Topics

Milestones in movie-making technology

Pauline Rogers
 

So, I'm new to this style of contact.
Hope I am doing it right.

I am doing an interesting article on "milestones" in technology that helps move the camera - what worked and what didn't - for ICG.

Would REALLY appreciate suggestions - besides "steadicam" and "Tyler Mount" and "Dolly".   - Even more on those.

Anyone have ideas - let me know.

pauline@...

THANKS
pauline

Barry Bassett
 

Solid state recording; digital acquisition; inter frame compression; digital film S35 acquisition; full frame shooting (Leica)...

Pauline Rogers
 

Thanks Barry.
Got any thoughts on CAMERA SUPPORT? 
I made a mistake in post -  this is the Action issue and I'm leaning the article toward moving the camera technology.
Will add these to my list however.
:)
p

Lorand Marton
 

Sliders, 3axis gimbals, drones


On Wed, 28 Feb 2018 at 20:48, <wordrytr1@...> wrote:
Thanks Barry.
Got any thoughts on CAMERA SUPPORT? 
I made a mistake in post -  this is the Action issue and I'm leaning the article toward moving the camera technology.
Will add these to my list however.
:)
p

Gavin Greenwalt
 

You would definitely want to include the history of Motion Control systems for repeatable or highspeed camera movement.

 

Gavin Greenwalt

VFX Supervisor

Seattle, WA

Argun Tekant
 

Speaking of milestones, I think the Lumière brothers’ first ever crane shot (using the Eiffel Tower elevator) and the first ever dolly shot (using a train car) could be mentioned. 

Argun Tekant
Photographer 
Bay Area

Matthew Clark
 

Pauline wrote: “...this is the Action issue and I'm leaning the article toward moving the camera technology.”

Some big gains in the last 10 years have come from smaller motors and micro processing to allow things like gimbals, stabilized heads, and drones to get smaller while carrying a bigger payload.  This is huge. Like the advent of Steadicam in 1975, the gimbal has spawned a whole new way to move the camera.    To me, the other big thing is the advent of moco in a form factor that is approachable for more than just studio work.  Taking it on location and applying motion control to real world was a huge leap.  Yeah, this was a while ago, but it was important.  And, a maybe overlooked item that is a work horse is the slider.  I rarely go on a shoot with out one.  A great tool that is simple and easy to deploy.

Those are the things that come to mind immediately for me.  


Matthew J. Clark
Director/DP 
Seattle, WA
www.StraightEIGHTFilms.com

Marcus Friedlander
 

Hey there! Sounds like a cool article! 

I would say the mass acceptance of LOG capture is also another big milestone because it signifies that people have accepted shooting for the grade as a tool, rather than something equivalent to, "fix it in post". 

I would also throw out the advent of wireless tech (both video and focus) as a milestone in technology because it made easy, what used to be incredibly difficult or time consuming, and gave filmmakers the ability to do shots that would otherwise be impossible. 

It's also changed the dynamics of shooting, especially for heavily dramatic scenes. With wireless gear, less people need to be in the room with the actor, allowing for a better space for the actor to preform in. 

Can't wait to read your article! 

Cheers, 

Marcus Friedlander - DP in Los Angeles 

"Perfection is the goal, excellence is the standard." 

On Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 10:34 AM, wordrytr1@... wrote:

So, I'm new to this style of contact.
Hope I am doing it right.

I am doing an interesting article on "milestones" in technology that helps move the camera - what worked and what didn't - for ICG.

Would REALLY appreciate suggestions - besides "steadicam" and "Tyler Mount" and "Dolly".   - Even more on those.

Anyone have ideas - let me know.

pauline@...

THANKS
pauline

Luis Gomes
 

ARRI Alexa Mini on 5-axis hybrid stabilizer TRINITY Rig !

--
Gomes.luis@...
http://fi.linkedin.com/pub/luis-gomes/20/11b/335/
Freelancer video Professional. 
Finland. 

Mike Sippel <msippel@...>
 

Telescoping camera crane (Technocrane being the proprietary eponym)

Car-mounted camera crane (Russian Arm, Pursuit Arm, Etc.)

Actively stabilized remote head (Libra Head, Flight Head, Scorpio Head, Etc.)

High-speed robotic motion control arm (Milo, BOLT Arm)

All-terrain motorized camera crane platform (Griptrix, Hexatron)

 

As an aside, Barry isn’t wrong about Solid State Recording helping move the camera – it made small, lightweight digital cinema cameras possible where previously you either had to content with a film magazine or tethered tape deck – both of which precluded putting cameras in certain tight quarters. 

