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Vistavision workflow?


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#1 Glen Alexander

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 01:05 PM

I'm interested in exploring shooting with Vistavision, not just matte sfx shots but complete short film.

I want to avoid digital/cgi as much as possible.
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#2 Tim Terner

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 01:29 PM

Is this another dream Glen ?
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#3 Glen Alexander

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 01:32 PM

Is this another dream Glen ?


:lol:

No actually. 8 perf VV uses such a vast amount of negative, sure you shoot double the footage with an insane amount of resolution.

Edited by Glen Alexander, 03 July 2008 - 01:35 PM.

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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 06:08 PM

The VistaVision negative has about a 1.5:1 aspect ratio, so you can compose it for either 1.85 or 2.40, whatever. However, if you don't do a D.I., then you'll have to do an optical printer conversion to whatever release format you need, unless you plan on using a VistaVision projector for a special venue site. The optical printer conversion would probably mean using dupe stocks (IP & IN) in order to get a printing negative.

Obviously with 8-perf instead of 4-perf, your stock & processing costs double unless you compensate in your shooting ratio.

Biggest problem with VistaVision is the lack of quiet sync-sound cameras, which is why 5-perf 65mm was used in movies such as "Contact" and "The Patriot" for efx work where dialogue had to be recorded. "Contact" used VistaVision for MOS shots where a smaller-than-65mm camera was needed.

Not sure what telecines can handle 8-perf for doing offline editing. Maybe the Spirit.

5-perf 65mm is not much more expensive than 8-perf 35mm and there are more modern sync-sound cameras available by ARRI and Panavision. Most modern 8-perf cameras like Wilcams were made for efx work.
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#5 Nate Downes

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 06:09 AM

Are you eye'ing that vistavision cam on ebay there Glen?
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#6 Glen Alexander

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 08:22 AM

Are you eye'ing that vistavision cam on ebay there Glen?


:rolleyes:

Maybe... :ph34r:
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#7 Glen Alexander

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 08:39 AM

The VistaVision negative has about a 1.5:1 aspect ratio, so you can compose it for either 1.85 or 2.40, whatever. However, if you don't do a D.I., then you'll have to do an optical printer conversion to whatever release format you need, unless you plan on using a VistaVision projector for a special venue site. The optical printer conversion would probably mean using dupe stocks (IP & IN) in order to get a printing negative.

Obviously with 8-perf instead of 4-perf, your stock & processing costs double unless you compensate in your shooting ratio.

Biggest problem with VistaVision is the lack of quiet sync-sound cameras, which is why 5-perf 65mm was used in movies such as "Contact" and "The Patriot" for efx work where dialogue had to be recorded. "Contact" used VistaVision for MOS shots where a smaller-than-65mm camera was needed.

Not sure what telecines can handle 8-perf for doing offline editing. Maybe the Spirit.

5-perf 65mm is not much more expensive than 8-perf 35mm and there are more modern sync-sound cameras available by ARRI and Panavision. Most modern 8-perf cameras like Wilcams were made for efx work.


Thanks David!

This is what I was hoping for.

I want to use as much of the negative as possible full glorious V V.

Fotokem lists on their website services for 35mm conversion for contact printing. I have sent them an email but do you know if they can do a direct optical conversion?

Can you give an idea of loud it is? similar to a IIC? Mitchell? a jackhammer?

With such a super-wide image to capture, am looking at lens options. Could you reccommend some lenses? I'm looking for super fast 8/10mm(no fish-eye), long ~185mm, and telephoto.

Many Thanks!
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 12:34 PM

If you mean direct optical conversion as in "spliced VistaVision negative to 35mm print (1.85 or anamorphic 2.40)" I doubt anyone will do that for you. It's very hard to add the color timing light corrections shot by shot at the same time as doing the optical printer blow-up, not for VistaVision. Some regular 35mm optical printers can do that for a high charge, for an expensive print.

Optical printing is not cheap.

The standard route would be to cut the negative, answer print (don't know who answer prints VistaVision though), make a color-timed contact-printed VistaVision IP, and then make an optical printer conversion to a 35mm IN, from which you make 35mm contact prints.

This is one reason why 5-perf 65mm makes a little more sense, in that there are a few 5-perf 70mm projectors around, so you could just cut the negative and make a contact 70mm print and show that. Plus ARRI and Panavision have quiet sync-sound 65mm cameras. Of course, there are sound issues since there is no optical soundtrack on a 70mm print, just magnetic stripes (hard to do these days) or DTS digital sound.

Truth is that almost anyone shooting VistaVision would do any conversion work to 4-perf 35mm using a D.I. today.

But there are labs that do large format work, I just don't know which ones.

The VistaVision format is the same size as the 35mm still camera format, so most VistaVision cameras use converted Nikons or medium format lenses. The only VistaVision renter I know of in Los Angeles is Clairmont Cameras.

Ultimately you may find that a contact print from 35mm anamorphic photography to almost as good as an optical printer dupe through an IP/IN step from VistaVision, for a lot less cost and post hassle.
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#9 Glen Alexander

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 07:04 AM

It's a bit of shame that V V optical path has been banished to old memories in places like this

http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/

I wonder what Cecil B. DeMille would shoot on today for those big classic movies?

http://www.widescree...een/wingvv1.htm

Edited by Glen Alexander, 09 July 2008 - 07:05 AM.

