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1930's VITASCOPE 16mm Hand Crank Movie Camera

VITASCOPE Hand Crank 16mm

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#1 Dale Hammond

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 09:39 PM

I recently purchased a 1930's VITASCOPE 16mm Hand Crank Movie Camera. It's in the mail so I don't have it in hand at this time.

 

I like to produce "artistic" and primitive B&W silent films.

 

I'm just starting to use vintage crank cameras.

 

Questions: 

 

Dose anyone here have experience with the VITASCOPE 16mm Hand Crank Movie Camera?

What film do you use?

Any tips on using it?

 

Any information on the VITASCOPE would be greatly appreciated. 

 

Thanks

 

 


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#2 Simon Wyss

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 01:21 AM

Your second question can be answered right away: 16mm film according to ISO 69.

It is available perforated along both edges and perforated along one edge only. With one row perf. stock we discern A-wind from B-wind.

 

Manufacturers are the Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, NY, USA; FilmoTec, Ltd., Wolfen, Germany; Foma Bohemia, Ltd., Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, and a few enterprises that convert unperforated strips to 16mm film. Film Ferrania in Italy is about to manufacture 16mm film this year (?). Ilford-Harman in England have not yet rediscovered the possibilities of ciné film.

 

Nice that you go trying a crank camera in the times when everybody seems to need an electric motor to move the simplest things. You can look out for more elaborate cameras and crystal controlled electric motors when you start shooting with synchronous sound records.


Edited by Simon Wyss, 05 April 2016 - 01:22 AM.

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#3 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 08:57 AM

Hi Dale,

 

congrats on the camera!

 

Vitascope were a one-off manufacturer, as far as I know they made their "The Movie Maker" 16mm camera in 1931 (and maybe for a few years after) and then never made another.

 

It was one of the cheapest 16mm cameras on the market, very basic. I've never seen one but I'm assuming it hand-cranks at 16 frames per second for every 2 rotations of the crank, like most hand-cranked movie cameras. This will give you an interesting look where the speed may change erratically, compared to a spring powered (or motorised) camera. It should take 100 ft daylight spools that are still available, the loading path should be marked or very simple to work out. 

 

Check whether the sprockets inside the camera have teeth on both ends (or whether the claw is on the door side of the gate) in which case you'll need 2-perf film stock that has perforations on both sides. This is harder to source than more modern single-perf film stock.

 

The lens is very likely fixed focus and very poor quality, but could give you interesting results. It will probably focus best between 6 ft and infinity.

 

If you want more detailed information on the Vitascope, there is a Cine Camera Collectors group in Yahoo groups whose members have this camera (among many others) but they may not be very well versed in the use of it: 

https://groups.yahoo...CineCamera/info


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#4 Dale Hammond

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 09:25 AM

Hi Dale,

 

congrats on the camera!

 

Vitascope were a one-off manufacturer, as far as I know they made their "The Movie Maker" 16mm camera in 1931 (and maybe for a few years after) and then never made another.

 

It was one of the cheapest 16mm cameras on the market, very basic. I've never seen one but I'm assuming it hand-cranks at 16 frames per second for every 2 rotations of the crank, like most hand-cranked movie cameras. This will give you an interesting look where the speed may change erratically, compared to a spring powered (or motorised) camera. It should take 100 ft daylight spools that are still available, the loading path should be marked or very simple to work out. 

 

Check whether the sprockets inside the camera have teeth on both ends (or whether the claw is on the door side of the gate) in which case you'll need 2-perf film stock that has perforations on both sides. This is harder to source than more modern single-perf film stock.

 

The lens is very likely fixed focus and very poor quality, but could give you interesting results. It will probably focus best between 6 ft and infinity.

 

If you want more detailed information on the Vitascope, there is a Cine Camera Collectors group in Yahoo groups whose members have this camera (among many others) but they may not be very well versed in the use of it: 

https://groups.yahoo...CineCamera/info

 

WOW! Thanks a lot! This told me a lot.

I'm thinking it's most likely 2R film but was kinda hoping it was the more modern type.

I'll know when it arrives in a few days.

 

I like the idea of imperfect filming. I have excellent video cameras for all the realism I'll ever need. But personally, I find them quite boring.

 

Thanks again 


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#5 Dale Hammond

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 09:27 AM

Your second question can be answered right away: 16mm film according to ISO 69.

It is available perforated along both edges and perforated along one edge only. With one row perf. stock we discern A-wind from B-wind.

 

Manufacturers are the Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, NY, USA; FilmoTec, Ltd., Wolfen, Germany; Foma Bohemia, Ltd., Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, and a few enterprises that convert unperforated strips to 16mm film. Film Ferrania in Italy is about to manufacture 16mm film this year (?). Ilford-Harman in England have not yet rediscovered the possibilities of ciné film.

 

Nice that you go trying a crank camera in the times when everybody seems to need an electric motor to move the simplest things. You can look out for more elaborate cameras and crystal controlled electric motors when you start shooting with synchronous sound records.

 

Thanks very much for your reply.

It's most helpful.


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