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The Journal of the Society of CameraOperators fall-winter 2002

Fujifilm provides filmmakers a choice of contrast and speed with the Super F-Series, and now the Worl d's Fastest High Speed Daylight Stock, REALA sooD.

Fujifilm brin gs a n e w reali sm n ee ded fo r t o da y's filmmak e rs .

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Volume 11, Number 2 Fall/Winter 2002


21 Denis Lenoir, ASC, AFC The French Ci11e111atogmpher addresses .fil11111Uiki11g. l~elat io11ship l>etwee11 Director of Photography and Ca111cm Oprmtor: IJt" i11 the Series

26 Safety on the Set: Photographic Dust Particles by Carol AWetovich \1'/wt you need to k11ow to protect yourscl(liw11 this healt/1 hazard. /'' i11 the Scri!'s

31 Charles Papert, SOC A Clll/lcra operator:, take. Refat io11ship hctH路ceu Dm'Ctor o( Photography 111/(1 Ca111cm Operator: 14'" in the Series

36 The Amazing Race II by George BStephenson SOC Aro1111d the world in 21\ days.

45 Ron Vargas, ASC by Georgia Packard SOC On the set of Baby Bob. Relationship between Director of Photography and Ca111em Operator: 15th in the Series

SO Roll the End Credits? by Rick Mitchell Th e \Vide Screen Re11olution ( 1952- 1970): 14'" and last in the Series

64 Roster of the SOC (Society Of CameraOperators)


2 A Letter from the President by Georgia Packard SOC

4 From the Editor's Desk by George BStephenson SOC

6 News &Notes William EHines Scholarships; Breakfast Meetings & Demos; Paris Marathon; Silent Auction; Artists for Amesty; CineGear 2002

listen ing to other people's storytelling. It led me to a lucky mistake and illuminating work for 10 yea rs as a ca mera ass istant to a talented visual poet, Cinematographer Emiko Omori. Years later, Emiko went on to direct a remarkable documentary Rabbit i11 the Moon ( 1999), fleshing out the earlier introductio n I was given by Ansel with a strong revelatory voice of her own. Sin gle frames punctuate the fi lm's strong afterimages with movi ng stories that delve deeper into revealing truths.

A Letter from the President y big siste r gave me a t~mtast i c birthday gift-tickets to the "Ansel Adams Centenni al Exhibit" in So noma. She remembers my taking photography lesso ns from Ada ms as a child and how it has sha ped my li fe. Ansel was such a great teacher filled with crentive idens and usually silent wonder as we wo uld "look for the perteet angle" by taking a few steps left or right (for my short legs that often translated into giant len ps but l eagerl y played the ga me). We wou ld crawl along the ground or climb on top of boulders and look fo r th e "magica l moment" before ex posin g th e film in my pin-hol e


Yosemite Falls by G Packard

ca mera. My shoe-box onl y held one piece of photographi c paper so there wasn't much room fo r error or haste. Today I reali ze thi s process is ca ll ed "visunlization;' seeing it in yo ur mind 's eye befo re placing th e lens, whether still or motion picture. Back then I was grateful that a well respected arti st wo uld take the tim e with me, sharin g his technica l expertise, joyful spirit and co ntagious pass ion. I asked endless questions of


Ansel and he never failed to answer generously from his heart. He spoke what he fe lt and what he lea rn ed along the path he lived. Years later at his 75 1h birthday party he encouraged me to pursue my visual storytelling and to have faith in my passion. What my parents could only describe as a hobby, he saw as a deeper career possibility. I wi ll be forever grateful. The Centenni al Exhibit is a chrono-logical visit of Adams' artistic com munion with nature, guided by him as he plays a va riety of music on the piano (taped ). Adams taught "feeling what you see-to listen to what it tells you. A huge mountain ca nnot be denied-it speaks in silence to the very core of your being. I want to go out in the mountains, sit down in a chosen spot, and come as close to Nirva na as I can for a little while. Just a little peace without schedule, quiet without ca mpfire, happiness without Have-to." How Ansel taught me to place the camera has everything to say about my personal experience and the story waiting to be told. He trained me to open my eyes, connect it to my heart, and share that joy, to give for the sake of g1vmg. Many connect with Adams' cause of conservation and the importance of preserving our wi lderness. He was also an in spiring mentor and a concerned citi zen, in cluding his images of Ma nzanar where numerous Japa nese fa milies were forc ibly intern ed. He noted "they were abl e to establish a li fe out of chaos." Here blosso med my interest in discovering and


Promote the SOC: Share your magazine or better yet tell others they can subscribe too. Wear SOC Wear with pride, and don't forget to use the SOC initials on your operator credits our best publicity of who we are!


See the complete line of jackets, shirts, hots &belt buckle, including the new Hawaiian shirt (pictured) (not all items available in all sizes)

Write to: Society Of ComeraOperotors P.O.Box 2006 Toluca loke, CA 91610 or order online: www.soc.org


For the J)igi al Age_o_f__. Arricam is a new image acquisition system for the changing world of Cinematography. It integrates the unquestionable imaging superiority of film into the efficient and creative world of digital post. In addition, Arricam provides the user with exclusive features, allowing for in-camera effects previously not possible. Arricam combines proven features, such as excellent, bright optical viewfinders, rock steady pin registered film transports, and rugged environmentally stable construction with many new operational features. User addressable, bi-directional camera data, including camera speed and shutter angle, frame count, all lens parameters and script related scene information are available for programming complex shots or to facilitate post production.

The Arricam system consists of two basic camera bodies, the "Studio" and the "Lite," both of which are optimized for applications in to day's demanding and cost sensitive production environment. Afull range of widely interchangeable accessories completes this most capable 35mm Film Camera System, designed and built by Arri especially for the Digital Age of Film.

Combining the superiority of film with the crentivity of digital post.

Technology in Motion


Society Of CameraOperators

The Operating Cameraman Magazine


Fall/Winter 2002

Editor George B Stephenso n SOC

Assistant Editor Georgia Packard SOC

Post-Production Manager Douglas Knapp SOC

Design &Production Lynn Lanning, Double L Design, Glendale

· Cover Design Ma rk Leins

Production Coordinators The Ingle Group, Brentwood

Advertising Director Dan Dodd

Contributors Rick Mitchell Georgia Packard SOC Cliff Sperry George B Stephenson SOC Ca rol A Wetovich

Photography Bob Feller SOC Mark Forman Georgia Packard SOC Copyright © 2002 by the Society Of Ca meraOperators

The Operating Cnmeranznn Magazine is published semiannua Lly by the Society Of CameraO perators.