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#10 John Holland

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 11:31 AM

I think C.B . would shoot anamorphic Hawks no DI and a straight optical photo/ chem finish which we can all do now as long we are not talked into a very expensive DI by the few remaining labs who are doing very well thank you ,by selling 2K DIs as the wonder tool . End of rant . :rolleyes:
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#11 Glen Alexander

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 11:55 AM

The page discusses

http://www.widescree...een/wingvv1.htm

what a tough choice for "Moses"?

Nina Foch, Egyptian Princess or Yvonne De Carlo, the shepard girl, decisions, decisions.....
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#12 John Holland

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 12:09 PM

Glen VV apart from its 8 perf looked so good [like 2 perf Techniscope much later ] because of the Technicolor dye tranfer process , which i am afraid is no longer with us.
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#13 John Sprung

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 02:08 PM

The VistaVision format is the same size as the 35mm still camera format, so most VistaVision cameras use converted Nikons or medium format lenses. The only VistaVision renter I know of in Los Angeles is Clairmont Cameras.

Last I heard, Paramount still had some original VV cameras. Marianne or Rudy would know. They also recently changed the lamphouse on the VV projector from carbon to xenon. So, you could screen a contact print to check your tests. It's in that upstairs room in the Fields building. The original cameras used Leica lenses.



-- J.S.
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#14 Glen Alexander

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 02:18 PM

Last I heard, Paramount still had some original VV cameras. Marianne or Rudy would know. They also recently changed the lamphouse on the VV projector from carbon to xenon. So, you could screen a contact print to check your tests. It's in that upstairs room in the Fields building. The original cameras used Leica lenses.



-- J.S.


Marianne has been great! I sent her an email to see what kind of post options they have available.
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#15 Christian Appelt

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 02:29 PM

David Mullen wrote

Biggest problem with VistaVision is the lack of quiet sync-sound cameras, which is why 5-perf 65mm was used in movies such as "Contact" and "The Patriot" for efx work where dialogue had to be recorded. "Contact" used VistaVision for MOS shots where a smaller-than-65mm camera was needed.


Didn't Clairmont offer two modern Wilcam VV cameras for rental, one highspeed model and a sound camera running quite silent? Nothing said about it on their rental site, though.

A few VV hardware links:

VV custom made by Fries

GeoFilms has a Fries VV and a thing called MiniVista, about the size of an Arri 3. Can be seen on this DP website:

Michael Reinecke

GeoFilm Group


Trumbullflex 8-perf


Beaumonte VV camera

Rotavision Down Under

So if you want to shoot VistaVision, there are cameras to rent. IIRC there is also a french company and the "Actionflex 8-perf" built by Gerhard Fromm of Munich. Make your choice, Glen! :)

Edited by Christian Appelt, 09 July 2008 - 02:33 PM.

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#16 Glen Alexander

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 02:34 PM

David Mullen wrote

Didn't Clairmont offer two modern Wilcam VV cameras for rental, one highspeed model and a sound camera running quite silent? Nothing said about it on their rental site, though.

A few VV hardware links:

VV custom made by Fries

GeoFilms has a Fries VV and a thing called MiniVista, about the size of an Arri 3. Can be seen on this DP website:

Michael Reinecke

GeoFilm Group


Trumbullflex 8-perf


Beaumonte VV camera

Rotavision Down Under

So if you want to shoot VistaVision, there are cameras to rent. IIRC there is a french company and the "Actionflex 8-perf" built by Gerhard Fromm of Munich. Make your choice, Glen! :)



Thanks for that treasure trove of great info. Shooting on Vistavision isn't the big issue it is the post. It is the DI process I want to avoid.
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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 06:18 PM

Thanks for that treasure trove of great info. Shooting on Vistavision isn't the big issue it is the post. It is the DI process I want to avoid.


An optical printer step isn't so great either. You should shoot in whatever format allows you to make a contact print and project it. Especially for a short film where you are only going to make a couple of prints anyway. An optical printer step can add thousands to the cost of making a print.
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#18 Henri Titchen

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 03:13 AM

You could make a VistaVision contact print VERY easily/cheaply. The print would be an 8 perf print. It would then need to be projected on a VistaVision projector.

Any continuous contact printer could do this! The price would undoubtedly be exactly the same as printing any other 35mm negative of the same length....no extra setup is required.

An old 35mm printer like a Bell and Howell model D could handle this task. Many labs have these or better contact printers.
Brian Pritchards Website with info on the Model D printer
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#19 K Borowski

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 09:14 AM

You could make a VistaVision contact print VERY easily/cheaply. The print would be an 8 perf print. It would then need to be projected on a VistaVision projector.

Any continuous contact printer could do this! The price would undoubtedly be exactly the same as printing any other 35mm negative of the same length....no extra setup is required.

An old 35mm printer like a Bell and Howell model D could handle this task. Many labs have these or better contact printers.
Brian Pritchards Website with info on the Model D printer


Yeah, but how do you then project it? With an old full-frame filmstrip projector one frame at a time???
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#20 Glen Alexander

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 09:29 AM

Yeah, but how do you then project it? With an old full-frame filmstrip projector one frame at a time???


According to Paramount, they only have one place that can project VV, Gower Theater.... haven't found any in Paris.... yet!!
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