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ASC P r e s s
H o lly w o o d , C a lifo r n ia
American Cinematographer Manual
Seventh Edition
Copyright© 1993 by The ASC Press
Hollywood, California, USA
All Rights Reserved
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 79-93439
ISBN 0-935578-11-0
Cover Design and Artwork by George E. Turner
Copy edited by David Heuring, Stephen Pizzello and Marji Rhea
Production by Martha Winterhalter
Printed in the United States of America by Sinclair Printing Company
A cknow ledgem ents
This edition, like all of the previous editions, was a joint effort. We
have called on ASC members, associate members and manufacturers' rep­
resentatives to discuss the state of the art in the areas of their exper­
tise. I would like to thank each of the more than 50 contributors for tak­
ing time from their busy schedules to help in the preparation of this
m anual. M ehrdad A zarm i, Ph.D.; Ed Blasko, Eastm an Kodak; Paul
Bourque, Agfa Photo Division; James K. Branch; Steven C. Chamberlain,
Arriflex Corp.; Ed Clare, M atthews Studio Equipment Group; Chris J.
Condon, StereoVision International, Inc.; Anthony Coogan, StereoMedia,
Inc.; Jack Cooperman, ASC; Ed DiGiulio, Cinema Products Corp.; Fred
Detmers; Linwood G. Dunn, ASC; Richard Edlund, ASC; Jonathan Erland;
Marianne Exbrayat, Aaton Des Autres, Inc.; Doug Fries, Fries Engineer­
ing; Tom Fraser; Richard Glickman, Gliconen Corp.; William Hansard, Sr.,
Hansard Enterprises; Frieider Hochheim, Kinoflo Inc.; Michael Hofstein;
Bill Hogan, Sprocket Digital; Robert C. Hummel III, Theme Park Produc­
tions, Inc.; Masaru Jibiki, Fuji Photo Film USA; John Jurgens, Cinema Prod­
ucts Corp.; Frank M. Kay, Panavision; Conrad Kiel, Photo-Sonics, Inc.; Jon
Kranhouse; Bern Levy, Bern Levy Associates; Frank Leonetti, Leonetti Co.;
Grant Loucks, Alan Gordon Enterprises; Harry Mathias; Rami Mina, Don
Miskowich, Eastman Kodak; John Mosely, CAS; Martin Mueller, MSM
Design, Inc.; Dennis Muren, ASC; Ryan O'Hara, Chapman Leonard; Marty
Ollstein; Allan Peach, DemoGraFX; Steven Poster, ASC; David L. Quaid, ASC;
Pete Romano, Hydroimage; Gavin Schutz, Image Transform; Daniel L.
Symmes, Spatial Technologies, Inc.; Bill Taylor, ASC; Ira Tiffen, Tiffen
Manufacturing Corp.; Bill Turner, Century Precision Optics; Petro Vlahos,
Vlahos Motion Pictures, Inc.; Paul Westerfer, AMPTP; Michael Whitney,
DemoGraFX; Geoffrey H. Williamson, Wilcam Photo Research; Irwin W.
Young, DuArt Laboratories.
Special thanks to David H euring, M artha W interhalter, Steven
Pizzello, Marji Rhea, and the American Cinematographer staff for their
suggestions and assistance.
— Rod Ryan
Dr. Rod Ryan retired as Regional Engineering Director o f Eastman Kodak
M P&AV Division after 40 years service with that company. He is a graduate o f
the University o f Southern California BA, Ma, PhD, an Honorary Member o f
ASC, a Life Fellow o f SMPTE, Retired Fellow BKSTS, a member o f the Acad­
emy o f Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy o f Television Arts and
Sciences and the Motion Picture Pioneers. His awards include the Herbert T.
Kalmus Gold Medal, three SMPTE Special Commendations, the AM P AS Sci­
entific & Engineering Award and the AMP AS Medal O f Commendation. Dur­
ing World War II, he was a USN photographer, and after the war one o f the pho­
tographers o f the Atomic Bomb Tests at Bikini Atoll. He is the author o f "A His­
tory o f Motion Picture Color Technology," editor and contributing author o f
"Color Sensitometry," "Sixtieth Anniversary Issue SMPTE Journal," "Fiftieth
Anniversary Issue American Cinematographer," contributing author o f "Con­
trol Techniques in Film Processing," "Technologies in the Laboratory Handling
o f Motion Picture and Other Long Films," "The Book o f Film Care," and several
articles in the SMPTE Journal and other trade publications.
>16 mm/35 mm dailies, color or black and white
>Video dailies, w et or dry, with tim e-code or key code
• Answer prints, intermediates, volume release
• Screening and editing rooms
A u dio
»Most film/video formats including R-DAT
• Rerecording, sweetening, transfers
V id e o
>Film-to-tape - Nl/SC/PAL w et gate
>Standards conversions
ntsc / pX l/ s e c a m
«Duplication all formats
• Tape-to-film transfers
«Satellite Services
• Syndication
WRS-Pittsburgh • 1000 Napor Blvd. • Pittsburgh, PA 15205
35mm Systems
16mm Systems
Special Purpose Systems
Pros and Cons of 1.85,2.35
and Super 35 Film Formats
Arriflex 765
Cinema Products CP-65
Fries 865
Mitchell Reflex TODD-AO
MSM 8870
Panavision A C /SP C
Panavision System-65
Panavision Panaflex System-65
Aaton 35m m
Aaton 35-11
Arriflex 535
Arriflex 535B
Arriflex 35-3
Arriflex 35BL-4s
Arriflex 35-3C
Arriflex 35-2C
Cinema Products FX35
Cinema Products XR35
Feathercam CM 35
IMAGE 300 35mm
Mitchell NC, NCR, BNC,
BNCR (35mm); FC, BFC (65mm)
35mm continued
Mitchell S35R (Mark II)
Mitchell Standard and High Speed
Moviecam Super 35mm
Panavision Platinum Panaflex
Panavision GII Golden Panaflex
Panavision Panaflex-X
Panaflex Panastar High-Speed
Panavision Super R-200°
Photo-Sonics 4 B /4 C
Photo-Sonics 4ER
Ultracam 35mm
V istaV ision
MSM 8812
W ilcam W -7
Wilcam W-9
Wilcam W -ll
Aaton XTRplus
Arriflex 16SR-2
Arriflex 16SR-3
Arriflex 16BL
Arriflex 16S/B , 16S/B-G S, 16M /B
Bolex 16mm
Bell & Howell Filmo 70.
Minicam 16mm (GSAP)
: 102
Cinema Products CP-16, CP-16A
Cinema Products CP-16R, C P -16R /A
Cinema Products GSMO
Eclair ACL
Eclair CM-3 (16/35m m )
16mm continued
Eclair NPR
Mitchell Professional HS, HSC
Mitchell 16mm Reflex, SSR-16, DSR-16
Panavision Panaflex 16mm
Black & W hite
Color Reversal Film
Edge Numbers
Film Perforations
Film Handling and Storage
Charts: 122,127-141
Selection of Lenses
Understanding an M TF Chart
M odem Telephoto Lenses
Zoom Lenses
Lens Formulas
Extreme Close-up
Special Purpose Lenses
Charts: 146,174-199
Filters for Both Color
and Black & White
Special Effect Filters
Filters for Black & White
Filters for Color
Charts: 226-232
Exposure Meters
Crystal-Controlled Cordless
Camera Drive Systems
Camera Supports
Camera Stabilizing Systems
Preparation of Motion
Picture Equipment
The Cinematographer and the Laboratory
Photographic Testing and Evaluation
Emulsion Testing
Charts: 272-279,300-312
Light Sources and Lighting Filters
Characteristics of Light Sources
Photographic Light Sources
Light Source Filters
Com m ercial/Industrial Light Sources
Fluorescent Lighting for M otion Pictures
AC Arc Lamp Flicker Problem
Light Control Accessories
Charts: 314-315,319,323, 328,339,345,366-375
Shooting Background Plates
Front-Projection Process
Photographing Miniatures
Motion-Control Cinematography
Travelling-M atte Composite Photography
The Future for Travelling-Matte
Composite Photography
Digital Effects Cinematography
High-Resolution Electronic
Intermediate System for Film
Computer Graphics
Cinemagic of the Optical Printer
Aerial Image Cinematography
Charts: 41 3 ,4 1 9 ,4 2 3 ,4 4 3
Aerial Cinematography
Underwater Cinematography
Safety Guidelines for Insert Camera Cars
Arctic Cinematography
Tropical Cinematography
Day-for-Ni ght Cinematography
Infrared Cinematography
Ultraviolet Photography
Shooting 16mm Color Negative
for Blowup to 35m m
Stereoscopic M otion Picture Technology
3-D Cinematography
Synchronizing Methods for Picture
and Sound Systems
Filming Television Screens
Television Film Cinematography
Shooting Videotape for Transfer to Film
Comparison of Film Speeds
Film Data Chart
Film Stock Tables
Agfa XT-100
Agfa XT-320
Agfa XTS-400
Agfa PAN-250
Eastman EXR 5245/7245
Eastman EXR 5248/7248
Eastman EXR 5293/7293
Eastman EXR 5296/7296
Eastman 5297/7297
Eastman Ektachrome 5239/7239
Eastman Ektachrome 7240
Eastman Ektachrome 7251
Eastman Ektachrome 7250
Eastman Plus-X 5231/7231
Eastman Double-X 5222/7222
Eastman Plus-X 7276
Eastman Tri-X 7278
Eastman Kodachrome 7267
Eastman Kodachrome 7268
Fuji F-64 8510/8610
Fuji F-64 8520/8620
Fuji F-125 8530/8630
Fuji F-250 8550/8650
Fuji F-250 8560/8660
Fuji F-500 8570/8670
Film Stock Tables continued
Fuji FG 71112
Fuji RP 72161
Typical MTF of 3:1 Zooms for 16mm
Depth of Field Charts
35mm Camera
25m m
16mm Camera
35m m
LENSES continued
Vertical Angle vs.
Effective Focal Length
Extreme Close-up
35mm Depth of Field
and Exposure Factor
16mm Depth of Field
and Exposure Factor
Plus Diopter Lenses Focus Conversion
Filter Compensation
ND Filter Selector
Color Filters for B & W Daylight Exteriors
Color Filters for Altering
B & W Contrast
Conversion Filters for Color Film
Kodak Light Balancing Filters
Kodak Color Compensating Filters
Nomograph for Light Source Conversion
Incident Keylight/T-stop
T-stop Compensation for Camera Speed
Shutter A n gle/fps/T -stop Change
Color Balancing Existing
Fluorescent Lighting
Balancing Daylight Windows in Interiors
Balancing to Match Existing
Interior Lighting
Recommended Panning Speeds
Footage Tables
16mm (24 fps)
16mm (25 fps)
Footage Tables continued
16mm (29.97 fps)
35mm (24 fps)
35mm (25 fps)
35m m (29.97 fps)
65/70m m (24 fps)
Footage Obtained at Various Camera Speeds
35m m (+ frames)
65mm (+ frames)
Com m ercial/Indtis trial Light Source
Comparison of Photographic Light Sources 315
Correlated Color Temperature
M IRED Shift Value Effects
Tangent Function
National Carbons for Studio Lighting
HMI™ Lamp Characteristics
Lighting Filters: Color Adjusting
Color Balancing for ExistingFluorescents
Color Balancing of AC Arc
Discharge Lighting
M inimum Object-Distance
Background Projection
Miniatures: Speed /Scale/E xposure
Alternative Methods for Travelling Mattes
Cinematographic Systems
M ost films produced for theatrical presentation are
photographed in one of the systems intended for projection
in an aspect ratio greater than 1.33:1. These are loosely cat­
egorized as "w ide screen" systems. All films produced for
use in television systems and m ost of those produced for
industrial and educational use are photographed in an as­
pect ratio of 1.33:1.
Follow ing are the photographic system s currently
employed in the preparation of motion picture negatives
or reversal originals from which the various projection sys­
tems can be supplied w ith the proper prints.
M ost films produced for theatrical presentation are
later used for television. It is desirable that the cinematog­
rapher allow for this in com posing. The accom panying
drawings will show dimensions of finder markings to aid
the transition. Certain other enlarged or reduced copy di­
mensions are also shown. The dimensions shown are those
of prim ary interest to the cinem atographer; for detailed
specifications, refer to the following Standards and Recom­
mended Practices, published by the Am erican National
Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Society of Motion Pic­
ture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).
Image Areas, Camera
16mm Type W (Super 16)
Image Areas, Projector
SM PTE 233-1987
PH22.195 -1984
SMPTE 152 -1989
Copy Dimensions
35m m to 16mm
16mm to 35mm
Super 16 to 35mm
35mm to 70mm
RP65 -1991
RP66 -1991
SM PTE 201M-1992
7 -1988
201M -1992
59 -1991
215 -1990
Safe Action and Title Area RP27.3 -1 9 8 9
35mm Systems
1. 35mm camera, spherical lens (non-squeezed) pho­
tography for theatrical presentation (Sound area blocked).
(See Figure 1.)
The A N SI standard calls for cam eras for nonanamorphic photography to be equipped with an aperture of
0.864" by 0.630" minimum. M any cameras, however, are
equipped with apertures which will cover the area required
for anamorphic images as well, and it is occasional prac­
tice to use a "hard m atte" to limit the area in the vertical
dimension to the wide screen format desired by the direc­
tor. It should be understood, of course, that while the use
of a hard matte ensures correct framing in the theater, it also
limits the future use of the image for television releases in
1.33:1 aspect ratio. In addition to the necessity for (and the
expense of) a special duplicate negative for television, it
should also be noted that the side lines for 1.33:1 within a
hard matted wide screen frame may have to be respected
by the cinematographer to protect for such later use. When
theatrical subjects are photographed w ithout the hard
matte, it is wise to protect the height of the image for later
television release by excluding extraneous objects, such as
microphones or goboes, from the areas above and below
the 1.85:1 frame line and by being careful not to overshoot
the set within the television area of 0.594 inches high as
measured on the film.
2. 35mm camera, spherical lens (non-squeezed) pho­
tography for television presentation (Sound area blocked).
(Figure 1) (See also "Television Film Cinematography.")
The television aspect ratio is 1.33:1 and the dimensions
given on the accompanying diagram indicate not only the
actual headroom but also suggested "safe areas" for both
action and titles. In television transmission, maladjustment
or electrical errors can cause cropping of the image before
it reaches the home viewer. The areas so indicated delin­
eate the usual limits of such cropping.
3. 35mm camera, spherical lens (non-squeezed) pho­
tography (full aperture). Camera aperture fills 4-perfora­
tion area, full space between perforations (0.980 inches by
0.735 inches).
A. Used for special effects duplication. No protection
dimension given (image size depends on user). (Figure 2)
B. For th eatrical p resen tatio n , n eg ativ e im age is
anamorphosed or reduced spherically in laboratory prepa3
ration of release printing duplicate negative. Prints must
be projected w ith an anamorphic lens. (Alternate finder
markings are shown for 35mm "flat" and 70mm extraction.
Note that all extractions use the same headroom. Television
extraction is not fixed at this writing; alternate versions
would crop sides and extend to the bottom of the camera
aperture or use the same side lines and protect the area
above the nominal headroom line. There have been minor
variations on this system, and guidelines are under consid­
eration for ultimate standardization of dimensions. Use of
the system depends on capability and willingness of the
laboratory to make the image extractions on the release
printing duplicate negatives.) (Super Panavision 35 and
Super Techniscope) (Figure 2) (See also "Special Systems.")
4. 35m m cam era, 2:1 anam orphic lens (squeezed)
photography for theatrical presentation (Panavision and
Todd-AO 35). (Figure 3)
35mm contact or 1:1 prints. For this system, cam
eras are equipped with anamorphic lens attachments which
compress the image horizontally in a 2 to 1 ratio, resulting
in a lens field twice as wide as would otherwise be photo­
graphed with lenses of equal focal length. Prints from nega­
tives photographed in this system must be projected in the
theater w ith anam orphic lenses. A t least in the United
States, for all practical purposes all theaters are so equipped.
For non-theatrical distribution, 16mm prints are made
either w ith anam orphic im ages or by un squ eezing to
spherical ("flat") images with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, cropping
each side of the image about 12%. Because of the 16mm
projector aspect ratio, anamorphic prints made at the reduc­
tion ratio of RP65-1991 will crop the top and bottom of the
35m m image. Some reduction prints have been made at
2.4:1 aspect ratio with printed-in mattes at the sides to avoid
this problem, but this is not yet standard practice.
B ecau se o f the asp ect ra tio and the anam orp h ic
squeeze, direct prints from this system cannot be run on
television, except in letterbox. In m ost instances a 1.33:1 as­
pect ratio extraction from the center of the screen loses sig­
nificant action. This problem has been circumvented in the
past by "scanning" the image to follow action in the prepa­
ration of a duplicate negative from which television prints
m ay be made — an unsatisfactory but com mon solution.
The accompanying diagram shows the transition. A num ­
ber of optical houses are prepared to supply this type of du­
plicate negative either in 35mm or 16mm. (Figure 4)
B. 70mm de-anamorphosed (unsqueezed) prints. Sev­
eral laboratories are equipped to manufacture 70mm posi­
tive prints from such negatives. The aspect ratio of 70mm
prints (2.2:1) crops very little from the 35mm image, which
is anamorphically unsqueezed in the making of the prints.
The resulting 70mm print therefore is projected with spheri­
cal lenses. 70mm prints are striped w ith magnetic oxide,
and their soundtracks are capable of carrying six channels.
16mm Systems
5.16mm camera, spherical lens photography for tele­
vision, industrial and educational use. (Figure 5) (See also
"T e le v isio n Film C in e m a to g ra p h y .") 16m m cam eras
equipped w ith spherical (nonanam orphic or "norm al")
lenses are used for this type of photography. Either rever­
sal or negative films m ay be used as camera originals. Be­
cause 16mm is used for econom y as well as portability,
direct contact release prints are often made from the cam­
era original film w hen only a few are required. In such
cases, extreme care should be taken to protect the original.
For prints in quantity, duplicate negatives are made on ap­
propriate raw stock. The same comments as to the limita­
tions of television transmission apply as were noted in the
35mm television section above (#2). The accompanying dia­
gram shows the dimensions for the ground glass to be used
for 16mm photography for television.
6 .16mm camera, spherical lens photography for en­
largem ent to 35m m for theatrical presentation. (Figure 5)
(See also "Shooting 16mm Color Negative for Blowup to
35m m .") From 16mm originals, 35mm duplicate negatives
may be prepared by optical enlargement for the manufac­
ture of 35mm release prints for theatrical distribution. Most
theaters in the United States are currently matting 35mm
prints to a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
The accompanying diagram shows the height of the
ground glass mark suggested for this type of photography.
As with 35mm photography, it is wise to protect the bal­
ance of the aperture so that both theatrical and television
prints will be suitable.
7.16mm special camera, spherical lens photography
specifically for enlargement to 35m m wide screen for the­
atrical presentation. (Figure 5) (See also "Shooting 16mm
Color Negative for Blowup to 35m m .") (Super 16 or 16mm
Type W) Special 16mm cameras with extended-width ap­
ertures extending into the area usually reserved for the
sound track are used for this system. The aspect ratio of the
resulting negative is 1 .6 6 :1 , and this image is enlarged to
the standard 35m m sound film aperture. 1.66:1 is com ­
monly used in Europe and 1.85:1 in the U.S. Both dimen­
sions are given for finder marks. A specially centered 1.33:1
16mm or 35mm duplicate negative an d /o r print is required
for television display.
Special Purpose Systems
During the history of motion pictures, there have been
numerous camera and projection systems, some of which
have had widespread use for a period and then have be­
come obsolete. It is the purpose of the American Cinema­
tographer Manual to explain and display current systems;
for history, please refer to earlier editions of the manual and
American Cinematographer magazine.
8. 65m m , 5 -p erfo ra tio n , fram e p h o to g rap h y for
compositing to one of the 35mm systems. Any part of the
negative image may be used.
9 .65mm, 5-perforation, frame photography for print­
ing on 70mm. The difference in camera and projector ap­
ertures allows for a magnetic sound track between picture
and perforations on each side, and the added 5mm width
allows for two magnetic sound tracks outside the perfora­
tions on each side. (Figure 6 )
A. General theatrical distribution; rarely used pres­
B. Showscan; uses this format but photographed and
projected at 60 fps in a specially designed theater environ­
ment on a large screen at higher than standard brightness
and with terraced seating to im prove sightlines. Grain,
flicker and image "strobing" are minimized.
C. For special purpose projection system s such as
Disney's 3-D at EPCOT.
1 0 .65mm, 15-perforation, horizontal frame photogra­
phy (24 fps) (Im ax/O m nim ax). (Figure 7) The film format
for the two systems is the same. Imax is projected on a large
flat screen in specially designed theaters.
Omnimax is photographed with a "fisheye" lens, op­
tically centered 0.37 inches above the film centerline and
displayed on a dome screen, filling 180 degrees laterally
and 2 0 degrees below and 1 1 0 degrees above the horizon
for central viewers. The picture shape is thus elliptical. Both
systems use terraced seating to improve sightlines.
11. 35mm, 8-perforation, horizontal frame photogra­
phy (VistaVision) for compositing to one of the 35mm sys­
tems. As any part of the negative image may be used to suit
the user, no projection aperture or finder m arkings are
shown. (Figure 8) (Lens angles are given in the tables only
for the full negative aperture.)
Depth of field is also affected by the ultimate use; it is
therefore suggested that the 35mm tables be used as a guide
to the relative depth of field, one lens to another, until test
results are seen on the screen.
12. Proposed 35mm anamorphic projection systems
using 1.5:1 squeeze and the conventional (ANSI PH22.195
Style B) anamorphic projection aperture for a 1.8:1 aspect
ratio. Source camera negative would be VistaVision (Fig­
ure 8) or 35mm full aperture (Figure 2) from either of which
a la b o ra to ry p rin tin g d u p lica te n e g a tiv e w o u ld be
anam orphically printed ; alternately, 1.5:1 anam orphic
lenses would be used on standard 35mm cameras.
65mm 8-perforation, frame (vertical pulldown)
photography (24 or 30 fps) (Dynavision). Camera aperture
2.080" X 1.480" for printing on 70mm positive film. Lenses
may be "fisheye" for dome theater projection or conven­
tional focal lengths for 4 X 3 aspect ratio projection.
Figure 8.
Pros and Cons of 1.85,2.35 and
Super 35 Film Formats
by Rob Hummel
The most prevalent film formats, or aspect ratios, pro­
jected in the United States are 1.85 and 2.35. As a point of
reference, these ratios are determined by dividing the width
of the picture by the height, which is why you will some­
times see them written as 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 Verbally, you will
hear them referred to as "One Eight Five" or "Two Three Five"
(2.35 is also often referred to as "Scope," referring to its ori­
gins as Cinemascope).
An exam ination of film s over the past forty years
shows that format is not automatically dictated by dramatic
content. It is a creative choice on the part of the cinematog­
rapher and the director. The full range of drama, comedy,
romance, action or science fiction can be found in both as­
pect ratios. The purpose here is to advise on the pros and
cons of both aspect ratios and the photographic alternatives
available to achieve them. This should help a filmmaker
make an informed decision as to which format is best for a
given project.
As a clarification in this discussion, Full Aperture will
refer to the total area betw een the 35m m perforations, in­
cluding the area normally reserved for the sound track (this
Full Aperture area is also referred to as the camera aperture).
Academy Aperture will refer to that area of the negative ex­
cluding the soundtrack area. Academ y Aperture got its
name when the Motion Picture Academy established the
standard for where to place sound and picture information
when the first talkies were produced.
W hile all 1.85 composed films are achieved w ith nor­
mal, spherical lenses, the 2.35 aspect ratio can be achieved
in two ways. The most com mon method is w ith the use of
anamorphic lenses that squeeze the image to fit within the
A cad em y A p ertu re (see Illu stra tio n 6). The altern ate
method (Super 35, Super Techniscope) uses normal lenses
without any distortion of the image. Both methods will be
discussed here.
Also, the form ats discussed here deal w ith general
35m m m otion p ictu re photograp hy. Form ats such as
VistaVision and 65mm are most often used for visual ef-
fects and special event cinematography and would require
a separate article.
Before getting into specifics about the different for­
mats, I want to point out the composition differences be­
tween the two aspect ratios of 2.35 and 1.85, regardless of
how they are achieved photographically.
Illustration 1 displays a given scene of the Taj Mahal.
On this image, a 2.35 aspect ratio is outlined by a white rect­
In Illustration 2, two 1.85 aspect ratios are outlined by
white rectangles. The larger of those two rectangles repre-
Illustration 1 - Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Illustration 2 - Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
sents a 1.85 composition equal in its width to the 2.35 aspect
ratio in Illustration 1. The smaller 1.85 rectangle is equal in
height to Illustration l 's 2.35 rectangle.
Illustrations 1 and 2 demonstrate that a 1.85 image has
potential of encompassing as much width as a 2.35 image.
Although 1.85 will take in the same w idth with greater
height in the composition, it's important to realize that wide
sets and vistas are not restricted to the 2.35 format.
I. The 1.85 Aspect Ratio
Photographed in N O RM AL A cadem y Aperture
is far and away the most com mon aspect ratio for
motion pictures filmed in the United States. I say the U.S.,
since around the world the aspect ratio m ost commonly
used swings between 1.85 and 1.66 depending on the coun­
Illustration 3 -1.85:1
Illustration 3 portrays how a 1.85 film com position
would be framed in the viewfinder of the camera.
Illustration 4 shows how that image appears on the
negative and subsequently on a positive print for projec­
tion. Although you w ouldn't have an optical track until
final composite prints are made, the track is illustrated here
for clarity. The shaded areas of the film frames indicate that
area of the Academy aperture that goes unused in a 1.85
film. Although additional picture information is usually
contained within that shaded area, it is masked out when
the film is projected.
Optical Soundtrack
Illustration 4 -1.85:1. Above Left: The scene as it appears on the negative.
Above Right: the scene as it appears on a contact print for projection.
W hen the film is finally projected in a theater (assum­
ing it is projected properly), it will appear the same as origi­
nally composed in the viewfinder (see Illustration 3).
A. Advantages o f 1.85
1. Many perceive 1.85 as more appropriate for pictures
that lend themselves to more compact visuals. Since closeups virtually fill the entire frame, it is often considered a
more "intim ate" format.
2. If a film is largely interiors, 1.85 is often argued as
the preferred format, since interiors usually don't involve
the wide panoramic vistas associated w ith 2.35. O n the
other hand, many do not weigh interiors or exteriors in their
choice of format.
3. Greater depth of field (the total area in focus at a
given distance). Since 1.85 uses shorter focal length lenses
as compared with anamorphic, greater depth of field is
more easily attainable, making photography less prone to
focus problems. This advantage is sometimes negated by
cinematographers using such small amounts of light that
they have to shoot with lenses "w ide open," resulting in a
small gain in depth of field.
4. An opinion often expressed is that sets don't need
to be as wide on a 1.85 film as one photographed in 2.35,
resulting in savings in set construction. However, many
would argue that film format has no bearing on the width
of set construction. As Illustrations 1 and 2 pointed out, it's
possible for 1.85 to require as wide a set as 2.35, depend­
ing on the composition.
5 .1 .8 5
is the sim plest form at to execute from a m e­
chanical/ technical standpoint. The choice of photographic
equipment is virtually unlimited, as any standard 35mm
camera will accommodate this format.
If a stunt camera mount is required that risks de­
stroying a camera, there are a number of expendable cam­
era bodies available.
7. W ith some effort on the shooting com pany's part,
composition can protect for video so that a simple one-toone transfer can be done without panning and scanning.
While left and right image integrity remain virtually intact
this way, there is an approximate 33% increase in the ver­
tical height of the composition.
Although many think it routine to protect the TV area
from intruding objects (e.g., lights, microphones, etc.), it
makes the cinem atographer's job more difficult, by pre­
venting him or her from bringing lights down close to the
area of composition. This is why many cinematographers
shooting 1.85 prefer to shoot with a 1.66:1 aspect ratio hard
matte. 1.66 is slightly larger than 1.85, closely approximat­
ing the height of the TV frame, and it gives the cinematog­
rapher more freedom to light his subjects, without fear of
a light or m icrophone show ing up w hen transferred to
8 . Many people believe it is an advantage to shoot 1.85
because spherical lenses are sharper than 2.35's anamorphic
lenses. This is a m isconception. It is true that spherical
lenses are sharper than anamorphic; however, the much
greater negative area used w ith anam orphic more than
m akes up for the subtle difference in resolution from
spherical lenses.
B. D isadvantages of 1.85
1. The main disadvantage is the actual size of the 1.85
format on the negative. Because of the smaller area, 1.85 is
noticeably grainier than anamorphic 2.35. This is not as
noticeable in the original negative stage, but becomes more
pronounced after going through dupe negatives.
The negative area of 2.35 anamorphic is a 59% increase
over the 1.85 area.
2. Because of the greater height of 1.85's aspect ratio,
ceilings of sets are more prone to being photographed. This
can be a restriction on how easily a cameraperson can light
an interior set (visible ceilings limit light placement). On
some sets, it may require additional construction.
3. O pticals (dissolves, repositions, etc.) tend to be
grainier than with anamorphic 2.35.
A current trend is for editors to order "double IP "
opticals, compensating for the smaller negative area of 1.85.
This improves the quality of opticals, but at greater expense.
4. Not truly compatible with 70mm. Although it can
be done, there is a large amount of unused print on the sides
when blown up to 70mm (see Illustration 11). Also, because
of the greater magnification in 1.85 70mm prints, grain is
much more apparent than in anam orphic blow -ups to
5. W hen projected, the area of the fram e for 1.85 is
subjected to much greater magnification on a screen than
an anamorphic frame, resulting in more apparent grain in
the image.
II. The 2.35 Aspect Ratio
Photographed w ith A n a m o rp h ic (Scope) Lenses
The following is a discussion of the 2.35 aspect ratio
photographed with anamorphic lenses. A discussion of
Super 35 composed for 2.35 will follow.
Anamorphic 2.35:1 (also known as "C inem ascope" or
"Panavision") optically "squeezes" the width of the image
to fit within the 35mm Academy Aperture. Illustration 5
portrays how an anamorphic 2.35 scene would appear in
the viewfinder.
Illustration 5
Illustration 6 shows how that image appears on the
negative and subsequently on a positive print for projec­
W hen the film is finally projected in a theater (assum­
ing it is projected properly), it will be "unsqueezed" by an
anamorphic projection lens and appear on the screen the
same as originally composed in the viewfinder (see Illus­
tration 5).
A. Advantages of Anam orphic 2.35
The most salient advantage is the much larger nega­
tive area. A 59% increase in negative area over 1.85 results
- Optical Soundtrack
Illustration 6 - Anamorphic 2.35:1, Above Left: The scene as it appears
on the Negative ",squ eezed " by the anamorphic lenses. Above Right: The
scene as it appears on a Contact Print for projection.
in finer grain, better opticals, and an increase in apparent
sharpness (apparent because while a similar image photo­
graphed in 1.85 will be sharper, the increase in grain and
greater magnification actually make it appear less sharp).
This difference becomes most apparent after going through
the dupe negatives.
. More compatible with 70mm. Because of the origi­
nal negative area, there is less of a blow-up than with 1.85,
resulting in finer grain in the 70mm print. Also, the aspect
ratio can fill the entire 70mm print frame.
3. Allows for complex compositions. Able to do a tight
close-up on two individuals simultaneously. Action can be
spread across a wide expanse of the frame.
4. M ost often the format of choice for films with a lot
of action or big production values.
5. M ost closely approximates the normal field of vi­
. W hen shooting interiors, ceilings become obscured,
giving the cinem atographer more alternatives for place­
ment of lighting.
7. A possible advantage m ay come w ith continuing
advances in High Definition TV. The area of negative used
in anamorphic films means you will exceed H DTV's reso­
lution capability for many years to come. Some HDTV tech­
nologies are already almost equal to 1.85's resolution ca­
B. D isadvantages of A nam orphic 2.35
1. Difficult video transfer. To extract a video image
directly from the center of the 2.35 frame usually results in
odd compositions and the exclusion of relevant action.
An alternative is to "pan and scan" the image (panning
the width of the 2.35 frame, following the m ost important
action). While not mechanically more expensive than regu-
lar video transfer, panning and scanning usually costs more
due to the extra time required by each scene's composition
decisions. While panning and scanning makes the best of
a bad situation, many people feel it compromises the origi­
nal compositions. Many filmmakers have released videos
of their films in "letterbox" format, where the 2.35 format
is maintained by putting black mattes above and below the
frame. This is a common practice in videodisc releases of
The difficulty in video transfer is the m ost often stated
disadvantage of the 2.35 format.
2. It is often said that anamorphic is more expensive
than 1.85. However, the difference in cost betw een an an­
amorphic lens package vs. a 1.85 lens package is negligible.
Anamorphic would be approximately $2,400.00 more ex­
pensive over the course of a ten-week film schedule.
Also, discussions with a number of prominent cinema­
tographers indicate that they w ouldn't increase the size of
their lighting package significantly for the 2.35 aspect ratio
(in fact, one said it wouldn't change at all).
3. Single close-ups result in wide areas on either side
of a face, with potential for distracting objects in the frame.
However, due to the nature of anamorphic's longer focal
length lenses, usually anything in the background on either
side of a face would be severely out of focus.
4. Many people feel that sets need to be built wider
because of the wider aspect ratio. There are also many who
feel it doesn't matter, and that sets can be accommodated
by choosing lenses carefully. See again Illustrations 1 and
2 and the discussion under Composition.
5. Some directors have a hard tim e blocking action
within the larger frame.
6 . Expense of more extras may be necessary for some
crowd scenes.
III. Super 35 Formats
The Super 35 Formats, known under a variety of names
such as Super Techniscope, Super 1.85, and Super 2.35, are
all flat, spherical lens formats using equipment similar to
that used in 1.85 photography. All of the Super 35 formats
require an optical step when making dupe negatives for
release prints.
Illustration 7 is a diagram of a standard Super 35 frame
of film where all aspect ratios are aligned on Full Aperture
center. As the illustration shows, inform ation is usually
exposed over the entire Full Aperture area of the film. The
filmmaker decides what format he is composing for, and
it is that aspect ratio the film lab will eventually extract from
the frame for release prints.
W hen speaking of Super 35, people are usually refer­
ring to its use in composing for a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the
same ratio as 2.35 anamorphic.
Illustration 7 - Standard Super 35/Super Techniscope
Anamorphic 2.35 uses special lenses that squeeze the
wide image to fit within the standard Academy Aperture
frame. Super 35 composes for 2.35 with standard lenses and
extends the w idth of the frame into that area of the nega­
tive reserved for the soundtrack. Although most cameras
already expose picture information in the soundtrack area,
it normally goes unused.
At times, people will suggest shooting Super 35 com­
posed for 1.85 (a. k. a. Super 1.85). The reason for this is a
belief that the slight increase in negative area with Super
1.85 will yield a finer-grain image for release. Tests have
shown this is not so. Once the negative has gone through
interpositive and intemegative, and been optically reposi­
tioned for standard 1.85 release, there is at best no differ­
ence between Super 1.85 and standard 1.85 photography,
and depending on the scene, Super 1.85 can look worse
than standard 1.85.
Standard 1.85 produces all dupe negatives and prints
with contact printing, while Super 1.85 requires an optical
step to reduce the image into the standard 1.85 area. Con­
tact printing significantly reduces the appearance of grain,
while any optical step precisely focuses the grain in a nega­
tive, effectively enhancing the appearance of grain.
As for arguments that Super 1.85 yields a better 1.85
blow-up to 70mm, the difference is slight, and only notice­
able in a direct A /B or side-by-side comparison. Otherwise
it is indistinguishable. If, however, a scene is already com­
mitted to an optical step (i.e., a visual effects shot), Super
1.85 may provide an improvement in negative area that
results in a better image quality when compared with a
standard 1.85 image going through the same optical pro­
Another method of photography for Super 35 is re­
ferred to as common topline (see Illustration 8). Common
topline derives its name from the ground glass of the cam­
era having multiple formats scribed on it, all having the
same, or common, topline. This variant of Super 35 is based
on the notion that it could be a generic film format; the film­
maker may shoot a movie with the option of releasing it in
any aspect ratio desired. The common topline is supposed to
lessen the effect of changing aspect ratios by maintaining
the headroom and raising or lowering the bottom of the
frame. In actual practice, most cinematographers find it dis­
agreeable to compose for multiple formats. Also, the change
in composition from 2.35 to 1.85 or television's 1.33 can be
quite objectionable (close-ups become medium shots, etc.).
Illustration 8 - Super 35/Super Techniscope Common Topline
Experience has shown, most filmmakers agree, that
just modifying a film's aspect ratio to fit within the video
realm is a creative process. To assume that a generic for­
mat will automatically deliver pleasing compositions no
matter what aspect ratio you choose does not hold up cre­
The rest of this discussion will only deal with Super
35 composed for a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Illustration 9 portrays
how Super 35 com posed for 2.35:1 would appear in the
A. A dvantages of Super 35 Com posed for 2.35 A spect
1. The m ain reason for choosing this form at is its
greatly increased depth of field over anam orphic 2.35.
Where anamorphic lenses have to rack focus to keep near
and distant objects sharp, Super 35 has a greater potential
for keeping both objects in focus simultaneously.
However, as stated in the advantages of 1.85, the po­
tential for greater depth of field can be negated if cinema­
tographers choose to use such small amounts of light that
they must shoot w ith lenses "w ide open," resulting in a
small gain in depth of field.
2. An often-stated advantage is the production savings
in the lens/cam era package over anamorphic. This is er­
roneous, since the expense of optical Super 35 dupe nega­
tives (needed for release prints) negate any cost savings in
Illustration 9 - Super 35 Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
3. The ability to shoot a film composed for 2.35 and, if
necessary, change directions and release in 1.85 by increas­
ing the top and bottom of the frame. For most filmmakers,
however, this would be a serious compromise of the origi­
nal composition (see Illustration 7).
4. Lenses are much smaller than anamorphic, result­
ing in a smaller, m ore lightw eight and portable camera
package. This smaller size allows the camera to fit in smaller
places than the large anamorphic optics allow (this is one
of the reasons the format was chosen for Top Gun; the cam ­
eras were able to fit in the aircraft cockpits).
5. Often claimed to be more compatible with 70mm
than anamorphic. Some have this impression because Su­
per 35 is a straight blow-up to 70mm, while anamorphic has
to be unsqueezed when enlarged to 70mm.
This would be true if Super 35 had an equivalent nega­
tive area to anamorphic. As it stands, anamorphic's greater
negative area makes up for any possible loss of resolution
when unsqueezed to 70mm. As a result, 70mm prints from
Super 35 appear significantly grainier than those from an­
amorphic negatives.
6 . Claimed to be a simpler video transfer by just do­
ing a 4-perf frame extraction, resulting in dramatic increase
in top and bottom areas over the original 2.35 composition
(See Illustration 7). In practice this never works, since a full
frame extraction is such a distortion of the original compo­
sition (for example, close-ups become medium shots). A
panned and scanned video transfer is what ends up being
done for the bulk of the film with a few full-framed extrac­
tions where appropriate (Ferris Bueller's Day O ff is an ex­
B. Disadvantages of Super 35 Com posed for 2.35
Aspect Ratio
1. Most notable is the small negative area. Anamorphic
2.35 has an increase in negative area of more than 60%. It
also has slightly less negative area than standard 1.85 pho­
tography. The difference in negative area becom es most
pronounced after 35m m dupe negatives are made. An­
amorphic dupe negs are made with contact printing, which
in itself tends to lessen the appearance of grain. Super 35
dupe negs involve an optical step during which the image
is blown up, then squeezed to produce an anamorphic im­
age for release prints. Because of this optical step, grain in
the negative tends to be more sharply resolved, making it
more objectionable.
2. For best quality, all dissolves and fades must be done
with A & B printing in the laboratories. W hen these effects
are done by an optical house they becom e excessively
grainy in release prints.
3. Because of the optical step involved, com posite
prints cannot be struck until after dupe negatives have been
Optical Soundtrack
Illu stra tio n 10 - S u p e r 35 A sp ect R atio 2.35:1. A b o v e L eft: T h e scen e as
it appears on th e n eg ativ e, p o sitio n ed w ith in th e FU LL ap ertu re fram e.
A bove R ig h t: T h e scene as it appears on a p rin t fo r p rojection , after bein g
blo w n up & " s q u e e z e d " to m ak e room fo r th e o p tical sou n d track.
4. Again, because of the optical step involved, origi­
nal negative composite prints cannot be struck. Actually,
it is technically possible, but can only be done with com­
plex procedures and such a high risk of failure that it
doesn't merit subjecting the original negative to the han­
dling involved.
5. More difficult to preview because of a special pro­
jection mask required for the Full Aperture work print.
Since Super 35 uses the area reserved for a soundtrack in
the work print stage, many theaters cannot be adapted to
project the format.
6. Main title opticals must be done with the "double
IP" method to maintain quality, doubling the expense of
such opticals.
7. Editing equipment must be adapted to show the
soundtrack area.
8. Because of the small negative area, many cinema­
tographers limit choice of negatives to slower speed stocks
(i.e., 5245, 5248), or overexpose high-speed negatives I-V2
to 2 stops for better grain quality, often negating the advan­
tage of the high-speed negative.
9. Video transfers usually involve panning and scan­
ning because of the wide-screen aspect ratio. This is also a
pan and scan of a much smaller negative area than anamor­
phic 2.35, resulting in a lower quality video transfer. This
becomes most evident in letterbox versions of a film and
particularly on HDTV.
10. There is potential for more expensive visual effects,
if a decision is made to have coverage beyond the 2.35 com­
position, allowing for full frame video transfers. Matte
shots, miniatures, etc., might be compromised on full frame
transfers if the image isn't protected completely to 1.33 (see
Illustration 7).
The author wishes to thank Marty Katz fo r making him write this in the
first place, and Harrison Ellenshaw, Stephen H. Burum, ASC, Skip Nicholson
and Evans YJetmore fo r their help in bringing greater clarity to the article and
keeping him honest. Also, thanks to Trici Venola fo r the use o f her computer
graphic o f the Taj Mahal.
35mm Blowups to 70mm Prints
Aspect Ratio 2.2:1
The aspect ratio of 70mm prints (and 65mm camera
negative) is 2.2:1. Since 35mm films are not usually photo­
graphed in this aspect ratio, they must adapt their compo­
sition to fit within this area. In this illustration of a 70mm
frame, the gray area represents a magnetic soundtrack.
Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
W hen 1.85:1 film s are blow n up to 70m m , the full
height of the 70mm frame is utilized. All 1.85 picture infor­
mation is maintained with black burned into the unused
area of the frame.
Most theaters have black screen masking (black cur­
tains) that they use to cover areas of the screen that don't
have any image on them. In a 1.85 70mm print, although
the black area does not contain any picture information,
theaters must be careful not to close their screen masking
over the black area on the screen. Were they to do so, the
masking might cover speakers placed behind the screen
that are utilized for 70mm soundtracks. The only exception
to this rule are theaters that have acoustically transparent
masking (all THX 70mm theaters have transparent mask­
ing)A spect Ratio 2.35:1
The image below has a 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
W hat follows are examples of the options, and poten­
tial compromises, available to adapt a 2.35:1 composition
for 70mm release.
M ost often, film labs will enlarge the 2.35 image to fill
the entire area of the 70mm frame. Although the height of
the 2.35 composition is not affected this way (i.e., all NorthSouth picture information remains intact), information is
lost on the right and left sides of the composition.
The frame below graphically illustrates what informa­
tion is lost when 2.35:1 is blown up to fill the entire 70mm
2.35 to 70m m Prints Continued
The following illustration shows how the image actu­
ally appears on the 70mm print and when projected in the
theater after being blow n up to fill the entire 70mm frame.
The alternative method for blow ing up 2.35:1 images
to 70mm is to maintain the full width of the aspect ratio.
This is accomplished by fitting the 2.35 area within 70mm's
2 .2 area and burning black above and below the picture,
effectively giving the film thicker frame lines. A number of
films have been released in this m anner in recent years,
including Superman, The Untouchables, and Star Trek IV.
In this example, the area that would be a thick black
frameline is crosshatched for clarity in this illustration. It
would not appear this way in an actual 70mm print.
Arriflex 765
Cinem a Products CP-65
Fries 865
M itchell Reflex TO D D-AO
M SM 8870
Panavision A C /S P C
Panavision System -65
Panavision Panaflex System -65
Aaton 35m m
A aton 35-11
Arriflex 535
Arriflex 535B
Arriflex 35-3
Arriflex 35BL-4s
Arriflex 35-3C
Arriflex 35-2C
Cinem a Products FX35
Cinem a Products XR35
Feathercam CM 35
IM A GE 300 35m m
M itchell NC, N CR, BNC,
BN CR (35mm); FC, BFC (65m m)
M itchell S35R (M ark II)
M itchell 35m m Standard and H igh Speed
M oviecam Super 35m m
Panavision Platinum Panaflex
Panavision GII Golden Panaflex
Panavision Panaflex-X
35mm continued
Panaflex Panastar High-Speed
Panavision Super R-200°
Photo-Sonics 4B /4 C
Photo-Sonics 4ER
Ultracam 35mm
M SM 8812
Wilcam 1W -7
Wilcam W-9
Wilcam W -ll
Aaton XTRplus
Arriflex 16SR-2
Arriflex 16SR-3
Arriflex 16BL
Arriflex 16S/B , 16S/B-G S, 16M /B
Bolex 16mm
Bell & Howell Filmo 70
Minicam 16mm (GSAP)
Cinema Products CP-16, CP-16A
Cinema Products CP-16R, 16 R /A
Cinema Products GSM O
Eclair ACL
Eclair CM-3 (16/35m m )
Eclair NPR
Mitchell Professional HC, HSC
Mitchell Reflex, SSR-16, DSR-16
Panavision Panaflex 16mm
65mm Cameras
Arriflex 765
M ovement: The 765 uses advanced microprocessor
control technology to link two quartz-controlled DC mo­
tors in a direct drive configuration to control shutter and
film transport. No belts or mechanical couplings are used
in the drive system. Dual registration pins, triple-pin pull­
down claws and user-adjustable pitch control assure im­
age quality to optical printer standards.
Speed Range: Q uartz-accurate sync at 1 5 / 2 4 / 2 5 /
2 9 .9 7 /3 0 /6 0 /7 5 fps on-board; 2-100 fps with the CCU; 24
fps reverse; and 1 fps with the 765's Remote Control Unit.
Run-up time is less than 1 second at 24 fps.
Shutter: Rotating, microprocessor-controlled silicon
mirror shutter, mechanically variable from 15° to 165°, plus
144°, 172.8°, and 180°.
Reflex Viewfinder: The viewfinder has a built-in op­
tical turret that permits on-the-fly selection of either 80:20
or 100:0 video/view ing ratios, and has a switchable N D .6
contrast viewing glass, ArriGlow illuminated frame lines,
and a finder extender with built-in 2X image magnification.
A short finder (for portable operation) and a video finder
are also available. A wide-angle eyepiece with manual iris
closure, 8 X m agnification, and 2 ± diopter adjustment is
Camera Control U nit (CCU): The CCU remotely turns
the 765 on and off, and also activates speed changes, from
up to 1 0 0 feet away.
Lens Mount: 64mm diameter Maxi-PL (Positive Lock)
lens mount; flange focal distance of 63.5mm; designed for
ARRI Maxi-PL prime and RTH Cooke zoom, wide-angle
and telephoto lenses.
Drive: Microprocessor-controlled 24V DC motor in
direct-drive configuration to shutter and movement. Power
input via a 3-pin connector: pin 1 is (-), pin 2 is + 24V. Op­
erating tem perature range is -4°F to +122°F (-20°C to
Operating Noise Level: 25 dBa at 24 fps; 28.5 dBa at
30 fps.
Indicators: In-finder displays: out-of-sync and filmend. Digital LCD Tachometer and Footage Displays: cam­
era left/right; audible and visible out-of-sync; low battery;
and feet/m eters footage display.
Magazines: 400' (160m) and 1000' (300m) displace­
ment with microprocessor-controlled torque motors. Mi­
croprocessor samples and adjusts feed / take-up tension and
all other functions continuously. Automatic connection and
data transfer to camera via multi-plug pin plug. Mechani­
cal and digital LCD counters.
Lenses: A R R I/Z e iss 65m m form at lenses include
30m m , 40m m , 50m m , 60m m , 80m m , 100m m , 110m m ,
120mm, 150mm, 250mm, 350mm, 2X Mutar Extender, and
a 38-210mm zoom. Maximum aperture ranges from T-1.8
to T-4.2 for prime| lenses, and T-6.2 on the zoom.
Matte Boxes: The 765's 6 .6 x 6 .6 Swingaway Production
Matte Box covers all 65mm format lenses. Has two fully
rotatable 2-filter stages. Geared filter frames.
Electronic Accessories: 1. Variable Speed and Sync
U nit (VSSU): The V SSU m odule allow s rem ote speed
changes between 6 and 1 00 fps non-crystal; provides syn­
chronization with external PAL or NTSC video signal (50/
60 Hz) via up to 100' BNC cable. 2. Video Optics Module
(VOM): Color and B & W CCD video tap cameras, with
flicker reduction and iris control.
A d d itio n al A ccesso rie s: 2 -S p eed fo llo w fo cu s;
bridgeplate support system for CG balance and mount for
matte box, follow focus, servo zoom drive, and heavy
lenses; finder extender and leveling rod; barney and heated
barney; Arri Geared Head.
Cinema Products CP-65
This camera, designed in conjunction with W ilcam, is
intended to meet the exacting needs of Showscan cinema­
tography (60 fps) but operates at conventional speeds as
well. Photographed aperture is standard 5-perf 65m m
(2.072" x 0.906").
Movement: Compensating link, with dual registration
pins and four pull-down claws. Retractable register pins
and 2-axis stroke adjustment that permits tuning the move­
ment for most silent operation. Removable aperture and
pressure plates for ease of cleaning.
Shutter:j 170° fixed-opening focal plane shutter.
Speed Range: 1-72 fps, forward or reverse, by 4-de­
cade digital dial that is crystal accurate at all selected speeds
up to 2 decimal digits. Single-frame operation under con­
trol of external intervalometer also available.
Reflex Viewing System: Rotating mirror reflex image
through groukid glass, with provision for film clip insertion,
to a 360° erect image orientable viewfinder. Easily attached
eyepiece extender with automatic leveler also available.
Built-in video tap for high-resolution CCD chip camera also
Lens Mount: Quick-acting bayonet lock for specially
mounted CP-65 lenses.
Lenses: A complete series of specially mounted prime
lenses varying from 24 to 1200mm, as well as high-quality
zoom lenses, are available.
Sound Blimp: The cam era's self-blimped design per­
mits sync-soijnd shooting at 24 fps. At Showscan speed of
60 fps, a lightweight com posite material sound blimp is
provided to meet exacting sound level requirements of sync
sound filming.
Magazines: 1000-ft. magazines and 2500-ft. individual
supply and fake-up cassettes are available. M agazine
blimps for both sizes are also available.
Special Features: Camera can be externally controlled
for phase locking as required by process photography and
3-D filming.
Fries Model 865 65mm/8-perf.
This is a large-format 65mm 8-perforation camera de­
signed to meet the requirements of new formats for spe­
cial venue productions. Photographed aperture is 2.072" x
Movement: Dual registration pins and six pull-down
claws. A cam,and eccentric mounted on a single shaft ac­
tuate the pull-down and operate the register pins. Remov­
able aperture jand pressure plates for ease of cleaning.
Shutter: 1170° fixed opening blanking shutter.
Speed Range: 2-72 fps forward or 2-30 fps reverse. All
speeds crystal controlled.
Reflex Viewing System: Rotating mirror reflex im­
age. Viewfinder is orientable through a full 360° and self-
corrected through approximately 180°. Built-in video tap
for high resolution CCD chip camera also included.
Lens M ount: Universal bayonet type with a large port
diameter. Special mounts available upon request.
L enses: A com plete series of H asselblad lenses is
D rive: Internal 30 VDC crystal controled
M agazines: 500ft. and 1000ft. displacement magazines
with torque motor take up and hold back.
Special Features: Valve which allows the operator to
direct light to the viewing system, or to the video assist or
com bo which splits the light betw een both viewing and
video assist.
Weights: Camera body 45 lbs., 1000 ft. 13 Vi lbs.
Accessories: Standard Arri matte box.
Mitchell 65mm Reflex TODD-AO
Movement: Dual registration pins. Four pull-down
claws. Adjustable pull-down stroke. Removable aperture
plate with built-in matte slot. Aperture 2.072" x .9055” Speed
range 12 fps-32.
Shutter: Focal plane 175°.
Reflex V iew find er: P ellicle beam sp litter (shock
mounted) views more than full aperture area. High mag­
nification for critical focusing; contrast viewing filters.
External Viewfinder: Large erect image viewfinder
calibrated for different focal-length lenses. Calibrated for
any two aspect ratios. Parallax correcting cams for all fo­
cal-length lenses.
Lens Mount: Single mount with quick-release flange
T-stop calibration allows for mirror absorption. Accepts all
Todd-AO fixed focal-length and zoom lenses. All lenses
geared for manual follow-focus control.
Drive: Internal 28V DC motor, solid-state speed con­
Speeds: 12, 18, 20, 22, 24, 28, and 32 fps. M anual
threading knob provided. Belt pack batteries. Rectifier unit
110V A C -28V DC. Cam era w ill also accept externally
mounted motors for special purposes.
Magazines: 350’ lightweight magnesium displacement
type; rem aining footage indicator; positive clutch drive
1 0 0 0 ' magazine also available.
Features: Weight: 27 pounds with 350' of film. Shoul­
der support and hand grip or tripod mount. Dual gelatin
filter slot in front of film aperture. Heating system. Film
runout indicator. Remote control.
Accessories: Zoom lenses: 60-150m m , 100-300m m,
and 65-390mm. Underw ater blimp with internal battery
and externally controlled film speed, stops and focus; de­
signed for 50' depth or less. Built-in exposure meter.
MSM Model 8870 65mm/8-perf.
Movement: MSM Monoblock high-speed, dual-regis­
ter pins, claw engages six perfs. Shrinkage adjustm ent
changes both stroke and entry position. Indexable loopsetting sprockets have independent locking keeper rollers.
Vacuum backplate assures filmplane accuracy, removes
w ithout tools for cleaning. Aperture and m ovem ent re­
move easily for cleaning and lubrication. Aperture size
2.072" wide x 1.485" high. Frame-rates from timelapse to 60
fps forward, also to 30 fps reverse.
Shutter: Focal plane shutter, manually variable from
172.8° to 55° with stops at 144° and 108°.
Viewfinder: Spinning mirror reflex. Interchangeable
ground glasses with register pins for film clips. Finder ro­
tates 360° with erect image; image can be manually rotated
for unusual setups. Finder shows 105% of frame, magni­
fier allows critical focusing at center of interest. Single le­
ver controls internal filter and douser. Heated eyepiece has
large exit pupil and long eye relief. High resolution B & W
or optional color CCD video tap is built into camera door
with swingaway 5 0 /5 0 beamsplitter. Viewfinder removes
completely for aerial or underwater housing use.
Lens M ount: MSM 75m m diam eter x 80m m flange
BNC-style lens mount is vertically adjustable 7mm for
flat or dome screen composition. M ount accepts modified
Zeiss (Hasselblad), Pentax, Mamiya, and other large-format
lenses. 15mm matte rods are on ARRI BL centers for acces­
sory compatibility.
Magazines: 1000' displacem ent m agazines use the
MSM TiltLock mount. Magazines lock to the camera with
a pair of 8mm hardened pins, and can tilt away from the
operator to allow easier camera threading. Optional mini­
mum profile lOOO' coaxial magazines use same mount with­
out tilt feature. Both magazines operate bidirectionally at
all camera speeds. A positive camlock secures the mag in
running position and switches power to the m otor and
heater contacts in the magfoot. Expanding core hubs have
integral DC servomotors controlled by film tension in both
directions, with soft startup to eliminate slack. Tightwind
rollers guide film winding for smooth solid rolls at any
camera angle. Non-contact light traps feature infrared endof-film sensors.
Features: Crystal sync from 5 to 60 fps in .001 incre­
m ents. Status LED s for pow er, heat, low battery, m ag
ready, buckle, and speed sync. Two illuminated LCD foot­
age counters. Digital battery volt/am p meter. Circuit break­
ers for camera, mag, heat, and accessories. Control port
allows operation from handheld remote or interface with
computers and external accessories.
Panavision 65mm AC (Auxiliary Camera)
SPC (Speed Camera)
Movement: AC: Compensating link, dual registration
pins, four pull-down claws. Low noise level.
SPC: Dual registration pins and four pull-down claws
ensure same degree of steadiness as AC model.
Both M odels: M ovem ent has matte slot, removable
aperture and pressure plates that can be removed for clean­
ing. Tim ing m arks provided for reassem bly. Aperture
2.072" by 9.055”.
Speed Range: AC: Stop-motion to 32 fps.
SPC: 16 fps-72fps.
Shutter: AC: Variable 50°-200°, forward or reverse.
SPC: Variable 0°-170o, forward or reverse, segments
calibrated to 1 0 °.
Focusing: Rack over for critical focusing and lineup.
Erect image telescope built-in, variable magnification, con­
trast viewing filters, interchangeable ground glasses, slot
for mattes.
Viewfinder: Large erect image nonreflex viewfinder.
Cam operated parallax correction.
Lenses: Q uick-acting bayonet lock for Panavision
lenses. Lenses do not rotate.
D rive: B oth cam eras accep t all M itch ell m otors.
Panaspeed motor has 24 fps crystal sync and may be var­
ied from 12 fps-32 fps. Operates on a 36V battery. For high
speed, a precisely controlled motor capable of 12 fps-72 fps
is provided. It operates on two 30V batteries.
M agazin es: 500' and 1000' d ou ble cham ber. 500'
bipack magazine available for special effects.
Panavision System-65 65mm
M ovement: Dual pilot pin registration ensures process-plate image steadiness. Four pull-down claws. Pitch
adjustment to optimize camera quietness. Entire movement
may be removed for servicing.
Aperture plate: Removable for checking and cleaning.
Shutter: Focal plane shutter w ith infinitely variable
opening and adjustable in-shot. Maximum opening: 180°;
minimum: 40° with adjustable maximum and minimum
opening stops. A digital display allows adjustments in 1、、/10°
increments. Micrometer adjustment allows critical synchro­
nization with computers, TV monitors and H M I lighting
at unusual frame-rates. Manual and electronic remote-controll units available.
Reflex system: Reflex rotating m irror is standard an d
is independent of the light shutter system.
Optical viewfinder system: High magnification opti­
cal system. The viewfinder tube is orientable and gives a
constantly upright image through 360°. Short, Intermedi­
ate and Long viewfinder tubes are available. System incor­
porates an optical magnifier for critical focusing and pic­
ture composition, a contrast viewing filter and a light-proof
shutter. W ide-range ocular adjustment with marker bezel
to note individual settings. A built-in "Panaclear" eyepiece
heater ensures mist-free viewing. Adjustable eyepiece lev­
eling link-arm is supplied with every Panahead to keep the
eyepiece position constant while tilting. An eyepiece di­
opter to suit the operator's own eyesight can be provided
on request.
G round G lasses: Interchangeable ground glasses
available with any marking, or combination of markings.
"P anag low " illum inated reticle system w ith brightness
control is standard. Ground glasses with finer or coarser
texture available on request. Provision for a cut frame to be
placed in the viewfinder system for optical frame align­
Lens M ounting System: Panavision positive clamp
lens m ount for maintaining critical flange focal depth set­
ting. All lenses are pinned to ensure proper rotational ori­
Lenses: A wide range of color-matched lenses, rang­
ing from a distortion-free 24mm to 400mm. M ost are T-2
or T-2.8. Also available are a 60-360mm T-6.3 zoom and 35
and 45m m pivoting lenses for slant focusing. In addition,
many of the mid-range Primo and Zeiss lenses, and the long
focal length Canon and Nikon lenses, can be used with a
special adaptor. All lenses checked and calibrated by MTF.
All lenses have widely spaced lens focus calibrations and
low image veiling glare. Lenses are supplied with adequate
length iris rods for matte box and filter support. Focus con­
trol can be used from either side. Zooms are supplied with
and electronic zoom control unit as standard.
Matte Boxes: A standard matte box incorporating a
sunshade, provision for two 4 x 5.650" filters which can be
individually slid up and down. Special matte boxes incor­
porating more filter stages, with provision for sliding (mo­
torized if required), rotating a n d /o r tilting and for taking
6 .6 " square filters are optional. Panavision can also supply
special sliding diffusers, diopters and all manner of image
control filters, etc., to use in their matte boxes.
Camera Motor: A 24-volt motor runs the camera at any
speed from 4-30 fps. Camera speed is crystal-controlled at
all frame rates and may be adjusted at 1 fps increments.
Special sync boxes are available to synchronize the camera
with a mains power supply, computers, video signals, or
process projectors in shutter phase synchronization. Inter­
nal heaters ensure that cameras may be used at sub-zero
temperatures without special preparation.
DBA Rating: Less than 25db with film and lens, mea­
sured 3 feet ifrom image plane.
M agazines: 1000' and 500' magazines are available.
Both can be used on the top of the camera for minimum
camera length or at the rear for minimum camera height.
Optical accessories: Almost all Panaflex 35mm frontof-lens optical accessories and filters, etc., can be used on
the System-65 cameras.
Batteries: Camera, magazines, heaters and accessories
all operate off a single 24V Ni-Cad battery.
C am era su p p o rt eq u ip m en t: "S u p e r P an ah ead "
geared head incorporates a 60° tilt range with a built-in
wedge system to allow the operator to select where that
range is, anywhere between the camera pointing directly
up or directly down, and three gear ratios in both the pan
and tilt movements. A sliding base unit enables a camera
to be quickly attached and detached and to be slid back­
wards and forwards on the head for optim um balance.
"Panapod" tripods, with carbon fiber legs, are available in
a range of sizes.
Video Assist Systems: State-of-the-art CCD video
systems are available in B & W or color.
Environmental protection equipment: All System-65
cameras and magazines have built-in heaters for operation
in any temperature. Heated covers are available to give
additional protection to lenses, especially zoom lenses.
Other covers are available to protect the camera, magazines
and lenses. Spinning-glass rain deflectors are available for
use in storm conditions. An autobase is available to secure
the camera in conditions of vibration, high "g " forces and
other stressful and dangerous conditions. A water-box is
available to protect the camera in shallow water conditions;
a hazard box protects the camera from explosions, collisions
and other dangerous situations.
Panavision Panaflex System-65 Handholdable
Movement: Dual pilot pin registration ensures process-plate image steadiness. Pilot pins register in the same
perforation holes (immediately below the bottom frame
line) as optical printers. Four pull-dow n claw s. Entire
movement may be removed for servicing.
Aperture plate: Removable for checking and cleaning.
Shutter: 170° Fixed-opening focal plane shutter.
Reflex System: Two models are available — one has
a rotating m irror, the other a sem i-silvered fixed reflex
mirror for flicker-free viewing, which is especially suitable
for Panaglide, Steadicam, Louma and remote camera op­
Optical viewfinder system: High magnification opti­
cal system. The viewfinder tube is orientatable and gives a
constantly upright im age through 360°; short and long
viewfinder tubes are available for handheld and tripod
usage. System incorporates an optical magnifier for criti­
cal focusing and picture composition, a contrast viewing
filter and a light-proof shutter. W ide-range ocular adjust­
ment with marker bezel to note individual settings. A builtin "Panaclear" eyepiece heater ensures mist-free viewing.
Adjustable leveler link arm supplied with every Panahead
to keep eyepiece position constant while tilting the camera
up or down. An eyepiece diopter to suit the operator's own
eyesight can be provided on request.
G round G lasses: Interchangeable ground glasses
available w ith any marking, or combination of markings.
"P anag low " illum inated reticle system w ith brightness
control is standard. Ground glasses with finer or coarser
texture available on request.
Lens M ounting System: Panavision positive clamp
lens mount for maintaining critical flange focal depth set­
ting. All lenses are pinned to ensure proper rotational ori­
Lenses: Lenses are interchangeable with the System65 Studio Camera.
Lens Control: Focus control which can be used from
either side of the camera. Zoom lenses are supplied with
an electronic zoom control unit as standard.
M atte Boxes: A standard matte box incorporating a
sunshade, provision for two 4 x 5.650" filters which can be
individually slid up and down. Special matte boxes incor43
{N ote: The extension unit is used only f o r top -m ag azin e configuration.)
porating more filter stages, with provision for sliding (mo­
torized if required), rotating a n d /o r tilting and for taking
6.6" square filters are optional. Panavision can also supply
special sliding diffusers, diopters and all manner of image
control filters, etc., to use in their matte boxes.
Camera motor: A 24-volt motor is used to run the cam­
era at any speed from 4-72 fps. The motor is crystal con­
trolled at all speeds and may be adjusted in 1 fps incre­
ments. Special sync boxes are available to synchronize the
camera with a main power supply, with computers, with
video signals and w ith process projectors in shutter phase
synchronization. Internal heaters ensure that the cameras
may be used at sub-zero tem peratures w ithout special
M agazines: 1000’ and 500' magazines are available.
1000' reverse running magazines available on request.
M agazine loading: Same as Panavision PSR 200° cam­
O ptical accessories: Interchangeable w ith System-65
Studio camera.
Batteries: The camera, heaters and accessories all op­
erate off a single 24V Ni-Cad battery. Belt batteries are avail­
able for hand-holding.
Camera support equipm ent: Lightweight System-65
Hand-holdable cameras are ideal for use with Panaglide
and Steadicam floating camera rigs and on remotely con­
trolled cam era cranes. T hey can also be used w ith a
"Panatate" 360° turn-over rig.
Video Assist Systems: State-of-the-art, CCD video
systems are available in B & W or color. Flicker-free images
are possible with the pellicle reflex system.
Environmental protection equipment: Same as Sys­
tem-65 above.
35mm Cameras
Aaton 35mm Handholdable
This extremely compact camera —7 kg (15.4 lbs.) with
120 meters (400 feet) of film — is designed for handheld
small-camera situations where traditional 35mm cameras
would be too bulky or awkward. The film channel is ad­
justable: Academy, 1.85:1, or Techniscope.
Movement: The movement of the Aaton 35 is a linear
stroke, with the in /o u t movement controlled by a cam co­
axial with the claw shaft (U.S. patent no. 3806016). The se­
curity provided by the claw's linear pull-down, followed
by non-shifting withdraw al from the perforation at the
dead point, makes a registration pin system unnecessary
— the claw tip itself ensures this function. The vertical
steadiness of this pull-down movement is enhanced by the
perfect lateral film positioning ensured by a spring-loaded
side pressure guide.
Shutter: Reflex mirror shutter, single blade, 180° open­
Focusing: Through-the-lens viewing and focusing, 6X
magnification. Auto erect image. Swiveling viewfinder for
perfect eye-to-shoulder distance adjustment.
Lenses: Panavision, Arri PL or Aaton mounted lenses
can be installed. The Aaton mount, because it has the short­
est flange focal distance of the industry, can receive almost
all the best still-photography lenses, like the Leica R, Nikon
and Canon-AF.
Motors: A small direct-drive brushless m otor (1500
rpm) runs the mechanism. Automatic stop in viewing po­
sition. A second motor in the camera body drives the maga­
zine through an independent magnetic clutch. The Aaton
battery (12V, 1.8 Ah) fits directly onto the camera body.
M agazine: 400' displacement-type magazine is pre­
threaded and allows quick changing. It is automatically
locked into position when placed on the camera body and
is released by lifting a lever on the motor side of the cam­
era. The feed and take-up rolls compensate for each other
in size, while the shaft of each roll shifts position as the film
is exposed. The electronic counter registers in feet and
Video Assist: A sm all high-resolution CCD video
camera attached to the side of the camera only bleeds off
30% of the light from the viewfinder.
Aaton 35-II
Movement: Linear-stroke single claw; self registering
(U.S. patent no. 3806016). The vertical steadiness of this
movement is enhanced by the perfect lateral film position­
ing ensured by a spring-loaded side pressure guide. Hairfree gate has air circulation channel to keep hair out.
Shutter: True 180-degree front surface mirror facili­
tates 60Hz HMI and video monitor roll-bar elimination.
Stops in viewing position. May be inched for aperture in­
Viewfinder: Reflex from shutter, 6X magnification,
auto erect image, interchangeable ground glass. Swiveling
viewfinder for perfect eye-to-shoulder distance adjustment.
Lens M ount: Panavision, A rri PL or N ikon inter­
changeable mounts. 35m m to Super 35 format conversion
in five minutes in the field.
Drive: Brushless crystal sync 12V motor for 24,25, and
29.97 or 30 fps. Variable control 6 to 54 fps. Maximum speed
with external control is 32 fps. Circuit board and motor may
be removed and replaced in two minutes. Slim battery (12V
1.8Ah) fits directly onto the camera body. A second motor
in the camera body drives the magazine through an inde­
pendent magnetic clutch.
Magazines: 122m (400') pre-threaded displacementtype magazine for instant changing. The feed and take-up
rolls compensate for each other in size, while the shaft of
each roll shifts position as the film is exposed. The electronic
counter transmits feet or meters to the camera body.
Features: D igital control display: footage, voltage,
speed, ISO, magazine footage, low battery and out-of-sync
warnings. The key-code compatible, AatonCode time re­
cording system prints large and rugged time matrixes on
the edge of the film, ensuring perfect sync with SMPTE time
of audio recorders. 1 ppm TCXO internal clock, initialized
with RS232 or SMPTE signals. Negatives from the Aaton
35-11 are fully mixable with Panavision, Moviecam and Arri
BL AatonCode-equipped cameras.
Accessories: Lightweight w ide-form at swing-away
matte-box; two 4 x 5.6 and one 138mm rotating stages. Also
accommodates Panavision mattes. Lightweight and zerobacklash follow -focu s system . C C D vid eo assist w ith
manual iris control delivers extremely sharp images.
Arriflex 535
The Arriflex 535 is a com pletely integrated camera
system. Its microprocessor control technology permits shut­
ter angle and speed changes while running — at the cam­
era or remotely.
M ovement: M ulti-link film transport with dual-pin
registration conforming to optical printer standards, and
dual pull-down claws. Easily removed for changing to a 3perforation pull-down. Adjustable pitch control. Universal
aperture plate has both interchangeable format masks and
a behind-the-lens gel filter holder. Ground glasses and fi­
ber-optic focus screens for all aspect ratios available.
Shutter: M icroprocessor-controlled variable mirror
shutter. Continuously adjustable from 11° to 180° while
running, in .01° increments, at any camera speed. Exposure
is 'As of a second at 24 fps with a 180° shutter. The 535's
program also perm its sim ultaneous fram e rate/sh u tter
angle effects, such as program m ed speed changes w ith
precise exposure compensation.
Viewfinder: Swingover Viewfinder fully operational
from either camera left or camera right. Permits omni-directional reflex viewing with constant image correction
side-to-side and upright. Programmable ArriGlow for lowlight filming. Nine pre-programmed illuminated formats,
an optional customized format module and fiber-optic fo­
cus screens. Switchable ND.3 and ND.6 contrast viewing
glasses, a variety of in-finder information LEDs, and a 12"15" variable finder.
Lens Mount: PL (Positive Lock) lens mount, 54mm
diameter, with relocatable optical center for easy conver­
sion to the Super 35 format. Flange focal distance is 52mm,
and image sharpness is guaranteed due to the rigid me­
chanical connection between lens mount and film plane.
Both Super Speed and Standard lenses with PL mounts
may be used. PL zoom and telephoto lenses should be used
with a bridgeplate system.
Len ses: The 535 u tiliz e s the fu ll ran g e of: Z eiss
Superspeed — 18mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 65mm, and
85mm T-1.3s; Zeiss Standard — 10mm , 12mm , 14mm ,
16mm, 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 85mm,
100mm, 135mm T-2.1s; and 60mm, 180mm, and 300mm T3.0s; Arri Anamorphic — 32mm, 40mm, 50mm and 75mm
T-2.3s, and 100m m and 135m m T -3.0s; A rri M acro —
16mm, 24mm, 32mm, and 40mm T-2.1s; 50mm and 100mm
T-3.0s and 200mm T-4.3. RTH Cooke and Angenieux zoom
Motor: Microprocessor-controlled 24V DC motor that
operates with quartz accuracy at 2 4 /2 5 /2 9 .9 7 /3 0 fps on­
board, and at 3-50 fps with the Camera Control Unit (CCU),
Remote Unit (RU), or the Variable Speed Unit (VSU). It also
operates at 2 4 /2 5 fps reverse with the CCU, and at 1 fps
crystal accurate with its phase button. 5 0 /6 0 Hz is standard.
External Sync Unit (ESU) is designed for m ulti-cam era,
video, or projector interlock. Power input is through a 3pin connector: Pin 1 is (-), and Pin 2 is +24V. Operating tem­
perature range is -4°F to +122°F (-20°C to + 50°C).
Magazines: 400' and 1000' coaxial, each with two microprocessor-controlled torque motors. M icroprocessor
samples and adjusts feed/take-up tension and all other
fu nctions continu ou sly. M echanical and d ig ital LCD
counters are built-in.
Matte Boxes: The 535 utilizes a 19mm diameter rod
Camera Support System. The Support System includes a
full range of matte boxes, bridgeplate, 2-speed follow fo­
cus, and lens supports. 15mm rod adapters are available
upon request.
1. 6.6 x 6.6 Production Matte Box: covers lenses 12mm
and up, as well as most presently used zooms. Interchange­
able two, four, or six filter stages, rotatable 360 degrees,
swing-away for changing lenses. Geared filter frames.
2. 5 x 6 Production M atte Box: covers fixed lenses
14mm on up, as well as most presently used zooms. Two
filter stages, swing-away for changing lenses. Geared fil­
ter frame.
3 .4 x 4 Production Matte Box: covers lenses 16mm and
up. Two and four filter stages, rotatable 360 degrees, swingaway for changing lenses. Geared filter frames.
4 .4 x 4 Matte Box: (for use with 35-3 and 16SR systems
only) covers lenses 16mm and up. Two filter stages, mounts
on Arri lightweight support.
5 .4 x 4 Lightweight Matte Box: mounts directly to the
front of any 80mm front diameter lens. Two filter stage with
removable rubber lens shade.
Indicators: In-finder Displays: LEDs in the viewfinder
allow the operator to monitor various camera functions,
battery status, and programmable film-end warning. Digi­
tal LCD Tachometer and Footage Displays: camera left/
right; audible and visible out-of-sync warning; visible film
jam ; film-end; error codes; improper movement position;
improper magazine mounting; and disengaged rear film
guide indicators.
Electronic Accessories: Variable Speed U nit (VSU)
module mounts directly to the 535, and perm its camera
speed changes betw een 3 and 50 fps, non-crystal. Shutter
Control U nit (SCU): mounts directly to the cam era and
perm its camera shutter angle changes betw een 11° and
180°. Remote Unit (RU): operational remotely from up to
60', provides an V S U /S C U (variable sh u tter/v a ria b le
speed) com bination. The RU links the SCU and VSU to
permit manual adjustment of the frame rate while the 535's
microprocessor varies the shutter angle — all to ensure a
constant depth-of-field and exposure. Video Optics Mod­
ule (VOM): provides flicker reduction and iris control. With
Selectable Beam Splitter, facilitates video viewing under
difficult conditions. SMPTE Time Code Module plugs in to
utilize on-board time code generator, and provides full
SMPTE 80-bit time code capability. Electronic Sync Unit
(ESU): The ESU, operational remotely from up to 60', pro­
vides synchronization with an external PAL or NTSC video
signal (50/60 Hz), another camera or a projector, or com­
puter or video monitor via a monitor pick-up. It also con­
tains a phase shifter, pilotone generator, and selectable di­
vision ratio between an external source and the camera's
frame rate. Cam era Control Unit (CCU): provides inte­
grated control over all electronic functions.
Accessories: 2-Speed follow focus with 1:1 or 1:.06
ratios; bridgeplate support system for CG balance and
mount for matte box, follow focus, servo zoom drive, and
heavy lenses; hand-held rig for shoulder operation of the
cam era; finder extender and leveling rod; barney and
heated barney; Arri Geared Head; and director's view ­
finder with PL mount.
Arriflex 535B
The Arriflex 535B is the lightweight version of the 535,
designed for handheld and Steadicam cinem atography.
(Refer to the Arriflex 535 section for full 535 specs.)
M ovement: The 535B has the same m ulti-link film
transport, with dual-pin registration that conforms to op­
tical printer standards, and dual-pin pull-down claws as the
535. It has an adjustable pitch control. The 535B operates
at crystal-acCurate speeds from 3 to 60 fps.
Shutter: The 535B has a manually adjustable mirror
shutter, variable from 11° to 180° in 15° steps, and 144° and
Lens Mount: The Arri 54mm PL lens mount, with a
relocatable optical center for easy conversion to Super 35.
Flange focal distance is 51.98 - 0.01mm.
Lenses: Same as 535.
Motor: The 535B has a microprocessor-controlled 24V
DC motor that operates from 3-60 fps, variable in 0.001 in­
crements at crystal accuracy. It features on-board program­
mable speeds of 24,25,29.9 7 and 30 fps, and variable crys­
tal speeds from 3-60 fps. Speeds are continuously variable
when the Remote Unit (RU-1) is used. Speeds can be pro­
grammed from the on-board LCD, with the Remote Unit
(RU-1), and with the Camera Control Unit (CCU), Arri's
standard off-camera programming unit. The 535B's power
input is through a 3-pin connector: Pin 1 is (-), and Pin 2 is
+24V. Operating temperature range is -4°F to +122°F (-20°C
to +50°C).
Viewfinder: The 535B has a lightweight Swingover
Viewfinder that pivots on two axes, w ith full left or right
side viewing, and a fully upright image no matter where it
is placed. It can be used with the new Arri flicker-reduced
CCD black & white and color video assists, and be easily
set up for anamorphic use. Adaptable for left- or right-eyed
viewing w ith a built-in telescopic extender, and has quickchange beam splitters for B & W or color CCD video, and
slide-in masks for illuminated in-finder format markings.
The entire finder is easily removed without tools, and ac­
cepts a 100% video module for Steadicam use.
Magazines: Standard 535 400' and 1000' coaxial maga­
Electronic Features: At the LCD, the user can pre-set
cam era speed and tim e code inform ation, and display
frame rate, film stock, battery voltage, and time code and
user bits. The CCU (Camera Control Unit) can be used to
set and run these 535B cam era functions. An additional
LCD display can be added on camera right. The LCD also
indicates film jam , film end, improper movement position,
magazine improperly mounted, and rear film guides dis­
engaged. If the 535B is not ready for operation, its running
control lamp illuminates red. Time Code: The 535B utilizes
the same plug-in TC module as the 535. It records SMPTE
RP 136 Form C, and has an 80-bit integrated TC generator.
TC crystal accuracy is plus/m inu s lp p m (0-50 degrees C).
Electronic Accessories: VSU, RU, and time code mod­
ule (see 535); Video Optics M odule (VOM) -- Video moni­
toring is an integral part of the 535B's design. The 535B can
accommodate both B & W and color CCD cameras, and
attached to the VOM both provide flicker reduction and iris
Matte Boxes: See 535.
A d d itio n a l a c c e s s o rie s : 2 -S p e e d fo llo w fo cu s;
bridgeplate support system for CG balance and mount for
matte box, follow focus, servo zoom drive, and heavy
lenses; hand-held rig for shoulder operation of the camera;
finder extend er and lev eling rod; b arn ey and heated
barney; Arri Geared Head and Arri Geared Head 2; and
director's viewfinder with PL mount.
Arriflex 35-3 High Speed MOS
Movement: One registration pin and dual-pin pull­
down claw. Film channel incorporates a pressure pad at the
back of aperture area. Aperture plates and ground glasses
for all aspect ratios are interchangeable.
Shutter: Rotating, front surface coated mirror shutter
system, with variable shutter: 180°, 172.8°, 144°, and 135°.
Variable shutter from 15° to 135° in 15° increments is avail­
able for earlier cameras, and is standard on 35-3 130 fps
models. The 15° to 180° shutter is constructed of lightweight
silicon crystal. Exposure is /48th of a second at 24 fps with
180° shutter.
Reflex Viewfinder: Four interchangeable doors with
view fin d ers are av ailable: S tan d ard d oor w ith fixed
viewfinder and mount for video tap; offset finder door for
use with 400' coaxial shoulder magazine; pivoting finder
door, pivots 210°; new pivoting finder door with optical
adapter to attach video camera. All have adjustable Super
Wide Angle eyepiece with manual iris closure. Finder ex­
tenders available are 9" standard, 9" anamorphic, and 12.2"
standard With ND.6 contrast viewing glass.
Lens Mounts: 54mm diameter PL mount. Flange fo­
cal distance is 52mm. Super Speed and Standard lenses
with PL mount, those with Arri Bayonet (41mm diameter),
and Arri Standard lens mounts w ith PL adapter may be
used. PL and non-PL zoom and telephoto lenses should be
used with Bridgeplate Support System.
M otor Drive: 1 2 /2 4 V DC motor, w ith quartz-controlled sync at 2 4 /2 5 /3 0 fps, 5 0 /6 0 Hz. An on-board vari­
able speed dial may be used to adjust camera speed from
4 to 50 fps at 12V DC. The camera is continuously variable
from 4 to 100 fps (130 fps on the 35-3130 fps camera) at 24V
DC with a Variable Speed Unit. The 5 0 / 60Hz EXB-2 Exter­
nal Sync Control may be used to interlock the 35-3 with a
video source, projector or another camera. A 4-pin power
connector is located in the rear of the electronics housing.
Pin 1 is (-); Pin 4 is 12V (+). Operating temperature range
is -13°F to +122°F (-25°C to +50°C).
D isp lays: A n electro n ic tachom eter and footage
counter. An external red LED located below the counter
indicates when a low memory battery condition exists. A
red LED to indicate an out-of-sync condition and a green
LED to indicate variable speed m ode are visible in the
M agazines: 200', 400', and 1000' displacem ent mags;
4 0 0 ' low p r o file , c o a x ia l s h o u ld e r m a g a z in e fo r
Lenses: Full range of Zeiss Superspeed, Zeiss stan­
dard, A rri A nam orphic, A rri M acro, RTH C ooke and
Angenieux zoom lenses. See Arriflex 535 Lenses section for
Arriflex 35BL-4s
M ovem ent: 35BL-1 through BL-4 cam eras feature
dual-pin registration and dual pull-down claws that ad­
vance the film through a fixed-gap film channel. The 35BL4s has a technologically advanced movement that includes
an adjustable pitch control. Aperture plates and ground
glasses for all aspect ratios are interchangeable between all
35BL models.
Shutter: Rotating, front surface coated mirror shutter
system, with variable shutter: 180°, 172.8°, 144°. Exposure
is V48 of a second at 24 fps with 180° shutter. 35BL-1 and
35BL-2 cameras have 180° fixed shutter.
Reflex Viewfinder: 35BL-4s and BL-4 viewfinders are
a full stop faster and brighter than earlier 35BL cameras,
and feature a larger exit pupil, ArriGlow illuminated frame
lines, and a high aperture 12.5" finder extender with swingin contrast viewing filter and variable magnification up to
2X. The finder rotates 90° above, and 90° below level with
the image always upright. An adjustable Super W ide Angle
eyepiece with manual iris closure and 6.5X magnification
is standard on 35BL-4s and BL-4 cameras. An adjustable
eyecup allows the operator to select the optimum eye-toexit pupil distance. Finder extenders available for the 35BL4s and 35BL-4 include a 12.5" standard with switchable con­
trast viewing filter, and for the 35BL-3,35BL-2, and 35BL1, a 9" standard, and 9" Anamorphic.
Lens Mount: 54mm diameter PL mount, switchable
to Super 35 format. Flange focal distance is 52mm. Super
Speed and Standard lenses with PL mount, those with Arri
Bayonet (41mm diameter), and Arri Standard lens mounts
with PL adapter may be used. Both PL and non-PL zoom
and telephoto lenses should be used w ith a bridgeplate
system. Early 35BL cameras have Arri bayonet mount. BNC
mount available for 35BL-3 only. 35BL-2 and BL-1 cameras
require lens blimps for silent operation.
M otor Drive: 12V DC motor with quartz-controlled
sync at 2 4 /2 5 /3 0 fps, 50 or 60 Hz for all 35BL models. A
V ariable Speed C ontrol accessory extends the recom ­
mended speed range from 5 to 40 fps on the 35BL-4s, 35BL4, 35BL-3, and 5 to 50 fps on the 35BL-2. The 35BL-1 will
operate up to 100 fps with the HSU-100 speed control, spe­
cially modified magazines, and two 14.4V batteries. Multi­
camera interlock is achieved with the EXS-2 5 0 / 60Hz Ex­
ternal Sync Unit. Power input through a 4-pin connector.
Pin 1 is (-); Pin 4 is +12V. Operating temperature range is 4°F to +122°F (-20°C to + 50°C).
Indicators: An LED electronic tachometer and footage
indicator and an audible out-of-sync warning are built-in.
A red LED near the footage counter indicates low footage,
memory, battery.
M agazines: 400' and 1000' coaxial. The 35BL can be
h an d h eld w ith eith er m ag azin e. M ech an ical footage
counters are integral, and 35BL-4s magazines have an ad­
justable pitch control.
Lenses: Full range of Zeiss Superspeed, Zeiss stan­
dard, Arri A nam orphic, A rri M acro, RTH C ooke and
Angenieux zoom lenses. See 535.
Accessories: 2-Speed follow focus; bridgeplate sup­
port system for CG balance and mount for matte box, fol­
low focus, servo zoom drive, and heavy lenses; video
adapter for sim ultan eous op tical and vid eo view ing;
SM PTE tim e cod e; fin d er exten d er and lev elin g rod;
barney and heated barney; Arri Geared Head; director's
viewfinder with PL mount.
Arriflex 35-3C
Movement: Single pin claw with extended dwell-time
to assure accurate film positioning during exposure. Film
gate com ponents are precision finished steel, and hard
chrome plated. Full aperture is standard, with other formats
Shutter: Rotating reflex mirror shutter system, variable
from 0° to 165°, in 15° increments. Exposure is '/52nd of a
second at 24 fps with a 165° shutter.
Reflex Viewfinder: 6.5X Super W ide Angle eyepiece
for increased side-to-side viewing; interchangeable doors
include fixed viewfinder w ith m ount for videotap, 210°
pivoting view finder w ith or w ithout video, and offset
viewfinder door for use with 400-ft. shoulder magazine.
Lens Mount: 54mm diameter PL mount. Flange focal
distance is 52mm. Super Speed and Standard lenses with
PL mount, those with Arri Bayonet (41mm diameter), and
Arri Standard lens mounts with PL adapter, may be used.
Both PL and non-PL zoom and telephoto lenses should be
used with a special 3-C Bridgeplate Support System.
M otor Drive: Forward or reverse running 12V DC
handgrip motor w ith quartz-accurate sync at 2 4 /2 5 fps,
with EXB variable speed accessory to adjust speed range
from 5 to 50 fps. Multi-camera interlock is achieved with
the 5 0 /6 0 Hz EXB sync control accessory. Pow er input
through a 4-pin connector. Pin 1 is (-); Pin 4 is 12 V (+).
Operating temperature range is -13 F to +122 F (-24 C to +50
C ).
Magazines: 200' forward operation only, 400' forward
or reverse; and 400’ m odified 35-3 shoulder magazines
Lenses: Full range of Zeiss Superspeed, Zeiss stan­
d ard, A rri A nam orp hic, A rri M acro, RTH C ooke and
Angenieux zoom lenses (see Arriflex 535 Lenses Section for
Accessories: Finder extenders including 9" and 12.2"
non-anamorphic, and 9" anamorphic; leveling rod; 2-speed
follow-focus; special 35-3C bridgeplate support system for
CG balance and mount for matte box, follow focus, servo
zoom drive, and heavy lenses; video adapter for simulta­
neous optical and video viewing; Pilotone generator for 2 4 /
25 fps, 5 0 /6 0 Hz shooting; director's viewfinder with PL
Arriflex 35-2C
Description: The 35-2C series consists of multipurpose
35mm cameras. They are used handheld, and with appro­
priate accessories, for almost every type of motion picture
production application.
35-2C/B: Standard 2C featuring the Arri parallax-free
viewfinder system, a precision film transport system with
a maximum speed of 48 fps, a three-lens mount turret, and
an interchangeable motor-drive system.
35-2CGS/B: Standard 2C features plus Pilotone output
and startmarking system.
35-2CV/B: Standard 2C features plus variable shutter,
adjustable from 0° to 165°.
35-2CHS/B: High-speed model with 80 fps movement
and tachometer. A 32V DC motor with variable speed con­
trol is included with the camera.
35-2CT/B: Standard 2C w ith Techniscope gate and
two-perforation pulldown film transport system.
Movement: Single-claw with extended dwell-time to
assure accurate film positioning during exposure. Acad­
emy aperture is standard, with other formats available.
Shutter: Rotating reflex mirror shutter system with
180° opening. Exposure is V&th of a second at 24 fps.
Reflex Viewfinder: 6.5X W ide Angle eyepiece and
parallax-free viewing.
Lens Mount: Three-lens turret with two Arri Standard
and one Arri Bayonet mount. All Arri Standard and Bayo­
net lenses that cover the full 35m m form at can be used.
Zoom and telephoto lenses should be used with a special
2C Bridgeplate Support System.
M otor Drive: 32V DC highspeed handgrip motor for
20 to 80 fps operation is standard; other motors include 16V
DC governor motor for 2 4 /2 5 fps operation, 24-28V DC
variable motor for 20 to 64 fps; 16V DC variable motor for
8 to 32 fps. Operating temperature range is -13 F to +122 F
(-24 C to +50 C). Magazines: 200' forward operation only,
400' forward or reverse.
Lenses: Full range of Zeiss Superspeed, Zeiss stan­
dard, RTH Cooke and Angenieux zoom lenses w ith Bayo­
net or Standard mounts. Matte Boxes: Bellows and light­
weight versions.
Accessories: Servo zoom drive; camera door (Anamor­
phic available); periscope finder; finder extender; and flat
motor base to convert camera to flat-base configuration for
mounting on flat surface or inside blimp housing.
Cinema Products FX35
Special effects camera featuring pin-registered steadi­
ness to 120 fps and com puter control interface. C an be
Movement: Cam -driven dual-pin pull-down. Dual­
pin registration in M itchell position. A djustable stroke
length and entry position. Exit and entry buckle trips. For­
ward and reverse operation, .980" X .735" standard aper­
ture w ith provision for hard mattes.
Shutter: Butterfly reflex with focal plane cup. Adjust­
able 180° /172.8° /1 44° /9 0 ° /4 5 ° /0 °. Stops in viewing posi­
tion. Internal phasing control to sync with TV equipment.
Reflex Viewfinder: Erect, bright image, orientable.
Fine-grain interchangeable viewing screens. Precision reg­
ister pins for matte alignment. Three viewing filters. 360°
adjustable eye piece; extender available. Optional video
Lens Mount: BN CR standard, PL optional; anamor­
phic locating pin. Optional adapter for Arri standard or
bayonet-mounted lenses.
Drive: Self-contained, 12 to 32V DC motor; synthe­
sized crystal control from 1 to 120 fps in 0.01 fps steps. (Re­
quires 24 to 32V for over 64 fps). One fps button for thread­
ing. A udible/visible out-of-sync indicator.
Magazines: FX 35 QUAD (quick acting displacement)
400' (forw ard/reverse), 1000' (forward only). Feature steel
toe, single latch cover, footage indicator, anti-spill brake,
easily cleaned light trap. Adapter for Mitchell magazines.
Features: Can be run from personal computer. Feed­
back: status information, alarms. Shutter and digital shaft
coder quadrature and all control functions. Designed to be
as steady as an op tical printer. D isplay m odule over
viewfinder swivels for operator or assistant; shows speed,
footage, camera mode, battery voltage, current, and low
battery alarm. Optional 10-foot extension cable.
Accessories: Matte boxes, filters, lens control systems,
video assist, time code, viewfinder exposure meter, com­
puter interface module.
Cinema Products XR35
Lightweight Studio Camera
Lightweight blimped silent studio camera.
Movement: Standard Mitchell pin-registered compen­
sating link; Cinema Products' independent adjustment of
stroke length and entry position. Removable aperture plate
with built-in matte slide for various formats. Timing marks
for reassembly after cleaning. Inching knob.
Shutter: Focal plane, continuously variable 5° to 180°;
control and lock on rear panel.
Reflex Viewfinder: Rotating mirror, stops in viewing
position. Fine-grain interchangeable screens. Standard or
de-anamorphic optics. High-low magnification relay lens,
two contrast filters, built-in closure. Large eyepiece with
diopter adjustment and lock.
Lens Mount: BNCR with anamorphic locating pin.
Drive: Internal crystal-controlled motor assembly con­
tinuously variable 4 to 32 fps. Fps indicator and control
knob. Pushbutton for sync speed, selector switch for 24 or
25 fps ±15 ppm in 0°-140° F temperature range. V isible/
audible out-of-sync warning. Circuit breaker, power indi­
cator, running indicator lights, 30V battery pack.
Magazines: 1000' QUAD (quick acting displacement).
L ightw eight, steel toe plate, velvet rollers, snap latch
mounting, single latch cover. Footage indicator, anti-spill
brake. M agazines are installed on the camera through a
"clam shell" opening in the blimp housing which provides
maximum access without requiring side or headroom clear­
Features: Built-in focus control system with right and
left side knobs, magnetic calibration discs, brake, auxiliary
drive; mounted on front housing. Six station filter wheels
accepting standard gelatin filters. Lightweight swingaway
matte box. Illuminated level, lens light and interior thread­
ing lights. LED footage counter in feet or meters. Built-in
carrying handles. Complete camera system (less lens and
film) weighs 93 pounds.
Accessories: Matte boxes, filters, viewfinder and ap­
erture mattes, video assist, time code.
Feathercam CM35
Lightw eight (10 pounds) handheld pin-registered
camera with snap-on magazines.
Movement: Cam-driven dual pull-down, dual-regis­
ter pins. Six-inch-long film gate. Loop-forming threading
system. Simple maintenance.
Shutter: Rotating mirror, 180°, stops in viewing posi­
Reflex Viewfinder: Right or left eye. Extension avail­
Lens M ount: Optional and interchangeable BNCR,
Nikon, Arri (new or old).
Drive: Variable 4 to 48 fps built-in 24V motor; 2 4/25
fps crystal sync, soft start-up to eliminate slack. Optional
single-frame drive. 24V battery, on-board or external. LED
fps/footage (or meters) counter with memory.
M agazines: 500' coaxial snap-on. Does not require
prethreading. Mechanical footage counter.
Accessories: Video assist, bridge plate, matte box, pis­
tol grip.
IMAGE 300 35mm
35m m highspeed (300 fps) pin-registered reflex cam­
Movement: Epicyclic; six pulldown claws; two regis­
ter pins in Mitchell position. IDynamically balanced. Frameto-frame register 0.0005" or better. Full (silent) aperture.
Shutter: Beryllium rotating two-blade mirror; 120°.
R eflex V iew find er: B righ t u p rig h t im age; in ter­
changeable ground glasses; variable magnification; video
tap; light trap prevents accidental fogging.
Lens Mount: BNCR; Panavision available.
Drive: Built-in motor and circuitry; maximum speed
in three seconds. Self-braking; will stop in five feet from 300
fps. Requires 115V AC, 5 0 /6 0 Hz, 30A starting, 18A run­
ning. Ten pushbutton-actuated speeds, 24 to 300 fps.
