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THX 1138 Camera Question


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#1 Robert Skates

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 08:56 AM

I just watched the George Lucas cut of THX 1138 on DVD. Every aspect of that film is perfect in it's design. The photography is beautiful.

On the DVD xtras there were several behind the scenes photos. The camera seemed to be in a blimphousing. I could not recognize what it was. From it's design, it looked like something Cinema Products would have produced. Yet I do not remember seeing anything like it. The footprint seemed more horizontal, like something designed to work on a Arri BL. Does anyone have any info on the camera sysyem, format, and lenses used to shoot THX 1138? I thought I read years ago that it was 2-perf technoscope. I could be, and most likely am wrong, on this account.

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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 09:06 AM

I thought I read years ago that it was 2-perf technoscope. I could be, and most likely am wrong, on this account.

Robert Skates


Hi Robert,

You are correct.
Fairly sure the camera was a CP XR35 (Modified Mitchell NC)

Stephen
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#3 Dan Goulder

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 10:41 AM

To further confuse the issue, I've seen a still from the set of THX-1138 that clearly shows a scene being filmed with an Arri 16-BL. This can be found in a large hardcover book on George Lucas. I don't know if that was used in the production footage, which is widely known to be 35mm Techniscope. It made me think that perhaps the dialogue, which is minimal in that movie, had been shot with the 16-BL. However, if they had an XR-35 on the set, which did have an optional 2-perf movement, then THAT would be the obvious choice for dialogue. Hey, just one of those little mysteries...
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#4 John Holland

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 11:04 AM

Hi guys ,havent seen the stills you are talking about ,it was Techniscope and the blimp you are talking about is prob. a Cine 60 lightweight fibreglass blimp with a Arri 2c in side .
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#5 Dan Goulder

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 11:28 AM

Hi guys ,havent seen the stills you are talking about ,it was Techniscope and the blimp you are talking about is prob. a Cine 60 lightweight fibreglass blimp with a Arri 2c in side .

I'm using this same combination of camera (2-perf) and blimp on a current project. It still works fine.
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#6 Bill Totolo

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 12:13 PM

I'm using this same combination of camera (2-perf) and blimp on a current project. It still works fine.


Is that a personal kit or a rental?
What lenses a you using?
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#7 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 01:01 PM

I just watched the George Lucas cut of THX 1138 on DVD. Every aspect of that film is perfect in it's design. The photography is beautiful.

On the DVD xtras there were several behind the scenes photos. The camera seemed to be in a blimphousing. I could not recognize what it was. From it's design, it looked like something Cinema Products would have produced. Yet I do not remember seeing anything like it. The footprint seemed more horizontal, like something designed to work on a Arri BL. Does anyone have any info on the camera sysyem, format, and lenses used to shoot THX 1138? I thought I read years ago that it was 2-perf technoscope. I could be, and most likely am wrong, on this account.


I recall from the AC article that it was shot with a pair of CM3s in Techniscope format with Nikkors and the Angie Classic 25-250mm.
Coppolla's Zoetrope films was equiped with Eclairs. Apparently he still has them, they were used as prop cameras and for some footage in son Roman's 'CQ'.

The blimp would be one built by Carroll Ballard with 1000' coaxial mags built by Rn Dexter.
H.Wexler used the same set up (minus Techniscope) on 'Medium Cool'.

http://rondexter.com...bout_blimps.htm

I have seen the DVD and the original version in theaters, & it was quite grainy, 5254 pushed two stops.
So I was disappointed that the grain was cleaned up for the disc. Didn't care for the digital missing link that replaced the scruffy dwarves. But then any shadow detail seems excessively digitized on my $30 player.
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#8 Patrick Neary

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 01:16 PM

Hi

The photo on imdb sure looks like a 2C blimp.
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#9 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 02:02 PM

Hi

The photo on imdb sure looks like a 2C blimp.


http://imdb.com/gall...5...66434&seq=4

That handle above the matte box does not appear to be an Arriflex.

This is the only picture I could find of the Ballard blimp:


An operator in Canada that I know has one of the blimps & says it is CP. So they must have done the actual manufacturing.

