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'Destructable' 35mm Camera?


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#1 Jonny Brady

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 10:01 PM

Right, I don't know if this is the right area to post this but *technically* it IS about a type of 35mm camera, or its housing, so. I put it here. Please move this if it's in the wrong place, obviously...

I've just been watching some of the raw footage to the 1994 film 'Speed' - the bit where the subway train is sliding along the road at the end of the film.

There were at least 8 cameras on this shoot, and in one of the shots you can see a few cameras unmanned in the road.

I was watching the footage from one of these cameras, as the subway train just glided towards the camera... closer.... closer... *crack*

The lens cracks and then it stops rolling. I think, "WHAT."

So I look from another angle and see that the train appears to be GUIDED into this camera, and when you see it hit, the camera just smashes into pieces.

I've NEVER seen this before, I've always seen cameras treated with such care, and rightly so, they're expensive - so what the heck happened here d'you think? Was this intentional? If so, what kind of camera/lens d'you reckon it was? Is there a 'cheap' 35mm camera that is built for smashing up?

Be interesting to know...

Edited by Jonny Brady, 10 November 2007 - 10:02 PM.

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#2 chuck colburn

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 10:14 PM

Right, I don't know if this is the right area to post this but *technically* it IS about a type of 35mm camera, or its housing, so. I put it here. Please move this if it's in the wrong place, obviously...

I've just been watching some of the raw footage to the 1994 film 'Speed' - the bit where the subway train is sliding along the road at the end of the film.

There were at least 8 cameras on this shoot, and in one of the shots you can see a few cameras unmanned in the road.

I was watching the footage from one of these cameras, as the subway train just glided towards the camera... closer.... closer... *crack*

The lens cracks and then it stops rolling. I think, "WHAT."

So I look from another angle and see that the train appears to be GUIDED into this camera, and when you see it hit, the camera just smashes into pieces.

I've NEVER seen this before, I've always seen cameras treated with such care, and rightly so, they're expensive - so what the heck happened here d'you think? Was this intentional? If so, what kind of camera/lens d'you reckon it was? Is there a 'cheap' 35mm camera that is built for smashing up?

Be interesting to know...


Think Bell&Howell Eyemo with a Nikon lens mount. Thousands have died in the line of duty.

Edited by chuck colburn, 10 November 2007 - 10:15 PM.

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#3 Hal Smith

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 10:31 PM

My favorite smash-up. In "Bullitt" where the Dodge comes around a right turn straight at the camera, smacks a parked white Ford, and then destroys the Arri 2 that was behind the Ford taking the shot. Single frame through the DVD and you can see the Ford's fender collapse - and then miraculously pop back out. In the following shot where the Dodge goes up the hill you can see the camera's battery and some pieces on the sidewalk. Much better - in the "Steve McQueen's Commitment to Reality" featurette on the special edition DVD the reverse of the Arri 2 shot is in the sequence. You can see the Arri, tripod, etc. go flying across the sidewalk - and - a crew member reach out and pull as much junk as possible out of the shot.

This one was definitely NOT intentional, I've read that the production needed extra cameras and the one that got creamed was brand new and rented from a west coast Cinematographer.
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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 10:55 PM

You're allowed to do it if your Michael Bay and you personally own the camera that you're destroying...which he did on "The Island" and shrugged it off like it was nothing. Bastard.
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#5 Mitch Gross

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 12:03 AM

I recall a making-of doc for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome where the director & DP toss the now-ruined roll of film in the air after an Eyemo got trashed during the ending's car crash. Many cameras have bit the dust over the years, and not all of them were "disposable." There was the Panavision stuck out on the end of the overloaded carbon fiber crane that went SNAP about 20' over a Manhattan city street. There was a Bond film that had one explosion go WAY overboard. And then there were my two personal favorites: The one Gordon Willis tossed out a window after it broke down again after the camera house promised they'd fixed the problem; and the row of cameras at the end of an "underwater tunnel" set that was flooded with a wall of water and protected by a weakly-rigged sheet of plexiglass.

Hey, they're only machines, and there's always the insurance rider.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 12:11 AM

There's the famous story about Frakenheimer's "The Train" which has this amazing shot of a train wrecking right in front of the camera, skidding to a stop in a cloud of steam & smoke, and when it clears, you see this big wheel of the overturned train slowly rotating in the extreme foreground of the shot.

Frakenheimer set-up multiple cameras to cover the train crashing, and when they had one leftover camera, I think a little Arri-2C or something, he just said in the last minute '"oh, just put it in a hole in the ground right by the tracks and maybe we'll get something". The train derailment went wild and actually destroyed the multiple cameras and film by accident, but after the wreck stopped moving, the crew could hear the whine of this little camera still running underneath the wreck, so they dug it out, developed and printed it, and saw this amazing shot. So Frankenheimer later said "that shot was easy -- all you had to is be willing to destroy several cameras to get one good shot."

I'm paraphrasing, I don't remember the actual words he used but it's on the DVD.
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#7 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 12:45 AM

You're allowed to do it if your Michael Bay and you personally own the camera that you're destroying...which he did on "The Island" and shrugged it off like it was nothing. Bastard.



Was it a new 235 ? he is just helping to keep Arri in business... I actually liked that film I am sure it had nothing to do with the lead actress....

-Rob-
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#8 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 01:30 AM

Was it a new 235?


Not sure, but he did use the 235 a lot on Transformers, his own 235 that is.
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#9 Nick Mulder

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 02:31 AM

How do they make sure the magazine isn't smashed and all the film fogged ?

Probably a few different methods ?
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#10 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 02:44 AM

How do they make sure the magazine isn't smashed and all the film fogged ?


Tons of gaffer's tape and padding. As long as the mag doesn't fall apart and the film's safely inside, it should be fine :)
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#11 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 02:47 AM

You're allowed to do it if your Michael Bay and you personally own the camera that you're destroying...which he did on "The Island" and shrugged it off like it was nothing. Bastard.


If I had Michael Bay's money, I'd have my butler burn mine. You're thinking in terms of us lowly slobs desperately trying to make a film without the proper resources, the most proper of which being cold hard cash, to these guys, they could give a f*ck if they destroy a dozen cameras. When your star alone costs 20 MILLION dollars, a hundred thousand dollar Arri is tip money. B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 11 November 2007 - 02:48 AM.

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#12 Tim Terner

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 03:22 AM

........a hundred thousand dollar Arri is tip money. B)

Reminds me of the time Kerry Packer lost four million dollars at the casino and then left the croupier a four hundred thousand tip
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#13 Michael Nash

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 04:52 AM

I don't know about his own camera, but it was a Panavision destroyed on The Island.

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#14 Jonny Brady

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 09:22 AM

:(
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#15 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 05:02 PM

I seem to recall a different camera being destroyed in a different chase scene. I'd have to watch it again to point it out.
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#16 Jonny Brady

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 05:41 PM

I seem to recall a different camera being destroyed in a different chase scene. I'd have to watch it again to point it out.


In what film?
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#17 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 04:42 AM

Reminds me of the time Kerry Packer lost four million dollars at the casino and then left the croupier a four hundred thousand tip


OK, I don't care HOW much money you got, that's just stupid....does anybody know where I can get a day job as a croupier? Now bare in mind, I'm only taking croupier jobs where crazy-ass billionaires gamble away millions of dollars then TIP the croupier a quarter of a million or more, OTHERWISE, ya know...it's just not really worth my time. :rolleyes:

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 12 November 2007 - 04:47 AM.

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