Magazines: Coaxial 1000' feed and takeup magazines
are identical and separately mounted; takeup can be re­
moved without removing the feed magazine. Gear driven,
differentially controlled. Automatic drive engagement and
supply overrun brake. Footage-used counter for acetate or
polyester base.
Features: Sync pulse for strobe light, sync at all oper­
ating speeds. Matte box iris rods compatible with Arriflex.
Footage counter with memory. Remote control input jack.
Mitchell NC, NCR, BNC, BNCR (35mm);
FC, BFC (65mm)
The NC camera differs from the "stan dard " model in
that it uses a mechanically different and quieter movement
and has other features which make it quieter. NC, BNC, FC,
BFC are rack-over models. NCR, BNCR are reflex models.
NC model has a four-lens turret, the others a single lens
mount. B models are blimped versions.
Movement: Dual-register pins, four-prong pull-down;
adjustable stroke. Timing marks on shutter and movement
facilitate removal and reassembly. Rem ovable aperture
plate with built-in matte slot. 35m m full .980" x .735" aper­
ture. Speed range: single frame to 32 fps. Slot for dual gel
Shutter: Focal plane 175° maximum variable to 0° in
10° increments. Phase and opening indicator on back of
camera. Some models have automatic four-foot fade in or
Reflex Viewfinder: Rotating mirror. View ing tube
sam e on rack-over and reflex. Interchangeable ground
glasses, variable magnification, film clip/m atte slot, con­
trast viewing filters. Adjustable focusing eyepiece.
View finder: External large screen erecting finder.
Parallax correction coupled by cam to lens focus knob.
Lens Mount: Four-lens turret, NC only; flange depth
1.695". Single mount all others: 35mm flange depth 2.420";
lenses can be centered on full or Academy aperture.
M agazines: 400’, 1000', 1200' double com partm ent
sound insulated. NC magazines will not fit standard cam­
era but standard magazines may be used on NC models
with adapter; not recommended for sound shooting.
Drive: Demountable motors for all types of shooting;
synchronous motors are sound insulated. Crystal sync 30V
DC w ith 5 0 /6 0 Hz signal, mirror positioning circuit and
audible offspeed indicator.
Accessories: Film matte punch. Matte boxes for rotat­
ing and sliding diffusion and filters. Director's finder which
takes camera lens mounts.
which camera body racks over for focusing and critical
Note: There are several versions of modifications avail­
able for special applications.
Movement: High Speed: Dual registration pins. Dual
forked pull-down claws engage four perforations simulta­
neously. Removable aperture plate has built-in matte slot.
Full Aperture: .980" x .735" Academy Aperture Mask: 868"
x 631". Speed range: Single frame to 120 fps (160 fps can be
achieved but is not recommended). Standard movement
cannot be used for high-speed work. Not possible to con­
vert standard to high-speed cam era by interchanging
Shutter: 170° maxim um. Variable in 10° calibrated
segments to 0° manually, forward or reverse.
Focusing: Variable magnification erect image focusing
telescope built into the camera. Through-the-lens ground
glass critical focus and view ing w hen camera is racked
over. Built-in contrast viewing filters for color and mono­
chrome emulsions. Interchangeable ground glasses. Any
aspect ratio outline available. Camera focus tube has builtin matte slot and permits the making of perfect match dis­
Lenses: Four-lens turret. Positive index type, with ris­
ing and falling front. Mitchell-designed heavy-duty rotarytype lens mounts. Flange depth: 1.695". Standard and wideangle matte boxes provide for use of glass mattes, gauzes,
hard mattes, glass filters, Pola screen, diffusers, variable
diffuser attachment, etc.
Motors: Variable (wild) motors: 12V DC (8 to 24 fps),
110V AC or DC (8 to 24 fps), High Speed. 110V AC or DC
rheostat controlled (24 to 128 fps). Synchronous (sound)
motors: 110V, 60-cycle, 1 phase AC; 220V, 60-cycle, 3-phase
AC; 220V, 3-phase interlocking AC; 220V, 3-phase A C /96V
DC Multi-duty (Synchronous at 220V AC only). 50-cycle
motors available on request. Animation motor: Stop-motion, 110V AC.
Magazines: 400', 1000' and 1200' double compartmenttype magazines.
Viewfinder: Large erect viewfinder calibrated for dif­
ferent focal-length lenses. Available with dual calibrations
for any two aspect ratios. Parallax-free follow-focus attach­
ment available.
Moviecam Super 35mm
Movement: Com pensating link with dual pilot pin
registration and dual pull-down. Interchangeable aperture
plates for all standard aspect ratios.
Shutter: 180° rotating m irror variable to 45°. Cali­
brated at 90°, 144°, 172.8°. Stops in viewing position.
Reflex Viewfinder: Rotatable 360° maintaining erect
image. 12" extension tube with built-in 2.4X magnification
available. Large exit pupil has heated rear element. Eye­
piece adjustable. Anamorphic viewing available. Illumi­
nated fram e lines. Integral video assist; external video
power unit includes 1 Vi" monitor.
Lens Mount: BNCR.
Drive: Microprocessor-controlled motor, 12 to 32 fps
in one-frame increments. Crystal sync. 24V DC or 110/220V
Magazines: 500' and 1000' displacement-type torque
motor drive. Built-in heater.
Features: Below 20 dBa sound level. Built-in automatic
slate. Plug-in circuit boards field replaceable. Built-in cam­
era heaters. Footage and frame rate digital display forward
and reverse. H andheld and studio follow -focus for all
Weight: 29 pounds with 500' of film and 50mm lens.
Accessories: "M oviespeed" attachment allows pro­
grammable speed changes from 1 to 50 fps forward and 12
to 32 fps reverse during shooting, with fully automatic ex­
posure compensation. Time base code attachment. Syn­
chronizer for flicker-free HMI shooting, filming from TV
monitors or process photography. Com puter diagnosis
attachment for troubleshooting circuit boards. Matte boxes.
Panavision Platinum Panaflex 35mm
Movement: Dual pilot pin registration ensures process-plate image steadiness. Pilot pins register in the same
perforation holes (immediately below the bottom frame
line) as optical printers. Double pull-down claws. Pitch and
stroke controls for optim izing cam era quietness. 4-perf
movement is standard, 3-perf is available. M ovement may
be removed for servicing.
Aperture Plate: Removable for checking and cleaning.
Full-frame aperture is standard, aperture mattes are used
for all other frame sizes. A special perforation locating pin
above the aperture ensures trouble-free and rapid film
Aperture Mattes: Interchangeable aperture mattes are
available for A cadem y, A nam orphic, Super 35, 1.85:1,
1.66:1, and any other as required. Special hard mattes are
available on request.
Shutter: Focal plane shutter, infinitely variable and
adjustable in-shot. Maximum opening: 200°, minimum: 50°
with adjustable maximum and minimum opening stops.
A digital display allows adjustments in Mo° increments.
M icrom eter adjustm ent allow s critical synchronization
with computers, TV monitors and HM I lighting at unusual
fram e rates. Manual and electronic remote control units
Behind-the-lens Filtering: Behind-the-lens gel filter
R eflex System: Reflex rotating mirror is standard and
is independent of the light shutter system. Interchangeable
semi-silvered fixed reflex mirror for flicker-free viewing is
O ptical V iew find er System: High magnification op­
tical system. The viewfinder tube is orientable and gives a
constantly upright image through 360°. Short, Intermedi­
ate and Long viewfinder tubes are available. System incor­
porates an optical magnifier for critical focusing and pic­
ture composition, a de-anamorphoser, a contrast viewing
filter and a light-proof shutter. W ide-range ocular adjust­
ment with marker bezel to note individual settings. A builtin "Panaclear" eyepiece heater ensures mist-free viewing.
A djustable eyepiece leveling link-arm is supplied with
every Panahead to keep the eyepiece position constant
while tilting the camera. Entire optical viewfinder system
m ay be removed and replaced w ith a video viewfinder
display for lightw eight cam era configuration (e.g., for
Panaglide, Steadicam, Louma, remote camera usage). An
eyepiece diopter to suit the operator's own eyesight can be
provided on request.
G round G lasses: Interchangeable ground glasses
available with any marking, or combination of markings.
"P anag low " illum inated reticle system w ith brightness
control is standard. Ground glasses with finer or coarser
texture available on request. Provision for a cut frame to be
placed in the viewfinder system for optical image match­
ing. Frame cutters are available to suit negative or positive
Lens M ounting System : Panavision positive clamp
lens mount for maintaining critical flange focal depth set­
ting. All lenses are pinned to ensure proper rotational ori­
entation. (Note: this is particularly important with anamor­
phic lenses.) Iris-rod support is supplied.
Lenses: Exceptionally wide range of spherical, an­
amorphic and specialty lenses is available. All are checked
and calibrated by MTF. Primo lenses are all color matched
and range from a distortion-free 10mm to 150mm. Primo
zoom lenses are equal to Primo lenses in image-look and
optical performance. All Primo lenses have widely spaced
lens focus calibrations and have been especially designed
for low veiling glare. Physically long lenses are supplied
with adequate length iris rods for matte box and filter sup­
port, ultra wide-angle lenses are supplied with a suitable
sun-shade and matte box.
Lens Control: A lightweight focus control which can
be used from either side of the camera is standard; an in­
terchangeable "Studio" focus control unit is optional, as are
electronic remote focus and aperture controls. Zoom lenses
are supplied with an electronic zoom control unit as stan­
Matte Boxes: A standard matte box incorporating a
sunshade, with provision for two 4 x 5.650" filters which
can be individually slid up and down. Special matte boxes
incorporating more filter stages, with provision for sliding
(motorized if required), rotating an d /o r tilting and for tak­
ing 6.6" square filters are optional. Panavision can also sup­
ply special sliding diffusers, diopters and all manner of
image control filters, etc, to use in their matte boxes.
Camera Motor: A 24-volt motor is used to run the cam­
era at any speed from 4-36 fps and is crystal controlled at
all speeds and m ay be adjusted in Vwth fps increments.
Special sync boxes are available to synchronize the camera
with a mains power supply, with computers and video sig­
nals and with process projectors to run in shutter phase
synchronization. Panaflex cameras may be used at sub-zero
temperatures without special preparation.
DBA Rating: Less than 20 dB with film and lens, mea­
sured 3' from the image plane.
Magazines: 2000', 1000', 500' and 250' magazines are
all available. All can be used on the top of the camera for
minimum camera length or at the rear for minimum cam­
era height and for good balance when hand-holding (2000'
magazines can be used in the top position only). 1000' re­
verse running magazines available on request.
Magazine Loading: See diagram.
Hand-holdability: Handles and a shoulder-rest are
provided for hand-holding the camera. In this configura­
tion the camera is best used w ith a 500' or 250’ magazine
fitted at the rear. The weight of the camera in hand-held
mode, with a 500' magazine and film, is approximately 27
Image Contrast Control: "Panaflasher" light overlay
unit an optional accessory.
Optical Accessories: Front-of-lens optical accessories
include an exceptionally wide range of color control filters,
diffusion filters, fog filters, low-contrast filters, black, white
and colored nets, full-cover and split diopters, low /h ig h
angle inclining prisms.
Batteries: Camera, magazines, heaters and accessories
all operate off a single 24V N i-Cad battery. The normal
battery complement is two x cased units with built-in charg­
ers. Belt batteries are optional.
C am era Support Equipm ent: "P a n a h ea d " geared
head, incorporates a 60° tilt range with a built-in wedge
system to allow the operator to select where that range is,
anywhere between the camera pointing directly up or di­
rectly down, and three gear ratios in both the pan and tilt
movem ents. A sliding base unit enables a camera to be
quickly attached and detached and to be slid backwards
and forwards on the head for optimum balance. "Panatate"
turn-over mount allows 360° camera rotation about the lens
axis while at the same time permitting nodal pan and tilt
movements. Nodal adapter available to mount a Panaflex
nodally on a Panahead. "Panapod" tripods w ith carbon
fiber legs are available in a range of sizes.
Video Assist Systems: State-of-the-art, CCD video
systems are available in B &W or color.
Environmental Protection Equipment: All Panaflex
cameras and m agazines have built-in heaters to enable
them to be operated in any ambient temperature. Heated
covers are available to give additional protection to lenses,
especially zoom lenses, to keep their operation smooth in
intensely cold conditions. Other covers are available to
protect the camera, magazines and lenses from heat and
dust and from rain and water. Spinning-glass rain deflec­
tors are available for use in storm conditions. An autobase
is available to secure the camera in conditions of vibration
high "g-forces" and other stressful and dangerous condi­
tions. A water-box is available to protect the camera in shal­
low water conditions, a hazard box to protect the camera
from explosions, collisions and other dangerous situations.
Time Code: The AatonCode code system encodes ev­
ery frame with a SMPTE time code which is readable by
both computer and human.
Panavision GII Golden Panaflex
Very similar to the Platinum Panaflex. Incorporates
most of the features and operates with m ost of the acces­
sories listed for that camera.
Panavision Panaflex-X
Sim ilar to the GII G olden Panaflex but has a fixed
viewfinder system and is not hand-holdable.
Panaflex Panastar High-Speed
Movement: Dual pilot pin registration ensures process-plate image steadiness. Pilot pins register in the same
perforation holes (immediately below the bottom frame
line) as optical printers. Four pull-dow n claw s. Entire
movement may be removed for servicing.
Threading Diagram: See below.
Aperture Plate: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
Aperture Mattes: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
Shutter: Focal plane shutter with infinitely variable
opening and adjustable in-shot. Maximum-opening: 180°,
minimum: 40° w ith adjustable maximum and minimum
opening stops. A digital display allows adjustments in Vw°
increments. Micrometer adjustment allow critical synchro­
nization with computers, TV monitors and HMI lighting
at unusual frame rates. Manual and electronic remote con­
trol units available.
Reflex System: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
O p tical V iew fin d e r S ystem : Sam e as P latinu m
Ground Glasses: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
Lens Mounting System: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
Lenses: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
Lens Control: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
Matte Boxes: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
Camera Motor: A 24-volt motor is used to run the cam­
era at any speed from 4-120 fps and is crystal-controlled at
all speeds and may be adjusted in 1 fps increments. Spe­
cial sync boxes are available to synchronize the camera with
a main power supply, with computers, with video signals
and with process projectors in shutter phase synchroniza­
tion. Panastar cameras have internal heaters and may be
used at sub-zero temperatures.
Magazines: 1000' and 500' magazines are available. Ei­
ther can be used on the top of the camera for minimum
camera length or at the rear for minimum camera height
Panastar reverse running type magazine threading
and for good balance when hand-holding; 1000' reverse
running magazines available on request.
Hand-holdability: Handles and a shoulder-rest are
provided for hand-holding the camera. In this configura­
tion the camera is best used with a 500’ magazine fitted at
the rear. The weight of the camera in hand-held mode, with
a 500' magazine and film, is approximately 26 lbs.
Image Contrast Control: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
Optical Accessories: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
Batteries: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
C am era Support E q u ip m en t: Sam e as P latinu m
Video Assist Systems: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
Environmental Protection Equipment: Same as Plati­
num Panaflex.
Panavision Super R-200° 35mm
Movement: Dual pilot pin registration. Double pull­
down claws. Pitch control to optimize camera quietness.
Entire movement may be removed for servicing.
Aperture Plate: Removable for checking and cleaning.
Full-frame aperture is standard, aperture mattes are used
for all other frame sizes. A special perforation locating pin
above the aperture ensures trouble-free and rapid film
A perture M attes: Interchangeable aperture mattes
a re a v a ila b le fo r A cad em y , A n a m o rp h ic, S u p er-3 5,
1.85:1,1.66:1, TV transm itted and any other aperture re­
quired. Special hard mattes are available on request.
Shutter: Focal plane shutter with infinitely variable
opening and adjustable in-shot. Maximum opening: 200°;
minimum: 50° with adjustable maximum and minimum
opening stops. A digital display allows adjustments in Vw°
increments. Micrometer adjustment allows critical synchro­
nization with computers, TV monitors and HMI lighting
at unusual frame-rates. Manual and electronic remote con­
trol units available.
Reflex System: Reflex rotating mirror is standard and
is independent of the light shutter systetn. Interchangeable
semi-silvered fixed reflex mirror for flicker-free viewing is
Behind-the-lens Filtering: Provision for a behind-thelens filter gel.
Optical View finder System: Fixed optical system.
System incorporates an optical magnifier for critical focus­
ing and picture composition, a de-anamorphoser, a contrast
viewing filter and a light-proof shutter. W ide-range ocu­
lar adjustment with marker bezel to note individual set­
tings. A built-in "Panaclear" eyepiece heater ensures mist-
free viewing. An eyepiece diopter to suit the operator's own
eyesight can be provided on request.
Ground Glasses: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
Lens Mounting System: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
Lenses: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
Lens Control: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
Matte Boxes: Same as Platinum Panaflex.
Camera Motor: 24 or 36V motors are used to run the
camera at any speed from 4-36 fps with crystal control at
24 and 25 fps. Special sync boxes are available to synchro­
nize the camera with a main power supply, with com put­
ers and video signals and with process projectors in shut­
ter phase synchronization. May be used at sub-zero tem­
peratures without special preparation.
DBA Rating: Less than 24 dB with film and lens, mea­
sured 3' from the image plane. Magazines: 1000' and 400’
magazines are available. The 400' magazine can be used,
together with a special low-profile m agazine cover, for
minimum camera height.
Optical Accessories: Same as Platinum Panaflex; see
page 70.
Batteries: Camera, heaters and accessories all operate
on either a 24V or a 36V Ni-Cad battery. The normal bat­
tery complement is two x cased units with built-in charg­
C am era Support Equipm ent: "S u p e r P anahead "
geared head incorporates a 60° tilt range with a built-in
wedge system to allow the operator to select where that
range is, anywhere between the camera pointing directly
up or directly down, and three gear ratios in both the pan
and tilt movements. A sliding base unit enables a camera
to be quickly attached and detached and to be slid back­
wards and forwards on the head for optim um balanced
"Panapod" tripods, with carbon fiber legs, are available in
a range of sizes.
Video Assist Systems: State-of-the-art, CCD video
systems are available in B & W or color.
Photo-Sonics 35mm 4B/4C
Rotary prism recording cam era designed for high
speed full format 35mm photography.
Film Transport: Continuous.
Frame Rate: High-speed system: 500 to 2500 fps in 500frame intervals. Low-speed system: 250 to 1250 fps in 250frame increments. Special low-speed motor, 125 fps-625 fps,
available on request.
Aperture Size: Full-frame 35 mm.
Film Specifications: B & H .1866" perforations.
Shutter: Rotary disc, 72° fixed shutter. 36°, 18° or 9°
shutter available on request.
V iew finder Fries orientable. Boresighting is accom­
plished through the taking lens using ground film.
Lens Mount: Nikon or BNCR.
Drive: High-speed 208 VAC, 3 phase, 60 Hz, Y-connected synchronou s speed motor. Surge at m axim um
frame rate 60 am p s/each phase; running 30 am p s/each
phase. Low speed 115VAC, single phase, 60 Hz, synchro­
nous speed motor. Surge at maximum frame rate 40 amps;
running 20 amps.
Magazine: 1000'.
Film Cores: Film must be wound on dynamically-bal­
anced aluminum film cores prior to use in this camera.
Accessories: Video assist on-axis, parallax-free, shut­
tered video camera or off-axis side mounted.
Photo-Sonics 35mm-4ER
High speed, (6 to 360 f.p.s.) pin register studio record­
ing camera.
Movement: Intermittent with 12 pull-down arms, four
registration pins and a vacuum back.
Shutter: Adjustable rotary disk type with increments:
5° between 5° and 50°; 10° between 50° and 120°.
Reflex View finder 4ER incorporates a reflex viewing
system in conjunction with a Jurgens/A rriflex orientable
viewfinder system and shuttered CCD video tap.
Lens Mount: BNCR, Panavision or Photo-Sonics.
Drive: Built-in motor and circuitry. Requires 208 VAC,
single phase, 60 Hz, SCR, solid state. Surge at maximum
frame rate 35 amps; running 20 amps.
Magazines: 1000-t'oot capacity with built-in light traps.
Features: 200-watt heater. Sync pulse for strobe light
synchronization. Ground glass with Academy, TV safe
action and 1.85:1.
W eight: 125 pounds with 1000-foot magazine loaded.
Accessories: Arriflex 5 x 6 Matte Box with Hard Matte
set. Arriflex 6x6 Matte Box with Hard Matte set. Diopters
for close focus: + 1 /2 , +1, +2, + 3 set.
Ultracam 35mm
Sound level 20 ±1 dB at three feet with film and 50mm
Movement: Full aperture: .985" x .736". Single claw,
dual registration pin, com pensating link, using tungsten
counter-balance for m inim um possible vibration. Auto­
matic film location by spring-loaded pin. Pitch adjustment
compensated for 3X more change in stroke length at end
of stroke than at start. Entire movement can be removed
for cleaning; coupling is keyed for correct alignment on
Shutter: Focal plane 175° on same shaft with mirror.
Reflex Viewfinder: Rotating two-blade half-speed
mirror. 41°30' to permit short back focus lenses. Eyepiece
rotates 360° using prism to provide erect image. All surfaces
high efficiency for bright image, exit pupil 10mm. 6X to9X
true zoom magnification. Anamorphic correction available.
Interchangeable ground glasses. Internal diopter accommo­
dation. Right or left eye operation. Video assist on bayonet
Lens Mount: SBNCR.
Drive: Internal 28V DC optically encoded. 8 ,1 2 ,1 6 ,1 8 ,
2 0,2 4 ,2 5 ,3 0 , and 32 fps and by a 10V P-P external pulse of
60X frame rate. Crystal sync -15 ppm over 0° to 130° F
range. 5 0 /6 0 Hz and frame rate output pulse.
Weight: 31 lbs. with 400' of film and 50mm lens.
M agazines: 500' and 1000' displacem ent. Built-in
torque motor and electric brake. Either size will mount on
camera top or rear.
Features: Quick-release balance plate. Built-in followfocus. LED counter feet/m eters may be preset to any read­
ing; battery operated memory. Built-in heater. Swing-away
matte box; rotating feature accepts various size filters with
two stationary stages and two rotating stages.
VistaVision Cameras
MSM Model 8812 35mm/8-perf VistaVision
Movement: MSM Monoblock high-speed, triple reg­
ister pins, claw engages four perfs. Slirinkage adjustment
changes both stroke and entry position. Indexable loopsetting sprockets have independent locking keeper rollers.
Vacuum backplate assures film plane accuracy, removes
without tools for cleaning. Aperture and m ovem ent re­
move easily for cleaning and lubrication. Aperture size
1.485" wide x .992" high. Frame-rates from time-lapse to 72
fps forward, to 30 fps reverse.
Shutter: Focal plane shutter, manually variable from
172.8° to 55° with stops at 144° and 108°.
Viewfinder: Spinning mirror reflex. Interchangeable
ground glasses with register pins for film clips. Finder ro­
tates 360° with erect image, image can be manually rotated
for unusual setups. Finder shows 105% of frame, magni­
fier allows critical focusing at center of interest. Single le­
ver controls internal filter and douser. Heated eyepiece has
large exit pupil and long eye relief. High-resolution B & W
CCD videotap is built into camera door with swingaway
5 0 /5 0 beamsplitter. Viewfinder removes completely for
aerial or underwater housing use.
Lens Mount: BNC lens mount. 15mm matte rods are
on Arri BL centers for accessory compatibility.
Magazines: 1000' and 400' displacement magazines
operate bidirectionally at all camera speeds. A positive
camlock secures the mag in running position and switches
power to the motor and heater contacts in the magfoot.
Expanding core hubs have integral DC servomotors con­
trolled by film tension in both directions, with soft startup
to eliminate slack. Tightwind rollers guide film winding for
smooth solid rolls at any camera angle. Non-contact light
traps feature infrared end-of-film sensors.
Features: Crystal sync from 5 to 72 fps in .001 incre­
ments. Status LEDs for pow er, heat, low battery, m ag
ready, buckle, and speed sync. Two illuminated LCD foot­
age counters. Digital battery volt/am p meter. Circuit break­
ers for camera, mag, heat, and accessories. Control port
allows operation from handheld remote or interface with
computers and external accessories.
Wilcam W-7 VistaVision High Speed
VistaVision, 8-perforation 35mm designed for opera­
tion at 200 frames per second.
Registration: 3 dual-register pins.
Film Transport: 2 claw pins. Transport claws never
enter the registration pin perforations.
Sh u tter: Beryllium m irror w ith tungsten counter
View finder: Rotating mirror. Uses servo motors for
constant erect image while the eyepiece is being rotated.
Lens Mount: BNCR
Lenses: 14mm f/2 .8 Canon, 19mm f/2 .8 Leitz, 24mm
T-1.4 Canon, 28mm T-1.8 Zeiss, 35mm T-1.4 Zeiss, 50mm
T-1.4 Zeiss, 85mm T-1.4 Zeiss, 135mm T-1.8 Zeiss, 35-140
f/1 .4 Vivitar zoom. Also 200mm, 400mm, and 600mm.
Magazines: 1000-foot.
Magazine Drive: Gear-driven through torque motors
permanently mounted on the camera body.
Matte Box: W ilcam 4 x 5.65 also standard Arriflex 6
x 6.
Weight: 110 pounds with 50mm lens and film.
Wilcam W-9 VistaVision Lightweight
VistaVision, 8-perforation 35mm designed for general
purpose use. Maximum speed 100 frames per second.
Registration: 3 dual-register pins.
Film Transport: 2 claw pins. Transport claws never
enter the registration pin perforations.
Shutter: 180° Beryllium mirror with tungsten counter­
Viewfinder: Rotating mirror. Uses servo motors for
constant erect image while the eyepiece is being rotated.
Lens Mount: BNCR.
Lenses: 14mm f/2 .8 Canon, 19mm f/2 .8 Leitz, 24mm
T-1.4 Canon, 28mm T-1.8 Zeiss, 35mm T-1.4 Zeiss, 50mm
T-1.4 Zeiss, 85mm T-1.4 Zeiss, 135mm T-1.8 Zeiss, 35-140
f/1 .4 Vivitar zoom. Also 200mm, 400mm, and 600mm.
Magazines: 1000-foot.
Magazine Drive: Torque motors mounted on each
M atte Box: Wilcam 4 x 5.65 also standard Arriflex 6
x 6.
W eight: 37 pounds with 50mm lens and film.
Wilcam W -ll VistaVision Sound Speed
VistaVision 8-perforation 35mm. Designed for
soundstage production shooting. Runs at 24, 25, and 30
frames per second, all crystal sync. Virtually silent in op­
eration without relying on extensive blimping. Noise level
in operating condition with a prime lens is 25 dB at 3 feet
in front of the camera lens.
Registration: 3 dual-register pins. 2 pairs in conven­
tional location, 1 pair .050 wide perforations trailing.
Film Transport: 2 claw pins. Transport claws never
enter the registration pin perforations.
Shutter: Half-speed, 144 degrees. Beryllium mirror
driven by second motor, phase-locked to camera motor.
Viewfinder: High-efficiency ground glass with locat­
ing pins for film clip. A utom atic im age erection w ith
manual override for odd-angle viewing. 10X magnifier for
critical focusing. Built-in Sony CCD video camera.
Lens Mount: BNCR.
Lenses: Available BNCR lenses: 14mm f/2 .8 Canon,
19mm f/2.8, Leitz, 24mm T-1.4 Canon, 28mm T-1.8 Zeiss,
35mm T-1.4 Zeiss, 50mm T-1.4 Zeiss, 85m m T-1.4 Zeiss,
135mm T-l .8 Zeiss, 35-140 f / 1 .4 Vivitar zoom. Also 200mm,
400mm and 600mm.
Magazines: 1000-foot. Supply on right side of camera,
take up on rear.
Magazine Drive: Hysteresis clutch with sensing arms
in camera body for correct film tension.
Battery Voltage: 36 volts.
Current: 3 amperes.
Follow focus: On left side of camera. Detachable.
Matte Box: W ilcam 4 x 5.65 also standard Arriflex 6
x 6.
Weight: 60 pounds with 50mm lens and 1000 feet of
16mm Cameras
Aaton XTRplus
Ergonomically designed standard 16 and Super 16
camera for studio and documentary use, featuring time
code and video assist. Sound level 19dB. (Ankvi XTRplus
specific features appear in italics.)
Movement: Linear-stroke single claw; self registering.
Lateral and vertical registration system ensures a position­
ing of the film better than 2.5mm in all three axes. Hair-free
gate with air circulation channel pulls hair out.
Shutter: True 180-degree front surface mirror facili­
tates 60Hz HMI and video-monitor roll-bar elimination.
Stops in viewing position. May be inched for aperture in­
Viewfinder: Reflex from shutter. Ultra-bright view­
finder. Fiberoptic imaging finder field is 120% of standard
16mm frame. Swiveling auto erect image eyepiece with 10X
magnification. 20cm or 40cm extensions and left-eye ex­
tender available. Field interchangeable S tl6 /S u p e r 16
ground glass with Aatonite markings available on option.
Built-in light meter display in viewfinder also indicates low
battery, out-of-sync and before-the-end and end-of-film
Lens Mount: Aaton positive lock ring mount, Arri PL
or Panavision Primo mounts. Aaton mount also accepts
Arri Bayonet or any reflex-type lens with Aaton adapter.
Standard to Super 16 format conversion in five minutes.
Drive: Brushless crystal sync 12V motor for 23.98,24,
25,29.97 & 30 fps. Variable control form 3 to 60 fps crystal
controlled to Viooo fps. Built-in TV bar eliminator. (2 4 ,2 5 ,3 0
fp s plus 6 to 54 fps in 12 steps, no built-in TV bar eliminator on
XTRplus.) Electronic base and motor may be removed and
replaced in two minutes. Slim battery (12V 1.8 Ah) fits di­
rectly onto the camera body.
Magazines: 122m (400ft) coaxial. Feed chamber loaded
in dark and loop threaded in daylight. Fourteen to fifteenperforation loop length. Twistless film threading and hairfree gate eliminates pressure marks and emulsion pile-up.
Magnetically driven takeup with electronic and mechani­
cal counters. Memo-mag indexes for magazine ID recog­
Features: Back-lighted digital control display: footage,
speed, voltage, ISO, time code, magazine elapsed time (no
back-light nor elapsed time on XTRplus display). Memo-mag
allows magnetic recognition by the camera body of 7 dif­
ferent magazines (3 on XTRplus). Counter in camera pro­
vides LCD display of remaining footage — for short-ends
load or multi-emulsion shoot. Keycode compatible and
frame-accurate time code marking in SMPTE matrixes and
human readable numbers, lppm TCXO internal clock for
8-hour autonomy. Bottom of camera-to-lens optical axis
distance is 105mm to make the XTRplus compatible with
35mm camera accessories (109.2mm on XTRplus).
Accessories: Lightweight wide-format swing-away
matte box: two 4 x 5.6 and one 138mm rotating stages. Also
accommodates Panavision mattes. Lightweight and with­
out play follow-focus system. Totally incorporated black &
white or color CCD video assist: the combination of con­
cave viewing screen and exclusive relay lens with manual
iris control delivers the clearest and sharpest images —
requires no set-up time. LTR Model: superseded by XTRs,
LTRs are differentiated by the magazine mechanical drive,
no LCD counter and no CCD video-assist compatibility.
Arriflex 16SR-2
Description: The Arriflex 16SR-2 is a silent 16mm pro­
duction camera, featuring a narrow, symmetrical body
design and a unique, patented swing-over viewfinder. The
16SR-2's unique design allows the user to operate from ei­
ther side of the camera. The 16SR-2 features a pin-registered
film transport and fixed-gap channel, a fiberoptic viewing
screen, patented orientable swingover viewfinder, APEC
TTL metering system, auto shutter stop, and preset iris
activator. It is widely used internationally for feature films,
television production, TV commercials, music videos, na­
ture and wildlife films, documentaries, and for industrial
and scientific film production.
1 .16SR-2E: Standard 16SR without APEC, preset lens
activator or automatic exposure control. These features may
be retrofitted.
2 . 16SR-2: Standard 16SR, with APEC (Arri Precision
Exposure Control).
16SR-2 Automatic: Same as Standard 16SR with
APEC, but also includes servo-activated, fully automatic
exposure control. Exposure is adjusted automatically at any
speed from 5 to 75 fps.
4 / 5 . 16HSR-2 Highspeed Automatic, and 16HSR-2E
Highspeed (w /o APEC): Operate up to 150 fps and require
gray finish 16SR Highspeed magazines. On the Automatic
version, exposure is adjusted automatically from 10 to 150
fps with lenses equipped with auto-iris capability.
6 / 7 . S u p er 16 16SR -2 and Sup er 16 16H SR -2
Highspeed Standard and Highspeed 16SR cameras: All
Arri accessories m ay be used w ithout m odification.
Highspeed camera requires grey finish highspeed maga­
M ovement: Pin-registered, compensating link film
transport, with fixed-gap film channel. The 16SR-2 operates
from 5 to 75 fps with external variable speed control. The
16HSR-2 Highspeed (and the 16HSR-1 Highspeed version)
operates from 10 to 150 fps with external variable speed
control. The movement does not require threading as the
loop is preset when the magazine is loaded. Switches lo­
cated in the camera base of early versions lock in crystal
speeds of 24 and 25 fps, 50 and 60 Hz, and in later SR cam­
eras, 30 fps, 72 Hz. All 16SRs can be modified with a 30 fps
Sw ingover View finder: Rotating mirror-shutter sys­
tem with 180° opening (Vts sec at 24 fps), with high aperture/parallax-free viewing, and 10X magnification at the
eyepiece. The swingover reflex viewfinder is centrally lo­
cated, and swings within a 190° arc to either side of the
camera for left- and right-side operation. The finder also
rotates 360° parallel to the cam era on either side, and
swings out 25° for additional operator comfort. It features
a fiber-optic viewing screen, a red out-of-sync LED, and an
APEC exposure indicator.
Lens M ount: Steel bayonet lens mount (41mm diam­
eter), with built-in auto-iris facility. Flange focal distance
is 52mm. When used with an auto-iris lens, the iris will
open to full aperture when camera is turned off and close
down to a preset aperture when the camera is activated. All
Arri 16mm or 35mm format standard and bayonet mount
lenses covering the 16mm format can be used. Long or
heavy lenses must be used with the bridgeplate support
APEC: Thro ugh-the-lens Arri Precision Exposure Con­
trol system. Provides continuous exposure information
(match-needle mode) on a 4-stop indicator displayed in
viewfinder. For film speeds ASA 16-1000. An optional
servo-operated automatic exposure control system (with
manual override) for complete automatic exposure control
with auto-iris lenses is available.
Motor Drive: Quartz-controlled 12V DC motor for 2 4 /
25/30 fps, 5 0 /6 0 /7 2 Hz. operation. A variable-speed acces­
sory extends the speed range from 5 to 75 fps (on the 16HSR
Highspeed, from 10 to 150 fps). Multi-camera interlock is
achieved with the FSZ-II sync control accessory. Power
input through a 4-pin connector. Pin 1 is (-); pin 4 is +12V.
Modular plug-in electronics boards contain circuitry con­
trolling all electronic functions, including a built-in startmarking system, out-of-sync light, Pilotone output and pre­
wiring for SMPTE 80-bit time code. Operating temperature
range is -4° F to +122° F (-20° C to +50° C).
Magazines: 400' coaxial; normally accepts 100' and 200'
daylight loads; 400’ daylight reels may be used if 1 /8 " is
milled off the reel's edge. Loop is formed during loading
for quick magazine change. Grey finish Highspeed maga­
zines must be used on 16HSR, 16HSR-2 Highspeed and
16SR Super 16 Highspeed cameras.
Super 16: Both 16SR-2 and 16HSR-2 Highspeed cam­
eras are available in Super 16. The wider Super 16 format
(7.5mm x 12.3mm) required repositioning the optical axis
1mm to the left. The lens mount, fiber screen, viewfinder,
tripod mounting hole and accessory shoe were moved ac­
cordingly. The shutter opening of the Super 16 camera is
172.8°. The APEC exposure system is standard on both
cameras, but auto-iris exposure control is not available. The
following bayonet-mounted lenses will work in the Super
16 format: Zeiss 16 format Superspeed prim es 12mm,
16mm, and 25mm T-1.3; Zeiss 35 format Superspeed primes
18mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm T-1.3 and 135mm
T-2.1; Zeiss 35nnn Standard primes 10mm, 16mm, 20mm,
24mm, 28mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 85mm, 100mm, and
135m m T -2.1; and 60m m , 180m m , and 300m m T-3.0.
Angenieux 16-44m m T-1.3 and 15-150m m T-2.3; RTH
Cooke 10.2-54mm T-2.8. All 35mm format zoom lenses will
cover Super 16.
Matte Boxes: See Arriflex 535 Matte Box section for
details. Accessories: 2-speed follow-focus with 1:1 or 1:.06
ratios; bridgeplate support system for CG balance and
mount for matte box, follow focus, servo zoom drive, and
heavy lenses; lightweight support, on-board batteries, left
and right grips for handheld operation of the camera; finder
extender; SMPTE time code generator; High-speed unit for
operation of Standard 16SRs up to 75 fps or 16HSR
Highspeed up to 150 fps; Arri Geared Head; and director's
viewfinder with PL mount.
Arriflex Super 16
Two versions of the 16SR-2 camera are available in the
Super 16 format: the 16SR-2 (5-75 fps) and the 16HSR-2
Highspeed (10-150 fps). Normal operation and functions
of both are virtually the same as with standard 16SR-2 cam­
The height of the Super 16 aperture in the 16SR-2 is
identical to that in regular 16SRs, but the aperture is 2mm
wider, pushing into the left perf area on the negative. The
Super 16 aperture is 7.5 X 12.3mm, and the aperture of regu­
lar SRs is 7.5 X 10.3 mm. This necessitates the reposition­
ing of the optical middle axis of lens mount, viewfinder,
tripod thread and accessory holder by 1mm to the left.
Single-perf film must be used.
The 16SR-2's spinning mirror shutter has a 172.8° shut­
ter opening. Super 16 SRs have the same exposure meter
system as in regular 16SRs, but the automatic exposure
control feature cannot be installed.
Because of the wider aperture area covered, some stan­
dard 16mm lenses will vignette. The following 41mm Steel
Bayonet Mount lenses can be used for Super 16 production:
16mm Format
Superspeed Primes
Zoom Lenses
35mm Format
Superspeed Primes
Standard Primes
Zeiss Distagon T-1.3
Zeiss Distagon T-1.3
Zeiss Distagon T-1.3
Zeiss Planar T-1.3
Angenieux T-2.6
Angenieux T-2.3
Angenieux T-2.3
Angenieux T-1.3
Cooke Varokinetal T-2.8
Cooke Varokinetal T-1.5
Zeiss Distagon T-l .3
Zeiss Distagon T-1.3
Zeiss Distagon T-1.3
Zeiss Planar T-1.3
Zeiss Planar T-1.3
Zeiss Planar T-1.3
Distagon T-2.1
Distagon T-2.1
Distagon T-2.1
Distagon T-2.1
Planar T-2.1
Planar T-2.1
Zeiss Planar T-2.1
Zeiss Macro Planar T-3.0
Zeiss Planar T-2.1
Zeiss Planar T-2.1
Zeiss Planar T-2.1
Zeiss Sonnar T-3.0
Zeiss Tele-Apotessar T-3.0
(w ith 2X range exten der
becom es 600m m T-6.0)
Zoom Lenses: All 35mm format zoom lenses with
41mm steel bayonet mount will cover Super 16.
Time Code Note: 16SR-2 Super 16 cameras are time
code compatible.
Arriflex 16SR-3
Silent 16mm production camera system for both Stan­
dard 16 and Super 16 production. In two versions:
1 . 16SR-3 Standard (Standard 16 and Super 16)
2 . 16HSR-3 Highspeed (Standard 16 and Super 16)
M ovement: Pin-registered compensating link, with
fixed-gap film channel. 5-75 fps Standard; 10-150 fps
Shutter: Variable (manually) rotating mirror shutter;
90°, 135°, 144°, 172.8°, 180° shutter openings. Shutter open­
ing indicated on LCD display during electronic inching
Reflex Viewfinder: Swingover Viewfinder swings in
a 190° arc for full left- or right-side operation, with fully
upright image in any position. With CCD video assist and
flicker-reduction electronics attached, viewfinder swings in
a 120° arc. Finder is equipped with ArriGlow — steplessly
adjustable illuminated frame lines for both Standard 16 and
Super 16. The finder also has warning indications for asyn­
chronous camera speed, film-end and low battery. NOTE:
the 16SR-3 Super 16 aperture can be masked for the Stan­
dard 16mm frame. No additional aperture is needed.
Lens Mount: Standard 54mm Arri PL mount will take
any 35mm format PL mount lens. Adapters available for
41mm bayonet and standard mount lenses.
Drive: Built-in crystal-controlled 24V DC motor. On­
board programmable speeds of 24,25,29.97 and 30 fps, and
variable crystal speeds from 5-75 fps in the Standard cam­
era, or 10-150 fps in the Highspeed 16SR-3, variable in 0.001
increments at crystal accuracy. Speeds are continuously
variable when the Remote Unit (RU-1) is used. Speeds can
be programmed from the 16SR-3's on-board LCD, with the
Rem ote Unit (RU-1) or w ith the Cam era Control Unit
(CCU), Arri's standard off-camera programming unit.
Magazines: 400-foot coaxial. Standard 80-bit SMPTE
time code module built in. Existing 16SR-2 magazines can
be used. 16SR-3 magazines without time code are available.
Time Code: Integral 80-bit SMPTE time code. Record­
ing module built into 16SR-3 magazines. Fully complies
with SMPTE RP 114 standard.
Video Assist: Takes Arri Vi black & white or color
CCD video assist, and Arri AFP-2 flicker reduction elec­
tronics for bright, flicker reduced images. Adjustable for
Standard 16 and Super 16, with the full image of either for­
mat on the monitor. Changing beam splitter ratio for color
or B & W is easy, and requires no adjustment.
LCD Display:
a. set/display frame rates
b. set/display film counter
c. display mirror shutter opening (during electronic
inching mode)
d. set/display time code and user bits
e. display TC sensitivity readout
f. battery voltage and low-battery warning
g. film-end and asynchronous camera speed
The CCU can be used to control or set m ost of the
above functions.
System Com patibility: A wide variety of Arriflex
35mm accessories can be used with the 16SR-3, such as:
ESU-1, External Synchronizing Unit; RU-1, Remote Unit;
RS-3, Remote Switch; HE-3, Heated Eye Cup; the standard
camera handgrip; CCU-1, Camera Control Unit; and the
AFP-2 Anti-Flicker Processor.
Lenses: W ith its 54mm PL lens mount, the 16SR-3 uti­
lizes the full range of 35mm format and 16mm format Zeiss
Superspeed, Zeiss Standard, Arri Anamorphic and Arri
Macro lenses, and RHT Cooke and Angenieux zoom lenses.
M atte Boxes: The 16SR-3 uses the Arri 19mm rod
Camera Support System. The Support System includes a
full range of matte boxes (6.6x6.6,5x5, and a variety of 4x4),
bridgeplates, 2-speed follow -focus, and lens supports.
15mm rod adapters are available on request. The 4x4 Pro­
duction Matte Box is ideal for the 16SR-3. Its swingaway
design covers lenses 16mm and up, has interchangeable
two- and four-frame geared filter stages, is fully rotatable,
and accepts most Support System accessories.
Geared Heads: The 16SR-3 works with both the Arri
Geared Head, and the Arri Geared Head 2.
Arriflex 16BL
Movement: Registration pin operates through a vari­
able speed range of 5 to 50 fps, forward or reverse, when
used with appropriate motor and speed controls.
Reflex Viewfinder: Rotating mirror-shutter system
with fixed 180° opening ('/is sec at 25 fps), high-aperture/
parallax-free viewing, 10X magnification at the eyepiece.
An offset finder accessory is available for handheld cam­
era applications for additional operator comfort.
Lens Mount: Steel Arri Bayonet mount (lens housings
are required to maintain minimal camera operating sound
levels). All Arriflex Standard or Bayonet mount lenses that
cover the 16mm format can be used with lens housings.
Standard zoom and telephoto lenses should be used with
the Bridgeplate Support System.
APEC: Exposure control system, meters behind the
lens and displays continuous exposure information (matchneedle mode) in the viewfinder.
Motor Drive: Two motor-drive systems are available.
The quartz-controlled motor provides cordless sync-control and automatically stops the shutter in viewing position.
Its speed range is 6,12, 24 (quartz-controlled) and 48 fps.
The Universal motor is transistorized and governor con­
trolled. A Variable Speed Control accessory will drive the
Universal motor from 10 fps to 40 fps. Magazines: 200', 400'
(forward and reverse), and 1200' (forward only) magazines.
L en ses: F ixed fo cal len g th S ta n d a rd and Z eiss
Superspeed lenses. Zeiss, A ngenieux and Cooke zoom
Matte Box: Bellows type; available for all 16BL lens
Accessories: Universal Lens Housing for use with
fixed focal length lenses when minimal camera operating
sound level is required (accepts 3x3 or a 94mm diameter
filter); interchangable TV ground-glass; fiber-optic screen
available; offset finder; finder extender; zoom drive; 12V
DC quartz motor for 6 ,1 2 , 24 and 48 fps; Variable Speed
Control for 10 to 40 fps operation with universal motor;
plug-in Single-System Sound Module; and Single-System
Record Amplifier.
Arriflex 16S/B; 16S/B-GS; 16M/B
Arriflex 16S/B: Features pin-registered film transport
system operating to 75 fps, 100-foot internal daylight film
spool loading, with top-loading 400-foot magazine, reflex
viewfinder system, divergent three lens-mount turret, and
motor interchangeability.
Arriflex 16 S/B-GS: Pilotone sync-generator and startmarking system built-in.
Arriflex 16M/B: The 16M camera is configured differ­
ently and has no internal daylight spool film load capac­
ity. 200-, 400- and 1200-ft. 16M magazines are available for
this camera. It accepts all of the accessories in the 16S sys­
tem except the magazines and power-cables.
Movement: Registration pin, operates through a vari­
able speed range of 75 fps (with appropriate tachometer),
forward or reverse. The 16S, 16M and 16BL movements are
Reflex Viewfinder: Rotating mirror-shutter system
with 180° opening ('/4s sec at 24 fps), high-aperture/paral97
lax-free viewing, 10X image magnification at the eyepiece.
An interchangeable ground glass or fiber-optic screen, and
an optional APEC exposure control indicator, are located
within the viewfinder system.
Lens Mount: The 16S and M cameras have divergent
three lens-mount turrets with two standard and one steel
bayonet-lock mounts. Any Arriflex standard or bayonetmount lens that covers the full 16mm format may be used.
Zoom and telephoto lenses require use of the Bridgeplate
Support System.
APEC: Exposure control system , meters behind the
lens and displays continuous exposure information (matchneedle mode in the viewfinder, 16S only).
Motor Drives: Quartz-regulated, governor-controlled,
synchronous, and variable-speed motors are available for
16S and M cameras. Motor specifications are listed in the
accessory column.
16S Magazines: 200- and 400-ft. torque motor-driven
magazines are available for 16S cameras. The torque mo­
tor drive is essential w ith 16S m agazines, and is inter­
changeable with all 16S magazines of the same film capac­
16M Film Magazines: 200-, 400- and 1200-foot maga­
zines are available for the 16M cameras. These magazines
are gear-driven and do not require torque motor drives. The
1200-foot magazine operates in forward direction only.
L en ses: Fixed fo ca l len g th S ta n d a rd and Z eiss
Superspeed lenses. Zeiss, Angenieux, and Taylor Hobson
Cooke zoom lenses in Arri Standard or Bayonet mount.
Matte Box: (16S/M ) with adjustable bellows, one ro­
tating and one stationary filter stage. Accepts 3x3,3x4, and
4 x 4 glass filters. A 94mm round Polarizing screen can also
be used. Lightweight sunshade and filter holder (rubber)
for 16S or 16M, accepts 3 x 3 filters.
Accessories: Fiber-optic screen; periscope viewfinder;
finder extender; 12V DC quartz-motor for 2 4 /2 5 fps 5 0 /
60Hz, variable speeds 5 to 75 fps, and single-frame forward
and reverse capability and pilotone output; 8V and 12V DC
governor motor for 24 fps forward operation only; 8V or
12V DC variable motor for 5 to 40 fps forward or reverse
operation; 110V A C /6 0 Hz synchronous motor and in-line
power supply for 12V, 24 fps operation; bridgeplate sup­
port system; adapter for microscope stand and microscope
optical link.
Bolex 16mm (All Models)
Movement: Single-claw pull-down. Trailing claw sys­
tem assuring maximum picture steadiness without need for
registration pin. Aperture plate made from hard chromed
steel. Gate has automatic threading device that loops the
film and inserts it into gate and around sprockets. Rear
pressure plate can be removed for cleaning gate. Automatic
loop former prevents loss of loop.
Shutter: Bolex spring-driven cameras (H-16 Rex 5 and
H-16 SBM) have 135° variable shutter which can be opened
or closed while camera is running. It can be locked at 'A,
V2 and can be opened and closed au tom atically w ith
Rexofader accessory. Shutter speeds 12-64 fps, single-frame.
Bolex electrically driven cameras (H-16 EBM and H-16 EL)
have fixed 170° shutter. Shutter speeds electronically con­
trolled 10-50 fps.
Focusing: All cameras have flickerless focusing and
parallax-free viewing through prism reflex finder. Image
is magnified 14X in eye-level finder and may be continu­
ously viewed in filming or stopped position.
Lenses: H -16-Rex 5 has 3-lens turret for C -m ount
lenses, other models have large Bolex bayonet mount suit­
able for heavy zoom and telephoto lenses. Adapter for Cmount lenses and accessories available. Full line of Switar,
Vario Switar and Angenieux zoom and standard lenses,
matte box, extension tubes, Aspheron wide-angle adapters
etc, available.
Drive: Spring-driven cameras will expose 1 6 16' of film
on one winding. Variable-speed motor and electronically
stabilized motor suitable for sync pulse and crystal sync
available for spring-driven cameras. H-16 EBM and H-16
EL have 10-50 fps electronically regulated motors built in.
H-16 EL has single-frame and electric rewind, instant start
and stop. All models accept 400' magazine with take-up
M agazines: All cameras accept 100' Daylight Loading
Spools, which can be ejected with built-in lever device. 400’
magazine w ith self-contained take-up motor available.
Features: Footage and frame counters add and sub­
tract. Spring m otor m ay be disengaged. Full 100' film re­
wind. Audible scene-length signal clicks every 28 frames.
Single-frame exposure button for instantaneous or time
exposures. All cam eras have filter slot behind the lens.
H-16 EL has built-in through-the-lens silicon light meter
with shock-proof LED indicators in the VF.
Accessories: Automatic Rexofader fading device for
H-16 REX and SBM available for 40-frame fades. Camera
grip, barney blim p, extension tubes for m acrocinem a­
tography. Underwater housing for EL and EBM, matte box,
cable releases, tripods, monopod, shoulder brace.
Note: M any other accessories, such as animation mo­
tors, m icroscope attachm ents and tim e-lapse units, are
available from other firms.
Bell & Howell 16mm Filmo 70
Compact, spring-wound 100' daylight loading 16mm
camera. Accessory 400' magazine and electrical motor for
models 70HR and 70SR.
Movement: Cam-operated single claw. Spring-loaded
edge guide and pressure plate. Relieved aperture plate.
Shutter: 204° (models before SN 154, 601: 216°)
V iew finder: Outside finder tube, 3-lens turret, paral­
lax correcting eyepiece.
Focusing: Magnified central image on ground glass
when objective lens turret is rotated 180°. Safety latch pre­
vents camera running when in focusing mode.
Lens M ount: Three-lens turret, geared to finder lens
turret. C mount.
Drive: Spring-driven, governor-controlled drive ex­
poses 22' per wind at 8 fps-64 fps (model 70SR at 128 fps
only). Models 70SR and 70HR have optional battery or AC
M agazines: M odel 70SR and H R use optional 400'
com partm ent-type magazines (electric m otor should be
used for magazine operation).
Features and Accessories: Hand backwind for dis­
solves. Standard dial footage indicator, optional digital
Veeder. Single-frame drive. Replacement shutter for less
than 204°. Filter slot modification. External large image
Minicam 16mm (GSAP)
Movement: Intermittent, single pull-down claw, cam
Shutter: 133° fixed.
Focusing: Boresight alignment tool available as op­
tional accessory.
Lens Mount: Supplied to accept lenses in " C " mount
or Arriflex Mount configuration.
Motor: Integral, 24V DC. Adjusted for 24 or 48 fps.
Magazine: Uses pre-loaded Eastm an Kodak m aga­
zines, 16mm x 50', in all popular emulsions.
Other Features: Light weight (less than 2Vi lbs). Ideal
"point-of-view " camera. W idely used for skiing, auto rac­
ing, sky diving or installations hazardous to camera equip­
Accessories: " C " mount front plate; Arriflex Mount
front plate; Battery, Ni-Cad, rechargeable; adjustable cam­
era tool; boresight alignment tool; power plug; power cable;
carrying case; underwater housing; battery charger.
Cinema Products CP-16 & CP-16A
16mm n e w s/d o cu m e n ta ry /sin g le/d o u b le system
sound cameras.
Movement: Sinusoidal, intermittent movement. Selfengaging single-claw film pull-down with precision lapped
surfaces for quiet, long-life reliability. Film accurately
guided over a series of stainless steel balls to guarantee in­
focus, scratch-free pictures (with no em ulsion pickup).
Stainless steel pressure plate, ground lapped with recessed
center area, easily removable for cleaning.
Shutter: 173°; (optional 144°).
Viewfinder: The CP-16 was designed for specific use
with Angenieux zoom lenses with built-in reflex viewfind­
ers. Viewfinders are available in various lengths for shoul­
der or tripod operation, and provide ground spot focusing
in the center of the clear viewing area. TV reticle markings
define safe action area. Horizontal, 27}/ia & 45° angle eye­
piece position.
Lens Mount: Type "C ".
Drive: Plug-in 20V battery drives crystal sync built-in
motor. 24 fps ± 15 ppm over 0°-140° F; interchangeable
pulley for 25.
Magazines: 400' snap latch. Adapter for Mitchell 400'
and 1200' magazines.
Sound Recording System: CP-16 and C P -16/A cam­
eras operate with 3XL-type record/playback head assem­
blies. The C P -16/A features the Crystasound built-in am­
plifier system, a self-contained recording system complete
with two low-impedance dynamic microphone inputs, one
600-ohm line input, VU m eter, headphone monitoring,
switchable AGC and auxiliary mixer input. A provision for
wireless receiving is also available. An auxiliary mixer,
model 6C, provides 6 channels of microphone input. The
auxiliary m ixer is com plete w ith VU m eter, sw itchable
AGC, and headphone monitoring. The mixer, built-in am­
plifier and wireless units are all powered from the camera's
Ni-Cad battery (model NC-4).
Features: W eighs 15.8 lbs. w ith 400' film and 12120mm zoom. 16.8 lbs. with sound amplifier. Out-of-sync
warning light and battery indicator. Filter slot.
Accessories: An AC power supply, single and multiple chargers, sound pream plifier, m icrophones, frontmounted VU meter, m ike/lite bracket, lighting kits, fluid
head tripods, quick-release shoulder and tripod mount,
plus a line of Angenieux zoom lenses and a wide range of
carrying cases.
Cinema Products CP-16R & CP-16R/A
Reflex 16mm n e w s/d o cu m e n ta ry /stu d io sin g le /
double system sound cameras.
Movement: Sinusoidal, intermittent movement, selfengaging single-claw film pull-dow n. Film accurately
guided over a series of stainless-steel balls to guarantee in­
focus, scratch-free pictures (with no em ulsion pickup).
Stainless-steel pressure plate, ground lapped with recessed
center area, easily removable for cleaning.
Shutter: Focal plane 170° (optional 144°).
Reflex Viewfinder: Rotating mirror integral with fo­
cal plane shutter. Stops in viewing position. Fiberoptics
screen marked with TV safe action, projection, and 35mm
blow-up lines. Adjustable focusing eyepiece 12X magnifi­
cation, 90° click stop rotation; optional 360° rotatable right
or left eyepiece. Erect image.
Lens Mount: Thread-locking bayonet. Adapters for
Arri or Nikon mounts.
Drive: 20V plug-in battery drives built-in crystal-con­
trolled motor 24 or 25 fps sync speed ± 1 5 ppm over 0-140°
F. Standard speeds 12,16, 20, 24, 2 8 ,3 2 and 36 fps. Pulley
change 24 to 25 makes range 1 2 .5 ,1 6 .5 ,2 1 ,2 5 ,2 9 ,3 3 .5 and
37.5 fps.
Magazines: 400' snap latch. Adapter for Mitchell 400’
and 1200' magazines.
Sound Recording System: The CP-16R and CP-16R /
A cameras have been designed to accept Crystasound 3XLtype magnetic record/playback heads. The C P -16R /A fea­
tures the Crystasound built-in amplifier system, a self-con­
tained recording system complete with two low-impedance
dynamic microphone inputs, one 600-ohm line input, VU
meter, headphone monitoring, switchable AGC and aux­
iliary mixer input. A provision for wireless receiving is also
available. An auxiliary mixer, model 6C, provides 6 chan­
nels of microphone input. The auxiliary mixer is complete
with VU meter, switchable AGC, and headphone monitor­
ing. The mixer, built-in amplifier and wireless units are all
powered from the cam era's Ni-Cad battery (model NC-4).
Features: Filter slot. Battery test. Viewfinder indicator
LED for battery, ou t-of-sync, film runout, sound VU.
Weight with 10-150mm zoom, 400’ film, battery: 17.4 lbs.
Accessories: Finder 7" extension. Cinevid-16 video
assist, bayonet m ounted. Autom atic or sem i-autom atic
exposure system with viewfinder display. Zoom control
system . P ow er su p p ly /c h a rg e r. S h ou ld er and tripod
Cinema Products GSMO 16mm
Movement: A high-precision, single-claw, sinusoidal
registration movement with a curved film gate for mini­
mum pull-down time. The interchangeable film gate as­
sembly with its floating pressure plate and hard chromeedge film guides is located in the cassette-type coaxial
Shutter: Rotating mirror 180° stops in viewing posi­
tion. (144° shutter for TV filming applications optional.)
Reflex Viewfinder: Fiberoptic viewing screen marked
with TV safe action, 16mm projection, and 35mm blow-up
lines. Two viewfinder options; both have 12X magnifica­
tion, high-efficiency optics, focusing eyepieces. Dual-pur­
pose viewfinder provides 32 adjustable viewing positions;
m ay be exten d ed 7" for trip od o p era tio n . O p tio n al
viewfinder pivots for left or right eye and provides 360°
rotation. Erect image. Optional 7" extender.
Lens Mount: Single-thread locking bayonet with lo­
cating pin. Optional adapters for Arri and Nikon mounted
Drive: 20V plug-in battery drives crystal-controlled
motor; speeds of 12, 16, 24, 25, 32, 48 and 64 fps or alter­
nate speeds of 12,20, 2 4 ,2 5 ,3 0 ,4 8 and 64 fps. Accuracy +
30 ppm over 0°-140° F.
Magazines: Quick-change, rugged, cassette-type co­
axial magazine contains interchangeable film-gate assem­
bly. Automatic loop forming device. (Preloaded magazines
can be changed instantly without touching film.) 100' and
400' capacities. 400' magazine features "film rem aining"
manual indicator.
Features: Illum inated digital film counter (feet or
meters) with memory. Full-fram e auto slating. External
battery test. LED out-of-sync and low-battery indicator in
viewfinder. W eight with 400' load and 17.5-70mm zoom
lens: 12.44 lbs.
Accessories: Exposure control system with display in
viewfinder. Remote speed control with continuously vari­
able speed from 12-64 fps. Zoom control system. AC power
supply, battery charger. Quick-release shoulder and tripod
mounts. Video assist.
Eclair ACL 16mm
Movement: The claw movement is a wedge-shaped
claw controlled by an eccentric and a fixed cam and ren­
dered positive by the use of a counter cam. The steadiness
of the image is excellent, with a tolerance of less than onethousandth of frame height. Lateral steadiness is assured
in the gate by a fixed side bar and a spring-loaded guide.
Image sharpness is ensured by a spring-loaded pressure
plate which forms part of the front of the ACL magazine
and which maintains the film perfectly against the aperture
during the exposure.
Shutter: Focal plane 175°.
Reflex Viewfinder: Oscillating mirror, low-loss opti­
cal system, fine-grain ground glass. Image magnification
12X. Focusing eyepiece will rotate through 360° parallel to
the camera.
Lens Mount: Universal Type C. Outside thread for
various adapters.
Drive: 12V DC crystal-controlled motor at 24 or 25 fps
directly on shutter shaft. Variable-speed capability 12 to 40
fps. Optional 115V sync motor.
M agazines: Snap-on 200’ coaxial. Prethreaded for
quick change; as soon as core load film or daylight spools
are inserted in feed side of magazine and film is passed
through light trap to takeup side, the remainder of load­
ing operation may be carried on in daylight. Film remain­
der dial.
Features: Automatic start mark. Pilotone output 50 or
60 Hz. Weight: 7.7 lbs.
Eclair CM-3 16/35mm
Movement: Pull-down claws are mounted on sliding
cam-driven plate. Movement has two sets of ratchet-type
pull-down claws; one on each side for 35mm and a centered
claw for 16mm. Ease of adjusting claw stroke perm its
adapting camera to either normal four-perforation pull­
down or two-perforation pull-down for Techniscope, or
single-perforation pull-down for 16mm operation. Claw
movement stroke may be changed by sliding cam, which
is reached through opening in aperture plate. No disassem­
bly or special tools required. Registration and steadiness
achieved by double rear pressure plate and very long side
rails. Top plate keeps film flat in focal plane, bottom plate
holds film at edges only, to keep it properly aligned for pull­
down claws. Aperture plate is made of one piece of steel,
hand-polished and undercut to prevent scratching. Aper­
ture plate is part of camera body proper, pressure plates are
built into magazine. Raised area in center of aperture por­
tion of pressure plate eliminates breathing.
Shutter: 200° variable front-surfaced mirror reflex
shutter rotates at 45° angle between lens and film plane.
Center of shutter is below aperture, thus describing a hori­
zontal wiping motion across film. Shutter may be varied
to 35° by turning knob on left side of camera body.
Reflex Viewfinder: Through-the-lens focusing and
viewing. Lens may be follow-focused while viewing. Ex­
tra fine-grained ground glass presents brilliant image even
under low-light levels or when lens is stopped-down. 360°
rotatable eyepiece for right or left eye. Adjustable mattes
for various aspect ratios.
Lenses: Three-lens divergent cam -lock turret with
Camerette CA-1 lens mounts. CA-1 lens m ount is large
diam eter brass bayonet-type. D ivergent turret perm its
mounting 5.7mni focal length and longest telephoto lenses
without optical or physical interference.
Drive: Motors are mounted on side of camera and may
be changed in a few seconds. Basic motor is 6-8V DC rheostat-controlled variable speed type (also available for 24V
power). Other motors: 6, 12 and 24V DC transistor-con108
trolled regulated motors with variable-speed or constantspeed operation with 50 or 60 Hz sync pulse outputs. 115V
60 Hz and 220V three-phase, 60 Hz AC motors for synchro­
nous sound shooting. Hand-drive also available for 1 ,8 or
16 pictures per turn.
M agazines: 200', 400' and 1000’ displacem ent-type
m agazines allow rapid changing. M agazines are preloaded with a fixed loop (which may be set from outside
at any time). Automatic footage counter. Removal of maga­
zine allows inspection and cleaning of aperture plate and
film channel. For Techniscope operation, T-Type magazine
operates at either 45' per minute or 90’ per minute by merely
changing gears.
Features: Built-in tachometer. Sliding mattes for film
aperture and viewfinder for 16mm. Techniscope or other
w ide-screen ratios. Dovetail adapter for instant tripod
clam ping has twin m atte-box rods for m ounting metal
matte box. Two filter stages, one rotatable and removable,
for use with extra-wide-angle lenses. Additional mattes
may be positioned in front of matte box to protect the lens
from being struck by back-light.
Accessories: Lightweight magnesium tripod. Entire
tripod bowl and movements can be lifted from legs and
clamped to table edges, doors, ladders, etc. Sound blimp.
One door allows sliding camera out on rails for instant
magazine change, and automatically connects follow-focus,
lens diaphragm and external eyepiece. Cam era may be
used with all anamorphic and zoom lenses, in or out of
blimp. Full instrum entation capabilities available with
single-frame pulse and intervalometer operation. Aquaflex
underw ater housing for both 35mm T echniscope and
Eclair NPR 16mm
Blimpless, silenced camera.
Movement: Film is advanced by desmodrim ic cam
movement. Quiet movement is achieved by wedge-shaped
claw which slides into perforation with a wedging motion.
Film is pulled down and registered upon bench-type reg­
istration pin which begins moving into position before film
has stopped. Extra-long rear pressure plates and side guide
rails steady film. Raised areas in center of aperture portion
of pressure plate eliminate possibility of breathing or focal
Shutter: 180° high reflectance front-surfaced mirror
reflex shutter, centered on motor shaft below aperture, ro­
tates at 45° angle between lens and film plane. Shutter ro­
tation delivers horizontal exposure action and lessens
"skipping" problems on fast-moving subject matter or fast
horizontal camera movement.
Focusing: Parallax-free through-the-lens focusing and
viewing. Image magnified 12X. Critical focusing possible
even at low light levels, or with stop-down lens, because
of extremely fine-grain ground glass and high-gain mirror
and low-loss optical system.
Lenses: Standard two-position turret has one Camerette CA-1 lens mount and one " C " mount. Turrets avail­
able with two CA-1 mounts, or with two " C " mounts. Any
lens from 5.7mm focal length may be used without affect­
ing sound level of camera. CA-1 is a bayonet mount with­
out springs or other loose-fitting adjustments. Lenses by
Angenieux, Kinoptik, Taylor H obson Cooke and some
Berthiot optics can be supplied in CA-1 mount.
Motor Drive: Standard motor is 12V DC transistorcontrolled regulated 24 fps type. Motor generates 60-cycle
sync pulse when operating exactly at 24 fps and maintains
speed accuracy w ithin 2/io of 1% (indicated by running
light). Motor has high torque and operates at 1440 rpm to
turn shutter shaft directly, so that no noise is caused by
gearing down. Also available: variable speed (wild) 12V DC
motor (0-40 fps); synchronous (sound) 110V AC, 220V AC
single or three-phase motors for operation from mains or
from crystal-controlled power packs for cordless synchro­
nous operation. All sync motors are available for 25 fps 50
cycle (European TV) operation. Motors are interchangeable
without tools.
Magazines: 400' instant changing coaxial magazine
has prethreaded loop and may be snapped on and off in­
stantly. Entire film aperture and film channel may be in­
spected and cleaned when magazine is removed. No torque
motors required for takeup. Each magazine takes either
core loads or daylight spools of 100', 200' or 400' capacity.
Separate footage counters provided for core and daylight
spool loads. As soon as core load film is engaged in sprocket
wheel of magazine feed chamber, remainder of threading
operation may be carried on in daylight. M agazine has
noisemaking clutches and loop guards to disengage drive
and warn of malfunction.
Viewfinder: Double 360° swiveling viewfinder; shows
more area than film aperture. Inside inner rectangle out­
lines full aperture. Inaccuracies in alignment of viewfinder
do not affect accuracy of ground glass positioning. Eye­
piece adjusts for either left- or right-eye operation and has
full diopter com pensation with autom atic opening and
closing light-trap.
Features: Built-in automatic clapper for start-marks
with bloop modification for use with Nagra Vi" magnetic
tape recorder and other oscillator markers. Camera may be
used with any tape recorder with sync pulse recording fa­
cility. Matte box with adjustable bellows and two-stage fil­
ter holder with rod and long lens supports. Noise Level:
29.5 dB at 3'.
Mitchell 16mm Professional, HS & HSC
Movement: Dual pilot pins. Dual claw pull-down as­
sures optimum registration. Removable aperture plate has
built-in filter slot. Pressure plate removable. Timing marks
on shutter and movement permit easy removal of entire
mechanism for cleaning, eliminating danger of improper
insertion. Speed range: Professional Model single-frame to
128 fps; HS & HSC single-frame to 400 fps. All models will
run 1200' roll of film at maximum frame rates.
Shutter: Professional Model: 0° to 235°. HS and HSC:
0° to 140°. Both adjustable while running (not recom ­
mended above 150 fps on HS and HSC models).
Focusing: Professional and HS Models: variable mag­
nification, erect image focusing telescope built into camera
door. Through-the-lens ground glass critical focus and
viewing when cam era is racked over. Built-in contrast
view ing filters for color and m onochrom e film. Inter­
changeable ground glasses with different aspect ratios
available. HSC model: uses 10X prismatic boresight look­
ing through aperture plate opening in register plate.
Lenses: Professional and HS Model: Four-lens turret,
positive index type. Flange depth 0.900”, Mitchell-designed
heavy-duty precision rotary-type lens mounts with builtin follow-focus gear ring. " C " type Mitchell adapter avail­
able, permits use of " C " mounted lenses on 16 Mitchell
turret. HSC: has single-hole lens board on camera body.
U ses lenses in M itchell m ounts. M itchell " C " m ount
adapter for lenses in standard " C " mounts available.
Motors: Professional, HS and HSC Models: up to 128
fps. Variable (wild) motors: 12V DC, 110V AC or DC. High­
speed motors: 110V AC or DC (48 to 128 fps), 24V DC (16
to 64 fps). Synchronous (sound) motors: 110V, 60-cycle. 1phase AC; 220V, 60-cycle, 3-phase AC; 220V A C /96V DC
Multi-Duty (synchronous at 220V only). 50-cycle motors
available on request. Animation motor: Stop-motion 110V
AC. HS & HSC: 115V 60-cycle AC (12 fps to 400 fps). Has
solid-state variable speed control.
Magazines: Professional, HS & HSC Models: 400' and
1200' double com partm ent-type m agazines. M agazines
accept 100' or 200' daylight spools or 400’ or 1200' lab loads.
Brake recom m ended on feed side when running high
Viewfinder: Professional, HS M odel: Large, erect
viewfinder calibrated for different focal length lenses pro­
vides sharp, bright image and accurate field for ease of
composition. Parallax-free follow-focus attachment avail­
able. Special tracking and monocular finders available for
sports and instrumentation filming. HSC: 10X prismatic
Special Features: Professional and HS Model: Veeder
footage and frame counters. Camera base has incorporated
spirit level. Calibrated tachometer built into back of cam ­
era. Built-in buckle trip operates if film fails to take-up. HS
& HSC: Have end-of-run switch.
Accessories: Complete line of accessories available,
including sound blimp (400' or 1200' magazine top), follow112
focus attachment, matte box, sports finders, close-up de­
vices, tripods, pip timers, dual timing light, cases.
Mitchell 16mm Reflex, SSR-16 Single
System, DSR-16 Double System Sound
Movement: Single claw, single (or double for double
system sound) registration pin. Adjustable stroke. Three
sprockets. Removable aperture plate has built-in filter slot.
Movement removable without losing timing. Speed range
16-64 fps. Alternate non-metallic and steel gears for quiet­
ness. Guides and locks interlocked with compartment door.
Shutter: Focal plane 170° separate from mirror.
Reflex Viewfinder: Rotating mirror. Ground glass
tinted outside film aperture area. Interchangeable ground
glasses. Dovetail on camera for outside finder.
Lens M ount: 3-lens divergent turret. Flange depth
Drive: Variety of dem ountable motors, no tools re­
Magazines: 400' and 1200' double compartment, de­
signed for quietness.
Sound Recording Features: The SSR-16 contains a
sound head for magnetic recording on pre-striped film.
Record and playback head is contained internally in the
camera box behind the movement. Extremely high quality
of the recording system and camera allows wow and flut­
ter characteristics of less than 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively.
The mixer-amplifier allows the use of two low-impedance
microphones. System is all solid-state, contains VU meter,
bias adjustment, individual and master monitoring control
for m icrophones; power supply is self-contained, using
alkaline nickel cadmium batteries with a built-in charger.
It produces 30 volts DC and charger operates on 115 volts
AC 5 0 /6 0 Hz. Recording heads and mixer-amplifier made
by RCA. The SSR-16 also contains a pic-sync generator for
recording double-system lip-sync sound. The D S R 16 is for
double system lip-sync sound work. Has same features as
the SSR-16 except RCA recording system is deleted and picsync generator is used. Both models available for use on 50
Hz power. Operating noise: 36 dB at 3'.
Blimp: An extremely versatile blimp is available for
soundstage work. Through-the-lens reflex viewing is ex­
tended through the blimp door. (Same as S35R blimp.) Flat
front door with removable sunshade for use with fixed
focal length lenses is easily exchanged for extension hous­
ing when using zoom lens. External focus and zoom knobs
on both sides, viewing windows for lens scales, footage
counter and tachometer dials. Five internal lights at strate­
gic points. Threading knob for motor. Electrical panel has
lighted switch. Buckle trip will turn out light.
Panavision Panaflex 16mm Camera System
M ovement: Pilot pin registration ensures optimum
image steadiness. Entire movement may be removed for
Aperture Plate: Removable for checking and cleaning.
Normal 16mm aperture plate is standard, Super 16 is avail­
Shutter: Focal-plane shutter with infinitely variable
opening and adjustable in-shot. Maximum opening 200°,
minimum 50° with adjustable maximum and minimum
opening stops. A digital display allows adjustments in '/io°
increments. Micrometer adjustment allows critical synchro­
nization with computers, TV monitors and HMI lighting
at unusual frame-rates. Manual and electronic remote-control units available.
Reflex System: Reflex rotating mirror is standard and
is independent of the light shutter system. Interchangeable
semi-silvered fixed reflex mirror for flicker-free viewing is
Behind-the-lens Filtering: Provision for a behind-thelens filter gel.
O ptical V iew finder System: High magnification op­
tical system. The viewfinder tube is orientable and gives a
constantly upright image through 360°. A short viewfinder
tube is provided for hand-holding operation and a normal
length for tripod mounted use. Viewfinder tubes may be
swung out to suit left- or right-eye viewing. System incor­
porates an optical magnifier for critical focusing and pic­
ture composition, a contrast viewing filter and a light-proof
shutter. Wide-range ocular adjustment with marker bezel
to note individual settings. A built-in "Panaclear" eyepiece
heater ensures mist-free viewing. Adjustable leveler link
arm supplied with every Panahead to keep eyepiece posi­
tion constant while tilting the camera up or down. An eye­
piece diopter to suit the operator's own eyesight can be
provided on request.
Ground Glasses: "Panaglow " illuminated reticle sys­
tem with brightness control is standard. Ground glasses
with finer or coarser texture available on request.
Lens M ounting System : Panavision positive clamp
lens mount for maintaining critical flange focal depth set­
ting. All lenses are pinned to ensure proper rotational ori­
L e n se s : S p e cia lly d esig n ed and m a n u fa ctu re d
Panavision-16 lenses to suit the 16mm image format. All
lenses checked and calibrated by MTF. Panavision 16mm
lenses are all color-matched and range from a distortion-
free 8mm to 135mm (lists are available). A wide range of
Panavision-engineered long-focus and zoom lenses by
other m anufacturers are also available. All lenses have
widely spaced lens focus calibrations and exceptionally low
image veiling glare. Physically long lenses are supplied
with adequate-length iris rods for matte box and filter sup­
Lens Control: A lightweight focus control which can
be used from either side of the camera is standard; an in­
terchangeable "Studio" focus control unit is optional, as are
electronic remote focus and aperture controls. Zoom lenses
are supplied with an electronic zoom control unit as stan­
Matte Boxes: A standard matte box incorporating a
sunshade, provision for two 4 X 5.650 filters which can be
individually slid up and down. Special matte boxes incor­
porating more filter stages, with provision for sliding (mo­
torized if required), rotating and tilting — and to take 6.6"
square filters — are optional. Panavision can also supply
special sliding diffusers, diopters and all manner of image
control filters, etc., to use in their matte boxes.
Camera motor: A 24-volt motor is used to run the cam­
era at any speed from 4-36 fps, is crystal-controlled at all
speeds and may be adjusted in '/ io fps increments. Special
sync boxes are available to synchronize the cam era with
a main power supply, with com puters, with video sig­
nals and with process projectors in shutter phase sync.
Panaflex-16 cameras may be used at sub-zero temperatures
with little special preparation.
Cam era noise: Less than 20 dB with film and lens,
measured 3' from the image plane.
M agazines: 1200' and 400' film magazines are avail­
able. Either can be for m inim um camera height and for
good balance when hand-holding.
H and-holdability: Handles and a shoulder-rest are
provided for hand-holding the camera. In this configura­
tion the camera is best used with a 400' magazine fitted on
the rear.
Optical Accessories: Front-of-lens optical accessories
include an exceptionally wide range of color control filters,
diffusion filters, fog filters, low-contrast filters, black, white
and colored nets, full-cover and split diopters, low /high
angle inclining prisms.
Batteries: Camera, magazines, heaters and accessories
all operate off a single 24V Ni-Cad battery. The normal
battery complement is two x cased units with in-built charg­
ers. Belt batteries for hand-holding are optional.
Camera Support Equipment: A special 16mm version
of the "Panahead"geared head is available for the Panaflex16. A sliding base unit enables a camera to be quickly at­
tached and detached and to be slid backwards and for­
wards on the head for optimum balance. "Panatate" turn­
over mount allows 360° camera rotation about the lens axis
while at the same time permitting nodal pan and tilt move­
ments. "Panapod" tripods, with carbon-fiber legs, are avail­
able in a range of sizes.
V id eo A ssist System s: State-of-the-art, CCD video
systems are available in B & W or color.
Environm ental Protection Equipment: All Panaflex16 cameras and magazines have built-in heaters to enable
them to be operated in any ambient temperature. Heated
covers are available to give additional protection to lenses,
especially zoom lenses, to keep their operation smooth in
intensely cold conditions. O ther covers are available to
protect the camera, magazines and lenses from heat and
dust and from rain and water. Spinning-glass rain deflec­
tors are available for use in storm conditions. An autobase
is available to secure the camera in conditions of vibration,
high "g " forces and other stressful and dangerous forces.
A water-box is available to protect the camera in shallow
water conditions, and a hazard box can be used to protect
the camera from explosions, collisions and other danger­
ous situations.
Time Code: The AatonCode system encodes every
frame with a SMPTE time code which is readable by both
computer and human being.
Since the Sixth Edition of this manual was published,
several important advances in color film technology have
been made by all manufacturers marketing in the United
States. A major breakthrough in emulsion technology has
resulted in the development of new films with increased
sensitivity, greater exposure latitude, improved speed-tograin ratio, better definition and improved storage life. The
cinematographer now has a choice of a variety of negative
and reversal camera films balanced for both daylight and
tungsten light sources.
Except for direct projection of the processed camera
film, color negative is the preferred camera film for origi­
nal cinematography in all formats except Super 8mm. In­
stances of films used for "direct projection" are travel lec­
ture photography, instrumentation photography and some
documentary photography (availability of laboratory facili­
ties for processing the film chosen may also be a factor in
film selection). Although the use of negative film means
more care in handling the original camera film, better color
quality due to the incorporation of color masking in the
negative emulsions is the reward. Color negative film is
available in low, medium and high-speed emulsions bal­
anced for tungsten (3200°K) light sources and in low-and
high-speed emulsions balanced for daylight. If tungstenbalanced film is used in daylight a Kodak Wratten 85 or Fuji
LBA-12 or equivalent filter should be on the camera and
the exposure index reduced by % of a stop. If daylight bal­
anced film is used in tungsten light, a Kodak Wratten #80A
should be used, but this practice is not recommended be­
cause it requires the exposure index to be reduced by two
Color reversal camera films, which when processed
result in a positive image on the original film, are also sup­
plied in emulsion types balanced for tungsten or daylight
light sources. The same conversion filters recommended for
use with color negative can be used with the same adjust­
ment in exposure index. If single-system sound is desired,
check with the film manufacturer. Some of these films can
be supplied with magnetic striping.
Black & White
A variety of black & white emulsion types are avail­
able from the film manufacturers. Many are special-purpose films designed for scientific or instrumentation use.
The cinematographer should be aware of these films and
the possibility of using one or more of them if a desired
effect cannot be achieved with conventional motion-picture
emulsions. For pictorial use, panchromatic emulsions in
several speed ranges are available in 35 and 16mm nega­
tive and 16mm reversal films. The reproduction of colored
objects in terms of shades of gray varies with different types
of film.
The cinematographer can control tonal values to get a
technically correct rendition of the subject or to exaggerate
or suppress the tonal differences for brightness, contrast or
other effects by the use of filters. B & W negative films of
low or medium speed are most desirable for sharpness and
fine grain, and have ample sensitivity for general use. High­
speed film is useful for low "available light" situations or
for high-frame-rate photography. Because of the current
low frequency of use of black & white as compared to color,
it is especially important to establish working exposure in­
dexes relative to the processing laboratory. B & VV process­
ing is not as standardized as color processing, differences
in chemistry, developing time, and temperature result in
changes of contrast as well as exposure index.
ASA: Exposure Indexes
While ASA film speeds do not apply directly to motion-picture film s, exposure m eters calibrated to ASA,
ANSI, or ISO standards specify exposure indexes (El) re­
lated to film speeds (film speeds are calculated mathemati­
cally from sensitometric exposures; exposure indexes are
numbers useful to the cinematographer in determining or
specifying exposure in a given instance). All film manufac­
turers furnish El numbers related to commercial exposure
meters as a recommendation for a starting point in deter­
mining optimum exposure.
Film Selection: Color Negative
For normal high key cinematography select the film
with an ASA number most consistent with the light level
and f-stop to be utilized; in general, slower films are sharper
and less grainy than faster films. If economy in illumina­
tion or small f-stop for depth of field is a factor, use of a
faster (higher El) film is indicated.
For any special "loo k " or low-key cinematography,
experimentation or experience is needed. Generally, use of
an El lower than the manufacturer's recommendation will
produce finer grain, higher color saturation, and a slight
increase in sharpness at the expense of loss of highlight
detail and flattening of whites; use of a higher El than rec­
ommended will show more grain, lower color saturation,
loss of sharpness and loss of shadow detail. Relative posi­
tion on a particular laboratory printer scale is also a factor
to be considered when determining an El.
Color Reversal Film
Since color reversal films are intended for direct pro­
jection, there is less exposure latitude (compared to nega­
tive film) for a usable film, both for actual density/expo­
sure range and lack of opportunity to shift densities in
transferring to a print.
Selection of an El should therefore be made based on
the use to which the film will be put. If an El higher than
the m anufacturer's recom m endation is required, forced
development may be used with a com prom ise in image
Edge Numbers
These numbers, also referred to as footage or key num­
bers, are sequentially printed by the film manufacturer
along one edge of the film outside the perforations. The
numbers on 35mm film manufactured prior to 1990 are
located every 16 frames (12 inches apart); on 16mm film
they are every 20 frames (6 inches apart) or every 40 frames
(12 inches apart). The numbers are applied during manu­
facture either by photographic exposure (visible only after
processing) or printed with a visible ink on the base side
of the film. All 16mm and 35mm camera original color film
is latent-image edge-numbered. B & W 16mm and 35mm
camera original film is ink edge-numbered.
Several changes in the format for edge numbers
were introduced during the latter part of 1990. In conform­
ance with SMPTE standard SMPTE 254, 35mm film now
has both hum an-readable edge num bers and m achinereadable information printed as a latent image on its edge
at the time of manufacture. In addition to an incrementing
number, a zero-frame reference mark, consisting of a filled
circle approximately 0.025 to 0.030 inches (0.64 to 0.76 mm),
is printed adjacent to the digit of the human-readable edge
number that is closest to the tail of the film. The frame im­
mediately above the zero-frame reference mark is the one
referenced by that edge number. The numbers are printed
so that the center line of the zero-frame reference is aligned
with the center-line of a perforation. The spacing from one
key number to the next is 64 perforations. A mid-foot hu­
man readable and a mid-foot machine-readable edge num­
ber is printed halfway between each key number. The mid­
foot human-readable edge number consists of a zero-frame
reference mark and the adjacent edge number that is nearer
the head end of the roll plus an offset in perforations that
is always 32 perforations. All characters of the mid-foot
edge number are approximately Vi size. A similar system
currently under study by a SMPTE standards committee
has been proposed for 16mm.
Film Perforations
Pitch is the distance from the leading edge of one per­
foration to the leading edge of the next and is expressed in
decimal inches. Motion picture perforations are commonly
referred to as having either "long" or "short" pitch. When
films are being printed, the original camera film and the
unexposed print film pass together over a curved printing
sprocket for exposure. Since the print film is on the outside,
the difference in diameter is accommodated by giving a
shorter pitch to the camera original on the inside.
16mm Films
16mm camera films are supplied with either a row of
perforations along one edge or with a row along both edges.
Most 16mm camera films are furnished with two rows of
perforations for use in "silent" type cameras. Those with
one row are intended for use in single-system cam eras
where sound and picture are simultaneously recorded, ei­
ther optically or by means of magnetic striping on the film.
Reversal-type 16mm camera films intended for projec­
tion are usually supplied in long pitch (.3000). Negative or
reversal type film intended for subsequent release printing
is usually supplied with short pitch (.2994).
Standard 16mm perforations
SMPTE 109-1986-2R-.2994
SMPTE 109-1986-2R-.3000
35mm Films
35mm motion picture films are supplied with perfo­
rations of two basic shapes and with either long or short
pitch. Bell & Howell or BH indicates negative and Kodak
Standard or KS indicates positive. Negative perforations are
designed to insure a steady image during exposure in a
camera-type pull-down and registration mechanism. Posi­
tive perforations have a shape intended to reduce cracking
with repeated projection. "N egative" or "positive" perfo­
rations describe the shape of the perforation and not the
type of film involved.
Standard 35mm perforations
SMPTE 93-1992- BH-.1866
93-1992- BH-.1870
139-1986- KS-.1866
139-1986- KS-.1870
65mm Films
65mm film used for original photography and dupli­
cating is perforated KS-.1866. When first introduced this
film was perforated long pitch because only step-printing
was available. With the advent of continuous contact print­
ing facilities, the negative and duplicating films are now
perforated with short pitch.
Standard 65mm
SMPTE 145-1988-KS-. 1866
70mm Films
Release printing from 65mm negative or intermediate
is on 70mm film which is perforated the same as 65mm but
is an additional 5mm wide. The additional width is equally
divided on each side of the perforations to accommodate
magnetic sound tracks. In addition to the standard 70mm
film form at two other form ats are available for special
venue processes.
Standard 70mm
SMPTE 119-1988-KS-.1870
70mm Type I
ANSI PH 1.20-1963- 0.234
Perforations for this standard are 0.13 x 0.08 in size
with a pitch of 0.234.
70mm Type II
ANSI PH 1.20-1963 -KS-.1870
Perforations for this standard are the same size and
pitch as SMPTE 119 but with an "E " dimension of 0.079 +
0.004 instead of 0.215 + 0.003.
Film Handling and Storage
Film raw stock is sensitive to heat, radiation and mois­
ture, and may be contaminated by gases or dirt. The fol­
lowing precautions are suggested when handling or stor­
ing raw stock.
1. Store in a cool (55° F /1 3 ° C or lower), clean area for
short periods and in a deep freeze (0° F /-1 8 0 C) for peri­
ods longer than six months. Relative humidity should be
50 percent or less to avoid rusting of cans and or possible
damage to labels and cartons.
2. Do not store w here chem ical contam ination is
present, either gas or liquid. Fumes, such as those from
ammonia, formaldehyde, hydrogen sulfide, illuminating
gas, mercury, motor exhaust, solvents, sulfur dioxide, can
damage photographic emulsions.
3. Avoid X-rays or radiation of any kind. Raw stock
should not be stored or shipped near radioactive materi­
als. For example, Eastman Kodak states "to protect film
stored 25 feet away from 100 milligram s of radium, 3'/2
inches of lead must be placed around the radium ."
4. Film should not be stored near exhaust or heating
pipes, or in direct sunlight coming through a window even
if the room is air-conditioned.
5. Allow time for film to reach loading-room tempera­
ture before opening container to avoid condensation.
6. Keep the loading room a n d /o r changing bag clean.
7. Clean magazines outside the loading room and be
sure the outsides of film cans are clean before taking them
into the loading room.
8. Bag and seal exposed film in original or similar con­
9. Process exposed film as soon as possible. If it must
be held more than a day before processing or shipping, seal
the film from moisture and store as cold as possible. (A
deep freeze is appropriate.)
10. If raw stock or exposed film is to be shipped by
commercial carrier, it should be tightly wound on cores.
The outside shipping container should be labeled conspicu­
ously: "Keep away from heat or X-ray." Stock labels are
available for this purpose.
Processed Film Storage
Though this is not usually the responsibility of the cin­
ematographer, the following information may be useful:
1. Condition the film at 20 to 30 percent relative hu­
midity at room temperature (optimum relative humidity
is 25 percent).
2. Wind film emulsion in on cores or reels. (Do not use
PVC containers, cores, or reels.)
3. Store flat.
4. Store at temperature of 50° F /1 0 ° C or lower.
(Ref: ANSI IT9.11, SMPTE RP 131 Eastman Kodak Co. publication H-l.)
A S A / IS O
Color Negative Films
Agfa XT 100
Agfa XT 320 High Speed
Agfa XTS 400 High Speed
Eastman EXR 50 D
Eastman EXR 100T
Eastman EXR 200 T
Eastman EXR 500 T
Eastman HS Day
Fujicolor F-64
Fuiicoior F-64 D
Fujicolor F-125
Fujicolor F-250
Fujicolor F-250 D
Fujicolor F-500
• LBA-12 or 85
“ LBB-12 or 80A
Emulsion Type
Day Tung
85 B
Color Reversal Films
Eastman Ektachrome Day X
Eastman Ektachrome Tung
Eastman Ektachrome
HS Day
Eastman Ektachrome
HS Tung
Kodachrome 25 Movie Film X
Kodachrome 40 Movie Film
Black and White
Negative Films
Agfa Pan 250
Eastman Plus-X
Eastman Plus-X
Eastman Double-X
Eastman Double-X
Fuji FG
Fuji RP
* See filter section for
B&W Photography.
Black and White
Reversal Films
Eastman Plus X Reversal
Eastman Tri-X Reversal
Super 8 Films
B&W Kodak Plus-X & Tri-X Reversal as above, Color Kodachrome 25 & Kodachrome 40 as
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Lenses m ay be classified as norm al, te le p h o to /
retrofocus, zoom, anamorphic and auxiliary.
Normal lenses are compactly mounted combinations
of glasses, assembled so they may be mounted in a camera
approximately one focal length from the image plane, or
film. Normal lenses of long focal length tend to be bulky,
therefore telephoto lenses are designed with negative glass
elements arranged in a manner that permits the telephoto
lens to be mounted closer to the image plane than its focal
length would indicate. When camera design, because of
beam splitters or reflex shutters, does not permit short fo­
cal length normal lenses to be mounted within one focal
length of the film, the retrofocus or inverse telephoto lens
design is used: a lens of short effective focal length but long
back focus. Zoom lenses are a combination of the above,
with the added feature that one or more elements may be
moved in relation to the others. This provides not only a
multiple number of focal lengths within one body, but per­
mits changes of focal length, and therefore image size, dur­
ing cinematography.
Anamorphic lenses are composed of the above types
of lenses, in combination with either a cylindrical or pris­
matic element to compress the horizontal image, provid­
ing for a wider aspect ratio within the confines of the stan­
dard motion-picture frame. Nearly all present anamorphic
lenses have a compression ratio, or squeeze ratio, of 2:1.
(Other squeeze ratios have been used in the past, and there
is at least one on the horizon contemplating the use of a
different squeeze ratio.)
Auxiliary lenses are positive tele-extenders and nega­
tive wide-angle adapters, both of which alter the focal
length of prime or zoom lenses, and simple elements usu­
ally referred to as "diopters" or "split-field diopters."
Selection of Lenses
Photographic and projection lenses are designed to
compromise aberration and distortion to a minimum in a
specific frame area. Lenses designed for cine use will not
generally fill a still-camera frame, nor will still-camera
lenses necessarily be as sharp as cine lenses in the smaller
frame size. Likewise, design compromises are made to al­
low large diaphragm opening with acceptable but not nec1 42
essarily optim um sharpness; better sharpness m ay be
found if such a lens is stopped down a notch or two.
One widely quoted evaluation is Modulation Trans­
fer Function (MTF), an objective m easure of sharpness.
While a useful means of comparison, it does not account
for all distortions or aberrations (to be useful, MTF must
be measured in the corners as well as in the center of the
lens field), hi simple terms, M TF compares the contrast of
a lens with its resolving power. The resultant graph plots
the M TF in percent versus the line frequency (lines per
mm). The higher the curve and the flatter it is, the greater
is the contrast of the resulting image and the more uniform
the image quality.
Some suppliers and some independent agencies have
test equipment and will help in evaluation. While it is be­
yond the scope of this manual to discuss lens design in
greater depth, it should be pointed out that the cinematog­
rapher should take particular note of aberrations which are
most evident at wide-open apertures and diffraction which
limits the smallest useful aperture. Photographic testing is
tedious, time-consuming and costly; the use of such a fa­
cility when available can be helpful. Qualities to be ob­
served, preferably in com parison with a lens of known
quality, include image sharpness at center and corners,
contrast and flare, image distortion, and uniformity of ex­
posure (vignetting).
Care and Maintenance
W hen not in use, lenses should be kept capped, and
when transported, kept in a padded case. Shocks and vi­
bration may jar the elements loose (this includes high-fre­
quency vibration such as from an aircraft engine). When
filming outdoors under dusty conditions, protect the lens
with a filter. If no filter is required, use a clean optical glass
or a UV filter (filters, of course, should be made of firstquality optical glass). It is less expensive to replace a
scratched or marred filter than a front lens element.
Lenses should be inspected periodically for physi­
cal condition, including lens surface examination with a
magnifying glass to look for fine scratches, loose glass ele­
ments, and loose mechanical elements such as focus scale
rings, iris diaphragms, and zoom lens linkage and cams.
Never clean a lens with dry tissue or fabric. Tiny abra­
sive particles may cause scratches. The safest procedure is:
1. Blow off loose dust with "canned air." (If "a ir" is
not available, a clean, very soft camel hair brush may be
used; to remove all residual oil from the brush, first wash
it in ether or pure grain alcohol and shake it out so that it is
thoroughly dry. Keep the brush in an air-tight container.
Under no circumstances should the brush ever touch skin.
If it does so inadvertently, wash it again with ether or al­
cohol.) Do not blow dust off with the mouth. Next to dried
fingerprints, saliva is the hardest thing to remove from a
lens surface without scratching it.
2. If necessary to remove smears from the lens surface,
fold a lens tissue and dampen the folded edge with lenscleaning fluid. Carefully wipe the lens surface with a cir­
cular motion, starting at the center and working toward the
edges. If this will not remove the smear, take a new, clean
piece of lens tissue and repeat the procedure using pure xy­
lene or pure grain alcohol (not rubbing alcohol). Be careful
not to touch the lens mount with the xylene or alcohol. If
you do, discard the lens tissue and start over. Xylene is par­
ticularly useful in removing oil or oily fingerprints from
lenses. If it leaves a slight smear after removing an oily spot,
repeat the action using alcohol.
Fingerprints, or any contacts with skin, leave a residue
which may permanently etch the lens surface. Never clean
camera lenses with silicone-coated lens tissue or cloth.
Removing Lens Retainer Rings
The cinem atographer, unless skilled in lens repair,
should avoid disassembly of lenses. If, in emergency, it is
necessary to do so in the field, the ring may generally be
easily unscrewed if the lightest fingertip grasp, with the
least possible pressure, is applied. The more pressure ap­
plied, the greater the expansion of the ring on the sides
opposite the fingers. Such pressure causes expansion of the
ring and makes removal very difficult, if not impossible.