Subscription Rates USA $20/yea r Outside USA $28/year (U.S. Funds On ly)

For artide submissions, please (Ontact: SOC Attn Magazine PO Box 2006 Toluca Lake, CA 91610 Phone (8 18) 382-7070

For display advertising information, (Ontact: Dan Dodd (323) 856-9100 dandoddnow@aol.com


From the Editor's Desk:


his is a very exciting issue of Operating Cameraman for severa l reaso ns. We are introducing a brand new series of articles on sa fety in the work pl ace by Ca rol Wetovich. We may tend to put safety iss ues on the back burn er because they're not "sex}'" but they are esse ntial to our success as ca mera operato rs specifically and to fi lm techn icians in general. On a bittersweet note, Rick Mitchell's series on the Widescreen Revolution is co min g to an end in this issue. Much of our readership has been drawn to the magazin e due to a special in terest in Rick's wonderfu l se ries. We are encouragin g Rick to co ntribute other arti cles of equal interest in the fu ture. Though we tend to fea ture art icles on directors of photography and ca mera operators who work on dramatic film and telev ision prod ucti ons, "rea lity TV" is beco min g more and more a "rea lity" that's here to stay. To me, the rea l "reali ty"is what you don't see on the scree n and hence my article on the behind -thesce nes of CBS' The A111azing Race. In the articl e I neglected to mention one of our own members. Mi ke Roth SOC was the "host" ca meraman and Steadica m operator. Mike wo rked on all three seg ments thus far, each involving one compl ete circumn av iga tion! That's a lot of frequent fl yer miles in exchange for sleep depri va ti on.







Board of Governors Michael Chambliss David Diano Tom Fraser Michael Frediani Simon Jayes Douglas Knapp Mark Leins Philip Schwa rtz George B Stephenson Ben Wolf


ision, the essential ingredient that we as Ca mera Operators

use in o11r work, intrinsically bonds us to children with vision problems. Our organization co11tributes its f ull support to the Eye Ca re Clinic of the Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles. Contact the SOC online at www.soc.org

J.L.Fisher, Inc. 1000 Isabel Street Burbank CA 91506 818 846 8366 818 846 8699 fa x serviceŠjlfisher. com


lee Hines and Georgia Packard , SOC President, flank Gregory Schmidt, recipient of the 2001 William E Hines SOC Scholarship .

Grego ry Schmidt is the 200 I recipient of the William E Hin es SOC Scholarship. He will be stud yin g cinematography in Northridge. His fath er is ca mera opera tor Grego ry Schmidt SOC. Nicole Frediani rece ived th e 2002 illiam E Hin es SOC Scholarship Scholarship to help pursue cin ematogra ph y studies at Glendale City College. Her Fund s were distributed at an all -you father is Micha el Fredi ani SOC, past SOC co uld -ea t brea kfast at th e Co untry House Mo tion Pi cture Home in Woodl and pres ident and magazin e editor, and curHills, hosted by Zee Katz Hin es. We we re rent Board member. Spec ial production packages handed pl eased to distribu te scholarships fo r the out to the scholarship recipients were yea rs 200 1 and 2002. generously donated by Film tools as well as copies of both books by Bill Hines: Opemting Cinemntogmphy .for Film nnd Video and job Descriptions (or Film, Video nnd CG!, 5 1" edition. We are eager to report the recipients' progress and successes in upcoming yea rs of Th e Opemting Cnmcrnmnn magazine and SOC newsletters. The purpose of the William E Hines SOC Scholarship Fund is to recogni ze and educate talented youn g people who are dedicated to the art and craft of cinematography and plan to study it. Lynn Lanning, who does the graphic design and layout for this magazine and who edited Bill's books, introduced th e scholarship by reminding us about Bill Hines' life and work and wh at he believed William E " Bill " Hines SOC receiving the SOC in. Here is her speech: President's Aw ard in 1995 .

William EHines SOC Scholarships Awarded




"Most of yo u knew Bill Hines; perhaps a few of yo u did not. But as we present his scholarships, it's important to take a few minutes to remember Bill, th e kind of person he was, and why he wa nted these scholarships established. Bill wo uld have been sitting at the table right here in fro nt at this meetin g; hi s spirit is definitely with us today. Bill Hines loved the SOC. He was one of the founding fa thers and one of its most dedicated supporters. He served on the board, attend ed all the functions, wrote articles for th e magaz in e, edited articles, sold ads fo r the magazine, kept in close contact with all the corporate sponso rs, was always on the lookout for new members and new corporate sponso rs, supported new office rs lea rning their way through the maze of details in their new jobs. He was fond of pointing out that "the details have details." Beyo nd the SOC, he wrote his "Operating Tips" column fo r American Cinemntogrnpher magazine, taught classes at va ri ous film schools in the US and Ca nada, conducted workshops, and was always on hand for advice about eve rything fro m equipment to perso nal relations to the best way to film so mething, and anything else yo u wanted to talk about. He wrote two books, Opern ting Cinemn togrnphy fo r Film nnd Video and job Descriptions, which started out fo r Film and Video, and by the 51" ed ition, publi shed the yea r befo re he di ed, also in cluded CG I. He was planning another

what. When followed, this eliminates a lot of hurt feelings and creates a better atmosphere on the set, resulting in better work and better relationships among the crew. This harmony was something he emphasized constantly in his 'Operating Tips' columns, which he later turned into his Operating

Cinematogmphy Nicole Frediani, recipient of the 2002 William E Hines SOC Scholarship, with her father Michael Frediani SOC.

book, one explaining to actors how to really interact with the camera, but unfortunately the notes for that were all still in his head, so someone else will have to try to write that one. Bill loved people. He always saw the best in them. He saw their potential and

Bill wanted people to get together to work things out, not pull apart over an issue and go their separate ways. worked to help them achieve it. It's one of the reasons he taught so many cinematography classes over the years. He liked to nurture people. That's one of the reasons for his job Descriptions book, which is more than just a list of what the job enta ils. It is also concerned with Chains of Command and Lines of CommunicatiOJ~-who deals with whom, who reports to whom, who's responsible for

book: it's best to know how to get along with the people you deal with. Bill sought harmony in all things, and worked to achieve it. He wanted people to get together to work things out, not pull apart over an issue and go their separate ways. He worked hard to make the SOC a viable organization, to make people proud of belonging to it, proud to negotiate for the initials following their name in the credits. He wanted the SOC to grow. He wanted to nurture new talent. And as part of nurturing new talent, he directed in his will that the ICG and the SOC should set up Scholarship funds-in both cases, The William E Hines SOC Scholarship Fundwith the money going to further the education in the art of cinematography of dependent children of active members of the organ izations. His widow, Zee provided the seed money from Bill's estate to establish these scholarships. And today the SOC is disbursing two of those scholarships. Bill would have been proud. His ,i#} legacy goes on."

2003 Scholarship Applicants Sought


he purpose of the William E Hines SOC Scholarship Fund is to recognize and educate talented young people who are dedicated to the art and craft of cinematography. Applicants for the 2003 scholarship should send a brief letter to the SOC mailbox telling of their education, experience, interest in cinematography, and personal goals. The closing date for accepting applications is May 2, 2003.






