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Becoming a camera operator; 70 mm cameras


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#1 Brook Kellogg

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 12:27 AM

How does one go about becoming a camera operator? Do they normally have to go to film school for it? Does a strong background in visual art and/or still photography help or is usually strongly recommended?


Question 2: Where is someone most likely to find a used 70 mm motion-pic camera and about how much would it be likely to cost?
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 12:38 AM

How does one go about becoming a camera operator? Do they normally have to go to film school for it? Does a strong background in visual art and/or still photography help or is usually strongly recommended?


Question 2: Where is someone most likely to find a used 70 mm motion-pic camera and about how much would it be likely to cost?


Hi, Brook. Welcome to the forum. A camera op tends to work up through the camera department, though there are no hard and fast rules in this business. Film school is certainly not a requirement but a good eye for composition and a good sense of staging and how shots work together or off of each other is a must. A strong visual art or photography background would most definitely be a big boon to you. Your eyes also do a lot of multi-tasking when you operate: you are watching the performances, the framing, your own "performance", and the focus all at once. When the shot is cut, you need to be able to report any problems immediately so another take can be done. You also must be in at least reasonably good shape and have quite good muscle memory.

In response to your second question, 65mm cameras (70mm is a projection format, 65mm is the camera negative format) are, I would assume, few and far between. An older model used arri in 35mm can still easily reach into the tens of thousands of dollars so a 65mm camera would likely be much higher due to rarity.

Edited by Chris Keth, 23 April 2008 - 12:39 AM.

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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 12:45 AM

It is too late for me to edit my post but I wanted to add that I have never seen a useable 65mm camera for sale on the used market.
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#4 Brook Kellogg

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 01:00 AM

It is too late for me to edit my post but I wanted to add that I have never seen a useable 65mm camera for sale on the used market.



In other words, you have to buy one new. :-)

How much do they run new then? I'll ask it that way!
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 01:26 AM

I know of two cameras in 65mm. The 65mm panaflex by Panavision and the 765 by Arri. The panaflex isn't for sale because Panavision only leases their equipment so that leaves the 765.

I've actually never seen one for sale new with just a price posted. It's usually a "call for price" if it's even listed on a website or catalog. I would PM Mitch Gross. He is likely to know. If he can't tell you, a quick call to Arri would set you straight. Their 65mm model is the "Arri 765."

If I had to guess based on their other cameras + some for being a rarely asked-for item, I would guess you're looking at $200-thousand for the body. Once magazines, lenses, and other bits-and-bobs are added you're very easily up to or above a half-million.

Edited by Chris Keth, 23 April 2008 - 01:29 AM.

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#6 Max Jacoby

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 01:43 AM

Last time I shot with the 765 we had to insure it for a million Euros. If you wanted to buy one from Arri, you'd have to come to an agreement with them about one of their existing cameras, I doubt they'll build you a new one. They only ever made about a dozen and still own about 8 of them I think, but not not all of those are still working.
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 01:21 PM

Last time I shot with the 765 we had to insure it for a million Euros. If you wanted to buy one from Arri, you'd have to come to an agreement with them about one of their existing cameras, I doubt they'll build you a new one. They only ever made about a dozen and still own about 8 of them I think, but not not all of those are still working.


Pocket change! ;)

I didn't know there were that few 765s in existence. Thanks, Max!
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#8 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 01:35 PM

I know of two cameras in 65mm. The 65mm panaflex by Panavision and the 765 by Arri. The panaflex isn't for sale because Panavision only leases their equipment so that leaves the 765.


Alan Gordon has had a Mitchell/Todd-AO AP-65 kit for $98K for quite a while.
Sort of the 65mm version of the S35R/MkII minus the high speed and with a pellicle mirror instead of a mirror shutter.

http://www.alangordo...lmcam.home.html (pic)

http://www.alangordo..._filmcam65.html

More likely to be in workable condition than the beat up 70mm instrumentation cameras that show up on eBay.
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#9 John Sprung

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 02:19 PM

More likely to be in workable condition than the beat up 70mm instrumentation cameras that show up on eBay.

I had one of those show up in a box of junk years ago, a Hulcher. They're not motion cameras, they shoot stills. IIRC, the pulldown is some weird number of perfs, not quite Imax size..... 12 or 13 maybe? It was full of heating coils, too....




-- J.S.
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#10 Henri Titchen

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 04:35 AM

Martin Hill has four 65mm cameras listed. Including a Panavision 65mm Camera Model SC.

http://www.martinhil...d Collector.htm

Henry.

I had one of those show up in a box of junk years ago, a Hulcher. They're not motion cameras, they shoot stills. IIRC, the pulldown is some weird number of perfs, not quite Imax size..... 12 or 13 maybe? It was full of heating coils, too....




-- J.S.


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#11 chuck colburn

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 10:02 AM

Alan Gordon has had a Mitchell/Todd-AO AP-65 kit for $98K for quite a while.
Sort of the 65mm version of the S35R/MkII minus the high speed and with a pellicle mirror instead of a mirror shutter.

http://www.alangordo...lmcam.home.html (pic)

http://www.alangordo..._filmcam65.html

More likely to be in workable condition than the beat up 70mm instrumentation cameras that show up on eBay.


Those 70mm instrumentation cameras you see now and then would not be useable nowadays as they not only use 70mm stock but the perfs were Kodak standard (square perf) which I believe is no longer availble. (best to check on that though) and they were generally odd formats like 10 perf excetera. You might check with Max Penner at Paradisefx and ask what became of the Showscan 65mm cameras and lenses.
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#12 Brook Kellogg

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 01:41 AM

OK... Well, how much would an actual IMAX camera run then? I'm guessing at least $200 K like Christopher was saying. Has anyone ever heard of those being found used? How much does the film stock for it cost?

I know IMAX is just another 65mm camera like the other ones. Are there any differences between it and all other 65mm cameras?
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#13 chuck colburn

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 04:43 AM

OK... Well, how much would an actual IMAX camera run then? I'm guessing at least $200 K like Christopher was saying. Has anyone ever heard of those being found used? How much does the film stock for it cost?

I know IMAX is just another 65mm camera like the other ones. Are there any differences between it and all other 65mm cameras?


Morning Brook,

Imax is not anything like standard 65mm five perf pulldown. It's like a giant VistaVision camera where the film moves through the camera body on the horizontal plane (like a still camera). Can't remember the number of perforations per frame (15?) but it's a lot.
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#14 Max Jacoby

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 10:42 AM

There's 8 and 15 perfs as far as I recall.
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#15 John Holland

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 10:48 AM

IMAX is 15 perf.
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#16 chuck colburn

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 11:14 AM

There's 8 and 15 perfs as far as I recall.


Hi Max,

Did'nt know they had two different formats. 8 perf would be like the 2 perf. Technoscope for Imax. lol
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#17 John Sprung

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 11:52 AM

Horizontal pull Imax is 15 perfs. The 8 perf format is vertical pull, the aspect ratio is close to that of Academy 35, about 1.38:1 roughly approximately without looking it up....




-- J.S.
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#18 chuck colburn

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 12:23 PM

Almost perfect for the standard size TV screen. lol
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#19 Brook Kellogg

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 01:34 PM

So does the IMAX camera have the same picture quality, clarity, and ability to hold as many megapixels of information as all other 65mm cams?
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#20 Brook Kellogg

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 01:57 PM

So does the IMAX camera have the same picture quality, clarity, and ability to hold as many megapixels of information as all other 65mm cams?



Holy ****! I was just reading on the Wikipedia entry for IMAX that one frame of IMAX film holds 70 megapixels of information! Wow! LOL
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