A particularly stubborn ring may often be removed by
applying a drop of carbon tetrachloride or a similar solvent.
The same technique may be used in removing filter retain­
ing rings.
W hen equipm ent, including lenses, is taken from a
cool, dry environment to a warm, moist environment, con­
densation will occur on the cold surfaces. This particularly
applies when m oving from an air-conditioned environ­
ment to the outdoors. A few minutes should be allowed for
the equipment to warm up and the condensation to disap­
pear before photographing. Visual inspection should suf­
fice to determine when this takes place.
Understanding an MTF Chart
by Bern Levy
For many, evaluating a lens has usually been a matter
of being aware of the manufacturer's past record and the
experience of others who have used that type of lens. To
those more technically inclined, the use of a test chart indi­
cating resolving power, in lines per millim eter, may be
considered a criterion of lens quality. However, resolving
power value can be very subjective and does not necessar­
ily indicate the true value of a lens. Resolving power alone,
regardless of its accuracy, can be misleading. Lens manu­
facturers now utilize a method of lens testing that assesses
the actual capability of a given lens.
This method is referred to as M odulation Transfer
Function, or MTF. Scientifically, M TF is defined as a func­
tion that describes the modulation of a sinusoidal object as
the frequency increases. In simpler terms, MTF compares
the contrast of a lens with its resolving power. The relation­
ship of sharpness, plus the ability to reproduce an image,
gives a lens the property to produce a quality image. It is
the result of this comparison that forms the MTF curve. As
the spatial frequency (the distance of one black & white line
pair) of the test chart increases, the image pattern is reduced
in contrast. This change in contrast or "m odulation” is the
basis for the MTF method of evaluating a lens.
Since the Modulation Transfer Function is a method
of quantitatively measuring the limits of resolution of a
given area and the ability to reproduce an image of a given
area, a single MTF curve only indicates the response for the
specific conditions tested. The parameters for test data nor­
mally include focal length, aperture, object distance, light
color temperature and the image field radius as well as the
spatial frequency of the test chart. In order to fully compre­
hend the performance of a lens, a number of M TF curves
must be generated to cover a multitude of points within
these test parameters.
To interpret the MTF curve, we must first understand
that the horizontal axis of the chart normally indicates the
spatial frequencies in cycles per millimeter and the verti­
cal axis provides the modulation transfer factor or contrast
values with a maximum of 100%. The basic criteria for in­
terpreting an MTF curve are that the higher the curve and
the straighter it is, the greater the contrast of the image and
the more uniform the image quality. Whereas no lens can
deliver 100% contrast, an MTF chart showing a relatively
flat curve above 70% would indicate an excellent lens. Con­
sideration must be made for the higher frequencies (right
side of the horizontal axis) as even a high-quality lens can­
not render an MTF (contrast) of more than 50% at a fre­
quency of over 50 cycles.
Most MTF charts will show two curves: one for tan­
gential lines (broken) and another for radial lines (continu­
ous). Telephone lines can be considered tangential lines and
telephone poles can be interpreted as radial lines. The op­
tical aberration astigmatism shows up as sharp poles with
out-of-focus wires. An M TF chart showing a marked dis­
tance between radial and tangential curves will clearly in­
dicate that the lens suffers from astigmatism. Inversely, a
chart indicating the two lines running very close will
specify a lens with very slight astigmatism.
From the viewpoint of MTF, lenses can be roughly
classified into two groups: high contrast with limited reso­
lution, and lower contrast with greater resolution. What is
appropriate for one is not necessarily correct for another.
The film emulsion characteristics or the limiting frequency
of a television camera tube will dictate the preferable type.
The one with the best contrast properties in the frequency
range to be recorded may be considered ideal.
Modem Telephoto Lenses
by W illiam J. Turner
& Chris Condon
The term "telephoto lens" is generally used to describe
any lens, regardless of its optical configuration, which
magnifies the image at least 50% more than the normal lens
on any specific camera. The term "true telephoto" refers to
lenses designed for physical compactness, yet having an
effective focal length (EFL) longer than the physical dis­
tance of the optics from the image plane. This type of lens
employs a negative rear optical component. The term "tele­
lens" is becoming more common than "telephoto" lens.
Many of the telephoto lenses in use today (over 180mm
EFL) were originally designed for use with 35mm single­
lens reflex still cameras. Several major still camera manu­
facturers, in efforts to satisfy the unique telephoto lens re­
quirements of professional sports photographers, have
designed superior quality, high-speed and zoom lenses
using newly compounded, low dispersion optical glass (in
some cases crystal substances such as fluorite). Through the
use of state-of-the-art computer-aided optical design tech­
niques, these lenses achieve a degree of color correction,
sharpness and contrast far superior to those previously
attainable in high-speed lenses.
Most of these lenses are very fast for their focal length.
The Canon 300mm and 400mm f/2 .8 lenses have become
quite popular. The now discontinued Nikon 300mm f / 2
has become an industry-standard lens. Aside from their tra­
ditional uses in the fields of documentary, news, sports,
wildlife, and surveillance cinematography, telephoto lenses
are used increasingly in the shooting of commercials and
action films. Among the advantages of tele-lenses are dra­
matic close-ups, camera unobtrusiveness, greater safety,
technical practicality, pictorial effect and novelty. Most of
these lenses also feature internal focusing. Companies such
as Century Precision Optics have modified these lenses for
the exacting requirements of professional cinematography
by converting the rear section and re-calibrating the iris in
Som e lenses are m ore extensively m odified w ith
larger, more visible footage scales, precision integral followfocus gears, and special mounting brackets. The basic op­
tics, however, are never changed.
Tele-lenses tend to isolate the main subject from the
background and foreground due to their inherently shal­
low depth-of-field. They also appear to compress objects
at various distances from the cam era, and may be em ­
ployed to bring the background closer to the subject. A tele­
lens also slows the apparent advance of a subject moving
toward the cam era. It is much easier to track an object
moving laterally across a field with a tele-lens, because it
will remain in view for a longer period of time and still
retain a large image size. It is often advisable to move fur­
ther back, use a long tele-lens and make a slow pan that
films a large image for a greater length of time, rather than
move in close to the subject's line of travel with a short fo­
cal length lens.
Several unique problems sometimes arise when shoot­
ing with tele-lenses. Increasing the image magnification
also results in increased effect of camera vibration, thermal
effects of atmospheric refraction (heat waves), atmospheric
dust, vapors and ultraviolet radiation reflected from the
same. However, new techniques have resulted in better
image quality even under these adverse conditions. Follow­
ing are a number of corrective tele-lens techniques that of­
fer solutions to these problems. For example, camera vibra­
tion due to vibrating motor drive, unbalanced shutter or
other mechanical characteristics can be minimized. While
such vibration may have little or no detectable effects with
wide-angle or normal lenses, it can be highly magnified
when using long focal lengths. A solid tripod and a lens
cradle should always be used. Most professional cameras
have sufficient magnification in their reflex focusing sys­
tems so that any vibration effect can be observed in the
viewfinder image. The tele-lens should first be focused in
with the camera operating, and focus should be compared
with the camera at rest to detect any adverse vibration ef­
Filters & Tele-lenses
Several types of filters can improve color in tele-lens
shots. The most useful are Skylight 1A, 2A, 2B and 2C; also
the UV 15, U V 16, U V 17 and others of comparable charac­
teristics. Proper filtering of black & white films will greatly
aid in minimizing atmospheric haze. Yellow, orange, and
red filters im prove definition and can increase contrast
because they filter out violet and ultraviolet light. Dramatic
haze penetration can be recorded with heavy red filters
such as Wratten 25 and 29. The greatest haze penetration,
far beyond visual rendition, can be produced with infra­
red sensitive film and any of the following W ratten filters:
72B, 8 7 ,88A and 89A. (See "Infrared Cinematography.")
A word of caution regarding filters employed in front
of long focal length, high-performance lenses: the filter's
optical quality must match that of the lens on which it is
used. Any lack of optical flatness will introduce aberrations
which can ruin the image. For this reason, it is strongly rec­
ommended never to use any untested filter, especially with
long focal length lenses.
It is becoming increasingly common to use glass filters
at the back of telephoto lenses. In some cases, the filters are
used via a filter holder that is inserted into a slot at the rear
of the lens. In other cases, the filters are mounted in the
camera adapter itself at the rear of the lens. There are many
advantages to using the filter at the rear of the lens. Filters
are much smaller and less costly. The most common sizes
are 40.5 mm and 48 mm. Used behind the lens, the quality
of the filter is not as critical as in front of the lens. Standard
commercial filters are typically of more than sufficient qual­
ity for use behind the lens without causing degradation of
the image. Recently, filter stages have been added behind
many telephoto lenses. These stages allow rectangular fil­
ters to be rotated and translated, not only allowing the use
polarizing filters, but hard-edge graduated filters as well.
These filters are commonly used in two sizes: 2” x 3" and
45 x 70 mm.
To maintain the accuracy of the focus calibrations (and
any focus marks that may be made during the course of the
shot), the number and thickness of filters used behind the
lens must remain constant. This means that clear filters
must be used when no colored or effects filters are in place.
The filters being used must also be of exact thickness to
avoid shifting the predetermined focus of the lens. Both
Tiffen and Harrison are currently manufacturing these rect­
angular filters to a consistent thickness.
The use of the multiple filters behind the lens can cre­
ate another problem. Clear filters are normally not anti-re­
flection coated. The actual light loss caused by an uncoated
clear filter is only 'A of a stop and, typically, can be ignored.
Clear filters are said to cause "no light loss." However,
using three (3) uncoated filters behind the lens results in
three (3) losses of Ve each, adding up to at least V2 stop. This
loss, therefore, must be taken into account when figuring
the exposure (especially with multiple clear filters).
The best solution to the "h eat w ave" problem is to
shoot during the early morning hours. A high downward
camera angle will sometimes minimize heat waves by less­
ening the amount of ground level atmosphere that the lens
must shoot through.
Focus collimation of long focus lenses can be affected
significantly by temperature extremes. Lenses which are
adjusted at room temperature may not be in focus in high
desert temperatures due to thermal expansion of mount
components. Focus should always be checked in the field
under actual or simulated production conditions. In cold
climates, condensation of moisture and cement separation
can be minimized by gradual exposure to environmental
T-stop calibration of tele-lenses is the same as for short
focal length lenses. However, it should be kept in mind that
intervening haze actually lightens distant objects. The re­
sulting aerial perspective (a gradual lightening of objects
at increasing distances) will often result in an apparent
overexposure when a distant object is isolated in a telephoto
shot. Many cinematographers are, therefore, under the im­
pression that tele-lenses are calibrated differently and re­
quire less exposure. Actually, the small portion of the dis­
tant scene being filmed is lighter in tone and lacks contrast
because of atmospheric conditions.
To counterbalance the lack of contrast usually encoun­
tered in long-range filming, special emulsions may be cho­
sen for use with high-power tele-lenses. Sometimes the film
can be developed to a slightly higher gamma (if sufficient
footage is involved to make this practical). Finally, because
tele-lenses tend to magnify lateral image blur to an unnatu­
ral degree, it may be advisable to overcrank the camera
Lens Extenders (Multipliers)
A lens extender, which consists of a multi-elem ent
optical attachment, may be positioned behind a prime lens
to increase its focal length. These may be successfully used
with many types of tele-lenses. It is a simple, inexpensive
way to further extend the focal length of tele-lenses. Extend­
ers of better quality can render acceptably sharp images;
however, they should be stopped down for best definition.
Lens extenders have an exposure increase factor cor­
responding to their power. A 1.4X extender will increase
the focal length of the lens 1.4X and require a 1-stop increase
in exposure. Example: a 300mm f/2 .8 lens becomes 420mm
f/4 with a 1.4X extender. A 2X extender will double the
focal length of the lens and require a 2-stop increase in ex­
posure. Example: A 400mm f/2 .8 lens becomes a 800mm
f/5.6 with a 2X extender.
Since tele-extenders already cause a light loss, the dim
image may be difficult to focus and view. Effective aper­
tures are rarely faster than f/ 8 or f / 1 1, or even f/16. Extend­
ers can be combined for greater magnification. The power
should be multiplied to obtain the working power. For in­
stance: two 2X extenders can be combined to form a 4X unit,
which would have an exposure factor of 16 and require a
4-stop increase in exposure.
Catadioptric or Reflective Systems
Reflective optical systems employing mirrored optical
surfaces enable long focal lengths to be folded inside of a
compact assembly, tlius saving space and weight. These
systems usually combine reflective surfaces and refractive
correcting lenses. The color correction is good and normally
requires no correction for using infrared sensitive film.
Because of the necessity of using the entire light path, an
iris diaphragm usually cannot be incorporated in these
systems. Neutral density filters or a reduced shutter open­
ing may have to be used to reduce exposure. Careful com­
parative tests are advisable to determine the suitability of
these lenses for the intended purpose.
These lenses typically have a secondary reflective sur­
face either on the back surface of the front correcting ele­
ment, or as a separate element mounted inside the lens. The
light is then reflected back through a hole in the primary
mirror at the back of the lens and onto the film. The block­
ing of the center of the lens by the secondary mirror results
in the out-of-focus highlights and points being rendered on
the film as rings (or donuts). This effect should be noted and
this type of lens should not be used if this will be a prob­
lem. In many cases, these out-of-focus rings are desired and
are the main reason for using the mirrored lens. It should
be noted that mirror lenses typically have a T-number ap­
proximately one (1) stop slower than the actual f-number.
Exposure tests should be run prior to use, or the lens should
be calibrated on equipment capable of measuring the ac­
tual T-stop of the lens.
The primary requirement for achieving maximum re­
solving power and finest image quality with a tele-lens is
careful focusing. Long focal length lenses possess inher­
ently shallow depth-of-field characteristics. This is a law of
physics and cannot be changed; therefore, some means of
focusing through the lens m ust be employed. Secondly,
camera steadiness must be assured by rigid lens mounting
and absence of vibration. Thirdly, the finest quality filters,
carefully chosen to fit the filming conditions, should be
employed. A long lens shade is essential. It should be care­
fully designed so as not to restrict the angular coverage of
the lens. It must also have a totally non-reflective interior,
as should all surfaces of the lens mount that are exposed
to the image-forming light.
Modern telephoto lenses have proven to be one of the
most useful tools for creative cinematography, often ren­
dering subject details, compression, and selectiveness that
might otherwise have been impossible.
Zoom Lenses
by Bern Levy
In order to understand why we use a zoom lens, it is
best to first understand what a zoom lens is. By definition
a zoom lens is a precision op tical/m ech an ical system ,
which can change its field of view w ithout noticeably
changing its aperture or focus. This is made possible by the
use of complex cams and followers controlling precisely
designed and manufactured optical components.
Today the zoom lens is used m ainly as a variable
prime, meaning that the zoom lens carries within it an in­
finite number of focal lengths which can be utilized for the
specific composition required. The cinematographer has
available almost every conceivable focal length and aper­
ture found in fixed focal length lenses. Cine zooms have
ranges up to 25X now , with focal lengths of 7.5m m to
625mm and apertures as high as f/1 1 currently available,
leaving very few requirements for fixed focal length lenses.
In addition to these properties, the zoom lens can achieve
special effects by ever-changing the field of view, otherwise
kjiown as zooming.
Those characteristics which we consider important in
selecting a fixed focal length lens are equally important in
selecting a zoom lens. In addition to aperture and focal
length, we must consider zoom range, minimum focusing
distance, correction, etc. in determining which zoom lens
is suitable for your purposes. Equally important are your
own requirements for this lens. Is extremely close focusing
necessary? Is high aperture important? Will you be shoot­
ing close-ups indoors? Or mostly outdoors from long dis­
tances? All aspects must be considered.
One lens may allow better operational flexibility than
another lens and therefore reduce the demands on the cam­
era. As an example, a close-focusing lens may cut produc­
tion time as compared to a lens that requires the use of
close-up attachments. A lens with a large zoom range may
reduce the number of times the camera is repositioned.
Reliability of the lens has a direct relationship to the manu­
facturer. The past record of the lens design as well as the
manufacturer's reputation in the marketplace must be con­
sidered. Are service facilities available? Is the facility
equipped with proper instrumentation and personnel? Will
parts be available?
Another pertinent consideration is whether to pur­
chase a new or used zoom lens. As the zoom lens is a me­
chanical system, the age and previous use of the lens will
determine whether a used lens, at a lower cost, has a value
over a new lens at a higher cost. Are the zoom and focus
mechanisms smooth? W hat is the appearance of the coat­
ing? Are the front and rear elements scratched? The an­
swers to these questions will help determine the value of a
zoom lens.
Mechanics of Zoom Lenses
Perhaps the single most important factor in preparing
a zoom lens for use is the mounting procedure. Unlike fixed
focal length lens, a zoom will not perform correctly if not
seated properly in the camera. The distance from the seat
or flange of the lens mount to the film plane (known as the
flange focal distance) is hypercritical. If not set to the pre­
scribed dim ension (17.52m m for Standard "C " mount,
40.0mm for Aaton, 52mm for Arriflex Standard, 38.1mm for
CP, 48mm for Eclair) out-of-focus images will result when
zooming from long focal lengths to short focal lengths. This
phenomenon is a result of the depth of focus, the lens-to154
film tolerance being greater at the long focal length than at
the short focal length. To avoid mounting problems, both
the lens mount and camera socket should be cleaned be­
fore inserting the lens into the camera. It must be pointed
out that professional zoom lenses must be adjusted to an
extremely small tolerance specified by the lens manufac­
turer, which could be as precise as .01mm (.0004") of the
flange focal distance, and therefore, a small particle of dirt
may actually interfere with the proper seating of these
While some zoom lens diaphragms are graduated in
both f- and T-stops, exposure should only be set on the T
scale. Because the large number of optical elements in a
zoom lens affects the transmission of light through the lens,
there is a difference between the geometric aperture (f-stop)
and the photometric aperture (T-stop).
Zooming, or the changing of focal length, results in the
changing of image size at the film plane without varying
the subject-to-lens distance. This can be accomplished by
either mechanical or electrical means. While most zoom
lenses rely on the manual turning of the zoom barrel, a
more controlled and therefore more consistently accurate
rate can be achieved by the use of electrical motor drives.
In some cases, this is not preferred. While some cinematog­
raphers prefer to actually rotate the zoom barrel directly by
hand (they claim that this m ethod gives them a much
greater control), others prefer an electrical servo system
with a rate control to provide a dampening effect. This al­
lows the operator to start the zoom very slowly and then
accelerate to the desired maximum speed. The situation can
also be repeated, in reverse, to end the zoom slowly. This
dampening effect is desirable as it tends to make the zoom
movement itself less noticeable. Regardless of whether
turning the zoom barrel by hand or by motor, it is suggested
that the lens be zoomed the entire focal length range before
actually making a take in order to distribute the lubrication
within the zoom cams and bearings. This will result in a
much smoother zoom effect, eliminating irregular move­
ments or hang-ups.
Before attempting to focus a lens, the viewfinder eye­
piece must be adjusted to your vision. It is recommended
that the lens actually be defocused prior to setting this eye­
piece. Y ou m u st re a liz e th a t in this p ro ced u re, the
viewfinder is being set to adjust the focus of your eye to the
ground glass viewing system of the camera only. The lens
is not considered as part of this system. The viewfinder
should be adjusted so that only the grain of the ground
glass is sharp. At this point, the eyepiece should be locked
in position so that it will not be moved accidentally during
When attempting to focus, the lens should always be
set at its longest focal length and at full aperture, as these
conditions establish the minimum depth of field for a zoom
lens and provide maximum sensitivity. Similarly to zoom­
ing, the focus barrel should be turned throughout its en­
tire range in order to distribute the lubrication for a smooth
effect before making a take. For "grab" shots, one should
know the hyper focal distance of the lens. To review, the
basic rule is that when the lens is focused on the hyperfocal distance, the depth of field extends from half the hyperfocal distance to infinity, providing the maximum focus­
ing range for a possible "grab" shot (see tables on pages 174200).
Do's and Don't's
It should be our aim to create pictures that do not bring
attention to die mechanics involved in the production of the
picture. We must remember that we are operating a motion-picture camera and not a moving picture camera. We
must realize that every zoom movement, like every cam­
era movement, should have a motivation. The zoom should
not be used merely because it is available. The fact there is
a zoom lens on a camera does not necessitate utilizing the
lens for the zoom effect. The "trom boning" technique in­
vented by 8mm amateurs and propagated by profession­
als around the world should be avoided unless that par­
ticular effect is required in the production.
Basically, a zoom lens contains an infinite series of fo­
cal lengths. We should consider the zoom as a variable
prime lens using it in much the same manner as fixed fo­
cal length lenses. When a specific focal length is called for,
the zoom lens should be set for that specific focal length and
the scene shot ju st as if a fixed focal length lens was
mounted on the camera.
On the other hand, when the production calls for a
searching or revealing effect, the zoom lens is capable of
handling this technique. The searching technique was in­
herited from broadcast television coverage of baseball and
other major sports. It starts with an overall wide-angle shot
of the arena. Upon the decision of the team involved to en­
act a sensational play, the lens is zoomed in to a tight shot
of the player at the center of the action. The opposite type
of zoom movement, "revealing" the subject, is lised more
often in commercials and theatrical films as it can impose
tremendous impact if carried out correctly. In this type of
zoom movement, the zoom lens is first set at the long focal
length to provide a narrow angle of view and, upon cue, is
zoomed to a wide-angle position to reveal another object
to accent the plot.
An intimacy with a moving subject can be achieved by
zooming at the same rate as the subject is moving either
toward or away from the camera. This method keeps the
subject size the same even though the subject is in motion.
The effect is heightened by the changing of perspective in
that w hile the subject size rem ains relatively constant
throughout the sequence, the background relationship
changes according to the distance from the subject to the
background. The perspective changes only because the
distance between the lens and the subject is changing. The
focal length of the lens is not the controlling factor in de­
termining perspective. The focal length of the lens deter­
mines the angle of view, which provides us with the re­
quired width and height of the picture.
The zoom lens can also be used to introduce speed. A
very fast zoom from a wide angle to a tight shot of a speed­
ing subject will accelerate the movement of that subject.
Inanimate objects can be made to appear to move by proper
zoom movements. The changing of image size in a given
sequence can actually create the illusion of movement.
Zoom Lens Flexibility
There are a number of attachments available for zoom
lenses to increase their flexibility. These attachments can be
used to further change the angle of view, w orking dis­
tances, color and contrast, as well as protect the lens. One
of the most commonly used front-mounted attachments is
the close-up lens (sometimes referred to as a diopter). These
attachments fit on the front of a zoom lens, permitting a
closer than normal focusing range, as well as the full use
of the zoom. Its prime limitation is that focusing to infinity
is not possible.
One of the most recent front-mounted attachments is
a unit to increase the focal length of a zoom. This telephoto
attachment, while increasing the focal length, may reduce
the zoom range whereas it is limited by its front diameter
to a medium-wide angle.
As an example, a 15-to-l zoom is reduced to a 6-to-l
because of this phenomenon. Another front-mounted at­
tachment performs the opposite function. A retrozoom, or
wide-angle attachment, will decrease the focal length; how­
ever, in this case, the zoom range is not affected. An addi­
tional benefit of the wide-angle attachment is that it reduces
the minimum focusing distance.
The most important reason for utilizing front mounted
attachments is that the geometric aperture (f-stop) is not
affected, degradation of image quality is minimal and a
normal focusing range to infinity is maintained.
On the other hand, rear mounted attachments, such as
range extenders, not only multiply focal lengths, they also
affect aperture and existing aberrations. As an example, a
2X range extender m ounted on the rear of a 25-250m m ,
f /3 .2 lens will double the focal length (50-500mm) as well
as the aperture (f/6.4). Aberrations which may not have
been noticeable on film are magnified 4X due to the geom­
etry involved, creating an image of questionable quality.
When sufficient light is available, such as during outdoor
sporting events, the iris is stopped down at least halfway
and these aberrations are reduced, generally resulting in ac­
ceptable images.
While rear-mounted filters do represent a less expen­
sive method of light filtration, it must be pointed out that
they also elongate the back focal distance of a lens to a di­
mension 16 the thickness of the filter material. As tolerances
for mounting professional zoom lenses are measured in
hundredths of a millimeter, this extension of the back fo­
cal distance of a zoom may seriously affect its image qual­
ity. Of course, cameras which are manufactured with fil­
ter slots have adjusted flange focal distances which com­
pensate for this elongation. This deviation then demands
that even though a filter is not used, a UV or clear optical
flat of equivalent thickness to the normal filter material
must be inserted in the optical path in order to compensate
for the increased back focal distance.
Front filters, however, do not require any adjustment
of the back focal distance and are therefore recommended.
If no color filtration is required, a light UV can serve to in­
crease the "snap" of a picture as well as serve as an inex­
pensive protective device for the front element of a zoom
Cine Zoom Lenses on Video Cameras
Now that the video medium has progressed to stateof-the-art equipm ent, w here gamma and other picture
qualities are controllable enough to provide the "film look,"
cinematographers are finding a need for a greater variety
of lenses to render the same quality images they have pho­
tographed on film. Unfortunately, professional television
equipment manufacturers have not produced many "ex­
treme" type lenses and therefore there is an urge to utilize
the great variety of cine lenses on video cameras.
Cine lenses may be used successfully on black & white
and single-tube color cameras. As most professional pro­
ductions would utilize a prism-type camera, we must re­
fer to this type of mechanism as being limited in its capa­
bility to accept cine lenses. The prism or beam splitter that
breaks up the white light com ing from the lens into the
three primary colors requires an elongated back focal dis­
tance of a given lens in order to compensate for the glass
in the prism. Whereas some extreme cine lenses do not have
this extra back focal length, it is not possible to utilize them
on professional video cameras. Depending upon the size
of the actual prism in the camera, it has been found that
focal lengths of 15mm and longer can be used successfully
on most %-inch prism-type cameras. Extreme wide-angle
and high-aperture lenses cannot be used. Several optical
adapters are currently available to enable you to utilize cine
lenses on video cameras. The users of these devices report
low-quality images in addition to bulkiness and high cost,
negating their original concept.
Lens Maintenance
User maintenance is principally limited to keeping
glass surfaces clean. No adjustments should be made to a
zoom lens except by a qualified technician. As most major
lens manufacturers maintain their own service centers or
appoint service representatives, it is best to limit any repairs
to this group. This is extremely important, as only a trained
technician, who knows the effects of the adjustments and
works with the proper tools and measuring instruments,
can properly carry out a zoom lens repair.
Should maintenance be required, it is extremely im­
portant to realize that the service facility can not rectify the
problem unless it is clearly indicated to them. Prior to ship­
ping a lens to a service facility, it is essential that the prob­
lem be documented, clearly indicating all aspects of the
difficulties encountered. If necessary, a test film, showing
the problem, should accompany the lens. Terms such as
"th e lens isn 't sh arp " or "it d oesn 't w o rk " should be
avoided. Specific details should be indicated, such as, "the
lens goes soft at a specific focal length," "the iris blades stick
at f / ? " or "the lens has been dropped" and possibly "the
lens has been immersed in sea water." By giving these de­
tails, the service technician will be able to attack the prob­
lem and solve it quickly, resulting in a lower cost to you.
Last but not least, the lens should always be packaged
properly. Do not attempt to ship a lens, whether to a ser­
vice center or otherwise, without having proper packaging
insulation surrounding it to a depth of at least 2". Just as
important, it is essential that the lens be packaged so that
there is absolutely no movement of the lens or any parts
packaged therein. By adhering to these few rules, your
zoom lens should provide you with excellent service over
the years.
Lens Formulas
Hyperfocal Distance
Hyperfocal distance of a lens represents a special case
of depth of field in which objects at infinity, as well as the
nearest possible objects, are photographed with acceptable
sharpness. Therefore, if a lens is focused at the hyperfocal
distance, all image points between one-half that distance
and infinity will not exceed a specific circle of confusion,
or expressed more simply, will be acceptably sharp.
The formula for hyperfocal distance (using inches or
fractions thereof) is:
H = -------f x Cc
F = focal length of lens
f = f / stop number
Cc = circle of confusion
The circle of confusion for the hyperfocal distance can
be briefly described as the image of a point situated out­
side the focused distance plane that will therefore not form
the image of a point in the film plane, but a blurred circle
of a diameter Cc.
Acceptable sharpness in past editions has been calcu­
lated as a .002 inch image of a point ("Circle of confusion"),
for images on 35mm film. Because of larger magnification
in present-day theaters, manufacturers have been using
.001 inches in recent years, and these new tables follow that
practice (.0006 inches (.015mm) is used in the 16mm tables).
To read depth of field for larger or smaller circles of confu­
sion, use the column under a smaller or larger lens f-stop.
Acceptable sharpness is affected not only by the geometry
of the cone of light imaging a point object; it is also affected
1. The imaging quality of the lens both on-axis and offaxis at the plane of best focus.
2. The imaging quality at large and small, as compared
to intermediate iris diaphragm apertures.
3. Diffusion or flare, whether intentional or not.
4. The imaging quality of the films and printing meth­
ods used (negative, intermediate, and print).
5. Viewing conditions.
6. Object illumination and contrast.
If for any of these reasons the sharpness of the best
image is less than the arbitrarily established norm, the ap­
parent depth of field will be affected also. If the exit pupil
of the lens, due to asymmetry, is not the same as the indi­
cated f-stop, the depth of field will be affected.
Because depth of field has no sharply defined limits,
the distances in the tables have been "rounded off" to fig­
ures compatible with the distance.
Depth of Field
The depth of field of a lens is the range of acceptable
sharpness before and behind the plane of focus obtained
in the final screened image. It should be understood that
the determination of depth of field involves a subjective
sensation that requires taking into account the condition
under which the final projected image is viewed. The fol­
lowing two formulas are for calculating the depth of field
with the help of the hyperfocal distance and the circle of
Depth of Field Calculations
First: Calculate the hyperfocal distance
(definition above)
(The tables are calculated
for Cc = .001” (,025mm) for 35mm film,
= .0006 (0.15mm) for 16mm film)
Second: Using H, calculate near and
far depth-of-field limits
H xS
DN camera to near limit = -----------------H + (S-F)
H xS
DF camera to far limit = -----------------H - (S-F)
H = Hyperfocal distance
S = Distance from camera to object
F = Focal length of lens
Depth Total = DF-DN
When the object distance is less than 10 times the lens
focal length, depth of field is very small, and tables are more
appropriately combined and stated in terms of image mag­
nification, rather than focal length and subject distance. (See
"Extreme Closeup.")
Depth of Focus
The depth of focus should be clearly distinguished
from the previously explained depth of field. The depth of
focus is an infinitely small range behind the lens at the fo­
cal plane within which the film is positioned during expo­
sure. This is most critical, particularly with short-focus
lenses. If the film moves out of this precise position, either
forward or backward, it will cause imsharp images pro­
duced by an increase of the diameter of the circle of confu­
sion. The circle of confusion, in other words, is no longer
an acceptably sharp point but a larger circle w hich is
blurred. Precise placement of the film in the film aperture
is a most important consideration for motion picture cam­
era designers to avoid film buckling or breakage, or other
mechanical problems such as variable pressure plates or
poor registration, causing displacement of the film behind
the lens during actual exposure. Each frame must be held
securely in position and in perfect register in the exact fo­
cal plane and remain absolutely motionless during expo­
sure. For close approximation the formula for depth of fo­
cus for a lens at a given f-stop is plus or minus:
focal length x f-stop
Depth of focus = ------------------------------1000
Lens Angle and Field of View
Field of view may be calculated by substituting film
aperture size for image size; the field of view is then the
object size. (Lens angle may be calculated with the aid of a
table of tangents or a pocket scientific or slide-rule calcula­
tor; see tangents table.)
For 2:1 anamorphic lenses, the field or object size is
double in the horizontal dimension.
A = Aperture (height or width) in inches
f = focal length of a lens in inches
1/2 A
Tangent 1/2 viewing angle = -----f
The tangent of 1/2 viewing angle can be converted to
degrees by consulting a tangent table. Multiply this angle
by two to obtain the full viewing angle. For Cinemascope,
or other two times squeeze wide screen processes, the for­
mula is simply the aperture divided by the focal length of
the lens, since 2 times Vi equals 1. O ther squeeze ratios
should use the following formula:
1/2 A x Squeeze Ratio
Tangent1/2 viewing angle = -------------------------------
Using the above sketch one may calculate camera dis­
tance, object size, lens focal length or image size if any three
are known.
and: a
object size in front of camera
distance from object to lens of camera
focal length of lens used
image size
lens angle when A = film aperture size
field of view when A = film aperture size
All dimensions must be converted to the same units: feet,
inches, meters or millimeters. (One inch equals 25.4 milli­
meters; one millimeter equals .0394 inches.) Note that D is
measured to the lens (front principal point). Most cameras
and lens scales are calibrated to the distance from the film
plane (because lenses to be mounted on the camera are of
various sizes). This convention should pose no problem
when the object distance is greater than about 10 times the
lens focal length. (See "Extrem e Closeup Photography.")
Lens Aperture
F-stop or f-number is the ratio of the focal length of a
lens to the diameter of the entrance pupil. (Approximately
the aperture diaphragm size in a symmetrical lens).
T-stop is a measure of the light transmission of the lens.
It is related to f-stop by the efficiency of light transmission.
A lens which transm itted 100% of the light entering it
would have the same f-stop and T number.
To compensate for backlash in the mechanism, always
set a lens diaphragm by moving from the widest opening
to the desired aperture. This method takes up any backlash
that may be present arid provides the most accurate setting.
(Reference: ANSI PH 22.90.)
Lens Displacement When Focused Closer
Than Infinity
d = lens displacement from infinity position
f = focal length of lens in inches
a = distance focused on in inches
d = -----a-f
EXAMPLE: The displacement of a 50mm (2 inch) lens
focused at 10 feet (1 2 0 inches):
d = ---------= --------- = 0.031"
1 2 0 -2
Extreme Close-up
In photographing subjects at a distance closer than the
camera lens mount scale will allow, three options are open:
1. When available, extension rings or bellows may be
used between the camera lens and the flange.
2. Supplementary lenses (commonly known as "diopt­
ers") may be mounted in front of the lens or screwed into
filter holders on the lens.
3. Lenses especially designed for photomacrography
may be employed. (The term "m acro" is loosely defined;
Kodak uses it when the scale is greater than 1:1, while many
lenses are sold for "m acro " for use down to 1:1 or 1 :2 .
Lenses used for general cinematography are designed and
corrected for subjects many feet from the camera; "m acro"
lenses are corrected for whatever scale they are sold for, and
would be expected to deliver a better image at that scale
than a conventional lens with extension rings.)
The choice between extension rings or diopter lenses
is determined by convenience, with a slight preference for
the use of prime lenses and extension rings. Image aberra­
tion due to close focusing of prime lenses and due to the
"simple lens" structure of diopters is minimized in each
case by stopping down to f / 8 or f/1 1 . While a macro lens
may be corrected for a larger aperture, depth of field (about
Moth of an inch at f / 8 at scale 1 :2 ) may be a limiting factor.
Depth of field at a given f-stop depends solely on the scale
factor (copy ratio or image size divided by subject size), not
on the use of extension tubes or diopters, nor on the lens
focal length. Therefore, it is preferable to use a long focus
lens to allow more room for lighting.
Extension of Prime Lens
As the prime lens is moved forward, less light is trans­
mitted because the effective T-stop is progressively dimin­
ished by its distance from the film. At a subject-to-lens dis­
tance of about 10 focal lengths (field width of 8 " for 35mm,
or 4" for 16mm) this begins to become noticeable. The table
shows the am ount of illum ination increase required to
maintain full exposure in terms of image scale factor.
By convention, most camera lens distance scales are
calibrated at a subject distance measured from the film
plane because lenses of differing sizes are involved. The
following close-up tables are calculated on subject-to-lens
distance (to the front "principal point"; for practical pur­
poses, the iris diaphragm, which is not necessarily the cali­
brated diaphragm ring).
Diopter Lenses
By definition, "d iopter" is the measure of the power
of the lens expressed as the reciprocal of the focal length in
meters (1 0 0 0 divided by the focal length of the lens in mil­
limeters). The term is commonly used by cinematographers
to refer to supplementary lenses used in close-up photog­
raphy. The lenses are generally of a weak meniscus form
and are marked with the number indicating the diopter
power: + V i, + 1 , + 2 , etc.
When a prime lens is set at scale focus infinity, and a
diopter lens is mounted in front of it, a subject will be in
focus on the film plane if positioned at a distance from the
diopter lens equivalent to the focal length of the diopter lens
(2 meters for a V2 diopter lens, 1 meter for a 2 diopter lens,
etc.). Two diopter lenses mounted close together may be
used and the power is the sum of the powers of the two
lenses. When two diopter lenses are combined, the high­
est power should be closest to the prime lens. Plus diopt­
ers should be placed in front of the prime lens with their
convex (outward curve) side toward the subject. If an ar­
row is engraved on the rim of the diopter lens mount, it
should point toward the subject.
Highest screen quality results with lower-power di­
opters. It is better to use a longer focal length prime lens
and a less powerful plus-diopter lens than to employ a
higher power diopter on a short focal length prime lens.
Plus diopter lenses shorten the focal length of the prime lens
and change its focus scale. The tables give typical figures
for these factors. Because the prime lens is used "on scale"
it is not necessary to increase exposure for close-ups pho­
tographed in this manner.
Depth Of Field For Close-up Photography
W hen the object distance is less than 10 times the lens
focal length, depth of field is very small, and tables are more
appropriately combined and stated in terms of image mag­
nification, rather than focal length and subject distance. The
difference in near and far depth also becomes small, and
depth is stated in the table as the total zone of probable
acceptable sharpness. Geometric calculation of depth of
field for asymmetrical lenses (retro, tele, and zoom) is also
to be taken as an approximate guide in these zones, because
each has been designed for a specific range which may or
may not include extreme close-up.
Not all of these formulas are rigorous.
Some have very small factors discarded for practicality.
Split-Field D iopter Lenses
Split-field diopter lenses are partial lenses, cut so that
they cover only a portion of the prime lens. They are gener168
ally cut in half, although they may be positioned in front
of the prime lens so that more or less than half is covered.
They may be compared with bifocals for human vision, in
which the eye may focus near and far. They have an ad­
vantage over bifocals, however, in that they may b e focused
sharply on both near and fa r subjects simultaneously.
The depth of field of the prime lens is not extended.
The split-field diopter lens simply permits focusing on a
very close subject on one side of the frame, while a distant
subject is photographed normally through the uncovered
portion of the prime lens. Generally, the area in between
will not be in focus. There are instances, such as using a
zoom lens with a small aperture at the wide-angle position,
when sharpness may extend all the way from the ultra­
close-up to the distant subject. The split diopter-equipped
lens possesses two distinct depths of field: one for the close
subject (which may be very shallow or possess no depth
whatever), and another for the distant subject (which will
be the normal depth of field for the particular focal length
lens and f-stop in use). It is important, therefore, to exclude
subject matter from the middle distance because it will cre­
ate a situation where the foreground is sharp, the middle
distance is out of focus and the distant subject is sharp!
Split-field diopter lenses require ground-glass focus­
ing to precisely line up both foreground and background
subjects and visually check focus on each. This is particu­
larly important with zoom lenses, which may require cam­
era movement during the zoom.
Very unusual effects are possible that would otherwise
require two separate shots to be later combined in an opti­
cal printer via a matting process. Making such split shots
in the camera permits viewing the scene as it will appear,
rather than waiting for both shots to be optically printed
onto one film.
The proper power split-field diopter lens is positioned
in front of the taking lens on the same side as the near ob­
ject, so that it is sharply focused on one side of the frame.
The uncovered portion of the conventional or zoom lens is
focused in the usual manner on the distant subject. (Note:
Use the "Plus Diopter Lenses Focus Conversion Table" to
find near and far focusing distances with various power
diopter lenses.) A zoom lens may be employed, either to
obtain an intermediate focal length not available with con­
ventional lenses, or to zoom during the shot. Study the shot
through the focusing viewfinder at the f-stop to be used for
The edge of the split diopter lens should be positioned,
if possible, so that it lines up with a straight edge in the
background, such as the corner of a room, the edge of a
column or a bookcase. Eliminating the edge may prove
difficult under certain conditions, particularly with a zoom
lens, because the edge will shift across the frame slightly
when the lens is zoomed. It is wise to leave space between
the foreground and background subjects so that they do not
overlap and so that each is removed from the lens edge.
This will minimize "blending." The split diopter need not
be lined up vertically — it may be used horizontally or at
any angle to cover a foreground subject on top, bottom,
either side or at an angle across the frame. Lighting may
be employed to lighten or darken the background area
where the split occurs, to make it less noticeable.
Split-field diopter shots cannot be filmed on the run.
They require precise subject placement, camera position­
ing and balanced lighting to record an acceptable result
without a telltale blur between. They have limited use and
will not replace elaborate setups that require optical print­
ing, process background projection or mattes. They m aybe
used for simple combination shots where the cinematog­
rapher is allowed the time required for a precise lineup of
the various elements involved.
Diopter and split-field diopter lenses may be ordered
custom-made in a compound construction which can be
more highly corrected than simple single-lens elements.
Such compound lenses consist of two or more elements and
are rather thick, so they require a special retaining ring.
Special Purpose Lenses
Swing Shift Lens
The Clairmont Swing Shift Lens System consists of a
m ulti-axis m oveable lens board receiver attached to a
Arriflex style PL lens mount by a rubber bellows. Specially
modified lenses are attached to the receiver board by two
captive screws. The assembly is able to move the entire lens
in the following directions: tilt up and down, swing side
to side, shift position and focus right to left, or up and
down. Tilting/swinging the lens plane alters the focus; tilt­
ing/sw inging the film plane alters the shape. By combin­
ing the various param eters of movement, different and
unusual effects can be accomplished, such as increased or
decreased depth of field, selective planes of focus, reposi­
tioning of image without changing placement of the cam­
era, and correction or addition of image distortion. The fo­
cal lengths available are 20m m , 24m m , 28m m , 35m m ,
50mm, 60mm, and 80mm.
Panavision 45mm T2.8 Slant-Focus Lens
The plane of focus of this lens can be tilted in any di­
rection (including vertical and diagonal) as well as horizon­
tal by adjusting the rear lens rotating mount.
If the lens focus is set on an object near the center of
the field of view, the plane of focus can be tilted so that
objects (left side of frame an d /or right side of frame) located
along this tilted plane of focus will also be sharp.
If there is not an object near the center of the field of
view, measure the distance to the near and far object and
set the focus at an average between the two distances. The
plane of focus can now be tilted so that the two objects will
be brought into focus. In all situations, an object near the
center of the field of view should still be in focus after tilt­
ing the lens.
Due to the tilting nature of this lens, it cannot be used
with a Panaflex follow-focus. For the initial focus and any
change in focus, eye focusing is necessary. This lens accepts
a 1.4X Primo extender with negligible change in perfor­
mance and no change in operation. The focal length be­
comes 63mm with a maximum aperture of T4.0. If filters
are used with this lens they should (whenever possible) be
glass filters in front of the lens. If needed, the lens does ac­
cept a 40.5mm rear filter.
Continental Camera Systems RemotelyControlled "Pitching Lens" f/3.9 Optical
Concept: A system to remotely control a prime lens
that is mounted at the end of an optical relay tube. In nor­
mal configuration the 18" tube extends downward from the
camera. The prime lens is mounted at right angles to the
tube and can tilt 15° up to 90° down. The entire system ro­
tates 380°. This allows lenses such as Nikkor or Arriflex to
get into very small areas. Use of an anamorphic element
between the end of the relay tube and camera allows a
spherical lens to produce an anamorphic image on film.
Because focus is controlled in the relay tube, it is possible
to continuously follow-focus from Vi inch to infinity, thus
greatly extending the normal focus range of most prime
lenses. The system may also be mounted vertically (as in a
submarine) or extended straight out in a horizontal posi­
Clear length of relay: 18” Maximum diameter: 3"
Control of Lens: Control console with built-in video
monitor. Pressure-sensitive joystick for pan and tilt opera­
tion. System power requirements 110V, 220V or 24V DC.
Cameras: Arriflex IIC, Norelco PCP90 (video), Mitchell
R35, Lightweight Technicolor VistaVision equipped with
Nikon mount.
Focus: Remotely controlled from hand-held unit. Fo­
cus speed is proportional to focus command.
T a k in g F o rm a ts : 1 6 m m , 3 5 m m a n a m o r p h ic ,
Optics: Nikon mount through adapter rings can use
a wide assortment of Nikkor and Arriflex lenses from 7.2
mm to 100mm. Speed of system is i/3 .9 to f/32. Prime lens
is set wide open and aperture is controlled in the relay sys­
Suspension: Standard dolly with small jib arm and
C.C.S. balanced cross arm at camera end of jib. Large tele­
scopic billboard cranes and Chapman "Titan" cranes can
be used.
Kenworthy Snorkel Camera Systems
A remote image-taking system with operator and cam­
era components removed from shooting area. The camera
looks into a periscope-like optical relay tube that extends
downward below the camera and ends with a small frontsurfaced mirror. Since the mass of the camera with opera­
tor is removed from the shooting area, considerations of
scene staging are concerned only with the small end (1-V4”
x 1 -Vi" at the mirror) of the tube. The tilting mirror is re­
motely controlled, as are other functions such as pan, fo­
cus, roll, zoom and iris. The mirror system permits more
intimate shooting (due to its small size) than do add-on
right-angled lens periscopes. It also permits tilting up in
constricted situations because the mirror, rather than the
tube/cam era combination, does the tilting. The system al­
lows viewpoints in tight quarters reachable from overhead,
or from very low viewpoints or in miniature sets. Pans and
tilts are on system nodal point. An added waterproof tube
permits underwater or transition shots.
There are two systems available:
The Kenworthy Nettman Snorkel features fast optics
and lightweight, interchangeable formats, and carries a
shorter tube for use on lightweight dollies. The cameras are
butterfly VistaVision, 65mm, and 16mm film and % " video
cameras. Camera lenses are used.
The type B Kenworthy Snorkel is designed for shoot­
ing actors with dialogue at moderate lighting levels. It car­
ries a longer tube (48" or 6 6 ") which permits more overhead
clearance for deeper penetration into four-walled sets or
water tanks. This system uses 35mm only: Arriflex, Mitchell
Mark II, Panaflex or other similar cameras. The Panacam
is used for video. System lenses are used on the Type B;
28mm & 50mm T 8 for film, 13mm T5.6 for video. Both sys­
tems can use anamorphic lenses. Type B requires a camera
W ith both system s a console is used with a video
monitor and pan, tilt and lens controls.
An optical stabilizing device mounted on the camera
optical axis for compensating for image motion due to vi­
bration of the camera.
A pair of gyro sensors detect rapid motion and drive
two gimbal-mounted glass plates, between which is a liq­
uid-filled cell. One plate moves around a vertical axis and
the other around a horizontal axis in a manner which de­
viates the light path opposite to the vibratory movement,
causing the image to stay still relative to the image recep­
tor (film or video).
A low-frequency-response manually operated poten­
tiometer on the control module adjusts the frequency sen­
sitivity of the unit so controlled panning or tilting may be
The Dynalens is available in 2.3" diam eter for 16mm
film or small video cam eras and 3.8" and 8 " for larger for­
mat cameras. The maxim um useful angular deviation is
Camera Filters
by Ira Tiffen, ASC Associate Member
Camera filters are transparent or translucent optical
elements that alter the properties of light entering the cam­
era lens for the purpose of improving the image being re­
corded. Filters can affect contrast, sharpness, highlight flare,
color, and light intensity, either individually or in various
combinations. They can also create a variety of "special
effects." It is important to recognize that, even though there
are many possibly confusing variations and applications,
all filters behave in a reasonably predictable way. This sec­
tion is intended to explain the basic optical characteristics
of camera filters as well as their applications. It is a foun­
dation upon which to build through experience. Textual
data cannot fully inform. There is always something new.
In their most successful applications, filter effects blend
in with the rest of the image to help get the message across.
Exercise caution when using a filter in a way that draws
attention to itself as an effect. Combined with all the other
elements of image-making, filters make visual statements,
manipulate emotions and thought, and make believable
what otherwise would not be. They get the view er in­
Filter Planning
Filter effects can become a key part of the "look " of a
film, if considered in the planning stages. They can also
provide a crucial last-m inute fix to unexpected problems,
if you have them readily available. Where possible, it is best
to run advance tests for pre-conceived situations when
time allows.
Filter References
There are several filter manufacturers who should be
contacted regarding available filter types and nomencla­
ture. Filters of the same name, but of different manufactur­
ers, may not have the same characteristics. The one indus­
try standard is the Wratten system for filter colors. W rattennumbered filters have defined transmission properties that
are at least cross-referenced by the various key suppliers.
Filter Factors
Many filter types absorb light, and this must be com­
pensated for when calculating exposure. These filters are
supplied with either a recomm ended "filter factor" or a
"stop value." Filter factors are multiples of the unfiltered
exposure. Stop values are added to the stop to be set with­
out the filter. Multiple filters will add stop values. Since
each stop added is a doubling of the exposure, a filter fac­
tor of 2 is equal to a one-stop increase. Example: three fil­
ters of one stop each will need three additional stops, or a
filter factor of 2 x2 x2 = 8 times the unfiltered exposure.
W hen in d ou bt in the field ab ou t com p en sation
needed for a filter, you might use your light meter with the
incident bulb removed. If you have a flat diffuser, use it;
otherwise just leave the sensor bare. Aim it at an unchang­
ing light source of sufficient intensity. On the ground, fac­
ing up at a blank sky can be a good field situation. Make a
reading without the filter. Watch out for your own shadow.
Make a reading with the filter covering the entire sensor.
No light should enter from the sides. The difference in the
readings is the com pensation needed for that filter. You
could also use a spot meter, reading the same bright patch,
with similar results. There are some exceptions to this de­
pending on the filter color, the meter sensitivity, and the
target color, but it's often better than taking a guess.
Filter Grades
Many filter types are available in a range of "grades"
of differing strengths. This allows the extent of the effect
to be tailored to suit various situations. The grade-number­
ing systems may vary with manufacturer, but genrally, the
higher the number, the stronger the effect. Unless otherwise
stated by the manufacturer, there is no mathematical rela­
tionship between the numbers and the strengths. A grade
4 is not twice the strength of a grade 2. A grade 1 plus a
grade 4 doesn't add up to a grade 5.
Camera Filters for Both
Color and Black & White
Ultraviolet Filters
Film often exhibits a greater sensitivity to something
invisible to humans: ultraviolet light. This occurs most of­
ten outdoors, especially at high altitudes, where the U V 201
absorbing atmosphere is thinner, and over long distances,
such as in marine scenes. It can show up as a bluish color
cast with color film, or it can cause a low-contrast haze that
diminishes details, especially when viewing faraway ob­
jects, in either color or black & white. Ultraviolet filters
absorb UV light generally without affecting light in the vis­
ible region.
It is important to distinguish between UV-generated
haze and that of airborne particles, such as smog. The lat­
ter is made up of opaque matter that absorbs visible light
as well as UV, and will not be appreciably removed by a
UV filter.
Ultraviolet filters come in a variety of absorption lev­
els, usually measured by their percent transmission at 400
nanometers (nm), the visible UV wavelength boundary.
Use a filter that transmits zero percent at 400nm for aerial
and far-distant scenes; one that transmits in the ten to thirty
percent range is fine for average situations.
Infrared Filters
Certain special situations call for the use of black &
white or color infrared sensitive films. For aerial haze pen­
etration, recording heat effects, and other purposes they are
invaluable. Their color and tonal renditions are very differ­
ent, however, from other film types (consult film manufac­
turers for further details). Various filters are used to reduce
unwanted visible light. Red, orange, and yellow filters, as
used for panchromatic black & white film, can enhance
contrast and alter color. Total visible light absorption, trans­
mitting only infrared, as with the W ratten #87 or #89 se­
ries of filters, can also be useful. The results will vary with
film type and other factors. Prior testing for most situations
is a must.
Neutral-Density Filters
When it is desirable to maintain a particular lens open­
ing for sharpness or depth-of-field purposes, or simply to
obtain proper exposure when confronted with too much
light intensity, use a neutral-density (ND) filter. This will
absorb light evenly throughout the visible spectrum, effec­
tively altering exposure without requiring a change in lens
opening and without introducing a color shift.
Neutral-density filters are denoted by (optical) density
value. Density is defined as the log, to base 10, of the opac­
ity. Opacity (degree of absorption) of a filter is the recipro­
cal of (and inversely proportional to) its transmittance. As
an example, a filter with a compensation of one stop has a
transmittance of 50%, or 0.5 times the original light inten­
sity. The reciprocal of the transmittance, 0.5, is 2. The log,
base 10, of 2 is approximately 0.3, which is the nominal
density value. The benefit of using density values is that
they can be added when combined. Thus two ND .3 filters
have a density value of 0.6. However, their combined trans­
mittance would be found by multiplying 0.5 x 0.5 = 0.25,
or 25% of the original light intensity.
Neutral-density filters are also available in combina­
tion with other filters. Since it is preferable to minimize the
number of filters used (see section on multiple filters), com­
mon combinations such as a Wratten 85 (daylight conver­
sion filter for tungsten film) with a ND filter are available
from manufacturers as one filter, as in the 85N6. In this case,
the two-stop ND .6 value is in addition to the exposure
compensation needed for the base 85 filter.
Gradated ND Filters, or Wedges
Often it is necessary or desirable to balance light in­
tensity in one part of a scene with another, in situations
where you don't have total light control, as in bright exte­
riors. Exposing for the foreground will produce a w ashedout, overexposed sky. Exposing for the sky will leave the
foreground dark, underexposed. Gradated, or wedge, ND
filters are part clear, part neutral density, with a smoothly
graded transition between. This allows the transition to be
blended into the scene, often imperceptibly. An ND ,6 - t o clear, with a two- stop differential, will most often compen­
sate the average bright sky-to-foreground situation.
These filters are also available in combination colors,
as where the entire filter is, for example, a Wratten 85, while
one half also combines a graded-transition neutral density,
as in the 85-to-85N 6. This allows the one filter to replace
the need for two.
Gradated, or wedge, filters generally come in three
transition types. The m ost com monly used is the "so ft"
gradation. It has a wide enough transition area on the fil­
ter to blend smoothly into most scenes, even with a wideangle lens (which tends to narrow the transition). A long
focal length, however, might only image in the center of the
transition. In this case, or where the blend must take place
in a narrow, straight area, use a "h ard " gradation. This is
ideal for featureless marine horizons. For situations where
an extremely gradual blend is required, an "attenuator" is
used. It changes density almost throughout its length.
Certain types of part clear, part neutral-density filters
are called sky-control filters. They m ay have a sharp, not
gradated, dividing line, requiring careful alignment and
choice of lens opening to blend in the edge.
The key to getting best results w ith gradated filters is
to help the effect blend in as naturally as possible. Keep it
close to the lens to m axim ize transition softness. Avoid
having objects in the image that extend across the transi­
tion in a way that would highlight the existence of the fil­
ter. D on't m ove the cam era unless the transition can be
maintained in proper alignment with the image through­
out the move. Make all positioning judgments through a
reflex viewfinder at the actual shooting aperture, as the ap­
parent width of the gradation is affected by a change in
Gradated filters are best used in a square, or rectan­
gular format, in a rotating, slidable position in a matte box.
This will allow proper location of the transition within the
image. They can be used in tandem, for example, with one
affecting the upper half and the second affecting the lower
half of the image. The center area can also be allowed to
overlap, creating a stripe of the combination of effects in the
middle, most effectively with gradated filters in colors. (See
section on "Gradated Color Filters.")
Polarizing Filters
Polarizers allow color and contrast enhancement, as
well as reflection control, using optical principles different
from any other filter types. Most light that we record is re­
flected light that takes on its color and intensity from the
objects we are looking at. White light, as from the sun re­
flecting off a blue object, appears blue because all other
colors are absorbed by that object. A small portion of the
reflected light bounces off the object w ithout being ab­
sorbed and colored, retaining the original (often white)
color of its source. W ith sufficient light intensity, such as
outdoor sunlight, this reflected "g la re" has the effect of
washing out the color saturation of the object. It happens
that, for many surfaces, the reflected glare we don't want
is polarized while the colored reflection we do want isn't.
The waveform description of light defines non-polarized light as vibrating in a full 360° range of directions
Polarizer for reflection control.
around its travel path. Polarized light is defined as vibrat­
ing in only one such direction. A polarizing filter passes
light through in only one vibratory direction. It is gener­
ally used in a rotating m ount to allow for alignm ent as
needed. In our example above, if it is aligned perpendicu­
larly to the plane of vibration of the polarized reflected
glare, the glare will be absorbed. The rest of the light, the
true-colored reflection vibrating in all directions, will pass
through no matter how the polarizing filter is turned. The
result is that colors w ill be m ore strongly saturated, or
darker. This effect varies as you rotate the polarizer through
Polarizer for blue sky and Didymium for red enhancement.
a quarter-turn, producing the complete variation of effect,
from full to none.
Polarizers are most useful for increasing general out­
door color saturation and contrast. Polarizers can darken
a blue sky, a key application, on color as well as on black
& white film, but there are several factors to remember
when doing this. To deepen a blue sky, it must be blue to
start with, not white or hazy. Polarization is also an g ledependent. A blue sky will not be equally affected in all
directions. The areas of deepest blue are determined by the
following "rule of thum b." W hen setting up an exterior
shot, make a right angle betw een thumb and forefinger.
Polarizer for exposure control.
Point your forefinger at the sun. The area of deepest blue
w ill be the band outlined by your thum b as it rotates
around the pointing axis of your forefinger, directing the
thumb from horizon to horizon. Generally, as you aim your
camera either more into or away from the sun, the effect
will gradually diminish. There is no effect directly at or
away from the sun. Do not pan with a polarizer without
checking to see that the change in camera angle doesn't
create undesirably noticeable changes in color or saturation.
Also, with an extra-w ide-angle view, the area of deepest
blue may appear as a distinctly darker band in the sky. Both
situations are best avoided. In all cases, the effect of the
polarizer will be visible when viewing through it.
Polarizers need approximately 1 Vi to 2 stops exposure
compensation, without regard to rotational orientation or
subject matter. They are also available in combination with
certain standard conversion filters, such as the 85BPOL. In
this case, add the polarizer's compensation to that of the
second filter.
Certain camera optical systems employ internal sur­
faces that themselves polarize light. Using a standard (lin­
ear) polarizer will cause the light to be further absorbed by
the internal optics, depending on the relative orientation.
A circular polarizer is a linear one to which has been added,
on the side facing the camera, a quarter wave "retarder."
This "corkscrew s" the plane of polarization, effectively
depolarizing it, elim inating the problem . The circular
polarizer otherwise functions in the same manner.
Polarizers can also control unwanted reflections from
surfaces such as glass and water. For best results, be at an
angle of 32 to 34 degrees incident to the reflecting surface.
Viewing through while rotating the polarizer will show the
effect. It may not always be advisable to remove all reflec­
tions. Leaving some m inim al reflection will preserve a
sense of context to a close-up image through the reflecting
surface. A close-up of a frog in water will appear as a frog
out of water without some tell-tale reflections.
For relatively close imaging of documents, pictures,
and small three-dim ensional objects in a lighting-controlled environment, as on a copy stand, plastic polarizers
mounted on lights aimed at 45 degrees to the subject from
both sides of the camera will maximize the glare-reducing
efficiency of a polarizer on the camera lens. The camera, in
this case, is aimed straight at the subject surface, not at an
angle. The lighting polarizers should both be in the same,
perpendicular orientation to the one on the lens. Again, you
can judge the effect through the polarizer.
Special Effect Filters
The following filter types are available in a wide range
of grades useful in both color and black & white imaging.
They have no recommended filter factors, but may require
exposure compensation based on a several considerations.
Filters that lower contrast or create flare, where contrast
an d /or light intensity is higher, will do more for any given
grade. Working with light, the more they have, the more
they can do. The same filter, in two different lighting con­
ditions, may produce two different effects. With diffusion,
or image-softening filters, higher contrast scenes appear
sharper, needing more diffusion, than scenes of lower con­
trast. Diffusion requirements will also vary with other con­
ditions. Smaller film formats will allow less diffusion, as
will large-screen projection. Color may allow less diffusion
than black & white. Producing for television may require
a greater degree of diffusion to survive the transition. These
relationships should cause you to choose exposure and fil­
ter grade based on the situation and personal experience.
Prior testing is always recommended when possible.
Diffusion Filters
Many different techniques have been developed to
diffuse im age-form ing light. Stronger versions can blur
reality for a dream-like effect. In more subtle forms, diffu­
sion can soften wrinkles to remove years from a face. The
optical effects all involve bending a percentage of the im­
age-form ing light from its original path to defocus it.
Some of the earliest "portrait" diffusion filters are still
in use today — "nets." Fine mesh, like a stocking, stretched
across the lens, has made many a face appear flawlessly
youthful. More recently, these can also be obtained as stan­
dard-sized hard optical filters. Nets function through "se­
lective diffusion." They have a greater effect on small de­
tails, such as wrinkles and skin blemishes, than on the rest
of the image. The clear spaces in the mesh transmit light
unchanged, preserving the overall sharp appearance of the
image. Light striking the flat surface of the net lines, how­
ever, is reflected or absorbed. A light-colored mesh will
reflect enough to tint shadows, either making them lighter,
which lowers contrast, or adding its color while leaving
highlight areas alone. The effect of diffusion, however, is
produced by the refraction of light that just strikes the edges
of the mesh lines. This light is bent at a different angle,
changing its distance to the film plane, putting it out of fo­
cus. It happens that this has a proportionately greater ef­
fect on finer details than on larger image elements. The re­
sult is that fewer wrinkles or blemishes are visible on a face
that otherwise retains an overall, relatively sharp appear­
Low Contrast
The finer the mesh, the more the image area covered
by mesh lines, and the greater the effect. Sometimes, mul­
tiple layers are used to produce even stronger results.
Mesh with a square pattern can produce small fourpoint stars from lights in the scene. Most of the time, this is
not desirable. Most mesh patterns used have a hexagonal
pattern to minimize this effect.
As with any filter that has a discrete pattern, be sure
that depth of field doesn't cause the net filter lines to be­
come visible in the image. Using small apertures or short
focal length lenses makes this more likely, as does using a
No F ilter
Fog Filter
smaller film format. Generally, m id-range or larger aper­
tures are suitable, but test before critical situations.
W hen diffusing to improve an actor's facial appear­
ance, it is important not to draw attention to the presence
of the filter, especially with stronger grades, when diffu­
sion is not required elsewhere. It may be desirable to lightly
diffuse adjacent scenes or subjects which would not other­
wise need it, to ensure that the stronger filtration, where
needed, is not made obvious.
In diffusing faces, it is especially im portant that the
eyes do not get overly soft and dull. This is the theory be­
hind what might be called circular diffusion filters. A se211
No F ilter
Double Fog Filter
ries of concentric circles, sometimes also having additional
radial lines, are etched or cast into the surface of a clear fil­
ter. These patterns have the effect of selectively bending
light in a somewhat more efficient way than nets, in a more
radial orientation. This requires that the center of the cir­
cular pattern is aligned with one of the subject's eyes, not
always an easy task, to keep it sharp. The rest of the image
will exhibit the diffusion effect.
A variation on the clear-center concept is the centerspot filter. This is a special-application filter that has a mod­
erate degree of diffusion surrounding a clear central area
that is generally larger than that of circular diffusion filters
mentioned previously. Use it to help isolate the main sub­
ject, held sharp in the clear center, while diffusing a distract­
ing background, especially in situations where a long lens
and d epth-of-field differentiation aren't possible.
Another portrait diffusion type involves the use of
small "dim ples," or clear refracting shapes dispersed on an
otherwise clear optical surface. They can be round or diamond-shaped. These are capable of more efficient selective
diffusion than the net type, and have no requirement to be
aligned w ith the subject's eye. They don't lower contrast
by tinting shadows, as light-colored nets do. These dimples
refract light throughout their surface, not just at the edges.
For any given am ount of clear space through the filter,
which is relative to overall sharpness, they can hide fine
details more efficiently than net filters. A more recent de­
velopment involves a minutely detailed series of patterns,
made up of tiny "lenslets," each w ith a greater degree of
curvature, with more optical power, than that developed
by the dim ples previously m entioned. This produces a
m axim um of selective diffusion efficiency for any given
amount of overall sharpness.
The above types of filters, though m ost often used for
"p ortrait" applications, also find uses wherever general
sharpness is too great, and must be subtly altered.
Som e diffusion filters also cause highlight areas to
flare. They can scatter light, having an effect on lowering
contrast. These are closely related to fog or m ist filters.
These include "d o t" filters which incorporate small, dis­
crete optical elements of various sizes that selectively dif­
fuse, lower contrast, and cause mild highlight flare. They
can be very effective in achieving these combined effects.
Sliding Diffusion Filters
W hen attempting to fine-tune the application of dif­
fusion within a sequence, the ability to vary the strength
of the effect while filming can be invaluable. This can be
accomplished by employing an oversized filter that has a
grad ated d iffu sion e ffect th rou g h o u t its length. It is
mounted to allow sliding the proper grade area in front of
the lens, which can be changed "o n-cam era." W hen even
more subtle changes are required, maintaining consistent
diffusion throughout the image while varying the overall
strength, a dual "opposing gradient" filter arrangement can
be used.
Fog and Mist Filters
A natural fog causes lights to glow and flare. Contrast
is generally lower, and sharpness may be affected as well.
Fog and m ist filters m imic the effect of atomized water
droplets in the air. The soft glow can be used to make light­
ing more visible. For example, the effect of humidity in a
tropical scene can be enhanced. In lighter grades, these fil­
ters can take the edge off excess contrast and sharpness.
Heavier grades can create unnatural effects, as for fantasy
sequences. In general, however, the effect of a strong natu­
ral fog is not produced accurately by these filters in their
stronger grades, because they are too fuzzy, with too much
contrast. For that, Double Fog or gradated fog filters are
Gradated fog filters, sometimes called "scenic," are
part clear or light fog, and part denser fog effect. Aligning
the clear or weaker half with the foreground and the stron­
ger half with the background will render an effect more like
that of a natural fog, accumulating strength with distance.
Double Fogs have milder flare and softening charac­
teristics than standard fog filters, while exhibiting a much
greater effect on contrast, especially in the stronger grades.
A very thick natural fog will still allow close-up objects to
appear sharp. So will a double fog filter. The key to the ef­
fect is the much lower contrast combined with a minimal
amount of highlight flare.
Mist filters generally produce highlight flare that, be­
cause it stays closer to the source, appears more as a "halo"
than the more outwardly extended flare of a fog filter. The
mist filters create an almost pearlescent glow to highlights.
The lighter grades also find uses in toning down the exces­
sive sharpness and contrast of modern film and lens com­
binations without detracting from the image.
Low-Contrast Filters
There are many situations, such as bright sunlit exte­
riors, where proper contrast is difficult to maintain, and
exposing for either highlights or shadows will leave the
other severely under- or overexposed. Low-contrast filters
come in two key types. The first type creates a small amount
of "localized" flare near highlight areas within the image.
This reduces contrast by lightening nearby shadow areas,
leaving highlights almost unchanged. A variation of this
type also includes a light-absorbing element in the filter
which, without exposure compensation, will reduce con­
trast by also darkening highlights. Use this latter filter when
lighter shadows are not desired. In both cases, the mild flare
produced from bright highlights is sometimes used as a
lighting effect.
A second, more recently developed type of filter re­
duces contrast without any localized flare. It uses ambient
light, not just light in the image area, to lighten shadows
evenly throughout. Use it where contrast control is needed
without any other apparent effect on sharpness or highlight
Star-Effect Filters
Lighting can be enhanced in w ays that go beyond
what exists in nature. Star filters create points of light, like
"stars," streaking outward from a central light source. This
can make lighting within the scene take on a more glitter­
ing, glamorous appearance. This effect is usually produced
by a series of thin lines etched into the flat optical surface
of a clear filter. These lines act as cylindrical lenses, diffract­
ing light points into long thin lines of light running perpen­
dicular to the etched lines. Lines on the filter positioned
horizontally produce vertically oriented star lines.
The size and brightness of the star lines produced are
first a function of the size, shape, and brightness of the light
source. You have additional control through the choice of
a particular spacing between the lines on the filter. Gener­
ally these spacings are measured in millimeters. A 1mm
spacing has twice as many lines per unit area as a 2 mm
spacing. It will produce a brighter star for any given source.
Spacings offered generally range from 1mm to 4m m , as
well as both narrower and wider distances for specialty ef­
The number of directions in which the lines run deter­
mines the number of points produced. Lines in one direc­
tion produce a tw o-pointed star, just a streak through the
center of the light. Filters with 4, 6 , 8 ,1 2 , and more points
are available. Although the more com m on types have a
symmetrical arrangement of points, they can also be ob­
tained w ith asym m etric patterns, w hich tend to appear
more "natural," or less synthetic.
With an 8 - or 12-point filter, the many star lines will
tend to overpower the rest of the image, so use them care­
As with any filter that has a discrete pattern, be sure
that depth of field doesn't cause the filter lines to become
visible in the image. Using small apertures or short focal
length lenses makes this more likely, as will using a smaller
film format, such as 16mm vs. 35mm given an equal field
of view. Generally, m id-range apertures or larger is suffi­
cient, but test before critical situations.
Filters for Black & White
Tone-Control Filters
Black & white panchromatic film records only tonal
differences between colored objects, which appear as black,
white, or different shades of gray. Proper rendition de­
pends on your own desires, and the differences between
film sensitivity to colors and that of the eye. The latter is
due to the fact that most emulsions are more sensitive to
blue, violet and ultraviolet than to other colors. Therefore,
blue appears to be lighter on film than it does to the eye.
This can make a blue sky light enough to appear a similar
shade of light gray as the clouds that are in it, making the
clouds "disappear." A more "correct" cloud presence is
obtained through the use of a yellow filter, such as a
Wratten # 8 , which can absorb blue light, darkening the sky
to more closely match what the eye would see. The # 8 also
acts as a general compensator for most subjects, giving a
tonal rendition similar to that of the eye. Deeper colors,
further to the red end of the spectrum, such as W ratten #15
deep yellow, #16 orange, and #25 and #29 red filters, will
produce progressively deeper and artificially more dra­
matic renditions of blue sky.
Remember that, since these filters act on color differ­
ences to produce tonal differences, the required colors must
be present. The part of the sky you are recording must be
blue to be affected. Sky sections closer to the sun, or nearer
the horizon, are generally less blue than elsewhere. Use of
a gradated neutral-density filter can darken a sky relative
to the foreground, but will not increase contrast betw een a
blue sky and the clouds.
Using filters for contrast control can be a matter of ar­
tistic preference, or of necessity. It is possible for two dis­
parate colors, say a certain orange and blue, to record as
the identical tone, eliminating any visible difference be­
tween them. Filters will lighten objects of their ow n color
and darken those of their complement. Complementary
color pairs are: green-red; orange-blue; violet-yellow. An
orange filter in the above case will darken the blue and
lighten the orange; a blue filter will perform the reverse.
A green filter, such as W ratten #11, can be used to
lighten green foliage to show more detail. It may also be
used to provide more pleasing skin tones outdoors, espe­
cially against blue sky.
Any filter used for the above purposes will have a
greater effect if slightly underexposed. Its function depends
on absorbing light of its complementary colors to increase
the proportion of light of colors similar to itself. Exposure
compensation is often needed to allow proper image den­
sity, but the relative difference is reduced by the addition
of light at the absorbed wavelengths through additional
Filters for Color
Recording color involves greater know ledge about
light sources than is necessary for black & white imaging.
Sunlight, daylight and exterior lighting at different times
of day,as well as incandescent, fluorescent, and other arti­
ficial sources, all have color characteristics that vary signifi­
cantly. W e see images through our eyes only after they are
processed by our brain, which has the ability to make cer­
tain adjustments to the way we see color. White will still
appear white to the eye in various lighting situtations, as
long as we don't have more than one type visible at a time.
Film has no such internal compensation. It is designed to
see only a certain type of light as white — all others will
appear different to the extent of their difference. Filters are
required to provide the necessary fine-tuning.
The following discussion of Color Conversion, Light
Balancing, Color Compensating, Decamired, and Fluores­
cent filters will be better understood after consulting the
section on color temperature and light-source characteris­
Color-conversion Filters
Color-conversion filters are used to correct for sizable
differences in color temperature betw een the film and the
light source. These include both the W ratten #80 (blue) and
the W ratten #85 (amber) series of filters. Since they see fre­
quent outdoor use, in bright sunlight, the #85 series, espe217
Graduated Color Filter
daily the #85 and #85B, are also available in combination
with various neutral- density filters for exposure control.
Light-balancing Filters
Light-balancing filters are used to make minor correc­
tions in color temperature. These are comprised of both the
Wratten #81 (yellowish) and the W ratten #82 (bluish) se­
ries of filters. They are often used in combination with colorconversion filters. Certain #81 series filters m ay also be
available in combination with various neutral density fil­
ters for exposure control.
Sepia Filter
Color-compensating Filters
Color-compensating filters are used to make adjust­
ments to the red, blue or green characteristics of light. These
find applications in correcting for color balance, light source
variations, different reversal film batches, and other color
effects. They are available in density variations of Cyan,
Magenta, Yellow, as well as Red, Blue , and Green filters.
Decamired Filters
Decamired filters (a trademark of their manufacturer)
are designed to more easily handle unusual color tempera219
S p lit-F ield Lens
ture variations than previously mentioned filters. Available
in incremental mired shifts (see lighting section on mireds)
in both a red and a blue series, decamired filters can be
readily combined to create almost any required correction.
Fluorescent and Other Discontinuous
Spectra Lighting Correction
Since filters never actually add color, but only absorb
certain wavelengths to increase the relative proportion of
others, the original light source must include the colors you
want. Some sources are totally deficient in certain wave­
lengths, which filters alone cannot add back. This is par­
ticularly true of many types of metal halide lighting. With
other lighting types, such as fluorescent, color temperature
measurements may not provide the correct filter require­
ments since color temperature theory is based on having a
continuous spectrum, meaning light at all wavelengths. It
is possible for a light source to have a sufficient spectral
distribution to em ulate a correctable color temperature
when so measured, but its effect on film can be very dif­
ferent. (See section on lighting for additional details.)
Gradated Color Filters, or Wedges
Similar to Gradated ND filters, these filters are also
produced in a wide range of standard and custom colors,
densities, and proportions for many applications. A b lu eto-clear filter can add blue to a white, hazy sky without
affecting the foreground. An orange-to-clear filter can en­
liven a tepid sunset. Color can be added to the bottom of
the scene, as with a green -to-clear filter used to enrich the
appearance of a lawn.
Stripe filters are another type of gradated filter, hav­
ing a thin stripe of color or neutral density running through
the center of the filter, gradating to clear on either side.
These are used to horizontally paint various colors in lay­
ers into a sky, as well as for narrow -area light balancing.
Coral Filters
As the sun moves through the sky, the color tempera­
ture of its light changes. It is often necessary to compensate
for this in a variety of small steps as the day progresses, to
match the appearance of different adjacent sequences to
look as if they all took place at the same time. Coral filters
include a range of graded filters of a color similar to an 85
conversion filter. From light to heavy, any effect from ba­
sic correction to warmer or cooler than "norm al" is possible.
Corals can also compensate for the overly cool blue effect
of outdoor shade.
Sepia Filters
People often associate sepia-toned images with "early
tim es." This makes sepia filters useful tools for producing
believable flashbacks and for period effects with color film.
Other colors are still visible, which is different from origi­
nal sepia-toned photography, but these colors appear to be
infused with an overall sepia tint.
Didymium Filters
This type of filter, which may be called by a trade name
(see manufacturers), is a combination of rare earth elements
in glass. It completely removes a portion of the spectrum
in the orange region. The effect is to increase the color satu­
ration intensity of certain brown, orange, and reddish ob­
jects by eliminating the muddy tones and maximizing the
crimson and scarlet components. Its most frequent use is
for obtaining strongly saturated fall foliage. The effect is
minimal on objects of other colors. Skin tones might be
overly warm. Even after color timing to correct for any
unwanted bias in these other areas, the effect on reddish
objects will still be apparent.
Underwater Color-correction Filters
When filming underwater, the light you are recording
is filtered by the water it passes through. Longer-wavelength reds and oranges are absorbed until only blue is left.
The actual effect is determined by numerous factors, such
as light source (sun or artificial), water quality, and the
w ater path. The latter is the distance the light travels
through the water. In natural (sun)light, this is the depth
of the subject from the surface plus the subject-to-cam era
distance. For artificial lighting, it is the distance from the
light to the subject to the camera. The longer the water path,
the greater the filtering effect of the water. In many cases,
certain color-compensating (CC) filters can absorb enough
shorter wavelengths to restore better color balance. The
difference between corrected and uncorrected color can be
dramatic. The use of faster-speed films will facilitate the use
of light absorbing correcting filters.
Differences Between Camera
and Lab Correction
It is the job of the lab timer to fine-tune the finished
color rendition of the film. This accounts for variables in
exposure, print stock and processing. Timing can also be
used to impart certain color effects, both for standard cor­
rection and special situations. The difference is that lab
correction has only the range of colors and densities avail­
able in the film emulsion to work with, and is limited to the
range of variation of the printer. These are much more lim­
iting than the multitude of colorants in the real world, and
the number of ways in which adjustments can be made at
the camera. Filtering on the camera brings the lab that much
closer to the desired result, providing a greater latitude of
timing options.
There will be times when counting on the lab is the
only choice. Labs can also produce some unusual effects.
When faced with a low-light situation, in daylight using
tungsten film, it may be necessary for exposure reasons to
pull the 85 filter and correct in the printing. When you do
this, however, neutral gray tones will appear slightly yel­
low, even when all else looks correct. This effect can be used
to artificially enhance lush green foliage colors through the
addition of yellow. It may have other uses, but you will not
achieve the same result as if you had used the 85 filter.
The LL-D (trademark of its m anufacturer) was de­
signed to help in the above situation. It requires no expo­
sure compensation, and makes sufficient adjustments to the
film to enable the timer to match the color of a properly 8 5 filtered original. It is not an all-around replacement for the
85. Use it only where needed for exposure purposes, and
for subsequently printer-tim ed work.
Special Application Filters
Contrast Viewing Filters
Balancing lighting by eye is a matter of experience.
Decisions can be aided through the use of contrast view­
ing filters. These are designed to handicap the eye, with its
much greater range of apparent densities, to resemble the
range of the various types of film. Use contrast viewers to
judge relative highlight and shadow densities. There are
viewers for black & white film, as well as various viewer
densities for color film. A darker viewer is used for slower
film speeds, where you would tend to use brighter light­
ing. Faster film, which can be used in dim m er settings,
would require a lighter viewer. Details can be obtained
from the manufacturers.
Other Filter Considerations
Effect of Depth of Field
and Focal Length Changes
Standard color filters generally function w ithout
change through variations in depth of field and focal length.
This may not be true of many of the "special effect" filter
types. There are no solid rules for predicting the variation
in filter effect due to depth-of-field or focal length changes.
There are some things we can expect, however. Let's look
at a fog/m ist type filter that causes a light to glow, or flare.
Take the example of a certain grade filter where we can see
that the ratio of light diameter to glow diameter is, say, 1 :3 .
As we view this through a changing focal length, we will
see that the ratio remains the same, although the magnifi­
cation will vary accordingly. So the decision to use a filter
of a different grade to maintain a certain appearance at dif­
ferent focal lengths will be based on wanting to change the
ratio, as opposed to any otherwise corresponding relation­
ship. Tests are advisable for critical applications.
Sizes, Shapes, and Mounting Techniques
Filters are available in round and rectangular shapes
in many sizes. Round filters generally come supplied with
metal rings that mount directly to the lens. Frugal filter
users might find it preferable to employ adapters allowing
the use of a set of filters of a single size with many lenses
of equal or smaller sizes. Round filters also can be supplied
with self-rotating mounts, where needed, as for polarizers.
They can be readily stacked in combination. Rectangular
filters require the use of a special filter holder, or matte box.
They offer the additional benefit of allowing slidability for
effects that must be precisely aligned within an image, such
as gradated filters. In all cases, it is advisable to use a mount­
ing system that allows for sturdy support and ready ma­
nipulation. In addition, the use of a lens shade at the out­
ermost mounting position (from the lens) will minimize the
effect of stray off-axis reflections.
Multiple Filter Use
When any single filter is not enough to produce the
desired results, use com binations. Choose carefully, to
minimize the number required. Usually the job can be done
with no more than three filters. Use filters that individu­
ally add to the final effect, without canceling each other out.
For example, don't use a polarizer, which can increase color
saturation, in combination with a low-contrast filter which
reduces saturation, unless it works for some other reason
(the polarizer could also be reducing reflections, for in­
stance). Generally, the order in which filters are mounted
is not important.
Secondary Reflections
Lighting can cause flare problems, especially when
using more than one filter. Lights in the image pose the
greatest difficulties. They can reflect between filter surfaces
and cause unwanted secondary reflections. Maintaining
parallelism between filters, and further aligning the lights
in the image with their secondary reflections where pos­
sible, can minimize this problem. In critical situations, it
may be best to make use of a matte box with a tilting filter
stage. Tilting filter(s) of good optical quality only a few
degrees in such a unit can divert the secondary reflections
out of the lens axis, out of the image, without introducing
unwanted distortion or noticeable changes in the filter's
Custom (Homemade and Field-Ready)
There will be times when you need an effect and don't
have time to obtain one ready-made. Certain effects can be
produced that, although different from factory filters, can
be useful in a pinch, or for unusual custom situations. Net
diffusion effects can be produced as they were originally,
by stretching and affixing one or more layers of stocking
material to the lens end, held in place with a rubber band.
There are also numerous possibilities with a clear filter (or
several) available. Petroleum jelly can cause flare or diffu­
sion, or even some star-like streaks depending on its appli­
cation, to a clear filter, spread with a finger or cloth. The
chief benefit here is that the effect can also be applied only
to selected portions of the scene. Breathing on a clear filter
can produce interesting but temporary foglike results. Us­
ing cut gels can sim ulate certain gradated filter effects.
When doing this, be sure to keep the filter close to the lens,
and use larger lens openings, to keep the visible edge as soft
as possible.
Exposure Meters
by Jim Branch
The usual final adjustment of a motion-picture cam­
era for exposure control is made with the iris diaphragm
in the camera lens. While this is a very simple adjustment,
a great deal depends upon its accuracy. Much thought has
gone into the objectives to be attained by the adjustment
of the diaphragm, and the means to obtain a correct adjust­
It is recognized that a prime object of exposure con­
trol in motion-picture photography is to obtain consistent
and uniform images of the principal subjects. It is very
important to obtain flesh tones which will be consistent
from one scene to the next. It is undesirable to have flesh
tones which will be light in one scene, dark in the next with­
out reason, and again light in the next scene. Correct expo­
sure control will provide negatives which are consistent
from scene to scene and can be printed on a very narrow
range of printer lights.
M odem exposure control is based on the use of a good
light meter. The light meter measures the effective inten­
sity of the light, taking into account the sensitivity of the
film in the camera and the exposure time. The exposure
time is a result of the frames-per-second rate at which the
camera operates, and the angle of the shutter opening. Pro­
fessional cinem atographers usually think in terms of 24
frames per second and a 175-degree shutter, which give a
basic exposure time of V§o second. The light meter combines
all of the foregoing factors to give an answer in terms of the
appropriate camera lens stop.
Light meters are of two types. Some measure the inci­
dent light which illuminates the subject. Others measure
the light which is reflected from the scene. The results ob­
tained from the two different types may be quite different.
It is important therefore to understand the differences be­
tween the two types.
Incident Light Meters
These meters are normally used at the location of the
photographic subject. They measure the light which is ef­
fective in illuminating the subject. They give an answer in
terms of f-stop or T-stop for the camera lens. The camera
lens diaphragm opening is then set to match the effective
intensity of the prevailing illumination.
When the film is exposed, the various reflectances pre­
sented by the subject will then each fall into a given place
in the film acceptance range. For example, a face tone of
30% reflectance will fall into the 30% reflectance position
in the film acceptance range. This method thus provides
consistently uniform face tones from scene to scene.
The incident light meter accomplishes its purpose by
doing two things. It measures the incident light intensity
at the location of the photographic subject. It also takes into
account the conditions of illumination geometry; that is,
whether the subject has front key light, side key light, or a
back key light. The meter combines these factors and gives
an answer in terms of the correct setting for the camera lens
There are several makes of incident light meters which
use a three-dimensional light collector. The hemispherical
light collector allows these meters to perform automatically
the dual function described above.
These incident light meters are normally used at the
position of the principal subject, with the hem isphere
pointed at the camera lens. The hemisphere then acts as the
miniature face of the subject. All illumination which will
be effective on the subject, including key light, fill light, line
light, hair light, eye lights, etc., will be received, evaluated
and integrated by the meter. The meter will then indicate
directly the correct f-stop or T-stop for the camera lens. In­
cident light meters are particularly useful because they may
be used on a scene before the principal subject appears.
They may also be carried through a scene, with the hemi­
sphere always pointed at the camera lens, to detect uneven
illumination, and particularly hot spots, into which the
subject may move during the action. This allows the scene
illumination to be suitably balanced before the principal
subject is at hand.
In the case of outdoor photography, it is not always
necessary to take the meter to the location of the principal
subject. Under such conditions the illumination is usually
uniform over considerable areas. If the illumination is the
same at subject location and at camera location the meter
may be used at camera location. Care should be exercised
to point the meter in the proper direction, as though it were
at the subject location.
Exposure meters, in general, are either analog (with a
needle) or digital. The introduction of the analog incident
meter with the 3-D light-collecting hemisphere revolution­
ized the method of determining proper exposure for the
Today, a number of companies throughout the world
manufacture exposure meters employing the basic incident
type principles in their design, but all due credit should be
given for the invention to Don Norwood, ASC, who pat­
ented it, and Karl Freund, ASC, who was instrumental in
its development. Most incident meters are provided with
suitable adapters so that they may be converted for use as
a reflected light meter if the occasion should so indicate. The
reflected light adapter can be used in a situation where the
cinematographer encounters difficulty in putting the meter
into a position to read either the illumination directly on
the subject, or illumination similar to that on the subject.
Such a situation, for example, might be encountered when
taking a picture out of the window of an airliner in flight.
The reflected light attachment can also be used in other situ­
ations to evaluate the relative brightness of a background.
S p ecial E ffects
W hen a special effect is desired, the cinematographer
may use the incident light meter to first determine normal
exposure for the subject. Then he may then deliberately
modify that value, up or down, to achieve the desired ef­
fect. This can be done with considerable confidence because
the incident light meter will give a firm foundation upon
which to base the desired modification.
Sp ecific Situ ation s
There are some situations, occasionally encountered
in outdoor photography, which require special attention.
Unusually light or dark backgrounds are cause for
consideration. When a scene includes an unusually light
background, the cinematographer may wish to first use the
meter as an incident light meter to determine the basic ex­
posure for the principal subject in the foreground. Then he
can convert the meter to a reflected light meter in order to
measure the brightness of the unusual background. The
second reading is then used to modify somewhat the basic
incident light reading. The same procedure could be fol­
lowed in the case of an unusually dark background.
2. Outdoor scenes that include a subject in the fore­
ground as well as distant objects, such as mountains, in the
background, usually also include considerable aerial haze,
which may be invisible or only partly visible to the eye, but
strongly visible to the camera. A frequent photographic
result is a recording of the aerial haze overlaid on the scene
background. This would give the appearance of an over­
exposed background. It is recommended that in such a situ­
ation a haze-cutting filter be used to improve the back­
ground. In addition, use the procedure previously de­
scribed for the case of an unusual lighting background.
3. Scenes consisting of a mixture of sunshine and shade
areas, with the principal subject in a shade area, can be
handled by: (a) using the meter in the sunshine area, or (b)
opening up the lens by Vi to % f-stop from the meter indi­
Reflected Light Meters
R eflected lig ht m eters can be classified into two
groups, according to function. The meters in each group
may give exposure readings which are substantially differ­
ent from those given by the meters in either of the other two
groups. This is due to differences in basic principle of op­
Group 1. These are the meters which are designed to
measure the average brightness of an entire scene. Such
meters are usually used at camera location and pointed at
the scene. For a discriminating observer, this method ap­
pears to give acceptable results only in the case of a very
limited category of scenes, those which have front-lighting
and a foreground subject of medium tone as well as a back­
ground of medium tone. In other types of scenes, which
include side-lighting or backlighting, or very bright or dark
backgrounds, or large areas of sky, the exposure results are
questionable. This is because the meter, when used by this
method, is affected not only by the unit brightness of each
portion of the scene, but also by the relative area of each.
Thus a large area of sky would influence the meter to dic­
tate a small lens aperture which might result in an under­
exposure of the face of the principal subject in the fore­
ground. Any backlight may strike directly into the meter
cell and cause an unduly high reading on the meter. This
also would result in underexposure of the foreground sub­
ject. Large bright backgrounds tend to cause meter read­
ings which result in underexposure of foreground subjects.
Large dark backgrounds tend to cause meter readings
which result in overexposure of the foreground subject. If
this method is used it should be considered only as a very
rough guide, subject to considerable modification accord­
ing to the experience of the cameraman.
It is interesting to note that this method is the one gen­
erally used in the built-in automatic exposure control sys­
tems of amateur motion-picture and still picture cameras.
It has been noted by many that the photographic results do
not meet the high standards of professional cinematogra­
Group 2: These are the spot meters. A spot meter may
be used at camera location and aimed at a selected spot in
the scene. The effectiveness of the meter is heavily depen­
dent on the operator's judgment in the selection of the spot.
The selected spot must be precisely representative of the
particular com bination of elem ents which com pose the
scene. In the use of such a meter the operator must be par­
ticularly careful when confronted with a scene that presents
strong contrasts between the selected spot and the scene
background. An example of such a situation would be a
case where a person in the foreground is in front of a very
light background, such as sky or white buildings, etc. In
such a case the operator should modify the spot reading
provided by the meter according to his own estimate of the
situation. W hen the use of a reflected light meter is re­
quired, the results of determ ining the exposure can be
greatly improved by using a "K odak Neutral Test Card."
This card is a piece of sturdy 8” X 10 ” cardboard that
is neutral gray on one side and white on the other. The gray
side reflects 18% of the light falling on it, and the white side
reflects approximately 90%. Also, the gray side has a pro­
tective lacquer overcoat that reduces specular reflectance
and resists damage due to fading, fingerprints, soil, etc. To
a light meter, an average scene is one in which the tones
when averaged form a tone brightness that is equivalent
to middle gray — a tone that reflects 18% of the light illu­
minating it (the same tone and reflectance of the gray card).
When a scene is not average the gray card as a reference
helps you make the proper exposure judgments. A Kodak
Gray Card is manufactured under close tolerances to pro­
vide a neutral gray-side reflectance of 18% ( — 1% ) and
white-side reflectance of approximately 90%.
Small errors may exist in meters, lens calibrations,
emulsion speeds and development. These small errors will
frequently cancel out without undue harm to the final pic­
ture. It is when these errors add up in the same direction
that their cumulative effect is serious. It is wise, therefore,
to test equipment, film and meters under simulated pro­
duction conditions so that errors may be detected and cor­
rected before production begins. It is always a good idea
to "tune up to the variables."
Exposure Meters
Cinem eter II
Type: Hand-held digital/analog incident meter.
Light Sensor: Large area, blue enhanced silicon photo
sensor. Swivel head 270 degrees.
Measuring capability: Direct readout of photographic
exposures in full f-stops or fractional f-stops. Also measures
illuminance level in footcandles and Lux.
Measuring Range: Direct-reading multiple-range lin­
ear circuit incorporates a high quality CM OS integrated
amplifier whose bias current is compensated against drift
up to 70° C. Dynamic range 250,000 to one. Digital f-stop:
f/0.5 to f/9 0 in ’/lo-stop increments. Analog f-stop: f/0.63
to f/3 6 in ’/3-stop increments. Photographic illuminance:
0.20 to 6400 footcandles, 2 to 64,000 Lux.
Display: Vertical digital/analog bar graph which con­
sists of 72 black liquid-crystal bars (6 bars per f-stop), that
rise and fall depending on the light intensity. The scale can
be used in three different display modes (Bar, Floating Zone
and Dedicated Zone), and in three different measurement
modes (f-stops, footcandles and Lux).
Display Modes:
1. Bar mode is similar to a needle-reading meter, ex­
cept that the movement is up and down instead of left to
2. Floating Zone mode: a single flashing bar forms a
solid bar that graphically indicates the range of illumina­
tion in the scene. It can also be used for the measurement
of flickering or blinking sources.
3. Dedicated Zone mode is used to save up to five sepa­
rate measurements.
Display Range:
ISO film speed: 12 to 2500 in /6-stop increments.
Camera speed: 2 to 375.
Shutter Angle: 45° to 90° in V*> f-stop increments,
90° to 205° in Vu f-stop increments.
Filter factors: H f-stop to 7 f-stops.
Resolution: Digital: Vb f-stop. Analog: % f-stop.
Accuracy: Digital lA f-stop.
Additional Functions: Memory store and recall.
Lamp: Electroluminescent backlit liquid crystal display.
Power consumption: Operating reading 5 mA with
backlight on.
Power Source: One 9-volt battery.
Dimensions: 65/ s " X 3 ' X l 3/i6 “
Weight: Approximately 10 ounces.
M inolta Lum inance ft-10, n t-l° & nt-V3°
Type: Reflex-viewing spot-reading automatic/manual
luminance meter.
Light Sensor: Silicon Photovoltaic cell with 1° C/30 in
model nt-i/30) of acceptance.
Viewing System: Focusing through-the-lens reflex
type. Objective lens 85mm f/2 .8 . Angle of view: Circular
9° with central 1° (V6° in model nt-’/ 6°) marked circle. Mag­
nification: 2.96X focused at infinity.
M easuring Capability: Direct readout of illuminance
level in footlamberts or candelas.
M easuring Range:
Model ft-l°: 0.01 to 99900 ft-L (0.01 step)
Model nt-l°: 0.1 to 99900 c d / m2 (0.1 step)
Model nt-!/3°: 1.0 to 99900 cd /m ^ (0.1 step)
Display Range: Red (+) LED's at the right of the num­
ber display indicates 10X and 100X the display reading.
Accuracy: Within + 4% of C.I.E. standard + 1 digit in
last display position.
Screen-flicker accuracy: Within 1% of average lumi­
nance with projection cycle of more than 72 Hz and duty
of 7% (projector at 24 fps).
Analog Output: Output voltage: IV over full scale.
Output impedance: 10 kilo-ohms.
Power Consumption: 6 mA in analog mode. Meter
can monitor changes in luminance for a period up to 40
Power Source: One 9-volt battery (Eveready 216 or
Estim ated Battery Life: Approximately 1 year with
normal use.
D im ensions: 2 7/s" X 63/8MX 4 n/i6"
Weight: 18'/8 ounces, without battery.
Spectra C inesp ot 1° Spot M eter
Type: Through-the-lens viewing spot-reading auto­
m atic/m anual luminance meter.
Light Sensor: Silicon Photovoltaic cell with 1° angle
of acceptance.
View ing Optics: 1.6X magnification, erect system with
focusing eyepiece.
M easuring Capability: Direct readout of illuminance
level in foot lamberts or candelas.
M easuring Range: Low Range 0-30 fL (or 0-100 c d /
m2) readings legible down to 0.5fL. High Range 0-300 fL
(or 0-1,000 cd /m 2), upper limit may be increased by use of
accessory 10X or 100X attenuators.
