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Moviecam Super America


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#1 Jarin Blaschke

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 11:31 PM

I'm on a shoot in a few weeks where I requested a 535 and due to budgetary reasons, I may have to take a cheaper camera. Does anyone have any comments to share about the Moviecam Super America - I've never used anything Moviecam; how is it as far as weight, noise, etc? I suppose another option would be a BL4, but I'm not a huge fan of that tank. How would these cameras compare? Thanks.

Jarin
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#2 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 12:22 AM

As I remember it's heavy and the viewfinder is not very good. I would personally prefer a BL4. I have always had nothing but trouble with Moviecams.

Again, just my personal experience.
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#3 manny

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 02:14 AM

greetings Jarin

[quote name='JarinBlaschke' date='Oct 6 2004, 05:31 AM']
Does anyone have any comments to share about the Moviecam Super America - I've never used anything Moviecam; how is it as far as weight, noise, etc?

As you might know Moviecam have four models on the market, SL - Compact - Compact MK2 and the SuperAmerica. I have worked often with these and the SuperAmerica took it all the way to the Western Himalaya.
It is a big camera, besides the size it has all the qualities of the Moviecam Compact.
It is the studio version of the Compact.
Supersilent and simple to use. Your AC and Clapper loader are going to love it.
We had quite some bad weather, lots of sand. Camera had to be cleaned everynight, but with that one it was easy.
For handheld it might be a little on the heavy side, but not impossible.
We used it many possible ways, on the bonnet of jeep, hanging from bunjees etc...
Did all we wanted.
Check for all possible accessories, some rental places often made their own bits and pieces.
Regarding Moviecam, Arri bought them: that says a lot.
In Munich, amongst the older DoP's I work with they often say, when this or that piece is well designed it is definetely from Austria!
There are one or two photographs of that shoot in my site wwwdotsuysdotde
Not at my home base otherwise would send you some more shots.

Regards
Emmanuel, London

Camera Assistant
Munich-London
+491608036889 - +447910034443
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#4 Mitch Gross

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 11:40 AM

The Super is a big old beast. You'd probably be a lot happier with a Compact. If you think of the BL4 as a Tank, the Super may feel like a battleship.
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#5 Mike Williamson

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 12:05 PM

Having never used either, I'm curious about how well-suited the Arri 535 and the BL-4 are for hand-holding. Also more generally, when you're picking a camera, how much do you consider "hand-holdability"? Does it vary from project to project, or is hand-holding such a basic part of the current film vocabulary that you have to be ready for it on most projects?
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#6 Max Jacoby

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 01:16 PM

With handholding cameras, it's not just the weight, but also how they are balanced. If you don't have to move around too much if might be better to put a big mag on a camera, since otherwise the camera might be too front heavy.

The 535 and the BL4 are not exactlty cameras that you want to put on your shoulder for a whole day. If you know that there is going to be a lot of handheld (and steadicam) in a movie, you better get a lighter camera. The Arricam LT is the best one of the lot, since it is not only lightweight, but also fairly quiet. There are more and more films that use it as their A-Camera, like on 'The Bourne Supremacy' for instance (where they had 2).
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#7 Jarin Blaschke

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 11:25 PM

I would anticipate 4 handheld shots at most, over the course of 6 days. The only thing with getting a compact is that it's in the same price range as a 535B - in which case, well, I think I'd get a 535B, even though I've honestly never used either. Moviecams have just never appealed to me. Also, weight-wise, how does the Super America compare to a GoldII?? That's a camera I've put on my shoulder many times. Thanks all....
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#8 Jayson Crothers

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 04:33 PM

I'm operating on a show right now and our A camera is a Moviecam Compact. A Super America was briefly considered, but with all but about 10 shots being handheld, that idea was quickly dismissed - listen to what Mitch said - it's a beast of a camera. Even if you don't have much HH work, it's still a rather unwieldy camera IMHO; I'd take the BL4 if I were in your position.
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#9 manny

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 02:01 PM

Hello Jarin,


As said some companies have made lots of accessories for Moviecam SuperAmerica making it lighter and more manoeuvrable. Many Arri accessories fit Moviecam as well. Talk to the rental house
If you can go to the rental company and have a look at both. Try them out in handheld mode.
After all you should get familiar with it before you make up your mind. Cause you are the one going to operate after all ;)

Regards
Manny, London
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#10 DanStewart

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 06:14 PM

I've never handheld a BL4 but I wouldn't fancy trying it.
The Super America and the Gold are of comparible weight as far as I remember, but the SA is rather more unweildy and uncomfortable. I get the feeling none of these cameras were really meant to be staggered around with. Can you schedule the handheld stuff for one day and rent a compact, or even have a 2c B camera if the shots can be mute?

