Jump to content




Photo

Double magazine camera


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 George Ebersole

George Ebersole
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1265 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 12 November 2014 - 06:06 AM

I saw an interview with Yoshiyuki Kuroda who did the effects for some older Japanese monster movies that did Godzilla like SFX.  He referenced that they used a "double magazine camera", and I saw a shot of a camera that had something like four or six reels attached to it.

 

I've never heard of such a thing, and can't seem to find any references on the net.  Has anyone ever seen or used one of these older cameras?  Did they work better than an optical printer?


  • 0




#2 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2182 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 12 November 2014 - 06:58 AM

I think that's a reference to a multi-head optical printer, which is, after all, basically a camera.

http://www.oxberry.c...image_page.html


  • 0

#3 George Ebersole

George Ebersole
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1265 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 12 November 2014 - 07:24 AM

*face palm*  I should have realized that.  Thanks.


  • 0

#4 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 18789 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 12 November 2014 - 07:53 AM

There were also bi-pack magazines for Mitchell or Acme cameras, which is what Kuroda was probably talking about, looks like the camera has four reels attached to it.

http://www.zen171398...ck in smoke.jpg

 

As Mark says, an optical printer is basically a camera pointed at a projector, so a bi-backed Mitchell is basically the camera side of an optical printer but pointed at other things like miniatures, matte paintings, etc.  Not better or worse, just a different workflow.

 

You could, for example, shoot a spaceship model against black, keep that take undeveloped, shoot a second identical take of the spaceship silhouetted against white, develop that take and make hi-con b&w positive version for a hold-out matte, then load the hold-out matte into the bi-packed camera with the undeveloped take of the model against black behind the hold-out matte (black where the spaceship model is, clear all around) and then point the camera at whatever you want as the background, which will only get exposed around the spaceship model but be matted out of where the spaceship is in the frame.  If you have a motion control set-up, you can do a camera move on the spaceship model and repeat it to shoot the hold-out matte.

 

Or you could use a bi-pack camera to shoot matte paintings like Douglas Trumbull did.  You shoot the live-action and let's say you want to put a matte painting of the city at the top of the frame later.  You make a work print of the developed live-action plate and project that onto a glass with white behind it and then draw an outline of where the painting will go into the frame.  Then you paint the matte painting, with clear areas for the live action on the glass.  You then make an interpositive of the negative of the live action and load that into the bi-pack camera as the front piece of film with intermediate dupe stock loaded behind it.  You then shoot the matte painting with no light on it but the clear area behind it lit up with an even white field so that the white area exposes the image on the first element onto the second element, but where the matte painting is silhouette, that area on the new internegative is unexposed.  Then you take out the front piece of film in the bi-pack camera and shoot the matte painting, this time lit up with the live action area in black on the painting (by putting black velvet behind the glass where before you had a white field).  Now you can expose this painting onto the internegative and it will appear in the unexposed portions of the live action element. (I'd have to dig up my Blade Runner issue of Cinefex to see if I described that correctly).

 

The only trouble with this technique was that it required using intermediate stock in a camera, which is very low in ASA and is designed to see the colors of a piece of film, not reality, so Matt Yuricich had to paint his paintings in weird off-colors that would look correct to the intermediate stock, not for camera negative stock, and then use a ton of light on the painting to expose it.  This kept him from using a technique he liked on "Logan's Run" of painting over large color photographs, because the paper prints could not take the heat from this lamps used to expose onto intermediate dupe stock.


  • 0

#5 George Ebersole

George Ebersole
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1265 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 12 November 2014 - 04:54 PM

That sounds about right.  Do they still use the hold-out matte technique in our and age of digital inserts?

 

There was a still of a Mitchell that showed what looked like an optical printer with a standard camera lens, and I'd just never seen that before.  Thanks for the clarification.

 

*edited for clarity*


  • 0

#6 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11234 posts
  • Other

Posted 12 November 2014 - 05:52 PM

There's still a concept of a matte, although it's often referred to as an alpha channel, being stored as a single "transparency" plane alongside the RGB planes. It's a basic feature of compositing software to be able to take any image and assign its brightness values as a matte to another.

 

There are other equivalent techniques too. It's quite common, for instance, to need to composite smoke or pyrotechnics that've been shot against black into a frame. I may be doing it strangely, but it's sometimes helpful to invert the smoke and multiply it (that is, subtractively mix, so bright bits in the smoke become dark bits in the output) over the background. That creates a "hole" in the frame where the smoke will go, which can be manipulated independently of the smoke brightness itself when it's additively mixed in over the top. This makes it a lot easier to control the apparent transparency of the smoke, versus its apparent illumination, providing for nicer results in the edges of the smoke where it's transparent and at the edges of flames and explosions which have variable transparency and self-illumination. Presumably similar things were done regarding the exposure of matte elements in an optical printer (I know there was a lot of messing about for the snow scenes in the Star Wars movies, given the whiteness of the backgrounds). Given the control we have with curves and levels filters these days, which allow us to tweak contrast and brightness of mattes and elements, I can't imagine the optical approach was much fun. 

 

P


  • 0

#7 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 18789 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 12 November 2014 - 06:24 PM

ILM used tricks for the snow battle like making the b&w hold-out mattes less hi-con so that the composited foreground element had a little more transparency to it. They also made the matte a bit smaller than the object sometimes.


  • 0

#8 George Ebersole

George Ebersole
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1265 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 12 November 2014 - 07:02 PM

ILM used tricks for the snow battle like making the b&w hold-out mattes less hi-con so that the composited foreground element had a little more transparency to it. They also made the matte a bit smaller than the object sometimes.

 

Was that to cut down on the matte lines?  By that I mean the black that you around an object that you see in older composite shots.


  • 0

#9 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 18789 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 12 November 2014 - 08:28 PM

Yes.


  • 0

#10 George Ebersole

George Ebersole
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1265 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 13 November 2014 - 04:02 PM

Just one more question; what snow battle are you talking about?


  • 0

#11 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11234 posts
  • Other

Posted 13 November 2014 - 05:44 PM


  • 0

#12 George Ebersole

George Ebersole
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1265 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 13 November 2014 - 07:11 PM

I was asking mister Mullen.


  • 0

#13 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 18789 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 13 November 2014 - 07:23 PM

Yes, Phil is correct, the snow battle in Empire Strikes Back.


  • 0

#14 George Ebersole

George Ebersole
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1265 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 14 November 2014 - 12:22 AM

Yes, Phil is correct, the snow battle in Empire Strikes Back.

 

Okay.  I wasn't sure if you meant some other film I hadn't seen.


  • 0


Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Abel Cine

Glidecam

Pro 8mm

Technodolly

CineTape

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Zylight

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

The Slider

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Pro 8mm

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

CineTape

Abel Cine

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Zylight

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly

Willys Widgets