Spectral Response: Within + 4% (by area) of CIE Photopic Luminosity Function.
Accuracy: + 1 % of full scale or + 5% of reading (which­
ever is greater).
Error Due To Chopped Light: + 0.5 % at 24 cycles/
Power Source: One 6-volt battery. (Eveready 544 or
Estimated Battery Life: Approximately 1 year with
normal use.
D im ensions: 5" X 2" X 6.4"
Weight: 15 ounces.
Spectra Professional IV
Type: Hand-held exposure meter for measuring inci­
dent and reflected light.
Light Sensor: Silicon Photovoltaic cell, computer se­
lected glass filters tailored to spectral response of the film.
Swivel head 270 degrees.
M easu rin g C a p a b ility : D irect read out of p h o to­
graphic exposures. Also measures illuminance level in foot­
candles and Lux.
Measuring Range: One million to one (20 f-stops) direct-reading m ultiple-range linear circuit controlled by
Display Range: ISO film speed: 3 to 8000 in 16 stop
Camera speed: 2 to 360 frames per second.
Resolution: Digital: 0.1 f-stop. Analog: 0.2 f-stops.
Accuracy: Digital: 0.05 f-stop.
Additional Functions: Memory store and recall.
Lamp: Optional electroluminescent lamp for backlit
liquid crystal display.
Power Consumption: Operating (reading) 5mA. Data
retention 5uA.
Power Source: One 6-volt battery. (A544, PX28L or
Estimated Battery Life: Approximately 1 year with
normal use.
Dimensions: 5x/i' X IV i X 2".
Weight: Approximately 6 ounces.
M uch o f the m a teria l in this section o f the m anual is basic, but reference
shou ld be m ad e to Don N on v ood , ASC and E astm an K o d a k C om pany fo r
the gray card inform ation.
Crystal-Controlled Cordless
Camera Drive System
by Edmund M. DiGiulio
ASC Associate Member
Cinema Products Corporation
When recording sound simultaneously with filming,
it is necessary to provide some means of guaranteeing that
the soundtrack will be in perfect synchronism with the film.
In single-system filming, where the sound is recorded di­
rectly on the film in the camera, on either a magnetic strip
or optical sound track, this is automatically accomplished.
In double-system filming, however, speed variations of
camera and recorder, as well as the elasticity of the mag­
netic recording tape, require some positive means of key­
ing the dialogue to its appropriate film frame.
The inclusion on the sound recorder of a second, par­
allel sync or "Pilotone" track is the most common method
in use today. The sync pulse is typically a sine wave of 50
to 60 Hz with an RMS amplitude of approximately 1 volt.
Back in the lab, a "resolver" transfers the sound track onto
oxide-coated sprocketed film stock using the sync track as
a reference so that the transferred sound track will corre­
spond, frame for frame, with the camera negative. Until the
introduction of crystal sync systems, this sync pulse was
derived from the camera by another means.
If, for example, the camera was being driven by a DC
motor, with some sort of governor control to hold it fairly
accurate at 24 fps, a sync pulse generator geared to the
movement or motor shaft could be employed to provide
the sync pulse output. A cable conducts the sync pulse from
camera to sound recorder. (See Fig. 1.)
An altern a te m eth o d , u sed m o st com m on ly on
soundstages but also on location, was for the camera to be
driven by a synchronous motor operating from AC mains,
or on location from an AC generator. In this case the re­
corder used the mains or alternator as a sync pulse source
(Fig- 2).
In crystal drive system s, a crystal oscillator of ex­
tremely high accuracy at (or in) the recorder provides the
sync pulse. The camera is in turn driven by a specially de­
signed DC motor and control circuit which is capable of
operating in exact synchronism with a self-contained crys­
tal oscillator of comparable accuracy (Fig. 3). The crystalcontrolled motor operation is analogous to that of a sync
motor operating in synchronism with AC mains. In the case
of AC synchronous operation, both camera and recorder
are tied to the AC source as a common reference. In the case
of crystal operation both camera and recorder reference to
self-contained crystal oscillators which are so accurate that
the effect is the same as if they had been tied together.
Since the reference is absolute, any number of cameras
can be operated simultaneously, in perfect synchronism,
with a single recorder. The basic advantage to the crystal
drive system, however, is that it eliminates the need for
power cables and any umbilical connection between the
camera and recorder. Most crystal motors commonly in use
today employ some means of indicating when the motor
is running out of synchronism. This is usually a beep tone
or a blinking light. This is a reliable indicator of good syn­
chronous operation and is a corollary benefit.
Time Code
W hile the cordless crystal drive system guarantees
synchronous operation between camera and recorder, it
does not provide a start mark. Slating, therefore, must be
done either with a conventional clapstick, or by wireless
transmission of start and scene information.
A more promising approach is that of absolute time
reference or "crystal clock." In this system we use an ex­
tremely accurate crystal time-base generator (or clock) ca­
pable of marking the film at regular intervals with a pre­
cise time reference and other pertinent production data. A
similar or identical clock would also be plugged into the
recorder to mark the sound record in identical fashion. It
is only necessary for both crystal clocks to be time-synchronized at the beginning of the day and then be plugged into
the camera and the recorder, so that for the rest of the day's
shooting, the mark made on the film and on the sound
record would always occur at precisely the same time. The
effect would be the same as if we operated clapsticks at
regular intervals of one second or more during the entire
day. As in the case with crystal-controlled synchronization,
any number of cameras could be tied to one recorder or
several recorders.
The EBU (European Broadcasting Union) proposed
such a time-code system in the early '70s. It involved the
recording of time information optically on the film in the
form of 16 binary-coded decimal digits per second. In ac­
cordance with this proposal, a number of European equip­
ment manufacturers designed and offered for sale equip­
ment incorporating the ability to record or read the EBU
time code. This approach did not have much success in the
marketplace, however, as the only function it served was
to permit the automatic syncing of dailies. Accomplishing
this single task did not prove to be cost-effective.
Starting in the late '70s, SMPTE in the United States
began exploring the possibility of recording the SMPTE
time code that had already been established for use with
videotape, on both picture and soundtrack. By using the
sam e code that w as already a standard for videotape
(uniquely identifying every frame), it was felt that a further
and more im portant function could be served than just
syncing up dailies. By transferring the picture and also the
SMPTE time code from film to tape, one could realize the
tremendous efficiencies of videotape editing and then use
the SMPTE time code as the means of conforming the edit
decisions from the tape to film.
From the first experiments by EBU through the early
efforts by SMPTE, the proposed method for recording time
code in the camera was optical. This approach has the ad­
vantage of being permanent and easily duplicated in the
printing process. This technology is changing rapidly and
the m ost up-to-date inform ation can be obtained from
manufacturers' representatives.
Camera Supports
Louma Crane by Samcine
The Louma Crane is a modular crane which incorpo­
rates a remotely-controlled pan and tilt camera mounting
system. It may be fitted to any suitable dolly, including
Elemack Cricket, Hornet or Rolls types.
The complete crane, excluding individual weights, is
packed in 10 Samcine rigidized cases. Maximum weight of
any single part is 116 pounds.
In largest configuration, arm with reinforcement stays:
Arm length 26', weight tubes 10' 10". Maximum height of
optical axis with limited pan (fulcrum 10' high): 31' 4 Vi'.
Maximum height of optical axis with 360° pan (fulcrum 8'
4"): 25' 3". Maximum dimension of reinforcement stays: 5'
8 lA" wide, 2' 11" above tube axis. W eight excluding dolly,
990 pounds. Smaller configuration without extension stays:
arm length 15' 7" or 3' 5".
Maximum angle of tilt upward with 360° panning: 45°;
downward: 65°. Maximum angle of tilt upward with lim­
ited pan: 60°.
Minimum dimension of an aperture through which
crane head will pass while supporting a Panaflex camera:
1' 7 I/4" wide x 2' 3" high. Minimum height of optical axis of
Panaflex camera above under-side of platform: 7 Vi".
The Louma Crane command console consists of an
electronically-operated remote camera pan and tilt system
operated by two handles exactly as if it were a regular
geared camera head like a Panahead, Sam cine Moy or
Worrall. The command center incorporates a television
monitor connected to the TV viewfinder system of the cam­
era. A second closed-circuit TV camera is used to relay lens
calibration information to the focus assistant, who is able
to remotely control the focus, aperture and zoom (if fitted)
functions of the lens.
The Crane by Matthews
Portable folding crane system. Can be mounted on
three types of wheels: pneumatic, hard, or flotation. (Spe­
cial track is available.)
Basic kit:
Largest dim ension of a disassem bled module is 8
Transport weight: 2000 pounds with weights
Set up: Pedestal 64" x 64"
Maximum lens height: 16' 6" with typical camera.
Minimum height: 2' 6"
Reach: 144”
Recommended load: 550 pounds
Junior kit:
Transport weight: 140 pounds
Maximum height: 108"
Minimum height: Floor (Fulcrum height 36")
Reach: 120"
Extension kit:
Transport weight: 100 pounds
Maximum height: 24'
Minimum height: Minus 19'4"
Reach: 18'4"
Maxi Extension Kit:
Transport weight: 105 pounds
MC 88 Crane
Designed exclusively for use with Cam-Remote and
other remote-control devices. The boom length is adjust­
able and requires no support cables.
Boom lengths:
Short boom: 10'
Medium boom: 18' 6"
Long boom: 22' 6"
Nettman Cam-Remote by Matthews
A remotely controlled head for film and television
production cameras. The head is precisely controlled over
a continuous 360° range in both pan and tilt. All lens func­
tions are controlled via powerful and accurate motors. The
system can be used on cam era cars, lighting grids by
Matthews, the MC88 Crane or any other production cranes.
User friendly controls em ploying "W orrall-type" hand
wheels or joystick systems are provided for the operator.
The head is normally controlled via cables but may be con­
trolled via a serial link system.
Chapman-Super Nova Mobile Crane
Location and stage crane.
7' 7" (232 cm)
20' (589 cm)
Length with battery pack:
21' 6"
Minimum Height:
9' 3" (282 cm)
Lens Height (without risers):
27' (823 cm)
Drop Down:
8' (244 cm)
Maximum Reach:
17' 3" (526 cm)
Maximum with 12' extension:
29' 3" (884 cm)
Traveling Weight:
28,500 lbs.
Vert. Travel of Boom above grnd.: 23' (701 cm)
(with hydraulic riser):
27' (823 cm)
Vert. Travel of Boom below grnd.: 2' 7"
Boom Length fully extended:
Max Length Boom & chassis:
37' 4"
6' 4"
Wheel Base:
Maximum Speed (batteries):
12' per sec
Minimum Turn Radius:
2 3 '3"
Maximum lifting capacity:
1,750 lbs.
Mercury Balancing Automatic leveling system.
Patented Feathering valves.
860 DC Ampere hours available.
Two 72-volt systems used in series or paralleled, total
144 volts.
Six wheel drive, six wheel steering.
Chapman-Titan II Mobile Crane
Location and stage crane.
Length with spare tire:
Minimum Height:
Lens Height (without risers):
Drop Down:
Maximum Reach:
Maximum with 12' extension:
Traveling Weight:
Vert. Travel of Boom above grnd.:
(with hydraulic riser):
Vert. Travel of Boom below grnd.:
7 7" (232 cm)
20' (589 cm)
2 1 '5"
9' 3" (282 cm)
27' (823 cm)
8' (244 cm)
17' 3" (526 cm)
29' 3" (884 cm)
26,000 lbs.
23' (701 cm)
27' (823 cm)
3' 7"
Boom Length fully extended:
30' 11
Max Length Boom & Chassis:
37' 4"
6' 4"
Wheel Base:
13' 10"
Maximum Speed (batteries):
12’ per sec
Minimum Turn Radius:
23’ 3"
Maximum Lifting Capacity:
1,500 lbs.
Mercury Balancing.
Automatic leveling system, Patented Feathering valves.
Six-wheel drive, six-wheel steering.
Chapman-Super Apollo Mobile Crane
Location and stage crane.
Max. Lens Height:
19' 5"
Maximum Reach Beyond Chassis: 18' 9"
Vert. Travel of Boom above grnd.: 15' 5"
Vert. Travel of Boom below grnd.: 10.5"
Chassis Width:
7' 7.5"
6' 4"
Wheel Base:
10' 6.5"
860 DC Ampere hours available.
Mercury Balancing.
Patented Feathering valves.
Maximum lifting capacity:
1,700 lbs.
Chassis Length:
15’ 11"
Minimum Chassis Height:
8' 4"
Traveling Weight:
19,500 lbs.
Maximum Speed (batteries):
12' per sec
Minimum Turn Radius:
2 1 '2"
Four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering.
Chapman-Zeus Stage Crane
Lens Height:
Maximum Reach:
Vert. Travel of Boom above grnd.:
Vert. Travel of Boom below grnd.:
Chassis Width:
Chassis Length:
Minimum Chassis Height:
Maximum length boom + chassis:
Crane operating weight:
16' 2"
14' 6"
12’ 2"
3' 0"
4' 0"
7' 10"
5' 8"
19' 4"
7,200 lbs.
Wheel Base:
Maximum Speed:
Minimum turn radius:
Maximum lifting capacity:
5' 7"
11.2’ per sec
7' 9"
1,500 lbs.
Chapman-Electra I Stage Crane
Lens height:
Minimum height:
Max. reach (with 3' extension):
Chassis width:
Chassis len g th :
Minimum chassis height:
Maximum lifting capacity:
Minimum turning radius:
^Equipped with solid wheels only.
4' 10"
3,000 lbs.
1,500 lbs.
7' 3"
Chapman-Nike/Electra II Stage Crane
Lens height:
Maximum reach:
Vert. Travel of Boom above grnd.:
Vert. Travel of Boom below grnd.:
Chassis width:
Chassis length:
Minimum chassis height:
Maximum length boom & chassis:
Crane operating weight:
Wheel base:
Maximum speed:
Minimum turn radius:
Maximum lifting capacity:
14' 6"
7' 3"
5’ 3.5"
16' 9"
5,600 lbs.
9' 9.6" per sec.
6' 3"
1,500 lbs.
Chapman-Sidewinder Dolly
For indoor or outdoor use. For television or motion
picture productions.
Lens height (w /o added risers): 9’
Low lens height (with extension): 22"
Lifting capacity:
900 lbs.
Max. horizontal reach (w /extension): 38"
Chassis length:
Chassis width:
Minimum Chassis height:
1,450 lbs.
Crab or Conventional steering.
Electric drive, full 24 hours of use with each charge.
Dual rocker system, three point suspension.
Elemack Cricket Dolly
Convertible three or four wheel dolly with center hy­
draulic pedestal.
Basic Unit (Collapsed size):
25/4" x 25!/2" x 25%"
Lens height:
5’ 11"
Low lens height:
3' 11"
Lifting capacity:
260 lbs.
Width (wheels spread:
27 7/i6"
Minimum Tracking Width:
300 lbs.
Crab or Conventional steering.
Accessories: Electro hydraulic lift drive.
Several configurations of mini cranes.
Seats and brackets; running boards.
Curved and straight track sections in two gauges.
Articulated bogey wheels for track use.
J. L. Fisher Crab Dolly
Four-wheel dolly.
Chassis width:
Chassis length:
446 lbs.
Max. Height:
Max. Height (w / low level head):
Min. Height:
Min. Height (for storing or shipping): 20"
Min. Height (with low level head):
Elevation: AC, DC, or manual.
Camera mount ahead of wheels.
Full crab-brakes in rear wheels.
Four or two wheel selection for crab or steering shots.
Solid or pneumatic tires.
FGV Panther
Column drive may be operated manually or its ascent
and descent phases may be stored and recalled using builtin computer memory.
Minimum size for transport:
29" (73.6 cm)
26.8" (68 cm)
28" (71 cm)
Total weight for transport:
260 lbs. (118 kg)
Maximum tracking width:
24.4" (62 cm)
Minimum tracking clearance:
14" (36 cm)
Minimum Battery performance per
charge, column moves:
Max. load using column drive:
551 lbs. (250 kg)
Max. w /colum n retracted:
Input voltage tolerance:
18-28 V
Maximum power consumption:
24 A
Battery unit specifications:
24 V 9.5 Ah
Charge cycle standard charger:
10 hours
Charge cycle charge/ballast unit: 5 hours
Max. lens height (Arri 35 BL
on Sachtler Studio Head):
74.8" (190 cm)
Min. lens height (35 BL on Sachtler
Studio Head+adapter):
17.7" (45cm)
Column range:
27.6" (70 cm)
Max. lens height w /Super-Jib (35 BL
on Sachtler+50cm Bazooka):
118" (300 cm)
Max. lens height w/Lightw eight-Jib
(35BL on Sachtler Studio Head): 106" (270 cm)
Kombi-Wheels for track or floor use.
Program stores up to 5 drive sequences.
Integrated battery maintains program memory.
Continuously variable speeds.
Modular quick-change circuit cards.
Camera Stabilizing Systems
by John Jurgens
Cinema Products Corporation
M odem camera stabilizing systems enable a camera
operator to m ove about freely and m ake dolly-sm ooth
hand-held shots without the restrictions or the resultant
im age unsteadiness encountered w ith prior m ethods.
These systems transfer the weight of the camera unit to the
operator's body via a support structure and weight distri­
bution suit. This arrangement frees the camera from bodymotion influences. It allows the camera to be moved by the
operator through an area generally defined by the range
through which his arm can move.
Camera smoothness is controlled by the "hand-eyebrain" human servo system that we use to carry a glass of
water around a room or up and down stairs. Viewing is
accomplished through the use of a video monitor system
that displays an actual through-the-lens image, the same
im age one w ould see w hen looking through a reflex
viewfinder. The advantage of these camera stabilizing sys­
tems is that the camera now moves as if it were an exten­
sion of the operator's own body, controlled by his internal
servo system , w hich constantly adjusts and corrects for
body motions whether walking or running. The camera
moves and glides freely in all directions — panning, tilt­
ing, booming — and all movements are integrated into a
single fluid motion which makes the camera seem as if it
were suspended in mid-air and being directed to move at
will. These camera stabilizing systems turn any vehicle into
an instant camera platform.
As with remotely controlled camera systems, servo
controls may be used for control of focus, iris and zoom on
the camera lens.
Cinema Products Steadicam
(Universal Model III)
The Steadicam system consists of a stabilizing support
arm which attaches at one end to the camera operator's vest
and at the other end to a floating camera mounting assem­
bly which caii accept either a 16mm, 35mm or video cam­
era. The comfortable, adjustable, padded, close-fitting cam­
era operator's vest is an effective and sophisticated weight
distribution system. It transfers and distributes the weight
of the Steadicam system (including camera and lens) across
the operator's shoulders, back and hips. The arm mount­
ing plate may be quickly reversed to mount the stabilizer
arm on the right or left side of the front plate.
The stabilizer support arm is an articulated support
system which parallels the operator's arm in any position,
and almost completely counteracts the weight of the cam­
era systems with a carefully calibrated spring force. The
double-jointed arm maximizes maneuverability with an
articulated elbow hinge, which frees the arm to move 380
degrees horizontally from the elbow. One end of the arm
attaches to either side of the vest front plate, allowing the
operator to change for left- or right-handed operation. A
free-floating gimbal connects the stabilizer support arm to
the camera mounting assembly.
The camera mounting assembly consists of a central
support post, around which the individual components are
free to rotate as needed. One end of the post supports the
camera mounting platform, while the other end terminates
in the electronics module. The film or video camera can
rotate 180 degrees to left or right on its platform. The video
monitor is attached to a pivoting bracket which may also
slide up, down or around the post. There are scale mark­
ings on each of the com ponents so that adjustments for
various modes of shooting may be documented and re­
peated. The video viewfinder monitor features a kinescope
tube of high brilliance with multiple layer coatings to elimi­
nate reflections and permit viewing in sunlight. An elec­
tronic level indicator is visible on the CRT viewing screen
in the bottom of the picture area. Electronically generated
frame lines can be adjusted to accom modate any aspect
ratio. Positions of the components may be reversed to per­
mit "low m ode" configuration. The Steadicam unit is in­
ternally wired to accept wireless or cable-controlled remote
servo systems for lens control. A quick-release mechanism
p erm its the o p erator to d iv est h im self of the en tire
Steadicam unit in emergency. A 12V /3.5A NiCad battery
pack m ounts on the electronics m odule to supply the
viewfinder system and film or video camera.
Panavision Panaglide
The Panavision Panaglide system is an integrated sta­
bilizer system incorporating specially lightened cameras:
35mm Panaflex for sync sound, 35mm Pan-Arri for non254
sound, 65m m H and -held R eflex and 16m m P anaflex
Elaine; a Panacam model supports a video camera.
The support consists of a reinforced padded vest to
which an adjustable articulated suspension arm is pivoted.
The arm uses either a pneum atic/spring or a spring/cable
shock-absorbing system. A vertical telescoping staff at­
tached to the suspension arm carries a camera platform on
one end and an electronics/battery unit on the other. The
unit can be inverted, with the camera mounted either at top
or bottom of the staff. All swing joints and spring tensions
are adjustable.
The viewfinder uses video reflexed from the camera
lens, a 3V2" high brightness monitor, flexibly positioned for
convenience, and superimposed frame lines. Image can be
electronically deanamorphosed or can be reverse-scanned
for over-the-shoulder shooting.
The Panaglide also features remote focus and iris con­
trols; illuminated level indicator; 24V battery; crystal sync
or variable camera speeds; digital fps and footage counter;
and a quick-release vest for safety of operator.
Aerial Mounts
Continental Cam era (Door, Belly and O utside
Door mounts for vid eo/16m m /35m m are Master &
Magnum mounts (cameras up to 30 lbs) and the Magnum
Elite (cameras up to 100 lbs). Belly mount can accommo­
date cameras up to 40 lbs; 180° field-of-view, tilts up 10°,
down 90°. Can be mounted with camera looking fore or aft,
and will accommodate zoom lenses, though useful only at
wide-angle portion of lens. Huffy mount is a belly mount
for cameras up to 100 lbs; will allow 160° field-of-view. Both
belly mounts attach to skid tubes of Bell 206/206L helicop­
ters, fitted with standard or high skids. Outside mount at­
taches to Hughes 500 C or D model helicopters; must be
flown with specially qualified pilot. 337 FAA inspection
required for belly mounts, STC approvals for door mounts.
Also unique body stabilizer, remote head and periscope
Gyrosphere (G yro-Stabilized)
Two Gyrosphere systems were built in the mid-80's
using earlier W escams as their starting point; the extensive
upgrade and redesign work represented many "firsts":
Vertical reference gyros to automate ability to hold level
horizon; integration of the Speed Aperture Computer with
an aerial system; improved stabilization and camera steer­
ing enabled faster and more accurate pans/tilts with less
lag; improved ergonomics with hand-held joysticks; prime
lens capability. Mixed analog and digital electronics. Ver­
tical slit curved plexiglass window.
Cam era: M odified M itchell M k 2 (3-36 fps) w ith
underslung XR-35 magazine. Also available with Em pireflex
VistaVision camera from ILM (2-48 fps) or Vistacam from
BCS (2-48 fps).
Spacecam (G yro-Stabilized )
Unique gyro-system using heavier gyro wheels spin­
ning at greater RPMs. Patented powered main cardin-joint
allows more responsive and faster pans/tilts. Digital elec­
tronics allow many abilities (i.e., dutching in sync with
helicopter turns). The lens looks through a windowless
port. Unique brackets for modified Hughes 500 helicopter
includes nose position as well as sides; unique nose and tail
position brackets for JetRanger helicopters.
Camera: custom built light-weight body and magazine
utilizing Mitchell NC movement (0-36 fps), as well as modi­
fied Mitchell Mk 2 (0-60 fps); VistaVision (0-90 fps) and
Showscan (0-72 fps). All cam eras incorporate patented
SpaceCam fiberoptic video assist system with superior lowlight capability.
T yler Cam era (D oor and N ose m ounts)
M iddle-M ount II for v id eo /1 6 m m /3 5 m m ; M ajorMount for Arri 35-3, Arri BL or Mitchell Mk 2 (with spe­
cial horizontal magazine adapter), as well as larger formats
up to Imax. Tilting nose mount (35m m /16m m /video) can
be used with prime lenses for Arri 35-3 as wide as 9.8mm.
Tilts from up to include rotor blades to upside-dow n/rear­
ward; also can be mounted with camera looking aft. Does
not accommodate zoom in 35mm, but allows zoom (if lim­
ited to wide end of lens) for video/16m m cameras. Attaches
to nose of Bell 206/206L helicopters fitted with standard or
high skids; can be fit to A-Stars/Twin-Stars if aircraft owner
has special adapter brackets installed. Available large for­
mat tilting nose-mount for cameras up to Imax; same tilt
range as standard nose mount; designed to attach to skid
tubes of Bell 206/206L helicopters, fitted with standard or
high skids. FAA STC approvals for all mounts. Also unique
crane-mount, gyro-stabilized boat mount and jib arm. Ex­
terior gyro-stabilized mount allows fast p an /tilt rates, fast
lens changes; uses Arri 3 w ith custom 1000' top-loaded
magazine allowing low lens position for on-the-ground
applications. Tilt range to inverted 90 degrees. Color video
tap as well as bore-sighted video camera for low-light view­
ing. The lens looks through a windowless port. Ability to
lock off camera to mimic "banking horizon look" of nose
W escam (G y ro-Stab ilized )
The original (early 1960's) gyro-stabilized cam era
mount. Current generation features all digital electronics
with unique abilities and may be remotely operated at the
end of a 500' cable or by radio link. The lens looks through
an optically flat anti-reflection coated glass window which
tracks with the lens during pans/tilts. This patented win­
dow system minimizes internal reflections from back or
side light; also permits use of polarizing filter, not possible
with curved plexiglass, which creates a rainbow of inter­
ference lines. FAA STC approvals for all mounts. 120 Video
units worldwide on Goodyear blimps, etc. Unique mount­
ing brackets for Super Puma, MBB-105, 206L and Huey
helicopters, as well as boats. Also specialized track for onthe-ground moves up to 26 mph using radio link control.
C am era: M odified M itchell M k 2 (1-60 fps) w ith
u n d erslu n g A rri BL m a g a z in e. A lso a v a ila b le w ith
Em pireflex VistaVision camera from ILM (2 - 48 fps).
Preparation of Motion Picture
Camera Equipment
Marty Ollstein,
Michael Hofstein & Tom 'Frisby' Fraser
All motion-picture camera equipment must be peri­
odically inspected and maintained to insure proper perfor­
mance in production. Cam era rental facilities em ploy
skilled technicians to service and repair equipment after
each use. Once the equipment leaves the rental house, how­
ever, the cam era crew m u st serv ice th a t eq u ip m en t
throughout the production. The camera assistant must be
prepared with the right knowledge, skills, tools, and refer­
ence materials to properly maintain all equipment in the
camera package.
The following is a list of procedures for the prepara­
tion of camera equipment needed to photograph a motion
picture. It is the responsibility of the camera assistant to
assure that all equipm ent and supplies needed and re­
quested by the director of photography are present, in
working order, at the start of production.
1) Basic equipment, from the ground up: Spreader, hihat, tripods, tripod head, camera body, batteries, all nec­
essary cables, magazines (small & large), lenses and hous­
ings, zoom motor and control, follow-focus unit, matte box,
filters and holders, changing bag.
2) Additional accessories often requested by the direc­
tor of photography: Adapter plates (quick-release, dove­
tail/balance, riser, tilt); speed control (for HMI lights, TV
monitors, or other requirements); set of hard mattes, eye­
brow, French flag; hand-held accessories (matte box, fol­
lo w -fo cu s, sh o u ld e r p ad , v ie w fin d e r, m a g a z in e s);
viewfinder extender, leveler, heater; barneys, rain shields;
obie light, 'assistant' light; videotap, monitor, recorder.
3) Supplies to be purchased by the production com­
pany: Raw stock, camera reports, film cores, empty film
cans, black labpack bags, labels, cloth camera tape, paper
tape, lens tissue, lens cleaning solvent, cleaning swabs, orangewood sticks, slate, spare camera fuses, rags, air cans,
felt markers, grease pencils, pens and pencils, chamois,
chalk, disposable batteries.
Invoice Check
Examine the rental invoice or work order, and confirm
that all equipment ordered by the director of photography
is included. Make sure that all support accessories and sup­
plies needed by the assistants to properly perform their
tasks are also included. W hen the equipm ent is first re­
ceived, use the rental invoice to check that all equipment
and supplies that have been ordered and billed for have
indeed been delivered. Confirm that the serial numbers
listed on the invoice match those engraved on the equip­
Equipment Checkout
Set up and test each piece of equipment to determine
whether it is in working order. Label each case with cloth
tape and marker. When a case is not being used, keep at
least one latch locked to prevent an accident. Start from the
ground up and build the camera system. Thoroughly check
the entire package for com pleteness, com patibility, and
proper functioning. The equipment should be clean and
properly lubricated. Immediately return any piece of equip­
ment that does not perform to your satisfaction.
The follow ing list suggests standards by w hich to
judge each piece of equipment. They are to be used in con­
junction with the appropriate camera operation manual.
Some of the procedures described, such as testing the
flange focal depth or magazine clutch and brake tension,
require specialized test equipment. If the test equipment is
not available, or if you encounter any other questions or
problems, speak to the camera technician who prepared the
package at the rental house. It is likely that he has per­
formed the tests himself and can give you the results.
1) Spreader
a) Runners slide smoothly and lock in all positions.
b) End receptacles accommodate the tripod points and
spurs, and hold them securely.
2) Tripods
a) Each leg extends smoothly and locks in all positions.
b) Top casting accom modates the base of the tripod
head (flat Mitchell, ball, or other).
c) Hinge bolts that attach each leg to the top casting are
adjusted to proper tension: each leg swings easily
away from top casting and remains at selected angle.
d) Wooden tripods (baby, sawed-off, standard): Legs
are solid and have no splits or breaks.
e) Metal or fiber tripods (baby, standard, 'two-stage'):
Legs are straight and have no burrs or dents.
3) Tripod Head
a) Base (Mitchell, ball, or other) fits and locks into tri­
pod topcasting.
b) Ball base (only) adjusts smoothly and locks securely
in any position.
c) Camera lockdown screw fits into camera body, dove­
tail base with balance plate, riser, or tilt plate;
d) Top plate of head includes a quick-release (touchand-go) base, which accommodates a quick-release
plate that bolts to camera body or any of the adapter
e) Eyepiece leveler bracket and frontbox adapter on the
head accommodate the leveler rod and frontbox be­
ing used.
f) Friction or Fluid Head:
1. Pan and tilt movement is smooth.
2. Both brake levers lock securely in all positions.
3. Both drag knobs easily adjust the tension of move­
ment from free movement to the tension required
by the operator.
g) Gear Head:
1. Pan and tilt movement is smooth.
2. Both brake levers engage properly (gears may
move under stress).
3. G ears shift sm oothly betw een low and high
4) Camera Body
a) Accommodates and locks securely to tripod head,
balance plate, riser, tilt plate and shoulder pod with
camera lockdown screw.
b) All rollers move freely.
c) Camera interior is clean — no emulsion buildup or
film chips.
d) Camera oil and grease has been applied to lubrica­
tion points as recomm ended by camera manufac­
turer. Clean off any excess.
e) All fuses are intact and properly seated. Carry spare
f) M ovement of the shutter, pull-down claw, and reg­
istration pins is synchronized. Check by carefully
scribing a frame in the gate, then inching the motor
back and forth manually. The film should remain
stationary as long as the shutter stays open.
g) M ovem ent of shutter and mirror is synchronized.
(C h eck o n ly on c e rta in ca m e ra s, in clu d in g
h) The "glow " that illuminates the ground glass is syn­
chronized with the shutter — the light turns off be­
fore the shutter opens the gate. (Check only on cer­
tain cameras, including Arriflex.)
i) Camera speed holds steady at all speeds required for
the production. Thoroughly test all speed control ac­
cessories being used in camera package.
j) Pitch and loop adjustments operate properly (certain
5) Aperture
a) Film gate has the correct aspect ratio.
b) Gate is clean and properly seated. To confirm this:
1. Remove the gate and pressure pad.
2. Clean both with a chamois, and if necessary, a
proper solvent.
3. Clean channels and holes with an orangewood
c) Flange focal depth is set to manufacturer's specifica­
tions. Confirm by measurement with depth gauge.
d) Plastic gels have been removed from the gel holders.
6) Batteries and Cables
a) All batteries and cables are compatible — male pairs
with female, the number of pins in connectors match.
b) Batteries hold charge and cables conduct properly.
Check with voltmeter.
c) Cam era m otor runs film steady at desired speed
while under the load of all other current drawing ac­
cessories required for the production. These may in­
clude a zoom motor, assistant light, video tap, eye­
piece heater, and viewfinder "g low ." Check with
each battery.
7) Lamps
Lamps tliat require bulbs may include an out-of-sync
m onitor lam p, running lam p, start-m arking lam ps
(older cameras), and others. All lamps must light at the
proper time. Replace all defective bulbs.
8) Variable Shutter
Mechanism operates through the full range of open­
ings. Set shutter at opening selected by the director of
9) Viewfinder
a) Ground glass is properly seated. Ground glass depth
is within manufacturer's specifications. Check with
portable collimator.
b) The image is clear and clean. If necessary, remove
ground glass and carefully clean with proper solvent
and lint-free lens tissue.
c) Ground glass is m arked for the aspect ratios re­
quested by the director of photography.
d) Eyepiece focuses easily to the eye of the operator (ad­
just diopter until the grains of the ground glass ap­
pear sharp).
e) Viewfinder extender fits properly between camera
body and eyepiece. Magnifier and ND filter operate
f) Viewfinder extender leveling rod attaches securely
to extender and to bracket on tripod head. Rod ex­
tends smoothly and locks in all positions.
g) Viewfinder illumination, or "glow ", is synchronized
with the shutter.
10) Lenses
a) Each lens and lens housing is compatible with — and
seats securely in — the mount in the camera body.
b) Front and rear elements are clear and clean, free of
large chips and scratches, or any fingerprints or dirt.
Blow off loose material with a blower bulb, clean off
grease with lint-free lens tissue and proper lens clean­
ing solvent.
c) Iris leaves are flat and fall properly in place as they
are closed from the full open position.
d) Follow-focus assembly mounts properly. Focus gears
thread properly on the lenses.
e) Lens focus distance markings are accurate. (See Lens
Focus Calibration.)
11) Zoom Lens
a) Zoom m echanism is aligned properly and tracks
b) The cross-hairs on the ground glass remain centered
on a point throughout the zoom.
c) Lens focus distance markings are accurate at all fo­
cal lengths. (See Lens Focus Calibration.)
12) Zoom motor
a) Motor mounts securely and threads properly on the
b) Zoom control unit operates motor smoothly at all
c) All cables connecting the camera, zoom control and
zoom motor conduct properly when checked with a
13) Lens Housing
Distance and f-stop strips fit properly and match the
markings on the lens.
14) Filters
a) Both surfaces of each filter are clear, clean, and free
of major flaws.
b) Filters are the proper size:
1. Filters cover entire image area of each lens being
2. Filters fit properly into filter holders — on lens,
lens housing, matte box, filter tray, or separate
c) Filter mounting accessories accommodate all lenses
used, and mount the number of filters on each lens
required by director of photography.
d) Rotating mount for polarizing filter turns smoothly
and locks in any position.
e) Sliding mount for graduated filters moves smoothly
and locks in any position.
f) Prepare labels for each filter (tape or velcro) for dis­
play on the side of the matte box.
15) Matte Box
a) M ounts secu rely to cam era bod y and exten d s
smoothly along the supporting rods.
b) No light passes between the matte box and the lens.
If necessary, acquire additional rings, filter trays or
rubber 'doughnuts' to block light leaks.
16) Magazine
a) Fits snugly into the camera body.
b) Magazine doors fit and lock securely.
c) On co-axial magazines, label each "Feed" and "Takeup" door with tape.
d) Throat, film channels, and interior are clean, clear of
dust or film chips.
e) Loop adjustm ent operates properly (certain cam ­
f) Magazine gear timing is properly adjusted — film
runs smoothly and quietly through the magazine.
g) Clutch tension and friction brake tension have been
measured with the proper tools and are correct.
17) Video Assist: video camera, monitor
and recorder (optional)
a) Video camera (or tap) mounts securely on the cam­
era body.
b) All cables are compatible and operate the tap, moni­
tor and recorder.
c) The iris and focus controls adjust smoothly and pro­
duce an adequate image on the monitor.
d) The image can be centered on the monitor so that the
entire film frame is visible and level.
Lens Focus Calibration
(see "Photographic Testing and Evaluation")
1) Prime Lenses
a) 40m m or wider: set cam era at 3 feet from Focus
Chart. Focus lens visually, compare with lens dis­
tance markings. For more critical testing, shoot film
tests of each lens.
b) Longer than 40mm: set camera at 7 feet from Focus
Chart. Focus lens visually, compare with lens dis­
tance markings.
c) All lenses — focus on distant object to test sharpness
at infinity.
2) Zoom Lenses: Use calibration procedure described for
Prime Lenses, and repeat for several focal lengths — at
3 feet for the wide end, 7 feet for the long end, and a
distant object to test infinity for both ends.
3) Note: Other lens-to-chart distances may be used, as long
as the selected distance is marked on the lens barrel. The
chart should fill the frame as much as possible.
4) When the eye focus differs from the scale focus:
a) Consistent from lens to lens
1. Check ground glass seating and depth measure­
2. Check lens mount.
3. Check measurement technique and tape measure
for accuracy.
b) Single discrepancy
1. Return lens for collimation.
2. If needed immediately, encircle lens barrel with
chart tape and mark the correct distances.
Scratch Test
Run a scratch test for each magazine to determine if
there are any obstructions in the cam era or m agazine
mechanism that might damage the film. Load a short end
of virgin raw stock in the magazine and thread it through
the camera. Turn on the camera motor and run the film
through for several seconds. Turn off the motor. Remove
the film from the take-up com partment of the magazine
without unthreading the film from the camera. Examine the
film w ith a b righ t light and m agnifying glass. If any
scratches or oil spots appear on the emulsion or base, mark
the film, still threaded in the camera body, with a felt pen
at the following points:
a) where it exits the magazine feed rollers;
b) just before it enters the gate;
c) just after it exits the gate;
d) where it enters the magazine take-up rollers.
Then carefully unthread the film and examine it to
determine where the damage originates. Once the problem
area has been identified, check that area for dust, film chips,
emulsion buildup, or burrs. Rem ove burrs w ith emery
paper, and any removable obstructions with an orangewood stick.
Make periodic scratch tests on magazines and camera
during production to avoid damage to the negative.
Steadiness Test
Test steadiness of camera movement by double-expos­
ing image.
1) Prepare chart: simple cross of one-inch white tape on
black card.
2) Mark start frame in film gate with felt pen.
3) Roll 30 seconds of the chart at 50% exposure.
4) Backwind film, or rewind film in darkroom, to place
start frame back in film gate (so as to thread on the
same perforation).
5) Offset chart by the width of the tape, and double­
expose chart.
6) Process and project to evaluate steadiness.
Daily Preparation for Shooting
1) Clean the aperture. Suggested methods:
a) Pull the aperture plate and clean with proper solvent.
b) Remove the lens and blow air through the lens port
with blower bulb.
c) Sight through the lens (possible with a lens 40mm or
d) Remove hairs and dust from the gate with an orangewood stick.
2) Warm up the camera:
a) Run the camera for several minutes without film.
b) In cold situations, run the camera for the amount of
time it would take to run one full magazine through
the camera at standard speed.
3) Load proper film stock in magazines.
4) Prepare slate and camera reports.
Film Tests
(See "Photographic Testing and Evaluation.")
Film tests are requested by the director of photogra­
phy. Following is a list of tests that may be useful in prepa­
ration for a production. A standard gray scale and color
chip chart are often used for such tests, as well as models
that resemble the subjects of the film to be photographed.
1) Lens sharpness and color balance (particularly im­
portant if lenses of different manufacturers are used on the
same production): Test each lens to ensure consistent sharp­
ness and color balance when lenses are changed. Photo­
graph the identical subject with each lens and compare on
a one-light print.
2) Film stock and emulsion batch: Test each different
film stock and emulsion batch to be used on the produc­
tion for color balance and exposure latitude.
3) Laboratory Processing: normal, forced, flashed. Test
processing at film laboratory selected by the production.
This is particularly important for determining the degree
of forced processing or flashing that is desired.
4) Filters: Test the effects of various filters on chosen
subjects to facilitate a selection of filters for the production.
5) Lighting: Test the look of new lighting instruments,
color gels, and diffusion materials on selected subjects.
6) Makeup: Test makeup on actors under the lighting
conditions planned for the production.
A proper set of tools and supplies is essential to the
preparation and m aintenance of m otion-picture equip­
ment. Although the production company should provide
the expendable supplies, a camera assistant's personal set
of tools should include most of the following items:
blower bulb - large (6")
lens brush - camel's hair or soft sable (1"; use only for
lenses, keep capped)
magazine brush - stiff bristles (l"-2")
lens tissue - lint free
cotton swabs
lens-cleaning solvent
50' flexible measuring tape
lighter fluid
scissors - straight blade, blunt tip (2")
tweezers forceps - curved dissecting forceps or hemostat
ground glass puller
ARRI SW2 - 2mm hex (for variable shutters)
magnifying glass
small flashlight
orangewood sticks
cloth (1") black, white, and colors
paper (Vi") white, colors
chart (Vi6") white - for lens barrel markings
velcro - (1") white, male & female
chalk - thick, dustless
felt marking pens
'rite-on/w ipe-off' pens for plastic slates
powder puffs (to clean rub-off slates)
grease pencils - black and white
pens and pencils
film cores
camera fuses
soldering iron
16-gauge solder
solder wick desoldering spool
folding knife
emery paper (600 grip - ferric-oxide coated)
razor blades (single-edge industrial)
rope - nylon line (Vs" x 10’ long)
camera oil
camera grease
oil syringe and needle (one fine, one wide)
bubble level - small, circular
ATG-924 (snot tape)
black cloth - 2’ square
set of jeweler's screwdrivers
set of hex wrenches (V-c" - 3/u ' and metric)
combination pliers (6")
needlenose pliers (6"), miniature (1")
crescent wrench (6")
vice-grip pliers (4") diagonal cutters (4")
wire strippers (4")
screwdrivers (Vs", V i b " , 5Ab")
Phillips screwdrivers #0, #1, #2
Arri screwdrivers #1, #2, #3
Optional Items
Additional tools are often useful — each assistant col
lects his or her own personal set. Following is a list of op
tional items that many have found to be valuable.
insert slate
color lily (gray scale and color chip chart)
gray card
electrical adapters:
U-ground plug adapter
screw-in socket adapter
WD-40 oil
assistant light
depth-of-field charts
depth-of-field calculator
footage calculator
circle template (for cutting gels)
extra power cables
magnetic screwdriver
variable-width screwdriver
wooden wedges (to level camera)
small mirror (to create a highlight)
dentist's mirror (aids in cleaning)
alligator clips
graphite lubricant
Vs" x 16 bolt - short and long
2 one-inch C-clamps
black automotive weather stripping
small wooden plank (for mounting camera)
The Camera Assistant
The position of camera assistant requires a wide range
of skills. The assistant must have technical knowledge of
the camera, lenses, and a myriad of support equipment. He
or she must be physically fit, capable of total concentration,
and be able to retain a sense of humor under stressful con­
Putting the Image On Film
The section on "Exposure" together with the adjacent
tables is intended as a quick-reference condensation of
material explained in more detail in "Lighting," "Filters,"
and elsewhere in the manual.
Most exposure meters incorporate some sort of calcu­
lator; some simple, some sophisticated. An exposure meter
measures amounts of light, either incident or reflected. The
calculator helps you decide how to use the measurement.
There are six specific variables entering the calculation:
Film exposure index
Camera Speed
Shutter Opening
Lens Aperture
Expressed as:
FPS (frames per second)
Filter factor
Meter reading:
Foot Lamberts
The "T " stop number is defined as being the true "f"
stop number of a lens if it completely free from all reflec­
tion and absorption losses. The T (transmission) number
represents the f-stop number of an open circular hole or of
a perfect lens having 100% axial transmission. The T-stop
can be considered as the "effective" f-stop. It is from this
concept that the means arises for standardization of T-stop
calibration. T-stops are calibrated by measuring the light
intensity electronically at the focal plane, whereas f-stops
are calculated geometrically. Thus f-stops are based on the
light that enters a lens. T-stops are based on the intensity
of the light that emerges from the rear of the lens and forms
the image.
There is no fixed ratio, however, between T-stops and
f-stops which applies to all lenses. The difference actually
represents light losses within the elements of a given lens
due to reflection from the glass-air surfaces and from ab­
sorption within the glass itself. Consequently, this factor is
variable and cannot be incorporated into an exposure
meter, since the meter must function in connection with
many different lenses calibrated in both f-stops and T-stops.
Many cinematographers do not understand why lens
and exposure tables are presented in f-stops when all pro­
fessional cine lenses are calibrated in T-stops. The f-stops
are required for all calculations involving object-image re­
lationships, such as depth of field, extreme close-up work
with extension tubes, etc. Such tables are based on the size
of the "h ole" or diameter of the bundle of light rays which
the lens admits to form the image. The diameter of the fstop will normally be the same for all lenses of similar fo­
cal length set at the same aperture. The T-stop, however, is
an arbitrary num ber that may result in the same T-stop
setting varying in aperture diameter with different lenses.
It is recommended that all professional cine lenses be
calibrated in both T-stops and f-stops, particularly for color
work. T-stop calibration is especially important with zoom
lenses, the highly complex optical design of which neces­
sitates a far greater number of optical elements than is re­
quired in conventional lenses. A considerable light loss is
encountered due to the large number of reflective optical
surfaces and absorption losses. A zoom lens with a geo­
metrical rating of f/2 , for example, will transmit consider­
ably less light than a conventional fixed focal length lens
of similar rating with fewer elements.
Exposure tables are generally based on "effective" fstops, (which are, in fact, T-stops). Small variations in emul­
sion speed, processing, exposure readings, etc., tend to can­
cel out. Cinem atographers should shoot tests with their
particular lenses, meter, light and film to find best combi­
nations for optimum results.
Other variables, such as direction and contrast of the
light, are factors calculated from the experience of the cin­
ematographer, aided by such things as photospheres and
spot readings. Finally, manipulation of all the above, plus
off-normal negative processing to achieve a desired "look,"
is from the mind of the cinematographer.
The laboratory and choice of film are closely tied to
exposure. It is important to keep exposure within limits
satisfactory both to the selected film and to the printing
range of the laboratory.
The tables will aid exposure calculation for meters
which lack settings for some of the factors or will aid in
calculating constant exposure control when one factor var­
ies from another.
Most cinematography is at 24 frames per second. The table is calcu­
lated for foot candles incident light on a fully lighted subject at 1/50
second exposure (172.8° precisely, but 170° to 180° varies from this by
less than a printer point for normally processed color negative). For
photography at 1/60 second (30 frames per second. 180° shutter; or 24
frames per second. 144° shutter), use one-third wider lens stop or one
column to the right (one ASA step lower) on the Incident light table. For
exposure indexes less than tabulated (which are uncommon at this time)
find the column which is ten times the desired index and multiply the light
by ten. Example: For El 10, use the column under El 100. For exposure at
T stop 2. multiply 50 by 10 and the light level desired will be 500.
T-Stop Compensation for Camera Speed
(constant shutter)
The Cinematographer
and the Laboratory
Laboratories routinely use the film m anufacturers'
recommended specifications for processing, modified to
meet their particular equipment. (The entire system — type
of film, m anufacturers' El recom m endation, laboratory
printing and processing range — is calibrated to produce
a pleasing rendition of fully lighted flesh tones under nor­
mal projection conditions.) In addition to producing nor­
mal results on the screen, most laboratories can on request
modify the screen results to produce a particular effect or
Printer Points
The laboratory controls print density and color balance
by increasing or decreasing the intensity of each primary
color of light in steps called printer points. Since the devel­
opment of the B & H model C printer most manufacturers
have standardized on a range of 50 light points in 0.025 Log
E increments. In addition to the light points each printer
usually also has 24 trim settings (0.025 Log E ) , giving an
available total of 74 lights.
The ideal settings for scene-to-scene timing would be
at mid-scale (Trim 12 + Tape 25 = 37 lights). In actual prac­
tice the available range is considerably less. Printer lamps
are usually operated under their rated voltage. This reduces
the light intensity in all three colors. For example, lower­
ing the voltage from 120 to 90 volts on a BRN 1200-watt
lamp results in a relative change in printer points equal to
minus 12 Red, 13 Green, 17 Blue. The trims are usually used
to balance the printer for a given print film emulsion. A
typical emulsion might require 16 Red, 13 Green, 10 Blue,
or in terms of the ideal, plus 4 Red, plus 1 Green, minus 2
Blue. Other factors influencing the available printer points
are the operating speed of tine printer, and the use of neu­
tral-density filters in the individual channels and the main
light beam.
The sum of these variables explains why a given nega­
tive might be printed Red 28, Green 29, Blue 22 at one labo­
ratory and Red 36, Green 32, Blue 36 at another laboratory
to produce matched prints. It is important to understand
that printer points relate only to how the printer exposes
film. A one-stop .30 Log E change (12 printer points X .025
Log E ) is equal to a one-stop exposure in the camera only
if the film in the camera has a gamma of approximately 1.0.
The current negative films, both black & white and color,
have gammas of approximately .65. Therefore, in correlat­
ing camera and printer exposure, one stop equals 2A x 12 =
8 printer points per stop.
Exposure Reporting
It has become the normal practice for laboratories to
furnish "one light" rather than timed daily rush prints. This
does not mean that all negatives are printed at the same
light points. The laboratory establishes a day exterior, day
interior, night exterior and night interior light for a cinema­
tographer when h e/sh e starts a picture, based on testing
or on the first few days of shooting. Each laboratory estab­
lishes it own method, but basically all try to keep usable
negative within the 1 to 50 light point scale. Eastman Kodak
proposes the LAD (Laboratory Aim Density) system, wliich
keeps the printer scale constant by adjusting printer trims
to compensate for process and stock variables, and places
a "norm al" scene at mid-scale. (Laboratories do not neces­
sarily agree on the numerical value of the preferred mid­
scale light point, but this is not critical as long as you know
which system your laboratory uses.) Conference with your
laboratory technician will establish methods that fit your
style of photography. After that, variation in your exposure
will show as variation in the density of your dailies. Bear
in mind that if subject matter or style of photography re­
quires a solid black in any area of the print, exposure must
be kept at center of the printer scale or higher.
Negative raw stock from different manufacturers may
or may not have the same base density, maximum density,
or d en sity/exp osu re characteristic ("curve shape"), al­
though these differences are usually small. A rush print
made by the LAD control method shows the density and
color ratio at mid-scale on the printer. Negative from two
manufacturers, both exposed correctly, may or may not
look the same at this printer point. If necessary, an adjust­
ment to the printer point may be made for the difference
in raw stock and this new light point used for printing dai­
lies on the subject.
Special Processing
If special processing is requested, a conference with the
laboratory representative and experimentation (or experi­
ence) is desirable. If special processing is requested, or the
cinematographer is using high or low exposure for effect,
it is desirable to test the effect by going through the entire
release-print technique, including the interpositive/dupli­
cate negative generations, and to view the result as nearly
as possible under the anticipated release-print viewing
conditions. (Don't ignore the fact that most pictures are also
released in one of the television formats.) If the scene to be
photographed will be used in an optically printed special
effect, it is wise to confer with the appropriate special-effects people.
Release-Printing Procedures
After the picture negative and soundtrack negative
have been assembled in their final form, the laboratory will
analyze the picture negative for scene-to-scene color and
density variations and make a print known as tine "first trial
composite." As many trial prints are made as are necessary
to resolve all printing data. The final trial is also often
known as an "answ er print." With the data thus obtained,
one or more intermediates are printed and from these the
release prints are made. Modern film stocks used to make
the intermediate positives and intermediate or duplicate
negatives are of excellent quality, but they do entail added
printing generations. The appearance of scenes involving
effects such as off-normal film exposure or processing can
suffer if they exceed the extremes the system can handle.
(See also "Testing and Evaluation.")
Color Reversal Films
Most of the above also applies to color reversal films;
however, color reversal films are now usually used only
when it is intended to project the original. Exposure lati­
tude is short com pared to that of color negative films.
Proper exposure is therefore critical in order to keep all
scenes at a usable density.
Black & White Negative
and Reversal Films
The above also applies to black & white reversal films.
Black & white negative films, however, are an exception.
Both their contrast and density can be more strongly af­
fected by developing time than color negative films. While
there is much more latitude in exposure with black & white
negative films as compared to color negative films, both
grain and acutance are affected by exposure variations.
Deviation from the manufacturers' recommended El (ex­
posure index) should be tested and evaluated.
Forced Development of Color Films
With the color films most commonly used today, it is
possible to com pensate for underexposure by extended
development or "pushing." Similar to the principles of tra­
ditional black & white sensitometry, forced development
of these color films increases their contrast, graininess and
the fog level.
Therefore, forced developm ent can never yield the
same image quality possible when films are exposed and
processed strictly according to the manufacturer's recom­
mendations. In many instances, however, the image qual­
ity obtained with underexposure and overdevelopment is
entirely satisfactory, and a cinematographer may want to
take advantage of this fact when shooting under adverse
light conditions. W hat "pushing" means, in effect, is that
die cinematographer can deliberately underexpose the film
(sometimes by as much as two stops) and request that the
laboratory compensate in development.
With the introduction of high-speed color negative
emulsions, there is less call for pushing the moderate speed
films, except for a special "look" or when underexposure
is unavoidable and high-speed negative is not at hand. It
is possible to push one stop in development without ap­
preciable loss in image quality. The scenes produced in this
manner can be intercut with scenes exposed and processed
If color negative is pushed two stops in development,
the increase in the grain iness and the fog level is substan­
tial, but the results are acceptable for scenes involving
night-for-night photography or available-light photogra­
phy under exceptional circumstances.
Extending development beyond two stops does not
appreciably contribute to the image; rather, it increases the
grain and fog level and should not be attempted even as
an emergency measure. It should be realized that with color
films the sensitometric balance of the three emulsion lay­
ers is only achieved with normal processing and that forc­
ing the development does not accomplish a true compen­
sation for underexposure. Forced development does not
result in a substantial increase in Exposure Index of the
negative as measured by accepted scientific methods. Nev­
ertheless, it cannot be denied that the technique proves to
be of some practical value if it brings the underexposed
negative into an acceptable printing range.
Reversal films, unlike negative, derive their projection
density from the camera exposure. Forced processing of
underexposed film can bring up the projection density to
normal. Eastm an Ektachrome Films 7240 and 7250 and
Fujicolor RT8427 and 8428 (all tungsten balanced), as well
as Ektachrome 7239 and 7251 (daylight balanced) can be
"pushed" one stop with acceptable results. In emergency
situations they can be pushed up to three stops with some
loss in quality. The ability to underexpose these films and
still obtain on film a usable image should by no means be
regarded as a suitable substitute for additional lighting
when it can be provided.
If a cinematographer anticipates the need for deliber­
ate underexposure during a production, he or she should,
if possible, shoot careful tests in advance using the same
emulsion to be used for the production and have them pro­
cessed by the lab that will be processing the production
film. The results can then be analyzed with the help of a
laboratory representative. Needless to say, underexposed
rolls should be clearly marked with instructions as to how
much they should be pushed when they are sent to the labo­
Flashing may be described qualitatively as subjecting
the negative film to a weak, controlled uniform fogging
exposure prior to development either before, during or af­
ter photographing the desired subject. There is no measur­
able difference in the effect if the flashing takes place be­
fore or after the principal exposure. As a result, because of
various unfavorable factors (such as not being able to con­
trol the time interval between the flash exposure and the
time that developm ent will actually take place, and not
knowing the actual conditions of photography in advance),
pre-flashing is generally avoided in favor of post-flashing.
Sim ultaneous flashing during actual photography by
means of a special device attached to the front of the cam­
era lens is described under "V ariCon." A device called a
"Panaflasher" can also be used for simultaneous flashing on
Panavision cameras. The Panaflasher can be used pre- or
Since color negative consists basically of three emul­
sion layers sensitive to red, green, and blue light, the spec­
tral composition of the light used for flashing can be a neu­
tral equivalent to tungsten light (3200K) or daylight (5500K)
which, depending on the film, would affect all three emul­
sion layers equally. The fundamental reasons for using a
neutral flash are to reduce the contrast of the image and to
increase shadow detail. This effect is accomplished because
the flashing exposure affects principally the shadow region
of the negative image.
Another reason for flashing is to achieve certain cre­
ative effects by using a non-neutral flashing exposure
which would then alter the normal color rendition of the
developed negative.
Flashing is also used sometimes to reduce contrast of
positive or reversal films when such films are to be used
for special effects duplication purposes, such as projection
backgrounds or aerial image compositing with animation.
VariCon Adjustable Contrast Filter
The Arri VariCon is a compact, variable contrast-control system which quickly and easily slides into the dual
filter stage closest to the lens of any regular 6.6"X 6.6" matte
box. The VariCon differs from low-contrast filters in that it
provides for a continuously adjustable contrast over the
entire photometric range of the film without any loss of
resolution, and without any effect on the highlights. It dif­
fers from standard flashing (pre- or post-exposure) of the
negative in the lab or in the film camera magazine in that
it adds a controlled, even amount of light during the expo­
sure, and permits the cinematographer to set the desired
contrast reduction w hile observin g the results in the
viewfinder, in relationship with the actual scene to be pho­
tographed. The V ariC on also provides for coloring of
shadow areas in the image without affecting the highlights.
This feature can be very helpful in situations when extreme
con trast com p ression w ould resu lt in extrem e color
The system consists of a light source, the VariCon
Glass Emitter, the 6.6" X 6.6" VariCon frame that holds the
Emitter (with a built-in slot for an ND filter), a digital meter
for precise setting of contrast ranges, and a dual-level out­
put Power Supply. With the VariCon placed in the 6.6"X
6.6” stage closest to the lens, it will cover virtually all wideangle and long focal-length prime lenses, and most zooms.
With the VariCon in position and switched OFF, it will not
affect image quality or require f-stop compensation.
Adjusting the VariCon
VariCon's contrast-range adjustment is simple: turn
a single control knob (located on its left side), or turn a
single flexible extension shaft that plugs directly into the
VariCon just above the control knob, to adjust contrast up
or down. The amount of contrast reduction can be seen
through the finder, or be measured via the digital meter for
accuracy and repeatability. Set the meter for the camera's
f-stop, the film stock's exposure index, and the required
contrast range in values Vs,Vi, 1 ,2 ,3 ,4 or 5. (A value of 1 is
equal to 20% flashing.) The effective range of VariCon cov­
ers situations from F I.4 with 800 ASA to F22 with 100 ASA.
Changing the coloration of the VariCon is done with
a gel placed in the VariCon's slide-in gel filter holder. A
light sensor built into the VariCon works in conjunction
with the meter to compensate for the light reduction of the
gel filter. VariCon can also be used in conjunction with
other filters to enhance their effects.
NOTE: When using the VariCon, exposing the gray
scale/slate with the Varicon switched ON is recommended;
it's helpful for the lab timer.
Lens Coverage:
Standard Aspect Ratio:
Zoom lenses: 18mm on up
Prime lenses: 10mm, 12mm, 16mm on up
Super 35 Aspect Ratio:
Zoom lenses: 20mm on up
Prime lenses: 12mm, and 16mm on up
Power Sources:
Varicon has two 50W, 12V 'BRL' Ushio halogen bulbs,
powered by 110V AC through a 12V AC adaptor, or from
12V or 24V batteries. (Cables for 24V batteries are avail­
able only through special order.)
Power consumption: 96 W atts (8A @ 12V, 4A @ 24V)
Upper light source: 9 X 2 X 1.75 inches
Slide-in emitter section: 8 X 6.5 X 0.5 inches
Weight: 3 lbs.
Photographic Testing and
by Fred Detmers
Photographic testing and experimenting aid the cin­
em atographer in evaluating equipm ent, new films and
processing, and techniques of lighting. This article is in­
tended as a checklist and brief on the techniques of testing
and evaluation.
Each of the factors in creating a photographic image
relates to several other factors; it is important in evaluation
to vary one factor at a time, and continually to compare,
when possible, with a known result. In this way, a bank of
information is acquired which can be drawn on and ex­
Before proceeding to photographic testing it is neces­
sary to establish the conditions imder which the tests will
be evaluated. It is of no value to photograph a test and then
view it under anything less than first-class conditions. Stan­
dards and recommended practices have been set up by the
SMPTE and ANSI, and test films are available from the
SMPTE for evaluation of projection conditions. If these
conditions are not optimum, the value of the test is com­
promised. Users of 16mm and Super 8 should be particu­
larly alert to this condition because there are so many sub­
standard projectors and lenses in use.
Through adaptation and fatigue the eye can change its
sensitivity to color, density, or subjective sharpness. When
possible use two projectors and two screens. Make direct
comparisons rather than subjective evaluations. If in doubt,
switch films on the two projectors and re-evaluate.
Some of the testing referred to below may be per­
formed on black & white film even if the subject is to be
color, thereby saving some of the cost. If the test is mechani­
cal rather than photographic, the negative itself may be
projected for evaluation instead of going to a print.
I. Equipment
Steadiness check: Particularly when com posite
photography is contemplated (but valuable in any case), a
check for image steadiness is advisable. The subject mat­
ter may be simple; for instance, a black background with a
simple cross made of adhesive tape. Photograph 20 or 30
seconds of the cross, cover the lens, backwind to the begin­
ning, uncover the lens, offset the chart by the width of the
tape, and double-expose the chart. Any unsteadiness will
readily show between the offset lines (Do not re-thread on
a different perforation — this introduces the possibility of
unsteady perforations and compromises the camera test.)
After photographing and processing this and before pro­
jecting, examine the negative for perforation damage and
Optical: Lenses should have been calibrated at the
factory or by the distributor for exposure and focus and the
distributor should have checked the ground glass position
with reference to the film plane. If you trust your supplier
there is no need for extensive testing. If, however, the equip­
ment is unfamiliar or it is necessary to field test the equip­
ment, following are suggested procedures:
1. Focus and ground glass/film plane:
(a) Set up a focus/definition chart (obtainable from
camera equipment suppliers) with center and corner tar­
gets; set up at a distance from the camera corresponding
to a scale-calibrated distance, filling the aperture as much
as possible. Check the eye focus versus scale focus. Repeat
for each lens. Repeat at a mid-distance (15 to 25 feet) scale
calibration. With a zoom lens, check at several zoom set­
A consistent discrepancy suggests either ground glass
or index error. A discrepancy on one lens suggests error in
the setting of the scale ring. (When using Panavision wideangle lenses, read and follow the Panavision instructions.)
In either case, photographic or collimator tests are required
to confirm the source of error. (If you have a rental or a
newly acquired cam era/lenses, send it/th em back for cor­
(b) Set up the definition chart at a scale distance clos­
est to filling the frame. If the index an d /or focus scale rings
are provided with secondary index marks for adjustments,
use these marks as a guide; otherwise:
On a piece of tape on the index, make four additional
temporary marks at equal intervals above and below the
index. Space the marks to indicate 0.001 in travel of the lens
for each interval (see "L ens Form ulas"), and label those
away from the film "p lu s" and those closer to the film
"m inus."
At a wide-open aperture, using either the temporary
m arks or the perm anent secondary m arks m entioned
above, photograph a short take (just enough to get up to
speed) at each index mark: "p lu s," "N ," "m inus." Develop
and examine with a 10X magnifier. The N exposure should
be noticeably sharper than the plus or minus. If it is not,
repeat the test to confirm.
Check all lenses, and check also at another mid-dis­
tance (say 15 feet), always at a scale-calibrated mark. If any
lens is consistently "o ff the m ark" or if there is a pattern of
failure between lenses, send the cam era/lenses back for
recalibration or, in the field, be guided by the focus test
2. Sharpness (See also "Lens Selection."):
Because sharpness is a subjective judgment based on
the composite of resolution, acuteness, contrast, flare and
aberration, a full test of each lens would encompass pho­
tography in a number of different situations. A simple com­
parison may be made between lenses, however, by photo­
graphing a definition chart and a simple scene with each
lens and comparing them with identical exposures made
with a lens of known photographic performance.
(a) The definition chart should preferably be one made
for lens testing (available from camera supply distributors)
and should have targets in the corners as well as in the cen­
ter. Exposure should be made at a wide-open aperture, a
mid-aperture (one at which you would be most likely to
photograph interiors), and at a very small aperture, each
lighted for normal exposure. The w ide-open exposure
should show up aberration and distortion, particularly in
the corners, should they be present. The small aperture
exposure will tell you (in comparison with the "m id-aperture" exposure) if there is lower definition because of dif­
fraction; a lack of definition at wide-open or small apertures
can affect apparent depth of field as well as intrinsic sharp­
(b) The test scene should include a white area, a light
area (with detail such as lace), and a dark area with detail,
as well as a person or object showing detail in mid-tones.
There should be a normal exposure and one each one stop
over and underexposed. When printed alike in the mid­
tones and compared, this will show up contrast, and if the
lens has a tendency to flare, the overexposed scene will be
flatter than the normal and will show flare from the white
area into the surrounding area. Care should be taken not
to exceed the printer scale.
Comparison of (b) normal exposure with a like ex­
posure made with a known lens is a subjective sharpness
3. Exposure (T-stop), color shift:
Photograph a short length of film of a gray scale at the
same T-stop and illumination with each lens. The negative
gray scale may be read with a densitometer, if available, to
determine uniformity. If a print is made of the negative it
may be projected to see if there is a color shift between
lenses. In most instances small differences in color can be
corrected in printing and will affect only the rush prints. If
you are photographing on reversal film, you may wish to
use color correcting filters to balance the lenses.
II. Laboratory/Process/Printer Scale/
Emulsion Batch
G enerally these tests should be com parative. We
should com pare for sharpness, grain, contrast, detail in
highlights and shadows and off-color highlights or shad­
ows. Prints should be made for best appearance in faces
an d /or mid-tones and comparative prints should be made
to match in these tones. A gray scale included in the scene
is helpful.
Comparative tests should be made at the same T-stop.
Where an exposure range is made, exposure should be
varied with shutter a n d /o r neutral density filters. Clear
filters should be used to substitute for neutral densities so
the same number of filters are always in place. While the
scene used above for lens comparisons can also be used in
these tests, it is helpful also to include a high-key and a lowkey scene.
A. Testing new film stocks:
Photograph a range of exposures of each scene from
the new film and on a known film, from normal to plus and
minus 2 lens stops. If forced processing is intended (see
below) add a set at minus 3 stops.
B. Testing for off-normal processing
(including push processing and
1. Because there are now three variables — exposure,
flash level, and developing time — unless a wide range of
combinations is budgeted, it might be well to separate tests
for flash and processing, observe the result, and then con­
fine tests of combinations to levels likely to be useful to the
desired look. Always compare to a normally exposed and
developed scene.
2. Before committing to forced developing, compare
with a properly printed, underexposed, normally devel­
oped take. In some instances, the only thing forced devel­
oping does is raise the printer points.
3. Make a print of a minus-one-stop exposed, "push
one" developed take at the same lights as the normally
exposed, normally developed take. Comparison will show
just what is accomplished by "p ush-one" developing.
4. If the desired look is obtained but the print is made
below printer point 10 or above 40, be cautious because you
have limited your latitude.
C. Testing a new emulsion batch for
If the new emulsion batch is incompatible, it is more
likely to be so in off-normal densities or processes. Follow
the same general procedure as in testing a new film; the
exposure range need not be as great. If the printer lights
vary 2 or 3 points between scenes photographed the same
on the two batches of emulsion no harm will be done. If
there is a marked difference in shadow or highlight color
when faces match, caution is warranted.
III. Visual Effects: Lighting, Filters,
Image Modification
This is a subjectively judged area in which the cinema­
tographer and laboratory technician must work together
closely. Unless based on experience, it is advisable to start
with a print at center scale. If the visual appearance is then
not correct, the decision can be made whether to vary the
photographic conditions or vary the printing conditions.
Varying both without conference between the cinematog­
rapher and laboratory technician can only lead to confu­
sion. If the desired effect can only be achieved by off-nor­
mal printing or negative processing, it is advisable to go a
step further and evaluate the result after making either a
duplicate negative or a CRI to simulate release-print con­
ditions. The result should then be viewed with as large a
screen magnification as is anticipated, for the release print.
If television use is anticipated the result should also be
viewed under television conditions.
Emulsion Testing
by Steven Poster, ASC
The object of this series of tests is to determine the best
working exposure index and the dynamic range for your
original camera negative. This system takes into account
any processing techniques, print stock and further duping
of the original camera negative.
Judging these tests should be done visually, although
densitometer readings should be taken for later reference.
It is more important to train your eye to see the various
characteristics of the chain of events that result in the pre­
sentation of images that we create during production than
to know scientifically all of the sensitometry that goes into
the imaging system.
The basic physical nature of the film stock (i.e., how
much density there is in the negative without any exposure)
must be calibrated. If you are going to test or use other film
stocks a n d /o r processing techniques these should also be
calibrated at this time.
The lab should process a short length of unexposed
negative. If the negative is going to be pushed or pulled or
flashed, these special treatments should be done in the pro­
scribed way at this time as well. You can measure the spe­
cific densities of the base density plus fog levels on a den­
sitometer for reference. (This reference can be used later if
there is an emulsion change, lab change or just as a simple
check on your standard emulsion.)
We know that this specific density will be used to re­
produce a black tone on the final print. If this density on
the negative is not printed deep enough to reproduce a
desirable black on the print stock there will be no black
tones in the final print and the images will be appear to have
been underexposed. If this is the case the images can also
develop a grainy appearance and will not dupe well.
At this point you have a piece of unexposed processed
negative that reflects any special processing techniques
done to that negative. You should also have noted refer­
ence densities of that negative. This leads us to the second
part of the test.
Ill order to determine the specific amount of light
needed to print your test negative to a desirable black tone,
we must test the print stock and any printing techniques
(flashing the print stock, ENR, bleach suppression or opti­
cal printing, for example). This is done by printing your
piece of unexposed processed film stock at a succession of
printer lights increasing by 2 to 4 points of density (8 printer
points equals 1 stop, 4 points equals Vi stop, etc.). If you are
planning to use any unusual printing techniques or print
processing techniques, they should be applied at this point.
Any subsequent printing for these series of tests should
have these techniques applied as well.
A trick that I have often used to help me judge my
optimum black density is to punch a hole in the negative
with a single-hole paper punch (not in the center of the
frame) before it is printed. This will give you a reference to
zero density in the frame, which can help determine the
optimal visual black tone that you want. Your desired black
tone will never be as black as the portion printed through
the hole, but the reference helps to determine what density
you will want to achieve with your processing and print­
ing techniques.
If your lab has strip projectors which they use for tim­
ing proposes, this is a very good way to view these tests.
Two identical prints can be made which can be viewed side
by side on these projectors, allowing you to study the re­
sults and compare different densities. If no strip projectors
are available,the length of each exposure should be enough
to allow you time to view it sufficiently on the screen dur­
ing projection.
Once you have determined which density you would
like to represent black in your final print, it should be read
on the densitometer and used for later reference. You can
also read the densities of each level of printer lights to see
where reciprocity sets in, although this is not actually nec­
essary because this density will probably be deeper than
you will actually be printing at.
A test for no-density print highlights can also be done
at this time by printing a piece of opaque leader at the de­
termined printer lights and reading the resulting density.
The difference between your chosen black density and the
resulting white density will determine the dynamic range
of the print stock. In order to determ ine the speed and
working range of your negative in relation to that print
stock, further testing is necessary.
You should now have a optimum black density and a
reference to the printer lights that it will take at your lab to
result in that density with your chosen negative stock. This
includes any unusual processing methods and any varia­
tion in printing techniques that you choose to use. This
brings us to the third part of the test.
This will be the first camera test which will deter­
mine the working speed or exposure index (El) that will
allow you to judge the exposure necessary to represent the
values that are photographed as normal tones on the final
print when that print is made using the recomm ended
density determined by the first two parts of these tests. You
must determine the amount of light that it will require to
properly photograph a mid-gray tone when the negative
is printed to the benchmark density.
There are several points worth mentioning at this stage
about testing methods. Everyone has their own method of
measuring light values. There are probably as many meth­
ods as there are people taking exposure readings. If your
meter and method of reading works for you it is correct.
prefer to use a Minolta 1° spot meter and take my
neutral readings off of a Unicolor Permanent Gray Card. I
feel that this gives me a consistent and accurate way of judg­
ing not only the light falling on a subject but the reflectance
of that subject as well. I also like to vary the amount of light
falling on the subject rather then changing the T-stop on the
lens. This gives me a more accurate series of exposures
because there is no reliable way to vary the stop by frac­
tions, due to the variables and tolerances of the lens iris.
Lighting for these tests requires flat, even illumination
over the surface of the subject, similar to copy light (light
from two sides of the subject at a 45° angle from the cam­
era). The color temperature of the light should be as close
to 3200° Kelvin possible except in tests of daylight film,
when 5400° Kelvin should be used.
If you are planing to use filtration, such as diffusion
of some kind, these filters should be used in all subsequent
tests, because some of these filters can have some lightabsorption qualities. Even though this effect will be very
slight, it can affect the results of your tests by as much as
two-thirds of a stop.
Make a series of exposures of an 8" x 10" gray card and
a face with neutral skin tone at a series of stops based on
variations in the manufacturer's recommended exposure
index. Start the series at one stop under the El and increase
the exposure by one-third of a stop until you reach one stop
over the recommended speed.
For instance, if you were testing Kodak's 5296, the rec­
ommended speed is 500. You would start your test at an
El of 1000 and proceed to an El of 250 in one-third -stop in­
crements, resulting in seven different exposures.
Remember, don't vary the T-stop. Change the amount
of light to give the proper exposure at the T-stop you are
Print the negative at the benchmark density arrived at
in the second part of the test, adjusting the printer ratio
(color balance) to reproduce a neutral gray. Read the print
density of the gray in each exposure. A proper mid-gray
print density for theater viewing should be R /1 .0 9 G /1.06
& B /1.03 (status A filters).
View the print to determine which print is closest to
that recommended density. Look carefully at the quality of
the color balance of the skin tones in relation to the gray
card. If an emulsion cannot reproduce skin tones properly
when the gray card is printed correctly (or vice versa), this
is a good indication that there are problems with either the
emulsion or the lab processes that have taken place. If this
is the case, when the skin tones are printed properly in the
final print there will always be problems getting the proper
color balance in the shadows.
The print that is chosen as the best representation of
the gray card and skin tone will become the mid-point in
the dynamic range of your negative. Check which exposure
index was used for this test. This El will become your em­
pirical emulsion speed. Most often I have found that the El
that is derived will be w ithin one-third of a stop of the
manufacturer's recommended speed, unless some form of
processing modification is used (such as push or pull pro­
This is the part of the testing process that will deter­
mine the usable dynamic range of your negative when ex­
posed, processed and printed using the information gath­
ered in the previous tests.
Make a series of exposures using a Macbeth Color
Checker color chart, an 8"xl0" gray card, a small gray scale
and a face with neutral skin tone. Mount the color chart
vertically with the gray card in the middle and the scale
vertically next to the gray card, all on one piece of card.
Mount this card on a grip stand and place it over the head
of the model. This allows you to fill the frame with the cards
and then tilt down to see the face. Shoot the chart and the
face each for a minimum of ten seconds (more if you can
afford the film) so that you will have enough time to study
the results on the screen. If you are comparing emulsions
or processing techniques, repeat these tests for each varia­
Using the El that you derived from the last test, start
the series of exposures at normal and underexpose succes­
sively until you reach five stops underexposed. Do the
same with overexposure.
For example:
First Series
1 stop under
1 'A stops under
1 2A stops under
2 stops under
2 'A stops under
2 2A stops under
3 stops under
4 stops under
5 stops under
Second Series
1 stop over
2 stops over
3 stops over
3 lA stops over
3 % stops over
4 stops over
4 lA stops over
5 stops over
The use of uneven increments of exposure is based on
experience. I know that the first shadow detail will fall
somewhere within the range of 2 and 3 stops underexposed
and that the last highlight detail will fall between 4 and 5
stops over. I also know from experience that the increments
between 1 and 2 comprise very useful shadow densities to
have a visual reference to.
Print these tests again at the benchm ark densities.
View the work print to make sure the color ratios are cor­
rect. If possible, at this point an interpositive, dupe nega­
tive and final print should be produced using any special
printing techniques intended for the final release (such as
ENR or flashing the interpositive). This will allow you to
view the results as they would be viewed in the theater. If
this is not possible, enough useful inform ation can be
learned by viewing the work print.
When you view the results projected, either in motion
or on strip projectors, you will begin to see the effects of
exposure on different tones and colors. If you are compar­
ing different emulsions or processing techniques, the re­
sults should be viewed side by side for proper comparison.
The exposure difference between first shadow detail
and last highlight detail and their relation to mid-gray will
determine the empirical dynamic range of the negative,
processing and printing combination.
It is im portant to rem em ber that these tests are not
scientific but empirical. They are meant to train your eye
to the dynam ic range of your emulsion under working
conditions. The tests should be a good working reference.
In fact, I have often taken fram es of each exposure and
mounted them in slide mounts for viewing on the set if I
want to know exactly where to place a specific tone on the
scale so that it will be represented exactly as I want in the
final print. To do this you will need a small light box prop­
erly color-corrected and with an illumination of 425 FC + /
10% .
It is most important to learn to trust your eye rather
than relying on too many exposure readings. These tests
should give you a better understanding of the results of
exposing, processing and printing your original camera
negative so that you can predict exactly what the images
you make will look like. With this knowledge you should
be able to make more consistent dramatic images to help
tell the story of your motion picture.
Light Sources
and Lighting Filters
by Richard B. Glickman, Consulting Engineer
ASC Associate Member
The advent of faster films has changed many of the
rules for well-established lighting techniques. Feature-film
photography is now routinely accomplished in "natural
lighting" situations, and night scenes are photographed
with only the light available from street lighting and shop
windows. The speed of these new em ulsions has made
possible a new degree of realism, and greater freedom in
selecting locations for photography.
Quality photography still demands consistent lighting.
Consistency often depends on an understanding of the
characteristics of various light sources. Light sources may
be mixed in any lighting situation, so long as care is taken
to apply the appropriate filtering to ensure a consistent
color balance. The following sections will deal with those
The use of lighting filters, formerly restricted to a few
blues and ambers, has now advanced to the point where
relatively refined adjustments can be made in the spectral
energy output of the wide variety of sources. The use of this
more sophisticated range of lighting filters has been made
practical by the development of convenient color tempera­
ture meters that produce relatively sophisticated informa­
tion about light sources.
The actual lighting of a scene is an artistic process
which is beyond the scope of this work. Those artistic de­
cisions involve many considerations, such as the type of
story being told, the desired mood and the emotional con­
tent of the material. The cinematographer's efforts in those
directions, and the specific tools he or she uses, are the hall­
marks of the work of any given cinematographer.
Characteristics of Light Sources
The predominance of location photography makes a
basic understanding of typically encountered light sources
essential. Particularly important, due to their widespread
use, are the AC enclosed arc discharge lamps such as HMItypes. Today's cinematographer must have a grasp of the
basic operational characteristics of these light sources.
For a detailed explanation of the param eters of Correlated Color
Temperature, Color Rendering Index and Efficacy, reference should be
made to page 319.
In this section, a wide range of photographic, commer­
cial and industrial light sources will be dealt with in some
detail. The accompanying tables give the reader a brief idea
of the range of characteristics to be encountered.
Physical Characteristics of Light Sources
Figure 1 shows the various lamp envelope configura­
tions and the designations that are common to them. The
Comparison of Photographic Light Sources
*Need filtering for color photography.
use of this figure reveals the envelope's configuration by
simply knowing that the code letters associated with the
lamp designation are the dimensional descriptive data.
The following examples are offered to clarify this de­
scriptive process:
a.) R40 — This is a reflector flood ("R " type envelope),
which is "%ths of an inch in diameter.
b.) PAR 64 — The designation "P A R " refers to the
sealed beam lamp type (Parabolic Aluminized Reflector)
which is w/sths of an inch in diameter.
c.) Q1000 PAR 64 — This is the envelope as in (b.), but
the "Q " designates a tungsten halogen lamp of 1000 watts
inside. ("Q " is a hangover from the early days of tungsten
halogen when these lamps were referred to as Quartz Io­
d ) Q1000T3 — A tungsten halogen lamp, 1,000 watts,
with a tubular envelope %ths of an inch in diameter.
Another im portant elem ent in the construction of
lamps is the basing. Figure 2 shows the most common base
arrangements used on incandescent-type lamps (also ap­
plicable to certain discharge types). This figure can be help­
ful in establishing whether a particular lamp can be mated
to a given fixture.
Figure 1. Lamp envelope configurations.
Color Temperature
Color temperature describes the actual temperature of
a "black body radiator" and thereby completely defines the
spectral energy distribution (SED) of the object. W hen the
object becomes luminous and radiates energy in the visible
portion of the spectrum, it is said to be incandescent. Sim­
ply stated, this means that when an object is heated to an
appropriate temperature, some of its radiated energy is
The color temperature is usually described in terms of
degrees Kelvin. This simply refers to a temperature scale,
like Fahrenheit or Centigrade (Celsius). It is in fact the ab­
solute Centigrade (Celsius) scale, which is the temperature
in degrees Centigrade (Celsius) plus 273 degrees.
When metal is gradually heated, the first visible color
is "dull cherry red." As the temperature is raised, it visu­
ally becomes "Orange," then "Yellow," and finally "W hite"
hot. The actual effect of increasing color temperature on the
spectral energy distribution is best seen in Figure 3.
Strictly speaking, tungsten filaments are not true black
bodies. However, from a practical standpoint, both stan­
dard incandescent lamps and tungsten halogen types can
be so considered.
DC Bay
Med Sc
Med Bp
Med PI
Med Skt
Med 2P
double-contact bayonet candelabra
double-contact prelocus candelabra
extended mogul end prong
ferrule contact
medium screw
medium bipost
medium prelocus
medium skirted
medium tw o pin
mogul end prong
(also: extended mogul end prong)
Mog Sc
Mog Bp
Moq Pf
Rect RSC
SC Bay
mogul screw
mogul bipost
mogul prefocus
miniature screw
(with reference shoulder)
(also: Tru-Loc miniature screw)
medium side prong
rectangular recessed single contact
rim mount tw o pin
recessed single contact
(also: single contact recessed)
metal sleeve
single-contact bayonet candelabra
single-contact prefocus
screw terminal
trubeam tw o pin
trufocus (also: four pin)
Tru-Loc miniature screw
(also: miniature screw with reference shoulder)
tw o button
tw o pin all glass
two pin all glass (ceramic cover)
two pin miniature
two pin prefocus
three prong
Notes:R indicates special reference point for LCL, 'Note below
(RR - at 0.531 inch diameter)
Figure 2. C om m on in can d escen t lam p b ases (not to scale).
One of the most important characteristics of incandes­
cent radiators is that they have a continuous spectrum. This
means that energy is being radiated at all the wavelengths
in its spectrum. Color temperature is only properly applied
to radiating sources that can meet this requirement. There­
fore, for example, the application of the term "color tem­
perature" to describe the color of fluorescent tubes is incor­
rect for the following reasons: Fluorescent lamps do not
have continuous spectra, and fluorescent lamps do not emit
visible radiation due to incandescence (because of their
temperature). In practice the term is applied to many other
sources. When it is applied to these non-incandescent
sources, it really refers to "correlated color temperature."
4 - ultra-violet
------------------visible spectrum
Figure 3. Relative radiant energy distribution for sources at various color
Correlated Color Temperature
The term correlated color temperature is used to indi­
cate a visual match where the source being described is not
a black body radiator. The term is often abused, an example
being its application to such light sources as mercury va­
por lamps.
From a photographic standpoint, the correlated color tem­
perature can be extremely misleading. It is important to keep
in mind that its connotations are visual. It is a number to
be approached with extreme caution by the cinematogra­
Correlated Color Temperature of
Typical Light Sources
Sunlight should not be confused with daylight. Sunlight is the light of
the sun only. Daylight is a combination of sunlight and skylight. These
values are approximate since many factors affect the Correlated Color
Tem perature. For consistency, 5500K is considered to be Nominal
Photographic Daylight. The difference between 5000K and 6000K is only
33 Mireds, the same photographic or visual difference as that between
household tugsten lights and 3200K photo lamps (the approximate
equivalent of Vi Blue or Vs Orange lighting filters).
The MIRED System
When dealing with sunlight and incandescent sources
(both standard and tungsten halogen types), the MIRED
system offers a convenient means for dealing with the prob­
lems of measurement when adjusting from one color tem-
perature to another. This system is only fo r sources that can
truly be described as having a color temperature. The term
MIRED is an acronym for Micro Reciprocal Degrees. The
MIRED number for a given color temperature is deter­
mined by using the following relationship:
As a convenience, refer to page 323, which is a quick
reference for determining the MIRED values for color tem­
peratures between 2000K and 6900K in 100-degree steps.
Filters which change the effective color temperature of
a source by a definite amount can be characterized by a
"MIRED shift value." This value is computed as follows:
i l = Kelvin temperature ot the original source.
T2 = K elvin tem perature o f the original sou rce as m easured
through the filter.
MIRED shift values can be positive (yellowish or mi­
nus blue filters) or negative (blue or minus red /green fil­
ters). The samefilter (representing a single MIRED shift value),
applied on light sources with different color temperatures, will
produce significantly different color temperature shifts. Occa­
sionally, the term Decamireds will be found in use for de­
scribing color temperature and filter effects. Decamireds is
simply MIREDs divided by 10.
Color R endering Index
The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is used to specify the
stated characteristic of a light source as it might be used for
critical visual color examinations such as in color match­
ing or inspection of objects. The CRI is established by a stan­
dard procedure involving the calculated visual appearance
of standard colors viewed under the test source and under
a standard illuminant. The CRI is not an absolute number,
and there is no particular relative merit to be determined
by comparing the CRIs of several sources.
The CRI is o f importance photographically only when it is
between 90 and 100. This is accepted to mean that such a
source has color rendering properties that are a commer-
cial match to the reference source. For example, the HMI
lamps have a CRI of 90 to 93, referred to the D55 standard
illuminant (D55 is the artificial match to standard daylight
of 5500K).
Spectral Energy Distribution
The spectral energy distribution (SED) is the standard
means for exhibiting the relative amounts of energy being
radiated by a source as a function of wavelength. This is
sometimes called the spectral power distribution (SPD).
The visible spectrum (see Fig. 4), which is also the use­
ful photographic spectrum, comprises the energy whose
wavelengths are between approximately 400 and 700 na­
nometers (nm). Wavelengths shorter than 400 nm are in the
ultraviolet region of the spectrum, and those longer than
700nm are in the infrared region.
The electro m agn etic rad ian t energy spectru m is
shown in Figure 4. The SED for a lamp at 3000K is shown
in Figure 5. A comparison of the spectral energy distribu­
tions of 3200K, natural daylight and a carbon arc (white
flame carbon) can be seen in Figure 6.
Illumination Data
The purpose of this section is to explain simple gen­
eral rules for dealing with illumination data. In particular,
it will provide the means for interpreting data offered by
manufacturers and for interpolating readings based on
measurements made by the cameraman.
1. Lighting Quantities — Intensity
Intensity is measured in units of "candelas." An ear­
lier term for this is candlepower. Normally, a value for can­
delas is also accompanied by directional information. In
former times the intensity on axis was referred to as center
beam candlepower.
The unique property of intensity relative to the source
of light in a given direction is that it is not dependent on
distance from the source. The intensity is the same no mat­
ter how far away. The only restriction is that it has reduced
accuracy if measurements are made closer to the source
than approximately ten times the maximum diameter of the
lighting unit. For example, for a 12 fresnel lens spotlight,
the intensity figures are only accurate at a distance greater
than about 10 feet.
Angle from centerline
Figure 7. Luminaire intensity distribution— rectangular.
Figure 8. Luminaire intensity distribution— polar.
There are two ways that the intensity information is
normally shown. Examples of these are shown in Figures
7 and 8. The only difference between these is that in one
case the data is presented in a rectangular coordinate for­
mat, and in the other polar coordinates are used. Most light­
ing manufacturers supplying instruments to the motionpicture industry tend to present their data in a rectangular
format. The polar presentation is more likely to be encoun­
tered with com m ercial/industrial type fixtures.
Where the intensity distribution of a lighting source
is known, the illumination produced by the unit can be
calculated using the inverse square law. This is expressed
as follows:
Intensity (candelas)
Illumination (foot candles) = ----------------------------------D2(D = distance in feet)
Intensity (candelas)
Illumination (Lux) = -----------------------------------D2(D=distance in meters)
(Example: A fixture is described as having a center
intensity (or center beam candlepower) of 50,000 Candelas.
What is the illumination at 25 feet? What is the illumina­
tion at 10 meters?
(a) at 25 feet = -----------= -------------= 80 footcandles
25 x 25
(b) at 10 meters = ----------- = ----------- = 500 Lux
2. Lighting Quantities— Coverage
All lighting fixtures have a lighting distribution which
may be visible as projected on a flat wall. Often this is ex­
pressed as shown in Figure 9 and defined as an illumina­
tion distribution curve. The important standard measuring
points for such a distribution are as follows:
Beam Coverage: This is described as the limit of the
area covered to within 50% of the maximum intensity.
Field Coverage: This is described as the area covered
to within 10% of the maximum intensity.
Of the two areas described above, the beam coverage
is the more important photographically. It describes the
area that is illuminated at a level that is not lower than 1
stop down from the center intensity. The assumption is
made, where a single distribution is shown, that the distri­
bution pattern is essentially circular.
Calculating Coverage from Beam Angle: The follow­
ing expression allows the computation of the coverage di­
ameter (W) for any distance (D) and a given beam angle
(Refer to Figure 10). The expression is:
W = 2 x (D) x [Tangent ('/: Beam Angle)]
Figure 9. D efinition of intensity distribution curves.
(Example: For a distance of 50 feet and a known beam
angle of 26 degrees, what is the coverage diameter of the
beam (50% of the center)?
D = 50 feet; Beam Angle = 26 degrees.
'A Beam Angle = 13 degrees
Tangent of 13 degrees = .231
W = 2 x 50 x .231 = 100 x .231 = 23.1 feet
3. General Comments on Calculations
Most manufacturers are now offering both candela
information and angular coverage. This is actually suffi­
cient information to make some approximations of what to
expect from the lighting fixtures using the procedures out­
lined above.
In the event that it is necessary to convert from footcandles to lux, the value of footcandles should be multiplied
by 10.8. To convert lux to footcandles, divide lux by 10.8.
Usually, lux values will be associated with distances
measured in meters, and footcandles with distances mea­
sured in feet. In the case of the illumination calculations
above, the use of feet or meters as the units of distance will
automatically yield illumination values in footcandles or
lux respectively.
Figure 10. Definition of terms for calculating coverage.
Photographic Light Sources
The sources covered in this section include the more
familiar man-made types, such as incandescent, carbon arc
and AC arc discharge lamps as well as an exposition on
natural daylight.
The general characteristics of each type are delineated
in moderate detail, including spectral energy distributions
and electrical characteristics. In addition, any special con­
siderations for the cinematographer are carefully noted.
Each sub-section on a particular class of light source closes
with detailed information on filtering the source.
Natural Daylight
Natural daylight, on a clear day, is the sum of sunlight
and skylight. The sunlight is directly from the sun, whose
surface is about 6,000K. Skylight is from sunlight that has
been scattered and filtered in the earth's atmosphere. Since
the shortest wavelengths are the ones least filtered by the
atmosphere, this results in the blue sky. Figure 11 repre­
sents the spectral energy distribution for the sun compared
to a 5400K source.
Daylight conditions are highly varied, from a photo­
graphic viewpoint, based on the local atmospheric condi­
tions, location on the earth, time of year, hour of the day
and the am ount of atm ospheric pollutants that may be
present. A brief sum mary of some of the possibilities is
presented on page 319.
In addition to color temperature variations, the degree
of diffusion in daylight varies from the least to the most
diffuse lighting conditions that can be experienced.
Least Diffuse — In clear cloudless sunlight, the sun as
the main lighting source (key) is truly a point. This pro­
duces the hardest, most distinct shadows. The incident light
level from the sun on such a day can be as much as 9,500
footcandles. The skylight contribution (fill) is about 1,500
footcandles. This produces a lighting ratio of about 7:1 (key
to fill).
Lighting control in these situ ation s m ay require
booster lighting or the use of certain grip devices such as
large overhead scrims.
Most Diffuse — A completely overcast day is essen­
tially shadow less lighting. The entire sky, horizon to hori­
zon, becomes the light source. The incident level may be
as low as 200 footcandles.
Figure 11. Sim ilarity of sunlight to a theoretical 5400 K light source.
Filters for Control of Natural Daylight
A family of materials, mostly on polyester plasticbased film, are made for light control in these situations.
These are normally supplied in rolls that are from 48 to 58
inches wide (122 to 147 cm). In addition, the 85, and ND3,
ND6 and ND9 types are also available as rigid acrylic pan­
els, usually 4 by 8 feet in size (1.22 x 2.44 meters).
Reference should be made to pages 323 and 278 in
reading this section. Page 323 lists the MIRED shift values
for the various materials, and their effect on sources of two
different color temperatures. Page 278 summarizes the fil­
ter requirements for each element of the lighting system
and camera for interior cinematography against daylighted
When properly applied, sharp focus can be carried
through windows treated with either the plastic film ma­
terials or the acrylic panels. The panels are particularly
useful where wind or strong air movement may cause the
plastic film to move and produce visible highlights.
Conversion-Type Filters
These materials are intended for application at open­
ings (doors, windows, etc.) where natural daylight is en­
tering an interior which is to be photographed at a 3200K
balance. The "fu ll" conversion m aterials available are
known as "C TO " and "85." In USA lighting practice, the
"85" has been the type most widely applied (it is really a
Wratten 85B equivalent). The European practice has been
to use the deeper correction such as the "C TO ." The choice
of filter will obviously be determined by the actual daylight
conditions being dealt with, or by artistic considerations.
Filters which accomplish less than the full correction
to 3200K are also available, and are widely used to deal with
the variations in daylight conditions that may be encoun­
tered. They are also used where the artistic effect wanted
is different from "natural" daylight (page 367).
Neutral-Density Filters
Where it is desired to use a daylight balance inside the
space in which photography is taking place, the only filter
normally indicated for the windows will be neutral den­
sity. These are usually required due to the overpowering
levels of sunlight which are often encountered in natural
settings. Typically these filters are available as either plas­
tic films or as rigid acrylic sheets. Normally they can be
obtained in densities which reduce the incident light by Vi,
1,2, or 3 stops (ND.15, ND.3, ND.6, and ND.9).
Combination Filters
Combinations of 85 and neutral density or CTO with
neutral density are also available. These are utilized to re­
duce the number of materials which must be installed in
order to accomplish both the conversion and the reduction
of lighting level.
Incandescent Light Sources
The incandescent source is characterized by having a
filament structure through which current is passed to pro­
duce heating.
When the filament is heated to very high temperatures
it radiates visible light as a part of its radiant energy out­
put. Figure 12 show the relative spectral energy distribu­
tions for some incandescent lamps at various color tem­
Incandescent sources, relative to the visible spectrum,
radiate at all wavelengths in that spectrum. The proportion
Figure 12. Spectra! energy distribution curves for incandescent lamps
at various color temperatures.
of energy at the different wavelengths (the spectral energy
distribution) is solely dependent on the Kelvin temperature
at which the filament is operated. Some of the typical fila­
ment configurations encountered in the photographic types
of sources are shown in Figure 13. The designations for the
various conformations are standard in the USA.