BTW anyone used the 235 yet? Can it be blimped at all?
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#11 Christian Appelt

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Posted 09 October 2004 - 12:20 PM

The Super is a big old beast. You'd probably be a lot happier with a Compact. If you think of the BL4 as a Tank, the Super may feel like a battleship.


The next guy complaining will be given a nice vintage Mitchell BNC on a solid Vinten gear head. Dismissed! :P
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#12 Tony Brown

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 04:28 PM

Super America is a great camera. Never had a problem with bodies though early mags had a tendancy to scratch.

Not seen one for 10 years, but would take it ove a Pana anything anyday.

But then I still like the PVSR......... :blink:
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#13 GWilliamPatrickB

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Posted 17 October 2004 - 08:17 PM

I'm on a shoot in a few weeks where I requested a 535 and due to budgetary reasons, I may have to take a cheaper camera. Does anyone have any comments to share about the Moviecam Super America - I've never used anything Moviecam; how is it as far as weight, noise, etc? I suppose another option would be a BL4, but I'm not a huge fan of that tank. How would these cameras compare? Thanks.

Jarin

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


What most people dont know is that the BL 4 is better hand held with the 1000' mag (balance is better) although a little heavier and a 400' load in the coaxial mag if there is not lots of HH use the 1000' mag. The Super is unweildy in any configuration because of the displacement mags and it feels much heavier because of it to the person operating / shooting.

GWPB
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#14 Jarin Blaschke

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Posted 21 October 2004 - 04:15 PM

I just got to Bucharest a couple days ago, and saw the camera today. The AC claims it's a Super America, but lifting it, it felt much lighter than I anticipated - but then again, I'm used to a GII. It also wasn't that big, and without markings and a warm gray color. It was also quite loud - audible several paces away. Anyway, I wouldn't exactly describe it as a tank - could this actually be a Compact?

This camera was kind of imposed on me, as decided by the producers on the Romanian side. Today, I was lead up the stairs to a dusty little room where the camera gear was kept next to rusty cans of Romanian-brand positive film stock that expired in 1993 (I kind of want to try some out.) The superspeed lenses were BNCR mount and a bit dusty with only light occasional mars to the coating. I'm pretty confident that the glass is fine, although I can't help but be wary since this film is definitely going to print. I asked for them to be well-cleaned. The AC claims that all focus marks are accurate - he apparently often goes out with this particular camera as part of a 'package'. The matte box practically looks homemade.

One peculiar thing is that apparently, there are no chocolate, tobacco, or 4x5 grads anywhere in Romania. The sound man is picking them up in New York before he joins us out here.

They also don't have 1mx1m nets either.

Anyway, this Eastern European experience should prove interesting....

jarin
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#15 Mitch Gross

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Posted 21 October 2004 - 11:50 PM

Jarin--

Where is the mirror shutter relative to the gate, below or on the dummy side of camera? If below then you have a Moviecam, but if it is off to the side, you my friend have been stuck with a Kinor, the Soviet ripoff of the Moviecam. If this is the case, TEST, TEST, TEST before trusting it. They can be just fine or they can be well, worthless. Just depends on the current condition and how much Vodka was consumed in the factory that day.
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#16 Tony Brown

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 03:59 PM

Surprised it was noisy Jarin, when they launched they were far quieter than either the GII or the BL (though thats not saying much). But really they were very quiet. I suspect it may be in need of a little pitch adjust.
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#17 GWilliamPatrickB

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 04:36 PM

Surprised it was noisy Jarin, when they launched they were far quieter than either the GII or the BL (though thats not saying much). But really they were very quiet. I suspect it may be in need of a little pitch adjust.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The BL 4s and the Super America are both rated at 20 db the GII is rated at 24 db this is according to the American Cinematographer manual.

GWPB
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