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#10 Patrick Neary

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 02:41 PM

http://imdb.com/gall...5...66434&seq=4

That handle above the matte box does not appear to be an Arriflex.


quite right- they look like they share the same humongous matte box!
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#11 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 03:51 PM

To further confuse the issue, I've seen a still from the set of THX-1138 that clearly shows a scene being filmed with an Arri 16-BL. This can be found in a large hardcover book on George Lucas. I don't know if that was used in the production footage, which is widely known to be 35mm Techniscope. It made me think that perhaps the dialogue, which is minimal in that movie, had been shot with the 16-BL. However, if they had an XR-35 on the set, which did have an optional 2-perf movement, then THAT would be the obvious choice for dialogue. Hey, just one of those little mysteries...


Didn't THX start as a student short film? Could be the 16BL is in a production still from that
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#12 Dan Goulder

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 05:42 PM

Didn't THX start as a student short film? Could be the 16BL is in a production still from that

I remembered that after I left the post. That may very well be the case. Alright...one mystery solved!
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#13 Hal Smith

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 05:48 PM

From Wikipedia:

Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB was a short movie directed by George Lucas in 1967 while he attended the University of Southern California. The movie exists in 16mm reference print, videocassette with a run time of 15 minutes, and on THX 1138 Special Edition DVD. The movie was later remade as the feature THX 1138. Subterranean accessways and parking garages at the Los Angeles International Airport were used as the set.

USC sums up the movie as "A nightmare impression of a world in which a man is trying to escape a computerized world which constantly tracks his movements."

The last act of THX 1138 roughly corresponds with the events in this film.
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#14 Adam Thompson

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 06:45 PM

I remembered that after I left the post. That may very well be the case. Alright...one mystery solved!


The 16mm camera may very have been used for the shots shown on the video screens, for certain pieces. It would make perfect sense to shoot some of that on 16mm since cheap telecine to video for TV/news was so common.

What a great film and wonderful use of 2perf, much like his next film American Graffiti which was 2perf as well. Ha, maybe this points to his love of tape now; he hated the short lived 4perf loads, even back then!
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 11:57 PM

The 16mm camera may very have been used for the shots shown on the video screens, for certain pieces.


Or it may have been used to shoot behind-the-scene footage.
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#16 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 01:34 AM

Didn't THX start as a student short film? Could be the 16BL is in a production still from that


Production stills from a 15 minute student film made in 1967? I doubt it. They probably had enough trouble putting together enough crew to get the film it's self made.
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#17 David Venhaus

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 02:54 AM

Production stills from a 15 minute student film made in 1967? I doubt it. They probably had enough trouble putting together enough crew to get the film it's self made.


Production stills do exist for this. On USC's website there is a behind the scenes photo, but I can't tell what camera it is. Here is the link to the photo -
http://cinema-tv.usc.../images/thx.jpg

Edited by David A Venhaus, 29 April 2007 - 02:56 AM.

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#18 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 04:47 AM

What a great film and wonderful use of 2perf, much like his next film American Graffiti which was 2perf as well. Ha, maybe this points to his love of tape now; he hated the short lived 4perf loads, even back then!


I doubt he even had any experience with 4perf 35mm production at that time, this was all low budget production, untill he experienced starwars.

Though he's always been interested in bringing down the scale of production, being more documentry inspired - I think he planned to shoot Acololypse Now on 16mm.

Of course there's nothing small about a Sony HD camera.
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#19 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 06:10 AM

Production stills do exist for this. On USC's website there is a behind the scenes photo, but I can't tell what camera it is. Here is the link to the photo -
http://cinema-tv.usc.../images/thx.jpg


From a mag it looks like an Arri and given the thickness, possibly a 16BL or other 16mm Arri.
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#20 timHealy

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 09:46 AM

From Wikipedia:

Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB was a short movie directed by George Lucas in 1967 while he attended the University of Southern California. The movie exists in 16mm reference print, videocassette with a run time of 15 minutes, and on THX 1138 Special Edition DVD. The movie was later remade as the feature THX 1138. Subterranean accessways and parking garages at the Los Angeles International Airport were used as the set.

USC sums up the movie as "A nightmare impression of a world in which a man is trying to escape a computerized world which constantly tracks his movements."

The last act of THX 1138 roughly corresponds with the events in this film.


I have a book about Lucas buried in storage somewhere, but from what I can recall he was teaching a class about lighting to members of the military at USC. I can't recall exactly, it may have been an ROTC class, but he basically used the chance to teach to make a film which turned out to be the short version of THX 1138.

Best

Tim
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