Incandescent sources may be operated on either alter­
nating or direct current. A very wide range of light sources
has been designed with nominal operating voltages to meet
the requirements of both USA and international require­
ments. There are two basic subdivisions within the class of
incandescent sources.
F ig u re 13. C om m on in c a n d e s c e n t fila m e n t fo rm s and th e ir
Standard Incandescent
The standard incandescent source utilizes a tungsten
filament in a gas-filled enclosure of commercial glass. These
basic lamp types have been available for many years of
motion-picture production. It has been traditional to pro­
duce two ranges of Kelvin temperature for professional use
in these types of lamps. Typically, at the rated voltage (i.e.,
120 volts), a 3200K and a 3350K design have been available.
3350K lamps are close to the Photoflood balance of Type
A color film and 3200K lamps are used for all professional
color motion picture films.
Tungsten-Halogen Lamps
The tungsten-halogen lamp is an incandescent lamp.
Its radiant energy output is based strictly on the tempera­
ture of its filament, but it offers an important difference in
operating principles when compared to the standard incan­
descent type.
The addition of a halogen gas in the fill plus the use of
high temperature materials in the envelope of the lamp
(quartz or fused silica, and recently hard glass), has resulted
in a design which does not experience the blackening ef­
fect with age that is characteristic of the standard incandes­
cent types. Due to the presence of the "halogen cycle"
within the lamp, the tungsten is not permitted to deposit
on the bulb walls (as long as the wall temperature is above
250 degrees C). It is, in fact, re-deposited on the filament
(See Figure 14). The results of this development have been
1. Tungsten-halogen lamps have minimal loss in lu­
men output and no significant shift in color temperature
during their entire life.
2. Tungsten-halogen lamps with sim ilar configura­
tions, wattages and initial lumen outputs as standard in­
candescent types are now produced with substantially
longer useful life.
3. Because of the requirement for high bulb wall tem­
peratures, it has been necessary to shrink the envelope size
of these lamps, resulting in com pletely new fam ilies of
lamps with much smaller external dim ensions than the
standard incandescent equivalent.
Figure 14. D iagram o f H alog en C y cle w ith in lam p.
In all other respects, the tungsten-halogen lamp should
be considered the same as the standard incandescent. They
may be operated on either alternating or direct current.
Care should be taken during installation to prevent finger­
marking of the envelope since there is a tendency for some
degradation of the envelope to occur if fingerprints or dirt
are left on during operation.
Incandescent Lamp Operation
Following are some characteristic curves which will
explain more clearly the relationship of various of the pa­
rameters associated with incandescent lamp operations.
These curves are applicable to both standard incandescent
(when the lamp is relatively new) and to tungsten-halogen
Lumens Per Watt
Approximate Lamp Efficacy (Efficiency)
Figure 15. Incandescent lamp efficacy as a function of color temperature.
Lumens are a measure of the total light output of a
source. In the case of incandescent lamps the lumen out­
put depends almost entirely on the temperature of the fila­
ment and the amount of power. The efficacy of the lamp
(lum ens/w att) is almost entirely dependent on the tem­
perature of the filament, and because of this relationship
the color temperature and lumens per watt (efficacy of the
lamp) can be related. This is demonstrated in Figure 15.
The relationship between the lumen output and the
operating voltage of the lamp can also be demonstrated as
shown in Figure 16. This has been normalized so that the
Rated Voltage of Lamp (%)
Figure 16. Curve showing change of lumen output of lamp as voltage is
changed. This has been normalized so that the percentages of lumen
output change to percentage change in rated voltage can be easily
Figure 17. C urve sh o w in g ch an ge o f co lor tem perature (degrees K) as
voltage is changed.
percentages of lumen output change to percentage change
in rated voltage can be easily related.
There is a direct relationship between the shift in
Kelvin temperature and the operating voltage of an incan­
descent lamp. This is shown in Figure 17 in terms of an
absolute change in color temperature for a percentage shift
in the rated voltage. The rule of thumb that has been used
with 120-volt-rated lamps is that a one-volt change (up or
down) results in a 10-degree Kelvin shift. This approxima-
Operating Life (%)
Figure 18. Curve showing lumen output of lamp during life.
Percent of Rated Average Life
Figure 19. Life expectancy curve for tungsten filam ent lamps.
tion is reasonably accurate as long as the percentage change
in voltage is within 10-15% of the rated value.
Figure 18 compares the percentage of initial lumens
versus the percentage of operating life between conven­
tional incandescent and tungsten-halogen lamps. Note that
the tungsten-halogen type has only a very nominal shift in
the lumen output during the course of its entire life com ­
pared with the standard incandescent lamp.
The life rating of all types of incandescent lamps is
based on the following concept: if a very large group of
lamps is started at the same time, the life rating represents
the time at which 50% of the group will still be burning. A
standard mortality curve for incandescent lamps is shown
in Figure 19.
Boosted-Voltage Operation
It is possible to over-voltage a wide range of standard
120-volt, 2800-2900K lamp types and convert them effec­
tively to photographic lamp types. This system ("Colortran" boosting) was widely in use in many places around
the world until the substantial advent of the tungsten-halo­
gen lamp. Although little-used in the USA now, it is still in
wide use in other parts of the world and offers some inter­
esting advantages. There are many situations in which this
system may be both cost-effective and functionally desir­
able for particular circumstances.
The system is designed to utilize standard 120-volt­
rated tungsten filament lamps whose rated life at 120 volts
is 750 hours or more. The system must not be used with stan­
dard tungsten-halogen incandescent types, unless there is a cer­
tainty that the lamp has been specifically designed fo r use in a
boos'ted-voltage system. Using the standard incandescent
types, a very broad range of lamp types, including many
of the sealed beams and the "R " series as well as many other
standard incandescent lamps, may be utilized and operated
at 3200K or higher.
Typically, when lamps are operated at 165 volts, the
color tem perature should be approxim ately 3100K to
3200K. It is possible to continue the boosting operation, and
some lamp types will actually yield 3300-3400K when op­
erated at approximately 185 volts. Due to the low pressure
in the standard incandescent, long-life lamps, this is a safe
type of operation.
In the past, equipment was manufactured to accom­
plish this voltage-boosting function with push-button con­
trol of a tapped autotransformer. The Colortran converters
usually provide input voltage selection (provision is built
in to adjust the unit for input voltages between 100 and 250
volts) and adjustment so that the full boost range was avail­
able under any of these input conditions. This permitted
the use of the same lamps anywhere in the world. This
equipm ent is still in use in many places, and should be
given consideration where economics and function dictate
the feasibility.
A further advantage of this system is that the standard
incandescent types utilized in it tend to be very much less
expensive than the photographic lamp types that are rated
at 3200K at the operating voltage. Further, the expected life
of many of these lamps at 3200K operation is directly com ­
parable to the life that can be expected from 3200K type
photographic lamps operated at their rated voltages.
Filters for Incandescent Lamps
These filters are typically applied to incandescent
sources, which may be "quartz," standard incandescent or
"boosted" incandescent types. These filters are normally for
the purpose of changing the SED to an approximation of
daylight. They are referred to as conversion filters (see page
The original standard for this conversion was a glass
filter, the MacBeth "W hiterlite" type. This filter transmits
only about 35% of the light, and has been largely super­
seded by the dichroic types which transmit about 50% of
the incident light. The dichroic is an interference-type fil­
ter, and most of these convert the 3200K source to approxi­
mately 5000K to 5200K.
Care must be exercised in the use of the dichroic fil­
ters since they do not have the same filtering characteris­
tics for light incident on the filter at widely varying angles.
When used on some types of focusing light (particularly
some of the open reflector "quartz" types), there may be
changes in color as the light is focused. Generally, the light
at the edge of the field will show some shift in color on
wide-beam floodlights using dichroic filters.
There may also be su fficien t d ifferen ce betw een
dichroics so that if used on multiple keys in the same scene,
there could be significant enough differences in the vari­
ous areas being lit. A three-color type of color meter should
be used in m aking the m easurem ents in such circum ­
A range of very good conversion filters to meet this
requirement is available in the form of sheets and rolls of
colored polyester materials. The polyester film shows good
heat resistance even when applied to relatively high-pow­
ered luminaires. The use of some of the multiple-lamp fix­
tures (Mini-Brutes), with the requirement for some degree
of diffusion material, has resulted in a diffusion material
which incorporates the conversion color for this and simi­
lar applications. Reference should be made to page 367 for
a detailed listing of the filters available.
Conversion filters — 3200K to daylight: The conver­
sion filter is used where it is desirable that the converted
'Union Carbide Corp. Carbon Products Division
color temperature be approximately 5500K. The light loss
associated with these types of filters is approximately 1 to
1-16 stops These filters are referred to as "full blue 50," "full
blue" or "C TB ."
Partial Conversion Filters — 3200K to less than day­
light: These materials are related to the conversion types,
in that they provide a partial conversion. These are made
in several grades to permit a range of choices for the cin­
The application of these materials allows for adjust­
ment in light sources due to voltage variation, the fading
of dichroic coatings on certain types of lam ps, and to
achieve desired aesthetic effects which require less than a
"full" daylight conversion. These filters may also be used
to adjust the spectral energy distribution of the commer­
cial/industrial light sources so that they match standard
photographic color balance (3200K or 5500K).
DC Carbon Arc Sources
The open carbon arc remains in wide use, and in par­
ticular the 225 ampere "Brute" fresnel lens spotlight. The
table summarizes the various carbon arc units, as well as
the type of carbons necessary for each type. There is also a
summary of the electrical characteristics of these arcs when
properly operated.
Electrical Operating Characteristics
All of the carbon arcs described operate from direct
current only. The actual arc voltage of these units is typi­
cally about 72 volts. They are normally utilized from 120volt DC sources by using a resistive grid (ballast) to drop
the supply voltage 48 volts.
More recently, specially wound or tapped generators
have been utilized which produce the arc voltage directly
and eliminate the need for the grid or ballast. This is a sig­
nificantly more efficient mode of operation in terms of
power utilization but does require special equipment.
Color Temperature
In the Brute and Titan the carbons are available in both
white-flame and yellow -flam e positives. The correlated
color temperature with white-flame carbon is 5800K. The
correlated color temperature with the yellow-flame carbon
is 3350K.
The use of these filters, originally as gelatin-based
types, is well-established practice. New, more durable fil­
ter materials are now available to accomplish these func­
tions. These filters are used with the different carbons in
order to provide light which is a better match to "daylight"
or 3200K. In some cases, the arc color is adjusted in order
to meet the requirements of matching "daylight" at earlier
or later times of the day. The basic conversions are as fol­
lows. The designations are the most commonly accepted,
although some of the filter manufacturers have chosen to
create new codes:
Y -l: Used with white-flame carbon to provide a bet­
ter match for "daylight." The Y -l is pale yellow in color, and
has about 90% transmission. An LCT Yellow filter may also
be used.
MT-2 + Y -l: Used with white-flame carbons to convert
to approximately 3200K for color negative. (Filtered light
is slightly blue for 3200K reversal types.) The MTY filter is
available which combines these two in a single material. An
LCT Yellow plus Full CTO may also be used.
Other filters, particularly the Vi MT-2, may be used to
"w arm " the arc color as deemed necessary by the cinema­
tographer. The CTO series of filters are all applicable to the
arc with white-flame carbons for various degrees of adjust­
Enclosed AC Arcs
These are enclosed light sources which are based on
the principle of a medium length mercury arc to which
various materials have been added to modify the spectral
energy distribution. The additives typically are metal ha­
All of these lamps are operated from alternating cur­
rent only, and require the use of a high-voltage ignition
device to start and to re-strike them when hot, as well as a
ballasting device to limit the current.
As a general characteristic, all of these lamps tend to
have a light output which is modulated in relation to time.
This is due to the fact that the light output follows the cur­
rent, and these lamps are operated on alternating current.
As the current rises through zero and up to a maximum and
back down through zero to the opposite polarity peak, the
light output tends to modulate between a minimum and a
maximum value. The degree of modulation is different for
the various sources.
This characteristic is im portant, since it can be the
source of "flicker" problems. With some of the lamps it
becomes necessary to be sure that the power source to the
lamp and the framing rate of the camera and the shutter
angle are held in certain specific relationships. There is a
detailed analysis of this phenomenon in a following section
(page 376).
Another common characteristic of these sources is that
they are approxim ations of daylight. Typical correlated
color temperatures are approximately 5600K. There will be
some variation in this, as well as in the manufacturing tol­
erances for color temperature for the individual lamp types.
The following sections will offer more detailed information
for each type.
HMI™ Lamps
The m ost widely used of the new types of photo­
graphic enclosed-arc AC discharge lamps are known as
HMIs. This term is a trademark of Osram, but has become
very much the generic term for this family of lamps. Some
of the other trademarked brand names for these sources are
assortment of these lamps is shown in Figure 20. These are
fundamentally mercury arcs with metal halide additives to
adjust the color balance. All of the various sizes of this lamp
are rated by the manufacturers at approximately 5600K (see
Figure 21). This is normally stated as having a plus or mi­
nus 400°K tolerance. Color Rendering Index (CRI) of the
lamp is greater than 90 for all types. As will be noted from
the color temperature and its tolerance, there can be some
variation in the color rendering characteristics from lamp
to lamp. Also, account must be taken of the age of the lamp
since this tends to result in a reduction of the color tempera­
ture. In normal daylight fill applications, these variations
are probably not significant.
Figure 20. Comparative sizes of some HMI lamps.
Where more than one light will be used as key in a
scene, and these are likely to be seen in a single shot, it is
strongly recommended that these keys be measured with
a three-color type of color-temperature meter. Appropri­
ate filtering materials are available for application to these
units that allows correction of green-magenta shifts as well
as adjustment of the color temperature. With the proper
meter, and the right filter materials at hand, it is literally a
matter of minutes to balance lights to an extremely close
match. If this practice is not followed, it is possible to have
significant variation in color rendering from two keys in the
same scene. Refer to the section on "Filters for Arc Sources."
w avelength X ---------- ►
Figure 21. (a) Relative spectral pow er distribution of radiant energy
of HMI 575-W and spectral radiance distribution (b) of daylight at
6500 K.
Page 345 is a brief summary of the electrical and physi­
cal characteristics of the lamps comprising the full range of
HMI sources. Figure 22 is a graphic presentation of the
various param eters of HMI amps expressed in terms of
percentage changes in the supply voltage. It is of particu­
lar interest to note that the color temperature increases with
decreasing voltage.
Like all metal vapor lamps, HMI lamps require a cer­
tain period after starting until final operating conditions are
reached. The warm-up period varies with the lamp watt­
age, but typically is of the order of a minute or two from a
cold start. Figure 23 shows curves of the electric and pho­
tometric data during warming-up of the lamp in operation
with a standard inductive ballast. After ignition the lamp
current at first increases. Power consumption, operating
voltage and luminous flux, however, are lower during the
warm-up stage than when in full operation. The warm-up
period after igniting a hot lamp is considerably shorter.
Lighting fixtures have been designed specifically for
these light sources, due to their particular requirements for
cooling and the arrangements for mounting and electrically
Figure 22. HMI 2500-W power consum ption PL, lum inous flux OL,
current intensity IL, nearest color temperature TF, and operating voltage
UL (relative values), as a function of the supply voltage Uv.
connecting these lamps. Also, to utilize the substantial light
output of these fixtures with any degree of efficiency re­
quires some special considerations. Fixtures are made by
a large number of manufacturers at this point and include
conventional fresnel lens spotlights, flood lights and even
some softlight configurations.
Normally the lighting units are supplied with a mat­
ing ballast, although this equipment can be purchased sepa­
rately. The ballasting systems are normally conventional
inductive types. These ballast types have no effect on the
tendency for this light to modulate as a function of time
When operated on a standard inductive type ballast, this
lamp modulates approximately 83%. That is to say, the
minimum light output is approximately 17% of the peak
value. This modulation characteristic, which is shown in
Figure 43 (page 377), is responsible for the "flicker" phe­
nomenon which can occur when proper attention is not
paid to the synchronization of the power line frequency for
the lamp, the shutter angle and framing rate of the camera.
This particular problem is dealt with in some detail in a fol-
Figure 23. HM I 2500-W pow er consum ption PL, lum inous flux OL,
current intensity IL, nearest color temperature TR, and operating voltage
UL (relative values), as a function of time after starting the cold lamp.
lowing section (page 376). Many types of electronic ballasts
are now available for the full range of HMI-type lamps. All
of these can be considered "flicker-free" in the normal range
of camera operation.
The service life of the HMI type lamps depends to
some extent on the number of starts and might even exceed
the values given in the table. However it is mainly governed
by the permissible tolerances of color temperature (which
may very according to application). During lamp life, the
color temperature will drop at an average of approximately
1 degree Kelvin per operating hour. The Color Rendering
Index will remain unchanged and the decrease of the lu­
minous efficacy and luminous flux will be very low (Fig­
ure 24).
HMI lamps that have had long use can, with the use
of a three-color color temperature meter and the appropri­
ate correction filters, have their color tem perature and
green-magenta balance adjusted. This practice will assure
that the end life for these lamps is the moment at which they
can no longer be started using their specified ignition and
ballast equipm ent, rather than the point at which their
unfiltered color balance is no longer acceptable. Adjust­
ments of the color balance of HMI lamps is done with the
range of filters described herein. A number of the types of
electronic ballasts offer a limited range of "color tempera­
ture adjustm ent." Caution should be exercised in using
these controls relative to green-magenta axis shifts, and in
particular where applied to keylights.
1. The HMI source is extremely rich in ultraviolet
energy. All com m ercial fixtures presently sold have
been carefully designed to assure that there is no leak­
age of the ultraviolet energy. There must be a lens or
cover glass of appropriate composition over the open­
ing of this fixture in order to screen out this ultraviolet.
All of the commercial fixtures in use have interlocking
systems which assure that the lamp will not operate if
any of the lens openings or access doors are not prop­
2. All commercial systems of HMI equipment are
electrically grounded (earthed). This independ en t
ground circuit must be respected, since there are circum­
stances under which hazardous voltages may be pre­
sented to an operator if this connection is om itted.
Where HMI equipment is operated from a portable gen­
erator, a grounding stake must be used to assure that
the generator and its structure are properly grounded.
DCI™ — DC Metal Halide Arc
Discharge Lamps
DCI™ lamps are represented as silent and "flickerfree." These are generally very similar in their physical ap­
pearance to HMI types, and a number of their operating
characteristics are the same. They are rated at 5600 degrees
Kelvin, with a Color Rendering Index above 90, and life
ratings are very similar to HMI lamps of similar wattage.
The electrode configuration is similar to that found in DC
Figure 24. Luminous efficacy of HMI 575-W as a function of operating
short arc Xenon lamps. There are, however some signifi­
cant differences between DCI and HMI:
a.) Due to the fact that the lamp operates on DC, the
arc source is located at one electrode all of the time, which
yields a smaller effective source size, and should show
some improvement in utilizing the lumen output of this
source. Further, because the arc is operating on DC, it can be
used at any camera framing rate from 1 to 10,000fram es per sec­
ond zvithout concern fo r flicker.
b.) The DCI lamp ballast will be much simpler, and
should therefore more reliable and less expensive than the
somewhat complex flicker-free ballasts required for the AC
c.) The claim for silent operation is based on the DC
operation of the lamp as compared to the HMI types when
operated on square-wave type ballasts.
This lamp has only recently appeared, and is currently
projected to be available in 800W, 1500W, 2500W, 5000W,
and 10,000W sizes. At this writing, the lamps have been
successfully fitted to existing HMI Fresnel Lens Spotlights.
CSI Lamps
The Com pact Source Iodide Lam ps (CSI) are also
metal halide additive-type lamps. Typically, these are avail­
able in either a single-ended configuration or in a PAR 64
(sealed beam) enclosure. The configuration of the various
lamps in this series is shown in Figure 25.
This particular lamp has been used more widely in
Europe than in the USA. It is specified as having a corre­
lated color tem perature of 4200K plus or m inus 400K.
Clearly it is necessary to do some filtering of the light to use
it either in a "daylight" balance situation or for 3200K ap­
plication. The efficacy of the lamp is high and its initial
output represents 90 lumens per watt. Lumen maintenance
(the am ount by which the light falls off during life) is
claimed to be 90%. The tolerance spread for the correlated
color temperature (which is not true color temperature)
would indicate that the lamp could be anything from 3800K
to 4600K as received from the manufacturer.
When operated on a standard inductive type ballast,
this lamp modulates approximately 62%. That is to say, the
minimum light output s approximately 38% of the peak
value. "F licker" can be a problem under som e circum ­
stances, and appropriate precautions should be taken.
Figure 25. Configurations and dimensions for the 1000-W CSI and CID
This discharge lamp is available in a sealed-beam
(PAR 64) enclosure which affords simple handling and has
made it attractive for large area lighting of locations and
sports settings for both television and film.
Appropriate filtering for CSI lamps is available from
the range of light source correction media listed on page
367. Because of the character of the radiant energy distri­
bution of this source, it is essential that a three-color read­
ing color temperature meter be used in order to assure that
CAUTION: The same cautionary note as shown under
the HMI lamp type relative to ultraviolet exposure and
to grounding and electrical safety is applicable to the use
of these sources. The sealed beam PAR 64 bulb emits
no UV provided that the outer bulb is intact.
reasonable corrections are being achieved with these lamps
for critical color work.
CID Lamps
This metal halide additive-type lamp utilizes the io­
dides of tin and indium. The physical configurations are
identical to the CSI lamps (see Figure 25), except that in the
CID type, a 2500-watt version is also available. This is pic­
tured in Figure 26. The spectral power distribution and
transient starting characteristics are shown in Figures 27
and 28.
The correlated color tem perature of CID lam ps is
5500K plus or minus 400K throughout life. It is claimed that
CID lamps can be dimmed to 40% maximum output (us­
ing suitable ballast) without affecting color temperature.
The claimed lumen maintenance for this source is 90% for
all of its types and variations.
When operated on standard inductive ballasts, the
lamp modulates to 45%. That is to say, the minimum light
output is approximately 55% of the peak. This represents
a significant improvement over the basic modulation char-
Figure 26. 2500-W compact iodide daylight (CID).
Typical spectral pow er
Figure 28. Transient characteristics of lamp from switch-on.
acteristics of the HMI and CSI types, but precautions re­
garding flicker must still be observed.
Filters for adjusting the spectral energy distribution of
CID lamps are listed on pages 366-367.
Light-Source Filters
These light sources vary not only in color temperature,
but there are likely to be significant green-magenta shifts.
It is recommended that anyone regularly working with the
types of AC arc discharge sources delineated above should
have a three-color color temperature meter. With such an
instrument, and the system of filters created by Rosco Labo­
ratories, Inc., it is possible to deal properly with all of the
variations that are likely to be encountered w ith these
The possible range of lamp-to-lamp variations in color
balance is primarily due to aging and manufacturing varia­
tions. In many situations, it will be highly desirable or es­
sential to assure that the lamps in use will have the same
color rendering characteristics.
Some claims have been made for single conversion
filters for the HMI and CSI type lamps, but it is difficult to
understand how a single filter could even come close to
meeting the wide range of possible lamp color balances that
are likely to be encountered within a given type. The range
of available materials has been proven in practice to meet
the requirements of color balancing lights so that minimum
variations are present.
High-Pressure DC Short Arc Xenon Light
This source is the best com mercially available light
source for use in higher-powered projection systems. The
very small size and very high brightness of the arc source,
and the stability of the arc location due to the DC opera­
tion, make it the source of choice around the world for
motion-picture projection.
The efficacy of high-pressure xenon sources (lum ens/
watt) ranges from 35 to 50 LPW. Ballasting is very simple,
CAUTION: These lamps have high internal pres­
sure even when cold. They are supplied with a protec­
tive jacket over the bulb, and this should not be removed
until the lamp is fully installed. It is required that a suit­
able face shield, body jacket and gauntlets be used any
time that the protective jacket is removed. When remov­
ing a lamp the protective jacket should be installed be­
fore steps are taken to disconnect and remove the lamp.
requiring only a current-limiting rectifier that can produce
DC that has less than 5% ripple. A high-voltage igniter is
necessary to start these lamps, and they can be hot re-struck.
These lamps permit the creation of an intense focused beam
of pure, slightly cold daylight color balance light (about
6000° K), and have a Color Rendering Index of 95 to 98.
They have found some limited application in motion-picture photographic lighting. The source is available in a wide
variety of wattages up to 10KW.
Stroboscopic Lighting
Stroboscopic ("strobe") lighting for motion pictures
has been available commercially for about 30 years. Typi­
cally these utilize xenon flashtubes which produce a good
approximation of daylight (about 6000°K), and a relatively
stable color temperature throughout life. Due to the fact that
the flashtubes that are suitable for this application are ei­
ther long slim sources or helical shapes, they can really only
produce soft lighting. They can be color-corrected or ad­
justed using the same filter materials described for appli­
cation to any of the normally utilized light sources and
lighting instruments.
It is com m on practice to utilize continuous sources
(such as tungsten) with strobes. Typical practice is to light
2 stops under the strobe with the tungsten lighting up to
one stop over. The more tungsten lighting, the softer the
image. The control equipment for these light sources per­
mits an exposure duration of between ’/so.ooo and Vionooo of a
second. This permits stop motion with extraordinary sharp­
ness of various phenomena, and delineates detail in real­
time movement that is a blur in normal photography (even
with very small shutter angles). The sharpness of results in
slow-motion effects is unmatched by other techniques.
The strobes must be synchronized to the camera shut­
ter. Usually the strobes are driven by the shutter pulse from
the camera, and it is imperative that the units flash when
the shutter is fully clear of the gate (otherwise a partially
exposed frame will result). To check camera synchroniza­
tion, the lens should be removed, and the cavity illuminated
with the strobe with the camera turned on. The shutter
should appear to be frozen in one position.
The control equipment for these strobes permits the
addition of delay to the pulse in degree increments. The
position of the shutter will either move forward or back­
ward in relationship to the gate until it is in the proper
position. For reflex cameras the strobe fires twice for each
frame, once to illuminate the subject and a second time to
illuminate the viewfinder.
CA U TIO N : People w ith p ho tosensitive epilepsy
should be informed that strobe lighting will be in use.
Commercial/Industrial Light Sources
This section will present information about the most
commonly encountered types of com m ercial/industrial
light sources which may be found in location situations.
For many exterior situations, there is little or nothing
that can be done about the color of the existing light (e.g.,
roadway lighting or large-area exterior lighting). In many
other situations it is completely practical a n d /o r possible
to apply filters to the light sources that are encountered in
a location setting. This can result in minimizing the prob­
lems in the set-up, and achieving a more natural look (more
nearly as the scene appears to the eye).
A further alternative is the use of camera filters to com­
pensate for the color balance of the available light. In or­
der to use conventional photographic lights for supplemen­
tal lighting, it is only necessary that they be filtered so that
their color balance is the same as the dominant ambient
lighting. This approach makes it possible to retain the
"character" or "look" of the location lighting, and still al­
lows the creative freedom to add such supplemental light­
ing as indicated for the desired dramatic or artistic effect.
Domestic Incandescent Lighting
Non-photographic types of incandescent lighting tend
to have color temperatures that may range from 2400K up
through 2900K or so at their rated voltages. The color tem­
perature is directly related to the wattage of the lamp, with
very-low-wattage types having the lowest color tempera­
tures. Refer to page 319.
If these sources are providing sufficient light for expo­
sure, and it is felt that no supplemental lighting is required,
then a camera filter can be used to correct the lighting bal­
ance to an approximation of 3200K. Typically, this would
represent application of one or more of the Wratten 82 se­
ries filters. The table on page 230 gives an approximation
of the appropriate Wratten filter or filters required and the
effect of that filter on the color temperature of the ambient
lighting. (Alternatively, most laboratories could correct for
the temperature deficiency in printing from color negative.)
If used, supplemental lighting can be reduced in color tem­
perature to match the ambient light; this would be done
most easily by the addition of filters to the luminaires. It
could also be accomplished by the use of a dimmer.
AC Discharge Lighting
The cinematographer on location assignment is more
and more likely to encounter various types of discharge
lamps. These may be in use for both interior lighting in
stores and commercial buildings and for exterior lighting
in sports stadiums, parking lots, shopping malls, and for
street lighting.
Many of these types of light sources give excellent
color rendering for the eye, and the manufacturers often
give a correlated color temperature value to the source. This
"K elvin" temperature usually has no meaning for the pur­
poses of color photography.
The following sections offer the means for dealing with
these light sources to assure acceptable photographic re­
sults that should be well within the laboratory tolerances
for correction of color negative film. (See "Color Balanc­
Existing Fluorescent Lighting on Location
This is probably the most widely used type of interior
lighting in com mercial and industrial settings. It is not
unusual to find commercial or industrial locations which
are lighted to 125 or so footcandles using fluorescent light­
ing. Considering the speed and other characteristics of the
newest film emulsions, this level is certainly sufficient to
obtain reasonable exposure settings.
By making use of the ambient fluorescent light, the
cinematographer can maintain the lighting quality and the
character of the setting, that is to say, a more nearly "softlighted" appearance.
Most fluorescent illumination, because of its discon­
tinuous spectrum, is not well-suited to color cinematogra­
phy (see Figures 29 through 34). The correlated color tem­
perature of a fluorescent lamp may provide a visual color
match for a tungsten lamp of similar color temperature, but
photographic color results will be quite dissimilar. Expo­
sure may no longer be a problem under these conditions
Figure 30. Warm White F40WW.
but color rendition remains a serious consideration with
fluorescents found in commercial or industrial situations.
If color film is exposed without filter correction, the
results will have a blue-green cast w ith weak reds, even
with daylight type emulsions. The result is not at all what
the viewer expects to see in a fluorescent-lighted setting.
Figure 32. Warm W hite D eluxe F40WWX.
M ercury V apor and C olor Im proved
M ercury Lam ps
The dear mercury vapor lamp will not produce accept­
able color photographic results with any degree of filter­
ing. The reason for this can be seen by examining the spec-
Figure 34. Incandescent Fluorescent F401F.
trum in Figure 35. Note that there is essentially no light
output in the red portion of the spectrum and only line
spectrum output in the blue and blue-green portions. Ob­
viously, there is no way to compensate for the lack of red
energy, so that this source must either be overpowered with
Fluorescent Lighting
for Motion Pictures
by Freider Hochheim, President of KinoFlo, Inc.
Fluorescent lighting has traditionally had the
reputation of being an inappropriate light source for
motion picture production. The primary criticism has
revolved around noisy ballasts, poor color rendering,
green skin tones, 60Hz flicker and low light output.
These criticisms are now a thing of the past. Technol­
ogy has advanced to the point where high-quality
fluorescent products are now being produced spe­
cifically for the motion-picture and television indus­
try. The cinem atographer can now consider using
fluorescent lights not only in situations which are
motivated by existing location fluorescent environ­
ments but rather in any situation requiring either
daylight or 3200 Kelvin light.
The fluorescent lamp by its very nature has an
indirect or ambient light quality which is desirable
in situations calling for natural light quality. Instead
of bouncing the light from an HM I or an incandes­
cent fixture, the cinematographer can utilize a fluo­
rescent light source which embodies the character­
istics of a bounce board. The light is soft and has a
spread and drop-off very similar to bounced light.
Finding this quality of light in a long narrow light
source which can be easily hidden in a set opens up
new lighting possibilities and provides new solutions
for old problems. The low heat and low power re­
qu irem en ts give this techn olog y added appeal
amongst actors and electricians alike.
KinoFlo provides some of the most recent inno­
vations. It is producing a line of location and studio
lighting systems offering lightweight and portable,
high-frequency flicker-free, color-correct fluorescent
lighting instruments. KinoFlo offers a broad selection
of color-correct lamps in sizes ranging from the mi­
cro at 100mm in length to the KF55 at 8 feet and in
5500 Kelvin and 3200 Kelvin color temperatures.
other lighting, or allowed to render its subjects with only
blu e/blue green energy.
A number of other types of mercury lamps have been
made in which a phosphor coating has been put on the
inside of the outer jacket of the lamps. In principle, this has
worked very much like a fluorescent lamp and has resulted
in an improved color rendering capability. A number of
these types, such as the Color Improved M ercury, have
sufficiently complete spectral energy distribution so that
they are now finding application in certain types of com­
mercial interior use.
CE Chromattcify—x = 320y = 379
Figure 35. Spectral energy distribution of 400- W Clear mercury lamp.
Spectral energy distributions for some of these lamps
are shown in Figures 36 through 38. It is evident from the
examination of these distributions that there is a substan­
tial improvement in the availability of energy at the inter­
mediate wavelengths between the mercury lines. This re­
sults in improved color rendering.
M etal Halide A dditive Lam ps
The metal halide additive lamps known by a variety
of trademarked names such as Metalarc, Multi-Vapor and
HQI, for example, are essentially m ercury vapor lamps
which have had small additions of various metal halides
made inside the arc tube. These lamps have generally high
efficacies (approximately 85 lumens per watt typically).
These lamps are widely used in sports lighting as well
as in shopping malls, and a wide variety of other commer­
cial/industrial applications. Some typical spectral energy
Figure 37. Spectral energy d istrib u tio n of 400-W C olor Im proved
mercury lamp (H33GL-400C).
distributions for these types are shown in figures 39 and
Sodium Lam ps
H igh-pressure sodium lam ps have becom e an ex­
tremely important light source for roadway and large-area
lighting such as parking lots. These lamps are known by
various trademarked names such as Lucalox and Lumalux.
These are high-efficacy lamps, up to 120 lumens per watt.
They have a characteristically yellow-orange color. A typi­
cal spectral energy distribution is shown in Figure 41.
Figure 39. Spectral energy distribution of 400-W Metalarc clear lamp.
Low-pressure sodium lamps have been widely used
in Europe for many years for the same applications. There
are some installations in the US. This is the highest efficacy
commercial lamp available (approximately 160 to 180 lu­
mens per watt).
The spectral energy distribution for this lamp reveals
that it is monochromatic; in effect, this is a yellow-only
lamp. No degree of filtering will permit proper color ren­
dition. These light sources are easily recognized (the source
is quite large and relatively low brightness, particularly
compared to the high-pressure sodium).
Figure 41. Spectral power distribution of 400-W sodium lamp, sim ilar
to types known as Lucelox or Lumalux.
Color Balancing for Photography
A series of approaches is outlined in the following sec­
tions to deal with lighting when any of the com m ercial/
industrial AC arc discharge or fluorescent sources are en­
countered as the dominant ambient lighting environment.
Exceptions are pure mercury and low-pressure sodium.
A. Leaving the Ambient Discharge Lighting
"O N " — With Standard Photographic
Lighting Equipment Used Supplementally
Where the ambient illumination is adequate for expo­
sure, and assuming (1) reasonable uniformity in the types
of lamps in the installation, and (2) that no supplemental
lighting will be used, it would only be necessary to apply
the appropriate filtering to the camera. When using color
negative film and the required correction at the camera is
small, it is possible that no camera filter be used, and the
laboratory told to make the necessary correction.
If some supplemental lighting is required or necessary
for dramatic or artistic reasons, the supplem ental light
should be filtered to match the dominant color balance of
the ambient lighting. It is also possible to utilize the same
type of lamps as the ambient lighting, on floor stands, for
supplemental lighting (see pages 366-375 for camera and
lighting filters).
B. Mixed or Unknown Types of Ambient
Lighting as the Dominant Light Source
Many interiors are lighted by mixed types of fluores­
cent lamps, or the fluorescent illumination may be mixed
with daylight or tungsten lighting. In shopping malls, it is
possible to encounter several types of high-intensity dis­
charge lamps. The use of a three-color type of color meter
should make it possible to establish what the dominant
color balance is. Some of the same procedures described
above in (A) would then be applicable.
C. Filtering the Ambient Light Sources
Where the access to the ambient lighting fixtures is
reasonable, and the quantity of them not too great, the in­
dividual lights or fixtures can be filtered to either a 3200K
or a 5500K balance. It is then possible to utilize standard
photographic lumtnaires for supplemental lighting.
D. Overpowering the Ambient Lighting
Directly illuminate the subject with or 5500K illumi­
nation. If this is done at a level such that this lighting be­
comes the dominant source for the exposure of the subject,
then daylight-balanced film can be used without any cam­
era filters. The background would, of course, be blue-green
in color but this may be acceptable. This practice is corn-
monly followed in newsgathering or documentary situa­
1.) There may be significant color variation en­
countered between the various types of lamps and even
betw een lamps of the same type made by the same
manufacturer. Some of the reasons for these variations
may be age, burning position, temperature and manu­
facturing tolerances. A three-color type of color tem­
perature meter is necessary for accomplishing the mea­
surements required for some of the approaches de­
scribed in the following section. (If the lamps can be
identified, the tables noted below provide filter data for
m ost situations; the 3C m eter may then be used to
verify the balance between lamps.)
2.) It is strongly recommended that film tests be
run wherever there is great concern for color accuracy.
These tests should be done under circumstances such
that the anticipated operating conditions of the actual
production are well duplicated.
3.) AC lamps are subject to the "flicker" phenom­
enon. That is to say, there is variation in the light out­
put with time. For 24 fps exposure (crystal-controlled),
where the power to the lamp is derived from a stable
60 Hertz source, there is very little likelihood of a flicker
problem. Overcranking, very small shutter angles and
some other com binations involving power supplied
from unregulated generators may result in flicker. A
more detailed treatment of the flicker problem can be
found elsewhere in this manual.
Filter Selection
Filters for color balancing commercial/industrial light­
ing sources for color photography (tables 366-375) were
derived and confirm ed photographically by David L.
Quaid, ASC, and copyrighted by him. They are accurate for
the particular lamps tested; see the caution paragraph
above about variation and testing, and page 238 about ex­
posure m eter variation. D eviation of typical exposure
meters is indicated in T-stops next to certain filtered lights
in the tables. When measuring incident filtered light from
these lamps, adjust the ASA on the meter to compensate.
Color Balancing for Com m ercial/Industrial
High Intensity AC Arc Discharge Lighting
Camera filters: Symbol
conversion or light balancing series; " C C " :
Color Compensating series (Pages 2 3 0 and 231) El column is exposure
compensation in T stops for filters.
Photo lamp filters: (Pages 3 6 6 and 367) El column is deviation of typical
exposure meters due to color imbalance When reading exposure in filtered
light from these units, reduce the ASA/ISO meter setting (i.e. increase the
light level) by the number of T stops indicated
Note: To avoid excessive filtration, the use of daylight-balanced film for
Metal Halide and Mercury lighting is advised If the lab can accommodate,
and exposure is accurate, some or all camera filters may be left off.
©David L. Quaid, ASC
Figure 42. H M I applied lam p cu rrent and voltage w ith resu ltan t lig h t
o u tp u t v ersu s tim e; re s u lts fo r stan d ard re a cta n ce -ty p e b a lla s t are
[Example: The first listed fluorescent light on page 368
(Durotest Color Classer 75) calls for filter adjustment of VA
stops; using 3200K film at El 320, read the exposure meter
at El 125 for the ambient fluorescent lighting. If filtered in­
candescent supplementary lights are used, the El column
calls for 'Astop, set the exposure meter to 100 to read them.
If arcs or HMI supplementary lights are used, no further
adjustment is required, so use the meter at 125, the same
as for ambient lighting.] After color balancing as directed
by the tables, a Minolta Color Meter II may be used to de­
tect and correct for differences between individual lamps
if desired.
AC Arc Lamp Flicker Problem
All of the AC photographic arc lamps described in the
Lighting Section and in the Com m ercial/Industrial light
sources section can exhibit the "flicker" phenomenon. This
includes fluorescents, mercury vapor, metal halide additive
types, and high-pressure sodium as well as the photo­
graphic types like HMI, CSI and CID.
Figure 44. Waveform for a 1000-W CSI lamp.
All of the noted types of lamps require the use of a
ballasting system to provide current limiting after the arc
is stru ck . The m ost com m on ly e n co u n tered type of
ballasting device is the inductor or "choke." When used on
simple inductive ballast systems, all o f these lamps will exhibit a
characteristic which is properly designated as time-modulation
o f the light output ("flicker"). This is due to the fact that the
light output of these types of lamps follows the current
w ave form . The degree of m odu lation, or am ount of
"flicker" is different for each of the noted lamp types.
Reference to Figure 42 shows the effect as it is dis­
played for an HMI lamp. Note the voltage waveform which
camera shutter angle, degrees
Figure 45A and B. Contours of safe lamp supply frequencies for one
ripple ration value, m is the nearest whole number to the num ber of
ripple cycles in the camera frame period. N is the nearest whole number
to the number of ripple cycles in the exposure interval.
is characteristic of the effect of an inductance in a circuit,
and further that the amperage is generally sinusoidal. The
light output closely tracks the amperage waveform (not
going negative). The result is that there are two light pul­
sations for each full cycle of the power line fundamental
frequency (for 60-cycle systems, there are 120 pulses per
second; for a 50-cycle system, there are 100 light pulses per
In the case of the HMI lamp shown in Figure 43, note
that the modulation at its minimum represents only 17%
or so of the peak light output. With the CSI lamp, this num­
ber is approximately 38% of peak (Figure 44), and for the
newer CID types, it is reported that this quantity is only 55%
of the peak light output. Obviously, the depth of the modu­
lation will determine the amount of tolerance there may be
in filming with this light relative to the necessary degree
of control of those parameters which affect the steadiness
of the exposure.
The time-related factors that are involved in assuring
that a uniform exposure from frame to frame is guaranteed
using these types of light sources (i.e., flicker-free) are the
1. Stability of the power frequency to the lamp bal­
2. Camera framing rate;
3. Stability of camera speed;
4. Camera shutter angle;
5. Phase of shutter relative to light (particularly at
high camera speed).
Simply stated, it is necessary to be sure that the same
number of light pulsations are present during each expo­
sure interval of the film. The amount of variation permit­
ted is different for different values of the parameters noted
In the case where a very stable power line is available,
as is true in most technically advanced countries, operat­
ing from the normal power net with a camera that is crys­
tal-controlled, the shutter angle may be varied through a
very wide range. There has certainly been adequate test­
ing of this principle for shutter angles between 90 and 200
It is important, however, to be aware that there are
conditions where only a slight variation in one of the pa­
rameters of power line frequency or camera framing rate
will result in flicker. Where possible, it is desirable to stay
at the shutter angles shown in the "w indow s" that can be
observed in Figures 45A and 45B.
These "w indow s" show where the range of operating
tolerances is greatest. For example, in Figure 45A the inter­
section on the presentation at 60 cycles per second and 144
degrees shutter angle represents the middle of a "window."
When operating at these conditions, a substantially large
variation is possible, probably plus or minus 5%, on all the
parameters which are subject to variation.
In a practical sense, operating with a 24 fps camera
from a generator where there is uncertainty about its de­
gree of regulation, it would be prudent to operate with the
144° shutter angle, hi such an instance, moderate variations
in the frequency of the generator output will not produce
flicker. Plus or minus 2 cycles in the output power fre­
quency would probably be acceptable when operating
within the window location for a 144° shutter angle and 24
fps. A similar presentation is made for the 25 fps operation
in Figure 45B.
Although the data shown is specifically for HMI, it
must be reiterated that it is applicable for any AC arc dis­
charge source. The window openings in Figure 45 are spe­
cifically determined for HMI.
They would tend to be very conservative for CSI, even
more conservative for CID and possibly for some other
commercial sources. However, particularly where one is
encountering lamps operated from single phase systems,
caution should be exercised. This chart can provide the cin­
ematographer with those points of operation which will
give him or her the maximum protection against the flicker
Electronic and some other types of ballasting systems
which provide flicker-free ballasting are now available for
a limited range of wattages of the HMI light sources. Some
of these ballasts are constructed in such a way that they
increase the operating frequency of the power to the lamp.
The result of this is that there are many more pulsations per
second so that small variations in the number of pulsations
per shutter opening become unimportant. In addition, and
of at least equal importance, the output waveform of essen­
tially all of these devices is an approximation of a square
wave rather than being sinusoidal. This further reduces the
"off" time and with it the tendency to flicker.
The 200-watt HMI flicker-free systems have been in the
field for the longest time of any of these types of ballasts.
There is now such equipm ent for HMI at several other
power levels.
In this section a brief description is offered of the op­
tical systems and general performance characteristics of the
basic types of luminaires utilized in cinematography.
Fresnel Lens Spotlights
Fresnel spotlights are made for standard incandescent
and tungsten halogen incandescent sources, and also for the
range of HMI, CID and CSI arc discharge lamps. The range
of wattages, taking into account all types is from 200 watts
or so to 12,000 watts.
Figure 47. O p tical system o f Stan dard Fresn el S p o tlig h t w h en in spot
position .
These lum inaires represent the m ost w idely used
motion-picture lighting units. They provide the means for
changing the beam diameter and center intensity through
a relatively broad range. Using standard incandescent
lamps, the "sp o t" to "flood" ratio may be of the order of 6
to 1 or so, and with a tungsten halogen lamp, it may be
Figure 49. C h aracteristic in ten sity curve o f Fresn el S p o tlig h ts.
possible to extend this ratio to 8 or even 9 to 1 under some
The optical system of these luminaires is the same for
all the variations that may be presented. The light source
and a spherical reflector are located in a fixed relationship
to one another. This combination of light source and back
reflector is designed so that the spherical reflector reflects
the energy being radiated toward the back of the housing
through the filament and towards the lens. The effect in­
tended is that the energy being radiated to the lens appears
to come from a single source. The combination of the re­
flector and light source are moved in relation to the lens to
accomplish the focusing.
Figures 46 and 47 show the optical system of the
fresnel in the spot and flood positions. Note that the flood
position is accomplished by moving the light source/reflec­
tor combination very close to the lens. W hen the tungsten
halogen light sources are utilized in these systems, due to
the fact that the envelope is much smaller, it is possible to
move the light source/reflector combination even closer to
the lens resulting in a wider flood beam distribution. This
is shown in Figure 48.
This is a very attractive feature, since the highest effi­
ciency is achieved in the flood position, and there need be
no sacrifice in the spot performance. Typical efficiencies in
the beam (the portion of the pattern that is within 50% of
the center intensity) in "spot" focus for fresnels would be
from 7% to 9% and in the "flood" position from 30% to 40%.
One of the most important features of the fresnel lens
spotlight is its ability to barndoor sharply in the wide flood
focus position. This property is less apparent as the focus
is moved towards a spot (at spot focus it is not effective at
all). The barndoor accessory used with this spotlight pro­
vides the cinematographer with the means for convenient
light control. The sharp cutoff at the wide flood is, of course,
due to the fact that the single-source effect produces a to­
tally divergent light beam. The action of the barndoor then
is to create a relatively distinct shadow line.
Occasionally it may be desirable to optimize the spot
performance of these units, and for this situation "h o t"
lenses are available. These tend to produce a very narrow
beam with very high intensity. It is important to remem­
ber that the flood focus is also narrowed when these lenses
are used. Figure 49 shows characteristic intensity curves for
fresnel spotlights.
The D edolight, introduced w ithin the last several
years, is a lighting instrument whose concept is unique, and
which offers a remarkable range of performance combined
with small size, and low power requirements (see Figure
The optical system is shown in Figure 51. Note that the
moving element in the system is the light source with a
collection mirror behind it, and meniscus lens opposite. To
change the focus of the unit, these three elements, which
are fixed with regard to each other, are moved as a unit
relative to a clear fixed condenser lens.
Figu re 50. T h e D ed olig h t.
S p h e rica l R e flecto rs
C on d e n se r Lens
Figure 51. D ed olig h t O ptical Sy stem .
The performance of the light is shown in Figure 52,
where the 25:1 focusing range can be seen, and the unusu­
ally flat, even and soft-edged illumination fields are evident
at all focus positions.
When fitted with an accessory projection attachment,
the beam can be controlled further by the use of an iris or
framing shutters. It projects Rosco "M "-size gobos and will
project patterns with hard edges and without color fring­
ing. W here a diffuse or soft-edged pattern projection is
desired, the front lens of the projection accessory can be
adjusted to accomplish this effect.
The Dedolight is made as either a 12-volt or a 24-volt
150-watt unit. The 100-watt unit can utilize a fam ily of
lamps including (at 12 volts) 20,50 and 100 watts. The units
can be battery operated or can be used from 120- or 240volt AC supplies offered for use with these lum inaires
which permit selection of 3000° K, 3200°K or 3400°K opera­
Figure 52. D ed olig h t perform an ce w ith lOOw source, 10 ft. distan ce, spot
3.4°, flood 40°.
Open Reflector Variable Beam Spotlights
These are typically the tungsten-halogen open reflec­
tor spotlights. There are also some low-wattage HMI-types
available. These non-lens systems provide "focusing" ac-
Figure 54. C h aracteristic in ten sity curves o f n on -lens sp o tlig h t (v ariable
beam ).
tion, and therefore a variable diameter beam, by moving
the light source in relationship to the reflector (or vice
versa). These types of units are available for sources rang­
ing from 400 to 2,000 watts. Refer to Figures 53 and 54. One
of the drawbacks of this system, when compared with the
fresnel lens spotlights, is that there are always two light
sources operative. The illumination field produced by these
systems is the sum of the light output directly from the bulb
and the energy reaching the field front the reflector. The use
of the barndoor accessory with these lights does not pro­
duced a single shadow, due to this double-source charac­
teristic. Typically a double shadow is cast from the edge of
the barndoor. Figure 48 shows the optical systems of these
open reflector spotlights in both the spot and wide flood
The great attraction of these luminaires is that they are
substantially more efficient than the fresnel lens spotlights.
Typical efficiencies in the spot position give 20 to 25% of
the source lumens in the beam (50% of the center intensity
area) and in flood, efficiencies of 45 to 50% are not uncom­
mon. Figure 49 shows typical intensity distributions for
these units.
Typical spot to flood intensity ratios for these types of
units is between 3:1 and 6:1.
Figu re 55. C h aracteristic in ten sity curve o f tu n g sten -h alo gen flo o d lig h t
(broad) (h orizon tal axis).
Tungsten-Halogen Floodlights
A variety of tungsten-halogen floodlighting fixtures
have been developed, taking advantage of these compact
sources. Two of the more typical forms are treated here.
These fixtures are available in wattages from about 400
through 2,000 watts.
The so-called "b road " normally uses a linear source
and represents a relatively liigh efficiency system. Barndoor
control of the light is effective with the edge of the door that
is parallel to the light source. Typical characteristic inten­
sity curve for the broad is shown in Figure 55.
Figure 56. C h aracteristic in ten sity curve o f "m in i" floo d lig h t (horizontal
There are types of "m in i" floodlights using the coiledcoil short filament tungsten-halogen lamps which provide
very even, flat coverage with extremely sharp barndoor
control in both directions. Due to the design of the reflec­
tor in this system, the light output from this fixed-focus
flood light appears to have a single source. This accounts
for the improved barndoor characteristics. The intensity
characteristics of the "m ini" floodlights on the horizontal
axis is shown in Figure 56.
Figure 57. C h aracteristic in ten sity curve for cycloram a light.
Cyclorama Luminaires
These lighting fixtures were originally developed for
lighting backings in television, but have broad application
in similar types of situations in film. Because of the design
of the reflector system, it is possible to utilize these fixtures
very close to the backing that is being lit and accomplish a
very uniform distribution for a considerable vertical dis­
tance. Typically these units are made for tungsten-halogen
linear sources ranging from 500 to 1,500 watts.
Based on the variations in design, some of these may
be used as close as 3 to 6 feet from the backing being illu­
minated. The spacing of the luminaires from one another
along the length of the backing is in part determined by the
distance of these fixtures from the backing itself. A typical
intensity distribution is shown for a floor positioned unit
lighting a vertical backing in Figure 57.
Soft Lights
The soft light, which attempts to produce essentially
shadowless illumination, is now a fundamental tool in cin-
F igure 59. C h aracteristic in ten sity curves o f " s o ft" lights.
ema lighting. Currently, these are made in wattages from
500 up to about 8,000, and typically utilize multiple 1000W
linear tube tungsten halogen lamps.
The degree of softness is determined by the effective
area of the source. All of these fixtures are indirect, in the
sense that no direct radiation is permitted from the light
sources into the beam of illumination. The "reflectin g ”
surfaces vary in finish from matte white paint to a variety
of semi-specular surfaces. The degree of specularity of the
backing is not as important as the size of the reflecting sur-
face which is uniformly illuminated and reflects the energy
which makes up the illumination beam.
Formerly these were available only in the form of the
Cone Light, but now a variety of other configurations have
been developed largely due to the availability of the linear
source tungsten halogen lamp. Figure 58 shows the con­
figurations of some of the types of soft lights in current use.
Typical intensity distributions are shown in Figure 59.
There are several types of light sources which are sup­
plied by the manufacturers as essentially complete light­
ing systems.
Sealed-Beam Types (PAR Lamps)
The most popular of these are the PAR 64 and PAR 36
configurations. These lam ps have a parabolic reflector
which has a high reflectance aluminized coating, and a
prismatic type of front lens. Typically they are supplied in
VNSP (very narrow spot), NSP (narrow spot), MFL (me­
dium flood) and WFL (wide flood) lens systems. They are
extremely efficient optical systems.
Fixtures are available which assem ble m ultiples of
these types of lamp for daylight fill applications or for longthrow stadium and arena lighting requirem ents. Both
3200K type and the dichroic coated versions of these (ap­
proximately 5000K) are available.
Light-Control Accessories
The most typical lighting accessory supplied with the
luminaires of various types described in the preceding sec­
tions would be the barndoors and scrim. Provision is made
for mounting these accessories on nearly all of the lumi­
naires described.
These have been briefly described in the section on
fresnel lens spotlights. The purpose of this accessory is to
prevent the illumination beam from the fixture from reach­
ing certain portions of the set. It is intended that a relatively
well-defined edge can be established defining the end of
an illuminated area and the beginning of an unilluminated
Barndoors are most effective when used on fresnel lens
spotlights when the spotlight is in the wide flood position.
The effectiveness of the barndoor is reduced as the focus is
moved toward spot and is totally without useful effect at
the spot focus.
The effectiveness of the barndoor as an accessory on
other types of luminaires varies sharply with the design of
the specific item. In a number of the open reflector tung­
sten halogen systems (particularly floodlights) barndoor
effectiveness is limited to the edge of the barndoor which
is parallel to the source.
Overall, this is one of the most important and useful
lighting accessories available to the cinematographer.
The type of scrim referred to here is placed directly in
the accessory mounting clips on a luminaire. This type of
scrim is normally wire netting, sometimes stainless steel
wire, which is used as a mechanical dimmer. There are
normally accessory clips at the front of the luminaire to
accept the appropriate size scrim.
The advantage of the scrim is that it permits a reduc­
tion in light intensity in several steps (single and double
scrims) without changing the color temperature or the fo­
cus of the luminaire. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a
The half-scrim is an extremely useful variation on the
full scrim. It permits the placement of a scrim material in
only half of the beam, and is widely used on fresnel spot­
lights. It overcomes the problem encountered when the
fresnel is used at fairly high angles. The portion of the beam
striking the floor or objects near the floor closest to the
luminaire produces intensities that are too high to match
the desired level at the distance associated with the center
of the beam. The reason for this, of course, is the substan­
tial variation in the distances that the illumination energy
travels. The half-scrim applied on the portion of the beam
impinging on the nearest objects can overcome this prob­
Gel Frames
Different forms of these holders are made and de­
signed to fit into the accessory clips on the front of most
luminaires. They permit the convenient use of various types
of plastic filter materials to modify the characteristics of the
beam. Color media may be put in these holders for effect
color and a wide range of diffusion products are available
which may also be mounted.
Grip Accessories for Light Control
Typically, grip equipment for lighting control repre­
sents devices not directly mounted to the light.
There are various diffusion materials sewn on wire
frames of different types and size which permit the diffu­
sion of both artificial and natural sources.
Typically these are known as scrims. They are gener­
ally translucent materials (various textiles) which truly act
as diffusion. Special forms of these scrims may be called
dots or fingers, which describe their size a n d /o r geometry.
When supplied in very large sizes which are supported
from a single point, they are called butterflies, and where
the frame becomes extremely large and is supported from
two or more points it is called an overhead. Overheads are
available to 20 X 20 feet in size.
Specialized devices and stands are available for the
mounting of these various scrims, dots, fingers, etc. These
stands and holding devices must deal with the fact that the
loads supplied to them are often offset, and a high degree
of stability is required. For this reason, it is usual to sand­
bag the base of these holders.
Gobos come in the same form as the various scrims,
dots, fingers, butterflies and overheads, but are opaque. In
this form they are utilized to keep light from falling in a
given area, and permit very fine adjustment of the lighting
in a large area. The same assortment of holders and stands
is available for mounting these devices.
A specialized variation of the gobo is the cucoloris,
which is a cut-out pattern placed in the path of the spot­
light in order to cast a shadow that might be comparable
to the light coming through the leaves on a tree. Several
versions of these devices are available.
Reflector boards are widely used for redirecting sun­
light and modifying its characteristics so that it is suitable
for use as set illumination. Reflectors come in a wide range
of sizes and constructions, and a number of different sur­
facing materials are available for accomplishing the reflect­
ing surfaces.
These boards have been surfaced with various reflect­
ing media, including sign painter's leaf. However, the trend
now is toward plastic laminates for this purpose. These are
now available from Rosco in surface finishes ranging from
an absolutely clear mirror through various degrees of dif­
fusion of the mirror characteristics.
These variations permit the selection of surfaces which
accomplish both reflection and diffusion. A graded series
of these is available and are also, due to the laminated con­
struction, very stable repeatable surfaces. They are not dam­
aged by weather or by dust or dirt since they can be easily
In addition to being able to reflect and diffuse at the
same time, there are versions of these new laminate mate­
rials which also do color filtering. One version of a “soft"
reflector has a slight blue tint which corrects the sunlight
to a closer approximation to daylight. Gold reflectors are
also available in these systems.
Special Visual Effects
Recent years have brought a high level of sophistica­
tion to the mechanics of special visual effects, allowing cin­
ematographers' imaginations a greater degree of freedom.
This chapter is intended to give the cinematographer an
overview of the techniques available, including front and
rear projection, the optical printer, motion control photog­
raphy, and digital image manipulation.
Shooting Background Plates
Scenes projected on a translucent screen and re-pho­
tographed as a background for a live-action foreground
have been traditionally called "plates" or "keys." Guide­
lines for the original photography of such scenes also ap­
ply when the scenes are to be composited by most of the
methods discussed in this section.
General Requirements
A pin-registered m otion-picture cam era should be
employed for filming all stationary background plates.
Since the plate will later be re-photographed in combina­
tion with a live foreground scene, often employing the use
of a solid set piece, the slightest amount of film movement
due to poor registration will be readily detectable. It is not
absolutely necessary, but desirable, that a pin-registered
camera be employed for filming traveling plates. A full
camera aperture is desirable, although an Academy aper­
ture may be em ployed if it is the only size available.
VistaVision and 65mm cameras are also often used. The
larger negative areas lead to finer-grained, sharper compos­
ite images. Medium-speed emulsions are the usual choice
of most background plate camera men for grain and sharp­
ness. High-speed negative may be used under special cir­
Exposure should be on the full side; if in doubt, slightly
overexpose rather than underexpose. A crisp, full-scale
print with rich blacks and clean highlights is desirable. A
muddy print made from a thin, underexposed negative is
unsatisfactory and would be very difficult to match when
the com posite scene is later photographed. Backlighted
scenes, except for effects such as sunlight shimmering on
water, should be avoided. Background plates fall into two
distinct categories: stationary and traveling.
Stationary Camera
A stationary plate is photographed with a rigidly fixed
camera, tied down and firmly braced. Knowing exactly
how and for what purpose the plate will be used is a great
aid in setting up. An important factor in filming stationary
plates is recording the proper perspective, with the correct
vanishing point, to provide an apparent match with the
foreground scene in the final composite picture. Unless the
vanishing point is properly positioned, the linear conver­
gence in the foreground scene will not match that recorded
on the plate.
Camera elevation and tilt and horizon placement must
be given serious consideration in order to meet these re­
quirements. If in doubt, or if the plate is for library use, place
the horizon dead center since it may be moved up or down
when com posited and allow the m ost leeway in fitting
various composite situations. The ideal situation, of course
is to film three plates: one with the sky % from the top, one
with the horizon centered, and one with the sky occupy­
ing % of the frame. This will allow for any eventuality and
give the director added scope if he decides to shoot up or
down. Usually, however, the horizon is placed about 2/s of
the distance from the top of the frame. It is advisable to have
slightly more foreground, w hether water, pavement, or
scenery. If sufficient foreground is not provided on the
filmed image, it may be necessary to blow up a portion of
the picture to provide it, resulting in increased grain and
poorer image quality.
Plates shot to script are usually ordered with sufficient
data for the cameraman to do the job properly. Stock plates,
filmed for library use, are a little more difficult since they
must be photographed in a manner that will allow using
them in a more general way to fill various situations.
Background images should be sized so that the full­
est possible area of the filmed frame can be utilized. This
provides the finest photographic quality, least grain and
sharpest picture, and result in a top quality combination of
plate and foreground. It is inadvisable to employ a lens
shorter than 35mm (for 35mm photography) unless only a
part of the image is later utilized. Some background scenes
shot with an extremely wide-angle lens may present very
difficult matching problem s when composited. Slightly
longer lenses, on the order of 40mm and 50mm, are best.
(L en ses of co m p arab le an g le are recom m en d ed for
VistaVision or 65mm photography.)
An excellent method for securing an accurate match
for a plate shot to script is to use stand-ins positioned ex­
actly the same as the players will later be positioned in front
of the background. A few feet of film should be shot with
the stand-ins in position and they then should be moved
out and the p late p h o to g rap h ed . T h is w ill g ive the
compositing cameraman a good idea of how the final shot
should look and is particularly valuable if the plate cam­
eraman is on an extended location trip and might not be
available should questions arise. While the plate is being
shot, be certain that no one walks closer to the camera than
the positions occupied by the stand-ins. If someone were
to walk between the stand-in position and the camera, the
person would appear too large, upsetting the required di­
minishing perspective. To be safe, keep everyone ten feet
or more behind the positions occupied by the stand-ins.
Background views seen through a door or window are
less critical to shoot, since the view is a distant one and does
not require an perfectly integrated relationship with the
foreground. The camera angle must be correct, however,
and present the proper vanishing point. A scene suppos­
edly occurring in an office on the 20th floor should have a
window plate possessing a view taken from that apparent
elevation, and presenting the proper viewpoint. W hile a
considerable amount of "cheating" can be tolerated (such
as shooting from the 10th floor of a building), the view pre­
sented should be one that would appear normal to a per­
son on the live set looking out the window. The plate cam­
era could not, for instance, be angled up or down; it must
be shot dead level so that a "square on" view with vertical
lines is recorded. A special background slate should be used
to film all pertinent data: production number, scene num­
ber, camera height, camera angle, sun angle, focal length
of lens, et cetera. This data will be a help later in duplicat­
ing the setup when the composite scene is filmed. The back­
ground plate cameraperson should bear in mind that he is
not expected to record beautiful com positions in them­
selves. He is simply furnishing the background to back up
the combined scene.
Moving Camera
Traveling background plates for rear process projec­
tion are used in combination with supposedly moving ve­
hicles, airplanes, trains or boats. They may be filmed with
either single or multiple cameras. In order to provide the
various plates necessary for shooting various combinations
of group shots, close-ups, over-the-shoulder scenes, etc.,
several angles must be filmed from the moving camera
platform. It is advisable to use a single camera whenever
possible to allow "cheating" the sunlight so that a time in­
terval between runs may be chosen which will record each
plate with the best light condition. Camera car speed may
also be varied, if desired, for the various angles, if plates
are shot individually.
Single camera plates will usually suffice, since the
ch an g e in cam era an g le w hen the p ro cess scen e is
photgraphed is usually sufficient to cover any mismatch
that exists. Remember that the audience is intent on watch­
ing the foreground action and the background plate will
not distract unless something very jarring appears. Nor­
mally, a considerable amount of "cheating" is permissible
(indeed, often required) in order to record the best possible
set of plates, in the proper light, at the correct rate of speed.
Sometimes a single side of the street is filmed to serve for
both side angles — by shooting left rear going one way and
right rear going in the opposite direction. Or, a single plate
may be turned over in projection (if no telltale signs appear)
to serve both sides of the street. Turning the plate over is
usually reserved for country roads, since its use on traffic­
laden streets may be more obvious (parked cars on either
side of the street will point the same direction).
O f great importance in filming moving plates is that
the camera be at the correct height. For autos the height
should be at the shoulders (not the eye level) of a person
seated in the car who will later be seen in the rear projected
composite shot. This will vary, for example, with low-slung
sports cars and buses. It would not do to look outside a
sports car window and see the roofs of cars follow ing
(which would result if the plate camera were too high).
On the other hand, a low-angle shot shooting up into
trees and buildings is equally bad because it is not feasible
to angle a camera in a car to photograph seated people and
see this perspective through the window. The plate cam­
era should be tilted slightly downward — just a trifle be­
low horizontal. The vanishing point of a straight-on shot
would be just above dead center of the screen. Remember
it is always better to have a little more pavement than sky.
A set-up may require tilting down on a mock-up car, so
additional image in the lower corners of the frame is desir­
able. Traveling plates should be photographed with 35mm
or 40mm lenses on side and three-quarter angle shots. A
35mm, or some times a 50mm if only a small area of the
plate will be utilized, is used on straight-back shots.
Speed vs. Angle
The camera angle on a moving shot affects the appar­
ent speed of the projected image. Plates shot from straight
side angles appear to move much faster than those filmed
from either straight forward or straight backward angles
— even if the speed of the vehicle from which the shots
were made was the same. It is often necessary, therefore,
to cheat the camera vehicle speed (not the camera speed)
so that all angles will appear at the same relative speed
when rear-projected. This effect is less apparent in open
country than in city streets with closely packed traffic and
nearby buildings. It is advisable to use normal 24 frames
per second camera speed whenever possible so that pedes­
trians appear to be moving normally. It may be necessary
on wild chase shots to undercrank since this is the only way
to record ultra-fast vehicle speeds with safety.
The following diagram will be useful for estimating
camera car speeds for various camera angles. This is for city
traffic. Various angle plates may be filmed in open coun­
try at the same camera car speed for all angles if nothing
close to the camera appears in the plate.
For example, if the camera car travels at 50 miles per
hour for the straight shots, it should travel at 40 miles for
the three-quarter angles and at 30 miles for the side shots.
Be certain to set the camera at the same height and with the
same slight downward tilt for all angles.
Plate Print Preparation for Back Or Front
Projection Or Aerial Image Compositing
Color matching is affected by the lenses, arc mirror,
quartz protector plate, cooling water cell, and by the screen
itself. Preproduction testing is suggested. Plate prints
should incorporate color ratio correction for projection con­
ditions. Print contrast may be lowered by flashing an d /or
using low-contrast print (TV) film; both will also affect color
saturation. M asking has also been suggested (American
Cinematographer Magazine, Nov. 1984, p. 109, J. Danforth).
Prints should be on B & H perforated stock.
Front-Projection Process
by Petro Vlahos
The front projection process of composite photogra­
phy was made possible by the development of a highly
directional reflective material by 3-M (Scotchlite #7610).
Scotchlite is a glass beaded reflex reflector that returns
most of the reflected light back to its source. The gain of
Scotchlite is so high that a fraction of a footcandle of back­
ground image intensity is sufficient to balance a 200-footcandle foreground illumination.
Although the projected image falls upon foreground
subjects, its intensity is so low that it is not visible on the
subject. When the camera is exactly aligned on the optical
axis of the projector, it will not see the shadow cast by the
foreground subject. The very low level of illumination re­
quired by the Scotchlite screen makes possible background
screens as large as 30,000 sq. ft. when using an arc projec­
The practical use of front projection requires careful
alignment of the camera and projector lenses to (optically)
superim pose their front nodal points. W hen the nodal
points are misaligned, or when the subject is too close for
a given lens focal length and f-stop, a dark halo is devel­
oped. The appendix at the end of this section defines a safe
minimum object distance as a function of screen distance,
lens focal length and f-stop. By observing the limitations
of the front-projection process, excellent results have been
Geometric Relationships
The shadows cast by an actor, or any foreground ob­
ject, are largely obscured by the object as the projector is
brought close to the camera. The shadows are completely
hidden from the camera when the camera and projector
lenses occupy the same position. Since this is not physically
possible, the axes of both lenses are made to coincide opti­
cally by the use of a semi-transparent mirror. Tine arrange­
ment of the camera, projector, mirror and screen are shown
in Fig. 1.
The function of the semi-mirror is to bend the axis of
the projector in a right angle so that the light which reaches
the screen appears to originate from within the camera lens.
Since the camera cannot see around or behind a foreground
object, it will not see the shadow cast by that object if the
shadow is confined strictly to the area behind the object.
Placing the projector axis coincident with the camera axis
accomplishes this objective within certain limitations that
Figu re 1. A rran gem ent o f cam era, projector, m irror and screen.
will be described. Although the projector is located to the
right of the camera in Fig. 1, it may be located on either side
or may project into the mirror from above or below. It is
also permissible, from a functional point of view, to inter­
change the camera and projector locations.
The mirror, at 45° to the projector and camera axis,
reflects the projected image onto the screen; but the mir­
ror, being semi-transparent, allows about half of the pro­
jected light to go directly through the mirror onto the near­
est wall and be wasted. Such wastage is unavoidable since
the mirror must be semi-transparent to permit light from
the foreground scene, as well as from the background it­
self, to reach the camera lens.
The 45° mirror is also a partial mirror as seen by the
camera, and provides to the camera a view of the side wall
of the stage as well as a second image resulting from the
projector waste light. To eliminate these secondary images
a small, dull black screen is placed opposite the projector,
as shown in Fig. 1.
Lntrovision (Hollywood) replaces portions of the black
screen with a piece of Scotchlite screen. Supplementary
lenses permit focusing the projected image onto the supple­
mentary segm ents. W hen matched to black flats on the
main set, it is possible to have actors appear to emerge from
doorways and from behind objects in the projected back­
Another development by Courier Films Limited, the
Zoptic Process, employs a zoom lens on the camera and the
projector and interlocks the zoom controls. By sim ulta­
neous zooming of the foreground and background lenses
in the same direction, objects in the field appear to move
toward or away from the camera. This technique was used
extensively in the 1978 production of Superman. The trans­
m ission/reflection ratio of the mirror is not critical; how­
ever, for best utilization of foreground and projection illu­
mination, transmission should always equal or exceed re­
flection. Their relationship is shown in Fig. 2. The projec­
tor light that finally enters the camera experiences a reflec­
tion at the mirror to get to the screen, and then a transmis­
sion through the mirror to get to the camera. Utilization is
therefore a function of the product of the reflection and
transmission percentages. Even if one assumes no losses,
the maximum efficiency cannot exceed 25% and it occurs
at a 5 0 /5 0 ratio. In front projection, one should expect two
stops of light loss.
F igu re 2. F ro n t p ro je c tio n m irror; tra n s m is s io n /re fle c tio n ratio and
efficien cy .
Since film exposure of foreground objects requires a
given amount of light at the camera, any transmission loss
through the mirror must be made up by increasing the il­
lumination of the foreground. Thus transmission should be
as high as possible. The efficiency of utilization of the fore­
ground (FG) illumination is a linear function of transmis­
sion and increases as the transmission increases. An in­
crease of transmission from 50% to a value of 60% results
in a 12% increase in the utilization of the foreground illu­
mination. It can be seen from the figure that this change
from 50 to 60% in the transmission results in a drop of only
4% (25 down to 24) in the utilization efficiency of the back­
ground (BG) illumination.
The scene being projected onto the screen is also be­
ing projected onto the foreground objects and actors.
Whether or not the scene being projected on foreground
objects will be visible in the photography depends upon the
intensity of the projected light relative to the intensity of the
foreground illumination. A specific high-gain intensity re­
lationship is thus far solely a property of the Scotchlite
The Scotchlite Screen
The special properties of the front-projection screen
make front projection practicable. One screen made by the
3M Company, commonly known as Scotchlite, Type 7610,
is a reflex reflector — that is, it has the property of reflect­
ing light back to its source. A reflex reflector can be made
by using corner mirrors or glass beads. The 3M screen uses
glass beads. The limited angular distribution of reflection
is illustrated in Fig. 3. Because of the controlled angle of the
reflected light, the screen has a very high gain. If one ob­
serves the screen from a vantage point not more than about
!4° from the axis of the projector, it will appear to be nearly
1,000 times brighter than would a matte white surface re­
ceiving the same illumination. Because of this high gain of
Scotchlite, very little illumination is required from the pro­
jector; therefore front projection can provide backgrounds
of almost any desired size. A 130-A arc lamp projector can
easily illuminate a 30,000 sq. ft. screen of Scotchlite to bal­
ance a 200-fc-key foreground scene. Thus, screens up to 120
X 250 feet can be used.
Figu re 3. R e lativ e an g u lar d istrib u tio n o f re flectio n o f 3M S co tch lite
re flectiv e sh ee tin g T y p e 7610.
The ability to use large background screens is one of
the principal advantages of front projection. By compari­
son, rear projection was limited to a screen size of 20 to 30
ft., even when illuminated by three high-powered projec­
tors. Even considering the losses of the semi-mirror, one
need only use about one footcandle of illumination on the
screen to balance a foreground key light of 200 fc. This is a
net ratio of about 200:1 and is more than adequate to result
in invisibility of the image projected on foreground objects
— even a white shirt. If one considers a white shirt to be
nearly 100% reflective, and the reflectivity of black velvet
to be approximately 2%, this represents a ratio of only 50:1.
Thus a white shirt is so dull compared to Scotchlite (200:1)
that it appears to be blacker than black velvet when the
Scotchlite is illuminated to the brightness of the foreground
The Scotchlite material is available in two-foot-wide
rolls. The screen can be constructed by simply papering the
material onto a wall-like surface or wooden backing or
hanging it in horizontal strips. It is only necessary to cover
all of the screen area. Butt edges are not required, and pieces
may be overlapped. It is advisable, however, to prepare a
screen from the same production batch since a second batch
may differ slightly in brightness gain.
Tesselating The Screen
Irregularities in reflection of the Scotchlite material
may be minimized by cutting or tearing the Scotchlite
into small pieces, scrambling the pieces, and reassem­
bling them into a mosaic. This, however, is wasteful of
material and is labor intensive. Apogee, Inc. has de­
signed a die which cuts Scotchlite into sym m etrical
hexagons with curved edges; with the aid of a template
the tiles are mounted on a prepared Dacron and Mylar
sheet w ith a 3% overlap. The com pleted screen is
checked by photographing it using a ring light and highcontrast film in order to exaggerate any imperfections
that might exist. (Apogee, Inc. holds a patent #4,548,470
covering this method of screen fabrication and supplies
either the complete screen assemblies or separate tiles
for the user's application.) It is not necessary that
Scotchlite be absolutely flat or square to the camera since
its gain is quite uniform over a rather wide angle of in­
cidence, as shown in Fig. 4.
Alignment of Nodal Points
The practical usage of front projection requires care­
ful alignment of the camera and projector lenses. All multi­
element lenses, whether for camera or projector usage, have
two or more nodal points. In the front-projection process
we are interested only in the front nodal point. For the pro­
Figure 4. G ain o f Sco tch lite screen as a function o f the angle o f incidence,
fo r a c o n sta n t d iv e rg e n ce a n g le o f ‘A0 b e tw e e n in c id e n t b eam and
m easu rin g axis.
jector lens, the front nodal point is that position within the
lens from which the light appears to emanate. For the cam­
era lens, the front nodal point is that point within the lens
toward which all incoming light appears to converge. Since
the camera lens has a finite field angle, and since it is pos­
sible to have foreground objects anywhere within the field
of view of the camera, there is only one position of the cam­
era lens that will eliminate shadows for all objects within
its field of view.
This position is obtained when the front nodal point
of the camera lens is effectively coincident in all axes with
the front nodal point of the projector lens. If these nodal
points are not effectively coincident, a black shadow line
will appear at the edge of foreground objects.
Where there is only one foreground object in the scene,
and that object is located symmetrically on the camera axis
(as in a closeup of one person), it is possible and sometimes
desirable to place the camera nodal point ahead of the pro­
jector nodal point. The desirability of this procedure will
be explained later, in the discussion of shadow gradients.
The camera and projector each have three degrees of
freedom in translational motion. A sliding movement of the
camera or projector to the left or right is a translation along
the x-axis. Similarly, a change of elevation is translation
along the y-axis; m ovem ent toward or away from the
screen is translation along the z-axis. Adjustment of the
position of the camera or projector along these three axes
is required to obtain effective coincidence of their lens nodal
points. An adjustable base for the projector or camera fa­
cilitates this adjustment.
It is the virtual, or reflected, nodal point of the projec­
tor that is to be co-located with the nodal point of the cam­
era lens. Thus any adjustment of the mirror's placement or
angle shifts the position of the projector nodal point with
respect to that of the camera. Since the nodal point of a lens
is a single point somewhere within the lens, it is not acces­
sible for making a direct mechanical alignment. Therefore
it is necessary to make the alignment optically by using test
targets located in the camera field. The degree of permis­
sible error in the alignment of the lens nodal points is a func­
tion of several variables.
The principal variable is the separation of foreground
objects from the screen. When the foreground objects are
quite close to the screen, one may misalign the camera by
as much as an inch in any direction without inducing a
visible shadow line in photography. As foreground objects
approach the camera, the alignment becomes more critical,
until only V32 in. of alignm ent error can cause a visible
shadow line. Thus, when alignment targets are used, they
should be placed close to the camera to simplify the align­
ment procedure and to assure alignment accuracy.
The type of alignment target used can impose some
problems. The use of white cards requires separate illumi­
nation, and balancing the brightness can be a bit of a chore.
Small sections of the Scotchlite screen may be used, but
since the brightness varies inversely with the square of the
distance, they are over-bright when brought close to the
camera. A good procedure is to stop down the projector
and camera lenses to f/22, if possible, and tip the Scotchlite
targets well past 45°. At a very steep angle, their brightness
can be made to match that of the screen. Under these con­
ditions, a misalignment of as little as V32 in. can be readily
The source of light that produces a shadow line origi­
nates from the projector lens, which in turn receives its light
from the lamphouse and its optics. The alignment of the
lamphouse and its optics should result in symmetrical il­
lumination of the exit pupil of the projector lens. When the
exit pupil is not symmetrically illuminated, the center of the
emerging light bundle is not at the lens center. And while
this off-center illum ination in no way affects the back­
ground scene, it does result in shifting the shadows to one
side or the other, just as though one had shifted the projec­
tor. Any change of the projector lens iris then acts not only
to change light level, but produces the equivalent of a shift
in x or y of the whole projector. An iris change on a projec­
tor with a poorly centered lamp can result in up to A in. of
apparent misalignment.
A com puter-generated table has been prepared to
show the alignment error that induces a 0.0002 in. shadow
line on the camera negative under a variety of conditions.
This dimension (0.0002 in.) represents the threshold of vis­
ibility of a line projected on a large screen. The primary
utility of this data, found in the appendix on page 413, is
to show the relative influence of the object-to-screen sepa­
ration, and to indicate the magnitude of alignment accu­
racy required. The actual alignment error that can be ac­
cepted is reduced by the halo effect, which will be discussed
a little later.
Alignment of Anamorphic Lens
The use of anamorphic lenses introduces special prob­
lems in front projection. Such lenses have two front nodal
points, one associated with the vertical tilt motion and the
other with panning motion. Both nodal points exist in the
camera and projector lens, since these lenses have, in ef­
fect, two different focal lengths. If these nodal points in the
camera and projector lenses are not equally spaced, there
is no way to simultaneously superimpose both sets of nodal
The problem can be minimized by splitting the dis­
tance between front nodal points for each lens and co-locating this median position. Simultaneously, one should
keep foreground objects relatively close to the screen,
whereby rather large misalignment of nodal points can be
tolerated without introducing a shadow line.
Pan, Tilt and Zoom
It is possible in front projection to pan and tilt the cam­
era during photography, provided that the x, y, z relation­
ships of the nodal points are maintained. To do this, it be­
comes necessary to use a nodal-point camera mount that
permits the front nodal point of the camera lens to be lo­
cated at the center of rotation for both pan and tilt motions.
This requirement of maintaining a co-location of projector
and camera lens nodal points also applies to a zoom lens.
Because the front nodal point of a zoom lens may shift
by several inches during a change of focal length, it is nec­
essary to shift the camera body an equal distance, in order
to maintain a fixed spatial relationship between the two
axes of rotation and the nodal point. An alternative, of
course, is to limit the zoom range, and to place all fore­
ground objects close to the screen, thus taking advantage
of the resultant increased tolerance of nodal-point position­
ing, as mentioned earlier.
Figure 5. R elative loss o f im age qu ality as a fu n ctio n o f copy ratio.
Problems of Grain in Front Projection
There are rather severe limitations on the use of zoom­
ing in a front projection scene and these limitations are
caused by image grain. It must be remembered that the
scene being projected was once photographed by a cam­
era on negative film. In front projection, this scene is being
copied onto the film in the camera and this film is a nega­
tive. Thus the background part of the scene is a dupe that
has been made on camera negative rather than a fine grain
duping stock. The graininess is therefore increased.
If, for example, both the camera and projector films are
35mm, and if the entire projected scene just fits the full
aperture on the camera ground glass, then there is a oneto-one relationship between the image on the projected film
and this same image as it is being exposed in the camera.
In this case we have a 1:1 copy ratio. If one now zooms to
twice the initial focal length, only x/i of the width and Vi of
the height (or Va of the area) of the projected print is being
copied. This is in reality a 16mm area. Owing to the loss of
resolution and increase in grain, it will look like a 16mm
If, on the other hand, the entire background image is
projected onto a small screen that represents, for example,
a window, then one can zoom in until the window fills the
camera viewfinder. At this point the copy ratio has again
dropped to 1.0. Figure 5 illustrates the relative loss of im­
age quality as a function of the copy ratio. Note the advan­
tage of using a 65mm BG.
The Halo Effect
From the earlier discussion on the alignment of nodal
points, we may have implied that once exact alignment is
achieved there will be no visible shadow line; this is not
necessarily the case. Perfect alignment of nodal points as­
sures the absence of a shadow line only when both the pro­
jector and camera lens apertures are as small as pinholes.
Normal lenses do not approximate a pinhole. Actual en­
trance pupil diameters are in the order of one inch, as is the
case for a 100mm lens at f/4.0. Since lenses have aperture
dimensions significantly larger than a pinhole, their depth
of focus is limited as a function of aperture.
When a foreground object is in focus and the back­
ground is not in focus, a black halo forms around the fore­
ground object on the camera negative. This halo is not a
black line, such as is experienced by misalignment, but is
best described as a brightness gradient that falls to 50%
intensity at the edge of the foreground object. The halo is
most often seen on closeups.
As objects recede from the camera and approach the
screen, the halo shrinks to a faint line and, at some distance
it seems to disappear. This edge-gradient halo is most con­
spicuous when the background scene is a clear sky or a
blank wall. It is less noticeable on backgrounds such as dark
The halo phenomenon is explained by reference to Fig.
6. If the camera is focused on a foreground object, this ob­
ject will be in sharp focus at the film plane. If one assumes,
for the moment, that the projector aperture is a pinhole,
then the shadow cast by the foreground object will appear
quite sharp on the screen. In the camera, the projected back­
ground image and the shadow will both be in sharp focus
at some plane ahead of the film, but not on the film. From
the diagram it can be seen that the light rays, continuing
Figure 6. T h e h alo p h en o m en o n .
past this plane of focus, diverge as they reach the film plane
and become a blur on the film. Point A on the screen can
be seen by all of the camera lens; but point O, the edge of
the sharp shadow, can be seen by only half the lens. Thus
A is at full intensity at the film plane, but as point O is
reached, the light has fallen to half intensity on the film
(because half the lens has been occluded). This gradient is
shown in the lower part of the figure and exists for all ob­
The edge gradient described above is produced by the
camera lens aperture alone, because the projector was as­
sumed to be a pinhole. In practice the projector aperture is
not a pinhole, but has some finite diameter. This real diam­
eter of the exit pupil of the projector lens causes the shadow
on the screen to have a soft edge and this edge spreads out
for some real distance on the screen. However, the gradi­
ent already produced by the camera lens aperture does not
see this second gradient (produced by the projector lens)
as long as the size of the projector lens aperture is equal to
or smaller than that of the camera aperture.
This conclusion was verified by computing the size
and shape of the edge gradient for two extreme conditions;
one condition was a knife-edged screen shadow, while the
other condition was a uniformly increasing shadow extend­
ing from A to B. These two conditions cover all possible
projector lens apertures up to and equaling that of the cam­
era aperture. The gradient on the camera negative was
identical in size and in shape for both cases. The edge gra­
dient halo is therefore a function of whichever lens aper­
ture is larger.
In practice it can be concluded that one should always
stop down the projector until its exit pupil diameter is less
than the diameter of the entrance pupil of the camera. If
both lenses have a focal length of two inches (50mm) and
the camera is at f/4.0, then the projector can be at f/4 .0 or
5.6 or any smaller aperture. But if the projector lens has a
four-inch focal length (100mm), it must be stopped down
to f/8 .0 to match the entrance pupil diameter of a two-inch
camera lens at f/4.0.
Minimum Foreground-Object
A table has been prepared that specifies the closest
distance that foreground objects may approach the camera
for a 0.0002 in. half-gradient halo as a function of screen
distance, camera focal length and lens aperture setting. This
table appears on page 413.
A fter the cam era and p rojector nodal points are
aligned in all three axes (x, y, z) by the method described,
one must then be concerned with the halo effect. Appen­
dix 1 may be used as a practical guide to determine safe
object distances that will not result in a visible halo. The
Appendix is organized by lens focal length. After selecting
the table corresponding to the camera lens, find the camera-to-screen distance located in the left-hand column. The
row of numbers opposite the screen distance represents the
closest distance objects may safely approach the camera
without developing a visible halo. This distance is listed for
several lens stops. These lens stops are for the camera, or
for the projector lens if its aperture is the larger. (Note: f /
2.8 is a larger relative aperture than f / 4.0.)
The near distance limits listed in the tables of Appen­
dix 1 will result in a halo around the object of 0.0004 in. on
the film. Since the halo is a gradient, the first half of the
gradient between A and O (Fig. 6) is of low visibility. There­
fore, only the steeper half of the gradient is considered as
capable of producing a visible shadow. The tables, there­
fore, define an object distance for which the steeper half of
the gradient will produce a 0.0002 in. shadow line on the
negative; there is always some question as to how much
halo can be present before it is visible. The 0.0002 in. value
has been used by Technicolor, for example, as a limit for
color registration. It represents % in. on a 50-ft. screen. The
exact width at which a shadow line is visible or invisible
depends upon how close one sits to the screen, the quality
and sharpness of the projection lens, contrasts in the pic­
ture, and of course one's own visual acuity.
Perhaps the most significant variable affecting the vis­
ibility of halo is picture contrast. The most critical scene is
white against white, since these objects match in color and
are at high luminance. The darker and more mottled the
background, the less visible the halo. The Appendix is for
the worst case, white against white. Most scenes do not
present these critical brightness conditions. It is therefore
practical in many cases, where the background is dark or
mottled, to accept the nearer closeup limit indicated for the
next smaller stop. With a dark foliage background, even
closer subject-camera distances can be tolerated.
Z-Axis Displacement for Closeups
When it is essential to make a rather extreme closeup
of a single object or person, it can be done without a halo
by observing a special rule. If the single foreground object
extends outward in all directions from the center of the
camera-lens axis, it then becomes possible to move the cam­
era forward by several inches, placing it well within the
shadow cone of the projector. This action would normally
produce a severe shadow on the inside edge of all off-cen­
ter objects. But the single object (or person) that extends out­
ward in all directions from the camera center has no inside
edges, and thus no shadow line or halo will be visible.
Brightness and Color Matching
Segments of the front-projection screen material can
be placed in positions forward of the main screen for cer­
tain special effects, such as doorways. It should be remem­
bered that the inverse square law also applies to Scotchlite.
If one places a piece of the material at half the screen dis-
tance, for example, it will be 4X (2 stops) brighter than the
main screen. Thus all such applications should strive to
keep supplem entary screen m aterial close to the main
As iii rear projection, the eye is not an adequate instru­
ment to determine color or lighting balance between fore­
ground and background. Where the background is simply
passing scenery, eye-balance may be sufficient. When the
foreground is a continuation of the background, photo­
graphic tests should be made to ensure a good color and
brightness match. Lens coatings, the ultraviolet cutoff of
optical glass and the spectral sensitivity of color negative
material are all influential in determining color balance of
film. The color response of the human eye is significantly
different from that of color film. The eye, therefore, is not
an accurate predictor of the film's color rendition in this ap­
Steps to Avoid Shadows and Halos
1. Align camera and projector lens front nodal points
by placing targets of Scotchlite at the f/1 6 distance of Ap­
pendix 1. Place targets at left, center, and right of camera
field. Tip targets until their brightness matches that of main
screen. Stop down camera and projector. Position camera
and projector for no shadow on any target. Camera is cor­
rectly located on nodal head when the camera is panned
to place right target at left edge of camera field and no
shadow appears.
2. Set camera lens to desired f-stop. Set projector lens
to a smaller f-stop. Recheck for shadows at edge of targets.
A non-uniform field of light into the projector lens will
cause a shadow line as projector stop is changed.
3. Observe minimum object distance of Appendix 1 to
avoid halo. Projector exit pupil should not be larger than
camera entrance pupil. (Pupils are equal when the depth
of field is the same for both lenses. Use lens tables.)
4. If using a zoom lens, line up shot at maximum focal
length to be used in the shot, and then check for shadows
at minimum focal length. If shadows appear, reduce zoom
range or use proper nodal head that couples to zoom con­
5. If projected image is larger than camera field of view,
background plate negative should be larger than camera
negative, otherwise background will be grainy.
6. W hen using anamorphic camera lens, keep objects
close to screen and co-locate a median point between the
two front nodal points of the camera lens with nodal point
median of the projector.
7. If camera is moved forward of normal nodal point
location to make an extreme closeup, the object must be on
camera center and have no inside edges (i.e., no space be­
tween arms and body).
8. Supplementary screen set forward of main screen
should be kept very close to main screen to avoid a bright­
ness change.
9. W hen background is a continuation of foreground,
photographic tests are needed to assure a good color and
brightness match.
Additional inform ation on front projection and on
Scotchlite front projection screens 7610 and 7615 high con­
trast sheeting is available from Safety and Security Systems
D ivision/3M , 225-4N-14, St. Paul, Minnesota, 55144-1000,
(612) 733-4433, (800) 328-7098.
William Hansard
ASC Associate Member
President, Hansard Enterprises
Rear-Screen Projection
Rear-screen projection process essentially consists of
filming live foreground action against a specially photo­
graphed background "plate" which is being rear-projected
onto a translucent screen. The following items are required:
1. Special background projector with camera-type reg­
istration and 220 volt, 3-phase, AC sync motor.
2. Motion-picture camera with crystal-controlled mo­
tor with a cam era/projector electronically phaseable shut­
ter sync box.
3. Specially prepared print on print stock with B & H
perforations, made from plate negative filmed to produc­
tion specification or from stock library plate material.
4. Translucent projection screen.
Process shots usually are filmed on a motion-picture
stage or in a warehouse. Portable process projectors and
screens can be rolled onto any set and employed to back
up the action by furnishing the "view " seen through a win­
dow or door of a house, plane, train, automobile, etc.
Camera and projector are electrically locked so that
their shutters open and close simultaneously. The projec­
tor does not have a "flicker blade" as in theater projectors,
to interrupt the screened image and shorten the dark inter­
val between frames.
Process projectors have cam era-type shutters and
movements so that the individual frames are in perfect sync
with the camera's filming action. This results in a visual
"flickering" picture but a photographically perfect image
since each frame of film is projected for the entire interval
the camera shutter is open and therefore provides maxi­
mum light exposure frame for frame. If the projected im­
age is a stationary plate it must perfectly registered, because
any unsteadiness would be readily discernible when filmed
in combination with a fixed foreground set.
C am era and p ro je cto r m ust b e lin e d up so th at th e screen im ag e is
photographed w ith equal b rillian ce across its fu ll w idth. Cam era #2 w ill
photograph screen " A -B " w ith even b rillian ce. Cam era 1 w ill record the
" B " side o f the screen darker. Cam era #3 w ill record the " A " sid e o f the
screen darker.
Traveling plates need not be critically registered since
their movement will usually cover any inherent unsteadi­
ness. A step printer (with camera-type registration) should
be em ployed to print stationary plates. A continuous
printer may be used for traveling plates. A center line is
drawn on the stage floor so that camera and projector may
be set up in line with each other. Generally speaking, cam­
era and projector should be lined up, although the screen
may be swung at a slight angle, if desired, to the foreground
set. If the camera is not squarely on the projector center line,
an unevenly illum inated screen im age, with one side
darker, will result. However, you do have the liberty of
getting off center line approximately five degrees on each
side with a Hi-Trans screen and 45 degrees with a Lumiflex
There is absolutely no substitute for experience in
photographing process scenes. They cannot be done "by
the book" — too many technical and artistic factors are in­
volved. It is up to the director of photography, along with
the process coordinator, to base decisions on previous ex­
perience, inherent skill and basic knowledge of the many
variables in each setup.
One basic problem is balancing the light on the screen
with the foreground illumination. The angle, shadow ef­
fects and light quality of the illumination on the live set
must match the projected plate to form an acceptable over­
all picture. Care must to taken to keep all light illuminat­
ing the foreground set off the background screen or it will
wash out the projected picture.
Screen brightness will vary with the plate in use. Mea­
suring is a matter of balancing by eye/preferably with a
monotone viewing filter and an out-of-phase sync box for
direct viewing through the camera (to achieve perfect bal­
ance while the camera is running without film). The screen
is illuminated only half the time, while the foreground set
is constantly illuminated. The screen image is projected
with a carbon arc light, which requires a daylight film in­
dex for black & white films, and the foreground is lit by
tungsten lamps. "Yellow Flam e" carbons are used for pro­
jecting color plates so that their color temperature matches
the tungsten-illuminated foreground set.
The camera should be positioned at an elevation rela­
tive to that employed by the camera used to filmed the
original plate. The floor of the set should be regarded as the
camera floor — do not use the stage floor if the set is built
higher on a false floor. Preserving the relationship between
foreground and background is of paramount importance
— elements must appear to have been photographed to­
gether. Best results are achieved only when camera angles
and lighting are matched to preserve perspective, space
relationship, convergence of lines and photographic tonal
On stage, short focus lenses should be avoided. The
closer the camera is to the process screen, the more brilliant
the center of the screen, causing what is known as a hotspot.
Longer focal length lenses on both camera and projector
will produce the best results. A 5-inch projection lens and
a 2-inch camera lens is a popular combination. A 40mm lens
should be the shortest employed on the camera if the full
screen is being filmed. A wide-angle lens may be used on
a large set where the process screen is only partially used,
or when a relatively small projected image is used for a
view through a window or door. Care should be taken to
keep the camera and projector lined up when filming a
partial screen image on one side of a live set. The fore­
ground set and the players should be positioned as close
to the screen as possible, so that the projected picture is
photographed as sharp as the available depth of field per­
Camera and projector must be lined up when the camera is panned from
a screen image on one side of a live set to the action on the opposite side.
Projector #2 is correctly positioned. Projector #1 would result in a darker
image on the "B " side of the screen.
Another advantage in working with the action close
to the screen is that it requires a smaller projected picture.
The result is greater image com pression, lending colors
richness and brilliance. On moving background shots, such
as a rocking boat, rocking the camera slightly aids the illu­
sion of motion. Such rocking must not be apparent, but give
the appearance of integrated motion of foreground and
background action.
