BL3 or 4 for synch-sound work, or an Arri 35-III for MOS and off-speed work. These are generally the cheapest cameras for these types of duties but still very accommodating and familar to most crews.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 11:06 AM

Yes, I would forget about the Mitchell, especially for sound work. Rent an older Arri-BL3 or a Panaflex Gold first, even a Moviecam Super America if you can find one. Those three tend to be the cheapest sync sound 35mm cameras out there to rent.
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#6 Wendell_Greene

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 11:33 AM

Another thing to keep in mind is that the " price per day" rates you see listed on the camera houses website or brochures aren't set in stone. Camera houses here in LA like Otto Nemenz, Clairmont, Panavision, Abel Cine, etc., work with student filmmakers all the time, and they'd rather cut you a deal on an older camera than have it just sitting around gathering dust. I'd suggest you stop by one of the houses and visit them in person [on any day except Monday or Friday, of course ] and talk about the specific needs of your project.
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#7 Joseph White

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 08:53 PM

i would reccomend Birns and Sawyer for low-budget student type stuff. they have some great deals you can find on their website - like an Arri BL-4s with color video tap, mags, batteries, head, sticks, and an angenieux zoom lens (which they'll probably swap out for an older set of zeiss standard speeds or something) for $500/day - which is just insanely cheap, and the camera is fine.

Alan Gordon will also cut you some good deals, although don't expect the newest 35mm gear by a long shot. What school do you go to? Does your school have a relationship with any rental house? I know most in the greater LA area do...
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#8 Barry Cheong

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 10:42 PM

I'm in the very same boat preparing to shoot my first project on 35mm. I'm probably going to go with the BL4 or Arri III as was suggested here. It'll depend on the script and whether it calls for sync sound or not...

Good luck and keep us posted...

Edited by Barry Cheong, 09 May 2006 - 10:43 PM.

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#9 Louis

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 11:06 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions. I think as my first choice, I'll be applying to Panavision's New Filmmaker program since I have ample time before we need to start shooting, and if that falls through, it looks like it'll be the BL3 or 4 for me.

One more question: Do you guys have any suggestions for labs that work with students? The one everyone seems to use at my school (CSUN) is FotoKem, but they seem generally unwilling to help. Any other suggestions for labs in the LA area? I'll probably need digital dailies, followed by conforming the negative and making an answer print; no DI.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 11:13 PM

You may have to use a different facilities for video dailies than the lab if you can get a better deal that way. Besides FotoKem, there are the big labs -- Technicolor and Deluxe -- and then there is Laser Pacific. Don't know if Crest National Labs and Image Transform Labs (4MC) are still operating. I believe Ascent Media and 4MC are part of the same company.

There are too many telecine houses for video dailies to even list.

You can also consider shipping the film to an out-of-town lab like Alpha Cine in Seattle.
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#11 Mike Rizos

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 11:19 PM

Why does Visual Products in their cataloge list a Mitchell BNRC as a sync sound camera? Is this a mistake on their part, or are some cameras modified for sound work? Or do they asume you would use a blimp?
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#12 Chris Keth

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 11:38 PM

Why does Visual Products in their cataloge list a Mitchell BNRC as a sync sound camera? Is this a mistake on their part, or are some cameras modified for sound work? Or do they asume you would use a blimp?


They assume a blimp could be used.
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#13 Louis

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 03:41 PM

Another question: Does anyone have copies of packages they have requested for their productions? I'm trying to make a list of all the camera, electric, and grip equipment I'm going to need and I keep feeling like I'm missing things. The list I'm making first is just a general list of the equipment I might need, and then I'll try to dwindle it down to the bare essentials. Any examples would be very helpful.
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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 04:03 PM

Sort of depends on what the rental house includes as a basic part of the package -- sometimes you need to list little things that at another rental house always comes with the camera. Here was my original list submitted for "Akeelah and the Bee", some of which changed:

A-CAMERA:
PANAFLEX MILLENNIUM (2.40 Anamorphic groundglass)
Comes with: (3) block batteries, color video tap, telescoping eyepiece extension, on-board video monitor, follow-focus unit, hand-held eyepiece, left and right hand grips, panalens light, sunshade ext., wide angle matte box, eyepiece leveler, shoulder rest, sliding base plate, speed crank, power cables, iris rods, etc.

(3) additional block batteries
(1) battery belt
(4) 1000? Millennium Lightweight mags
(4) 400? Millenium Lightweight mags
(1) rain cover
(1) 6x6 mattebox
(1) 6x6 hard mattes
(2) 4x5 to 6x6 filter adaptor trays
(1) 4x5 anti-reflection filter holder
(1) battery belt & cable
(1) standard legs
(1) baby legs
(1) hi-hat
(1) spreader
(1) medium eyepiece
(1) O?Connor Ultimate head
(1) Panahead Geared head
(1) tilt plate
(1) dutch swing head
(4) BNC cables
(1) 9" color monitor

B-CAMERA:
PANAFLEX GII (2.40 Anamorphic groundglass)
Comes with: (3) block batteries, eyepiece extension, follow-focus unit, hand-held eyepiece, left and right hand grips, panalens light, sunshade ext., wide angle matte box, eyepiece leveler, shoulder rest, sliding base plate, speed crank, power cables, iris rods, etc.