ArriCam at Katzenberg


rrifl ex Co rpo rati on sponso red the Ma rch SOC Membership Breakfast meetin g at the new Ka tzenberg Pav illion at the Moti on Pi cture Home in Woodland Hills, next to the Ray Stark Villas. The new ArriCa m was on displ ay fo r th e perusal of all attendees. The Studio mode system co mes complete with a clea r and adjustable view tinder, a crisp IVS-co lor video assist, silent camera operati on and the RCU- 1 remote co ntrol unit. The Hand- Held setup aLlows the updated modular ca mera to snugly fit on th e operator's shoul der with a li ghter sys tem and video tap. The IVS color video assis t ca n inse rt a va riety of Dave Fredricks SOC tries out the new Arricam . techn ica l da ta: image fo rmat fra mes, ca mera status indicator, Time-Code, use rbits, te>..'t etc. The IVS consists of two com ponents: a video electronic mod ule and a CCD-Mod ul e available in PAL and NTSC ve rsions. It is equip ped with interchangea ble optics for Sil ent and Academy, respectively for Super and No rm al 16 formats. Twelve hi gh performance lenses wi th foca l lengths from 1Omm to 135 mm and covering the full Super 35 for mat have been developed in collabo ration with Carl Ze iss. All main characteristi cs such as foc us, co ntrast, color satura tion, color unifo rmity and co mpactn ess come Bill Russell leads the March 2, 2002 together with the high speed T J .9 rating, low aperture- induced shift and uniform breakfast meeting sponsored by Arriflex. pupil pos iti on. The new lens standard

Kenji Luster SOC tri es out the lightweight ArriCam rigged for handheld while Eri c Fletcher SOC looks on .



Stephan Uka s Bradley dem onstrates the new studio-outfitted ArriCam with the la ser focusing system .

Reel Workshops


SOC members Robert Feller, Ben Wolf, Allan Lum Li and Gary Armstrong enj oy their breakfast at the new Katzenberg Pavilion at the Woodland Hills Motion Picture Home . was optim ized for close- focus. A new Steadica m ,." adapter is now ava il able for the Arrifl ex 5358, which makes the IYS video system id eal for Steadicam use. The electro nic frame li nes and the ca mera status lin e are th ereby ava ilable. The IVS ensures 100% of all light in th e viewfind er assembly is projected onto the video chip-a n extrao rdin aril y bright and clear image. The newly developed single frame

switching device for the Arriflex 435 now offers a comfortable control for exposing single fi·ames. With the new single frame hand control unit, a multi tude of parameters ca n be preprogrammed. Access to all individual frame function s is possible via an RS 232 interface.

he Reel Workshops had the honor of having Geoff Boyle, a top DP who has extensive experience in commercials, music videos and feature projects, as the key teacher at their in augural Commercial Cinematography workshop Sept. 300 ct 4, 2002 in St Thomas US Virgin Islands. The wo rkshop was intensive and gea red to working DP/DOPs. It covered all the aspects of the co mmercials jobset from marketin g to post. The workshop offered a great opportuni ty to improve one's skillset with a top DP in the business. Two thumbs up is the score given by the attendees. Many family members also traveled to the Virgin Islands and were welcomed with their own grand event options to help make everyone's time well spent! If yo u missed this opportunity, kee p yo ur schedule up to date with the Reel Workshops divers ified events so you won't be left out again. More info on upcoming events can be fo und at their website http:// www.thereelworkshops.com Upcoming workshops incl ude an "Underwater High Def class" and a "High Def class" (instructor Daniel ViLleneuve CSC!), both in December 2002. Also on the slate is "Steadicam for Operators and Camera Assistants". For more information about Ree!Workshops and upcoming events, please co ntact SOC member RL Wise in the Virgin Islands or on the internet Bob@loosemoosefilmworks.com (no hyphen) !~'

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ace Technologies is a local company that has 12 underwater housings in stock to shoot either the F900 or the 24V Panasonic, available to any SOC member with just a phone ca ll ! Thank you for your contin ued generosity, Vince Pace. And it was grea t seei11g you in action on the Fear Facto r set where our magazine snapped a few shots of you and your wonderful underwater equipment. Pace Technologies, 1074 1 Sherman Way Unit #1, Sun Va lley, CA 91352 ph one: ~ (8 18) 759-7322 j •••,


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~ Notes

Plus 8 Video Workshop


ccount Executive Gary Van Fleet and Plus 8 Video owner Marker Karahadian generously put together a great hands-on Saturday at their facility in Burbank. Many arrived ea rl y to eat, have coffee and check in. Several Panaso nic cam eras on a variety of platforms were ga thered for the well atte nded SOC workshop by ca mera operato rs, assista nts and cinematographers alike.

Hugh Litfin SOC and Georgia Packard SOC thank Plus8Video's Gary Van Fleet for an instructive works hop.

Dhanendra Patel from Sony Electronics Inc answers questions at the SOC workshop at Plus8Video , generously sponsored by owner Marker Karahadian and Gary Van Fleet, head of 24P.

Dhanendra Patel from So ny had an updated presentation covering the basics of the cameras and a quick tour of their menus. M iles Shozuya of Fuj inon brought lens foc using charts and handed out information / specs on the HD lenses and Cine lens for H igh Definition television. Both stayed for the entire even t to be sure questions were answered and whenever poss ible physically demonstrated. You can visit their web sites for most of the diagrams and charts we used . Eugene Baker explained the remarkable fiber systems

Richard Marks asks a question of Fujinon rep Miles Shozuya . Sony's Dhanendra Patel reviews the camera 's menus with Anette Haellmigk SOC (on left) and Chuck Schuman .



Telecast is making ava ilable to simpli fy the ab unda nce of cables we often have to use not o nly for the ca mera's picture and audio, bu t also for intercommunications, down lin king and remote services. It is a treat to see such a sturdy fl exi ble cable named "Copperhead Cine with Power Plus" take on all of these chores. We spent the rest of o ur time on the cameras, a nd were able to ask more specific questio ns abo ut their operation . It is good to be conversa nt in many different HD systems. Rental companies seem to create a system that works for their eq uipment but ca n often lead to necessa ry re-acq uaintance time to be familiar wit h all of the pieces. Therefore getting time on the cameras is essential. A seco nd part of this workshop is in the SOC pipelin e-so we can break into smaller camera groups o n "lit sets" to operate wi th moving acto rs, use of the m emory stick to o btain different looks, and practice on the evolving camera packages. j[#},

SOC operators Susan Campbell, Georgia Packard and Michael Frediani compare notes on working with the Panasonic 24P camera systems they saw demonstrated .



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Hands-On Digital at Birns & Sawyer

of the cam era does the ap propriate "pull down ," like a Telecine, to get the 60P for the VTR (no interlacing in the pull down). We lea rned how to set up the optimum view finder for each individual operator, set up the monitor (and secure it from iJ1quiring hands), and received

"Shutter Angle List" cards which compare the HDC-27Y with 35 mm. Note: a Syncro Sca n minimum is 20% = 1/120. Screenings of Progressive, Interlace and film materials are always crucial for seeing the visual differences and styles. There a re m any different systems ava ilable fo r rental. ;\:,~

irns & Sawyer, Inc's Hands-on Digital Workshop offered SOC members and fr iends an in depth and informative training in 720P High Definition. Ryan Sheridan, Digital Manage r, gave a comparison of 720P to 1080/24 fp s HDCAM. Panasonic's HDC-27Y is


Ryan Sheridan explain s how to setup the camera 's eyepiece for the operator.