Print density will depend on the subject matter. It is
advisable to have two prints for 35mm and three prints for
VistaVision. One copy should be of good, rich normal den­
sity with normal color, and the second copy should be 2A
of a stop lighter in density.
Overall screen brightness can be controlled by vary­
ing the amperage on the projector arc, adjusting the pro­
jection lens diaphragm and by employing neutral-density
filters. Very little can be done to alter the tonal contrast in­
herent in an individual print.
A simple rule of thumb for calculating projection dis­
tances and focal length of projection lens for a particular
screen size: the projector lens focal length multiplied by the
screen width plus 10% equals the projection distance —
give or take a few feet. Thus a 5-inch lens will fill a 20-ft.
screen from approximately 110 feet away.
Static background scenes can be handled with greater
economy by using a 4" X 5" stereopticon slide projector.
Time is saved between takes since the film does not have
to be rewound. Also, color slides may be used for black &
white film photography; in fact they are often preferable
because they present a less grainy image and better black
& white separation. Rear projection slide projectors are
usually equipped with arc lamps, although som etim es
tungsten bulbs are employed for small screens. Specially
prepared 3 Va X 4" or 4” X 5" slides are used. The emulsion
is removed from the base and transferred onto Pyrex glass
to eliminate burning or bleaching of the transparency; this
also results in sharper focus and facilitates cooling of the
transparency and glass mounts.
One final note: the professional result of any process
scene is only as good as the background plates provided.
Photographing Miniatures
by Dennis Muren, ASC
The recent increase in the use of m iniatures in m o­
tion pictures m eans that live-action cinem atographers
may now be called upon to photograph miniatures, an
area usually handled by specialists. T oday's pinpointsharp lenses, very fine-grain color negatives, and crystalclear 70mm release prints can reveal flaws, and the solu­
tions require the utmost attention to detail by every mem­
ber of the effects team. The cinem atographer should talk
to the director, the live-action director of photography,
and the effects crew. He or she should look at as much
footage from the job as possible, especially im mediately
preceding and following the miniature shot. Based on this
material, he should then visualize how the shot would
have been photographed had it been built full-sized and
apply that inform ation to the following:
1. The notion that m iniatures look big when photo­
graphed with w ide-angle lenses from a low viewpoint is
somewhat true. But when cut into a sequence filmed from
above or with long lenses the shot may look out of place.
2. A sm all f-stop is usually necessary to hold the
depth of field needed to keep the model in focus.
3. The entire model and set must appear to be in fo­
cus, as it probably would have been if the scene had been
built full-size.
4. W hen shooting a fully miniature shot, a D -l filter
on the cam era can give an artificial atm osphere which
enhances the sense of reality.
5. M atch the preceding and follow ing live-action
photography as closely as possible. Lighting units should
be placed at the scaled distance from the model to dupli­
cate natural light fall-off. Small units help the scale.
6. Artificial smoke can be used to slightly cloud the
atmosphere in a miniature and give a realistic aerial haze.
In instances w here m ore control is needed, bridal veil
material can be tightly stretched within a set and sepa­
rately lit.
7. Panning, tilting, trucking, even jolts and shakes can
add greatly to a shot if they are appropriate with that
8. High-speed film stocks allow for extra stopping
down. Perforation size and location can be checked on
each roll to help insure rock-steady images, if necessary.
9. For h ig h -sp eed sh o o tin g any ren ta l cam eras
should be loaded and tested by the assistant who will use
them. Registration steady tests should be m ade at the
chosen speeds, if necessary.
Model Size
Water, fire, and exploding models should be as large
as the budget and safety allows, even half-size if possible
and shot high-speed. Intense wind can help break up out
of scale water droplets and in some cases, fire. Explod­
ing models should be pre-broken, reassem bled, and ex­
ploded within slow-m oving, low-powered, and colorful
pyrotechnics preferably with two or more blasts. Other
types of m odels can be built ju st big enough to be ad­
equately detailed and still carry depth of field.
Miniature explosions and fire can be dangerous be­
cause the camera may need to be in close proximity to the
miniature. Plan accordingly.
Shooting Speeds
If there is no motion on the miniature, it can be pho­
tographed at any speed. Water, fire, explosions, and fall­
ing effects are usually done with large models and cam ­
era speeds up to 360 fps. The exact speed depends upon
the scale of the model and the effect desired. The accom ­
panying chart is a starting point, but for the best results,
tests should be made (page 423).
High-speed shots can often be expensive and unpre­
dictable events because of the uncertainty of required
camera speeds, pyrotechnics, winds, mechanical equip­
ment, human error, and the need to sequence events in
much faster succession than they will be viewed. If an
explosion is photographed at four times normal speed (96
fps), then all other controllable actions w ithin the shot
must happen four times faster. Achieving an adequate
level of good-looking lighting can be very d ifficu lt if
shooting high-speed at a small f-stop. If using HM Is,
make sure that there w ill be no flicker at the film ing
speeds. Scenes which are supposed to take place outdoors
should be shoot outdoors if w eather permits.
With stop-motion, shooting is accom plished at one
frame at a time with the object being slightly moved by
hand between each frame. One-fourth-second exposures
or more per frame allow for great depth of field in low
light levels. Stop-motion photography is used to give a
freedom of movem ent and expression to an object or fig­
Motion-control photography is used when an object
or figure is moved by computer-controlled motors at very
slow speeds. Long exposure times per frame allow for
very small f-stops. The com puter can repeat the m ove­
ments of the motors, which allows for multiple exposures.
Any facet of a shot can be isolated and wedged for inten­
sity, color, filtration, and atmosphere. The image can be
built up through multiple exposures made from the cho­
sen wedge frames, while the com puter repeats the same
motions each time.
Go-motion shooting is used when shooting animal
or creature models. The major body parts are attached to
rods which are moved by com puter-controlled motors.
Detail m ovem ents are anim ated by hand each fram e.
Single fram e shooting allow s for small f-stops at long
exposure times. Coverage at various angles and camera
speeds is especially useful to help cushion the risks on
high-speed shots.
Calculating Camera Speed
Explanation of table (Page 424)
The scale of the model may be stated as "inches per
foot" or as a fraction of full size. In photographing a min­
iature, portraying any m otion when the speed of that
motion depends on gravity, the frame rate of the camera
is governed by the scale. This includes falling objects or
water, wave action, fire or smoke, explosions in which
objects are thrown into the air, etc. On the other hand, any
object (for instance, an automobile) m oving at a control­
lable speed can be related to the selected camera speed
in the first instance (gravity), the cam era fram e rate is
increased as the inverse square root of the scale fraction
(the square root of the relation of full size to miniature).
For instance, for a m iniature '/i6 full size (%"=]'), the in­
verse of the fraction is 16. The square root of 16 is 4 and
the frame rate should be 4X normal = 96 fps.
In the same set, an automobile portrayed as travel­
ing 60 miles per hour should move Mftth that speed be­
cause of the scale, but increased 4 times because of the
frame rate.
Motion-Control Cinematography
by Richard Edlund, ASC
Motion-control has become an inseparable part of film
grammar. Inexpensive solid-state digital electronics, a tech­
nology bom of the space race in the late '60s, made it pos­
sible to accurately record and play back motion with suffi­
cient reliability to achieve the robotic camera systems nec­
essary to produce the space sequences in Star Wars, the
success of which brought on a renaissance of motion-picture visual effects. Since that time a majority of the top ten
box office grossers have relied on motion control for cru­
cial scenes. Prior to the advent of digital technology, the
control of motion had been attempted with various degrees
of success by using analog electronics, selsyn motors and
gears, even by hand-cranking mechanisms using a metro­
nome for synchronization!
To define it, motion control is an electronically con­
trolled mechanical system that allows the physical motions
of a camera a n d /o r other objects to be recorded, enabling
successive passes to be photographed "on the fly" with the
corresponding motion blur characteristics of normal motion-picture cameras, so that composites can be created in
an optical printer or digitally. The composites may com­
prise separately photographed actors, miniatures, back­
grounds, and a myriad of other creative possibilities. Thus,
traveling matte systems of varying kinds can be used, fore­
grounds and backgrounds of differing scales can be used
with a moving camera, and when synchronized with video
playback systems, actors can perform within impossible
sets and locations, interacting with creatures and minia­
tures shot previously or subsequently. In practice, the pro­
duction company will generally contract with a visual ef­
fects company to carry out specific shots and sequences that
will require this equipment and these techniques.
Several com panies have developed field recording
units, hybrid systems which have various facilities, such as
speed and distance of travel, tracking, panning, tilting,
booming, follow-focus, remote operation, pre-programma­
bility, ease of set-up, quietness of operation for sound, and
adaptability to various formats such as 65mm, VistaVision,
or 35mm. Such a company will assign a visual effects su­
pervisor to work with the director, director of photography
and other appropriate crew members to achieve the proper
set-up time for any given plate. O f course there is respon­
sibility implied to achieve a given plate within reasonable
and predictable set-up time, and for this reason careful
preproduction planning is necessary between the effects
company and the U.P.M. W hen shooting actors within the
principal production schedule, usually blue-screen photog­
raphy is required and in these cases even the wardrobe
should be discussed with the visual effects supervisor.
Motion-Control Equipment: Field
In the field (defined here as outside the walls of an
effects studio, with the camera operating at sound speed)
there are different requirements. The director will usually
want a moving camera if h e /sh e can have it, but this has
been (and still is) difficult to achieve in effect shots. If this
is to be done, the following equipment is required:
1. A steady camera, usually of a larger format than the
production is originating with, with a special motor that is
slavable to the motion-control electronics, and that will
provide fram e/sh u tter position accuracy in successive
passes. Though not imperative, tine camera should be silent,
so dialogue can be recorded, and it should have a calibrated
videotap viewfinder.
2. A reliable follow-focus system that is repeatable.
Double-pass shots must exactly repeat with high resolution.
3. A pan-tilt head which by any of a variety of tech­
niques can provide scaleable lens entrance-pupal positions
for subsequent repeat passes on less than full-scale prop­
ers or miniatures. This pan-tilt head should have a remote
operating console with hand-wheels and video monitor.
Usually such a head will have DC servo motors to provide
real-time normal to high-speed p an /tilt range.
4. A dolly with track, having a powerful tracking mo­
tor, motorized boom, and positional encoders for both axes
which allow for either dolly grip control as in normal shots
or remote operation or pre-programmed moves. The above
equipment should be as standard as possible in appearance
and operational characteristics, and operate on standard
production dolly track.
5. A motion-control electronics console, operated by
a suitably wizened technician who can efficiently log and
store motion files, shot-by-shot, invisibly to the rest of the
6. A videotap flicker-free console, which will store
shots on tape or laserdisc, as the shots are made, and play
back instantly for directorial scrutiny. This system should
be able to provide on-the-spot video composites for com­
parisons of A to B scene action, and the ability to playback
A while recording B, etc. The video requirements will vary
with the shot requirements.
7. A bookkeeping detail which will log actors' posi­
tions and distances, camera and track positions within the
set, and other mathematical and geographical information.
Again, this should happen systematically and invisibly to
the rest of the production. This is crucial to the creation of
the rest of the jigsaw puzzle of elements that make up any
given shot.
Motion Control Equipment: Studio
A versatile motion-control system for photographing
miniatures consists of a steady pin-registered camera, built
into a pan-tilt-roll head wherein the entrance pupil of the
lens can be situated at the vertex of all axes, hung from a
boom arm, all mounted on a track of at least 50 feet in
length. Various model movers, rotators, or pylons are usu­
ally mounted on another track of 20 feet or so set perpen­
dicular to the camera track. Again, there are many valua­
tions on this basic theme incorporating various levels of
engineering prowess within the industry and the precision
and reliability of such systems provide the operators with
different levels of creative freedom.
An electronic system runs the motors (usually step­
ping motors unless considerable speed or power is needed,
in which case DC closed-loop servo motors are used), then
stores the motion files laid down by the operator and en­
ables the operator to interact with the system. There are
many bells and w'histles which include move-smoothing
programs, graphics tablets, and specialized software ad
Studio motion-control equipment often has provisions
to control the camera shutter angle over a wide range in
order to control the apparent motion blur. The exposure
range is from about 14 second to extremely long. Most sys­
tems have several ways to program moves and any or all
of the following methods may be used.
Joysticks (usually potentiom eters or rotary optical
shaft encoders) are used to manually move the motors that
operate the various parts of the system. The joystick might
control the speed or position of one or more motors at a
time and all these motions are recorded for future playback.
This is similar to remote controlling a model airplane or car
and making an exact record of what happened.
The joystick might be used to move the system to a
series of fixed positions while a record is made of these key
positions. The system could later generate a mathematically
smooth path through these points. This is sim ilar to an
animator drawing key frames and then creating all the inbetweens automatically.
If the system has a computer keyboard, then a move
could be created using only start and end positions with
ease-ins and ease-outs much like an animator's exposure
sheet. Much more complex methods of move generation
are available using computer graphics. Tine move files can
be edited and modified in as many ways as there are mo­
tion-control systems. Some computer-control systems have
graphics which allow the operator to preview the shot be­
fore the camera is used.
A number of com mercial electronic motion-control
systems are available, as well as mechanical systems. Some
of the major visual effects studios build their own motioncontrol systems. Although the use of motion control in
modern effects work is commonplace, the process can be
expensive and time-consuming, but when properly ap­
proached, high-quality visual effects can be produced at
budget and on time.
Motion Control Extends Cinematic
Motion-control systems are used in many ways for
visual effects. The following list is certainly not exhaustive:
1. The ability to program model shots so that the mo­
tion of objects in an effects scene is believable, and to pre­
view these moves and modify them as needed for approval.
2. The ability to repeat these scenes for front-light/
back-light or front-light/front-light matte passes if needed.
3. The ability to repeat these scenes for enhancement
effects such as engine passes, running lights, smoke-room
effects, filtration, etc.
4. Precision fly-by and extremely close approaches to
objects can be accomplished smoothly and in perfect (pro­
grammable) focus.
5. Stop-motion animation can be included in scenes
that have field-recorded moving camera.
6. Go-motion animation is made possible by using
extremely complex mechanical systems with upwards of
50 motion-control channels to create impossible creatures
in motion. This system was pioneered in Dragonslayer.
7. M o-m otion — a system w herein field recorded
scenes with pan, tilt, track, boom are combined with par-
tially motorized rod puppets (controlled mostly by puppe­
teers). This technique was developed for Alien3- It also in­
cluded a laserdisc video processing system capable of con­
verting any filming rate, from 1 fps to 48 fps, back to 24 fps
on the spot so scenes could be video-composited during the
shooting day to enable interaction of a H -scale Alien pup­
pet with live actors in field-recorded scenes.
8. Optical printers can be equipped with motion con­
trol so that optical pans, tilts, zooms, fades, diffusion, wipes
and dissolves can be repeated for successive passes.
9. Animation cameras can become much more versa­
tile, since all axes can be programmed; objects, miniatures,
etc. can even be shot against miniature blue screens; and
front-light/backlight repeat passes can be accomplished.
Motion-Control Technique
When working on Star Wars, we started with an empty
building and had to amass, modify and build our motioncontrol equipment before we could produce any images.
W e had built up visual "violins" and had to learn to
play them. Fortunately, the picture hit and a large audience
show ed up for our m otion-control recitals. Since then,
m any innovations have com e about in the equipm ent
(which are not seen directly by the film-going public) and
many good motion-control cinematographers have devel­
There are tw o m ain techniques for program m ing
motion files: One is to use start and end positions for each
axis of motion (there could be any number up to perhaps
16) and have the computer generate the moves. The other
allows the cameraperson to generate the move by joystick.
It is my opinion that the computer-generated method is
superior for graphics and anim ation purposes, and the
human interface is best for m ost m iniature and model
photography. If shots are created using a computer, the
moves will have mathematically perfect curves, slow-ins,
slow-outs, etc., and no heartbeat or verve — especially in
action sequences — therefore becoming subliminally pre­
dictable and less interesting to the audience. Human op­
erators do not produce this mathematical perfection; in­
stead they tailor the camera move to what is interesting in
their viewfinder. This human sense of curiosity is present
in the work of a great operator, and this transfers to the
Traveling Matte Composite
by Petro Vlahos and Bill Taylor, ASC
In this type of composite photography, the compos­
iting is done on an optical printer. Both the foreground and
background scenes are printed onto a dupe negative. A
silhouette (male) matte is employed to prevent the back­
ground scene from exposing the area occupied by the FG
action. A cover (female) matte is used to protect the back­
ground scene from veiling when the FG action is printed
onto the dupe negative (see figures 1-5).
There are two basic techniques for generating the
matte: dual film, and single film. The dual film technique
employs a dual film camera and beam splitter. A color
negative records the action, and a black & w hite film
records a matte (silhouette) of the action. The backing be­
hind the actor requires special illumination which will ex­
pose the B & W matte film, but will not expose the sepa­
rate color negative. Various illuminators have been used
including Ultraviolet, Infrared, and Sodium.
The sodium system is by far the most-used dual film
matte system. As originally used in England, it required a
backing illum inated by m onochrom atic sodium light.
Didymium glass filters were required on all set lamps to
subtract the sodium wavelength from the foreground light­
ing. These filters caused a light loss of about two stops.
An improved sodium system initially introduced in
1959 employed a special beamsplitter and narrow band fil­
ter in the camera. It does not require filters on the set lamps
and does not significantly affect exposure. This improved
sodium system was used extensively at Disney Studios and
is still used occasionally, as in the feature Dick Tracy.
The sodium system (or any dual film system) has the
basic disadvantage of requiring separation between the
backing and the actor. The actor must be kept well away
from the backing so as not to be contaminated by sodium
illumination. For this reason the actor (and his feet and his
shadow) cannot get into and among the elements of the
background scene. Set pieces may be photographed with
the actor and matted into the background scene along with
him, but it is very difficult to perfectly match (say) a fore­
ground floor to a floor in the background without a test.
Development of dual film systems has not kept pace
with improvements in the blue screen system, and begin­
ning in the Star Wars era, the blue screen system became
overwhelmingly the method of choice.
Blue Screen Process
The Color Difference Traveling Matte System is the
most flexible of all compositing techniques. It can be used
with any pin-registered camera, arid with normal unfiltered
set lighting lamps. The only special requirement is that one
must paint the backing an appropriate blue. The bluescreen traveling matte technique prior to 1959 had as its
trademark a blue halo following all moving objects (and
frequently non-moving objects). The Color Difference sys­
tem eliminates the blue halo and provides nearly all the
advantages offered by other compositing systems but with­
out their disadvantages or limitations.
The Color Difference Traveling Matte System properly
mattes rapid motion, smoke, glassware, water, fine detail,
and so forth. It also permits an actor in the FG to move in,
among and behind objects in the background scene. Fur­
ther, the actor's shadow can be caused to fall realistically
upon the objects in the BG scene even when that scene is
in reality a miniature. No other compositing technique of­
fers this range of flexibility.
The theory of the Color Difference system is based on
colorimetry, and is stated as follows: (1) Excepting the col­
ors blue and magenta, all colors have a blue content that is
equal to, or less than, their green content. (2) All the remain­
ing colors except yellow and green have equal blue and
green content.
When the blue and green content of a scene is equal,
the blue and green B & W separations will be identical.
Thus, there is no need to make a blue separation to repro­
duce such colors as reds, flesh tones, all shades of pink,
white, gray, and all saturations of cyan. Since the blue and
green separations (for these specific colors) are identical,
one would simply use the green separation twice; once as
the green printing separation, and once as the blue print­
ing separation.
When this select group of colors appears in the fore­
ground of a blue-screen shot, the green separation has one
unique difference as com pared to the blue separation.
Whereas the blue screen area is essentially clear on the blue
Fig. 1. Action as film ed in front
of plain (blue) backing.
Fig. 2. Female matte of action
in Fig. 1; also called "matte
Fig. 4. Background scene to
be combined with foreground
action in Fig. 1.
Fig. 5. The final com posite
print; Fig. 1 plus Fig. 4, via
Figs. 2 and 3.
separation, this area is quite dense (black) on the green
separation. Because of this density, the blue screen repro­
duces as a black screen when the green separation is sub­
stituted for the blue separation. Very little cover (female)
matte is needed because of the high density on the green
separation in the blue backing area.
A cover matte density of 0.6 to 0.9 is generally suffi­
cient when using an excellent blue screen such as the rearilluminated Stewart T-matte blue. The problem with the
blue separation is that it is essentially clear in the blue back­
ing area and requires a very dense cover matte which rarely
The green separation is an almost ideal replacement
for the blue separation because of its high density (black­
ness) in the blue-screen area and because it has the correct
density for all of the foreground colors except for yellow
and green.
The green separation would be a perfect blue replace­
ment if a way could be found to add a little extra density
where green and yellow objects occur. The addition of this
needed extra density for green and yellow is the function
of the Color Difference matte. The Color Difference matte
is otherwise a clear film except for a few spots of density
where a yellow or green object existed.
The Color Difference matte is made by printing with
blue light through a bi-pack consisting of the original nega­
tive and the green separation positive. The only areas that
are simultaneously clear on both films are those areas that
were green or yellow in the original scene.
W hen the Color Difference matte is laid over the green
separation, and their combined densities are compared to
the blue separation, they will be identical in all areas except
the blue-screen area, which will be black instead of clear.
Thus, the Color Difference matte together with the green
separation area makes a perfect replacement for the blue
separation. This "synthetic" blue separation is perfect be­
cause it has all the correct densities for foreground colors
while remaining essentially black in the blue backing area.
The only limitation of the system as described is that
it cannot reproduce colors in which blue content exceeds
green content, e.g., blue and magenta. Desaturated blues
(like blue jeans) reproduce acceptably.
W hen it is necessary to reproduce a saturated blue in
the foreground, a green backing may be substituted for the
blue one. While this is a common practice in video matting,
it's harder to get a good result in film because the blue
record (the grainiest of the three layers) must then be used
twice. Good pure-green illuminators are not widely avail­
Because all three separations (with blue being replaced
with the synthetic blue) are essentially black in the bluescreen region there is no need to use high-contrast, highdensity cover mattes. The mattes should be made on film
stocks having essentially the same gamma as the B & W
separations. The male matte should be transparent to the
degree the subject was transparent and should be no denser
than is necessary to just prevent print-through. Such semi­
transparent mattes permit the reproduction of semi-trans­
parent objects.
When it is practical to eliminate yellow and green from
the foreground objects, it is possible to simply substitute the
green separation for the blue separation and achieve the full
flexibility of the Color Difference system.
When it is permissible to allow a reduction of satura­
tion of yellow objects and a shift of green objects a little
toward cyan, the blue separation can be made by a mixed
blue/green exposure. The blue backing area will be quite
dark. Actually, it is only one stop (about 0.3 density) below
that of the green separation. The use of a slightly denser
cover matte (increased about 0.3) is all that is needed to
prevent veiling of the background. This mixed blue/green
technique is a simplification and produces acceptable re­
sults when it is not necessary to reproduce saturated yel­
low or green.
Screen Types and Lighting:
Back-lit screens
A perfect blue backing would expose only the bluesensitive layer of the color negative. Crosstalk in the nega­
tive layers, imperfect illuminators, and spill light on the set
all compromise this ideal. Nevertheless, thanks to the joint
efforts of the visual effects community and film manufac­
turers, the best current combinations of screen illumination
and negative type yield backings of unprecedented qual­
Either of tw'o types of blue backings can be used in the
blue-screen matte process. If the background scene is one
into which the actor (or subject) will not enter, then a simple
vertical blue surface is all that is needed for matting. An
excellent blue backing for this purpose is the rear-illuminated Stewart T-matte blue screen.
The best illum inators available today are banks of
narrow band fluorescent tubes driven by high-frequency
(flickerless) electronic ballasts. These tubes can be filmed
at any camera speed without frame-to-frame variation in
illumination. The phosphors in these tubes are formulated
to produce a sharply-cut blue light that will not expose the
green sensitive layer of the 5248 and 5296 color negative to
any harmful degree, and will not expose the red-sensitive
layer at all. These nearly-perfect blue illuminators allow the
use of the thinnest possible cover matte for best results in
reproducing smoke, transparencies, blowing hair, reflec­
tions, et cetera.
Manufacturers of these special purpose tubes and fix­
tures include the originator, Jonathan Erland, at Compos­
ite Components Co. in Los Angeles, who can also supply
fabric and paint. Lightweight fixtures and high frequency
ballasts are available for rent from Kinoflo in Sun Valley,
C aliforn ia. B allasts m ade by these com panies can be
dimmed; a great convenience in adjusting screen bright­
ness. The only drawback of these setups is cost.
Fair results (at much less expense) can be achieved
with commercial daylight-blue fluorescent tubes wrapped
with deep blue Rosco or other manufacturers' filter sheets.
The combination of the Stewart screen and the filters elimi­
nate most of the green light from the tubes. Although com­
mercial blue-print tubes have also been used, this is not rec­
ommended because of their very high UV output.
Regular 60-cycle ballasts can be used with any of these
tubes at the cost of weight and power efficiency. The draw­
back is that 24 fps film ing must be crystal-controlled to
avoid flicker, and any high-speed work must be at crystalcontrolled multiples of 30 fps. These tubes are somewhat
forgiving of off-speed filming because of the slight "lag"
of the phosphors.
hi the past, Stewart translucent screens have been lit
by large banks of Par reflector floods. Since incandescent
lamps are a very inefficient source of blue light, the fluo­
rescent system has made this method obsolete.
Front-lit Screens
The principal advantage of the rear-illuminated screen
is the instant uniform illumination obtained at the flip of a
switch. Unfortunately, few studios have permanent facili­
ties for large back-lit screens. A front-illuminated bluepainted surface is also acceptable for traveling matte pho­
tography. It has the advantage of availability. Any smooth
surface that can be painted, including flats, a canvas back­
ing, and so forth, can be used as the blue backing.
An increasingly popular illu m inator for fron t-lit
screens are arrays of the special-purpose blue fluorescents
described above. Tine broad, soft-light nature of fluorescents
makes it relatively easy to illuminate screens of 100 feet or
more in width. More care must be taken to eliminate spill
illumination on front-lit screens. With care, front-lit screens
can produce a result every bit as good as back-lit scenes.
Blue screens can also be front-lit with blue-filtered
HMI or Carbon Arc Lamps. Getting even illumination with
these sources is a time-consuming challenge, and filters
must be carefully watched for fading. Photographic results
are good to fair. Least desirable by a large margin (for film
purposes) is a blue surface front-illuminated with white
light. White light, however, is essential when the actor and
his shadow must appear to enter into the background
Blue Floor Shooting
If the actor is to get into and walk about in the back­
ground scene, then the floor must also be painted blue. The
same type of (white) light and lighting fixtures that light
the actor (subject) are also used to light the blue floor and
backing. A shadow cast on a blue-painted wall or floor by
the subject can be transferred (when desired) into the back­
ground scene together with the subject.
Floor shooting is the most difficult kind of traveling
matte shot to light. It is also the most rewarding because it
permits the actor to walk or sit upon objects in the back­
ground as well as to enter or exit doorways, even when the
background scene is a miniature. When the actor's shadow
is made to fall upon the ground or other surfaces in the
background scene, the composite scene is readily accepted
as real.
Matte contrast must be high in a floor shot to achieve
separation from the contaminated blue of the floor. The
problem is often compounded by glare from back lighting.
Cover mattes must be heavy, and will take on a "cut-out"
appearance unless measures are taken to soften the edge.
Necessarily, reproduction of fine edge detail will suf­
fer. An acceptable compromise between edge softness and
detail is sometimes impossible. When it is possible to re­
produce the actors' shadows, the shadows are often unacceptably grainy. Industrial Light & M agic's tiny "brow n­
ies" in Willow are the most successful white-light blue-floor
composites to date, partly because the costume color was
controlled to stay on the warm side of the spectrum. Even
so, their shadows had to be entirely hand-animated. The
finest-quality blue-floor shots are yet to come, from elec­
tronic compositing (see below).
Front-lit Blue Screen Materials
Com posite Com ponents and the Dazian Company
supply a useful screen material in blue or green; the fabric
is slightly stretchy and has a fuzzy surface that helps to kill
reflections of foreground lights. It is not the preferred choice
for a white-lit floor. An acceptable blue paint is the 5720
Ultimatte Blue from Rosco Laboratories.
A new backing material is the Stewart-Ultimatte Blue
Screen designed for front illumination. It is a plastic sheet
material that can be rolled or stretched on a frame. It is
tough enough to walk on and is washable. This material is
slightly photographically superior to any of the paints for
matting. It is available in sizes up to 40’ x 90'. Since this
material is quite expensive, it is best used for floors where
its scuff-resistance is most valuable. The material may be
used with walls and backings painted with high quality
blue paint.
Front-Projected Blue Backings
Blue backings of almost unlimited size may be frontprojected onto Scotchlite material using a beamsplitter and
a special blue illuminator. A refined system of this type is
the Apogee Blue Max projector, now owned and operated
by Sony Studios. An ingenious extension of this system,
known as Reverse Front Projection, can create a blue back­
ing that will not reflect in even the shiniest foreground
objects. Space helmets arid completely silvered props were
matted using this system in 2010 and other films. These
systems are described elsewhere in this book.
Light Level for the Stewart T-matte
Blue Translucent Screen
A paper gray scale and a Wratten 47 blue filter may
be used to set the light level on the translucent Stewart Tmatte screen. When the paper gray scale is in the position
of the actor and illuminated for normal exposure at the de­
siredf-stop, the blue backing illumination should be adjusted
when the gray scale and screen are viewed simultaneously
through the 47 blue filter. The illumination is proper and
sufficiently uniform when it falls within the range defined
by white and the first step below white on the gray scale.
Note that the blue screen negative density should be
the same at all f-stops. A spot meter may be calibrated for
use with the appropriate blue filter to read f-stops directly.
Lighting a Front-Illuminated Backing
Backings illuminated separately from the subject, such
as those lit by blue fluorescent lamps, may be balanced by
the same procedure as the translucent screens above.
If one is using a relatively efficient blue surface lit with
white light, such as the Stewart-Ultimatte Front-Lit blue
screen mentioned earlier, the proper incident light level on
the backing is the same as that illuminating the subject.
Thus, whatever value is used to light the actor's face is also
the correct value for the backing.
Lighting Procedure for Holding the
1. Turn on the key light so as to cast the desired
2. Adjust the fill light in the shadow to achieve the
desired shadow density.
3. Measure the brightness on the floor just outside the
shadow (use a spot brightness meter and blue filter).
4. Light all the rest of the blue floor to this measured
brightness, while adding as little light as possible to the
shadow area.
5. Light the blue walls to achieve the same brightness
as the floor.
6. Reduce fill in the shadow, if necessary, to retain
shadow density. Shadow density is controlled by adjust­
ing the fill light, not by adjusting the keylight.
Outside the shadow, the entire blue set should appear
to have equal and uniform intensity as seen from the cam­
era position.
Since the human eye has a fast automatic iris for small
light changes, it is not a good measuring device. It is nec­
essary to use a spot brightness meter and blue filter to check
for uniform brightness. A Polaroid camera with black &
white film and a blue filter is also useful for making a quick
check of lighting uniformity. Because of the relatively flat
angle between the camera and floor, the floor will not ap­
pear to be as blue as the back wall. A diffused, polarized
white light component is reflected by the floor because of
the flat angle. For holding good shadows it is essential to
use a polarizing filter over the camera lens. The HN38 is
recommended. Rotate the filter until the floor glare is can­
Lighting to Eliminate the Shadow
1. Light the entire blue set uniformly with large area
diffused light sources.
2. Check uniformity as noted in the preceding para­
3. Place the actor in position. If he casts a shadow, add
additional low-level lighting to return the light level in the
shadow to its original level.
4. Add a modest key light to create desired modeling,
and ignore the shadow it casts. The added key light will
cause a shadow to be visible to the eye, but because the key
light did not reduce the blue intensity of the floor (in the
shadow it has created), the shadow can be made to drop­
out in the matting process.
Lighting to Match the Background
There is more to lighting a convincing composite than
simply matching the direction and color of the lights on the
background. It is not immediately obvious, but for practi­
cal purposes, a person on a blue stage is (from a lighting
standpoint) standing on a n d /o r in front of black velvet.
Since the matting process drops out the blue backing and
the blue kick from the edges of the FG object, the object may
as well have been in a black stage. This blackness causes
no problem if the background scene is a night scene that is
essentially dark.
However, if the background is to be a light day scene,
then if the person had really been in that day environment,
that environment would have provided back and edge light
well as reflected light to light up the hair and to provide
the normal edge brightness along arms, sides of the face,
etc. The cinem atographer must back- and side-light the
subject to provide about the same amount and direction of
lighting the environment would have provided. If this is
not done, edges of arms and legs and faces go dark and the
scene looks like a cutout.
Inappropriate lighting will compromise a shot the in­
stant it comes on the screen, while faulty compositing tech­
nique may be noticeable only to experts.
Other Lighting Considerations
Blue illumination and blue reflections from the screen
on the subject must be minimized for top-quality results.
It should be noted that illumination and reflection are sepa­
rate issues!
Blue illumination from the screen can be made negli­
gible by moving the actors away from the screen (at least
15', 25’ is better) and by masking off all the screen area that
is not actually needed behind the actors. (The rest of the
frame can be filled in with window mattes in compositing.)
Reflections can be controlled by reducing the screen
size or disguised with dulling spray, but sometimes can­
not be elim inated. In the w orst case, reflections make
"holes" in the matte which must be filled in with hand work
in compositing. Of course when the actor must stand in the
middle of a blue-painted set, some blue contamination is
Using the UltiMatte Video Previewer
UltiMatte is a video matting device that can provide a
preview of the final composite scene on a color monitor
prior to and during photography. The UltiMatte eliminates
much of the guesswork and uncertainty in photographing
complex scenes in which the actor must be realistically in­
tegrated am ong people and objects in the background
scene. Prior to UltiMatte, complex blue-screen shooting was
slow, difficult, and often unsuccessful.
A small color video camera is used to observe the scene
to be photographed. A videocassette player is used to pro­
vide a background scene, if the background scene is un­
available, UltiMatte generates a test scene. The UltiMatte
accepts and mattes both scenes to show the composite on
a color monitor. The UltiMatte generates electronic male
and female mattes which are the equivalent of the mattes
generated by the Color Difference Blue Screen Process.
What one sees on the monitor correlates quite well with the
subsequent film composite.
The U ltiM atte Preview er does the
1. It observes the blue backing and indicates visually
any areas that are under-illuminated. This reduces lighting
to a fraction of the normal time.
2. It displays the male matte and determines whether
or not the subject can be matted. It shows exactly where a
dulling spray or a change of angle of a set piece is needed.
3. It displays the fully matted picture and indicates
what lighting adjustments may be needed to successfully
hold or eliminate a shadow.
4. It permits exact positioning of set pieces to match
positions of objects in the background scene.
5. It permits all the problems on the set to be detected
and corrected before shooting. This is a prerequisite to get­
ting a good matting job from the lab. After the quality of
the foreground image is ascertained through the UltiMatte
previewer, a motion picture camera replaces the video cam­
era and the process continues in the conventional manner.
Laboratory Procedures for
The Color Difference Blue Screen Traveling Matte
System permits a high level of realism. To maintain this
realism in such items as smoke, glassware, fine detail, and
so forth, special care must be exercised in selecting the den­
sity and gamma of the separations and mattes. All separa­
tions (and certain mattes) are to be made on a black & white
panchromatic film stock at a nominal gamma of 1.0. (with
all printing factors, such as the "Callier Q Effect," taken into
account). The Eastman 5235 film is suitable. Each positive
separation of a gray scale, when superimposed over the
color negative, should result in a constant density-sum for
all steps on the scale. Furthermore all the steps on the gray
scale must lie on the straight line portion of the D-Log E
curve for each layer of the color negative and for all three
separation positives.
Upon examining the red separation positive (Red+) it
will be seen that the film is quite dark in the blue-screen
region. The Red needs very little additional density to fully
protect the dupe negative. Depending upon the red con­
tam ination in the blue backing, a cover m atte adding
as little as 0.3 to 0.6 density may be adequate to prevent red
The green separation will be less dense in the blue
backing region and will require additional density to pro­
tect the dupe negative from veiling. The fact that as much
as 0.9 additional density may be needed indicates a sub­
stantial green leakage. If the added density is obtained on
a separate piece of film having density of 0.9, this low-den-
sity female cover matte may be under-sized, resulting in a
greenish edge that may be visible against the background.
If the additional density is added as additional expo­
sure before developing the green printing separation, nor­
mal edge growth is achieved and no green fringe occurs.
The female matte should have a gamma of 1.0. It may be
made directly or printed from a male matte.
The green cover matte is generally too dense to use for
printing the red separation. If the same cover matte is used
for this purpose, transparent objects and the blurred edge
of moving objects will have a cyan tint. The density differ­
ence between a white object and the blue backing (with
cover matte) should be the same for both separations.
The gamma of the color difference matte must be ar­
rived at by experiment to match the contrast of the separa­
tion positives. A gamma of 1.0 is a good starting place. The
color difference matte can exist as a separate film, or be
combined with one of the other films.
The male matte should be just dense enough in the
subject area to avoid print-through, while being relatively
clear in the blue backing region to permit printing in the
BG scene. Depending on the nature of the two scenes and
the lack of purity in the blue backing, it may be necessary
to increase the gamma of the male matte to as high as 1.5
to 2.0 to obtain enough density to avoid print-through.
The gamma of the male matte should not be increased
more than is necessary to prevent print-through because
excessive gamma causes noise in shadow areas, a loss of
fine detail, and a loss of transparency range.
The following table lists alternative methods that may
be used to produce the various mattes and printing records.
Choices are determined in part by the colors in the FG
Current Film Stocks are:
Color Negative:
B&W Separations:
Matte Films:
Color Dupe Negative:
Eastman EXR 5248 & 5296
Eastman Panachromatic
Separation Film 5235
Eastman Panachromatic
Separation Film 5235 & S0202
developed to high gamma or
Eastman High Contrast
Panachromatic Film 5369
developed to a low gamma.
Eastman Color Intermediate 5244
Electronic and Digital Compositing
Because Ultimatte video composites are much more
forgiving of contaminated backings, it was a natural pro­
gression to adapt Ultimatte matting logic to create film
composites by both analog and digital means.
The Sony high-definition cameras, together with the
30 Mhz. high-definition Ultimatte-6, have produced some
scenes for theatrical motion pictures in Japan and Italy.
More recently, Sony Hi-Definition Facilities, Inc. in Culver
City, California has offered a film-to-film service using the
same high definition video equipment. Feature films using
this compositing process are in production.
Already the line between optical effects companies,
computer graphics companies and video post houses has
begun to blur as digital film com posites become widely
available from these sources.
Most visual effects companies, such as ILM and Boss
Film have developed proprietary system s. Com puter
Graphics creators such as the pioneering Digital Film Com­
pany and Pacific Data Images provide digital composites
along with their other services. Composite Image Systems
in Hollywood offers their "D .O .T" process, another 1000+
line, film-to-film system. There are certainly many more to
At this writing, a most advanced digital film-to-film
system is being dem onstrated as a pilot project of the
Eastman Kodak Company. Their Cineon system can cre­
ate digital dupe negatives indistinguishable from the origi­
nal on the screen. Ultimatte Com positing technology is
employed in their work stations at Kodak's Cinesite, which
offers a 4000 line ultra high-resolution film-to-film scan­
ning, printing, and compositing service. Effects teams for
several feature films, including Super Mnrio Brothers, have
used Cinesite services.
Ultimatte Digital Compositing, which now includes
screen correction, represents a major advance in image
compositing. Ultimatte Cinefusion compositing software
is available for several computer platforms.
Digital com positing greatly expands the scope and
application of blue-screen photography. White-lit screens
are much less of a problem. Ultimatte Screen correction, at
the touch of a button, provides instant lighting uniformity
on walls and floor having non-uniform illumination and
varying shades of blue.
Particularly exciting is the prospect of shooting frontlit blue screen composites outdoors in natural light; it's rela­
tively easy to get good results in the electronic realm, but
nearly impossible with present purely photo-mechanical
With all that said, even in this digital age, we should
not forget that first-class composites can still be made on
inexpensive, widely available optical printers. In Jonathan
Erland's phrase, optical printing is "parallel processing at
the speed of light!"
Black & W hite Self-M atting Process
The Stewart T-matte translucent blue backing provides
a blue of sufficient purity to make possible a self-matting
process. The subject is illuminated with yellow light and
is photographed on Eastman 5248 color negative, or a color
reversal film. When the negative is used, a color print is
made. (The yellow filter should pass no blue light in the 400
to 500 nanometer range.)
The color positive is printed to a B & W dupe nega­
tive using yellow light. The blue field on the print is its own
cover matte, and no exposure occurs in the blue field area.
Next, the color positive is used as a male matte through
which the B & W background scene is printed on the same
dupe negative with blue light. The color print prevents
exposure in the subject area by blue light.
In this system, no other separations or mattes are re­
quired. The process holds smoke, glassware and hair de­
tail. It is not an important system in an era when almost all
films are made in color.
The Future for Traveling Matte
Composite Photography
by Jonathan Erland, FSMPTE
Executive Vice President,
The Technology Council of the Motion Picture/Television Industry
The 1977 release of Star Wars precipitated a new era
of visual-effects wizardry that continues to the present. In
fact, with the advent of digital film scanning, electronic
image m anipulation and com puter-generated im agery
(CGI) added to the still-growing wealth of evolving pho­
tochemical and in-camera compositing technique, the art
and craft of cinematography finds itself in possession of
unprecedented power over the moving image. Implicit in
this newly acquired capability is a requirement for an in­
creased awareness and sensitivity to the new and evolving
technology on the part of all the craftspeople involved in
cinematography. Composite cinem atography should be
preceded by careful analysis of both the method and the
material most appropriate to achieve the desired result.
Film Stock
Improvements in film stocks are now occurring with
such rapidity as to preclude the prior practice of provid­
ing comparative data in this manual. Instead, guidelines for
use in selecting and testing appropriate stocks for compos­
ite photography will be discussed.
The importance of color difference matting in compos­
ite photography has now been sufficiently well established
that all manufacturers have made efforts to achieve the
requisite chromatic discretion in their product. Recent years
have seen the advent of a major breakthrough in film stock
construction. This is attributed to the development of tabu­
lar-shaped silver halide crystals, com m only called "T "
grain, in which the crystal is as little as one-tenth as thick
as it is wide. The goal of the new crystal design is to pro­
vide a relatively larger target for a given mass of crystal.
This has two effects: one, the speed versus grain ratio is
increased, producing a finer grain image for a given speed;
two, the various layers that make up the total emulsion are
relatively thinner, providing for less light scattering within
the em ulsion and producing a clearer, sharper im age
(greater accutance).
The new grain structure is a substantial improvement,
and still better perform ance is promised for the future.
However, cinematographers intending to produce compos­
ite photography must be aware that such enhanced perfor­
mance is accompanied by increased susceptibility to insta­
bility; the very high-speed film stocks are sensitive to physi­
cal stress. Certain types of camera movements disrupt the
silver-halide crystals within the emulsion, causing uneven
exposure of one or more color records. In tungsten stocks,
this is usually the blue (and fastest) record. In normal con­
ventional production, die effect is usually so subtle as to be
inconsequential. However, in the far more critical realm of
composite photography, such effects can be very serious.
Thus it is ever more important to test both the film stock
and the camera prior to embarking on any composite cin­
Split-screen composites are particularly susceptible to
high-speed emulsion stress syndrome, as the two (or more)
elements will be acquired from different takes. Since the
effect is erratic, the result is to reveal the split. In blue screen
composites, the effect can cause the mattes (usually derived
from the blue record) to beat (fluctuate) from subtle size
Therefore, film stocks and cameras under consider­
ation for the production should be subjected to a simple
test. Expose the candidate film stock in the camera of choice
so that a uniformly illuminated 18 percent grey card fills
the frame. Include a slate in the field to record pertinent
data. M ake two successive takes. In take one, allow the
camera to run normally for several seconds. In take two,
allow the camera to come to speed and then intermittently
interfere with the feed pulley of the magazine by pinching
the pulley with the fingers. This action has the effect of
sending a shock wave through the film as it passes through
the camera, exacerbating any tendency on the part of either
the film stock or the camera to emulsion stress syndrome.
On projection, the print may exhibit density and colorim­
etry changes corresponding to the interference applied to
the magazine. If the print does exhibit such changes, it is
probably the result of emulsion stress.
What is occurring is a transient disorientation of the
silver-halide crystals due to their uniquely thin and flat
structure. The consequence is a piezoelectric effect in which
electrons are momentarily dislocated. This temporary phe­
nomenon affects the relative speed of the emulsion, which
translates into the characteristic fluctuations in image den­
sity. The degree of fluctuation observed will indicate the
magnitude of risk. If fluctuations are observed in the ini­
tial and unstressed take, the stock should be absolutely
avoided. If needed, a careful analysis can be made by hav­
ing black & white color separation positives made from the
negative on a high-contrast stock such as Eastman 5269.
This test will more readily reveal the degree of density fluc­
tuation in the separate color records of the stock. Alterna­
tively, the negative may be run on a telecine, permitting any
fluctuations to be observed on a waveform monitor.
Remember that the stress syndrome is a function of
both the stock and the camera, so that a change of either
may rectify the problem. In some cases the necessary cam­
era modification is quite simple. For example, the modifi­
cation for the Mitchell Standard is the substitution of a large
diameter (.700") first idler roller for the stock (.366”) roller.
The camera must also be rigorously tested for steadi­
ness of the movement and should preferably have provi­
sion for the inclusion of a film clip in the viewfinder sys­
tem to facilitate the lineup of the other elements of the com­
posite photography.
Colorimetry tests should now be conducted which will
determine the suitability for the color difference travelingmatte technique. For these tests, the frame should consist
of a blue field of the type anticipated in production (a dis­
cussion of various types of backing follows). Also included
in the frame should be an 18 percent grey card, as well as a
black void. The black void is created by lining a box, tin can
or other vessel with black velvet and displaying it to the
camera in such a way that no light falls on the interior, the
object being to provide an area on the negative in which
no exposure has occurred.
This particular test is useful in revealing any tendency
of the lens to "veil" blue light across non-blue areas of the
image, and also to indicate the presence of excessive ultra­
violet radiation scattering in the lens and camera body.
While the ultraviolet can be blocked with a filter (such as a
Wratten 2E), nothing much can be done about a lens that
is veiling blue, and in such a case an alternative lens should
be selected. If possible, the frame should also contain a pure
blue reference. For the test only, both the blue backing field
and the gray card should be illuminated equally when read
by a spotmeter. A wedge should be shot extending two
stops above and three stops below nominal at half-stop in­
The developed negative should be read on a color
densitometer, preferably in consultation with the technician
responsible for the compositing process. For simplicity, the
densitometer can be nulled to zero on a clear, unexposed
portion of the negative. This permits subsequent readings
to produce values for each record above D min. For a pho­
tochemical com posite process, the candidate film stock
should exhibit a high degree of color discretion. (For an
electronic composite process different criteria apply, and
these will be discussed separately). Sample readings from
an actual desirable film stock are: Red .02, Green .16, and
Blue 1.20. This yields a Blue/G reen difference of 1.04 den­
sity units. Sample readings from a less-than-desirable film
stock are: Red .04, Green .44, and Blue 1.24., yielding a Blue/
Green difference of .80 density units.
As is observed in Petro Vlahos’ tutorial on blue screen,
the degree of green density in the blue-screen area will
determine the density of the cover matte, which in turn
determines the quality of the final composite. Thus the low
green reading of the first example is very desirable com­
pared to the considerably higher reading of the second
If the wedge reveals that a desired balance between a
low green density and a sufficient blue density results in
an underexposed gray card, then an adjustment to the lu­
minance of the blue backing is called for. In practice, this
frequently results in a blue backing luminance about one
stop lower than the foreground illumination. Some optical
camera operators prefer a slightly overexposed foreground
scene, which can increase still further the spread between
foreground and blue backing. On the other hand, other
operators prefer a higher backing luminance. Moreover, the
luminance of the background plate will influence the selec­
tion of backing luminance values, with high-luminance
plates (i.e., bald sky) requiring higher luminance backings
and night scenes calling for lower backing levels. The les­
son here is to consult with the operator at the earliest pos­
sible opportunity.
While the catalogue of techniques for enhancing the
results of blue screen process is too extensive to explore in
this tutorial, there are two relatively simple tactics that can
make a significant difference. The first procedure is to re­
rate the film stock to half its normal rated speed, thus over­
exposing it by one stop, and then compensate for this over­
exposure by instructing the lab to pull process one stop,
thus reducing the development. This maneuver results in
a normally exposed negative but with a noticeable reduc­
tion in graininess and improved resolution. The second
procedure is to select a fine-grain daylight-balanced stock
for the blue screen photography. This requires either light­
ing with HMI or filtering tungsten light appropriately. The
main reason this is effective is that the blue screen process
makes use of the blue record of the negative to derive
m attes; and while this is a fast, relatively coarse-grain
record in a tungsten-balanced stock, it is a very fine-grained
record in a daylight-balanced stock. The tradeoff for both
of these maneuvers is the relatively extravagant use of light.
Video and Electronic Scanning
The criteria for backing exposures for telecine trans­
fer and electronic scanning intended for computer image
m anipulation can differ quite significantly from photo­
chemical requirem ents. In general, a negative properly
exposed for film compositing will have a blue luminance
level at, or above, the upper limit for optimum video mat­
ting. A sophisticated video m atting system such as the
Ultimatte is capable of producing a matte from as little as
4 0 1.R.E. video units, which would occur at about four stops
lower backing luminance than for a film blue screen com­
posite. Video "clipping" occurs at about 100 I.R.E. video
units. Thus, with a high-luminance blue backing, the blue
level will reach clip and cannot increase further, while the
inevitable green density may continue to rise, reducing the
degree of separation between green and blue. Moreover,
excessive luminance of the backing threatens the image
detail at the matte edge, which will detract from the qual­
ity of the composite. A target, then, is a point within the ca­
pability of both the optical and video processes, and this
occurs at the 1.20 density units above D min. in the blue
record. Below this point, film compositing becomes diffi­
cult, while above it, video matting suffers.
Ultimatte "Screen Correction"
Video matting from film via the Ultimatte can also
avail itself of the screen-correction feature. To use this at­
tribute, a take should be prepared of the blue-screen scene
exactly as it will be shot for the production, with a lockedoff camera but without any of the live action. If the scene
requires camera moves, a motion-control system should be
provided for the camera, and the calibration take run with
the m otion-control program for each shot. No further
changes should be made to such motion-control programs
unless another calibration take is also made.
In the postproduction compositing process, the cali­
bration take will be used to "m ap" the blue-screen area and
correct for any deficiencies. Thereafter, actual production
takes will use this information as a reference and correct
the deficiencies for all subsequent takes. Tine main advan­
tage of this procedure is to lessen the burden on the stage
crew in providing effective matting backings, thus speed­
ing setups and reducing costs. Permitting this technology
to become a panacea, however, entails risk; if the Ultimatte
is unavailable or the calibration take is unusable for any
reason, it will then be difficult to fall back on more conven­
tional techniques. The result will be very costly and timeconsuming to overcome. It's a good idea to make screencorrection calibration takes while also making every rea­
sonable effort to provide a functional blue screen in the
original photography, relying on the screen correction only
as an insurance policy.
Electronic Scanned Film for FeatureQuality Composites
As this edition of the manual goes to press, a variety
of digital electronic film scanning systems are making their
appearance in the feature film industry. The Eastm an
Kodak facility, Cinesite, is one. Others include: Computer
Film Co. (London and Los Angeles); Component Video,
(Los Angeles); Pacific Title, (Los Angeles); Pacific Data
Images, (Los Angeles); Video Image, (Los Angeles) and
Sony High-Definition Facilities, (Los Angeles). Various
other facilities are providing work stations for digital im­
age manipulation. As with photochemical and video mat­
ting technique, these new systems have their own optimal
performance parameters.
W hile it is theoretically true that digital electronic
matting can be performed on any color coordinates, the
safer practice is to select one of the three primary colors. The
main determinant in selecting the backing color will be the
color content of the foreground scene. However, other is­
sues to be considered are: the matting performance of the
particular film stock, the software program on which the
com posite will be performed and the circum stances in
which the matte will be acquired. In the latter case, a vari­
ety of new options will become available to the cinematog­
rapher. Green backings, for example, can be provided for
effective daylight exterior traveling mattes more readily
than can blue.
Ultimatte com posites including the "screen correc­
tion" feature are also available on workstations that have
licensed the process. Feature-film productions intending to
use this method of compositing should observe the guide-
lines for preparing for video matting via Ultimatte, and the
lower backing luminance values generally apply.
It is always wise to shoot a w'edge test, if the opportu­
nity exists. Such tests should include foreground detail
similar to the actual shoot. Thus costume materials and
colors, as well as props, should be included where possible.
Stand-ins for principal players with similar hair and other
characteristics are helpful. The foreground should be prop­
erly exposed so that an 18% gray card will yield proper
LAD #'s. (Laboratory Aim Density values are read from the
developed negative and should be approximately: Red 80,
Green 1.20 and Blue 1.60). Artistically desired "deviations"
from this "norm al" exposure and development can more
effectively be accomplished in the subsequent image pro­
cessing than in original photography, where they can com­
promise the scanning process.
A series of short takes is then made in which the lu­
minance of the backing screen is progressively adjusted
from "p ar" with the foreground to two and a half stops
below par, in half-stop increments. This test is then scanned
and test composites made on the workstation of choice. In
practice, it may be more practical to adjust the foreground
light than the backing illumination, compensating for ex­
posure via ND filters.
The cinematographer should make it a practice to in­
clude the gray card and gray scale at the head of each take.
It is convenient to display these to the camera along with
the slate unless the slate is illuminated with a separate slate
light. Additionally, the running camera should be briefly
"capped" so as to provide a short length of film devoid of
exposure, so that a D-min. reference is produced to assist
in calibration at the scanner.
Front-Lit Backing Materials
As with film stocks, backing materials currently un­
dergo revision too rapidly to permit full discussion here.
The newly em erging electronic m atting processes will
make use of paints, fabrics and plastics only now being
developed. Inquiry directed to the following providers of
such materials will yield current information: 7-K Color
(Los Angeles); Com posite Com ponents Com pany (Los
Angeles); Daizians (New York and Los Angeles); Gothic
Color (New York); Paramount Paint (Los Angeles); Rosco
(worldwide); Stewart Filmscreen (Los Angeles).
Transmission Blue Screen
In transmission blue screen, the source lights, power
supplies and color of the screen itself have all seen changes.
Incandescent lights, impractical because of their low blue
content, have been replaced by fluorescent lamps, in par­
ticular by lamps containing the single phosphor strontium
pyrophosphate: Europium. Such lam ps have a narrow
band output peaking at 420 nanometers. They may be ob­
tained from the major lamp manufacturers and are identi­
fied by the prefix SDB (Super Diazo Blue). These lamps (in­
deed all fluorescent lamps) emit a certain amount of ultra­
violet light; therefore, it is wise to use a Wratten 2E at the
camera or a comparable UV filter at the lamp.
It should be mentioned that there is some evidence to
suggest that the blue end of the spectrum, particularly the
area around 440 nanometers, causes accelerated aging of
the retina. This should not be confused with cataracts and
problems that relate to short-wave ultraviolet. There is no
cause for concern for people who are casually exposed to
blue light, such as actors or stage crew, who may only
spend a few days a year w orking around blue screens.
However, people who spend many weeks a year working
with significant amounts of blue light should take some
precaution to limit their exposure. Excellent filtered glasses,
known as “Blue Blockers," are now available that will com­
pletely block not only the UV but most blue light.
Stewart Filmscreen can produce transmission greenscreen material; a polychromatic screen can be made from
Rosco black-screen rear-projection material and illum i­
nated with the appropriate filtered light to achieve any
desired backing color.
The strobing associated with 60-cycle AC-driven fluo­
rescent lamps may be essentially overcome by the use of
special high-frequency solid-state power supplies.
Reverse Blue Screen
This process was developed in response to a require­
ment to be able to matte objects incorporating highly reflec­
tive surfaces, such as glossy paint (even blue paint) or
specular metallic materials, as well as details such as mesh,
thin wires, and the like. Such characteristics have proved
to be difficult, and in some cases, impossible to matte by
conventional blue screen or frontlit/backlit processes. The
process requires a sophisticated motion-control system
capable of multiple passes in registration, and consequently
cannot be used for live-action filming.
Reverse blue screen derives its name from the basic
concept that, instead of trying to photograph an opaque
object against an illuminated screen, it is desirable to pho­
tograph an illuminating source against a black or otherwise
contrasting background. In this way, limitations inherent
in the blue screen process, notably the tendency of the
screen to reflect off the surface of the foreground subject,
can be avoided.
The subject to be photographed, for example a model
on a motion-control stage, is coated with a transparent
medium, such as lacquer or acrylic, containing one or more
phosphors which are invisible under white light. The sub­
ject is photographed, illuminated by normal stage lighting
sources. A second pass is then filmed, on the same film load,
but consecutive to it. This time the stage lights are extin­
guished, and the subject is irradiated with ultraviolet ra­
diation of a wave length of about 360 nanometers (black
light). This process is applied to stop-motion by simply
filming alternate white light and black light frames instead
of com plete sequences. The ultraviolet radiation is con­
verted by the phosphors on the surface of the subject from
360 nanometers to either 450 (blue); 550 (green); or 650 na­
nometers (red) and re-emitted as visible light. If a color
stock (such as EK 5248) is being used, this will usually be
red so it will record on the finest-grain emulsion layer.
The subject is now functioning as an illum inating
source rather than as a reflector of light falling upon it. It is
this source which is photographed. Further refined by the
use of a color separating filter at the camera lens, the im­
age is formed primarily by the selected phosphor coating
on the surface of the model, with relatively little vestigial
imaging from the model itself. (In the case of red, a Wratten
23A; blue, a blue dichroic plus a Wratten 2E; and green, a
green dichroic alone.) In this way, variations on the model
brought about by paint color, texture changes, etc. are mini­
mized, as the object is to produce a monochromatic image
with as uniform a density as possible. It is sometimes help­
ful to reduce the contrast range in the subject to avoid the
juxtaposition of brilliant w hite and jet black areas (i.e.,
space-shuttle models), but this should usually be done as
a matter of course in preparing subjects for composite pho­
tography, since the ensuing optical processes will build up
contrast in the final composite image.
In addition to the desired elimination of restrictions on
subject characteristics, this method of obtaining mattes
provides the following advantages: First, there are fewer
steps and fewer pieces of film required in the optical com­
position sequence. Second, even under some extreme con­
ditions, such as a subject receding into the distance and
becoming quite small, the matte image retains its integrity
and refuses to disintegrate, as happens when the same shot
is attempted via conventional blue screen. Third, camera
freedom increases, in that a backing screen is not required
to be kept in the camera view; consequently, the camera can
make a 360-degree turn around a subject.
The procedure in the optical department is straightfor­
ward, fast and econom ical. The original negative matte
image is printed to a high contrast stock via the appropri­
ate filter. The exposure of best contrast between the clear
subject area and the opaque background area, usually a
density of approximately 2.6 to 2.7, is printed. The selected
density tends to "pinch" the subject image slightly, thus
affording a tight fit. The reverse is then printed from this
matte, completing the set. The first matte, or "burn-in," is
then simply bi-packed with a positive of the original nega­
tive, printed and followed by a bi-pack of the background
scene with the "hold-out" matte.
A more complex version of this process provides for
the addition of a contrasting phosphor backing (usually
blue) and model mount which is recorded via the appro­
priate filter onto the previously recorded phosphor image.
Or, with appropriate filtration (Wratten #31) both phos­
phors may be recorded simultaneously. The result is the
creation of an image capable of providing both male and
female mattes in one generation. One situation in which this
is helpful is the case of a model with extreme texture or
holes that cannot be adequately penetrated by the black
light. If used alone, such an incomplete image would re­
sult in holes in the matte. However, when each side of the
set of mattes is made from its own respective phosphor, the
result is that dark areas of the burn-in matte remain dark
and do not permit the print-through of the background
Such mattes can have the added property of contain­
ing slightly but im portantly different information from
each other. Subtracting one matte image from the other
therefore yields a third which represents the difference
between its two predecessors. This is known as a "matte-
difference-m atte" and may be used to create additional
effects (such as the re-entry glow on a spacecraft). Further,
it naturally follows that this concept can be extended to
include the green record, obtaining a total of three original
mattes plus any num ber of perm utational derivatives.
Apogee, Inc., holds a Patent (#4,417,791) on Reverse Blue
Screen and supplies the process under license.
Front Projection Blue
This process provides a method for producing blue
screen of exceptional purity, with great economy and, if
needed, on a truly large scale.
Demands made for very large-scale blue screen com­
posites prompted Apogee to build a dedicated, high-power
blue flux front projector. This device, known as "BlueMax," incorporates the best features of both blue screen and
front-projection compositing. From blue screen, we acquire
the ability to composite a final image in which the fore­
ground and the background are of the same generation one
to the other. From front projection, we acquire the absence
of blue spill and the almost unlimited screen size plus the
modest expense of operating a 5000-watt lamp rather than
a large transmission screen. Moreover, we can perform
multi-plane effects which permit the actors to appear both
in front of and behind portions of the blue field, or we can
use flags to obscure apparatus such as lights and rigging.
At the same time, we have dispensed with the front-projection restrictions of poor re-photography of the projected
plate. By using a narrow band interference coated beam
splitter designed to split only the desired matting line, we
caii eliminate the necessity of lighting the foreground scene
one stop hotter to compensate for the one-stop loss of a
conventional beam splitter.
The "Blue-M ax" consists of the following basic ele­
1. The light source, a 5000-watt Mercury-Xenon shortarc lamp.
2. A light collection and delivery system based on a
modified Abbe illumination system in which the arc is re­
imaged by an optical integrator and from there modified
by lenses to conform to the characteristics of the camera lens
in use.
3. A series of filters designed to isolate with great ac­
curacy the selected matting color: Red, Yellow (for Sodium
Vapor two-strip process), Green or Blue.
4. An attenuation system which can modify the out­
put of the projector during a shot in order to maintain a
specified screen brightness level.
5. A selection of beam splitters of various reflection and
transmission ratios, including some having the property of
splitting only the matting line in use, so as to reduce un­
necessary foreground light losses.
6. A light trap incorporated with the projector so as to
allow for relatively unlimited camera movement.
The set-up for a "Blue-M ax" shot is very similar to that
for conventional front projection. It is perhaps even more
essential to keep ambient light contamination off the screen.
The light level at the screen is measured on a ground glass
mounted in the film gate by use of a fiberoptic probe con­
nected to a light meter. In front-projection blue, it is not
necessary to carry focus to the screen as in conventional
front projection.
Reverse Front Projection
In both front projection and transmission blue-screen
compositing, extreme close-ups have presented various
problems. In close-up photography via transmission blue,
blue spill is the principal villain encountered. In front pro­
jection, if a subject approaches very close to the cam era/
projector apparatus, the projected light will record on the
subject in spite of the vast difference in gain between the
subject arid the Scotchlite screen. Furthermore, certain rules
have long existed in front projection technique regarding
the spatial relationships between the camera, the subject
and the screen. (See Front Projection section.) These rules
are directed at preventing the fringing of the subject that
results from having a soft shadow rendered at the screen,
the consequence of a relatively short subject-to-camera dis­
tance versus a relatively long subject-to-screen distance.
Additional problems are introduced if the subject includes
highly reflective surfaces, e.g., silver lame clothing or space
helmets; and all these problems are exacerbated if the sub­
ject is backlit.
In "Blue-M ax" compositing, these difficulties can be
resolved by the adoption of "Reverse Front Projection." In
its sim plest term s, Reverse Front Projection can be de­
scribed as a radical rearrangement of the basic front-projection setup. In conventional front projection, in which a
camera and a projector are disposed at 90 degrees to each
other with a beam splitter arranged between them at 45
Figure 1. Diagram of reverse front projection.
degrees to both, a subject to be photographed is positioned
in front of the cam era/projector apparatus, and a frontprojection screen on which the projector will form an im­
age is deployed beyond the subject. The camera is thus able
to record and combine both the returning projected image
and the foreground subject.
In Reverse Front Projection, the camera and projector
are still at 90 degrees to each other, but separated by a con­
siderable distance, and the foreground subject is placed
between a very large beam splitter (which may be plain
glass, or preferably a pellicle) and the camera. The frontprojection screen faces the projector instead of the camera,
while the camera faces the light trap normally confronted
by the projector. (See Figure 1.) The effect of this arrange­
ment is to take the diverging projected cone of light from
the projector and deliver it as a converging cone of light,
having turned it 90 degrees. We then position the camera
so that the nodal point of its lens coincides with the focal
point at which the projected cone of light converges.
By this process, we acquire all the advantages of frontprojected blue, in terms of the purity of color as well as the
absence of blue spill, without having to project the blue onto
the subject. We have also eliminated the fringing resulting
from poor alignment of projector and camera nodal points,
as there is no shadow at all cast upon the screen by the fore­
ground subject. Furthermore, we have eliminated the ha­
loing resulting from the backscat-tered light that occurs
when the subject is backlit. This is due to a "diode effect"
produced by the arrangement of elements in Reverse Front
Projection. In normal front projection, a ray of light strik­
ing the back surface of a foreground subject is reflected back
to the Scotchlite screen and then returns again along the
same axis, plus or minus some 2%. Therefore some of the
light restrikes the subject, while some passes the subject,
making its way back to the camera to produce the objec­
tionable halo.
By contrast, the "diode effect beamsplitter" handles the
situation in the following manner: a ray of light striking the
rear of the foreground subject is reflected back towards the
beam splitter; approximately 92% of it is passed through
the beam splitter to the black velvet screen, where it is ab­
sorbed. The remaining 8% is reflected back to the Scotchlite
screen, and from thence returns to the beam splitter, where
again 92% is passed through and 8% is reflected towards
the foreground subject. Thus, only 8% of 8%, or .64%, is
made available to the camera to record as halo. To be sure,
only 8°/> of the projected blue light is being made available
to the camera also, but that is not a serious problem to the
Blue-Max with its massive output. It should also be bome
in mind that in conventional front projection, only a theo­
retical 25% of the projected light survives the journey to the
camera, so we are, in fact, sacrificing approximately one
and a half stops.
We sacrifice some degree of camera flexibility in us­
ing Reverse Front Projection, as the camera cannot move
from the nodal point defined by the projector unless pro­
vision is made to move both the camera and projector in
synchrony, hi some cases, it may be easier to move the sub­
ject in relation to the camera. Zooming is certainly possible,
as are all nodal-point moves for the cam era, and these
should cover most requirements for close-ups. Apogee has
applied for patent protection on Reverse Front Projection
as well as the "Blue-M ax," and both are available to the
industry under license.
Current backing materials include the following paints
and fabrics. Paints: Paramount Ultra-Marine Blue #8580 (a
tough surface paint that resists scuffing, but is more appli­
cable to television than to film, as it lacks sufficient color
saturation); 7-K Infinity Blue (for years the industry stan­
dard); Apogee Process Blue, Rosco Ultra Blue and Gothic
Ultra Blue. Fabrics: "F R P 100" (flam e retard ant) and
"Tem po," (not flame-retardant though it has superior color
saturation and a felt-like texture with a thin foam-rubber
backing), both available from Daizians in New York and
Los Angeles, and a new material from Rosco. Besides these
there is a vinyl plastic sheet material from Stewarts called
Ultimatte Front Lit Blue. This material, besides providing
a very clean blue, is also very durable -- sturdy enough to
drive vehicles on.
Digital Effects Cinematography
by Dennis Muren, ASC
The arrival of theatrical-quality digital image manipu­
lation brings to the cinematographer new responsibilities.
It is important that we do our best to understand and even­
tually master the capabilities of this new tool. On the set,
we will soon be asked, "Can we keep shooting and fix it
digitally?" or "C an't we just paint out the w ires?" As of
now, there are no industry-wide standards defining image
quality, and there are only a handful of computer artists
who know our expectations. Our participation is vital. Per­
haps within this decade entire films will begin passing
through a digital printer, where the choices of color timings
will be only one of a dozen possible alterations. The cinema­
tographer will need to be at these sessions to follow through
on his vision. He may have chosen to light and expose the
negative in specific ways, knowing that with digital ma­
nipulation he will later alter the image to best create a spe­
cific mood or effect.
Many of these techniques are available for TV at video
post houses. But we have no control over how a home
viewer chooses to adjust his TV. In feature films, it is the
cinematographer who can have the final say, because he
works with the color timer and often approves the release
For a few years, digital manipulation will be restricted
to special instances where the expense is justified. Tine work
will be done at a film effects house or a high-end video
house. One way to begin feeling comfortable with this tech­
nology is to tour a number of suppliers' facilities. Ask to
see their sample reel on film, not tape. Then trust your own
eye in evaluating the work. Since equipment costs change
as technology advances, pricing should not be assumed.
Feel free to consult experts whom you trust. There is still
no substitute for experience on a set. On a show with diffi­
cult effects work, an experienced expert should be there
whenever possible. Later, you may want to check the final
manipulated film that has been cut into the workprint, and
project it if possible. It should be up to the video house to
ensure that a shot will intercut, but they may in fact have
very little film experience.
Here is a brief summary of the three steps needed to
transfer film into a computer and back onto film. Each step
is controlled by a computer:
1. Input: The original negative or interpositive is
scanned by a sensor, which produces the electronic equiva­
lent of a photograph. Each frame is subdivided into millions
of discrete dots, and each dot's position, color and bright­
ness is stored on digital tape or disks.
2. Manipulating: The digital tape or disks are read into
a computer where the image is reassembled on a monitor
for viewing. It can then be manipulated with computerpainting and image-processing programs, either by an art­
ist a frame at a time or preprogrammed and recorded un­
attended, and then stored onto digital tape or disks.
3. Output: The digital tape or disks are read into a com­
puter where the image is put back onto film, either through
photographing a high-quality TV image or by lasers scan­
ning onto film and reconstructing each dot's position, color
and brightness. Tine film is then processed and printed for
It is during step two that we have an opportunity to
alter the image. We work with a computer artist who runs
the computer, much like in a postproduction video suite.
For now, monitors are not exact representations of what
will show on film. But their usefulness lies in making judg­
ments of images relative to one another or within the frame.
As we have learned to interpret how a set will look on film
by using our eye, we will need to learn to interpret how a
monitor's image will look on film. Today, the processing
of the images happens much more slowly than in a post
suite. So before a job is completed, a wedge of one frame
can be requested and checked for final approval before
nam ing the job. Here are a few specific manipulation tech­
niques now available:
Image Processing: Tliis will become both a creative tool
and a worry for cinematographers. Color, contrast, satura­
tion, sharpness, and even the apparent shape of objects can
be altered. Single color can be changed, areas can be iso­
lated, and the changes will only affect that area. These tools
may eventually be in the printing laboratory, which will
make a com pletely new negative to be used for release
Painting: Wires or supports can be painted out and not
appear on the film. This can make stunt work safer. Un­
wanted objects can be painted out. If a difficult effects shot
has an artifact, it might be easier to paint the defect out than
try to correct it at an earlier step.
Compositing: For blue-screen work, in some cases the
quality of the blue background need not be prefect if the
composite is to be made digitally. This means we can set
up faster. The screen can be positioned in difficult places
or at extreme angles. Green or red screen may work bet­
ter, depending upon the colors in the subject. Mattes can
be made from differences in color and brightness at the
same time. Since the process is self-contained within the
computer, there are no problems with film shrinkage, un­
steadiness, exposure fluctuation, or photochemical devel­
opment as there are with optical printing. The composite
is viewed on a monitor and adjusted at every step. When
properly photographed, compositing can now be perfectly
High-Resolution Electronic
Intermediate System for Film
by Don Miskowich
Eastman Kodak Company has developed a high-resolution electronic intermediate system designed for the con­
temporary needs of the motion-picture industry. This sys­
tem can be used to scan and digitize frames of motion pic­
ture film so they can be interactively m anipulated and
composited at computer workstations. The digital pictures
can be recorded back onto film without com prom ising
image quality.
There are many significant advantages to this technol­
ogy. By converting film to digital form (l's and 0's in the
computer), the images can be endlessly manipulated with­
out losing quality. The system is capable of accommodat­
ing the full-resolution and dynamic-range of analog pic­
tures captured on currently available fine-grain 35mm
films. With this technology it is as feasible technically to
combine 25 layers of imagery as it is to combine a simple
foreground and background. Image input and output time
is approximately three seconds per frame at full resolution.
The system can also be used at one-quarter and one-half
resolution, which is comparable to NTSC /P A L and HDTV
image quality.
Applications fall into three general categories— paint­
ing, image processing and compositing. Painting includes
such applications as guide wire and artifact removal. It is
also possible to repair scratched or otherwise damaged
Image processing includes such applications as the
manipulation of colors, contrast, saturation, sharpness and
even the apparent shape of images. Single colors can be
altered in isolated areas of individual frames. While this
capability can be used to resolve problems, it also is a po­
tentially powerful artistic tool which gives the cinematog­
rapher a second chance to alter the emotional content as
well as the quality of images.
Digital image compositing should make the biggest
impact. There will be less stringent requirements for setting
up blue-screen photography since it is possible to solve
many problems at the image composing workstation. For
example, blue-spill — blue reflections on shiny objects that
get too close to the blue screen — can be eliminated at the
image-computing workstation.
The Kodak system has four main components: a film
scanner, an image computing workstation the necessary
software, digital data cassette recorders, and a film re­
The scanner uses a proprietary CCD trilinear sensor
with three linear 4096-pixel photosite arrays. The arrays are
covered with red, green and blue filters. These are opti­
mized to match the dyes in contemporary color negative
films. A xenon light source and integrating filter provide
high-power diffused illumination.
The seamier also employs unique signal processing
electronics and a proprietary transport design using frameindexed, pin-registration and film-surface positioning. The
latter features are crucial for seamless compos-iting of dif­
ferent picture elements.
The image computing workstation is based on cur­
rently available technology. It incorporates a Sun micropro­
cessor platform with VME backplane and UNIX operating
system. The workstation can be in a stand-alone or net­
worked environment. It provides a previewing capability
on a video monitor. This allows the operator and members
of the creative team to make interactive decisions in a very
tight loop. They can look at images composited in various
ways, make decisions, and view the results in minutes.
A transputer-based, image-processing accelerator was
developed for the workstation to provide high-speed im­
age manipulation. In addition its capability was extended
to provide direct memory access (DMA) on the edge nodes.
The design flexibility allows users to size the transputer
processing array to match their budget and their imageprocessing interactivity and productivity needs. The sys­
tem is configured with a minimum of 8 gigabytes of paral­
lel disk storage and uses a high-speed, industry-standard
SCSI-2 data bus for data transfer. On-line disk storage can
be increased by adding disk drives to the array. Industrystandard peripherals can be used, including the Exabyte
8mm data recorder, and DD-2 digital cassette recorders
which can support data transfer rates in excess of 15 mega­
bytes per second.
State-of-the-art software has been developed for the
w orkstation. It uses concepts and sym bols fam iliar to
people already w orking with images at video postpro­
duction facilities, computer-generated image houses and
optical effects facilities. Main features include interactivity
with selectable windows providing immediate updates of
processed images.
The software uses flexible image processing tools, in­
cluding color grading, filtering, resizing, repositioning and
painting. Images can be imported from and exported to
other major software packages. Kodak has also licensed the
use of adjustable algorithms for blue screen compositing
developed by the Ultimatte Corporation. Ultimatte has
been a leader in the development of flexible programs for
electronic compositing at NTSC, PAL and HDTV resolu­
tion. This is the first use of these programs for making film-
resolution composites. The latest generation of Ultimatte
software provides filmmakers with greater flexibility for
creating credible composites.
Previously, blue screen photography was limited to
silhouette-style shots against rear-lit, perfect blue screens.
The new algorithms allow actors to move in the foreground
of front-lit blue screens and cast shadows. They can climb
on and around blue set pieces, and move within the back­
ground instead of just performing in the foreground.
The final component is the film recorder. The recorder
uses three visible gas lasers to copy digital pictures onto a
high-resolution color intermediate film. Blue light is pro­
vided by a 458nm Argon laser; green light by a 543nm
Helium Neon laser; and red light by a 633nm Helium Neon
laser. The film recorder also uses unique lenses and beamshaping optics optimized for this application. The propri­
etary transport design employs the same precise frameindexed pin registration and film surface positioning used
by the film scanner.
Both the scanner and recorder are designed to work
at a resolution of 167 pixels per mm in the film plane. This
was selected to preserve the resolution of the original cam­
era film, and also to provide the maximum sample size of
4096 pixels across full-width formats such as Super 35 and
VistaVision. Preserving the aspect ratio of the Super 35
camera aperture, the system produces an image with 4096
pixels across and 3114 lines down. This is more than twice
the horizontal sam pling of the 1125 line HDTV format,
which has 1920 samples horizontally and 1035 visible lines
vertically. The following table summarizes the image di­
mensions for the formats supported by the scanner and the
Form at
Super 35
Cinem aScope
H orizontal
For example, an Academy-aperture 35mm frame is
scanned to capture 3656 lines of horizontal resolution with
2664 picture elements, or pixels, on every line. To record
the range of density captured on the negative, while pro­
viding "headroom " for creative digital image manipula­
tion, the system accommodates up to 10 bits of information
in each of three color records every pixel.
This feature requires some 40 megabytes of magnetic
computer storage for every frame of 35mm film. One frame
would use the entire hard-disk capacity of many popular
personal computers. It's enough data to write some 8-10
million words in the English language. Remember, both the
scanner and recorder can handle one frame of film in ap­
proximately three seconds.
There are other flexible alternatives. For example, the
system provides an option for scanning, storing and pro­
cessing 8 bits of data in each color record of every pixel for
applications not requiring headroom. The user can also opt
to work at one-quarter or one-half resolution, which re­
quires only 'A or '/w of the storage space, respectively.
The equipment has been designed in an open archi­
tecture mode which provides compatibility with standard
peripheral interfaces used in the computer industry. Also,
a digital picture file format which simplifies the exchange
of images between workstations and between different fa­
cilities, has been developed.
Other applications for the high-resolution electronic
intermediate system include restoration of vintage films
that have been marred by scratches, blotches and other
damage. It is even possible to restore torn images or miss­
ing parts of images based on the image information in ad­
jacent frames. This should prove to be a valuable tool for
protecting and preserving films that have cultural an d /or
historic significance or that have potential value for future
Considerable interest has been expressed to establish
image databases of stock footage from live-action and com­
puter-generated image libraries. Stock footage stored in
digital format would then be easily accessible. The image
quality would be equivalent to first-generation negative
film . This w ould assure that stock fo otag e in tercu ts
smoothly with live-action photography.
Over the long term, it could eventually become prac­
tical to integrate a high-resolution electronic intermediate
system into the print distribution chain. A digital interme­
diate could be used to generate a high-quality intermedi­
ate film which would be used as a printing master. This
would eliminate several generations of film from the re­
lease-printing process, resulting in a significant improve­
ment in image quality.
Computer Graphics
by Michael W hitney and Allan Peach
Computer-generated imagery (CGI) has become an
important addition to the working world of the cinematog­
rapher. CGI is the simulation of real or imagined objects
and environm ents using com puter-based mathematical
models. Just as a director and cinematographer light and
compose shots on an actual three-dimensional set, the CGI
director works with an interactive computer display to set
the lighting and block the shots on a simulated set. The
director can then transfer the computer created imagery to
video or film.
Computer simulation of reality can be quite effective,
but simulated objects, lighting, and environmental effects
only approximate reality. Light may pass right through a
simulated object without casting shadows, solid objects
may themselves pass magically through one another, and
environmental effects may drift from the realistic to the
comical within the same scene. The computer artist needs
to be aware of the imperfection in the software's simula­
tion of the world. Typically, the more accurately the direc­
tor simulates a scene, the longer it takes the computer to
generate the image. Because of this, the computer artist
must be cognizant of the cost of "reality" in setting up a
CGI for motion pictures is an inherently expensive
process because of the time it takes to generate and record
a single frame of film. Although high-end production work
is still best served by supercomputers and advanced work­
stations, com puter-graphics software is fast becoming a
prevalent commodity in the personal computer world. This
trend, coupled with the proliferation of faster and more
inexpensive computers, is slowly reducing the cost of pro­
ducing quality computer graphics.
Basic Tools and Terms
The atomic unit of com puter graphics is the pixel (a
contraction of picture element). Low-resolution displays,
often found in personal computers, have resolutions of 640
X 480 pixels. This resolution is sufficient for most NTSC
video work. However, motion picture work requires higher
resolution displays with resolutions of 1280 pixels X 1024
lines or greater. Upcoming high-definition television sys­
tems will have displays approaching 2,000 horizontal pix­
els by 1,000 vertical lines.
The computer calculates the color for each pixel and
displays it by varying the intensity of the Red, Green and
Blue (RGB) signal. To represent color as perceived by the
human eye, each pixel must span a range of 16 million to
68 billion colors (256 to 4,096 intensity values per R, G, B
component). Internally the computer stores the RGB val­
ues in memory, with between 8 and 12 bits representing
each R, G and B value. Each pixel, therefore, requires 24 to
36 bits of storage. Even for the low resolution of NTSC
video, the computer must calculate and then store over 1
megabyte of data for each frame. A single Academy-aperture 35mm color negative frame, at the theatrical screen­
ing resolution of 4,096 pixels x 3,072 lines, requires around
56 megabytes of storage. A 65mm 5-perf motion-picture
image requires a screen resolution of 6,000 X 2,500 pixels
or higher. With 12 bits per R, G and B value, a frame would
require 67.5 megabytes of memory, i.e., 6,000 pixels X 2,500
lines X 3 colors (RGB) X 1.5 bytes (1 byte = 8 bits). The com ­
puter must calculate this data then move it from its inter­
nal memory to the display memory of the film recorder.
The film recorder displays the data on a cathode-ray
tube (CRT) or writes directly to the raw camera stock with
a scanning RGB laser. This means that in order to make
computer graphics economical, you must not only have an
extrem ely fast com puter, but you m ust also have high
bandw idth pathw ays (called channels) betw een storage
devices, the computer and the film recorder. For compari­
son, personal computers with 2,400 baud modems trans­
fer data at 240 bytes per second. A high-performance CRTbased film recorder, in order to record a single 35mm frame
in approximately six seconds, needs the channels to trans­
fer 56 megabytes of data at 10,000,000 bytes (10 megabytes)
per second.
Currently, no computer can create computer graphic
frames at film resolution in real time. Often a frame may
take from several seconds to many hours to compute and
record. Whole scenes often take days to weeks of computer
time. Because of these factors, computer graphics can be
expensive, but the virtues of computer imagery often out­
weigh the costs.
2-D and 3-D Images
Two-dimensional computer graphics are a staple of
video postproduction houses. The low resolution of video
allows real-time manipulation of images by the graphic
artist. The user interface of a two-dimensional system is
usually a graphics tablet. The artist uses an electronic stylus
to draw or paint on the tablet much as a painter would use
a brush and canvas. Because of this, these computers are
called paintbox systems. Video artists use paintbox systems
to create special effects and to manipulate the original video
source material. For example, a paintbox system can re­
touch tape dropouts or remove unwanted objects.
Digital fram e stores are memory devices that scan and
store complete frames of video in a digital format. Several
companies make two-dimensional computer graphics sys­
tems, such as the ADO, that utilize digital frame stores to
do freeze frames, zooms, video compression and expan­
sion, video positioning, changes of aspect ratio, program­
mable patterns, picture flips and tumbles, etc.
Three-dimensional computer graphics are being used
more and more in the motion-picture field. From pioneer­
ing efforts such as Tron and The Last Starfighter to more re­
cent special-effects extravaganzas such as Terminator 2 and
Lawnmower Man, three-dimensional computer graphics can
create images that would be impossible to produce using
normal special-effects technologies.
The creation of three-dimensional computer graphics
involves several steps. The first of these is the modeling
process. M odeling refers to the creation of the simulated
objects in the com puter's memory, the modeling of optical
elements such as light, transparency, shadows, reflectivity,
etc., and the simulation of camera placement and move­
ment within the computer-generated world.
The computer constructs objects from a series of points
defined by the model maker. The points represent locations
in a Cartesian coordinate system. Often the model maker
may use several coordinate systems to facilitate the con­
struction and interaction of objects. These stored points (the
object database) can represent the vertices of polygons or the
control points of more complex constructs such as splines
or nitrbs (mathematical representations of complex curves).
The computer can create a simplified version of the object,
called a wire frame, by simply connecting the points with
lines. This wire-frame model is a useful representation of
the object as the com puter can render the wire fram e
quickly. This allows the com puter artist to preview the
scene in real time or near real time. Eventually, however,
the computer must create surfaces on the objects to facili­
tate realistic lighting and shading.
The computer artist assigns attributes to the object's
surfaces. These can include color, shininess (non-reflective
to highly reflective), and opacity. Recent features in CGI
software allow for more realistic-looking atmospheric ef­
fects and the creation of organic objects such as trees and
Objects may have picture textures projected or wrapped
on their surfaces for a more natural effect. These textures
are two-dimensional pictures that give the surface of the
object the appearance of being made from real materials
such as, for example, wood or concrete. Parameters for
bump mapping are also modeled in the computer. An ex­
ample of bump mapping might be the dimples on a golf
ball or the pitted surface of an orange. Procedural surface
effects are formulas for creating surfaces and are useful
replacements for scanned texture maps.
Lighting is also simulated in the modeling stage. The
computer artist must take into account many of the con­
cerns of a traditional lighting director. Computer lights
come in many forms from distant lights that simulate the
sun, to point lights and spot lights that simulate man-made
light sources. Lighting the scene involves placing the lights
in the simulated three-dimensional space, adjusting their
intensity, the angle of their cone, their direction and their
The computer can also simulate camera attributes such
as depth of field, focal length, aspect ratios, etc. Once the
object models are in place, the modeler can position the
cam era anyw here in the sim ulated three-dim ensional
space. This is a major advantage over two-dimensional
animation, where each change in camera position requires
a new drawing of all the objects in the scene. The computer
modeler does not need to reconstruct the objects to create
a new shot. He can simply reposition the camera.
The next step in the modeling process is specifying the
movement of any animated objects and any movement of
the camera. The computer can be an excellent aid in this
anim ation process. The com puter anim ator creates key
fram es and tells the computer the method of interpolation.
The computer then creates the in-betweens.
In addition, traditional animation studios are turning
to computer graphics to assist in the cel animation process.
With CGI, the animator can create a computer aided cam­
era m ove through a three-dim ensional world and then
print the scene as two-dimensional perspective drawing
directly onto animation cels. Artists can then use the computer-generated lines as guides to ink and paint the cels
or use other specialized computers to do the ink and paint
work. These processes can save hours of an anim ator's
time in figuring out complex motion and perspectives and
reduce production costs. Recent examples of computer-as­
sisted animation and digital ink and paint include Beauty
and the Beast, Ferngully and Aladdin .
Rendering consists of taking the digital attributes of the
model, the lighting and the camera and creating an image.
Rendering is a complex process and requires much more
computer power than the modeling stage. Before expend­
ing the time and money to render an entire shot, the com­
puter artist may wish to render single key frames of an
animation sequence to check that the simulated image is
the desired one. The artist may also render wire frame or
low-resolution approximations of the shot to get a feel of
the look of the animation before fully rendering the scene.
Because the objects in the computer-generated scene
are only simulations, they act quite differently from realworld objects that must obey the rules of physics. If not
properly animated in three dimensions, computer objects
may interpenetrate one another, destroying the illusion of
solid, real objects. If not properly constructed, seams may
show between supposedly seamless parts. The artist may
discover unwanted artifacts created by the size and shape
of the pixels, the scan lines of the monitor, or errors in tex­
ture mapping or surface generation for the first time in the
rendering process. The modeling and rendering cycle is
often an iterative and interactive one, with the CGI designer
returning to the modeling stage to correct problems that can
only be detected after rendering.
Final rendered images can range from simple wire­
frame approximations of objects, to highly faceted objects,
to realistic smooth shaded objects. The style in which an art­
ist renders an image is often a factor of aesthetics tempered
by the pragmatism of meeting a production deadline or
budget constraints.
During the rendering process, the computer may also
control a scanner to digitize film frames and to com pos­
ite them with the computer-generated images.
The scanner is a device that translates an image from
previously exposed film into a digital format. Current de­
vices use a CRT or laser to scan a film frame on a pointto-point basis or use a charge-coupled device (CCD) to
digitize the frame by area or line by line.
The CRT or laser is the moving spot illumination source
that scans the image at a constant intensity. Controlling the
beam diameter can determine the size of the pixels and thus
the resolution of the scanned image. As the beam scans the
film frame pixel by pixel, light gathered by an optical sys­
tem passes through dichroic filters and splits into red, green
and blue components. The intensity of the light hitting R,
G & B light sensors converts to an analog electrical signal.
An analog to digital converter translates the analog signal
into a digital value for each color.
CCD scanners utilize a technology employed in pro­
fessional video cameras. Instead of a scanning light source,
the CCD scanner uses an incandescent or xenon light source
similar to the optical printer. The number of pixel elements
in the CCD array determines the resolution of the scanned
image. Grid arrays of 2,000 pixels by 2,000 lines or 4,000 pix­
els by 4,000 lines enable scanning an entire frame while
holding the film on fixed registration pins. Line arrays of
2,000 to 4,000 pixels require that the film be rolled past the
CCD to scan the entire film frame.
The computer captures the number stream produced
by the scanner and creates a pixel array database in a for­
mat compatible with the database of a simulated image.
The time required to scan a frame varies from under five
seconds to several minutes depending on the device and
the resolution.
The com puter can com posite both foreground and
background elements in what might be called digital film
printing. Although the computer can use any color to ex­
tract a matte, it is most practical to use a spectrally pure
color such as Ultimatte blue or green. However, it is not
necessary to have a blue- or green-screen exposure lim­
ited to one color record of the film as is needed in filmbased m atting systems. The same qualification applies,
however, in that the background screen color cannot be
in the foreground subject.
CRT and laser-based////;; recorders progressively ex­
pose each pixel onto film by electronically controlling the
position and intensity of a CRT beam or by mechanically
deflecting R, G, B laser beams. Recorders (and scanners)
that deflect in both the X-axis and Y-axis use traditional
registered pin film movements. Other laser recorders de­
flect in the X-axis only and rely on rolling the film smoothly
in the Y-axis to record the film frame area. Once the me­
chanical stability problems are resolved, an advantage of
laser-beam recorders is that they have sufficient light out­
put to expose higher resolution lab intermediate film stocks.
Film exposure times in existing film recorders vary from
under ten seconds to several minutes per frame depend­
ing on the device and resolution.
It is important to address several issues before filming
a CGI shot: how the computer will translate the calculated
pixels into color exposure values and how the spectral
emission characteristics of the cathode ray tube (CRT) or
RGB laser beams will match the film sensitivity curves. The
computer can define color values according to a system of
hue, luminance and saturation, or according to a system of
Red, Green and Blue values. In either case, three sets of
numbers describe the color of each pixel in the final image.
Color calibration, which is the relationship between the cal­
culated color sp ace and the actual film exp o su re, is
achieved through the use of a color look-up table (CLUT),
and other matrix transform color corrections.
The CLUT is a graph of film density plotted against
calculated color exposure. The technician doing color cali­
bration derives the CLUT from carefully plotted curves
determined through densitometry of the exposed negative.
Using the CLUT the technician matches the emission en­
ergy of the CRT or laser, combined with high-efficiency
RGB filters, to provide exposure in the straight-line portion
of the film exposure curve. The computer accomplishes this
by translating color space numbers into the RGB exposure
values determined from the color look-up table. It is pos­
sible, through the use of the CLUT, to precisely control film
image contrast. It is often useful to use logarithmic repre­
sentation for the pixel values. Logarithm ic pixel values
translate easily to logarithmic film density during calibra­
tion of scanning and recording devices.
One problem that is typical for high-resolution CRTs
is the creation of an unwanted halo by internal glass reflec­
tions in the CRT faceplate. The halo affects the image in the
form of an unwanted exposure surrounding the highlight
areas. Techniques to reduce this problem include the ad­
dition of a neutral-density panel bonded to the surface of
the CRT, the tinting of the CRT faceplate, and the bond­
ing of a thick clear panel to the CRT faceplate.
Image Processing
Image processing, a branch of com puter graphics, in
some ways represents the reverse of the computer graph­
ics process we have been describing. Image processing in­
volves the computer modifying the data from a tradition­
ally shot piece of film or video. A film scanner or a digital
video process first digitizes the images into a form the com­
puter can use. The computer can then manipulate the digi­
tal representation by changing the attributes of the pixels
that make up the image.
Image-processing techniques can sharpen or defocus
an image, solarize or reverse an image's colors, or reposi­
tion the image. Additionally , one im age can be trans­
formed into another through a technique called morphing.
For years the aerospace industry has used image pro­
cessing techniques to enhance satellite space footage taken
under sub-optimal viewing conditions. Today, image pro­
cessing creates fantastic effects for rock videos and specialeffects films.
Producing effects for motion pictures is at the high end
of the computer graphics world. It is here that all the tough­
est problems of CGI occur. Although computers are becom­
ing more powerful, the software needed to create realisticlooking environments, effects and characters is still tech­
nically difficult to produce. Recording and scanning motion-picture-resolution film requires complex equipment,
w hile generating, m oving and storing the enorm ous
amounts of data needed by the computer can be time-con­
suming and expensive. Still, CGI is here to stay, and ever
It is important that the cinematographer understand
the vocabulary of com puter-generated imagery. As the
computer artist takes a place beside the traditional special
effects artist, the aesthetic goal remains the same — creat­
ing visual magic that will intercut with the camera imag­
ery of the director of photography. To fully utilize computer
simulation, it will become necessary for all those involved
in the various phases of the motion-picture industry to
understand its great creative potential, as well as its limi­
tations and cost.
Cinemagic of the Optical Printer
by Lin wood G. Dunn, ASC
Former president, Film Effects of Hollywood
The earliest optical printers were custom built by the
major studios and film laboratories, and were usually de­
signed and made in their own shops to fit their particular
requirements. Modern standardized optical printing equip­
ment, capable of creating the innumerable effects hereto­
fore possible only in the major studios, became available
to the entire motion-picture industry in 1943 with the in­
troduction of the Acme-Dunn Optical Printer, designed and
built for the United States Armed Forces Photographic
Units. Later the Oxberry, Producers Sendee, Research Prod­
ucts, and other optical printers appeared on the market.
Commercial availability of this type of equipment greatly
stimulated and widened the scope of the special-effects
field. Even the smallest film producers now could make
motion pictures with special effects limited only by their
imagination and budgets, utilizing the services of growing
numbers of independent special-effects laboratories which
could now operate competitively using equipment avail­
able to all.
Developments over the years of more sophisticated
equipment, new duplicating films, special-purpose lenses,
and im proved film -processing techniques, as well as
skilled technicians, have increased the use of the optical
printer to a point where its great creative and economic
value is common knowledge in the motion-picture indus­
try. In more recent years, the adaptation of computer tech­
nology to the optical effects printer has basically simpli­
fied the control and accuracy of some of its important func­
tions, thus making it much easier to produce certain com­
plex visual effects at lower cost as well as to greatly ex­
pand its creative scope. This has made it possible to pro­
gram, record, and to repeat the movement of certain of its
devices with such a degree of accuracy that area-blocking
functions can now produce traveling-m atte com posite
scenes that were heretofore highly impractical, if not im­
possible. One can truly say that the creative capability of
the modern visual effects optical printer is only limited by
the creative talent and technical skills of the operator. In
recent years such major film productions as Star Wars, The
Black Hole, The Empire Strikes Back, and Cocoon have all uti­
lized the full capabilities of the modern optical printer to
create a whole new world of imaginative creativity through
their extensive use of very sophisticated motion-picture
visual effects. The following list of some of the work that
is done on the modern optical printer will illustrate its vast
scope and tremendous importance to modern filmmaking.