 

The “original” camera-freeing technology was the self-blimped camera that allowed one to shoot sound outside a studio environment – previously, the size of sounds blimps made cameras too large and heavy to be practical for location work.

 

Mike Sippel

Arri Rental

Atlanta, GA, USA

 

 

Mike Sippel

Senior Field Support Technician

 

ARRI Rental
3980 Dekalb Technology Pkwy #800
Atlanta, GA 30340
Phone: (678) 248-5432
Website | Facebook | Twitter

ARRIRENTAL


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Gavin Greenwalt
 

In the world of sports cinematography the SpiderCam has dramatically changed the way American Football is filmed. Cable cams more broadly have a long history, there is an incredible cable cam in Soy Cuba from the 50s https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sYFXv6bDIY8.

 

Also the technocrane springs to mind as a way to move the camera vertically without moving in an arc.

 

Gavin Greenwalt

VFX supervisor

Seattle, Wa

Gavin Greenwalt
 

Ha, sorry for things coming to me in bursts.  A huge one for TV is the Pedestal with coasters and hydraulics. Most of what you see outside of single camera drama is shot on a pedestal since the days of black and white.

 

Gavin Greenwalt

David Fuller
 

In the filming of automobiles, motorcycles and the like, the Russian Arm has brought its own unique capabilities.

A stop on the way to current gimbal technology—the Libra head would be worth a paragraph or two.

David Fuller, Director

AirStream Pictures
Maine, USA



On Feb 28, 2018, at 2:09 PM, Gavin Greenwalt <im.thatoneguy@...> wrote:

Also the technocrane springs to mind as a way to move the camera vertically without moving in an arc.

Steven Bradford
 

On Feb 28, 2018, at 7:43 AM, wordrytr1@... wrote:
I am doing an interesting article on "milestones" in technology that helps move the camera - what worked and what didn't - for ICG.
I’ll reach back to the 80s and the new generation of remote head booms and jibs that could go places the traditional operator carrying cranes couldn’t.

First the Louma Crane (about 1980?) with it’s long reach that was longer that most cranes, and yet could still do things like go through a window. Expensive, and I believe only 5 were built but was used on many projects.

Then the much less expensive Barber baby boom which was shortly followed up by the
Stanton Jimmy jib. These were more used for Broadcast video cameras, but also 16mm cameras, I’ve mounted 35 lb 3D cameras on the original Jimmy Jib. The latter was extendable up to 30’ yet the basic unit with a 9 foot reach could be packed in a golf club bag size case and shipped as checked baggage. It was a huge deal for being able to do crane shots in odd locations. I packed one up to the top of the Shuttle Launch Gantry at Kennedy Space Center, and into surgery Operating rooms and all kinds of place you couldn't take a Chapman crane. Of course many more variations followed!

There are also the many devices from the mind of Garrett Brown beyond the Steadicam. The SkyCam, the MobyCam, the DiveCam and the GoCam among them. Those we see the results of usually at sporting events, especially at the summer Olympics The GoCam, which I’ve operated, was a small lightweight monorail camera (the rail was mounted on light kit stands), but it’s an example of something that worked but didn’t really catch on after it’s introduction at the 96 Olympics.

Steven Bradford
Cinematographer/Instructor
Seattle USA

Mark Kenfield
 

And let's not forget the pinnacle of camera movement/sex appeal - steadicam on a segway.

Cheers,

Mark Kenfield 
Cinematographer 
Melbourne 
+61 400 044 500

Ted Langdell
 

I'm surprised drones have not been mentioned yet. These new high-tech devices have enabled a wide range of smaller cameras to be mobile in ways that were not easily done even five years ago.

That's certainly a recent milestone.

Small spring-wound, and later ones with with electric motors enabled handheld shooting, and the use of the human body as a mobile camera support.

In the newsreel game, body braces helped stabilize images when shot from human bodies. Those were helpful when utilizing ordinarily tripod mounted cameras in a human we moved mode. We seen a resurgence of those lately with smaller Digital cameras.

Smaller shoulder mounted cameras enabled further development of cinéma vérité and feature film looks that would not have been possible with mechanical camera supports.

Early camera support milestones would have improvements or adaptations of still camera pan and tilt heads to improve the camera operator's control over up-and-down and left and right movement.

Those would've included spring loaded friction heads, where a spring counterbalanced the weight of the camera as it was tilted, and friction was used to dampen or smooth out the movement of panning or tilting.

Geared pan and tilt heads enabled more precise control, and it's surprising how early in the history of motion pictures those showed up.

