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35mm Rack Over Mitchell


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#1 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 02:11 AM

I'm trying to understand how the Mitchell Rack-Over is not just a tease. At first glance it seems like a cool idea, all the brightness goes to the film rather than the viewfinder, and when racked over to the viewfinder the image is nice and bright as well.

But what kind of shooting is done with a Mitchell Rack Over? Should I assume the Mitchell is usually locked off while filming, that it's pointless to try to pan or zoom with the camera? Are there workarounds?
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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 02:23 AM

I'm trying to understand how the Mitchell Rack-Over is not just a tease. At first glance it seems like a cool idea, all the brightness goes to the film rather than the viewfinder, and when racked over to the viewfinder the image is nice and bright as well.

But what kind of shooting is done with a Mitchell Rack Over? Should I assume the Mitchell is usually locked off while filming, that it's pointless to try to pan or zoom with the camera? Are there workarounds?



Hi,

Almost every Hollywood film used rack over Mitchell's upto 1960's, & for 2nd Unit into the 1980's. There is a side range finder on the door for the operator. Mitchell started producing Reflex versions & many cameras got converted by Cinema Products & Fries Engineering, many of which are still in use today.

Stephen
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#3 Mark Dunn

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 05:09 AM

Rackover is just for focusing, through the film base. For shooting there's a parallax-corrected side finder.
Incidentally, only about 328 BNCs were ever made; they were used to shoot the Wallace and Gromit films, and Nick Park's studio owns about 30 of them. Since they cost about $5,000 in 1930 they've been very well looked after.
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#4 Stephen Williams

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 01:39 PM

Rackover is just for focusing, through the film base. For shooting there's a parallax-corrected side finder.
Incidentally, only about 328 BNCs were ever made; they were used to shoot the Wallace and Gromit films, and Nick Park's studio owns about 30 of them. Since they cost about $5,000 in 1930 they've been very well looked after.


Hi,

The 30 plus cameras used at Nick Parks Aardman Studio are all Fries conversions. They retain the original focal plane shutter & are BNCR mount, rather than many of the recent PL mount conversions.

Stephen
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#5 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 02:38 PM

How accurate is the sidefinder? Are you referring to a sidefinder attached to the lens, or completely seperate?
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#6 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 04:41 PM

How accurate is the sidefinder? Are you referring to a sidefinder attached to the lens, or completely seperate?


Attached to the camera. The BNC has an automatic parallax adjustment as part of the follow focus.

Have you never seen a movie from the 30s, 40s, 50s or early60s which had elaborate camera moves,
or even just a simple track in to a close up? I've even seen them in Monogram and PRC movies.

I recently watched a promo for Preminger's 'In Harms Way', which showed the BNC mounted on a huge Chapman crane for exterior scenes. Preminger was frequently using elaborate moving shots.

And Hitchcock. Was 'Rope' shot with a reflexed 3-strip camera?
How about that swooping crane shot in 'notorious' that ends in a close up of a key in C.Grant's hand?
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#7 Paul Bruening

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 06:30 PM

Not only did the parallax finder adjust from its side mount, it could mount to the side of the blimp. Mine is easier to look through than a reflex viewfinder. You use it more like a video camera side mounted monitor. I've got one for my NC as well as one for the blimp.

I also have a zoom lens that has the viewfinder built into it for use on the NC. All of this gear has that "old and musty" smell to it. I still love it all. You can almost feel the old school dripping off of it.
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#8 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 06:31 PM

So all the bases are covered except when it comes to doing time-exposure, no?
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