Prez runs in Paris marathon Georgia Packard , SOC President, with Coach Pat Connell y reviewing the Paris Marathon course. 33,000 people from all ove r the wo rld ran the 262K race, starting and ending near the Arc de Triomphe. Georgia went with a group of 18 from the Los Angeles area to raise money in suppo rt of th e Arthritis Foundation. ;(:;. Ryan Sheridan conducts an intensive HD training day at Birns & Sawyer for th e SOC and friends.

a true progressive camera, sca nning every !me from top to bottom. While DV cam eras use field do ubling where th ey throw away one field and do uble the o ther, they in turn throw out half the resolutio n from 480 to 240 lin es per fram e. Asked abo ut 720 P throwing away 36 frames to get 24 P, we learned the CCDs act just like the movement and shutter of a camera. Each fram e is exposed for an am o unt of time determined by the frame rate and shutter speed selected. Then th e middl e


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unique event took place at Kodak, 6700 Sa nta Monica Bouleva rd in Hollywood, Saturday 26 1h October 2002. Donated items and services provided trem endous value and barga ins (a partial li sting appea red on the SOC Webs ite in advance), including signed photographs/ sc ripts/show and movie ti ckets/ DVDs and memorabilia fro m television and motion pictures. Large gift baskets were created in a variety of themes, including SOC Operators, On Location, Ca mera Ass istants, Spa & Massage, Coffee Lovers, Chocolate Lovers, Tea Fo r Two, Di sney Children, Young Adu lt DVDs, LA Mystery Novels, Winemaking Pi cni c, Director Terry Gilliam ASC Fi lms with ASC Manual, Music Lovers COs wi th CD Player, Movie Soundtracks, Best of the Beasts, Make Up and Make Over, and Gou rmet Sou l Food . The most uniqu e item was a large sculpture from Austin Powers: the Spy That Shagged Me which shows icons from that film , plus a 20 inch RCA television, a pair of binoculars, playbills from the '40s and '50s New York seasons, an Ansel Adams framed poster of Yosemite, The Godfather films , KNBC Famous Birds, 1936- 1963 issues of In temational Cinematographer, 1936 US Ca mera Gravures book, two 1936 Film Daily Yea rbooks, signed memorabilia fro m My Wife & Kids, According To Jim , Girlfr iends, Will & Grace, Grounded For Life, Diagnosis Murder; Forrest Gunrp, Tao o,{

Early arrivers were greeted by a special treat by Kodak, a television set to watch Game #6 of the World Series while served tasty appetizers of crab cakes and peanut chicken from Happy Trails Catering of Pasadena .

Steve, M*A *S*H, Beauty and the Beast, Snatch, Snow Day, Remember the Titans, Gentleman's Agreement, Star Trek IV, Set It Off, The Animal, The Abyss, Ani111al House, Bladenmner, Colors, and Drop Squad-to name just a few! Several areas inside had long tables covered with auction items for people to write down their bids. The price of adm ission, $5.00, also bought yo u a raffle ticket. Lights were set up out on the beautiful patio outside so visitors co uld get something to eat, drink and claim their numerous raffle pri zes. Almost everyone went home with at least one item. And for those who were worried about missing the World Series, Kodak was able to provide a television set for us to catch all of Game #6 -while being served crab cakes and peanut chicken from Happy Trai ls Catering. Cou ldn't get much better se rvice or good fun on a Saturday night in Hollywood. We would like to thank all of the indi viduals and companies who contributed

Gift baskets came in a wide assortment of size and content for the auction tables. People found great bargains and many treasures for sale.

to help make ou r charity fundrai ser a success for the Eye Ca re Clinic, including photographers Gemma La Ma na SMPSP and

All sorts of special guests took advantage of the SOC Silent Auction. You didn 't have to be present to win.

Sterling Chow, Dav id Diano SOC, Allan Lum Li SOC, Bonnie Blake SOC, Mark Forman, Tom Fraser SOC, John McNault, Eul anda Bai ley and Gloria Williams, Eastman Kodak, Fuji non, Arri, ASC, Birns & Sawyer, Brentano Books, CFI, Chapman & Leonard, Dave's Video, Deluxe Labs, Doggicam, JL Fisher, House of Pies, ICG, Kelly's Co ffee and Fudge, Laemmle Thea tres, Landmark Theatres, Marie Ca llender's, Mole-Richardson, Otto Nemenz, Outland Mountain Shop, Panavision, Peet's Coffee, Run With Us, Say Cheese, Technicolor Labs, Trader Joe's and The Winemaking Store. Items and services were limited only by yo ur imagin ation and generos ity! tl~~






Amnesty Film Festival


rtists for Am nesty held the Amnesty International Film Festival in Los Angeles, with the Opening night screening of Missing by Constantin CostaGavras at the D irectors Guild of America. Music was performed by DaySix debuting their song "Today." Actors john Shea and Melanie Mayran from the film were in attenda nce with Gabriel Byrne as the evening's host. joyce Horman spoke eloquently abo ut her experiences with her husband, Charles Horma n and Joe Rocabuto (real-life victims and characters in the movi e) and the amazingly long journey to

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seek justice. Their murders are sti ll under investigation in Chile. Costa-Gavras had this to say: "To successfully stand up against dictatorial powers, Amnesty International 's main strength is the inspiring relentlessness and faith of the people who make up this organization work every day all over the world. But Amn esty International also needs our love and help. Which brings me to the reasons l deeply admire the Un ited States: this country used to have, and still has some politicians who helped bring to power generals such as Pinochet, Videla, Papadopoulos, to name some over the years. "But on the other side, you also have a tiny bunch of Hollywood people who invest their talent, their money and their energy into making movies against them, and they are here tonight. I hope this spirit will never die in yo ur country." )\!;.


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~ Notes

CineGeor 2002 o rousing success

ineGear 2002 was hosted by Otto ( Nemenz lnternatio nal at the Univer al Studios Backlo t along with the 51h Hands-On SOC Crane and Remote Head Seminar. Two days in the Ca liforn ia sun made an ideal setting for an amazing opportuni ty to try out and put to the test a huge amount of motion picture eq uipment. Karl Kresser and juliann e Grosso fro m Otto Nemenz Int'l carefully measured exhibi t booth and spaces to insure safety-plus easy nav igation around all of the eq uipment and people. Every nook and cranny offered up choices of camera platforms and a wide assortment of accesso ries to make filming more exc iting. Numerous sem inars on lighting, camera design, and New Technology were offered, along with a special Exhibitors Party on the first day of setup. Thursday evening (load-in day) gave a splendid view of the enti re event's set- up from the top of the hill. It was a master feat mov ing in all of that eq uipment to be ready for the upcom in g two days.

Hosting CineGear at Universal Studios' backlot, Otto Nemenz International is represented by Karl Kresser and Julianne Grosso, wi th big-hearted camera assistant Tammy Fou ts.

Susan Ca mpbell SOC was th e wi nner of the Filmtools dolly in th e ra ffl e draw ing at C ineGear 2002 . Shown in th e photo , w hic h was take n in fron t of th e Fil mtoo ls store in Burba nk, are (left to right) ow ner Sta n M cClai n SOC, Mitchell Block, Campbe ll , and How ard Block SOC.



Doggicam's Sparrow Head system weighs only 30 pound s, including the camera , prime lens, 200 ' magazine and remote follow focus . An easy pushover.

Chuck Lee with Fujinon Inc, staying cool at CineGear 2002.