Fluid heads offered a major improvement over friction heads, and are likely the most commonly used moving image pan and tilt head today.

The use of tracks to help move the camera support and camera more smoothly over a variety of surfaces was a milestone, as have been the development of lightweight versions that are very portable.

On the low-tech side of things, there are simple things, like putting the camera (with or without a person) on whatever wheeled device is handy: A wheelchair, office chair, skateboard, wagon with rubber tires you can let some air out of to smooth out bumps, extending a 2 x 4 out a vehicle window and clamping the camera and head on to the outside end to get a moving shot of who is inside.

Putting the camera in a moving vehicle like a model T and shooting out the back or sides resulted in the development of sophisticated camera cars and trucks.

Rather simplified descriptions, but still things that I would expect have been milestones along the way.

I hope this is helpful.

Ted

Ted Langdell
tedlangdell@...
(530)301-2931

Dictated into and Sent from my iPhone, which is solely responsible for any weird stuff I didn't catch.

On Feb 28, 2018, at 7:43 AM, wordrytr1@... wrote:

I am doing an interesting article on "milestones" in technology that helps move the camera - what worked and what didn't - for ICG.

Charles Pickel
 

Hi Pauline, 
Any discussion of this must include the development by Lucasfilm & collaborators of modern, PC/MAC driven motion control which was done simultaneously with the revival of the near-forgotten Vista Vision film format which was seized on because one avoided the use of very expensive 65mm cameras, film, lab & post services. ILM ultimately designed and built their own VistaVision cameras and mocon rigs, including a head that would record and play back camera movements on location. 

Tribute should also be given to the original LOUMA crane, which was the first low-profile extendable (not exactly quick-telescoping) camera crane that relied on total remote operation of the camera (no operator on board). Designed in France by Jean Marie Lavalou, and later acquired by Panavision and overseen by my old professional acquaintance Andy Romanov. A  quiet innovator in his field. Look here: https://www.creativeplanetnetwork.com/news-features/panavision-s-andy-romanoff-receive-distinguished-service-award-soc-403587

Rod Williams
 

I’d propose the introduction of reliable, compact, low power wireless video transmission. It has freed up the camera to be anywhere un-encumbered by wires and it allows the flexability of moving the camera in the shot without having to compromise that movement to allow VTR via cables.
--
Rod Williams
First Camera Assistant
Petaluma, California
(415) 309-3407

Charles Pickel
 

I thought that pinnacle was acheived by Stedi-Teddy Churchill..on roller skates.

Charles Pickel
seriousgear.com
Tel 206-285-4776

On Feb 28, 2018 3:49 PM, Mark Kenfield <mark@...> wrote:
And let's not forget the pinnacle of camera movement/sex appeal - steadicam on a segway.

Cheers,

Mark Kenfield 
Cinematographer 
Melbourne 
+61 400 044 500

Ben Helweg
 

Let us not forget the humble Easyrig and friends too.


Geoff Boyle
 

It would make my day if you all would sign your messages.

I start the day happy and smiling and events change my attitude.

 

As to devices that changed the way that I personally move cameras. In order of use 😊

 

Steadicam, Louma, Libra, Technocrane, AR Rig, Russian Arm, Drone. Actually also Solid Grip kit.

 

Cheers

 

Geoff Boyle NSC FBKS

Cinematographer

Zoetermeer

www.gboyle.co.uk

+31 (0) 637 155 076

 

From: cml-general@... [mailto:cml-general@...] On Behalf Of Ben Helweg
Sent: Thursday, 1 March 2018 01:58
To: cml-general@...
Subject: Re: [general] Milestones in movie-making technology

 

Let us not forget the humble Easyrig and friends too.

 

 

Bruce Barham
 

The Kenworthy Snorkel Camera System deserves a mention.  Back in the 1970's and through the 1990's there was one located in south New Jersey on a stage located in an industrial park.  It was an overhead suspension camera system with a periscope lens pointing down which had a remote controlled mirror about 5 cm square mounted on the end at a 45 degree angle providing dolly, pan, tilt, roll and focus.  It was great for tabletop, helicoptering over, underneath, through and between objects.

Here's the link to the Masterpiece Theater opening, someone shot with the Snorkel.


Bruce Barham
DP, retired
Miami "Living the Dream" Florida


From: "wordrytr1@..." <wordrytr1@...>
To: cml-general@...
Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 1:34 PM
Subject: [general] Milestones in movie-making technology

So, I'm new to this style of contact.
Hope I am doing it right.

I am doing an interesting article on "milestones" in technology that helps move the camera - what worked and what didn't - for ICG.