Transitional Effects
Employed to create a definite change in time or loca­
tion betw een scenes. The fade, lap dissolve, w ipe-off,
push-off, ripple dissolve, out-of-focus or diffusion dis­
solve, flip-over, page turn, zoom dissolve, spin-in and out,
and an unlimited variety of film matte wipe effects, are all
typical examples of the many optical transitional effects
Change of Size or Position
May be used to elim inate unw anted areas, obtain
closer angles for extra editing cuts, reposition action for
multiple-exposure framing, including montage, and back­
grounds for titles.
Frame Sequence Modification
Screen action may be sped up or slowed down in or­
der to: convert old 16 fram es-per-second silent films to
standard 24 fram es-p er-second sound speed ; change
speed of action and length of certain scenes or sections of
scenes; provide spot-frame modification to give realism to
specific action in fights, falls, chases, etc.; hold a specific
frame for freeze effects and for title backgrounds; add foot­
age for com edy effects; reverse direction of printing to
lengthen action and for special-effects use; extend scenes
through multiple-frame printing for action analysis in in­
strumentation, training and educational films.
Optical Zoom
Optical zoom is used to change frame area coverage
and image size during forward and reverse zooming action
in order to: produce a dramatic or impact effect (according
to speed of the move); counteract or add to the speed and
motion of camera zooms or dolly shots; re-frame by en­
largem ent a n d /o r add footage to either end of camera
zooms or dolly shots by extending the range of moves;
momentarily eliminate unwanted areas or objects by zoom­
ing forward and back at specific footage points (such as
when a microphone or lamp is accidentally framed in dur­
ing part of a scene); add optical zoom to static scene to
match camera zoom or dolly in a superimposure. The outof-focus zoom also is effective to depict delirium, blindness,
retrospect, transition, etc.
Superimposure is tire capability used to print an im­
age from one or more films overlaid on one film. This is
commonly done in positioning title lettering over back­
grounds. Also used for montages, visionary effects, bas
relief; adding snow, rain, fog, fire, clouds, lightning flashes,
sparks, water reflections and a myriad of other light effects.
Employed for multiple image, montage effects, dual
roles played by one actor, and for dangerous anim als
shown appearing in the sam e scene with people, as in
Bringing Up Baby, which shows Katherine Hepburn work­
ing with a leopard throughout the picture (in this film, the
split screens move with the action). Matte paintings often
utilize this technique when live-action areas require ma­
nipulation within an involved composite scene.
Quality Manipulation
The quality of a scene, or an area within a scene, may
be altered in order to create an entirely new scene or spe­
cial effect or to match it in with other scenes. There are in­
numerable ways to accomplish this, such as adding or re­
ducing diffusion, filtering, matting and dodging areas, and
altering contrast. Often library stock material must be modi­
fied to fill certain needs, such as creating night scenes from
day; reproducing black & white on color film through fil­
tering, printed masks, or appropriately coloring certain
areas through localized filtering; and the combining of cer­
tain areas of two or more scenes to obtain a new scene, such
as the water from one scene and the terrain or clouded sky
of another.
Adding Motion
Employed to create the effect of spinning or rotating,
as in plane and auto interiors and in certain montage effects;
rocking motion for boat action, sudden jarring or shaking
the scene for explosion and earthquake effects; distortion
in motion through special lenses for drunk, delirious and
visionary effects.
General Uses of the Optical Printer
The preceding represents some of the special catego­
ries of effects that can be produced on the optical printer.
The following are a few of the more important general tech­
niques employing this useful cinematic tool.
Traveling Mattes
Used to matte a foreground action into a background
film made at another time. The various matte systems in
use today require the optical printer in order to properly
manipulate the separate films to obtain a realistic quality
matching balance between them when combined into a
composite. Use of this process has greatly increased as
modern techniques protluce improved results at reduced
costs. Motion control, referred to earlier, has greatly wid­
ened the scope of this visual-effects category.
Blow-Ups and Reductions
The fixed set-up optical printer is used for 16mm re­
duction negatives and prints, and for certain limited release
printing from 35mm originals. This is utilized when small
volum e m akes this proced u re m ore econom ical than
through a converted negative, and when maximum qual­
ity is of greatest importance. Enlarging from 16mm to
35mm color or black and white is a very important func­
tion of the optical printer. Many fine theatrical films, such
as the Academy Award-winning The Sen Around Us, The
Living Desert, and Scenes From a Marriage, have been pho­
tographed iii 16mm, and have enjoyed great financial suc­
cess through 35mm release prints made from 35mm blow­
up internegatives.
Special new lenses, film raw stocks and immersedmovement printing have enhanced the overall quality to a
point where the 16mm-35mm blow-up medium is pres­
ently enjoying very successful commercial usage. Conver­
sions between 65mm and 35mm also are an important func­
tion of the optical printer. Productions made in almost any
film format are being release-printed in different types to
meet certain theatrical distribution requirements. The Con­
cert for Bangladesh was the first feature-length film to be
enlarged from 16mm color internegative directly to 70mm
theater prints.
Anamorphic Conversions
The standard optical printer equipped with a specially
designed "squeeze" or "unsqueeze" lens can be used to
produce anamorphic prints from "fla t" images, or to re­
verse this function. The possibility of the "flat" or spheri­
cal film being converted for anamorphic projection with­
out serious loss of quality has greatly widened this field of
theatrical exhibition. The manipulations available on the
optical printer also make it possible to scan and reposition
any scenes that require reframing when converted to or
from wide-screen proportion.
Doctoring, Modifying and Salvaging
Some of the important uses of the optical printer are
not recognized as special effects in the finished film, and
often are not apparent as such even to skilled motion-pic­
ture technicians. One of these applications is the field of
"doctoring" by modifying scenes which, for a variety of
reasons, may not be acceptable for use. This includes sal­
vaging scenes that are completely unusable due to some
mechanical failure or human error during photography,
and also the modification of stock film material through the
various methods noted to fit specific requirements. Many
expensive retakes have been avoided by the ingenious ap­
plication of such optical-printing reclamation techniques.
The liquid, or immersion, film gate produces dramatic re­
sults in the removal of scratches.
Citizen Kane is an excellent example of scene modifi­
cations created on the optical printer during the postpro­
duction period. New ideas were applied to existing produc­
tion scenes for which new supplem entary scenes were
photographed and integrated to enhance and create vari­
ous new concepts.
In It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, an important scene
was photographed in which a truck was supposed to back
into a shack and knock it over. The breakaway shack was
rigged to collapse when wires were pulled on cue. Signals
became crossed, and the shack was pulled down well be­
fore the truck touched it. A very costly retake was indicated,
so the optical printer was called to the rescue. The task of
correcting the error through a split screen seemed relatively
simple until it was discovered that the camera panned with
the falling shack. It then became necessary to plot arid move
the split matching point fram e-by-fram e on the optical
printer to follow the pan. Through this traveling split­
screen technique, the progress of the shack's falling action
was delayed until the truck had reached the point of im­
pact. Perhaps the entire cost of the optical printer was saved
by this salvaging job alone. Such clever techniques have
been used many times to bring explosions close to people
working in a scene, such as in One Minute to Zero, where a
line of so-called refugees was "blown to bits" by artillery
shelling. Split screens in motion, and trick cuts, with super­
imposed smoke and flame, did the job in a most effective
New Systems
The optical printer is being used to develop new hori­
zons in the creation of special camera moves within an
oversized aperture. This is particularly effective in the cre­
ation of camera movement in a composite scene, such as
one involving a matte painting, thereby giving a greater
illusion of reality. VistaVision and various 65mm negative
formats, including 16-perforation Imax and 8-perforation
Dynavision, as well as standard 5 perforation frames lend
themselves to this technique.
Copying onto 4 perforation 35m m makes possible
spectacular pans, zooms, dolly shots, etc. without sacrific­
ing screen quality, and with full control over such move­
ments, all of which is created on the optical printer in the
internegative stage and made during the postpro-duction
period. Use of this technique makes it possible to avoid
time-consuming and complicated setups during produc­
tion, with the added advantage of flexibility in later change
of ideas.
Probably the most exciting new optical printing devel­
opment has been in the field of electronics. The adaptation
of video image transfer through sophisticated high-resolution scanning systems in conjunction with the new devel­
opments in cathode-ray tubes, lenses, film-moving mecha­
nisms, special-purpose film raw stocks and the latest re­
search in electronic image compositing, have opened up
exciting new vistas in special visual effects. The modifica­
tion of filmed color motion-picture images through com­
puterized electronic transfer back to film is making it pos­
sible to create photographic effects on film or tape faster,
more economically, and with a scope of creativity hereto­
fore not possible. The ability to easily and quickly transfer
areas or moving objects from one film to another through
their instantaneous electronic isolation and self-matting will
be of tremendous economic benefit in this area of film pro­
duction, as well as in stimulating creativity in the wider use
of special effects.
Aerial Image Cinematography
by Mehrdad Azarmi, Ph.D.
An image which is formed by a lens in the air instead
of on a film or on a ground glass is known as an "aerial
image." Such an image can be seen and photographed but
it cannot be touched or felt. The image which is observed
through a telescope, a microscope or a simple magnifying
glass is aii aerial image. Because of its clarity, sharpness and
its intangible presence, it has led the cam eram an to the
development of the technique of "aerial image cinematog­
raphy," which is, in fact, a method of combining two im­
ages: an aerial image, and another image which is recorded
on film. The aerial image can be modified, enlarged, re­
duced or distorted when combined with the cine action
footage. Aerial image can originate from a film, artwork or
simply from an object. Selection of the tool and the tech-
nique is determined by the combination of the elements
involved. The technique of aerial image cinematography
can be divided as follows:
The T echniqu e
T he R equired Tool
Aerial Image Optical Printer
Aerial Image Animation
Object-to-Film A.I. Optical
Regardless of the method used, an aerial image pro­
duced by a lens is always upside-down but not flopped
over. This simple rule of thumb aids the cam eram an in
correct positioning of the object, the artwork or determin­
ing the head-tail and cell-emulsion orientation of a roll of
film when threading an aerial-image projector.
The most predominant aerial image technique is filmto-film, and the use of an aerial image optical printer is in­
evitable. The process is used in a variety of effects when­
ever two or more elements are involved, such as traveling
mattes, titles, wipes, multi-panels and split screens. The tool
employed for this purpose is either a dual-, triple- or qua­
druple-head optical printer which combines image axes
through partially reflecting mirrors. An addition to this
equipment, as well as to the animation stands, is a multi­
axis electronic motion-control system with a memory bank
and p lay b ack sy stem w h ich a llo w s for a u to m a tic
rephotography of certain effects and complicated, timeconsuming moves. The dual-headed aerial-image optical
printer is used predominantly throughout the industry, and
it has proven to be adequate for most purposes. The tripleand quadruple-head printers find their greatest applica­
tions in composite photography of traveling-matte shots,
such as the blue-screen process, where the operator can ac­
tually photograph the background and foreground ele­
ments simultaneously with their respective mattes. The
cameraman, in this case, has the privilege of observing the
composite image before shooting, in order to reassure him­
self of an accurate matte fit. He can then zoom, enlarge or
reduce during the same operation.
In spite of the versatility of the triple- and the qua­
druple-head printers for traveling-matte shots, most cin­
ematographers prefer to work with a dual-head aerial-image optical printer because of the loss of light in the beam­
splitter modules and the complexity of its alignment. Com­
posite matte shots are photographed on a dual-head printer
in two separate operations. After a perfect one-to-one, first,
the foreground and the female matte are photographed;
then, the background and the male matte are shot in sync
on the same piece of film. In order to avoid the possibility
of any misalignment during both operations, the mattes are
intentionally threaded in the same projector head, prefer­
ably in the front module, by which the mattes are gener­
Before actual com posite photography, the operator
may check clippings of the male and female mattes bi-pack
in sync in the main projector, looking for a very thin and
even white margin where the mattes fit together. He may
even go further to the extent of running both mattes in sync
and bi-pack, carefully looking for the consistency of the
same contour and possible matte shrinkage. Since various
elements are photographed in separate modules in film-tofilm aerial image cinematography, two advantages are in­
herent in the system:
1. The process eliminates the possibility of Newton
rings, a phenomenon which frequently appears when two
pieces of film are sandwiched together in bi-pack.
2. The elements do not necessarily have to be of the
same size. Thirty-five millimeter titles, for example, can be
reduced to fit a 16m m footage. By the sam e token, a
shrunken matte sometimes can be modified in size to fit the
action footage.
The tool for this method is basically an anim ation
stand with an aerial-image projector installed on its side
below the stand. A 45-degree mirror carries the projected
image through the condenser lens above the mirror and
brings it into focus at the same level as the animation cels.
The serial image, in this case, is perceivable only through
the camera lens. The cameraperson standing on the side can
observe the image by placing a tracing paper on the peg
unit; otherwise the image is imperceptible. A new addition
to some of the recent electronic motion-control systems al-
lows for an interlock horizontal rear-projection onto the
Many optical effects can be achieved through this
method, particularly combining live-action footage with
artwork, where the movement of animated artwork has to
correspond to that of the live-action frame by frame. The
projector which is equipped with registration-pin move­
ment carries color positive or separation masters. The cam­
era carries color negative stock. The artwork, which has a
self-matting function, is illuminated from above front. The
top lights have no effect on the background image since
there is no reflective surface involved in the projected aerial
image. Nevertheless, polarizing filters are recommended
for the top lights to eliminate multi-reflections from the field
By cross-wedging the artwork together with its back­
ground image, the proper exposure and filter combination
is achieved for each element. The color aberrations often
observed in such tests are normally due to improper flat­
ness of cels. It is essential, therefore, to select the proper
material for this purpose. Kodak Triacetate #21 has dem­
onstrated considerable stability with respect to this prob­
Film-to-artwork aerial-image cinematography has its
own disadvantages. The camera-field lens-projector in the
aerial-image animation stand should be considered a single
optical system with a fixed central optical axis. The aerial
image must be centered on the condenser lenses and in
sharp focus on the cel area. Tine camera lens must be cen­
tered and focused from the proper distance to cover the
field condenser lenses. Any deviation of the aforem en­
tioned elements can produce less-than-satisfactory results.
Aerial-image Zoom for Oxberry
Animation Stand
Although it is not possible to zoom the camera while
using an aerial image on an animation stand, it is possible
to zoom the aerial image itself. The area taken by the cam­
era lens will still be the same 10 Vi field of the table top con­
denser, but the aerial image generated will be a zoomed
version of the frame in the aerial-image projector.
To generate a zoom aerial image, the standard aerialimage projector is replaced by an aerial-image configura­
tion very similar to that of an optical printer. A 150mm
printing Nikkor lens is used to enlarge or reduce the frame
by over four diameters and this image is then projected by
a system consisting of a field lens and a projection lens. The
projection lens system must stay at a fixed position to gen­
erate the aerial image, but the 150mm lens and projector can
be moved to enlarge or reduce the generated image. The
zoom aerial image unit is available with an automatic follow-focus system. In order to keep the light intensity con­
stant during a zoom, an automatic lightvalve system is also
available. This lightvalve operates off a cam that is shaped
to keep the intensity of the projected image constant over
much of the zoom range.
This method allows the aerial image of an actual ob­
ject to be composited with live footage. The required tool
is an aerial-image optical printer in which the aerial pro­
jector is replaced by a standard animation plate mounted
some ten feet away from the main projector. This distance
allows adequate reduction of an object mounted upsidedown on the ground glass while permitting sufficient depth
of field for sharp focus through the aerial-image lens in­
stalled behind the main projector aperture. In one pass, the
footage in the main projector is recorded while the object
is backlit, thus appearing as a silhouette whose background
illumination serves as printing exposure for the film. The
footage is then removed, and the object backed by a black
card or velvet is then frontlit and photographed on the
same piece of film. The result appears as a matte shot with
a perfect fit.
In order to achieve a well-balanced exposure and con­
trast, both the object and the footage must be cross-wedged.
As with "Film -to-Artwork" previously described, the pro­
jector film must be color positive or separation masters. The
background exposure can be filtered behind the main pro­
jector aperture, or large filters can be mounted directly in
front of the light sources or behind the animation glass.
When front-lighting the object, adequate attention must be
paid to the contrast. Flat lighting is preferable, since a real
object is photographed with a prerecorded film.
This method can also be used for combining animated
art work with live-action footage. However, because of the
lack of requirements for depth of field in the artwork, an
aerial-image animation stand may prove less cumbersome
for this particular purpose.
Special Techniques
Aerial Cinematography
by Jack Cooperman, ASC
Motion pictures often require scenes photographed
from the air, principally utilizing fixed-wing planes and
In addition, there are occasional dem ands for shots
made from gliders, balloons, and while skydiving. Many
fixed-wing aircraft have been adapted for various camera
W hen photographing air-to-air it is necessary to con­
sider which camera aircraft is correctly matched to the air­
craft being pictured in regard to safety, speed and maneu­
verability. The cinematographer must also decide what is
the right kind of camera mount for the job, budget and type
of camera ship available.
Most fixed-wing aircraft permit operating the camera
from one side or another. An exception would be specially
adapted aircraft with a photographic nose section an d /or
open tail. In any type of fixed position, rigid mounting is
desirable to minimize vibration. All screws, nuts and bolts
should be safety wired or taped.
The Astrovision system permits the use of a relay lens
unit through either the top or bottom of a Lear jet. Zoom
lenses cannot be used with this system. The maximum lens
opening is f/6 .3 /T -7 .2 . The Vectorvision unit, another re­
lay lens system, will zoom as well as roll the horizon 360°
with a maximum lens opening of f/2 .8 /T -3 .
Helicopters are highly favored for aerial photography;
they permit a large range of movability and air speeds.
Tyler Camera Systems is a major manufacturer of helicop­
ter mounts; a listing of these and other makes are found on
page 256. The door/sid e mounts allow for free movement
of the camera in all axes as well as control of camera and
zoom lens functions while using the mount. Tyler has two
size mounts; Middlemount for video, Arri 16mm, Arri I1C,
Arri 35 III; and the Majormount, for Arri IIC, Arri 35 III,
M itchell M ark II (w ith sp ecial h o riz o n ta l m ag azin e
adapter), as well as Imax, VistaVision, 65mm and other
heavier camera packages. Continental Camera also has the
M & M side mounts for most video, 16mm and 35mm cam­
eras. The Magnum Elite mount handles camera packages
up to 100 pounds.
Various belly mounts (which fit under the helicopter)
are available. A quick m ount/release nose mount by Tyler
Camera Systems offers remote controls and camera read­
outs including tilt and video-assisted viewing. Larger than
n orm al fo rm ats su ch as V is ta V is io n , 65m m Im ax,
Omnimax, etc., need to be mounted fairly far forward to
clear the skids and nose from the field of view. Most nose
and belly mounts require the use of a prime lens or a very
short range zoom. Zoom lenses should have remote con­
trols for focusing as well as focal length adjustment. Remote
ap ertu re con trol is ad v an tag eo u s on all len ses. The
Wescam, Spacecam and other ball mount units incorporat­
ing gyroscopic and remote control operation are especially
useful for making extremely undercranked shots, long lens
shots, and obtaining certain angles not available from other
mount positions.
Tyler has a new, three axis gyro-stabilized ball type
mount (Skygro). Compared to previous mounts of this
style, the Tyler gyro mount has a faster pan and tilt rate and
is designee! to allow the helicopter unlimited flight maneu­
vering. The mount can be automatically locked into posi­
tion, which allows the shot to go from gyro-stabilized and
level to becoming part of the helicopter and going off-level
as a POV of the helicopter. The mount does not have a sepa­
rate outside housing and window like previous mounts of
this type, thereby eliminating any chance of seeing reflected
light on the inside of the window.
Skydiving cinematography is done by specially quali­
fied skydivers, usually wearing a helmet-mounted camera
or cameras. The most common 35mm camera used for this
purpose is a m odified and m otorized Bell & Howell
Incident light readings can som etim es be taken in
aerial situations. It may prove necessary to have the pilot
turn or tilt the aircraft for this purpose. Most exposures are
based on a consideration of spot meter readings and cal­
culation of subject gray scale. Light conditions may change
during a shot.
The pilot of the aircraft has to understand the shot and
how the cinematographer plans to photograph the scene.
He will be flying the aircraft for the positions needed. It is
not usually safe for the cinematographer to directly control
an aircraft being photographed; he should communicate
through the pilot of the camera ship to the other pilot.
When working in the United States it is important to
know that there are Federal Aviation Administration regu­
lations requiring certification of anything that is added to
an aircraft. (Most other countries have similar regulations.)
1. 337: Field inspection of a specific mount on a spe­
cific aircraft must be done before each use.
2. STC: Allows mounts on any number of a particu­
lar make and model of aircraft.
Before the flight, pilots, camera crew and all other con­
cerned parties should discuss all shots for safety and effi­
ciency. Familiarity with the safety guidelines set up by the
Industry W ide Labor M anagem ent/Safety Committee is
Guidelines: Fixed-wing Aircraft,
Helicopters, and Skydiving
Except where necessary for takeoff or landing, the
FAA prohibits the operation of an aircraft below the
following altitudes:
A) Over Congested Areas
Over any congested area of a city, town or settle­
ment, or over any open air assembly of persons, an
altitude of 1000 feet above the highest obstacle
within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the air­
B) Over other than Congested Areas
An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except
over open water or sparsely populated areas. In
that case, the aircraft may not be operated closer
than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or struc­
The pilot must obtain a proper waiver before op­
erating an aircraft in the situations outlined above.
Thus, the pilot must either have h is/h er own FAAapproved motion picture manual or operate under
an FAA-approved company manual. A certificate
of w aiver, w hich is usually incorporated in the
manual, must be in effect.
A) Before a stunt or sequence is to be performed
all persons involved shall be thoroughly briefed.
There should be a dry rim on the ground at the site.
B) Per FAA guidelines, the persons necessary for
the filming will be briefed as to any potential haz­
ards and safety questions prior to the filming.
C) A pre-planned stunt will not be changed in any
way without the authorization of the pilot and the
aerial coordinator, if any.
D) If there is a question as to the safety of any aerial
filming sequence involving low, over-the-camera
shots, a briefing will be held between the pilot and
concerned persons as to w h ether the use of a
locked-off camera is necessary.
Only persons and crew necessary for the purpose
of filming will be in the area. FAA regulations re­
quire all other personnel to be five hundred (500)
feet away from the flying aircraft. All persons with­
out written or verbal permission shall be excluded
from the area.
Communication between ground and air must be
maintained at all times during the operation of the
Where required by the FAA-approved manual or
appropriate governmental agency, there will al­
ways be an aerial coordinator on the ground when
an aircraft is in the air or taxiing. An aerial coordi­
nator will be appointed by the holder of the manual
or the designated chief pilot.
If safety becomes a question at any time, the aerial
coordinator or the involved pilot shall have the au­
thority and responsibility to call an abort of the op­
A) Aircraft engines shall not be started and the
aircraft shall not be taxied in spectator, cast or crew
areas unless appropriate measures are taken to
preclude creating a hazard to spectators, cast or
B) Cast, crew and equipm ent shall be protected
from debris thrown back by airplanes taxiing or
taking off.
C) If an aircraft is being filmed with the engine run­
ning, adequate safety precautions shall be taken in
connection with activity in front of the propeller,
which includes designated ground personnel.
No smoking is permitted within one hundred (100)
feet of the aircraft or support truck.
A) Aircraft structures can be damaged easily while
on the ground. Never push, handle, sit on or in, or
lay any objects of any kind on an aircraft without
the pilot's permission.
B) If a foreign object falls into or against an aircraft,
report it immediately to the pilot or aerial coordi­
C) Never allow cast or crew to occupy an aircraft
while engines are started or running, unless the
pilot is in full command.
10. Each end of an operational runway or landing area
should be cleared during take-off and landing and
appropriate safety equipm ent when film ing the
take-off or landing.
11. Acrobatic maneuvers shall be conducted in a direc­
tion which will most nearly parallel the boundaries
of the designated crew and equipment areas or in
a direction away from such area.
12. The front of the studio call sheet should contain a
statement to the effect that: "A n aircraft is being
used and will be flown in close proximity to crew
and equipment. Anyone objecting will notify the
production manager or 1st AD prior to any film­
Helicopter Safety Procedures
Communication between ground and air shall be
established at all times during operation of the he­
licopter using one ground contact.
The individual attached to the helicopter support
truck shall be designated as the person to supervise
safety around the helicopter.
No smoking within 50 feet of the helicopter.
Unless you are needed - remain at least 50 feet away
from the helicopter.
Exercise extrem e caution when working around
helicopters especially when the helicopter engine
is running. Leave and approach the helicopter from
the front-with caution. At all times, keep your eyes
and head forward.
Avoid rear and tail sections of helicopter at all
Never walk under tail section of helicopter.
Do not extend any equipment vertically into rotor
blades, such as cameras, lights, sound boom, etc.
Carry all equipment parallel to ground within 50
feet of helicopter.
10. Pilots are the authorities concerning all helicopter
operations-if you have questions ask them.
11. Never, under any circumstances, throw anything
such as grip tape, clothing, paper, etc. around the
helicopter-whether it is running or not.
12. The landing area should be cleared of debris and,
where necessary, wet down.
13. Avoid rear area of helicopter at all times.
14. Protect your eyes as well as your equipment when
helicopter is landing or taking off.
15. Plot plans and graphics will be prepared to locate
landing sites, and location, as well as types of ex­
plosives or squibs.
16. The pilot in command will have final approval as
to aerial traverse and hovering positions of the air­
Safe Practice: Parachuting, Skydiving
The following recommendations and guidelines are to
aid in the promotion of safety with respect to parachuting
and skydiving film sequences. Adjustments may have to
be made in any given case as circumstances warrant for
the safety of the persons involved in the parachuting or
skydiving activity or on the set or location.
Radio com m unications shall be maintained be­
tween the aircraft carrying the jum pers and the
landing site at all times. Ground signals (Smoke,
panels, etc.) shall be provided as a backup.
The "parachuting coordinator" shall be a qualified
jumper. When only one jum per is employed, that
jumper should be the coordinator.
The p arach u tin g coo rd in ator shall determ ine
whether or not security is necessary to exclude nonessential crew and non participating spectators
from the landing area. Open field landings may not
require security.
The producer shall require each parachutist or
parachuting coordinator to hold a United States
Parachute Association professional exhibition rat­
ing, or present satisfactory evidence of the neces­
sary experience, knowledge and skill required to
attain this rating. USPA Exhibition Ratings are is­
sued to members who have a Class D license who
have accom plished 10 successive pre-declared
jumps into a 10-meter (32 foot) diameter target area,
landing not more than 5 meters from target center.
All landings must be made standing up.
A minimum of 350 jumps on the canopy type to be
used is recommended.
Parachutists who hold a USPA Class D license with
an Exhibition Rating, who certify that they will use
a steerable square main and reserve canopy, will be
permitted to exit over or into a congested area. The
selected landing area must permit the jumper to
land not closer than 16 feet from any spectator and
will not involve passing over non-participating
persons on the surface at an altitude of less than 50
All jum ps shall be conducted in accordance with
Federal Aviation Regulations Part 105.
The p arach u tin g co o rd in a to r w ill d eterm in e
whether or not the visibility, cloud ceiling height
and velocity of wind, as it applies to the particular
situation, is safe or unsafe. (Landing area size,
canopy type, number of jumpers and planned stunt
will be taken into consideration.)
Before each jump is to be performed, all persons
involved shall be thoroughly briefed. There should
be a dry rim on the ground at the site.
All equipment, props, wardrobe, etc., shall be made
available to the coordinator prior to the stunt/jum p
for safety evaluation. Final safety approval rests
with the coordinator with respect to equipment and
wardrobe used in the jump.
10. The coordinator shall have the responsibility to
temporarily hold or cancel the authorized opera-
tions if at any time the safety of persons or prop­
erty on the ground or in the air is in jeopardy or if
there is a contravention of the terms or conditions
of any FAA letter of authorization.
11. The FAA requires that each reserve parachute be
packed by an appropriately rated parachute rigger.
If a parachutist has a malfunction on the job and
uses his reserve chute, a spare parachute or the
presence of a certified rigger can usually save many
shooting hours.
12. All operations involving fixed wing aircraft and
helicopters shall conform with the guidelines estab­
lished by the Labor Management Safety Commit­
13. All pilots must be familiar with the dropping of
jumpers, including the peculiarities of the operation
to include flight with the door removed, FAR Part
105, rehearsals of all exits, all ground signals, sig­
nals to abort jump, pilot's responsibilities, provi­
sions of all Letters of Authorization or waivers. The
pilot must analyze weight and balance of the air­
craft with jumpers in exit position.
14. Jumps near or into potentially hazardous landing
areas (water, power lines, etc.) should be consid­
ered carefully.
Pickup boats and flotation gear should be available
when the possibility of a water landing exists and
each boat pilot shall participate in the pre-jump
On intentional w ater ju m ps there shall be one
pickup boat for each jumper.
Lighting for night shots should be reviewed with
the Parachute Coordinator. The landing site for a
night shot should be viewed during daylight hours
before jumping.
All the above guidelines and procedures are in­
tended to conform with applicable laws and gov­
ernmental regulations and in the event of any con­
flict, applicable laws and governmental regulations
will prevail.
Underwater Cinematography
by Jack Cooperman, ASC.
All good underwater cinem atographers must have
one thing in common: they must also be experienced divers.
It is not enough to put good cinematographers underwa­
ter and expect good results. They should be good enough
divers with enough experience underwater to enable them
to be unconcerned with diving techniques. They must be
at ease with the camera under all conditions, anticipating
being swept around the ocean floor and still be able to op­
erate the camera efficiently.
And it is well to remember that underwater filming
can be — and often is — hazardous and difficult. Experi­
ence underwater counts for a great deal.
Not enough can be said regarding safety. Knowledge
of diving physics, awareness and common sense are man­
datory. Follow ing are the safety guidelines set by the
Industry-Wide Labor Management Safety Committee for
situations where scuba equipment is used in filming:
The finalization of an underw ater location shall
depend upon the safety and health conditions of
the location as determined by supervisory film in­
dustry personnel, one of whom shall be a certified
diver in consultation with the director.
Any person using scuba equipment while filming
or being film ed underw ater shall be a certified
diver, with the exception of players who are essen­
tial for an imderwater close-up. W hen this excep­
tion arises, for safety reasons, these players shall be
under the supervision of a currently certified in­
structor, and shall have received sufficient instruc­
tions for the job at hand. The appropriate depth for
safe filming shall be determined by the certified
instructor supervising the safety of the player or
players. Players who are not certified divers shall
not be required to work in depths in excess of ten
All safety divers shall be duly certified and when
scuba is used, he or she shall be equipped with an
alternate air supply, i.e., Octopus or bail out bottle,
Any person performing a stunt where water safety
is involved shall require properly equipped safety
diver or divers.
Any person performing a stunt where the possibil­
ity of being trapped underwater exists shall have
stand-by breathing equipment immediately avail­
For dives below 30 feet each individual diver shall
be concerned with following his or her decompres­
sion procedure as necessary and safety rules shall
be available at appropriate departments and on the
job site.
a. Any individual designated to log dives shall be
a certified diver and shall be knowledgeable as to
proper logging procedures.
b. The company will determine the nearest loca­
tion of decompression chamber and methods of
transportation to that chamber and notify all con­
cerned persons.
c. Functional recall system equipm ent shall be
made available on site.
It shall be the responsibility of the company to en­
sure that any persons using re-breathing equip­
ment or mixed gas systems will have been properly
trained in the use of the equipment.
Scuba tanks when transported to and from location
will be secured in such manner as to prevent them
from rolling or allowing the valves to be struck by
other objects.
When not in use, scuba tanks shall be equipped
with valve covers and shall be stored in the shade.
10. Adequate medical oxygen (100% oxygen) and re­
suscitation equipment shall be available at all times
when scuba equipment is in use. Do not use the air
in the scuba tanks as they do not contain 100% oxygen.
11. No electrical power other than DC shall be used in
the water or in a vicinity which could lead to con­
tact with the water.
hi filming underwater theatrical or television produc­
tions the cinematographer is concerned with telling a fic­
tionalized story rather than photographing a real experi­
ence such as a scientific expedition or a documentary film.
When working with a script, actors and a director, and
being confined to telling a story the situation does not al­
ways perm it the freedom to photograph scenes of great
natural beauty unless there is a place for them in the script.
Filming may be done in a natural ocean location under
optimum conditions or in a studio tank with all the facili­
ties one usually associates with a studio operation. The key
to a successful underwater production is planning. First, the
director, and underwater cinem atographer or d irector/
cameraman and talent talk over the scenes above water.
After blocking out the action, the players (or their doubles)
walk through the action topside.
Entrances, exits and timing should be rehearsed so that
everyone completely understands the scene to be photo­
Sometimes the players are experienced enough in ei­
ther skin diving or scuba diving to perform underwater
scenes, but in many cases doubles or stunt people will be
used. The same holds true with directors. If they are not
experienced divers they may leave the actual filming to the
underwater cinematographer.
Any good professional-type motion picture camera
can be adapted for underwater cinematography. Underwa­
ter films have been successfully made in all formats includ­
ing 65mm and 3-D. There are many housing designs, both
tubular and irregular cubic, for various purposes. For sta­
bility underwater they should have lightly negative buoy­
ancy. Film capacity of 400 ft. is most commonly used in
underwater camera housing design. Such functions as fo­
cusing, aperture, and camera speed ideally should be con­
trolled outside the housing while operating underwater.
It is important to have easy access to the camera so that
the lenses a n d /o r filters can be changed or adjusted on
deck. Film and batteries will need to be changed easily and
quickly. It is a great advantage to have a camera which
permits through-the-lens viewing and offers a clear, easily
read image. A sports finder may be more convenient when
fast action is being photographed.
The camera ideally should be balanced in the housing
so that the cinematographer can take a deep breath and go
up or exhale and go down with it. Cameras are quite mo­
bile underwater.
The cinem atographer can becom e a crane or dolly
because of individual requirements and familiarity with the
equipm ent many of the people who make a specialty of
underwater photography design a n d /o r own their own
Lenses and Lens Ports
Ports are available both with a flat surface and as a
corrected dome. With a flat port the magnification created
by the water (air to water refractive index is 1.33) causes
the camera lenses to assume the characteristic of slightly
longer lenses and objects appear closer by 14 . The corrected
dome port permits the lenses to function with their true
focal lengths. The dome radius is critical and its center must
be on the nodal point of the lens to function correctly, if not
diopters will be necessary, usually a +2 will bring objects
into proper focus. The dome port can be of advantage when
working in areas of low visibility or in a confined space or
with extremely wide-angle lenses.
Both glass and plastic ports are available. Glass can be
more perfect optically and it is virtually scratch-proof. Plas­
tic is stronger, but is vulnerable to scratching (a scratch on
the outside of the port will be filled by water and not be
apparent, but a scratch on the inside is a different matter).
When the housing is used above or at split level with the
water, the front port (preferably flat) can be kept clear of
water drops with the use of a wetting agent. Wide-angle
or short focus lenses are usually preferred because of the
magnification due to water, and the necessity to work close
to the subject because of scattering and absorption of light
by the water. The increased depth of field afforded is also
a factor. For 35mm film, a commonly used lens is the 16mm
Zeiss Distagon, and for extreme wide-angle, a 9.8mm is
useful, although distortion is more apparent; a dome port
is recommended for this lens.
O ther lenses up to 75mm are useful for close-ups.
Corresponding lenses for 16mm photography are 10mm
and 8.9mm; the 10mm is relatively distortion free. For 35mm
anamorphic photography, the 30mm and 35mm lenses are
preferred. A flat port is recomm ended for anam orphic
lenses. Accurate underwater focusing presents no problem
if the distance is judged by eye; if the distance is measured
by tape, the lens is focused at 75% of the measured distance
(with no diopter).
Care Of Equipment
At the end of a day's work and if possible when chang­
ing magazines the camera housing should be washed off
with fresh water. This will help preserve the housing and
will also minimize the chance of salt spray damaging the
camera mechanism and in particular the lens. When the
camera and housing are removed from the water they
should be immediately placed in the shade. This is espe­
cially true in the tropics where even a minimal exposure
to the sim can cause heat inside the camera housing to dam­
age the film.
All film manufacturers now have faster, finer grained
negative emulsions available in 16mm, 35mm and 65mm.
Negative stock is preferred for underwater work over re­
versal films as it has a greater exposure latitude and yields
better prints. It also transfers well to tape and is ideal for
television production. For direct projection of the original
high speed reversal color films are available.
The Environment
Even under the best possible conditions, filming un­
derwater presents the cinem atographer with numerous
photographic problems not encountered on land. Atmo­
spheric haze, with the accompanying desaturation of the
warmer color tones, loss of detail and contrast, has its un­
derwater counterparts in turbidity and color cast. Turbid­
ity, caused by suspended matter varying from small sand
particles to microscopic organisms such as plankton, re­
duces light by absorption, diffuses the image, and reflects
direct front light into the lens ("backscatter"). Turbidity
affects the quality of underw ater cinem atography more
than any other factor. Visibility may be reduced from many
feet to just a few, and vice versa.
W ater absorbs the longer wavelengths of light (reds
and yellows); therefore, the farther the light must travel
from source to subject to lens, the less reds and yellows will
register on the film. This can be partially overcome by arti­
ficial lighting and sometimes by selective use of Kodak
color com pensating (CC) lens filters. Photographic tests
with these filters is suggested. Loss of color contrast result­
ing from the selective filtration of underwater light can be
reduced through careful subject color selection.
This will apply to underwater sets, props and even the
type of wardrobe worn by actors. Color interest may be
added to objects beyond the range of red or orange trans­
mission through the use of bright blue, green and yellow.
White must be used with care because its reflective quali­
ties together with underwater scattering will produce a
haze effect. (Underwater visibility of production equipment
can also be increased by giving it a bright chrome yellow
Natural Light
Optimum underwater cinematography is usually ob­
tained to a maxim um depth of 50 ft. At greater depths
things appear more monochromatic. There are also more
diving problems and camera housings are subject to greater
stress. Natural light reaches the ocean's surface either as
direct rays from the sun or as light diffused by clouds or
other atmospheric conditions such as dust and water va­
por. A clear, sandy ocean floor is a great asset to good un­
derwater camera work because underw ater light is re­
flected from the ocean floor back into the water. W hen
shooting underwater in daylight conditions with tungsten
(3200K) film, without additional lighting, it is advisable to
use a #85 camera filter. This subtracts some of the blue from
the water, perm itting a truer rendering of skin tone on
humans in the scene. If the negative is fully exposed, some
further correction may be possible in printing from the
The intensity of daylight for underwater filming de­
pends also upon the amount lost by reflections from the
water's surface.
This depends on such variables as sun angle, surface
roughness, and cloud cover. The light loss due to reflection
is least when the sun is directly overhead and does not start
to become a problem until the sun is below an angle of
about 30 degrees. In the latitudes of the United States, sun
height is generally optimum between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. in
the summer and 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the winter.
Artificial Lighting
Underwater lighting is often necessary or desirable
both in studio tank conditions and in the open sea. Fill and
set lighting for performers, night effect filming and other
conditions that require special lighting are often a part of
underwater work. The use of artificial light is an excellent
method of restoring or correcting color in underwater cin­
ematography. The effect of underwater filtering varies from
area to area, but as a general rule red is lost at about 10 feet.
Using artificial lighting will often add the necessary color
compensation needed to record an underwater scene more
accurately. A number of excellent underwater lamps are
currently available on the market. Tungsten halogen units
are available in 2000 watt and 1000 watt sizes, with alumi­
num reflectors in a pressure resistant housing. Sm aller
lamps, usually battery powered, are also available. These
units are generally 250 watt and are useful in shooting very
close to the subject or as a fill light. Specially constructed
HMI units are also available, extra care and ground fault
interrupt protection is necessary due to AC power source.
Large underwater areas can also be illuminated by
suspending lights from an overhead grid or netting sta­
tioned at the proper depth by means of floats and anchors.
Submerging them minimizes movement of the light due to
wave action.
Lighting and Exposure
Lighting underw ater is sim ilar to topside lighting,
except that cross lighting is preferable to front lighting.
Front lighting should be avoided because it lights turbid­
ity "backscatter." The exception to this is in crystal clear
water where a front light can be used without difficulty.
Front light sometimes can be used for fill.
Either a reflected or incident exposure meter is satis­
factory. When taking an exposure reading at the subject,
remember that water acts as a filter so one must compen­
sate for the distance between the camera and the subject
and adjust accordingly. A rule of thumb is !4 to Vi stop. An
underwater reflected light meter which works on a gray
scale principle, such as the Sekonic Marine 164B is ideal.
This type of meter requires no calibration after the shutter
speed and the ASA rating have been set.
Under daylight conditions, exposures are based upon
the reading of the general area in which the scene is staged.
The reflected light reading is made from alongside the cam­
era and directed toward the action. The importance of the
angle of the shot as a factor in calculating exposure cannot
be overemphasized when working in ocean waters; there
will be exposure variance for up, down and horizontal
Night Effects
Simple underexposure can produce acceptable under­
water day-for-night photography. Liaison with the labora­
tory should help in producing the desired night effect.
Underexposure tends to increase the saturation of under­
water colors and accentuates the blue component of open
water in the background, thereby enhancing the night ef­
fect. The illusion can be intensified if light ripples from the
water surface are allowed to play across the scene. Scatter­
ing will cause them to appear as tiny light beams moving
through the water. When shooting night-for-night, over­
head lighting can be utilized for a moonlit effect
Studio Tanks
Much underwater production photography may be
done in studio tanks. These tanks will vary in size and may
either be constructed inside a sound stage or built outdoors
on the studio back lot. They are usually about 40 or 50 feet
in diameter with depth ranging up to 14 or 15 feet. Outside
tanks are generally built above ground, sometimes with
provision for a painted backdrop.
Most tanks are equipped with straight or reducing
ports from which cameras can be set up to shoot into the
tank. The straight port is a flat window looking into the
tank. Reducing ports are primarily used in photographing
miniatures or shooting into a confined underw ater set.
They are concave glass providing an angle similar to that
of a wide-angle lens, also permitting more leeway in pan­
ning. The glass should be crystal clear. Since tanks are lo­
cated within the confines of the studio there is ample pro­
vision for using all types of studio lighting units. Inside the
tank smaller units such as those previously mentioned may
be used.
Miniatures are usually photographed in a tank and the
same rules for filming speeds apply as in topside miniature
photography. In filming miniatures, to simulate deep wa­
ter, it is important to reduce light ripples by stretching a
scrim over the tank or letting it float on the water. Tine deep
ocean has no ripples. Light that has not been diffused will
cause water ripples and give away the depth of the water,
thereby destroying the illusion. Incidentally, even though
tanks are equipped with shooting ports the best angles and
camera movements are obtained by diving into the water
with the camera just as if on a natural sea location.
Safety Bulletin No. 8: Guidelines
for Insert Camera Cars
An Insert Camera Car shall be a vehicle that is
specifically engineered for the mounting of cam­
eras and other equipm ent for the primary pur­
pose of photography from a stationary or mov­
ing vehicle.
A camera car shall be safety checked before and
after use on a minimum of a daily basis by quali­
fied experienced personnel — specifically brakes,
tires, electrical system and towing equipment.
All rigging of equipment shall be done in a safe
manner by qualified, experienced personnel.
An Insert Camera Car used for night filming shall
be provided with two portable tail lights which
will be affixed to the towed vehicle to provide rear
lighting in cases where said vehicle's lights are not
Maximum passenger allowances — Operation of
Insert Camera
Cars Transporting Production Personnel: All in­
volved personnel should be made aware that, as
mandated by the California Administrative Code:
The number of employees " . . . transported on ve­
hicles . . . shall never exceed a number which may
endanger the safe handling of the vehicle..." Ac­
cordingly, the Industry Subcommittee to Investi­
gate Safety Aspects of Insert Camera Cars here­
with recom m ends the following maxim um be
applied when transporting personnel by Insert
Cam era Cars (during rehearsal and principal
photography sequences): That number should
never exceed nine (9) including the driver. In ad­
dition, it is strongly recommended that any per­
son not directly needed for actual shot sequence
Not Be Allowed on The Vehicle At All.
Equipment not essential to the shots in progress
shall not be transported on the Insert Cars.
Communications regarding Insert Cars shall be
preceded by a meeting on the site of the event
with all people concerned. This meeting should
include a "w alk-through" or "dry-run" with the
driver and all of the persons involved in the event.
An understanding of the intended action, possible
deviations and authority to abort should be made
clear. Following the above and before rolling cam­
eras, should any substantive change become nec­
essary, the director will again call all persons in­
volved in the shot to another meeting to confirm
everyone's understanding and agreement to said
Rear towing — no personnel not being photo­
graphed shall be on towbar or exterior of towed
vehicle. This does not include towed camera plat­
forms such as trailers designed for said work.
It shall be mandatory that a copy of these rules be
in the glove box of the vehicle at all times.
10. It is recognized that there can be unforeseen or
unique situations which m ight require on-site
judgment differing from these guidelines. Such
judgment may have to be made in the interest of
the safety of cast and crew.
Arctic Cinematography
Most of the difficulties encountered when using motion-picture equipment in the Arctic are caused by extreme
cold and very low relative humidity. Average temperatures
may vary from 45° F (7° C) to -45°F (-43° C), temperatures
as low as -80° F (-62° C) have been recorded. (Such low tem­
peratures may also be encountered at very high altitudes.)
The lubricating oils usually used in photographic
equipment in more temperate climates will congeal in an
arctic environment so that moving parts of cameras or other
equipment will not operate. Leather and rubber also be­
come brittle at these temperatures. With motion-picture
films, loss of moisture from the film emulsion when the
original packing m aterial is opened may result in film
emulsion shrinkage and brittleness, and subsequent film
curl in the camera gate. Such difficulties are not minimized
by using films with a polyester base unless these films (or
those with a triacetate base) have a gelatin coating on the
support to com pensate for emulsion shrinkage. It is the
effect of the very low relative humidity (less than 5%) and
its emulsion drying characteristics that produces film curl.
(Small heaters are sometimes used in cameras to prevent
film brittleness when working under conditions of extreme
cold, but under certain conditions this practice could actu­
ally increase the chance of emulsion shrinkage by further
reducing the relative humidity in the film chamber.) The
film speed is also lowered by extrem e cold and may be
about one lens opening slow er at -50° F (-46° C) to -70° F
(-57° C) than at 60° F (16° C). Film becomes progressively
more brittle as the temperature drops below 0° F (-18° C),
but there is no marked change at any one temperature.
Even at sub-zero temperatures, film emulsion that retains
its proper moisture content in the original package (equiva­
lent to equilibrium at 40 to 60% RH) is more flexible than
film that has been allowed to become too dry. Film can also
be bent with the emulsion side in with less chance of break­
ing than if bent with the emulsion side out. Whether the
film emulsion cracks or the film support breaks at very low
temperatures depends on (1) how soon the film is exposed
after removal from the original package; (2) the care taken
in handling the film; and (3) on the type and condition of
the camera in which it is used.
Temperatures generally encountered in the Arctic will
not cause polyester base films to break.
Preparation Of Equipment
WTtile the di fficulties of photography under arctic con­
ditions can be severe, they are by no means insurmount­
able. Careful advance preparation will pay rich dividends
in the form of easier and more reliable equipment opera­
tion and better pictorial results. The first step in preparing
for filming in the Arctic, high mountain regions, or in un­
heated aircraft at high altitudes is to select the most suit­
able equipm ent with due regard for the work to be done
and the results desired.
Each kind of camera has its adherents, and no one type
seems to be outstandingly superior to the others. However,
considering the working conditions, good judgment dic­
tates that the camera or cameras selected should be com­
pact, lightweight, easy to use, dependable, adaptable, and
portable. In choosing a 16mm m otion-picture cam era,
many arctic explorers prefer the ease and convenience of
magazine loading. Threading roll film can be very difficult
under conditions of extreme cold. Certain camera models
are advantageous for low-temperature use because largeradius bends in the film path and low film accelerations
help prevent broken film. For best protection of the film
emulsion at extremely low temperatures, film travel roll­
ers should have a diameter no smaller than Vi in. (13mm).
Electric power, if available from a reliable source such as a
generator or vehicular power system, is more dependable
than spring-driven or battery power. However, under field
conditions, a spring-driven motor may prove more reliable
than an electric motor drive that depends on portable or
storage batteries which can fail when subjected to extremely
low temperatures.
Cameras should be winterized for satisfactory service
under frigid conditions. Some camera manufacturers pro­
vide a winterizing service for cameras that are to be used
at low temperatures over a long period of time. W interiz­
ing is a highly specialized operation, best entrusted to the
manufacturer or a competent independent camera service
representative. Essentially, the procedure calls for disman­
tling the camera and removing the original lubricants. The
shutter, lens diaphragm, film transport mechanism, and
other moving parts are then re-lubricated with materials
that will not thicken when the camera is exposed to extreme
cold. Powdered graphite is in some cases still used for this
purpose. How ever, so-called "broad -range" lubricants
(such as Teflon and silicone) are becoming increasingly
popular, not only because of their effectiveness at low tem­
peratures, but also because they can be left in the camera
permanently. In fact, such lubricants are being used in
manufacture. Hence, a camera that has been lubricated with
a broad-range lubricant, either in manufacture or as part
of a winterizing operation, need not be de-winterized and
re-lubricated when it is returned to use under normal con­
ditions. When cameras are stripped down for winterizing,
weakened or damaged parts may be discovered and should
be replaced to avoid possible failure under the extra stress
of severe arctic temperatures.
It is also sometimes necessary to machine parts to al­
low greater clearance between components. This is because
aluminum and certain alloys have greater coefficients of
thermal contraction and expansion than steel. Since small
levers and knobs on cameras are difficult to operate when
the photographer is wearing thick gloves, extensions can
sometimes be added to levers, and small knobs can be re­
placed with larger ones.
It may be helpful to run even recently winterized
motion-picture cameras for a period of three or four hours
to break them in thoroughly. A piece of film three or four
feet long can be spliced end to end (to form a continuous
loop), threaded into the camera, and allowed to run dur­
ing the breaking in. In cameras intended for use with film
magazines, the loop should be formed in a dummy maga­
zine. After the breaking-in period, the camera should be
checked for speed and general behavior. It should be noted
that, although magazine-type motion-picture cameras can
be winterized, the magazines themselves are not winterized
and may jam under conditions of extrem e cold. If film
magazines are used, each day's working reserve carried
into the field should be kept as warm as possible under the
cinematographer's parka. Another possibility is to carry the
film supply in an insulated thermal bag, along with one or
two small hand warmers.
Before your location shoot, a test run should be made
in a refrigerator or freezer capable of reaching temperatures
as low as -30° F (-34° C) or -40° F (-40° C). Even "w inter­
ized" cameras can fail in use because some detail was over­
looked in preparation, so this final test run is quite impor­
tant. The film and camera should be cooled for at least 24
hours prior to the test. This long period of pre-cooling is
often overlooked, and the test becomes invalid.
Motion-picture cameras should be given as much pro­
tection from icy winds as possible during use. When bat­
tery-driven motors are used on cameras, the motors and
batteries should be kept as warm as possible. A flat black
finish on the cameras has some advantage in the Arctic
because it absorbs heat when the sun is shining. Covers
made from black felt material or fur and fitted with eye­
lets or other suitable fasteners protect the camera from
frigid winds and help to retain its initial warmth for a time.
Snaps and slide fasteners are not recommended for use in
sub-zero temperatures. Small magazine-type motion-pic­
ture cameras can be hung inside the coat to obtain some
warmth from the body; you may even need to wrap a
chem ical heating pad around the cam era. In sp ect the
camera's lens each time it is removed from the clothing to
take a picture. The amount of "body static" generated un­
der cold, dry conditions can cause the lens to attract lint
from the clothing.
Tripods should also be conditioned properly for use
in the Arctic. When lubrication is required, there are oils
available for use at temperatures down to -70° F. Tripod
heads for motion-picture equipment should be winterized
if they include gyros, motors, or other revolving parts. As
noted previously extreme cold causes leather and rubber
to become brittle. A wax leather dressing of good quality
should be rubbed into leather carrying cases and leathercovered cameras to prevent the absorption of moisture.
Rubber should be eliminated wherever possible.
Silk or lightweight cotton gloves under heavy woolen
mittens are recommended. Gloves or mittens made from
unborn lam bskin are excellent for arctic w eather. Silk
gloves will keep the hands warmer and will afford consid­
erable protection when the outside mittens are removed for
loading the camera, adjusting the lens, etc.
Equipment and Filming Technique
In the Arctic or on mountain climbing expeditions, as
the altitude and the subsequent cold increase, breathing
becomes difficult, and it involves a great effort to work
normally. Reactions are slow. Therefore, everything per­
taining to the use of the camera should be made as simple
as possible. Exposure estimates may be poor when the fac­
ulties are dulled, so exposure and other data should be
printed on a card and fastened to the camera or its cover in
plain view.
Certain general cold-weather recommendations are in
order for any camera, still or motion-picture. Breathing on
a lens or any other part of the camera to remove snow or
other material will cause condensation that freezes instantly
and is very difficult to remove.
An important factor to keep in mind is the ever-present
danger of frostbite, a particular threat when hands or face
come in direct contact with the metal of the camera body.
Cameras that are used at eye level and must be brought
close to the face for proper viewing and focusing should
have their exposed metal areas covered with heavy elec­
trical tape, plastic foam, or some other insulating material.
Under no circumstances should the photographer touch the
camera or other metal equipment with ungloved hands,
because the skin will freeze to the cold metal almost in­
stantly. A painful loss of skin almost always results.
A thoroughly chilled camera cannot be used in a warm
room until its temperature equals the surrounding warmer
temperature. Conversely, a warm camera cannot be taken
out into a blizzard because the blowing and drifting snow
will melt upon striking the warm camera, and soon the
instrument will be covered with ice. Loading film, even
during a driving snowstorm, can be accomplished with the
use of a large, dark plastic bag, big enough to fit over the
head and shoulders.
A deep lens hood is very desirable for filming in the
snow. It will help keep the lens dry even during a fairly
severe storm.
Great care must be used in handling film in sub-zero
weather. The edges of cold, brittle film are extremely sharp,
and unless caution is exercised, they can cut the fingers
It is im p ortan t that film be loaded and exposed
promptly after removal from the original packing, not left
in the camera for long periods of time. If motion-picture
film is allowed to stand in the camera for a day or so, the
film may dry out and break where the loop was formed
when the camera is again started. The film is adequately
protected against moisture loss as long as the original pack­
aging is intact. When loading the camera, make sure the
film and the camera are at the same temperature — if pos­
sible, load the camera indoors.
Static m arkings are caused by an electrostatic dis­
charge, and they appear on the developed film emulsion
as marks resem bling lightning, tree branches, or fuzzy
spots. W hen static difficulties occur they can usually be
traced to the use of film which has a very low moisture
Static markings are not likely to occur if the film is loaded
and exposed within a short time after the original package is
opened. In general, field photography under arctic condi­
tions involves subjects of extremely low brightness scale
and very high levels of illumination. For this reason, high­
speed emulsions are not generally used outdoors. The best
choice of film is a medium-speed material such as Eastman
Plus-X Negative Film 5231/7231, Eastman Color Negative
Film 5248/7248, Eastm an Ektachrom e Film (Daylight)
5239/7239, Agfa Color N egative Film XT100, Fujicolor
Negative Film F 125 8530/8630, Fujicolor Reversal Film
RT125 (16mm only-8427), or Fuji Negative Film FG 71112/
RP 72161. Exposures should be held to a minimum and
overexposure should be avoided.
When pictures are to be made under low-level light­
ing conditions, such as at twilight, or indoors under exist­
ing artificial illum ination, a high-speed film , such as
Eastman 4-X Negative Film 5224/7224, Eastman Color EXR
H ig h -S p eed N eg ativ e Film 5 2 9 6 /7 2 9 6 , E astm an
Ektachrom e H igh-Speed Film (D aylight) (16m m only7251), Eastman Ektachrome High-Speed Film (Tungsten)
(16m m only-7250), Agfa C olor N egative Film X T 3 2 0 ,
Fujicolor F 500 Color Negative Film 8570/8670, or Fujicolor
Reversal Film RT 500 (16mm only-8428) should be used.
If a cold camera is taken indoors where it is warm and
humid, condensation may form on the lens, film, and cam­
era parts. If the camera is then taken back outdoors before
the condensed moisture evaporates, it will freeze and in­
terfere with operation; the condensate can also cause metal
parts to rust. One way to solve this problem is to leave the
camera, when not in use, in a room at about 32°F (0°C).
T. R. Stobart, who filmed the first conquest of Mt.
Everest, prefers to seal the camera in an airtight polyethyl­
ene or rubber bag and then take the camera into the warmth
of indoors. Any condensation takes place outside the bag,
not inside, and the camera remains both dry and warm.
This method has the advantage of keeping the camera from
becom ing "saturated in cold " for long periods of time.
There is no problem in taking warm equipment back out
into the cold, provided the snow isn't blowing.
When a camera is left in its case outdoors, the case
should be made reasonably airtight. In the Arctic, blown
snow becomes as fine as dust or silt and can enter the small­
est slit or crevice. If allowed to enter the camera around the
shutter or other moving parts, the snow will affect the op­
eration of the equipment. The speed and timing of motors
should be checked frequently. Batteries should be checked
every day and recharged at a base every night, if possible.
Tropical Cinematography
Heat and humidity are two basic sources of potential
difficulty when using or storing photographic goods in wet
tropical climates. Heat alone is not the worst factor, though
it may necessitate special equipment care and processing
techniques and may shorten the life of incorrectly stored
light-sensitive materials. High humidity is by far the greater
problem because it can cause serious trouble at tempera­
tures only slightly above normal, and these troubles are
greatly increased by high temperatures.
Associated with these conditions are several biologi­
cal factors — the warmth and dampness levels encountered
in the tropics are conducive to the profuse growth of fun­
gus and bacteria and encourage the activities of insects.
Many photographic and other related products are "food "
for these organisms — gelatin in films, filters, leather, ad­
hesives, and so on. Even if fungus, bacteria, or insects can­
not attack materials directly, they can develop an environ­
ment that can. Fungus can also either directly or indirectly
induce corrosion in m etals, attack textiles and leather,
change the color of dyes, attack glass, and cause a great
variety of other forms of deterioration. The probability of
damage is greater with frequent handling and transporta­
tion, especially under tine difficulties met in hunting and sci­
entific expeditions and in military operations. Exposure to
harm is greater when equipment is used out of doors, on
the ground, or in makeshift facilities.
Atmospheric condition, with respect to moisture con­
tent, is usually described in terms of "relative humidity."
This is the ratio, expressed as a percentage, between the
quantity of water vapor actually present in the air and the
maximum quantity which the air could hold at that tem­
perature. Thus, if a given sample of air contains only half
as much water as it would at saturation, its relative humid­
ity is 50 percent.
When the temperature rises, a given space can accom­
modate more water vapor and hence, the relative humid­
ity decreases, and vice versa. W hen air (or an object) is
cooled sufficiently, a saturation point (100 percent relative
humidity) is reached, and below this temperature drops of
water or "d ew " are deposited. In any locality, the tempera­
ture is much lower at high altitudes, so that dew is likely
to form on objects following their arrival by air transport,
especially when high relative humidity is present at ground
level. In tropical climates, this "dew point" is often only a
few degrees below the actual temperature during the day
and is reached when the temperature drops at night.
The amount of moisture absorbed by films and by nonmetallic parts of equipment is determined by the relative
humidity of the atmosphere. Therefore, the moisture ab­
sorption of photographic or other equipm ent can be re­
duced by lowering the relative humidity, either by remov­
ing some of the moisture with a desiccating agent or by
raising the temperature of the atmosphere where the equip­
ment is stored.
Extremes of relative humidity are a serious threat to
all photographic materials, even at moderate temperatures.
At high tem peratures, the effects of high humidity are
greatly accelerated, particularly if the relative humidity
remains above 60 percent. Extremely low relative humid­
ity, on the other hand, is not quite so serious, but if it falls
below 15 percent for a considerable time, as is common in
desert regions, an electric humidifier should be installed
and set to maintain a relative humidity of 40 to 50 percent
in the storage area.
Storage of Photographic Materials
Sensitized photographic materials are perishable prod­
ucts when stored under extreme conditions of high tem­
peratures and high relative humidity. Proper storage is
therefore important at all times. Fortunately, adequate pro­
tection of sensitized materials can be accomplished at rela­
tively low cost and without extreme methods. Lightweight
portable refrigerators or other cooling units are available
from expedition outfitters and other sim ilar equipm ent
suppliers. Desiccants are available in bulk or kit form for
reducing the moisture content of the atmosphere where
film is to be stored. Further, portable electric dehumidifi­
ers are also available to reduce the relative humidity in
larger quarters, such as work rooms, to aid in the comfort
of the occupants. And finally, the film packaging reduces
the possibility of damage when the material is stored un­
der recommended conditions. Usually, there will be little
or no adverse effect to the film if it is stored and handled
as described below.
Black & white films can be stored at normal room tem­
peratures in an air-conditioned room. Color films should
always be stored in a refrigerator at 55° F (13°C) or lower.
To avoid moisture condensation on the chilled surfaces of
the material, take film cans out of the cartons and allow
35mm rolls to warm up from 3 hours for a 20°F to 5 hours
for a 75°F temperature rise above storage temperature.
16mm rolls take about /[3 those times.
When the original packaging seal has been broken,
films should be exposed and processed as soon as possible.
Since the air in a refrigerator is moist, partially used pack­
ages should be returned to the refrigerator in a sealed con­
tainer containing a desiccant to absorb the moisture within
the container.
In general, do not keep more film than necessary in
stock, particularly when good storage conditions are not
available. Photographic materials can also be affected by
the chemical activity of fumes and gases. Consequently,
films should not be stored in newly painted rooms or cabi­
nets. All films should be processed as soon as possible af­
ter exposure. If you are unable to do this for some reason,
enclose the films in an airtight jar or can together with a
desiccant and place them in a refrigerator. Exposed films
can be kept for several days in this way.
Preparation and Protection of
To save time and avoid damage, cameras and other
equipment should be made ready well in advance of de­
parture. It is well worthwhile to have the equipment thor­
oughly overhauled and cleaned, preferably by the original
manufacturer, who should be advised as to the type of cli­
mate in which it will be used. Cases, packing material, and
moisture-absorbing material (desiccant) should be obtained
for the equipment and supplies. Protection during trans­
portation and storage is readily obtained by the use of her­
metically sealed cans, metal-foil bags, or other w ater/vapor proof containers, and a suitable desiccating agent. If the
containers have been properly sealed and contain an ad­
equate quantity of desiccant, they will protect the contents
practically indefinitely. There is, however, one reservation
and caution: if precision instruments that require lubrica­
tion with certain types of light oils are subjected to high
temperatures w'hile in such packing, the oils may evapo­
rate, leaving a gummy residue on the instrument bearings.
This situation may prevent proper equipment functioning
until the equipment can be cleaned and re-lubricated prop­
The protection of equipment that is in active use re­
quires a somewhat different approach. The relative humid­
ity can be lowered in an equipment storage cabinet that is
not used for film storage by burning electric light bulbs or
operating an electric resistance heating unit continuously
in the lower part of the cabinet. The num ber of lam ps
should be adjusted to keep the temperature about 10° above
the average prevailing temperature. Air spaces and small
holes should be provided at the top and bottom of the cabi­
net and through the shelves to allow a slow change of air
to carry off moisture introduced by the cameras and equip­
ment. The positions of the holes should be staggered on the
different shelves in order to produce a more thorough
change of air. Since high relative hum idity favors the
growth of fungus on lenses, filters, and other surfaces, stor­
age in such a cabinet will help reduce the fungus growth
and may prevent it entirely.
Electric dehumidifiers are now appearing in stores in
many of the larger cities in tropical regions. W ith these
units, whole rooms and their contents can be dehumidified,
provided they can be closed to outside air penetration. In
dehumidified rooms, the humidity will not increase rap­
idly during short power failures, as it would in heated clos­
ets or cabinets. In a small, tightly sealed room, an average
unit in operation for 12 hours out of 24 can keep the rela­
tive humidity below 60%. This should be checked about
once a month with an RH meter or sling psychrometer.
When it is not practical to use a hot cabinet or electric de­
humidifier, equipment should be stored in an airtight case
containing plenty of desiccant. Two cans of silica gel the size
of shoe-polish cans will do a very good job of drying equip­
ment in a sealed ten-gallon paint can (one with a gasket and
a "pound shut" lid).
A half-pound bag of silica gel works well in a gasketed
55-gallon "open top" drum that can be sealed with a cover.
However, where shipment and handling are involved or
where the containers are to be opened briefly a few times,
double or even triple the quantity of gel will provide a re­
serve of protection. Properly dehydrated containers will
momentarily feel cool to an inserted hand due to rapid
evaporation of the normal skin moisture. The sensation is
brief, but can be easily detected if one is looking for it. Its
absence means the silica gel needs replacement or regen­
If none of these methods are practical, and the equip­
ment must of necessity be left in an atmosphere of high
relative humidity, the equipm ent should be opened and
exposed to the sun at frequent intervals in order to drive
out moisture. The exposures, however, should be kept short
in order to avoid overheating. Cameras loaded with film
should not be exposed to the sun any more than necessary.
Cameras should always be protected from excessive
heat because many of the lenses used on cameras are com­
posed of several elements of glass cemented together. Be­
cause some cements melt at 140°F (60°C) and begin to soften
at 120° F (49°C), it is obvious that the lens elements might
become separated or air bubbles might form if the lens were
heated to such tem peratures. C am eras should not be
handled roughly or subjected to sudden jarring when used
at high tem peratu res because any slight shock m ight
change the position of the lens components.
Maintenance of Equipment
One of the best protective measures that can be sup­
plied in the tropics is to thoroughly clean every piece of
photographic equipment at frequent intervals and expose
it to air and sun whenever practical. This is particularly
important for retarding the corrosion of metal surfaces and
the growth of fungus or mold on lens surfaces and on
leather coverings. Lens cleaning fluids and papers now on
the market are recommended for cleaning lenses. During
the tropical dry season, or in any desert areas, any dust
should be removed from the lens surfaces with a sable or
camel hair brush before the lens tissue is used, to avoid
scratches. Lens cleaning tissues containing silicones should
not be used for coated lenses. They leave an oily film that
changes the color characteristics of the coating and reduces
its anti-reflection properties. This film is almost impossible
to remove. Leather coverings and cases can best be kept
clean by wiping them often and thoroughly with a clean,
dry cloth. Frequent cleaning and polishing will minimize
corrosion on exposed metal parts.
Black & White Film
The exposure of black & white film in tropical areas is
strongly influenced by the illum ination in the subject
shadow areas. The moisture and dust content of the atmo­
sphere are important because shadows are illuminated only
by light scattered by particles suspended in the air, except
where supplementary lighting or reflectors are used. Thus,
where the atmosphere is very dry and clear, objects that do
not receive the direct light of the sun appear, both to the
eye and to the camera lens, to be in deeper-than-normal
shadow. In regions like the southwestern United States or
central Mexico, for example, the brightness range of aver­
age outdoor subjects is much greater than it is in less clear
climates. In photographing people, this effect and the high
position of the sun combine to put the eyes in deep shadow
and even sometimes give the effect of backlighting. There­
fore, it is best to avoid taking pictures, particularly closeups of people, when the sun is overhead; if you must take
close-ups of people, use reflectors or booster lights to soften
the shadows.
Exposure meters should always be used with a reason­
able amount of judgment and experience, and this is espe­
cially true in locations with such unusual atmospheric and
lighting conditions. In the jungle areas of South and Cen­
tral America, the local farmers often clear and burn large
quantities of trees and brush during the dry season. The
smoke, composed of solid particles, hangs in the lower at­
mosphere and is not easily penetrated even with filters.
Also, at the height of the wet season in many localities, the
water haze becomes almost as impenetrable as a heavy
cloud. Distance photography is best done a few weeks af­
ter the close of the wet season and before burning begins,
or a few weeks after the first rains of the wet season have
settled the smoke particles and before the onset of the wet
season haze.
If extensive p hotograp hic w ork in the tropics is
planned, the development of a few test exposures may pre­
vent major failures. It is usually sufficient to determine a
basic exposure which can then be modified to suit other
films or conditions. Allowance should also be made for
different types of subjects. Beach scenes, for example, gen­
erally require about one stop less exposure than an aver­
age subject.
Color Film
In general, the exposure of color films should follow
the same basic recommendations given for temperate zone
exposure, with due regard to lighting and scene classifica­
tion. There are, however, some differences in the lighting
conditions and scene characteristics in the tropics which
justify special considerations.
1. During the rainy season, a light haze is generally
present in the atmosphere. When this haze is present, the
disk of the sun is clearly discernible and fairly distinct shad­
ows are cast. Under these conditions, the exposure should
be increased by about one-half stop over that required for
bright sunlight.
2. Frequently the brightness of beach and marine
scenes is appreciably greater than that encountered in tem­
perate zones. With such scenes the camera exposure should
be decreased one full stop from that required for average
subjects. It should be remembered that the term "average
subject" as used in exposure tables applies to a subject or
scene in which light, medium and dark areas are roughly
equal in proportion. It should not be taken to mean "usual"
for a particular location or area. For instance, the usual
desert scene is a "light subject" rather than "average sub­
ject," and should be exposed as such.
3. W hen the sun is high overhead, heavy shadows are
cast across vertical surfaces, very much like those occurring
in side-lighted subjects. Therefore, the exposure should be
increased one-half-stop more than normal, just as is recom­
mended for side-lighted scenes. For close-ups having im­
portant shadow areas, a full-stop increase in exposure is
4. Many objects in the tropics, not only painted build­
ings and light colored fabrics, but even the leaves of many
plants and trees, have a high reflectance for direct lighting.
Consequently, with front top or back lighting they should
be considered average subjects.
5. Very often the colors of nearby objects will be af­
fected by the green light reflected from nearby bright green
foliage. Similarly, in courtyards or narrow streets, the side
that is in the shade gets much of its illumination from the
opposite sunlit wall, which may be strongly colored. There
is little that can be done to correct for this situation, but it
should be recognized as a possible cause of poor results in
color pictures.
Day-for-Night Cinematography
The speed of modern color films makes it possible to
shoot night-for-night scenes. How ever, there are night
scenes that are im practical to illuminate artificially and
actually film at night. Shooting such scenes day-for-night
eliminates the additional problems and expense of night
shooting and can deliver excellent pictorial results.
Techniques for filming day-for-night scenes in color or
black & white vary greatly because of the many factors in­
volved. Cinematographers naturally differ in their interpre­
tation of what constitutes a night effect. The overall effect
must be one of darkness. Processing laboratories differ in
their negative preferences, although most prefer sufficient
density on the original negative since it is always possible
to "print dow n" for a darker effect, but impossible to ob­
tain a rich, full-bodied print from a thin, shadowless origi­
nal negative (if black shadows are desired, the scene must
print at center scale or higher).
Choice of filters and degree of underexposure will
vary according to sky conditions, color and contrast of sub­
ject and background, the strength, quality and direction of
sunlight, and the particular effect desired. Very generally
speaking, the most convincing day-for-night shots, in either
color or black & white, are made in strong sunlight, under
blue skies and with low-angle back-cross lighting.
D irect backlighting results in a "rim -lig h t" effect
which, although pleasing in a long shot, lacks the necessary
three-dimensional, half-illuminated facial effects required
in medium and close shots. Front lighting will flatten and
destroy all shadows. Side and front-cross lighting is per­
missible but not as effective as back-cross illumination.
Since production does not always permit shooting when
conditions are exactly right, and since day-for-night shots
must sometimes be made all day long, often the choice of
sun angle must be compromised. Under these conditions,
avoid front lighting as much as possible and stay with any
sun angle that results in partial illumination, preferably
with shadows toward the camera.
Skies give the most trouble, since they will invariably
read too high and are difficult to balance against fore­
ground action. Graduated neutral density filters, which
cover the sky area only, and Pola Screens, which will
darken the sky with the sun at certain angles, are both use­
ful for either color or black & white films because they do
not affect color values and can be used in combination with
other effect filters.
N eutral-density filters will tone down a "h o t" sky,
even if it is bald white. A partial or graduated neutral-density filter covering only the sky will therefore be very use­
ful for bringing the sky into exposure balance with the fore­
ground. Care must be taken, however, that action does not
cross the demarcation line between the filter material and
the clear glass area. Pola Screens are most useful when the
sun is directly overhead at right angles to the camera.
A Pola Screen should not be employed if the camera
must be panned through a wide arc, since the polarization
will vary and the sky tone will change in density as the
camera revolves. Typical underexposure is VA to 2'A stops,
rarely more. Brilliant sunlight will require greater under­
exp osu re, gray days less. The u n d erexp osu re can be
handled in several ways. One is by ignoring the filter ex­
posure increase required, if it is close to the amount of un­
derexposure desired. For instance, the filter being em ­
ployed may require two stops increase in exposure for a
normal effect. The increase is ignored and the diaphragm
set for the exposure without the filter, thus delivering the
necessary underexposure for the night effect. Or, a neutral
density of the desired strength is employed and its expo­
sure increase ignored.
Proceed as follows: insert the effect filter, or combina­
tion of filters for the desired effect, and allow for their ex­
posure increase as in normal filming. Add the desired neu­
tral (a .30 for one stop, .50 for a stop and one-half or a .60
for two stops). Ignoring the neutral filter's exposure in­
crease will automatically underexpose the negative by the
necessary amount. This is a quick and effective method in
fast production shooting where night effects are suddenly
required and little or no time is available for computations.
If the sky is not sufficiently blue to filter properly, and
if it is impossible to use a graduated neutral-density filter,
try to avoid the sky as much as possible by shooting against
buildings or foliage, or choose a high angle and shoot
The contrast between the players and the background
is very important since a definite separation is desirable.
Dark clothing, for instance, will merge with a dark back­
ground and the player will be lost. It is better to leave a dark
background and players in lighter, although not necessar­
ily white, clothing than to have a light background and
players in dark clothing. The latter combination will result
in a silhouette, rather than a night effect. This is the reason
that back-cross lighting is preferable, so that the back­
ground is not illuminated and the players have a definite
separation through edge lighting, which also imparts shim­
mering highlights.
Black & White Film
The illusion of night in black & white cinematography
is obtained by combining contrast filtering with underex­
posure. Since the sky is light by day and dark by night, it
is the principal area of the scene requiring correction. Any
of the yellow-orange or red filters may be used. A very
popular combination is the light red Wratten 23A plus the
green 56. This combination does everything the red filters
accomplish — plus it darkens flesh tones, which are ren­
dered too light by the red filters alone. When combining
filters, remember that red filters add contrast but green fil­
ters flatten; if a greater flattening effect is desired, add a
heavier green filter. Since flesh tones are not important in
long shots, they are sometimes filmed with heavier red fil­
ters, and only the medium and close shots are made with
the combination red-green filters. Care must be taken, how­
ever, that clothing and background colors do not photo­
graph differently when filters are switched in the same se­
quence. If in doubt, shoot tests before production filming
begins. Rem em ber that only a blue sky can be filtered
down. No amount of color filtering will darken a bald white
sky. Use graduated neutral densities, or avoid the sky un­
der these adverse conditions. The 23A-56 combination is
usually employed with a filter factor of 6, rather than the
20 normally required (5 for the 23A and 4 for the 56, which
multiplied equals 20). The factor of 6 automatically under­
exposes this filter combination approximately 1 '/i stops and
achieves the desired effect without further computation. If
a red filter is used alone, bear in mind that it will lighten
faces, and use a d arker m akeup (app roxim ately two
shades) on close shots.
Reversal Color Film
Typical blue night effects can be obtained with rever­
sal color films balanced for exposure with tungsten light
by removing the Wratten 85 filter and under exposing l lA
stops. If the bluish effect is too great, an ultraviolet-absorb­
ing filter can be used to filter out the excess ultraviolet. Flesh
tones in closeups can be adjusted by using gold reflectors
or 3200°K fill lights to light actors faces. Care must be taken
that the actors are not over-lit or that such lights appear as
ambient light with the sun acting as a moonlight key.
Negative Color Film
A cinematographer shooting day-for-night with nega­
tive color film should check with the processing laboratory
before the produ ction begins. Laboratories have a far
greater range of color correction available than the cinema­
tographer has at his disposal during the original photog­
raphy. They may add or subtract any color, or combination
of colors, provided the original negative has sufficient ex­
posure. Once the 85 filter is removed, however, it is often
impossible to restore normal color balance to the film.
If the 85 filter is removed, it should be replaced with
an ultraviolet filter, which will prevent overexposure of the
blue sensitive layer and keep the negative within printing
range. W armer effects may be obtained by substituting a
light yellow filter for the 85. A Pola Screen may also be used
to darken a blue sky and provide the required underexpo­
sure (by ignoring its filter factor). It will have no effect on a
bald sky, but it will act as a neutral-density filter and pro­
vide the needed underexposure. Remember that approxi­
mately %-stop exposure is gained by removing the 85 fil­
ter. This must be included in exposure calculations.
Infrared Cinematography
Because cinematography by infrared light has had lim­
ited pictorial use, this will be a brief review. For more in­
form ation, refer to K odak pu blication s nu m ber N-17
"Kodak Infrared Film s" and M-28 "Applied Infrared Pho­
tography." Infrared for photographic purposes is defined
as that part of the spectrum, approximately 700 to 900 na­
nometers, which is beyond the visible red, but not as far as
would be sensed by humans as heat.
All infrared films are sensitive to heat and should be
kept refrigerated before exposure and during any holding
time before processing. While no longer listed as a regular
catalogue item, Eastman Kodak still manufactures a B & W
infrared sensitive film, Kodak High-Speed Infrared Film
2481, and a m o d ified co lo r se n sitiv e film , K o d ak
Ektachrome Infrared Film 2236. Both of these films are on
Estar base. Before deciding to use either film in a produc­
tion the manufacturer should be contacted regarding its
availability, minimum order quantities and delay in deliv­
Black & White Films
For pictorial purposes, the greatest use of infrared sen­
sitive film for motion-picture photography has been for
"day-for-night" effects. Foliage and grass reflect infrared
and record as white on B & W film. Painted materials which
visually match in color but do not have a high infrared re­
flectance will appear dark. Skies are rendered almost black,
clouds and snow are white, shadows are dark, but often
show considerable detail. Faces require special makeup and
clothing can only be judged by testing.
A suggested El for testing prior to production is day­
light El 50, tungsten El 125 with a Wratten 2 5 ,2 9 ,7 0 , or 89
filter, or daylight El 25, tungsten El 64 with 87 or 88A (vi­
sually opaque) filter. Infrared light comes to a focus farther
from the lens than does visual light. An average correction
for most lenses is 0.25 % of the focal length of the lens
.0125mm (.005 inches) for a 50mm lens.
No human can see infrared; color film can only record
and interpret it. Kodak Ektachrome Infrared Film 2236 was
originally devised for camouflage detection. Its three im­
age layers are sensitized to green, red, and infrared instead
of blue, green and red. Later applications were found in
medicine, ecology, plant pathology, hydrology, geology
and archeology. Its only pictorial use has been to produce
weird color effects.
In use, all blue light is filtered out with a Wratten 12
filter; visible green records as blue, visible red as green, and
infrared as red. The blue, being filtered out, is black on the
reversal color film. Because visible yellow light is used as
well as infrared, focus is normal, and the use of a light meter
is normal for this part of the spectrum. What happens to
the infrared reflected light is not measurable by conven­
tional methods, so testing is advisable. A suggested El for
testing prior to production is daylight El 100 with a Wratten
12 filter.
Ultraviolet Photography
There are two distinctly different techniques for tak­
ing photographs using ultraviolet radiation, and since
they are often confused with each other, both will be de­
In the first technique, called reflected -u ltraviolet
photography, the photograph is made by invisible ultra­
violet radiation reflected from an object. This method is
sim ilar to conventional photography in which you pho­
tograph light reflected from the subject. To take pictures
by reflected ultraviolet, most conventional films can be
used, but the camera lens m ust be covered with a filter,
such as the W ratten 18A, that transmits the invisible ul­
traviolet and allows no visible light to reach the film. This
is true ultraviolet photography; it is used principally to
show details otherwise invisible in scientific and techni­
cal photography. Reflected-ultraviolet photography has
almost no application for motion picture purposes; if you
have questions about reflected ultraviolet photography
information is given in the book "U ltraviolet and Fluo­
rescence Photography," available from Eastman Kodak
The second technique is known as fluorescence, or
black-light, photography. In m otion-picture photogra­
phy, it is used principally for its visual effects. Certain
objects, when subjected to invisible ultraviolet light, will
give off visible radiation called fluorescence, which can
be photographed with conventional film. Som e objects
fluoresce particularly well and are described as being
fluorescent. They can be obtained in various forms such
as inks, paints, crayons, papers, cloth, and some rocks.
Some plastic items, bright-colored articles of clothing, and
cosmetics are also typical objects that may fluoresce. For
objects that d o n 't fluoresce, fluorescent paints (oil or
water base), chalks or crayons can be added. These m a­
terials are sold by art supply stores, craft shops, depart­
ment stores, and hardw are stores. Many of these items
can also be obtained from W ildfire, Inc., 10853 Venice
Blvd., Los Angeles, California, 90034, w hich m anufac­
tures them specially for the m otion-picture industry.
Fluorescence may range from violet to red, depend­
ing on the material and the film used. In addition to the
fluorescence, the object reflects ultraviolet light, which is
stronger photographically. M ost film has considerable
sensitivity to ultraviolet, which would overexpose and
wash out the image from the weaker visible fluorescence.
Therefore, to photograph only the fluorescence, you must
use a filter over the camera lens (such as the W ratten 2B,
2E or 3, or equivalent) to absorb the ultraviolet.
The wavelengths of ultraviolet light range from
about 10 to 400 nanometers. Of the generally useful range
of ultraviolet radiation, the m ost com m on is the longwavelength 320 to 400nm range. Less common is the short
to medium-wavelength range of 200 to 320nm. In fluores­
cence photography you can use long-, medium-, or short­
wave radiation to excite the visible fluorescence depend­
ing on the material. Some m aterials will fluoresce in one
type of ultraviolet radiation and not in another.
Certain precautions are necessary when you use ul­
traviolet radiation. W arning: You m ust use a source of
short- or m edium-wave ultraviolet with caution because
its rays cause sunburn and severe, painful injuries to eyes
not protected by ultraviolet-absorbing goggles. Read the
m an u factu rer's in stru ctio n s before using u ltra v io let
Eye protection is generally not necessary when you
use long-wave ultraviolet because this radiation is con­
sidered harmless. However, it's best not to look directly
at the radiation source for any length of time, because the
fluids in your eyes will fluoresce and cause some discom­
fort. W earing glass eyeglasses will m inimize the discom ­
fort from long-wave sources.
There are many sources of ultraviolet radiation, but
not all of them are suitable for fluorescence photography.
The best ultraviolet sources for the fluorescence technique
are mercury-vapor lamps or ultraviolet fluorescent tubes.
If an object fluoresces under a continuous ultraviolet
source, you can see the fluorescence while you're photo­
graphing it.
Since the brightness of the fluorescence is relatively
low, the ultraviolet source must be positioned as close as
practical to the subject. The objective is to produce the
maxim um fluorescence while providing even illum ina­
tion over the area to be photographed.
Fluorescent tubes designed especially to emit long­
wave ultraviolet are often called black-light tubes because
they look black or dark blue before they're lighted. The
glass of the tubes contains filter material which is opaque
to most visible light but freely transmits long wavelength
ultraviolet. These tubes, identified by the letters BLB, are
sold by electrical supply stores, hardware stores and de­
partment stores. They are available in lengths up to 4 feet
and can be used in standard fluorescent fixtures to illu­
minate large areas. Aluminum-foil reflectors are available
to reflect and control the light.
M ercury-vapor lam ps are particularly suitable for
illuminating small areas with high ultraviolet brightness.
W hen these lamps are designed for ultraviolet work they
usually include special filters which transm it ultraviolet
and absorb most of the visible light. Mercury vapor ul­
traviolet lamps are available in two types, long-wave and
short-wave. Some lamps include both wavelengths in the
same unit so that they can be used either separately or
together. If you use a light source that does not have a
built-in ultraviolet filter, you m ust put such a filter over
the light source. The filter for the radiation source is called
the exciter filter.
You can use a Kodak W ratten Ultraviolet Filter, No.
18A, or Corning Glass No. 5840 (Filter No. CS7-60) or No.
9863 (Filter No. CS7-54) for this purpose. The Kodak Fil­
ter, No. 18A, is available in 2-and 3-inch glass squares
from photo dealers. The dealer may have to order the fil­
ter for you. The Corning Glass is available in larger sizes
from Corning Glass W orks, Optical Photo Products De­
partment, Corning, New York 14830. The filter you use
must be large enough to completely cover the front of the
lamp. The scene is photographed on a dark set with only
the ultraviolet source illuminating the subject. In order for
the film to record only the fluorescence, use a Kodak
W ratten gelatin filter, No. 2A or 2B, or an equivalent fil­
ter, over the cam era lens to absorb the ultraviolet. W hen
used for this purpose, the filters are called barrier filters.
Since the fluorescence image is visible no focusing correc­
tions are necessary. Focus the camera the same as for a
conventional subject.
Determining Exposure
Many exposure meters are not sensitive enough to
determ ine exposure for the fluorescence. An extrem ely
sensitive exposure meter should indicate proper exposure
of objects which fluoresce brightly under intense ultravio­
let if you make the meter reading with a No. 2A or 2B fil­
ter over the meter cell. If your exposure meter is not sen­
sitive enough to respond to the relative brightness of fluo­
rescence, the most practical method of determ ining expo­
sure is to make exposure tests using the same type of film,
filters, and setup you plan to use for your fluorescence
While either black & white or color camera films can
be used for fluorescence photography, color film pro­
duces the most dram atic results. The daylight balanced
films will accentuate the reds and yellows while the tung­
sten-balanced films will accentuate the blues. Since fluo­
rescence produces a relatively low light level for photog­
raphy, a high-speed film such as Agfa XT320, Eastman
EXR 500T (5296), Eastman HS Day (5297), Fujicolor F 250
D (8560) or Fujicolor F 500 (8570) is recomm ended.
Special Considerations
Some lenses and filters will also fluoresce under ul­
traviolet radiation. Hold the lens or filter close to the ul­
traviolet lamp to look for fluorescence. Fluorescence of the
lens or filter will cause a general veiling or fog in your
pictures. In severe cases, the fog com pletely obscures the
image. If a lens or filter fluoresces, you can still use it for
fluorescence photography if you put the recomm ended
ultraviolet-absorbing filter over the camera lens or the
filter that fluoresces. It also helps to position the ultravio­
let lamp or use a matte box to prevent the ultraviolet ra­
diation from striking the lens or filter.
Shooting 16mm Color Negative
for Blowup to 35mm
by Irw in W. Young
Chairman of the Board, Du Art Film Laboratories Inc.
Note: Shooting W mm for blowup to 35mm requires prepa­
ration and planning. Cameras, lenses and magazines should be
thoroughly checked and tested. When shooting 16mm fo r blowup
to 35mm, preparation is more critical than if shooting 16mm fo r
16mm prints.
The difference in picture quality between 35mm films
shot in 16mm negative and those shot in 35mm negative is
due primarily to differences in graininess. The 16mm frame,
blown up to 35mm, is enlarged approximately 3 to 4 times
its original size, greatly exaggerating grain size. To main­
tain the finest grain structure in 16mm color negative,
proper exposure and normal processing is mandatory to
insure maximum latitude and detail with minimum grain
in the shadow area of the blowup. W hen in doubt, if light
is available, it is advisable to lean to overexposure. In fact,
contrary to what occurs in black & white negative, where
density is created by a buildup of grain, color negative has
less grain in areas of higher density. An overexposed color
negative of up to one stop would tend to produce a blowup
with the least amount of grain.
Flashing and toning should be avoided. These proce­
dures increase grain, especially in the areas of no exposure.
An underexposed negative shows more grain than a prop­
erly exposed negative. This grain is most apparent in weak
shadow areas. Force processing increases graininess to the
extent of the forcing. 16mm color negative has considerable
latitude and it is recommended that scenes that are under­
exposed up to one stop be processed normally. This under­
exposure has a lesser effect on the grain size in the nega­
tive than force processing. There are a number of psycho­
logical factors which affect the viewer's awareness of grain.
When the picture is not sharp, the eye, struggling to focus
the image, tends to focus on the grain, making it much more
Definition is also a function of contrast. Low-contrast
pictures tend to be less sharp and, therefore, appear more
grainy. High contrast limits the detail in the highlights and
shadows. If possible, it is advisable to have a black refer­
ence and a white reference in a scene. These reference points
can be quite small. The eye, looking at a picture, searches
for these reference points and, if there are none, tends to
focus on the grain.
Special effects which require the blowup negative to
be more than one generation away from the 16mm origi­
nal should be avoided. The build-up in grain and loss in
picture quality due to this additional generation is gener­
ally undesirable.
Composing 16mm for blowup to
The aspect ratio of a picture frame is the relationship
between its width and height. The ratio of the standard
16mm and 35mm frame is 1.33:1. Reducing the height of
the picture while maintaining the width will increase its
aspect ratio. This is done in 35mm projection by using a
mask to crop equally the top and bottom of the picture
frame. 35mm prints are projected at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio in
the United States and at 1.66:1 in Europe. On TV, the pic­
ture is viewed at a 1.33:1 aspect ratio.
This diagram shows the area of a 16mm camera frame
that the viewer will eventually see when screened at an
aspect ratio of 1.33,1.66, and 1.85.
When shooting a 16mm film for 35mm blowup, the
camera person should compose the subject being photo­
graphed for wide-screen projection.
A properly composed 16mm negative can be blown
up to the standard 35mm aperture size (style A, P H 2 2 1951992 ANSI). This negative produces a 35mm print in a
1.33:1 aspect ratio. This print can be used for TV and pro­
jected theatrically in the United States and Europe with the
appropriate mask. The aspect ratio of the projection mask
and the framing position of tine 35mm projector determines
what part of the frame will be screened. The standard Acad­
emy leader is used by the projectionist to center the picture
in the aperture of the projector. If equal cropping of the top
and the bottom of the picture eliminates important picture
information, vertical scanning can be used in making the
35mm blowup negative. Scanning enables you to chose the
part of the picture you want projected wide screen. Here
you have the choice of losing picture information only at
the top or bottom or in a varied combination of the two.
Blowup negatives that are scanned for a 1.85:1 or 1.66:1
aspect ratio require a frame line which fixes the desired
aspect ratio. This frame line guides the projectionist in fram­
ing the picture properly. Prints from these negatives com­
pared to a standard print look as follows:
35mm prints made from a 1.85:1 or a 1.66:1 negative
cannot be used for television unless the image is enlarged
in the telecine chain when transferring to videotape before
broadcast. Cropping would have to be done on the left and
right side of the picture to achieve a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. More
cropping on the left and right side is required on a 1.85:1
aspect ratio print. Prints from a scanned 1.66:1 negative are
acceptable in theatrical screening for both domestic and
foreign use. Prints from a scanned 1.85:1 blowup negative
when screened foreign at 1.66:1 aspect ratio show a black
border at the top and bottom of the projected image.
We recommend that all scanning is done at a 1.66:1
aspect ratio and that the blowup negative be made with a
frame line producing 35mm prints in which the picture
information is framed in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Since there is
not much difference in picture size between a 1.66:1 and
1.85:1 aspect ratio, this type of blowup negative enables you
to make satisfactory prints for both domestic and foreign
Super 16mm
The Super 16mm format was designed to provide the
greatest possible picture area on a 16mm original for en­
largement onto 35mm for wide screen theatrical presenta­
tions. It achieves a wide-screen format on single-perforated
16mm camera film by extending the picture area of the
imperforated area of the camera original. The Super 16mm
aperture produces an original image with an aspect ratio
of 1.66:1. The blowup from this image can be cropped
slightly in projection to yield the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The
increase in the useful picture area of a Super 16mm frame
results in a substantial increase in the image quality obtain­
able in a 35mm wide-screen blowup.
To optim ize im age quality when shooting Super
16mm color negative for blowup to 35mm, follow the same
recommended exposure practices as when shooting regu­
lar 16mm color negative for blowup to 35mm.
Super 16mm is a complete system requiring appropri­
ately modified laboratory, editing and screening facilities
as well as a modified camera. Principal camera modifica­
tions are: enlarging the aperture, remarking the viewfinder
and re-centering the lens mounts. It may be necessary to
modify the pressure plate and other parts of the film trans­
port mechanism in both the camera and magazine to pre­
vent scratching in the extended area of the frame. Lenses
should be carefully chosen to be sure that they provide a
wide enough coverage to accommodate the wider frame.
Many wide-angle 16mm lenses cause vignetting in the
Super 16mm frame. Cameras are available which have been
specifically designed for adaptability to Super 16mm and
some conventional 16mm cameras can also be modified for
Super 16mm.
Super 16mm cameras and magazines should be thor­
oughly tested before use in production. Editing and pro­
jection equipment must be modified to display the entire
Super 16mm frame. Super 16mm film sent to the labora­
tory should be clearly identified so it can be handled prop­
erly. When a picture shot in Super 16mm has a television
or 16mm release, the Super 16mm image must be converted
to an image with a 1.33:1 aspect ratio by sacrificing part of
the width of the frame. This is achieved by re-centering the
frame via an optical printer so that an equal amount is
cropped on each side of the frame.
Composing Super 16mm for blowup
to 35mm
This diagram shows the area of a Super 16mm cam­
era frame that the viewer will eventually see when screened
at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1,1.66:1,1.85:1.
1 . 33:1
1. 66:1
1 . 85:1
The aspect ratio of the picture frame of a Super 16mm
negative is 1.66:1.
When shooting Super 16mm for blowup to 35mm, the
cameraperson should compose the scene for wide-screen
projection. A properly composed Super 16mm negative
should produce a 35mm negative having an aspect ratio of
1.66:1. Projecting a print made from this negative at 1.85:1
will crop equally the top and bottom of the picture frame.
If important image information is eliminated, vertical scan­
ning can be used in making the 35mm negative. Blowup
negatives that are scanned for a 1.85:1 aspect ratio require
a frame line which fixes the desired aspect ratio. Vertical
scanning in Super 16mm should be avoided because for­
eign prints are screened at a 1.66:1 aspect ratio.
This aspect ratio enables you to show all the informa­
tion recorded on the Super 16mm negative. Television and
standard 16mm prints show the picture information in a
1.33:1 aspect ratio. The Super 16mm image, in order to be
converted to this aspect ratio, must sacrifice part of the
width of the frame.
To be sure that your titles are suitable for different
aspect ratio requirements, compose the titles so they will
not be cut off horizontally when projected at a 1.85:1 or be
cut off vertically when viewed at 1.33:1 for television. If an
action background is used for main and end titles, the ac­
tion scene should be blown up to a 35mm master positive.
The titles with clear letters on opaque black background
should be shot in 35mm hi-con. Using the master positive
and the 35mm hi-con titles a dupe negative of the main and
end titles is manufactured. Where titles do not have action
backgrounds, it is often advisable to photograph the title
scene completely in 35mm to maintain maximum quality.
Splicing for a blowup requires extra care.
For a blowup, the 16mm original can be spliced in the
standard 16mm A & B format. Besides normal care in splic­
ing for cleanliness and assurance that the splice will hold,
the conformer must be sure when making a 16mm splice
for blowup that the cemented overlap of the splice main­
tains the proper pitch (x) between the perforation of the
splice which is the first frame of picture negative and the
perforation of the first frame of black leader.