Aerocrane filled the inner square with a host of tools and cranes, including the Aerohead demonstrated for the SOC by owner Greg Pedrick at a private hands-on day in March .


erocrane owner Greg Pedrick was a considerable amount of help setti ng up the event. Earlier in the yea r, Greg had held an Open House fo r the SOC at Aerocrane's new location : 8125 La nkershim Bouleva rd in No rth Hollywood. Their Aero head was a hot-ticket item along with a wide a sortment of crane and support systems Director of shown at CineGea r. A number of cranes and track fill ed up the central square at Unive rsal Photography Studios. Their helpful staff gave demonstraJonathan West ti ons on the high-tech motion picture ASC demonstratcranes, crane dollies, remote heads, and ing the Aerohead unique control equi pment. for the SOC Cinematographer Jonathan West ASC Crane Seminar. could be fo und here fo r a tim e, as well as Roy Wagner ASC. Attendees found they we re able to ca tch up with many people they had n't seen in the recent high and lows of film production.

Ka i Stewart (in Hot Gears cap) celebrates a day of tra ining w ith his father, gaffer Jeff Stewart.

The Pace Technology booth with their underwater line.







owner of Hot Gears-keeps the SOC up-to-date.

Panavision and Panavision Remote had several camera systems to choose from includ ing the Millennium XL, HDW-F900 Digital System , PROE focus system , Smart Lens, 50 ' and 20 ' SuperTechnocrane, the Strada Crane, and the Wescam XR Stabilized Head (see separate photo) .

Hugh Litfin SOC (back to camera) addresses one group of SOC Crane Sem inar participants just off Spartacus Square, Universal Studios backlot.

Rollvision is used on a Steadicam mount at the Coptervision booth. Robert Feller (in sung la sses) and Howard Block man the SOC booth at CineGear 2002 in front of the SOC banner created by Ernie Reed.



Wescam XR Stabilized Head aloft at the SOC Crane Seminar/CineGear 2002 .

Michael Chambliss SOC refueling moments before leading one of the SOC Crane Seminar groups at CineGear 2002.

Cheers and suntan lotion were offered up to an amazing number of film artists and craftpeople. It was a veritable Who's Who in the film world! There was a tremendous turnout with attendees coming to see the latest in gear plus enjoy networking with camera and production folk. Over 75 exhibitor booths offered an amazing amount of technology with friendly supervised

Andy Romanoff, Panavision Remote with SOC President Georgia Packard plan for a successful Crane Demonstration at CineGear 2002.

Thomson 's new Digital camera supported by an OConnor head decked out studio-style .

access, fact sheets and demonstrations. Michael Chambliss SOC and Hugh Litfin SOC guided several groups of participants around the backlot for a personal SOC tour, demonstrating and an swering questions on a large number of cranes and remote heads. Ueli Steiger ASC was found at the base of the Chapman/Leonard production car where Panavision Remote and Local 80

Chapman Leonard 's Maverick & Grip Local 80 support Panavisi on 's 50' SuperTechnocrane, demonstrated by Ueli Steiger ASC.



mo unted the Super Technocrane for o ur practice runs o n the crane. Many gracio us cinematographers helped o ut with dem o nst rations and insightful tips/a nswers. Rick Robinson, Na ncy Schreiber ASC, Pernell Tyus and Kram er Mo rgenthau are only a few of the friendly and talented group who never seem ed to tire of inquisitive questio ns o n ca mera o perating and crew interaction. The Crane and Rem ote Head Seminar provided a safe and instructive hands-on experience fo r all those personnel involved with th e use of cranes and rem ote heads. The SOC wo uld like to offer a special thanks to its patrons: Aeroc ra ne, Bava rian Pavilion , Chapman/ Leonard, Coptervisio n, Doggicam , Filmair Internation al, Filmtechnic International Corp, Geo Film Gro up, Hyd roflex, Inn ov isio n, Movie-Tech AG, Otto Nem enz In ternatio nal, Pace Technologies, Panavision and Panavisio n Rem ote Systems/Strada, Panther-G mbh and others. The event was presented in association wit h Otto Ne m enz Internati onal, Ae rocrane, Internati onal Cinem atograp hers Guild- IATSE Local 600, PERA, and the Motion Picture Studi o Grips-Local 80. We greatly appreciate t heir genero us support! Those in terested in regist ratio n

5th Hands-On SOC Crane & Remote Head Seminar offers a participant the chance to try out the Slider.

HydroFiex keeping the camera afloat and dry while at sea .

Hugh Litfin SOC being tracked by the smooth glide of the SuperTechnocrane .

m aterials and updates fo r Cin eGea r 2003 can either contact "Exhibito r Info" (323) 256-9056 or visit their Website www.cinegearexpo .com

Aiken Weiss SOC captures a bird 's-eye view from Aerocrane 's Aerohead system .


Right: SOC President Georgia Packard with members Howard Block and Tom Fraser, who helped set up the Crane demonstration on the backlot of Universal Stud ios on the 2nd day of CineGear

2002 .


DP Lenoir checks the view in Monsieur Hire, a 1990 French film from a mystery by Georges Simenon , directed by Patrick LeConte.


true movie buff, Paris-born cinematograp her Denis Lenoir, AFC, ASC wo uld spend his time at the French Cinematheque-insatiably consuming up to 500 fi lms a year. "Fo r me, while I was growing up, cinema rep resented this magical, wonderful wo rld ... almost a secretive, alternate dream wo rld," said Leno ir while filmin g the pilot for the new NBC series, Boomtown. "And during that time, I didn't know anyo ne working in the cinema, so I certainly didn't imagine I could possibly make a career in films. When I finally confided to my mother about my passion for film , she immediately enco uraged me to make it m y profess ion and not just a hobby." Enrolling at the Louis Lumiere school in Paris, Leno ir was initially inspired to become a director-noting that 90% of those starting in the film indust ry want to be directo rs-befo re he "stumbled" into his li fe's passion.

After graduating from fi lm school, Lenoir entered the French film industry and began wo rking as a ca mera ass istant. "After abo ut three yea rs of bad focus pulling on som e bad films, I was offered a choice to work as a seco nd assistant-a step down fro m focus pulling-but wo rk with a good fi lm crew in France. O r I could try my hand as a lighting cameram an on my own. So with some 35mm film equipment loaded in my trunk, I ended up driving aro und in the early mornings offering to shoot some small local stores for these little co mmercial advertisements. There was no crew and little money, but I was lighting, composing, and editing in my head." Lenoir soo n segued into more "narrati ve" ftlmmaki ng and it was there that a revelation abo ut cinematograp hy's potential struck him . " It was in the ea rly '80s and I was working on 'blue movies,' documentary news material, as well as

co rpo rate film s, as both the cinematographer and the entire crew-doi ng m y own focus pulling and electrician wo rk-when the director I was working for com mented that the lighting looked too fl at. Up until that point I had been the 'director of photography' simply beca use I had a light meter in my hand and I co uld get an exposure. But when he told me that, it was li ke a whole new world opened up for me. I loved the idea that light could be flat or dimensional. What a concept! And from that idea, I lea rned to look at the light and see the light. I actually got pleas ure from getting physical with the lighting, as if I was literally throwing a bucket of photons!" T he cinematog rap her's newfound fascination with light inspired him to take up studies of art history at the Ecole du Louvre. "Paintings from the past, or even contemporary photography fiJI me with energy and courage more than serving as



almost by definition is a fairly static situation-I love to cross over the shoulder and behind the head of one actor so that the second half of the scene will be captured on the other side with the camera. In this way, you can renew the interest of the image by not having the same shot

I didn't like the idea of moving the camera just for the sake of moving the camera ...