Would REALLY appreciate suggestions - besides "steadicam" and "Tyler Mount" and "Dolly".   - Even more on those.

Anyone have ideas - let me know.

pauline@...

THANKS
pauline


Jeff Kreines
 

I’m going to go back to the early 1960s for my technology milestones that affected how cameras moved..

Cableless sync freed non-fiction filmmakers from the sync cable to the sound person.  This was a huge deal back then.  It was first conceived by Ricky Leacock when he was shown a Bulova Accutron watch, which used a tuning fork as a timing reference.  Ricky immediately realized sync was a time problem.  The first rigs, built by Mitch Bogdanowicz, used an actual black-faced industrial Accutron on the camera and the Nagra.  If the watches were out of sync, that meant your film probably was, too.  This led to the use of temperature controlled tuning forks, and later crystal motors (pioneers would be both JP Beauviala and Ed DiGiulio. 

The other huge breakthrough is so simple it’s hard to believe it was an invention.  In the early 60s, filmmakers like Leacock and DA Pennebaker used modified Auricons that were supported with devices based on flagpole holders.  Clumsy torture devices (like all shoulder braces).  

Penny realized that if you shortened the viewfindeyou could put the camera on your shoulder. (Back then viewfinders on these cameras were mostly on Angenieux zooms, and came in 7” and 10” lengths, so your eye was near the back of the camera.)  But Penny's genius idea that now seems so obvious was to put a handgrip on the lower left front of the camera, sticking out straight.  (They used the original plastic Arri pistol grips back then.)  To get better balance, they created a “slant back” Auricon conversion, with the 400 foot Mitchell mag at an angle.  A perfectly balanced camera is a delight to use.  Ideally, your hand on the grip is pulling downward, not supporting any weight.

These Auricons were popular in the US with filmmakers who made their own films.  My theory about the 60s is that cinematographers (who usually shot for others) adopted the Eclair NPR, a lovely and innovative camera that was shoulder-supported, but most of the weight was on your arm.

In 1971, Ed DiGiulio of Cinema Products essentially commoditized this Auricon into the CP16, but added the other truly important (but apparently obvious) improvement — the onboard battery, along with a reliable, efficient crystal motor.

For me, it all started going downhill once they introduced video taps and timecode to filmmaking.  

But I digress.

Get off my lawn!


Jeff “curmudgeonly as always” Kreines
Kinetta
jeff@...
kinetta.com


Tim Sassoon
 

Pauline,

Motion control. Tondreau, Kuper, Lynx, Mark Roberts, etc.


Tim Sassoon
Venice, CA



On Feb 28, 2018, at 7:43 AM, wordrytr1@... wrote:

So, I'm new to this style of contact.
Hope I am doing it right.

I am doing an interesting article on "milestones" in technology that helps move the camera - what worked and what didn't - for ICG.

Would REALLY appreciate suggestions - besides "steadicam" and "Tyler Mount" and "Dolly".   - Even more on those.

Anyone have ideas - let me know.

pauline@...

THANKS
pauline

JD Houston
 

The Academy has an awards database for the Sci-Tech awards

http://awardsdatabase.oscars.org (select Award Category of Scientific and Technical)

Use the Advanced Search and select SciTech Citations to search for just Camera

Many of the milestones are there in the history of the Awards. The names mentioned in this thread
are also good.

Jim

Argyris_Theos_cml
 

the Lumiere brothers system
the original Arriflex (first fully handhondable camera)
Cooke Speed Panchro lenses (first high quality fast lenses)
the Eclair NPR (first self blimped hanhondable camera & first Cat-On-the-Shoulder camera)
the Nagra (first high quality portable audio recorder)
the Arriflex 35BL1 (first self blimped 35mm hanhondable camera)
Zeiss High Speed mkI lenses (T1.4, says it all)
Rune Ericksson's first Super16mm modified Eclair NPR (allowing blow up to 35mm)
the HMI lighting (that brought in high daylight punch)
the Aaton [designed to be serviced on location by the operator, cat-on-the-shoulder, low noise, 1/2000" stabilty (Arri caught up to that on the SR3), hairless gate etc.]
Kodak's ECN2 process (that brought higher speed film stocks)
the Personal Computer (thant transformed everything)
the Steadicam (that made us think differently)
the video Assist (that tookhalf  the magic out of our profession)
the CCD (that took the rest of the magic out of our profession)
the Bayern Pattern (that made single chip sensors possible)
the advanced in lossless / lossy compression algorithms {because..... )
the CMOS (much cheaper than CCD)
the Red camera (that brought in the "I sell before I perform R&D" model)
the Alexa (because she made our job easy)
the LED's (because they made our job fast)
best
Argyris Theos, gsc

benedict.bannister@...
 