(2) 1000? Panaflex mags
(2) 500? Panaflex mags
(1) rain cover
(1) 6x6 mattebox
(1) 6x6 hard mattes
(1) standard legs
(1) baby legs
(1) hi-hat
(1) spreader
(1) Sachtler Studio Head
(1) b&w monitor

Lenses:
35mm Primo Anamorphic
40mm Primo Anamorphic
50mm Primo Anamorphic
75mm Primo Close Focus Anamorphic
100mm Primo Close Focus Anamorphic
135mm E-Series Anamorphic
180mm E-Series Anamorphic
200mm Macro Panatar Anamorphic
48-550mm 11:1 Primo Anamorphic Zoom
40mm C-Series Anamorphic (for Steadicam!)
60mm C-Series Anamorphic ( ? )

4x5 Filters:
Coral set (1/8, 1/4, 1/2)
Tiffen GlimmerGlass set (1, 2, 3)
Tiffen Soft-FX set (1/2, 1, 2)
Color Enhancer
Optical flat
Round Filters:
Diopter set (+1/2, +1, +2)
Split-diopter set (+1, +2, +3)
85/Pola combo
Pola

6x6 Filters:
ND grad set (.3, .6, .9)
Tiffen GlimmerGlass set (1, 2, 3)
Optical flat


Day items (to be determined) will include film-video sync box, Weaver-Steadman head, remote focus control, etc.
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#15 Cole Webley

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 12:16 PM

I shot my first 35mm project on a Mitchell Mark II -- it was of course MOS. It's nice because I could shoot up to 120 FPS ( just make sure you are at least 100-200 feet into the roll otherwise it could snap the film because of the weight of the load side of the mag--maybe that was just our camera, but that was the advice I got). I also could at a variable shutter angle -- some stuff was shot at 45 degrees.

Yes, to big to go hand held - heavy, and built like a tank - sounds like a train.

This is the 35mm camera that my film school owns.

Here is a link to the spot I shot with the Mitchell Mark II w/ Angenioux Zoom and Canon Primes.

www.j-four.com (the one shot on the Mitchell is the Adidas spot)

Best of Luck!

My next project I will most likely shoot on the Arri BL-4 (most affordable for our budget) If I could shoot on any camera it would most likely be:

Arri 435 or Panavision Millenium XL -- both are fun cameras.
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#16 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 03:02 PM

Why does Visual Products in their cataloge list a Mitchell BNRC as a sync sound camera? Is this a mistake on their part, or are some cameras modified for sound work? Or do they asume you would use a blimp?


---A BNC/BNCR is self blimped camera. Basically an NC inside a blip shell.

Until the introduction of the Arri 35BL and the Panaflex it was the work horse sync sound camera in the industry.
With a prime lens it should weigh aroud 120 pounds.

---LV
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#17 Max Jacoby

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 04:23 PM

With a prime lens it should weigh aroud 120 pounds.

Yeah, blame it on the poor lens.
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#18 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 07:49 PM

I has been my understanding that a Mitchell BNC was one of the best 35mm cameras ever made and has virtually perfect regestration. Was I miss-informed on this?
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#19 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 12:12 AM

Mitchell movements are very steady, which is why the camera is still used for efx work. But most modern 35mm sync-sound cameras have dual-pin registration, so you aren't going to see much of a difference, registration-wise. The Panaflex movement is based on a Mitchell movement, which is why it is so complicated to thread.

There's no reason why a Mitchell won't make excellent pictures, unless it has an old lens mount that restricts you from using modern lenses. The problem with the Mitchell is that it is heavy, unweildly, hard to thread -- basically not production-friendly compared to a modern camera, which is why it is more used to shoot efx plates, miniatures, matte paintings, etc., not live-action anymore. And on the reflexed Mitchells, like the old Panavision PSR cameras, the viewfinder is fixed on the side and can't be rotated, so shooting very high or low angles is awkward.
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#20 Paul Bruening

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 09:21 AM

Hello,

Keep in mind that when DPs talk about the weight and blimp size, they are only implying the camera's impact on your directorial style and production efficiency.

Your movie will tend to look more like a 40's vintage production in terms of movement and angles. This is due to the fact that you will not get as many angles or be able to move the camera easily. You need more crew to heave the rig around and larger equipment to dolly and crane it.

Soon, you begin to realize that you are wearing your small crew out just trying to overcome the weight and size of the camera and its riggings.

Mitchells are very good cameras and you can get into them cheaply, but they will cost you more in other ways compared to just renting a modern camera.
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