French New Wave: Les Deracines directed

direct inspiration in my own work;' confides Lenoir. "It is true though that on this current project Boomtown I'm using mirrors out in the streets to create hard kicks and bright flashes of sun thrown on to the actors for short moments. This idea was directly inspired by the work of still photographer Philip- Lorca diCorcia, who uses hidden strobes to 'pop' the actor out of a crowd. More often the inspiration I can get from someone like the contemporary Italian painter Cremonini, who uses an 'anamorphic format' with his long wide canvases, will stimulate me not to duplicate direct framing or composition, but to take more chances and risks composing the frame, to use the frame in a more inventive way." Lenoir's feature film career kicked into gear when he paired up with former Cahiers du Cinema critic Olivier Assayas on the 1986 film Desordre. "Working with Olivier on that ftlm really brought about a change in my work. Olivier had a crazy theory that the ftlmmaking process had to be as hard for the crew as it was for the actors. We staged these elaborate camera moves on dolly with a tight lens; often stepping around the camera or moving from high to low angles all in the same



Perez Mota, 1975.

for-ever. It gives us a change of perspective/ view and keeps it visually interesting. I used a similar principal on the ftlm Monsieur Hire, but instead we used long lenses for close-ups on the fixed actorsbooming the camera slowly up or down so that the background would change very subtly. And since we were on a fairly long lens on the actor, it would not change the apparent angle on tl1eir face too much. I didn't like the idea of moving the camera just for tl1e sake of moving the camera, but I think the effect was great. We were making a shot which otherwise would be totally fixed and adding another dimension to it, in this case a sort of moving arc to the background." Lenoir notes that he loves to be challenged by the directors with whom he collaborates. "A big part of having fun on a set is my relationship with the director," he adds. "I love the process of discussing the shots and designing the coverage for the scenes. So in working with a camera operator, you can sometimes run into a situation where the director of photography can be used almost only as a gaffer.

shot. He blocked the actors to be moving at all times and together we developed this particular way of ftlming dialogue. Let's say we start with a certain '/\ shot, tight on the actors. Now if you can shoot them in such a way-moving in concert with their movements and making adjustments-to always have an 'ideal' frame, tl1e shot should be perfectly interesting by itself. Likewise, if you do the same on the complimentary reverse 'B' shot of the other actors, it too should also be as interesting by itself, at every moment. But when you do this and maintain total respect to both angle's eyelines, then the two camera angles are interesting at all points with total interchangeability at any time. This makes the editing much more flexible and the camerawork more organic to the scene. "Similarly;' Lenoir continues, "when I have a two-page scene where people are sitting aro und a table-which Denis Lenoir on the set of Carrington .


An early collaboration for Lenoir and Director Olivier Assayas: L'Enfant de l'hiver, 1988 .

And it is not much fun when that happens. In France, for example, the operator is often-if not always-brought in

I also learned to judge my own lighting through the viewfinder, I now miss things when I am not the operator. by the director; which can eventually bring political problems on to the set. Even if there are no problems, suddenly the working dynamic becomes more abo ut these two people, the director and operator, communicating, designing shots and executing them, experiencing this creative fun together. Meanwhile, the cinematographer is more off with the gaffer just doing the lighting. I don't like this scenario so much. In the US, however, because the operator is not trying to build a direct relationship with the director and works mainly for the DP, I can still be part of the communication, designing the shots and having fun with the director. And for me that can make all of the difference." Having operated many of his films, Lenoir in fact muses about missing out

on "all the fun" when not manning the camera himself. "When I was a child my grandmother had a summer house in Brittany. At low tide, I loved to run fast across the rocks. I got a special pleasure from having to make extremely fast decisions as to where to put my feet, coordinating eye and foot. It is that same kind of adrenaline rush I also enjoy when I

am handholding a camera. There is a constant scanning the frame for problems. When doing over-theshoulder shots on an actor, for example, yo u have to choose to include either more or less of an imposing actor. You have to make a definite decision for the frame. Yet it also gives you opportunities to improve, to start a chain of thoughts in your head . It opens up a key to new ideas. "I also learned to judge my own lighting through the viewfinder, I now miss things when I am not the operator. So sometimes I'll now use a pair of binoculars to watch the faces of the actors. It's not always possible to do so, but it helps keep me involved. Then I can call on my gaffer between takes to change some small detail." Lenoir notes that he likes his camerawork grounded in reality. He's not one to exploit a visual gimmick or a flashy piece of hardware in lieu of clear storytelling. "Oftentimes establishing shots are captured from a crane merely fo r production value. This sort of concept I really hate. This is done more here than in France, but audiences are very literate all over the world. They don't need time to 'know' where they are with a cut-and-dry wide shot. "There was a scene in the miniseries Uprising where Hank Azaria is

DP Lenoir and crew setting up a shot in Decadence, a 1994 Mayfair Entertainment film starring Joan Collins and Steven Berkoff, who also directed .



led into an undergro und bunker. We did a sho t where I was operating hand-held, seated o n a descender rig, following Hank three stories going down a ladder before I stepped out of the chair and co ntinued to make a long hand-held shot on the ground . The scene was almost enti rely a medium shot, but yo u quickly understood the geography of scene.

I was quite convinced that even ill put the same lens on the same camera side by side with Sven Nykvist's camera, I would not have the same fantastic result. Si milarl y, the ope ning shot of The Secret Agent was a lo ng Steadicam shot in a street. The operato r then stepped o n to a cra ne and boomed up to discover so me action th ro ugh the windows o n the second fl oo r. We moved up again and then th e shot dissolved as we moved through the wall to another shot filmed so mewhere else before dissolving into another shot of us moving up entering the third fl oor. It is enterprising and not just showi ng off the camera. Audiences don't remember fl as hiness. They are mo re

Cinematographer Denis Lenoir (left) lines up a shot with Director Patrice LeConte for

1986's Tandem . excited following the action with the characters. " I had a real ep iphany after seeing Bergman's After the Rehearsal," Lenoir concludes. "The fum was shot in Super l6mm almost excl usively with fixed close- ups of fixed actors. It was nothing fancy but there was something fa ntastic abo ut it as well. In so me way, almost every shot was pure magic to me. The lighting was ve ry simple, and it was not the choice of lens, whi ch I am also sure was very ordinary. It wasn't the height of

the camera or the angle ... Everythin g was just basic, normal. But for some reason it was beyo nd what I ever dreamed of achieving. I was quite convinced that even if I put the same lens on the same camera side by side with Sven Nykvist's camera, I would not have the same fantastic result. I then started to think abo ut it-maybe there was n't some magic with the camera that I can't reproduce, maybe the magic was being in love wi th the faces, being in love with the people yo u are filming. To capture this magic, yo u instead needed to respect them and to love them. What I learned at that time was that I was probably too yo ung to achieve this idea. But as I get older, I have learned how to love the actors and the people's faces who expose themselves to the camera. The face is an ever-changi ng landscape reflecting all of their thoughts."