I would second all those who suggest Jean Marie Lavalou and Alain Mazarin's Louma crane, or Louma 1 as it is often referred to. Not only was it the first crane that was "expandable," but it was also the first crane that was remote and also effective! Because it was remote, it was relatively light and required fewer techs to operate it. It also meant that remote heads, remote lens control and video assist had to become much more effective. It was a spur to these developments, though I accept they were already work in progress.

Howard Preston's Preston FIZ cannot be under-estimated. Once again the first really bullet proof lens control system and soon became the industry standard as a reflection of how good it was/ is. Once remote Focus, Zoom & Iris control was initiated, remote operation, low profile/ footprint was a reality.

I could go on, but I think I would only be repeating some of the excellent suggestions made thus far - from sophisticated motion control systems, to the low tech but by no means unsophisticated sliders and the like.

Can I make a special mention of the Arri 435, (in all it's various guises)? What a camera! Surely the ultimate MOS film camera ever produced. You could do almost anything with it, put it almost anywhere, in almost any environment, 1-150fps forward and reverse, smart shutter. stop frame, timelapse etc. etc. etc. oh my word! As bullet proof as they ever came.

Benedict Bannister
www.benedictbannister.com
www.jacksonwoodburn.com



Onno Perdijk (SGS)
 

Hello All,

 

Thanks to Geoff for mentioning our TwinDolly slider.

 

All as said! I second them all.

 

Not have been mentioned yet is the accessibility of software for our creative minds to design our own gear or at least communicate with manufacturers while explaining new idea’s.

 

Also the internet has had some great influences on our industry: we now can easily see how they create solutions in Brasil, Alaska or Poland, just by googling on images for behind-the-scenes

 

My biggest milestone with regards to camera-support the usage of gyroscopes in stabilized heads and arms, cars etc.

 

My 2 cents,

 

Good luck,  Onno

 

-----------------------------------------

Solid Grip Systems / Onno Perdijk

KeyGrip / Manufacturer

Amsterdam area, Holland

 

onno@...

www.solidgripsystems.eu

Thomas Hines
 

Sounds a fantastic project... I look forward to reading. Great Suggestion of drones and motion control. 

I worked with Ron Fricke a few years ago and he had a self built device that travelled the world with him. Made some incredible moco Timelapse... Dating back to
Koyaanisqatsi... It was a dolly and crane that was completely controllable for any shot. I'm not sure of the history of moco but would definately look Ron up and discuss... he certainly changed a lot with his way of thinking in my opinion (again if I missed anyone crucial out I do apologise)

All the best

Tom Hines
DOP
London


On Thu, 1 Mar 2018 at 19:52, Onno Perdijk (SGS) <cml@...> wrote:

Hello All,

 

Thanks to Geoff for mentioning our TwinDolly slider.

 

All as said! I second them all.

 

Not have been mentioned yet is the accessibility of software for our creative minds to design our own gear or at least communicate with manufacturers while explaining new idea’s.

 

Also the internet has had some great influences on our industry: we now can easily see how they create solutions in Brasil, Alaska or Poland, just by googling on images for behind-the-scenes

 

My biggest milestone with regards to camera-support the usage of gyroscopes in stabilized heads and arms, cars etc.

 

My 2 cents,

 

Good luck,  Onno

 

-----------------------------------------

Solid Grip Systems / Onno Perdijk

KeyGrip / Manufacturer

Amsterdam area, Holland

 

onno@...

www.solidgripsystems.eu

--
Thomas Hines




UK        +44 (0) 7790770126

Pauline Rogers
 

That you ALL for the great ideas!

Now I have to organize and research details.

Fun! :)

The article will run in the ACTION ISSUE - MAY of ICG Magazine.


Pauline Rogers

Steve Oakley
 

I would add : Canon 5D and 7D that brought large sensor video cams to the mass market. That along with the RED ONE -  the first affordable 4K and RAW camera. If it weren’t for these two, large sensor cameras would likely still be $50K-$100K only items.

Steve Oakley
DP / Editor / Colorist / VFX artist
Madison & Milwaukee

On Mar 1, 2018, at 12:42 PM, Pauline Rogers <wordrytr1@...> wrote:

That you ALL for the great ideas!

Now I have to organize and research details.

Fun! :)

The article will run in the ACTION ISSUE - MAY of ICG Magazine.


Pauline Rogers
_._,_._,_