If this pitch or distance between these two perforations
is not the same standard as the pitch between any two per­
forations where a splice does not occur, there will be a ver­
tical jump in the picture at the screen change. The reason
for this is that the registration pins on all 16mm full-immersion optical wet gates are either one or two perforations
away from the frame being exposed. Thus, the frame be­
ing printed is in a position established by a perforation on
the opposite side of the splice.
If the splice is off-pitch, as described above, the first
frame or the first two frames after the splice are improp­
erly positioned, with the adjustment coming on the follow­
ing frame when the pin is registered after the splice. This
problem will not show up when you make a 16mm con­
tact print from your A & B original because, on the 16mm
continuous printer, the sprocket teeth register the film and
the raw stock at the area of exposure. To help minimize the
possibility of jumping splices, physically check your splicer
before you conform the negative. Be sure that the distance
between the pin that positions the black leader and the pin
that positions the negative is correct.
Splice some negative outtakes in A & B roll form and
from this negative make a test print using the optical printer
with the 16mm immersion wet gate that will be used to
make the blowup. If jumps occur in this print at the splice,
recheck all adjustments in your splicer and re-test.
Zero-Cut Editing
To completely avoid the possibility of jumping splices,
the negative can be cut into A & B zero-cut format. The zerocut method, with a minimum of four frames for an over­
lap, will eliminate the splice-jump problem, but 16mm con­
tact prints made from zero-cut negatives will have a oneframe dissolve at the scene changes. Quite often this dis­
solve is noticeable when viewing the print.
Since Super 16mm contact prints with sound cannot
be made directly from a Super 16mm negative, there is no
purpose in cutting your Super 16mm original negative in
the conventional A & B roll format. To avoid the possibil­
ity of jumping splices it is advisable to cut the Super 16mm
negative in A & B zero-cut format.
Laboratory Procedures
The work print and the 16mm A & B original should
be delivered to the laboratory in rolls up to 800 feet in
length. Tine workprint rolls should represent the 35mm reellength format, where up to 2000 feet of 35mm goes on each
reel. This conforms to standard theater projection practice.
The laboratory prepares a contact 16mm answer print,
which is screened by the filmmaker and the timer for cor­
rections. NOTE: Super 16mm contact prints with sound
cannot be made from a Super 16mm negative.
Using the corrected color timing and, if required, the
filmmakers' scanning data, the 16mm or Super 16mm cut
negative is optically enlarged to a 35mm master positive
from which a dupe negative is made. Before the blowup,
an additional printing operation is necessary, to create a
clear picture frame in the 35mm negative. This is done so
that the prints made from the negative have a black frame
line to help tine projectionist center the picture on the screen.
If tine blowup negative has been scanned, the frame line size
is determined by the picture aspect ratio used in scanning.
If it has not been scanned, the filmmaker can decide upon
the frame size. The processed negative is then synchronized
with the 35nnm sound track for the manufacture of 35nnm
release prints.
Stereoscopic Motion Picture
by Christopher James Condon, 3-D Consultant
President] StereoVision International, Inc.
North Hollywood, California
Three-dimensional (stereoscopic) films, when expertly
photographed and projected, can result in motion pictures
with amazing roundness and depth. Recent "state-of-theart" examples shown at theme parks have proven that these
films can be the most realistic visual medium — sometimes
even exceeding the capabilities of our "two-eyed" percep­
tion. This exciting effect can now be achieved in local cin­
emas if the process is better understood by producers and
exhibitors. First they must be willing to put forth coopera­
tive effort, integrity, reasonable resources and planning.
The basic technology of filming and projecting stereoscopically has been widely known for many years, and has
been greatly simplified during the past two decades. There
are two main systems for 3-D cinematography. The light­
weight, mobile single-camera (dual image) system is suitable
for theatrical feature films. The heavier, more complex dualcamera method is more useful for large-screen theme park
or venue films. The various three-dimensional camera sys­
tems currently available are:
1.) HINES-LAB offers a very sophisticated dual cam­
era rig for rental. This system requires that one of the cam­
eras be pointed downward toward a horizontal beam split­
ter. This camera must be operated in reverse. The other
camera points forward. This rig accepts most interlocked
35mm, 65mm (five and eight-perf), and video cameras, and
allows the widest-angle lenses of any 3-D system. State-ofthe-art convergence and 3-D video tap options are available.
The Disney 65mm dual camera 3-D system is similar, as is
the huge IMAX 15-perf 3-D system.
2.) STEREOSPACE 2000. A dual 65mm camera system.
Uses a vertical beam splitter. This system features MOS as
well as studio self-blimped versions and has interchange­
able lenses of 50mm, 70mm, 85mm, 100mm, and 150mm
focal lengths. Projection is by interlocked 70mm projectors.
3.) STEREOVISION has a number of 3-D camera sys­
tems. StereoVision Wide Screen is a distortionless high
definition single-strip 35mm 3-D system. By far the world's
most widely used, it is a true dual optical channel, patented
camera lens, not a relay system. It stacks both the left and
right images precisely onto each frame. Can be blown up
to 70mm. Focal lengths are 15mm extreme wide angle,
20mm, 24mm, 32mm, 50mm, 62mm, and 90mm. The sym­
metrical image spacing of .374" allows easy optical effects
printing. Available in BNCR style camera mounts such as
hard front Arriflex 35, BL4, Ultra-Cam, Mitchell BNCR,
MovieCam and others. Special models are also available for
Panaflex, Arriflex IIC, PL and BL. StereoVision also has a
35mm Academy (1.33:1) format 3-D system compatible
with video format. StereoVision 70 shoots two side-by-side
images onto each standard 65mm frame, and is fully com­
patible with Russia's Stereo-Kino. No beam splitter is
needed, increasing depth-of-field sharpness. All of the
above systems require only one projector using a patented
special distortionless polarized dual optical channel lens.
Also available is a StereoVision dual camera 35mm rig
and a single-camera StereoVision Tenperf 65. The latter is
a 10-perf above/below single 65mm 3-D camera system,
supplied with 55mm, 80mm, and 135mm 3-D lenses. This
camera shoots two 5-perf 70mm stereo images, above/be­
low, rendering the same size images as heavier more com­
plex dual 70mm rigs. It uses a special 10-perf 70 projector
and a 10KW Xenon lamp. StereoVision also supplies a large
variety of 3-D projection optics for 35mm and 70mm pro­
jection, which it rents directly to theaters.
4.) DIMENSION 3 was designed by stereographer Dan
Symmes. It has a focal length of 35mm and has similar char­
acteristics to StereoVision Wide Screen 35. This system is
in the prototype stage and is available in BNCR mount.
Other mounts are available on special order. (.374" sym­
metrical image spacing.)
5.) MARKS DEPIX is a 35mm single-camera system
(two stacked images). Focal lengths are 18mm, 32mm,
50mm, and 85mm. It uses a unique method of separating
the images by polarization. This results in a two-stop loss
of light, however. (Spacing is .387".)
6.) ARRIVISION is a 35mm relay 3-D system that con­
verts to various focal lengths. It is attached to the camera
base by means of a special support bracket and uses remov­
able optical components and cams to obtain 18mm, 32mm,
50mm, and 85mm focal lengths. Arrivision is designed to
be used with specially modified Arriflex cameras only.
(Two stacked images, .366" spacing.)
7.) OPTIMAX III attaches to the 35mm camera with a
support bracket. It has relay focal lengths of 16mm, 24mm,
35mm, 50mm, and 85mm. (Two stacked images, .387” spac­
8.) IWERKS 3-D is an 8-perf 70mm system using the
DUAL camera beam splitter method for photography. Fo­
cal lengths are 50mm, 60mm, 80mm, 100mm, and 150mm.
Iwerks offers 870 3-D projectors that are state-of-the-art, 30
frames per second.
9.) IMAX 3-D is a very large format (15-perf 70) huge
dual-camera rig. A range of focal lengths is available. The
IMAX company has also developed a dome 3-D process,
which uses liquid crystal viewing glasses. Interlocked dual
Imax projectors are currently used for extremely large 3-D
screen images. A single projector, dual-image projector has
been developed.
10.) STEREO-KINO 70 is a system that was developed
by N. I. K. F. I. in Moscow. It is a single-camera, side-byside image system with a wide range of focal lengths. The
cam eras range from small "h an d h eld " to studio selfblimped. Special 70mm 10KW projectors are used, compat­
ible with Stereo-Kino projection optics, designed for mini­
mum distortion. (26.4mm spacing.)
11.) STEREOSCOPE is a single-strip 35mm 3-D system
designed by stereographer John Rupkalvis. It is intended
primarily for special-effects photography, using longer that
normal focal lengths. (.374" symmetrical spacing.)
A number of special optical effects companies also
have built dual-camera 3-D rigs. These are intended mainly
for 3-D matte photography, miniatures and motion-control
All of the above systems (except for IMAX Dome 3D) are intended for use with the current "state-of-the-art"
polarized projection method, requiring a silver screen and
neutral polarizing glasses. Nearly all of the major theme
parks and other special venues use this method. Approxi­
mately 2,000 theatrical venues in the USA and Canada also
have silver screens, waiting for a new wave of better 3-D
movies. Further information is available from the indi­
vidual companies.
Very special photographic technique is essential for
effective 3-D cinematography. Some 3-D consultants may
prefer computers, formulas and convergence tables. Books
such as Lipton's "Foundations of the Stereoscopic Cinema"
can be of help. However, for truly effective results, with­
out costly 3-D errors, producers are advised to engage only
an experienced 3-D consultant in the pre-production stage,
as well as during the shoot and postproduction.
Optical "Flat" Projection
Single-strip 35mm 3-D films can easily be converted
for stan d ard flat p rojection by m aking an op tical
internegative for non-3-D prints. For converting 35mm
wide screen, the usual method is to optically reprint one
of the two stereo images anamorphically, as was done with
the Techniscope process, or crop slightly for 1.85 or 1.66 flat
format. For single-camera 70 side-by-side, simply convert
one side to 70mm blow up or 35mm 1.85 to 1.66 reduction.
For dual-camera systems, no change in the print is neces­
sary. Either left- or right-eye reels can be shown indepen­
dently as "flat" films.
3-D Projection
Precise theatrical projection is a very important factor
in the success of a 3-D film. Proper installation and align­
ment of the special 3-D projection optics requires expertise.
Pre-screening of the 3-D print is absolutely necessary. Im­
properly aligned 3-D images can cause audience eye dis­
comfort. Imbalanced or underpowered illumination can
ruin the dimensional effects and can spoil the enjoyment
of even the best 3-D photography.
The StereoKino Group of Moscow has achieved great
success in single-camera 70mm stereo-cinematography and
70mm stereo-cinema projection and has established 60 spe­
cial 3-D theaters in the former USSR. Stereo-Kino was re­
cently awarded, for the first time in this field, a Technical
Achievement Award by the Academy of Motion Picture
Arts and Sciences. At least two American co-productions
are planned.
The future success of theatrical stereoscopic motion
pictures depends upon a high degree of professional excel­
lence. It will also require international standards and co­
operation between innovative writers, art directors, creative
directors, proven stereographers, trained 3-D camera per­
sonnel, dedicated distributors, the finest exhibition engi­
neers, and skilled projectionists.
3-D Cinematography
by Daniel L. Symmes
Spatial Technologies Incorporated
3-D films create an illusion — a synthesis of how hu­
mans see. Basically, all true 3-D (with the exception of ho­
lography) takes two (or more) images of a given scene. Tine
viewpoints (lenses) are generally separated horizontally
(interaxial) by around 2.5 inches, relating to the distance
between our eyes (interocular). The two images are then
selectively viewed: the left image is seen only by the left eye
and the right by only the right eye. The visual selection is
generally accomplished with polarizing projection filters
and appropriate polarizing viewing glasses. The two im­
ages are seen by the brain as a representation of the depth
of the original scene. If the screen image were life-size, the
film would be viewed as a stage play and simulated 3-D
would be no problem; it would also not have the dramatic
impact of close-ups, moving viewpoints, and intercutting
scenes photographed by lenses of different focal lengths.
Since the screen image is larger than life-size and is
viewed by persons at various distances and angles relative
to the screen, it is necessary to control the synthesis of the
3-D image. This is accomplished by adjustments of conver­
gence, interaxial distance, focal length, and camera distance
from the subject. Proper adjustments present an image that
a viewer's brain accepts as "real" or produces a dramatic
effect intended by the filmmaker.
While tine basic principles of 3-D may be easy to grasp,
the actual techniques of 3-D cinematography are quite com­
plex. Mathematical manipulation provides perhaps 75% of
the needed information; the balance comes from experi­
ence, tests, and instinct. Obviously, this process requires
experienced supervision. This, and the fact that 3-D is a
special effect, illustrate the need for a 3-D consultant.
It is the consultant's job to know from experience what
does and does not work. Eye fatigue is the most common
problem associated with 3-D, and while it can be caused
by poor projection techniques, it is generally initiated in
production. It is not the consultant's job to tell the director
of photography how to do his job or to tell the director how
to shoot his film. As with special-effects systems, there are
rules and techniques that can help a production avoid
costly and damaging problems. The consultant will help the
director and cameraman achieve on the screen what they
have in their minds.
Preparing to shoot in 3-D should be approached as
thoroughly as conventional filming; lenses must be checked
for resolution, distortion and T-stop accuracy. Any defi­
ciency in these areas should not be accepted just because
you are working with specialized equipment. There are no
excuses for poor optical performance. In addition, you
should test exposure and color balance between the two
images; focus and convergence limits and accuracy; and for
odd optical phenomena. These areas relate specifically to
3-D optical systems and apply to single- and double-cam­
era 3-D. Optical problems can include flare, ghost images
and other visible distortions that would also be unaccept­
able in normal (2-D) photography. If you intend to use po­
larizing filters on the filming system for reflection control,
sky effects, and so on, it would be wise to test for exposure
imbalance between the two images and other anomalies.
Systems using mirrors, and even prisms, sometimes yield
odd results due to polarization (see "Filters" section).
The primary concern in 3-D filming is preventing eye­
strain in audience members. This involves far more than
merely looking at reference charts or making an "informed"
guess. The real questions come down to where to converge,
how close the subject may come to the camera, and how
far back the background can be. As a very general rule it is
best to converge on or near the main subject.
Unfortunately, some scenes shot this way will cause
eyestrain. The only effective method of determining con­
vergence is with a combination of mathematical and expe­
riential skills. Strict mathematics fall short because numbers
need to be interpreted. However, a 3-D consultant without
sound mathematics is only guessing. This aspect cannot be
overemphasized and is the shortcoming of many current
3-D productions.
Many films made since the late 1970s, including the
most recent, show excessive parallax (too much "depth").
Without glasses, images are double to an extreme. With
glasses, many spectators feel the excessive depth in the way
their eyes have to exercise. This is often described as eye­
Yet, if one watches 3-D films of the 1950s (House of Wax,
Hondo, Phantom of the Rue Morgue, Miss Sadie Thompson, etc.)
without glasses, there is an impression of being able to see
the image with a minimum of "doubling". In other words,
the picture looks fairly clear. With 3-D glasses, the depth
effects are extremely satisfying. Obviously, pnrnllax must be
controlled for conformable viewing by the entire audience, not
just a few with super eye muscles.
The perception of 3-D is an individual and therefore
subjective experience; no two people see 3-D quite the same
way. What may be great to one viewer may seem poor to
another. Directors and producers must be made aware of
this so they may avoid making decisions based on poten­
tially biased perceptions.
A final factor that is often overlooked is the proper
projection of both dailies and release prints. The camera­
man should be aware of projection problems that may re­
flect on his work. Improper projection can result in expen­
sive, needless reshooting. Working with 3-D projection
equipment suppliers and a consultant, you should have the
picture brightness up as high as possible. Balance the illu­
mination of the two images. Make sure both images are the
exact same size and focus. Make sure the proper metallic
screen (high gain or silver) is installed and that it is clean.
See that the 3-D projection optics and projectors are aligned
properly so the two images register properly on the screen.
Lastly, be sure to use good-quality 3-D glasses.
With proper handling and expert consultation, 3-D can
be an entertaining experience.
Synchronizing Methods for
Picture and Sound Systems
by John Mosely, CAS
Early Systems
As far back as 1897, Edison had the idea of combining
sound and picture. He accomplished synchronization by
mechanical means, making the first use of a "Double Sys­
tem," i.e. a system in which picture and sound track are
recorded separately. Many demonstrations were given
prior to World War I. Eugene Laust introduced the first
"Single System" during the same time period with picture
and soundtrack recorded on the same film.
These devices were regarded as curiosities by the se­
rious m o tio n -p ictu re m ak ers, who cre a te d their
"photoplays" as silent dramas, telling their stories punctu­
ated with title cards when needed. The silent films were
customarily projected in the theater to the accompaniment
of pianos or theater organs. It was not until the famous
collaborative experim ents between the Bell Telephone
Laboratories and the then-fledgling Warner Brothers Pic­
tures that the sound motion picture became a serious chal­
lenge in the theatrical market. The Warner Brothers threw
down the gauntlet on August 6,1926. However, the date
that is considered to be the formal introduction of sound
to theatrical feature films is October 26, 1927, when the
Warners launched The Jazz Singer.
During the early days, two sound recording and re­
producing systems were used side by side: the disc re­
corder, which was a synchronous version of the phono­
graph recorder, and the film recorder. Initially the disc
record gave better sound quality and was in commercial
use in theaters all over the world until the early 1930s. By
that time, the sound-on-film systems had improved suffi­
ciently to displace the disc as a theater reproducing system.
Being able to cut the soundtrack in the same way as the
picture was a major editorial advantage and film record­
ing quickly became the preferred medium. However, since
it was impossible to hear a film recording immediately af­
ter it was made, the disc recorder survived for this purpose
until the introduction of magnetic recording in the early
Synchronous Motors and Selsyns
In both cases, the above systems were driven by syn­
chronous motors. These normally took the form of a 220volt 3-phase AC motors designed to run at 50 or 60 Hz,
depending upon the geographic area of the world where
they were intended to operate. (60Hz for North America
and parts of Asia and 50Hz for the rest of the world.) The
stator windings of these motors produce a rotating mag­
netic field in the armature area of each motor. The speed
of rotation is the same for all motors and the armatures are
shaped so that each and every armature turns in unison
with the rotating magnetic field. This makes all motors turn
in synchronism. After these motors come up to speed, they
function as though they were mechanically interconnected.
The selsyn electrical interlock system adds refinement.
In contrast to the synchronous motor, if one armature is
held stationary, all armatures that are connected on the
same circuit or "bus" will remain stationary and the elec­
trical fields of all armatures will rotate in unison. This is
achieved by giving the armatures windings and poles simi­
lar to the stator windings. Six wires are brought out and all
armatures are connected in parallel, making them operate
as though they were mechanically interconnected. An ad­
ditional synchronous motor is mechanically linked to a
selsyn mounted on the same bed. This combination is called
a "distributor." In operation, all of the fields are electrically
excited, after which the armature of the distributor motor
is made to rotate. Thus, all of the selsyn motors are electri­
cally interlocked from a standing start mark, then come up
to speed together and drive together under the rotational
power of the distributor motor. In addition to being used
as a camera and recorder drive during photography, the
selsyn system has been used for practically all scoring, re­
recording, ADR, Foley and double system projection. Since
the rotation of a selsyn system is strictly a direct function
of the drive motor, it will be appreciated that these systems
can be made to operate over a wide speed range and bidirectionally. Virtually all dubbing (re-recording) systems
have taken advantage of this phenomenon.
A third multi-duty motor system was used for a time
in which the motors contained multiple windings, enabling
them to be used as synchronous, selsyn and DC systems.
When operated as a synchronous motor, the armatures are
connected so as to form fixed poles which rotate in the
magnetic field of the stator in a manner similar to the ar­
mature of a synchronous motor. When operated as a sel­
syn interlock motor, the armature windings are connected
so as to conform to the selsyn system. When powered by
DC, these motors operate as a compound DC motor and
as a 3-phase 220-volt AC generator. By interconnecting
these motors appropriately, a selsyn drive system results.
In practice, when operating from DC, the speed of the drive
motor is established by a rheostat in the supply lines. The
correct speed is verified by a visual tachometer, usually a
reed meter. Due to the bulk, weight and power requirement
of all these systems, they have been largely replaced in the
field, slowly over the last 20 years, by crystal motors in
cameras and by stepping motors and servo systems in
postproduction equipment.
Regardless of which system is used, the start of each
take is marked by a clapper board or slate. The slate has the
picture information written on it, usually in chalk. The top
contains a hinged piece of wood. The clapper operator
waits for camera and sound recorder to be running at full
speed, then announces the take followed by the word
"M ark." At that point, the upper section is brought swiftly
down so that it makes a loud crack. The editor looks for the
frame where the slate closes and places a china marker cross
on it. The sprocketed magnetic film, which is a direct trans­
fer of the Vi" tape, is placed in a sound reader. The editor
listens for the announcement to make certain that it is the
correct take and then finds the start of the sound where the
top hits the board. This point is also marked with a china
marker and the two films run together with sound and
picture synchronized.
Early Sync-Pulse Systems
The advantages of Vi" tape as a recording medium for
motion pictures and television were recognized as early as
1948, both by Colonel Richard R anger and Sherman
Fairchild. In both the Ranger and Fairchild systems, a syn­
chronizing pulse is taken from the camera's synchronous
motor power source and recorder on the tape as an index
of camera frame speed versus sound timing.
The synchronizing recording of the Ranger system is
in the center of the studio track and is recorded with a spe­
cial magnetic head oriented approximately 90 degrees with
respect to the audio recording. This orientation produces
a synchronizing signal that is self-canceling, or in push-pull
with respect to the audio signal, and therefore does not
cause any interference. On playback, the synchronizing
signal is amplified to control the frequency of an oscillator.
When no signal is present, the oscillator is locked to the line
frequency, which is also used as a reference. Any variation
in frequency from the reference is used to correct the speed,
thereby maintaining proper synchronization.
The Fairchild "Pic-Sync" system uses a 14 Khz carrier
signal that is mixed together with the audio signal. In re­
production the two signals are separated, with the audio
going through a low-pass filter. The carrier signal goes
through a high-pass filter and is demodulated to obtain the
sync signal. This signal is amplified and fed to a small syn­
chronous motor coupled to the reproducing tape drive cap­
stan and either adds or subtracts power to the power driv­
ing the tape to maintain synchronism. A starting device
using special beep tones, spaced one second apart, is used
to start the tape in sync with the picture.
The Swiss company Perfectone introduced a system
in 1959 whereby a synchronizing signal was recorded in
push-pull on the edges of the tape, allowing room for a 200
mil sound track down the middle of the tape that is com­
pletely isolated from the sync signal. The playback device
is the same as the Ranger system.
It was particularly common for manufacturers of
documentary cameras to include a pulsing device driven
by the camera. An interconnecting cable feeds the sound
recorder with a 50 or 60 Hz pulse, which would be repro­
duced by the Ranger system. There were a number of other
devices on the market for a time which were proprietary
to individual manufacturers, but their use was relatively
Current Synchronization Systems
and Time Code
Virtually all motion-picture sound cameras today are
driven by crystal motors that maintain precise speed accu­
racy. Field sound recorders rely on 50 or 60 Hz synchro­
nizing tracks or SM PTE/EBU time code. Time code dis­
plays 8 digits denoting hours, minutes, seconds and frames.
There are 8 additional digits available by selection (known
as "User Bits") that can be allocated for special purposes
although they bear no direct relationship to a particular
frame. For example, production date, number, etc. can be
entered as user bits. Time code can be selected to run at 24,
25 and 30 frames and there is a special frame rate of 29.97
(called the "drop frame") for use with NTSC color televi­
sion systems.
Lightweight battery-operated synchronous tape re­
corders manufactures by two Swiss companies, Nagra and
Stellavox, are in general use throughout the motion picture
industry worldwide. With the growing use of video sys­
tems for editing and for electronic cinematography, the
SMPTE/EBU time codes are gaining popularity. The great
advantage of time code is that every frame of picture and
track is individually marked, thereby simplifying synchro­
nization. Some motion-picture cameras record time code
on one edge of the film continuously, whereas all profes­
sional video recorders contain a dedicated time code track.
A compromise system is also in use, whereby an intelligent
slate is used. The take information is written on the slate
conventionally, but running time code is displayed in the
middle of the slate. The same time code will be feeding the
sound recorder. By physical examination of the picture and
by using an electronic reader on the track, the required
frame can be easily identified. Time code is usually placed
in the center of the 14" tape between two audio tracks. The
time-code track is scanned by a time-code reader which
displays the time and frame information. It is not possible
to use mono tape recorders with time code, since time code
interferes with the audio signal. However, there is a com­
promise arrangement that is economically advantageous,
which will be discussed in a later paragraph.
Digital Audio Tape (DAT) Recorder
It must be appreciated that analog tape recorders have
evolved and improved over the last fifty years. By contrast,
digital recorders, which represent a revolution in technol­
ogy owing their genesis to binary computers which relate
all signals to zeroes and ones, burst upon the market dur­
ing the last decade. They are theoretically perfect for record­
ing sound. Unfortunately, practice has not followed theory,
and although they all have many desirable features, they
do not necessarily sound as good as their analog counter­
parts. However, during the last two years, great improve­
ments have been made in how some of these systems ac­
tually sound. A direct comparison to live sound, called an
" A /B " test, is very revealing. Some of the best sounding
digital recorders happen to be the DAT systems. DAT re­
corders were originally designed for the consumer market
and were tried out in Japan. From a technical standpoint,
they can best be described as a tiny video-type recorder
using rotating heads. They quickly demonstrated their abil­
ity to make two channel stereo recordings having extremely
high quality, in fact even better than compact discs. Further­
more, the inherent design of the drive mechanism guaran­
tees absolutely constant speed, without any variation or
"wow and flutter," two variables that have plagued ana­
log recording since their inception. This aspect of the DAT
recorder makes it particularly suitable for synchronous re­
cording. Like the crystal-controlled camera motor, it can be
relied upon totally to maintain constant speed and does not
need any additional external reference, as do other systems
outlined in previous paragraphs.
A number of professionals obtained machines from
Japan and were greatly impressed by their initial perfor­
mance and obvious potential. Their wide dynamic range
(exceeding 90 dB) and virtually flat frequency response
across the full audio spectrum, with very low distortion,
made them ideal candidates to replace conventional twotrack analog reorders with and without synchronization
systems. As an additional advantage, these machines no
longer need noise-reduction equipment, which adds sig­
nificantly to the cost, weight and alignment complexity of
analog equipment. A two-hour DAT cassette fits into the
palm of the hand and weighs only two ounces, including
its box. Conversely, two hours of professional analog tape
weighs some eight pounds and is now technically inferior.
There are already machines on the market from a va­
riety of manufacturers that are classified in the professional
category, i.e. they contain balanced inputs and outputs, as
well as digital interface connections that conform to the
AES/EBU Standards. They have already filled a small place
in the field, displacing their bulkier analog machines for
recording dialogue and effects for film and television and
even music. During the currency of this edition of the
manual, it is highly probable that DAT recorders will be­
come the recording device of choice for both film and tele­
vision sound.
Most of these professional machines do not contain
playback heads, which in digital parlance are called "read
after write" or "confidence" heads, so it is impossible to
monitor the signal coming off the tape while recording.
Although there is a school of thought that would regard this
shortcoming as cause to dismiss the product, it must be
pointed out that this digital format has proved itself already
to be extremely reliable. One must recall that in the old days
before tape, the same situation existed for fifty years and
very good recordings were made.
This group of professional DATs has considerable eco­
nomic advantage over the existing conventional analog
recorders by almost a factor of five. Therefore, if individu­
als are worried about the lack of a confidence head (read
after write or simultaneous playback), they can always
employ a second machine. The A ES/EBU Standards per­
mit interlocking machines and a number of features for
logging and identification. These are not available on ana­
log machines, but are standard fare with professional
DATs. Their small size also enables them to be used as selfcontained individual recorders in place of radio micro­
phone systems that cause so much trouble to the produc­
tion recordist.
There are a number of second-generation professional
battery-powered machines which came onto the market
during 1992 that do contain confidence heads that also con­
tain an additional SM PTE/EBU time-code track. These
machines will be in the same price range as the current fullfeature analog machines and may be regarded as direct
replacements, assuming that their sound quality is satisfac­
tory. This can not be taken for granted. The advantage of
recording time code is that the soundtrack will be continu­
ously associated with its corresponding frame of picture
and may be edited at random, without resorting to the cur­
rent practice of synchronizing each track with its picture
from a start mark. As electronic editing becomes more
popular with film, this additional feature may become in­
with Non-Time Code DATs
From the previous section, it will be apparent that even
the simplest DAT recorder can be relied upon to run at
constant speed without an additional synchronizing device
or special track. Therefore, a standard clapper can be used
for synchronization. All DAT machines have an additional
advantage in that they contain two high-quality audio
tracks that are actually technically superior to the best cur­
rent analog recorders. This feature will alleviate the use of
a second machine when it is required to record effects or a
second dialogue track concurrently.
All film m anufacturers have agreed to mark their
negative films with a machine-readable bar code. During
the currency of this edition, the use of intelligent readers
will undoubtedly grow and it may be desirable to use time
code for the soundtrack. Should the recordist require time
code, there are the following three possibilities:
1. Use a machine that contains the additional track.
2. Record time code on one of the audio tracks.
(Crosstalk between tracks exceeds 80 dB and therefore will
not cause a problem to the audio.)
Make an interface box that will place time code on
one track for a few seconds while simultaneously driving
a time-code slate so that the same numbers are recorded on
the film as the tape for post-synchronization. Incidentally,
if this option is chosen, it would be sensible to place a voice
slate on the other track so that one has both human and
machine-readable data at the same point on the track. This
box should be placed at the input of the DAT recorder. The
same device can be used on an analog recorder, too.
Sound-Recording Hints
Before embarking upon any recording, it is mandatory
to check out thoroughly all of the equipment that will be
used. People often have difficulties in the field which could
have been avoided if every piece of equipment, including
the cables, had been completely checked before leaving for
work. If one is uncertain about the use or performance of
the equipment, ask for a technician to be available to ex­
plain everything and to verify that all of the individual
components are operating correctly.
It is important to understand the problems that are
commonplace in recorded sound and to understand how
to avoid them. Recorded sound in the motion picture/tele­
vision context inevitably is quite different to natural sound,
since constraints are placed upon the recording process by
the functioning of the overall equipment and the environ­
ment. The principle consideration in recording sound for
motion pictures is that the dialogue shall be clear and clean,
i.e. free from defects and intelligible at all times. For ex­
ample, a quiet whisper that is clearly audible in a field in
the country is not likely to be heard above the sound of
crunching popcorn or a theater's air-conditioning system.
It is therefore necessary to bring up the lowest sounds so
that they are easily understandable. Conversely, very loud
sounds will overload the recording system and cause dis­
tortion, which is unpleasant to hear and may damage the
equipment. If the movie patrons cannot understand the
sound, they will not enjoy the picture. Although the dub­
bing or rerecording process will rectify many defects, the
end product, like a good meal, can only be as good as the
basic ingredients. Therefore, it is well worthwhile to take
a lot of trouble to obtain good original sound.
The unit of reference for sound is the decibel or "dB"
and is a logarithmic relationship between two voltages or
powers. In simple terms, a change of 6 dB will double or
halve the sound level for practical purposes. The threshold
of hearing is given as 20 dB, while the threshold of pain is
given as 120 dB. Therefore, it can be said that the dynamic
range of hearing for a normal human being is around 100
dB. The frequency range of normal human hearing is from
20 Hertz (Hz) to 20 kilohertz (kHz). This represents ap­
proximately 10 octaves musically. Speech is generally in the
range of 200 Hz-3 kHz. It is common for people to experi­
ence a loss in their ability to hear high frequencies as they
get older.
One of the most irritating sounds often heard is exces­
sive sibilance, that is, the exaggerated sound of the letter
"S." It occurs in nature, and some people are more prone
to have sibilant speech than others. A good test of actor and
equipment is to get the actor to say "Sister Susie gathers sea
shells by the sea shore." If you can record that sentence
clearly and without sibilance, you do not have a problem.
Microphone selection, placement and movement usually
solve the problem.
The letter "P " can also present problems, which are
manifested by a popping sound. Here again, the problem
is usually resolved by microphone placement and move­
ment. Some microphones are particularly sensitive to this
phenomenon, since the "P " sound often is accompanied by
a steep wavefront which distorts the sensitive element in­
side the microphone. To circumvent this problem, some
microphones are supplied with "Pop Shields." If you have
one, use it.
Distorted or unnatural sound is usually but not always
caused by defective equipment. Listen to the natural sound
before assuming that your equipment is defective. If every­
thing appears to be in order and the distortion persists,
check your batteries. Low battery voltage will cause the
equipment to malfunction. Therefore, it is important to
make certain that your batteries are fresh and producing
their full output at all times.
Before starting to work, make certain that the recorded
sound quality is satisfactory. The best judge of this all-important characteristic is the human ear. If something doesn't
sound right, the chances are that some piece of equipment
is not functioning correctly. Normally, one will work back­
wards from the tape output towards the microphone(s).
Listen carefully to what you are recording near the sound
source, then listen through your headphones. If the sound
is not the same at this juncture, change the microphone. If
the trouble persists, change the microphone power supply,
preamplifier, mixer and headphones in that order. Obvi­
ously, the sound must be clean before it enters the recorder.
If there is a crackling sound, shake the cables to discover if
they are causing problems. Inspect the connectors to make
certain that they are clean and dry. The pins should be shiny
and certainly not discolored or oxidized. If a cable appears
to be stiff or brittle, it may well have poor insulation and is
likely to add noise to the signal, so change it. Lastly, set a
comfortable listening level on your headphones. The level
should be high enough so that you hear the softest sounds
clearly, but not so loud that the loudest sounds are uncom­
fortable. Once this level has been found, do not change it,
as this becomes the reference by which you will be mak­
ing subjective judgments all the time. Allow yourself suf­
ficient time to experiment before the shoot commences, so
that you are entirely comfortable with your equipment op­
erationally. During the shoot, you should concentrate on
the sound subjectively and not have to worry about tech­
All equipment m ust be fully tested and properly
aligned before commencing operations. Depending upon
the type of equipment chosen, it may be necessary to per­
form periodic alignment procedures in the field. Should this
be the case, make certain that the required test equipment
an d /o r personnel are available. On the whole, the newer
digital equipment requires less maintenance in the field.
Remember that if a bad recording is turned back to the stu­
dio, the front office, producer, or director will blame the
sound person, not the equipment. If you have any reser­
vations, take spare equipment with you, as well as plenty
of tape and extra batteries of all sizes.
Microphone Placement
For the best sound pickup during dialogue recording,
the microphone should be about one or two feet in front of
and above the actor. This distance will vary according to
the camera angle. The tighter the shot, the closer the micro­
phone should be. However, even for a distant shot, do not
go too far back. Roughly speaking, the efficiency of pickup
of most microphones decreases with the square of the dis­
tance. A little practice will soon teach you the best position
to place the microphone. In general terms, one is best off
to use a condenser microphone with a cardioid (heart­
shaped) pattern pickup. It is also advisable to use a foam
windscreen over it to ensure that movement of the boom
or fishpole does not pick up wind noise. It is preferable to
use a shock mount between the microphone and the boom
so as to isolate m echanical sounds when the boom is
When operating outside, it may well be necessary to
add a windscreen and sock. These components should be
in the kit. When working in noisy environments, it will be
necessary to use hyper-cardioid or even shotgun micro­
phones. Remember, the tighter the pattern of pickup, the
more precise the boom person has to be before the subject
sounds "off rnic." "Off mic" is a term that is used when a
sound is no longer natural. It is easily recognized and can
usually be corrected by a minor movement of the micro­
phone towards the sound source. The boom person should
wear headphones connected to the microphone so that any
problem will be apparent immediately.
The actual angle of pickup will vary with different
microphones. As a starting point, place the sensitive face
at 45 degrees in front of and above the actor. If there is sibi­
lance or the actor starts to overload the system by shout­
ing (i.e., the sound becomes brittle or distorted), roll the
sensitive face away from the actor, so that the voice hits the
sensitive face at 90 degrees on its cross-axis, keeping the face
at 45 degrees. If the overload persists and the sound is nor­
mal but loud to the ear, the overload may be removed by
inserting an attenuator or "pad" between the capsule and
its pre-amplifier. (This accessory will reduce the input volt­
age to the microphone's pre-amplifier. Some sensitive cap­
sules have the ability to put out very high levels when
placed close to the sound source. Certain microphones con­
tain built-in attenuators that are operated by a switch on
the microphone.) Do not use a larger pad than is necessary
to clear up your overload problem, since any additional
gain or level that is needed to restore the sound to the re­
quired listening point will add hiss or noise to the system.
Again, the solution and correct movement will be learned
by trial and error. Do not change microphone types within
a scene, or the sound quality will change and the resulting
recording may be unacceptable. If there is a rumbling
sound, use the low-frequency roll-off or high-pass filter that
is available on most professional microphones and mixers.
Do not point the microphone towards the floor, lest you
pick up additional noise and excessive low frequencies.
This sound is known as "boominess." It is preferable to
record flat, i.e. without equalization, since alteration of the
sound spectrum, if necessary, is better done during the
postproduction mixing operation. However, should you
find it necessary to use equalization, limiting or compres­
sion, do not change it within a scene. Remember once again
that if the sound is not clear in your headphones, it will not
be clear later. Time spent learning how to get a good
pickup, particularly under adverse conditions, will produce
dividends during postproduction and to your reputation.
When one is recording more than one actor speaking
in the same sequence, it may be necessary to find a com­
promise position for the microphone in order to avoid one
actor sounding off-mic. It will be appreciated quickly that
the skill of the boom or fishpole operator can make or break
a recording. Under certain circumstances the actor may
move into a part of the set that is acoustically bad. Tell the
director about it before you shoot and get a bad track. The
director may decide to allow you to correct the deficiency
or re-shoot the sound later in a dialogue replacement facil­
ity. Remember that poor sound quality often results from
the microphone being too far away from the speaker, badly
angled or being in a bad acoustic environment. Avoid plac­
ing it directly over or behind the head of the actor.
In exterior shooting, one is more likely to have prob­
lems of picking up extraneous sounds from cars, planes,
people and the elements. Under these circumstances, try a
more tightly patterned microphone, or different angles
below or to the side of the camera field of view. Do not for­
get that the preferable microphone position is slightly
above and in front of the speaker. Body and radio micro­
phones are often used in outside and wide angle shots. It
is helpful in avoiding the sound of clothes rustling, to put
a loose knot in the microphone cable about an inch below
its head and to place it under a collar or on the front of a
bra. Always try to avoid the chest cavity since this will in­
evitably sound boomy. Avoid using more than one micro­
phone in the same pickup area in order to avoid interfer­
ence between them, which results in a strange swishing or
"phasing" sound that cannot be removed later. When, and
not until, the sound is clean and as artistically or subjec­
tively required in the mixer's headphones, turn to the re­
Use of Tape Recorders
Analog recorders arc fitted with mechanical VU or
peak meters, whereas DATs usually use electronic peak
reading fluorescent bar meters. The basic difference be­
tween the VU and peak meter is that the VU meter reads
the average level in a given time period, whereas the peak
reading meter registers the highest part of the signal at all
times. Discussion of the various merits falls outside this
manual. In general terms one should expect a VU meter to
read rather slowly. The level should be adjusted on dia­
logue so as to peak at around -1 and not above 0 VU,
whereas a peak meter, which will respond rapidly, should
never peak above zero. When using a DAT recorder, ex­
amine it carefully to find out if the sampling frequency is
switchable. Always choose the highest sampling frequency
available, at least 48 kHz, making certain that any record
pre-emphasis circuitry is switched off.
Before starting to record sound, record a tone on the
tape. Most mixers contain an oscillator for this purpose, as
do most professional recorders. Customarily, -6 dB is used
with VU meters and -8 dB on peak analog recorders. For
DATs, -18 dB is the customary setting level for reference
and aim to peak at -2. Never hit zero. In all cases, one is
desirous of finding a reference level that will result employ
the full dynamic range of the recorder without overload­
ing its electronics or the tape. Whereas most analog record­
ing systems tend to go into overload rather gently, digital
machines reach their maximum permissible level and then
break up completely. Therefore, it is very important to ex­
periment with your recorder until you are fully familiar
with its limitations and then work within them to obtain
the best possible, clean, intelligible sound recording. Ad­
just the input level so that your average recording is rea­
sonably high on the scale, making certain that the peaks
never quite hit the overload point. Once again, trial and
error is the best teacher. Beware of overloading either the
electronics or the tape. This is the most frequent cause of
bad recordings made in the field. Experience alone will give
you the right point between a noisy recording that is re­
corded at too low a level and adistorted recording that is
recorded at too high a level. Under extreme circumstances,
the dynamic range of the incoming signals may be too great
to control manually. Should this be the case, it may be nec­
essary to employ a limiter, which determines the maximum
level that may be passed through the system, or a compres­
sor, which raises the low-level signals and lowers the highlevel signals. It is vital to make certain that these devices
do not give an unnatural sound, and they should be re­
garded, like the equalizer, as tools of last resort in the field.
Avoid making large and rapid changes of levels, as these
will sound u nn atu ral and be d ifficu lt to rectify in
Make certain that all tapes are properly identified and
that they are packed with log sheets that contain full de­
tails of the recording. It is preferable to leave analog record­
ings on the takeup reel, or "tails out," for two reasons. The
first is to make certain that the tape is tightly wound, so that
it does not become physically deformed during storage.
Under extreme conditions, the base of the tape can become
so deformed that it will not lie on the reproducing head
properly. Should this occur, the sound will vary in level and
quality and may be unusable. The second is to minimize
"print-through," a phenomenon to which analog tape is
prone. This means that sound recorded, usually at a high
level, is heard one and even two turns of the tape before
and after the actual sound in the form of repetitions. This
effect is a function of the tape formulation and varies from
type to type. Print-through tends to be diminished in a
tightly wound tape. You will quickly discover that most
machines do not rewind tape at a speed to be high enough
to be satisfactory for storage. By leaving the tape tails out
this problem is eliminated.
Conversely, given the nature of the DAT system, it is
advisable to rewind DATs fully. In both cases, inspect the
tapes to make certain that the wind is even so that the tape
does not become physically distorted. Place DATs in their
safe, non-recordable mode by sliding the safety tab towards
the center of the cassette.
Finally, remember that when all of your equipment is
functioning correctly, your ears should be the final judge
of the quality and acceptability of your work.
Filming Television Screens
by Bill Hogan
Sprocket Digital
When filming television screens or computer displays
there are two principle obstacles to achieving consistent and
clear images on the filmed result. These two problems are
the difference in frame rates between the television image
and the film camera and the incorrect color temperature of
the television display. The following explanation and de­
scription of standards for television sets and computer dis­
plays is meant to provide an understanding and method­
ology to allow the filming of these displays with the high­
est quality possible.
Frame Rates
North America and many other countries of the world
use a television delivery system that has 30 television
frames per second, each comprised of 525 lines. Motion
picture film for theatrical or television display is usually
photographed at 24 frames per second.
This difference in frame rates is the predominant dif­
ficulty in photographing television sets as part of a scene.
The artifact that is most visible is the appearance of hori­
zontal bars on the photographed TV image. This is caused
by double exposure of some parts of the television screen.
To understand what causes this double exposure and the
horizontal bars it is necessary to understand several other
facts about the television signal.
With 30 frame television there are 525 lines scanned
each 30th of a second. But to avoid flicker in the display a
method is used that is somewhat analogous to the two
bladed shutter in the film projector. This 30th of a second
television frame is further divided into two television fields.
Each of these television fields lasts for a 60th of a second.
The displayed television image is "refreshed" or scanned
now at 60 times per second and the result is no flicker. This
is accomplished by starting the scanning beam (a single
point of light or energy) in the upper left corner of the tele­
vision screen and moving it left to right a single line at a
time. When this beam of light reaches the right side of the
screen, it jumps back to the left side of the screen during a
period when it has been "blanked" or turned off. This is
called the horizontal blanking period. This occurs every
television line or 525 times per television frame.
In order to provide the refresh rate of 60 times per sec­
ond, this beam skips every other line of the 525 lines that
comprise a television frame of a 30th of a second. In other
words, the scanning beam scans line 1, skips over the po­
sition that would be occupied by line 2 arid scans line 3. This
continues to the bottom of the TV image until all of the oddnumbered TV lines have been scanned.
At this point a 60th of a second has passed. The scan­
ning beam is now at the lower right corner of the screen.
The beam is "blanked" and is moved to the upper left cor­
ner again — ready to start scanning again. This time period
of the beam moving from the lower right corner to the
upper left corner is called the vertical blanking period or
vertical interval. This happens 60 times per second — twice
per television frame. This scanning beam now starts its
scanning process over one line at a time, but during this
60th of a second the beam is positioned to scan lines 2 ,4 , et
cetera — all the even-numbered lines are now scanned.
Now let us look at how the film camera views this tele­
vision image. The camera that is chosen for this example
has a 180-degree shutter. If we run this camera at 30 frames
per second with a shutter opening of 180 degrees, the cam­
era is exposing the film every 60th of a second. From the
television scanning explanation above it can be observed
that the film camera is "blind" to one of the television fields
and is only photographing half of the 525 lines that occur
in a television frame. The resulting TV screen image on the
film will be good (with no "shutter bars") because the film
camera and the television scanning are occurring at the
same frame rate. When the film camera and the television
system are operating at different frame rates the result is
double exposure to portions of the television screen image.
Best results are obtained when the shutter opening
coincides with the beginning of the scanning of one of the
two television fields. In other words, the shutter is open for
only one complete television field — not part of one field
and part of the next field. In order for this precise phasing
(shutter open vs. closed) to occur, external specialized
equipment is used in conjunction with the film camera and
the video equipment.
There are four combinations of film rates and televi­
sion rates that are possible. These are outlined below:
1. 30 Frame Video and 30 Frame Film: This combina­
tion features standard NTSC 30 frame video (US Standard)
and the film camera also operating at 30 frames. This ap­
proach is appropriate if the film is going to be used for a
30 frame per second telecine transfer, but if used for 24
frame projection there will be a 20% "overcrank," and if
there is sound the pitch will be altered. Any US television
monitor can be used. Shutter phasing and synchronization
are required and the camera shutter angle is optimum at
180 degrees.
2. 25 Frame Video and 25 Frame Film: This requires
the video signal to be the European PAL-625 line system
and also the VTR and monitor to be capable of operation
on this standard. If the film shot is projected at 24 frames
there is only a 4% "overcrank," and the sound pitch change
is usually considered undetectable except to musicians.
Shutter phasing and synchronization are required and 180
degrees is the preferred shutter angle. This is the system
that is chosen for most TV monitor filming in Europe and
much of the rest of the world that operates on 50 Hertz
3. 30 Frame Video and 24 Frame Film: This features
standard 30 frame NTSC video and a camera specially de­
signed to have a fixed 144 degree shutter or a camera whose
shutter can be precisely set to 144 degrees. This specific
shutter angle allows the film camera to only photograph
one set of scan lines per film frame but is extremely diffi­
cult to adjust. Anything mechanical that causes the cam­
era to vary in speed or cause drag on the shutter will re­
sult iii inconsistent results. Also camera panning and zoom­
ing will cause portions of the TV image to be double-exposed or not exposed at all, resulting in small black or white
bars to be present in the TV image. Again, shutter phasing
and synchronization are required and a very precise 144
degree shutter angle must be maintained.
4.2 4 Frame Video and 24 Frame Film: This video/film
combination requires a specialized video format, but the
film camera is run at a standard speed and the resulting film
is standard in all ways. The choice of shutter angle should
be 180 degrees and there is a one-to-one relationship be­
tween TV frames and the preferred film rate of 24 frames.
Shutter phasing to the TV signal should be used. Most TV
sets and monitors can be adjusted to operate at this 24 frame
rate, but caution should be used with an unknown model.
Live video cameras and computers have been modified to
run at this 24 frames, offering a wide choice of source ma­
24 Frame video was first used for feature production
in about 1960. Since that time steady progress has been
made in sophistication and choice of the tools for this oneto-one relationship with 24 frame film. Because 24 frame
video is a modification of standard NTSC television equip­
ment, the TV image has the same scanning frequencies as
525 line television. This results in the 24 frame image hav­
ing a total of 655 television scan lines per 24th of a second.
Thus, the precise vertical scan rate or frame rate of the tele­
vision signal is actually 24.01 frames per second.
The synchronization between the film camera and the
video system can be achieved in two ways. This is the shut­
ter phasing that was referred to above. The first method is
to obtain a shutter signal from the film camera and have
the video system follow the film camera. This allows the
film camera to operate on its internal crystal and to "pull
down" the video system to exactly 24 frames. With this
method no connection is made to the sound recorder. The
disadvantage of this method is that the video source is lim­
ited to videocassette playback. In recent years this method
is almost never used. One major drawback is that only one
film camera can be rolling simultaneously.
The second mode of operation is tine preferred method
and offers the greatest flexibility of operation. In this mode
the film camera is driven by a signal from video/film cam­
era synchronization equipment. A signal is still received
back from the film camera, used to phase the camera shut­
ter opening to the TV signal scanning. A major advantage
of this method is that any number of film cameras can be
operating in sync and the choice of 24 frame signal sources
is unlimited. As the film and television equipment are op­
erating at a slightly higher frequency (24.01 frames per sec­
ond), a 60.02 hertz frequency should be sent to the sound
recorder to keep the sound in sync on long takes. Without
this signal the sound will fall behind the picture about one
frame every 45 seconds.
Both the above modes of operation can accommodate
process or rear screen projection with the appropriate con­
No attempt will be made here to describe the equip­
ment available to synchronize the film and video equip­
ment. This equipment is constantly changing and is avail­
able from many camera manufacturers and specialists in
the field of video playback for film shooting.
Color Temperature
Color temperature of the filmed television image is the
other most important aspect that needs to be understood
and corrected for.
The correctly adjusted professional broadcast monitor
will be adjusted to a color temperature of 6500 degrees
Kelvin. But the normal range of TV sets and monitors can
vary widely in their color temperature. To be used success­
fully, these TV screens must be set up for the correct color
temperature of 6500 degrees. Test equipment is available
to facilitate this adjustment. If filming is done with this
adjusted monitor with a tungsten-balanced film designed
for 3200 degrees Kelvin, the resulting TV screen image will
appear to be very blue or high in color temperature. Moni­
tors not adjusted to the correct color temperature will re­
sult in very unpredictable results.
There are five ways to compensate for this color tem­
perature difference.
The first method is to readjust the TV screen to a lower
color temperature — as close to 3200 degrees as possible.
Most TV monitors are limited in adjustment range. This
method is usually unsuccessful and today is almost never
The second method makes use of the fact that this
higher color temperature of the television image is near the
color temperature that is expected when shooting with
daylight-balanced color negative that is now widely avail­
able. With this method the television image is left unaltered
and the director of photography lights the rest of the scene
with daylight-balanced lighting. The television image and
the scene now match closely in color temperature and al­
low the use of daylight balanced film.
The third method is very similar to the second, but
after lighting with daylight-balanced lighting the cinema­
tograp h er uses a tungsten-balanced negative with a
Wratten #85 filter on the camera. This method is sometimes
used on commercials, but suffers from the loss of exposure
caused by the filter.
The fourth method also uses tungsten-balanced film
and lighting, but a change in the color temperature of the
TV screen is made by placing Wratten #85 filter material
on the TV picture tube. This is usually unsatisfactory be­
cause of loss of TV brightness and the visibility of reflec­
tions on the filter material.
The fifth method is the preferred choice. It involves
precompensating the color temperature of the playback
material. With this procedure the color TV screen is ad­
justed to the preferred color temperature of 6500 degrees
Kelvin. If there is more than one TV screen in the scene, they
are all carefully adjusted to this same color temperature.
The next step is the preparation of the video playback ma­
terial. Precompensation of the color temperature of the
playback material is accomplished by using a viewing fil­
ter that has been arrived at empirically with much trial and
error. This viewing filter raises the apparent color tempera­
ture of the color monitor, which causes the telecine color­
ist or video camera operator to add a specificate amount
of "color compensation" to the video that will be displayed
on the TV screen.
When this color-compensated video is seen on a prop­
erly adjusted 6500-degree TV screen it will appear very
"reddish-orange." But to the tungsten-balanced negative
the picture will be the correct color.
When the TV screen is to appear as a black & white
set, another problem occurs. A black & white screen will
appear to be of even higher color temperature — from 9000
to 11,000 degrees. There is no practical method to compen­
sate for this very high color temperature. The most com­
mon method and the preferred solution is to place a color
screen in what would appear to be a black & white cabi­
net. The playback material is made to appear black & white
if it originates as a color image and then color compensa­
tion is added to the black & white image. This color-com­
pensated footage will now appear to the color negative as
a perfect black & white image.
General Notes
Playback material can come from any source. The best
quality is generally obtained from film original that is trans­
ferred specifically for the scene involved and is color-compensated for video playback. Live camera original footage
at 30 fps can be standards-converted and color-compensated with equal success. A jerky motion artifact will be
noticed on 24 frame film material that was transferred to
30 frame video and then was standards-converted back to
24 frame video for video playback. This is an undesirable
source of material.
Always test new or unfamiliar equipment. This in­
cludes new or untested TV screens and computers. This is
a rapidly changing area and success is guaranteed only
with the proper choice of equipment and with companies
familiar with the latest advances.
Television Film Cinematography
by Edward P. Ancona, Jr.
Since the publication of the article on this topic in pre­
vious editions of the American Cinematographer Manual,
there have been significant advances in receiver quality and
in the sophistication of the telecine equipment which trans­
fers the film image to television. However, it is important
to remember that the typical home viewer is seeing and
hearing films less than the optimum conditions under
which the creative production team saw them.
Production staffs see their films in professional mo­
tion-picture review room s and the resulting television
transfers on professional monitors with carefully adjusted,
stable color and brightness settings. Most home viewers,
however, watch the show on receivers which may be only
casually adjusted and in a room with the lights on. Such
viewing conditions act primarily to limit the picture con­
trast range which can be effectively reproduced in the
home. Therefore, the director and cinematographer should
be aware that the available range of photographic effects
is limited, and film photography for television must be
adapted to exploit those styles and techniques which are
most effective for the home viewer.
This is not meant to imply that the television system
is incapable of high-quality transmission and reproduction.
With a high-quality telecine transfer, good signal reception,
and optimum receiver adjustment and viewing conditions,
the reproduced image can be a close duplicate of the film
in luminance range and color. Indeed the sophisticated
contrast and color controls on the modern telecine can of­
ten achieve color and density "timing" changes in dimen­
sions unavailable in the film laboratory. It is not uncommon
on major television film productions for the director and
cinematographer to attend the telecine transfer operation
to guide the video operator, similar to the color timing
operation in the film laboratory.
Telecine reproduction of a film will often result in a
television image wherein contrast appears higher than in
the image seen in direct projection. This is due partly to
inherent limitations of the electronic devices which convert
the projected image to a television signal, partly to the op­
tics of the telecine system and partly to the subjective ef­
fect of the smaller, brighter television image. The chief ef­
fect of this increase in contrast is a loss of shadow detail.
Darker areas in the picture may appear plugged up, subtle­
ties of mood lighting are lost, and story points or critical
facial detail in dark scenes may be obscured. Again it is
important to note that not all of the loss is in the telecine
reproduction of the film — only a small proportion of home
receivers will be carefully adjusted and viewed in a dark­
ened room to accurately display the full range of the trans­
mitted signal.
This increase in contrast requires that the cinematog­
rapher use more fill light than would be used for theatri­
cal presentation only, and particularly that the approach to
the more extreme moods or effects be limited. TTie use of
underexposure, forced processing flashing and low filllight levels to produce a realistic or “available light" look
may be quite effective in direct theatrical projection but
plugged up and ineffective in the typical home viewing
situation. This is not meant to imply that television photog­
raphy should be "flat." A wide range of moods and effects
can be successfully reproduced on the typical home re­
ceiver, but the darker elements or areas of the scenes must
be more fully lit and exposed if they are to be displayed
Higher lighting ratios can be employed for effect, and
night scenes are best approached by adjustment of the light­
ing ratio rather than by shooting "d ay -fo r-n ig h t" or
underlighting scenes and printing down. The ideal night
effect photography for television would result in prints
which have the same density range as fully lit scenes. The
use of little or no fill light on the key position, sketchy back­
ground illumination, lighted windows, etc., all create the
effect of a night scene without the necessity of printing
Special Print Films for Television
In previous years when black & white films were the
dominant medium for television, it was standard practice
to make "television gam m a" release prints which were
developed to a lower contrast than for normal theatrical
release. Although these prints, on direct projection, looked
somewhat flat with transparent shadow elements, their
television reproduction appeared more like that of the the­
atrical prints in a theater. The reduced density range of the
television gamma prints enabled the telecine to "see" into
the shadows more easily, thus reducing the requirement for
lower lighting ratios on the stage. Until recently, color prints
could not be processed for a lower gamma without seri­
ously upsetting their color tracking, and the only way to
reduce the density range of the print was to reduce the lu­
minance range of the original scene by lower lighting ra­
tios and careful control of set and wardrobe reflectances.
Modern telecines are equipped to reproduce negative
films by inversion of polarity and a change of reproduction
contrast. The negative film is obviously of considerably
lower contrast than a color print and the resulting repro­
duction therefore is much more open, with shadow detail
well reproduced, and often with brilliant color quality.
The term "film look" really refers to the appearance
of a print as seen in direct projection. There is much to be
said for the subjective appearance of this image with its
smoothly graduated highlight and shadow contrast. It is
not intended to be an accurate duplicate of the original
subject contrast and color values, but in the hands of a skill­
ful cinematographer it is an extremely effective storytelling
vehicle. As stated in the opening paragraphs, the aim of
telecine operation is to produce a television image which
is a close duplicate of the film print as seen in direct pro­
jection. The appearance of negative or interpositive films
on a telecine, while seductively appealing with their open
lowlights and high color saturation, can be distinctly dif­
ferent from the "print look." It is possible to modify the
telecine characteristic so that negative transfers will come
close to duplicating the look of a print, and it is emphasized
that the cinematographer should be aware of these differ­
ences and see samples of negative transfers if his or her
picture is to involve that process.
There is now available a color positive film which has
been manufactured to a lower contrast and which does not
require special processing for "television gam m a." The
lower maximum densities of this film benefit telecine re­
production of the image as compared to the reproduction
from normal projection contrast print film. The contrast is
not so different, however, that it cannot be satisfactorily
analyzed for color "tim ing" in the film laboratory. Care
must be taken during review-room laboratory timing of
these low-contrast prints not to "print down" in an effort
to achieve the shadow densities of normal-contrast print
stock. When correctly timed for optimum telecine repro­
duction, the low-contrast stock on direct projection will
have rather transparent shadow regions and will not have
the solid blacks of the normal-contrast print stock. The
telecine reproduction, however, will restore the shadows
to their correct appearance but with considerably improved
shadow detail over that obtainable from the normal-contrast stock.
Automatic Telecine Operation
The telecine operation at major broadcaster's installa­
tions or in most video postproduction houses serving the
broadcast and cable television industries is characterized
by an effort to reproduce the film as faithfully as possible
within the physical limitations of the telecine device. De­
spite the misgivings of some cinematographers, the video
operator does not make arbitrary changes in the character
of the image; with a well-photographed and timed print,
the operator will make an essentially "hands-off" transfer.
However, some broadcasters may, for reasons of crew and
time economy, resort to an automatic telecine operation
wherein the brightest element of every scene is automati­
cally set to 100% video level, and the darkest to 0%. This
unquestionably can distort the continuity of the original
print timing.
Although it is dismaying to have to prescribe for such
a situation, if the cinematographer knows that a film is
likely to have its major release to such syndication, he or
she can incorporate a "reference white" and "reference
black" in every scene, which will force the autom atic
telecine into a preferred state of adjustment. A reference
white would be a near-white object in wardrobe or the stage
illuminated by the key light. Almost any scene will have
shadowed or unilluminated black areas and these will be­
come the reference black for the scene. With such white and
black objects in the scene, the automatic video telecine will
arrive at an adjustment which will place face tones and
other luminance values correctly.
Perhaps the concerns of this section are less pertinent
now, since, practically without exception, all major televi­
sion productions will be transferred on high-quality
telecines with skillful operators, and most syndicated ma­
terial will be similarly transferred and delivered on video­
Television Film Apertures
Ln almost any receiver, the accumulated effects of mask
shape and off-center scanning or excessive height or width
of scanning would result in the display of excessive picture
information that was transmitted. While this area loss is
different in each receiver, the average loss, or to put it an­
other way, the area displayed by the average receiver, has
been noted with the establishment by SMPTE of a "safe
action area" and a "safe title area" (see "Cinematographic
Systems"). Masks of the shape and relative size of these
SMPTE-recommended safe areas should be used in the
camera viewfinder as a guide to the composition and fram­
ing of scenes being filmed for television.
Since these areas represent only selected average con­
ditions, it must be noted that some receivers will display
everything to one edge or another of the transmitted area.
Therefore, foreign objects such as microphones, stage lights
or camera sunshades, or negative defects such as scratches
or fog should not appear inside the transmitted area, and
release prints should be free of physical defects such as
scratches, wet gate printer marks or soundtrack applicator
splashes in this area.
Daily prints of shows which are being shot for televi­
sion and which are being reviewed by the cinematographer
or others specifically for action framing may be inspected
with a projector aperture of the dimensions of the safe ac­
tion area. (This would apply also to review of theatrical
wide-frame features being scanned for television, when the
review is for evaluation of the editorial and positioning
aspects of the scanning.) Ordinarily, however, television
daily prints should be reviewed with a projector aperture
of the dimensions of the transmitted area, since the film
camera action framing is usually carefully monitored dur­
ing shooting with the camera viewfinder safe action area
mask. The production staff should also be aware of pos­
sible negative defects or extraneous objects outside the safe
action area but still within the transmitted area. New titles
photographed for television should lie preferably within
the safe action area, although this should be most applicable
to commercial copy where full visibility on all receivers is
desired. On theatrical features released to television, title
copy within the safe action area would ordinarily be accept­
There is an artistic compromise to be faced in the re­
production of CinemaScope or other wide-frame images on
standard television. The choice is between "scanning" the
wide-frame image to produce a standard 3 x 4 aspect ratio
image or using the "letterbox" format where the wideframe image is shown in its correct aspect ratio in the cen­
ter of the receiver, but with wide black areas above and
below the frame. While the letterbox format does reproduce
the original framing and composition, it is far from the
grandiose large-screen presentation which is part of the
original conception; therefore, the tradition has been to
"scan" the wide-frame images for television presentation.
For the most part, this is done skillfully, with care taken for
good framing of the recomposed images, and also with
careful regard for the editorial considerations introduced
with the need occasionally to cut or pan from one side of
the wide frame to the other.
Shooting Videotape
for Transfer to Film
by Gavin Schutz, Image Transform, Inc.
The process of transferring videotape to film involves
a number of complex steps, not the least of which is the
method of converting 30-frame video into a signal that
can be recorded into 24-frame film. Some of the fields of
the video signal must be discarded. Digital signal process­
ing techniques are employed to treat the video signals to
make them look better on film.
The cinem atographer will need to know several
things about the nature of video signals and how they
correspond with film attributes. The following section
will deal with some of these parameters, and also address
how the finished videotape will look when it is trans­
ferred to film. The general rule for shooting videotape that
will be transferred to film is no different from general
practice: make the video as good as possible. This will
involve giving attention to some factors that are not nor­
mally a problem when shooting film. These are all cov­
ered below.
The most common question that is asked about tape
to film is "H ow much resolution is lost in the process"?
This is a difficult question to answer because it depends
upon what you call resolution, and what your frame of
reference is. In contrast to film origination, in video there
are two types of resolution, static and dynamic.
Static Resolution is the amount of detail present in a
scene that contains no motion. In the television world, the
static resolution is measured in terms of bandwidth of the
video signal, or the amount of TV lines that are used to
build the signal. For example, NTSC is a 525-line 4.5 MHz
system , while PAL is a 625-line 5.5 M Hz Signal. This
means that PAL has more static resolution than NTSC.
Film resolution is measured in line pairs per mm, and
is an attempt to quantify the maximum number of black
to white transitions in a millimeter of film frame. This
parameter contains many variables, such as the optical
transfer function of the film and other difficult-to-quantify assumptions about the film. Fortunately, the line pairs
per millimeter can be converted into megahertz of band­
width to allow for comparisons to video. For example, it
is generally recognized that the equivalent "bandwidth"
of 35m m m otion-picture film is in the general area of
35M Hz. This is about six times the resolution of most
broadcast video systems.
This means that a camera original negative captures
about six times the detail of a professional video camera.
Figures 1 and 2 show the differences in resolution be­
tween film and video. Figure 3 is a comparison between
the formats.
V id eo R eso lu tio n
r --------------
U nits
V alues
---------------- 1
S tatic
D ynam ic
T V Lines
F ield Rate
Fram e Rate
N T S C 4.5 M H z
N T S C 30 FPS
PAL 5.5 M H z
Figu re 1
Film R e so lu tio n
I------------ 1------------ 1
U nits
S tatic
D y nam ic
L in e pairs
per mm
Fram e Rate
V alu es A bou t 35 M H z
Figu re 2
In the Image Transform System, there is no significant
loss of static resolution. This means that all static detail
present in the original video master is transferred to the
film. The use of patented wideband digital decoding and
component signal processing ensure that all detail present
in the video is preserved in the Transform process. How­
ever, it is important to realize that the end result will not
have the same static resolution as original film, simply be­
cause the amount of information recorded on the videotape
is less than would have been recorded on the 35mm film.
Fortunately, there are some things that can be done to the
video signal that will help its appearance when taken to
film. These are addressed below.
Dynamic resolution is defined as the amount of tem­
poral information contained in a scene having movement.
Dynamic resolution depends upon the update rate of the
images. Both film and video images are sampled in time,
and this leads to a finite loss of dynamic resolution (com­
pared to real life) in both cases. Dynamic resolution is di­
rectly proportional to the frame sample rate. In the case of
film, the sample rate is 24 frames per second, hi NTSC, it is
30 and in PAL, 25 frames per second. Film has dynamic
resolution the video systems, is why moving images appear
smother in video rather than the stepped film images. (Fig.
V id eo Film R eso lu tio n
V id eo
S tatic
35M H z
N T S C 4.5 M H z
PA L 5.5 M H z
D y n am ic
24 FPS
N T S C 30 FPS
F igu re 3.
Interlace Artifacts
T h is d iffe re n c e in d y n a m ic re s o lu tio n is c o m ­
pounded by the interlace structure of the video signal.
The fram e rate of 24 for film versus the 30 frame update
rate of NTSC is bad enough, how ever in m ost cases pic­
tures originating on video are updated at the field rate.
This results in having effectively 60 pictures per second
(at half the static resolution) instead of the normal 30. The
challenge here is to take the 60 pictures per second and
reduce them to 24 pictures per second w ithout rendering
the motion artifacts unacceptable.
The inform ation contained in a video frame is made
up of two discrete interlaced fields. Care must be taken
to preserve the integrity of each of these fields, as they are
both used to produce the final film frame. By a process
know n as adaptive interpolation, video fields are aver­
aged with other fields from other frames to produce the
new frame. This averaging process is possible (and nec­
essary) b ecau se of the fact that there are m ore video
fram es than there are required to be film frames. In the
Transform process some of the fields are discarded, and
the interpolation process is used to smooth the motion
around the discarded fields. Obviously, the more infor­
mation there is to work with, the better the dynamic reso­
lution (smoother motion). Because of this, care m ust be
taken not to pan the camera excessively fast, because this
will result in a different picture for every field. W hen this
fram e is transferred to film, there will be two images on
the film frame. Clearer, sharper images will be obtained
from slower pan rates. This applies to both vertical and
horizontal pans.
Digital Effects
Advanced digital effects generators and paint sys­
tems currently in use tend to operate on the video signal
as if it were not an interlaced system. These devices pro­
duce a new image every field instead of every frame.
While resulting in much smoother motion of video tape,
this method can result in a film image that is fragmented
and sometimes blurred.
Because of the throwaway field sequence (see Fig. 5),
an apparently sm ooth video effect generated in field
mode rendering can appear disjointed and unnatural
when transferred to film. The am ount of degradation
depends upon the type of video effect. Very slow hori­
zontal or vertical movement is usually acceptable. As the
rate of movement is increased, the artifacts become more
The best way to avoid these temporal related artifacts
is to refrain from using the more ambitious digital effects
that are available. Any effect that is characterized by rapid
vertical, horizontal or temporal motion will cause these
discontinuities. They will be very noticeable in the film
and should be avoided, if at all possible. Some of the more
recent digital effects devices offer two modes of render­
ing motion — field and frame mode. When generating
material that will be transferred to film, use the frame
rendering mode.
Note that vertically crawling title sequences (such as
credits) represent about the absolute worst case, and il­
lustrate all of the problems noted above. When editing in
the credits, fade them in and out rather than having them
crawl vertically.
Graphics Rendering
Graphic and CGI (Computer Generated Images) ef­
fects should be rendered in frame mode (i.e. make sure
that both fields of a video frame are the same) rather than
field mode because this allows better interpolation.
In the case of CGI where the effects are rendered a
field at a time, there is a way to ensure against any mo­
tion artifacts. Because these images are usually rendered
a field at a time and are recorded by videotape machines
in animation mode, it is sometimes possible to artificially
"build in" a 3:2 sequence. In this method an image that
has been rendered by com puter is recorded for three
fields of video. The next image rendered is then recorded
for two video fields, the resulting animated image is the
functional equivalent of a 24 frame film transfer, and (as
discussed below) can be taken to film without motion
artifacts of any kind.
Because the rendering of complicated graphics (such
as anim ated sequences) or integrating video with se­
quences that contain original film material is a complex
process, it often pays to consult with the facility that will
be doing the tape-to-film transfer before integrating or
generating the CGI sequences. In some cases, techniques
can be employed on some of the latest graphics platforms
(such as the Quantel Harry) that will produce a "perfect"
film transfer (i.e. a perfect correlation between the video
and film images).
The use of variable-speed video or time-compressed
video material should be avoided as it introduces easily
noticed motion discontinuities in video which are made
worse in the tape-to-film process.
Film to Tape to Film
Another aspect that needs to be considered is the
problem associated with editing material that originated
on film with material that has been originated on video­
tape (i.e. film to tape to film). In many cases material that
has been shot on videotape will be intercut
It can be seen that an extra field is inserted into the
video to make up for the difference in frame rates between
24-frame film and 30-frame video. In figure 4 this is the
field labeled "3 ".
The tape-to-film system must detect which field was
inserted in the telecine process and use it as the throw­
away field. If this is successful, the resulting film trans­
fer will be perfect — there is no way to tell the difference
between it and original film. In most cases, the sequence
is repetitive and will not change for the duration of the
transfer. Moreover, there are only two ways the sequence
can be mapped out: 2 / 3 / 2 / 3 . or 3 / 2 / 3 / 2 . This is illus­
trated in figure 5. The problem arises when material from
different sources is edited together on videotape. It is then
possible that, once the pieces are assembled together, the
field sequence is disrupted, giving a sequence such as 3 /
2 / 2 / 3 , 2 / 3 / 3 / 2 , etc. The result is that a disrupted Frame
3 sequence will produce very noticeable discontinuities
in all scenes that contain any motion because the wrong
field will be discarded during the tape-to-film transfer.
Unfortunately, there is no way of know ing that the se­
quence has been disturbed until the video is actually be­
ing transferred, simply because it is not possible to pre­
dict where the videotape edits will occur and what the
sequence is at that point. O ther exam ples of this occur
when foreground/background matting is done and one
of the elements is out of sequence with the other.
In order to produce the best possible transfer, it is
desirable that the tape-to-film house used for the trans­
fer is able to dynamically determine the sequence and
adapt the throwaway field sequence accordingly. This is
done at Image Transform by computer-controlled signal
processing. It is offered as part of the scene-to-scene color
correction process.
Video Signal Processing
Scene-to-scene color correction, dynamic enhance­
ment, sm ear correction and phase correction are some
methods used in the tape-to-film process to overcome
limitations of the video environment. These techniques
are employed to help make the videotape look as much
like film as possible. For example, the gamma and clip­
ping levels are changed to emulate the transfer function
of film. Where possible, the use of electronic processing
to the transfer process should be kept to a minimum. This
will help avoid an overprocessed look in the product.
Always bear in mind that a motion-picture screen is
much larger than a television monitor and care must be
taken in the video production to allow for the best pos­
sible end result. Small defects in the video can be quite
objectionable when projected on a large screen.
Lighting and Cameras
In most cases, it is sufficient to shoot using estab­
lished practices for video production. It is valid to say that
the quality of a film print will be indirectly proportional
to the quality of the video source material. When shoot­
ing the video, use the full dynamic range available and
avoid crushing the blacks or clipping white areas of the
scene. Ensure that the camera clip levels for each color are
set the same.
Scene-to-scene color correction is usually performed
as part of the tape-to-film process to ensure that the re­
sulting film is colorim etrically correct. This includes
scene-to-scene manipulation of RGB gain, gamma and
pedestal, as well as hue and saturation control. In the
process of transforming tape-to-film, color matrixing and
transfer characteristics of the video are changed to help
make video look more like film.
In order to achieve best results, the video should be
shot with adequate and even lighting, using the best avail­
able cameras. The choice of camera will depend upon the
nature of the subject material. The choice of CCD or con­
ventional (tube-based) video cameras will depend on the
available light as well as the amount of control that the
director of photography has over the scene. Inadequately
lit scenes may suffer from decreased resolution and ex­
cessive noise. In general, CCD cameras are better suited
to low light levels. Proper care should be directed to mini­
mize noise and other artifacts introduced as a result of
using the cam eras outside of their normal range. The
video medium does not have the same dynamic range as
Recent developments in the field of CCD technology
have made these cameras very popular. They do not suf­
fer from registration, overload, lag or comet-tailing like
their tube counterparts. In the case of tube cameras, make
sure the registration is set correctly as this is one of the
few problems that cannot be corrected during the transform-to-film process.
Most modern video cameras come with a knob called
"enhancem ent." "ap ertu re" or "corin g." These adjust­
ments are to increase the apparent resolution of the pic­
ture, and make the images sharper. They also make them
noisier, and when overused, they will put a dark black
edge around subjects in the pictures. These artifacts will
look very unnatural when transferred to film. When ad­
justing these controls, make sure that they are not subject
to overuse. Most good video cameras will require a mini­
mum amount of this type of correction. In-camera en­
hancement and coring should be kept to a minimum. A
good guide when setting up camera enhancement is fo­
cusing to an optical multiburst chart, and setting the en­
hancement to provide a flat frequency response at 400 TV
lines on the waveform monitor. Avoid using an image in
the viewfinder or monitor to set enhancement levels be­
cause overcompensation can occur as a result of poor
monitor resolution.
Videotape Formats
There are many different video formats available for
recording video. These include the Zi consumer and 3A"
industrial formats, up to the 1" composite and D -l com ­
ponent professional formats. The former (H>/'%") are gen­
erally not suitable for transfer to film because they lack
the necessary bandwidth and do not have the required
signal-to-noise ratios needed for a good transfer to film.
Some industrial films, however, are shot on W videotape
and transferred successfully to 16mm film for in-house
distribution. The results can be acceptable when projected
on small screens. Materials supplied on one of these for­
mats usually need some form of noise reduction and en­
hancement prior to being transferred.
Scene-to-scene color correction requires 1" C format,
D -l, D-2 or D-3 videotape. Material supplied on other
formats will need to be dubbed to one of these formats if
scene-to-scene color correction is required. The use of
high-energy, low-noise, low-dropout professional grade
videotape is recommended, and the number of genera­
tions should be kept to a minimum.
There is no doubt that the best available formats for
tape-to-film transfers are 1" C format, or one of the digi­
tal formats that have been shot with studio-quality cam ­
eras. If 35mm theatrical release is desired, the use of one
of these formats is mandatory.
The use of com ponent system s, such as the Sony
Betacam SP and the Panasonic M II format, as well as
other systems where the video signal is recorded as a se­
ries of luminance and chrominance (i.e. not composite
video), can be successful to full 1" production. When con­
sidering the use of industrial and consumer formats, con­
sult with the transfer facility prior to beginning produc­
Images produced by the Betacam SP system often
approach that of 1" quality without some of the 1" limi­
tations (such as cost and ease of use in the field). Higher
chrominance resolution and the lack of cross-color effects
are big advantages. These advantages, however are only
maintained if the signals stay in component form all the
w ay through origination, postproduction and editing.
They are lost if the signal is encoded at any stage.
One method of producing extremely good pictures
is to shoot video using a component system, then master
to the digital D -l tape format. Great success has been
achieved by shooting using a Betacam SP c a m e ra /re ­
corder, then editing component using SP playback ma­
chines and the D -l as a master record machine. There are
several postproduction facilities that specialize in compo­
nent editing systems. Make sure that the signal is always
kept component — never encoded to NTSC. Many docu­
mentaries and full-length feature presentations have been
shot in this way.
The use of dow nstream noise reduction during ed­
iting should be avoided as this is an integral part of the
film transform process. Doubling up on noise reduction
will produce images that appear blurred and unnatural,
as well as decreasing the available resolution and leav­
ing objectionable artifacts.
All of the active picture area is preserved in the tapeto-film transfer process. There is a slight loss of picture
area in the printing process; how ever, the negative will
contain all the information originally in the video picture.
Books and Pamphlets
Abbott, L.B., ASC: "Special Effects with Wire, Tape and
Rubber Bands," ASC Press, 1984.
ACVL Handbook, Association of Cinema and Video Labo­
ANSI Standards, American National Standards Institute.
Cox, Arthur, "Optics...The Technique of Definition," Focal
Press, London, 1961.
Dunn, Linwood G., ASC, and Turner, George E., "ASC
Treasury of Visual Effects," ASC Press,1983.
Eastman Kodak Publication B-3: Filters.
Eastman Kodak Publication H-23: The Book of Film Care.
Eastman Kodak Publication: Ultraviolet and Fluorescence
Eastman Kodak Publication N-17: Infrared Films.
Evans, R.M., W.T. Hanson Jr., and W.L. Brewer, "Principles
of Color Photography," John Wiley & Sons Inc., New
York, 1953.
Fielding, Raymond,"The Technique of Special Effects Cin­
ematography," Focal Press, London, 1972.
Happe, Bernard, "Your Film and the Lab," Focal Press,
London, 1974.
Harrison, H.K., "The Mystery of Filters-II," Harrison &
Harrison, 1981.
H ypia, Jorm a, "The Com plete Tiffen Filter M anual,"
AmPhoto, New York.
Kingslake, Rudolf, "Lenses in Photography," Garden City
Books, 1951.
Kisner, W.I. (editor), "Control Techniques in Film Process­
ing," SMPTE, New York, 1960.
Mees, C.E.K., "The Theory of the Photographic Process,"
Macmillan, New York, 1942,1945,1954,1966,1977.
Mertens, Lawrence, "In Water Photography: Theory and
Practice," Wiley Interscience, John Wiley & Sons, New
York, 1970.
Ryan, R.T., "A History of Motion Picture Color Technol­
ogy," Focal Press, London, 1977.
Ryan, R.T.(Editor), "Principles of Color Sensitometry,"
SMPTE, New York, 1974.
Ryan, R.T., "Underwater Photographic Applications —
Introduction," SMPTE Journal, December 1973, Vol­
ume 82, Number 12.
Spottiswood, Raymond, "Theory of Stereoscopic Transmis­
sion," VC Press, 1953.
Thomas Jr., Woodlief, "SPSE Handbook of Photographic
Science and Engineering," John Wiley & Sons, New
York, 1973.
Tiffen Manufacturing Corporation Publication T179: Tiffen
Photar Filter Glass.
Wilson, Anton, "Cinema W orkshop," ASC Press, 1983,
American Cinematographer, ASC Holding Corp.
BKSTS Journal, "Im age Technology," British Kinematograph, Sound and Television Society.
SMPTE Journal, Society Of Motion Picture and Television
Aerial cinematography 489
Aerial image cinematog­
raphy 481
Aerial mounts 255
lenses 13
Aperture 261
Aperture, Academy 13
Aperture, full 13
Arctic cinematography 504
equipment and filming
technique 508
film 509
preparation of equipment 505
storage 510
ASA: Exposure Indexes 120
Aspect Ratios 15
1.85 Aspect Ratio 15
2.35 Aspect Ratio 18
Super 35 Formats 20
Background plates 394
Barndoors 390
Batteries and cables 261
Black & white film 120
Black & white negative and
reversal films 283
Blowup: 16mm to 35mm 527
composing 16mm for blowup
to 35mm 528
composing Super 16mm for
blowup to 35mm 530
laboratory procedures 533
Super 16mm 529
titles 531
zero-cut editing 533
Blue screen process
black & white self-matting
process 445
blue floor shooting 436
blue screen materials 437
electronic and digital
compositing 444
front projection blue 456
front-lit backing materials 452
laboratory procedures for
compositing 441
light level for the Stewart Tmatte 437
lighting a front-illuminated
backing 438
lighting to eliminate
shadow 439
lighting to hold Shadow 438
lighting to match back­
ground 439
other lighting consider­
ations 440
reverse blue screen 453
reverse front projection 457
screen types and lighting 434
transmission blue screen 453
using the UltiMatte Video
Previewer 440
Camera assistant 269
Camera body 260
Camera stabilizing systems 253
Cinema Products Steadicam
(Universal Model III) 253
Panavision Panaglide 254
Camera supports 246
dollies 250
Camera supports
cranes 246
Cameras, 16mm 86
Aaton XTRplus 86
Arriflex 16BL 95
Arriflex 16S/B; 16S/B-GS;
16M /B 97
Arriflex 16SR-2 88
Arriflex 16SR-3 93
Arriflex Super 16 91
Bell & Howell 16mm Filmo
70 101
Bolex 16mm (All Models) 99
Cinema Products CP-16 & CP16A 102
Cinema Products CP-16R & CP16R /A 104
Cinema Products GSMO
16mm 105
Eclair ACL 16mm 107
Eclair CM-3 16/35m m 108
Eclair NPR 16mm 109
Minicam 16mm (GSAP) 102
Mitchell 16mm Professional, HS
&H SC 111
Mitchell 16mm Reflex, SSR-16
Single System, DSR-16 113
Panavision Panaflex 16mm
Camera System 114
Cameras, 35mm 45
Aaton 35-11 46
Aaton 35mm Handholdable 45
Arriflex 35-2C 57
Arriflex 35-3 High Speed
MOS 52
Arriflex 35-3C 56
Arriflex 35BL-4s 54
Arriflex 535 47
Arriflex 535B 50
Cinema Products FX35 59
Cinema Products XR35
Lightweight Studio
Camera 61
Eclair CM-3 16/35m m 108
Feathercam CM35 62
IMAGE 300 35mm 63
Mitchell 35mm Standard &
High Speed Cameras 67
Mitchell NC, NCR, BNC, BNCR
(35nxm 64
Mitchell S35R (Mark II)
35mm 66
Moviecam Super 35mm 69
Panaflex Panastar HighSpeed 75
Panavision GII Golden
Panaflex 74
Panavision Panaflex-X 75
Panavision Platinum Panaflex
35mm 70
Panavision Super R-2000
35mm 76
Photo-Sonics 35mm 4 B / 4C 79
Photo-Sonics 35mm-4ER 79
Ultracam 35mm 80
Cameras, 65mm 31
Arriflex 765 31
Cinema Products CP-65 33
Fries Model 865 65m m /8perf 34
Mitchell 65mm Reflex TODDAO 36
Mitchell FC, BFC (65mm) 64
MSM Model 8870 65m m /8perf 37
Panavision 65mm AC
(Auxiliary Camera) SPC
(Speed C 39
Panavision Panaflex System-65
Hand-holdable 43
Panavision System-65
65mm 39
Cameras, VistaVision 81
MSM Model 8812 35m m /8-perf
VistaVision 81
W ilcam W - l l V istaV ision
Sound Speed 85
W ilcam W -7 V istaV ision H igh
Speed 82
W ilcam W -9 V istaV ision
Lightw eight 83
C atad ioptric or Reflective
System s 152
C h apm an-Electra I Stage
C rane 250
C h ap m an -N ik e/E lectra II Stage
Crane 250
C hapm an -Sidew in d er D olly 250
C hapm an-Super A pollo M obile
Crane 249
C hapm an-Titan II M obile
C rane 248
C hapm an-Z eu s Stage C rane 249
C ID Lam ps 350
Cinem a Prod ucts Steadicam
(U niversal M odel III) 253
C inem atographic System s 1
16m m System s 9
35m m System s 3
special purpose system s 10
C inem atography, special
aerial 487
arctic 504
blow up: 16m m to 35m m 527
infrared 521
day-for-night 518
stereoscopic technology 534
television film 561
3-D cinem atography 538
tropical 511
u ltraviolet photography 523
und erw ater 495
C olor difference traveling m atte
system 431
C olor film 119
C olor R endering Index 320
C olor reversal film s 282
C olor tem perature 316
C o m m ercial/In d u strial light
sources 354
AC arc lam p flicker prob­
lem 376
AC disch arge lighting 355
d om estic incandescent
lighting 354
existing fluorescent lighting on
location 355
filter selection 365
C om m on topline 22
Com posite p h otogra­
phy 415, 430, 445
color difference traveling m atte
system 431
electron ic scanned film for
com posites 451
film stock 446
front projection blue 456
fron t-lit backing m aterials 452
laboratory procedures for
com positing 441
rear-screen projection 415
reverse blu e screen 453
transm ission blue screen 453
U ltim atte "screen correc­
tio n " 450
video and electron ic scan ­
ning 450
C om puter graphics 467
2-D and 3-D im ages 469
basic tools and term s 467
digital fram e stores 469
graphics tablet 469
im age processing 474
m odeling 469
paintbox system s 469
recording 473
rendering 471
scanning 472
C ontinental cam era aerial m ount
Correlated color tem pera­
ture 318
C ranes 246
C h apm an-Electra I Stage
crane 250
C h ap m an -N ik e/E lectra II Stage
crane 250
C h apm an -Super A pollo M obile
crane 249
C hapm an-Titan II M obile
crane 248
C hapm an-Z eu s Stage
crane 249
Loum a C rane by Sam cine 246
M C 88 C rane 247
N ettm an C am -R em ote by
M atthew s 247
The C rane by M atthew s 246
C rystal-C ontrolled Cordless
C am era D rive System 242
tim e code 243
C SI lam ps 348
D aily preparation for shoot­
ing 266
D ay-for-night cinem atog­
raphy 518
black & w hite film 520
n egative color film 521
reversal color film 520
DC C arbon A rc Sources 340
color tem perature 340
operating characteristics 340
filters 340
DCI — D C m etal halide arc
discharge lam ps 347
D ed olight 383
D epth of field 161
D epth of field for close-up
photography 167
D epth o f focus 162
D iffusers 392
Digital Audio Tape (DAT)
recorder 545
Digital effects cinem atog­
raphy 460
D igital fram e stores 469
D iopter lenses 166
D ollies 250
C hapm an-Sidew ind er
dolly 250
Elem ack C ricket dolly 251
Fisher Crab dolly 251
FG V Panther 252
D ynalens 173
EBU (European Broadcasting
Union) 243
Edge num bers 121
Electronic interm ediate
system 462
Elem ack C ricket dolly 251
Em ulsion testing 294
calibration 294
Enclosed AC arcs 341
Exposure 270
Exposure m eters 233
Cin em eter II 238
incident light m eters 233
M inolta Lum inance 239
reflected light m eters 236
Spectra C inespot 1° spot
m eter 240
Spectra Professional IV 240
Exposure m eters
testing 238
Exposure reporting 281
Extension of prime lens 166
Extreme close-up 165
depth of field for close-up
photography 167
lens formulas 168
FGV Panther 252
Film 119
ASA: exposure indexes 120
black & white 120
color 119
color negative 119, 120
color reversal camera
films 119
color reversal film 121
edge numbers 121
Film handling and storage 125
processed film storage 126
"Film look" 563
Film Perforations 123
16mm films 123
35mm Films 124
65mm Films 124
70mm Films 124
pitch 123
Film tests 266
Filters 263
combination filters 331
conversion-type filters 330
filters for control of natural
daylight 330
filters for incandescent
lamps 338
neutral-density filters 330
Flicker problems 376
Fluorescent lighting for motion
pictures 359
Forced development of color
films 283
Fresnel lens spotlights 381
Front projection process 399
brightness and color match­
ing 412
halo effect 409
minimum foreground-object
distances 411
reverse front projection 457
Scotchlite screen 402
tesselating the screen 404
Z-Axis displacement for
closeups 412
Gel frames 391
Gobos 392
Graphics tablet 469
Grip accessories 392
Gyrosphere aerial mount 255
High-pressure DC short arc
xenon light sources 352
High-resolution electronic
intermediate system 462
HMI lamps 342
Hyperfocal distance 160
Illumination data 324
Image processing 474
Image Transform system 568
Incandescent light sources 331
boosted-voltage operation 337
filters for incandescent
lamps 338
incandescent lamp opera­
tion 334
standard incandescent 332
tungsten-halogen lamps 333
Incident light meters 233
special effects 235
specific situations 235
Kenworthy Snorkel camera
system 172
Laboratory 280
black & white negative and
reversal films 283
color reversal films 282
exposure reporting 281
flashing 284
forced development of color
films 283
printer points 280
release-printing proce­
dures 282
special processing 282
Lamps 262
Lens angle and field of view 163
Lens aperture 165
Lens extenders (multipliers) 151
Lens focus calibration 264
Lens formulas 160
depth of field 161
depth of focus 162
hyperfocal distance 160
lens angle and field of
view 163
lens aperture 165
lens displacement 165
Lens housing 263
Lenses 142, 262
anamorphic lenses 142
auxiliary lenses 142
care and maintenance 143
condensation 145
diopter lenses 166
modulation transfer function
(MTF) 143
normal lenses 142
removing lens retainer
rings 144
selection of 142
special purpose lenses 170
split-field diopter lenses 168
telephoto lenses 148
testing 143
zoom lenses 142,153
Light control accessories 390
barndoors 390
diffusers 392
gel frames 391
gobos 392
grip accessories for light
control 392
reflectors 392
scrim 391
characteristics of light
sources 313
CID lamps 350
color balancing for photogra­
phy 363
color rendering index 320
color temperature 316
commercial/industrial light
sources 354
correlated color tempera­
ture 318
CSI lamps 348
DC Carbon Arc sources 340
DCI — DC Metal Halide arc
discharge lamps 347
enclosed AC arcs 341
fluorescent lighting for motion
pictures 359
high-pressure DC short arc
xenon light sources 352
HMI lamps 342
illumination data 324
incandescent light sources 331
luminaires 380
mercury vapor and color
improved mercury
lamps 357
metal halide additive
lamps 360
MIRED system 319
photographic light
sources 328
physical characteristics of light
sources 314
sodium lamps 361
spectral energy distribution
(SED) 324
stroboscopic lighting 353
Louma Crane by Samcine 246
Luminaires 380
cyclorama luminaires 388
dedolight 383
fresnel lens spotlights 381
light-control accessories 390
open reflector variable beam
spotlights 385
sealed-beam types (PAR
lamps) 390
soft lights 388
tungsten-halogen flood­
lights 387
Magazine 264
Matte Box 264
MC 88 Crane 247
Meters see Exposure meters
Microphone placement 550
Miniature photography 420
model size 421
shooting speeds 422
MIRED Ssystem 319
Modeling 469
Modulation Transfer Function
(MTF) 143
Chart 145
Motion-control cinematog­
raphy 424
Natural Daylight 328
Filters for control of 330
Nettman Cam-Remote by
Matthews 247
Optical printer
Paintbox systems 469
Panavision Panaglide 254
Photographic light sources 328
natural daylight 328
Photographic testing and
evaluation 288
equipment 288
scale/em ulsion batch 291
visual effects: lighting, filters,
image modificat 292
Pitch 123
Plate photography
background plates 394
Preparation of Equipment 258
aperture 261
batteries and cables 261
camera assistant 269
camera body 260
daily preparation for
shooting 266
equipment checkout 259
film tests 266
filters 263
inventory 258
invoice check 259
lamps 262
lens focus calibration 264
lens housing 263
lenses 262
magazine 264
matte box 264
optional items 268
scratch test 265
spreader 259
steadiness test 266
tools 267
tripod head 260
tripods 259
variable shutter 262
video assist: video camera,
and record 264
viewfinder 262
zoom lens 263
zoom motor 263
Printer points 280
Rear-screen projection
Recording 473
Reference black See Telecine
Reference white See Telecine
Reflected Light Meters 236
spot meters 237
Reflectors 392
“Relative humidity". See Tropical
Release-Printing Procedures 282
Rendering 471
Resolution 567
dynamic resolution 568
Image Transform system 568
"Safe action area" 565. See also
Cinematographic systems
"Safe title area" See Cinemato­
graphic systems
Scotchlite screen 402
Scratch test 265
Scrim 391
Soft lights 388
Sound recording 548
microphone placement 550
use of tape recorders 553
Sound systems, synchronizing
See Synchronizing methods
Spacecam aerial mount 256
Special cinematographic systems
videotape-to-film 566
Special processing 282
Special purpose lenses 170
Continental Camera sys­
tems 171
Dynalens 173
Kenworthy Snorkel Camera
systems 172
Panavision 45mm T2.8 SlantFocus lens 171
Swing Shift lens 170
Special visual effects 394
background plates 394
computer graphics 467
digital effects cinematog­
raphy 460
electronic intermediate
system 462
front-projection process 399
miniature photography 420
motion-control 424
optical printer 475
rear-screen projection 415
traveling matte composite
photography 430
Spectral Energy Distribution
(SED) 324
Split-field diopters 168
Spot meters 237
Spreader 259
Steadiness test 266
Stereoscopic motion picture
technology 534
3-D projection 537
optical "flat" projection 537
stereoscopic/3-D camera
systems 534
Stroboscopic lighting 353
Synchronizing methods 540
Digital Audio Tape (DAT)
recorder 545
Synchronizing with non-time
code DATs 547
current systems and time
code 544
early sync-pulse systems 543
synchronous motors and
selsyns 541
T-Stops 270
Tape recorders 553
Telecine See Television film
and contrast 562
automatic telecine opera­
tion 564
Telephoto lenses 148
catadioptric or reflective
systems 152
filters 149
lens extenders (multipli­
ers) 151
Telephoto lenses
techniques 149
Television film cinematogra­
phy 561
contrast 562
"film look" 563
television film apertures 565
"television gamma" 563
The Crane by Matthews 246
3-D cinematography 538
3-D motion picture
technology. See stereoscopic
motion picture technology
35mm blowups to 70mm
prints 26
Time Code 243
current synchronization
systems and time
code 544
Tools 267
Traveling matte composite
photography 430
Tripod head 260
Tripods 259
T ropical cinematography 511
black & white film 515
color film 516
maintenance of equip­
ment 515
preparation and protection of
equipment 513
storage of photographic
materials 512
Tyler camera arial mount 256
Ultraviolet photography 523
determining exposure 526
films 526
special considerations 526
Underwater cinematography 497
Variable shutter 262
Video assist: video camera,
and record 264
Videotape-to-film 566
digital effects 570
film to tape to film 571
graphics rendering 570
interlace artifacts 569
lighting and cameras 573
resolution 567
video signal processing 573
videotape formats 574
Viewfinder 262
Wescam aerial mount 257
Zoom lenses 153, 263
cine zoom lenses on video
cameras 159
do's and don't's 156
maintenance of 159
mechanics of 154
zoom motor 263
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