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Visitor actor Hank Azaria looks over the shoulders of Director of Photography Denis Lenoir ASC AFC and pilot director Jon Avnet for Boomtown starring Mykelti Williamson.



Respiratory Safety and Special




Dust Effects

Explosions and battle scenes may use dirt and smoke for dramatic effects . Here, charging Civil War soldiers are shown in MetroGoldwyn-Mayer-Cinerama's How the West Was Won (1962).

7his is the first installment in a series


of articles that cover the chemicals and dusts used in special effects and the potential health hazards associated with exposure to these substances. This series will also address the steps an individual can take to protect his/her health.

Fuller's Earth Fuller's earth is commonly used in film productions as an airborne special effect to create a dusty or hazy look on a set. It is also used to create the look of dust storms, explosions and various other visual effects. Fuller's earth is actually a term that describes any fine-grained inorganic mineral dust, generally classified as sedimentary clay, which is used in industrial applications to absorb impurities from petroleum products and refine oils, and in assorted de-greasing agents and sweeping compounds. Its name originated in the textile industry in which textile workers (or fullers ) cleaned raw wool with fine earth


and water that absorbed contaminants from the fibers. Fuller's earth consists chiefly of hydrated aluminum silicates. Montmorillonite is the

These dusts can contain various amounts ollree crystalline silica, a known human carcinogen. principle clay mineral in fuller's earth but other minerals such as attapulgite, kaolinite, diatomite, bentonite, palygorskite and other similar substances may also account for its variable composition. These dusts can contain various amounts of free crystalline silica, a known human carcinogen. Attapulgite and palygorskite are fibrous clay minerals that have the potential of causing fibrotic lung diseases similar to asbestosis. Bentonite was recently reported to be one of the efficient carri-


ers of biological warfare agents, such as anthrax, because the particles can remain suspended in the air for hours and can be deeply inhaled into the lungs. The Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on these mineral dusts often warn of potential health hazards from exposure such as pulmonary fibrosis (lung scarring), pneumoconiosis, lung cancer, pulmonary infection and death. Organic dusts are sometimes substituted to create special effects. Common organic dusts include wheat and rice flours, walnut shell dusts, and wood dusts. Organic products, such as ground nutshells, have many industrial uses. Walnut shell dusts are used as plywood glue extenders, abrasive compounds for soft grit blasting of jet engines, and a polishing medium in jewelry making. Organic dusts can be highly flammable and are quite hazardous on interior sets. Inhalation of these dusts has been shown to cause a variety of acute and chronic lung problems caused by

irritation of the airways by the particles and inflammation from the toxins, molds, and fungi that adhere to organic material.

Occupational Lung Disease

trial dust containing silica over a short period of time. This disease is rapidly progressive, as irremediable as lung cancer, and likely to be fatal within five years. Many sufferers of acute silicosis are young, active people. Workers who routinely deal with mineral dusts should always use approved measures (protective equipment and

According to the American Lung Association, occupational lung disease is the number one work-related illness in the United States based on the frequency, severity, and preventability of diseases. Occupational lung diseases kill 25,000 American workers a year. These diseases are often caused by extended exposures to irritating or toxic substances, although severe single exposures have caused chronic lung disease and lung damage as well. There are two basic types of occupational lung diseases: those caused by dust in the lungs (pneumoconiosis) and those caused by Many westerns use a steady supply of dirt, especially when hypersensitivity to inhaled their dusty world on stage. Joanne Dru, John Wayne in Red substances at the worksite. clothing) to limit their exposure and keep Pneumoconiosis from bringing mineral dust home on their All forms of pneumoconiosis are clothing. Protective masks or respirators caused by industrial dust that accumumust fit properly and be used according to the manufacturer's directions. lates in the lungs, causing chronic lung changes, and eventually interfering with Hypersensitivity Diseases lung function. Silicosis, a type of pneumoconiosis, caused by inhalation of dusts Inhalation of organic dusts has been containing silica, can develop as either shown to cause several types of allergic chronic or acute silicosis. Chronic silicosis reactions and allergic diseases. is seen in workers who have inhaled relaHypersensitivity pneumonitis is caused by the inhalation of fungus spores from organic dusts. Repeated exposure causes the air sacs of the lungs to become inflamed; parts of the lungs may then develop fibrous scar tissue and cease to function normally. Chronic exposures may lead to chronic obstructive or restrictively low concentrations of industrial tive lung disease. dusts for long periods of time. This causes Allergic alveolitis is caused by fine orchanges in the tissues of the lungs and ganic dust inhaled into the alveoli, the formations of nodules throughout the lungs' smallest air spaces. In the acute form, respiratory symptoms and fever lungs. Twenty to thirty percent of chronic start several hours after exposure to the silicosis patients progress to fibrotic lung dust. The chronic form is characterized damage and are likely to die of heart failure caused by lung disease. by gradual changes in the lung tissue assoAcute silicosis occurs in workers ciated with several years of exposure to exposed to high concentrations of industhe irritant.

Many sufferers of acute silicosis are young, active




Occupational asthma is generally defined as a respiratory disorder directly related to inhaling fumes, gases, dusts or other potentially harmful substances in the workplace. Symptoms of occupational asthma may develop for the first time in a previously healthy worker or may aggravate a pre-existing condition. The cause of occupational asthma may be allergic or non-allergic in nature, and the disease may persist in some workers even if they are no longer exposed to the irritants that triggered their symptoms. The length of exposure to a substance that triggers asthma varies, and can range from months to years before symptoms occur. Studies have shown that occupational asthma can be disabling and often irreversible particularly if the worker continues to be exposed to irritants. re-creating River (1948).


The best way to prevent occupational lung disease is to avoid inhaling substances that cause lung diseases. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends these preventative measures: • Do not smoke. Smoking increases the risk for occupational lung disease. ·Wear protective devices, such as respirators, when around airborne irritants and dusts. • Have your physician perform a lung function test (spirometry) to familiarize yourself with your lung capacity. • Educate yourself concerning the risks of lung disease. • Have an occupational health expert evaluate the work environment for risks for occupational lung diseases.

Protection Several different types of particulate ftlters or filtering facepiece respirators (dust masks) can be used during exposures to the chemicals and dusts in special effects. N-Series Filters: These filters are restricted for use in atmospheres containing particulates that do not contain any type of oil. For example, if theatrical fog

is used with dust effects, these filters shou ld not be used. R-Series Filters: These filters can be used for the re moval of any particle including oil-based particulates. However these filters have a time-use restriction in atmosp heres con tai ning oil of eight hours of continuous or intermittent use. P-Series Filters: T hese filters are intended for the removal of any particulate including oil-based aerosols. P-Series filters should be used and reused fo r no more than 40 hours of use or 30 days, whichever comes first, in atmospheres containi ng oil particulates. Otherwise, in non-oil atmosp heres, this type of filter may be used until the filter becomes dirty, damaged, or begins to impair breathing. Each of the three types of filters have filtering efficiency ratings of 95%, 99%, and 99.97% Fo r example, a mask with the

Remember, occupational lung diseases are often NOT curable, but they are almost always preventable. designation: P95 Particulate Filter, signifies that th is is a respi rator that can be used in both non -o il and o il atmosp heres with a 95% filtering efficiency. Ma ny industrial safety eq uipmen t companies carry these types of respirators. T hey may also be ordered directly from the manufacturers. Occupational hazards are often an unfortun ate aspect in the fi lm industry. In order to prevent illnesses stemm ing from workplace hazards, it is the right of every employee and unio n representative to demand a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) on special effects products. This MSDS sho uld state the elements or compounds that are to be used as special effects, the hea lth hazards of the substances, and the type of safety equipment needed in order to protect the health of those exposed. Manufact urers often include haza rd information on the labels of their products. Remember, occupatio nal lung diseases are often not curable, but they are almost always preventable. ~

Airborne d irt ca n cut contrast and create an interesting film texture. Michael Clarke Duncan as Attar prepares to lead hi s troops into battle against rebell ious humans in Planet of the Apes (200 1) .

Carol Wetovich is a camera operator who has been working professionally fo r over 20 years. Currently she is based out of New York. Recently she WON a law suit for "accident work conditions" that sent her into the hospital while working on Spi n City (4 years ago in New York) and that has left her permanently lung disabled.

For Further Information: 3M Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Division 3M Center, Building 275-6W-O I P.O. Box 33275 St. Paul, MN 55 133-3275 Technical Se rvice: 1-800-243-4630 Sales Assistance: 1-800-896-4223 Web: www.mmm.com/occsafety American Lung Association 61 Broadway, 6th Floor New York, NY 10006

Phone: 212-315-8700 Web: www. lung.u sa .org U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 200 Constitution Aven ue Washington, DC 20210 Phone: 1-800-32 1-0SHA Web: www.os ha .gov National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) 200 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, DC 2020 I Web: www.cdc.gov/niosh

For Further Reading: Th e Health and Safety Guide For Film, TV, & Theater, by Monona Rosso! Allworth Press 10 East 23 rd Street New York, NY 1001 0

For more information go to ferraflexminicam .com or email Mike at ferraflex@aol.com

3815 W. Burbank Blvd. , Burbank, CA 91505 â&#x20AC;˘ (818) 845-2192 â&#x20AC;˘ FAX: (818) 843 -8608



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Use wlffl any camera or lena Quick Mt up I SlJ.nt lundlonlng

or over-slung.

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& CAMERA OPERATOR 14th in the Series

POV: Charles




harles Papert SOC talks about how he was hired on the new hit show Scrubs, and the modified European style that was adapted for use on the show. "I operated on the pilot of Scrubs for a Director of Photography who could not do the series due to a conflict, so when the new DP, John Inwood, was brought in from NY and he didn't have an operator, the production put us together. At the interview I discussed the possibility of us working 'European style' which he hadn't done before, but was open to trying. After a few weeks we settled down into it. "Our working method is that after the rehearsal, the director will tell both of us what he is thinking for the master, coverage etc. We then ask him questions or brainstorm about combining shots or ways to jazz it up visually. John starts working with grip/electric and I block the master with second team. There is a wonderful 'give and take' of adjusting set elements, actors etc. to help lighting or camera-compromises involved etc. It's always a race to see who gets finished first! John and I tend to work as collaborators, which really speeds up the process (always important in television). "Just as an operator is free to decide whether he/she will use the wheels or a


Charles Paper! SOC and DP John Inwood.

fluid head for a given shot, I'm also in a position to decide whether to use a conventional camera or Steadicam unless the director is dead set on one or the other. We do a lot of Steadicam, and it is nice to be able to pull it out even when the shot doesn't obviously call for it-perhaps because it will save time or effort somewhere else. The director might realize that it would be convenient to continue a master into a particular close-up of one

of the actresses, but being aware that either the wider lens for the master would make a less flattering close-up or that the actress deserves more tailored lighting than can be set for the wide shot, I ask John over to confer about whether or not that is possible. "I can offer Sylvian D'Hautcourt, the focus puller, the opportunity to jump on and operate a shot or scene every now and then. He really gets into it and it

Charles Paper! with l st AC Sylvian D'Hautcourt and dolly grip Bobby Foster.



helps him understand the particular challenges of this show which solidifies our regular working relationship as oper-

Scrubs has some particular visual cues and a style that is fairly camera aggressive. a tor and l 51 AC. He's got a great energy! On one night exterior which involved a straight boom down on a crane, our remote focus system stopped wo rking and he gam ely pressed forward using a 12 step ladder, pulling focus with a couple of whips while scra mbling down the ladder at high speed. I think he rather enjoyed it! "Scrubs has some pa rticular visual cues and a style that is fairly camera aggressive, involving wh ip pans for transitions between scenes. Beca use the show is presented somewhat from th e perspective of the lead character, we are 'inside his head'

Hot Gears on Fi sher jib arm .


Charles Papert on camera, director Adam Bernstein on far right, dolly grip Bobby Foster in T3 hat.

and thus there is opportunity for surrealist m o ments, i.e .. seeing himself elsewhere in the scene o r imagining fan tasy characters that pop up in a recurring fas hion (like a Bergm an-esque Death or Jimmy Walker as himself!). During the first season, we became more sophisticated in how to show these mo ments, o riginally relying o n foreground wipes and eventually doing elem enta ry motion control using Hot Gears. We also have m ade great use of the tiny Aaton Minima and other tools such as the Squishy Lens, speed ramps and inca mera effects in order to achieve this. "We do day-play the exotic gear, perhaps one gadget per episode. One particular episode required a fantasy look that increased in intensity gradually thro ughout a ten minute chunk of the episode, to cue the


audience th at what th ey were watchin g was an imagined series of events. John had selected the Squishy lens which we dialed in by increasing amounts. Keep ing track of the am o un t of effect for scenes sho t out of order was a challe nge! O ne pa rticular setup involved a dolly shot that simultaneo usly zoomed, speed ramped and increased in 'squishiness,' which required each of the assista nts (Sylvia n, z nd asst Dwight Tudor and loader Kirsten Laube) to each ope rate a device. From an operator's perspecti ve, such a shot is challenging beca use yo u have to keep an eye not only on the fra me, but also make sure the zoom sta rts and stops at the right po in t, the special effect (Squishy lens) is timed correctly and dialed to the right intensity, and assess the timing on the speed ramp by watching the shutter/listening to the camera motor. "Wh at ca n be interestin g abo ut electing whi ch tool (Steadicam vs dolly) to use fo r a particular shot is th at once that cho ice is made, the shot will often evolve in a way that is specific to the platform. For instance, if Steadicam is used , the move may becom e m o re elaborate in such a way t hat a dolly wo uld be hard pressed to emu late, or physically un able to achieve. Likewise the dolly versio n could potentially incorporate a wider

and afte r all, TV is all abo ut page co un t! Then aga in, they do n't hand o ut Em mys fo r 'Most Impressive Page Count.' "During the last episode of last season I worked with the directo r to design a complex seco nd unit shot that involved a single actor in fo ur places in o ne shot, with the cam era panning to find each (a la Being fohn Ma tkovich). Li terally hours befo re shooting, we came up with a way to m ake it more interesting, which was to have o ne versio n of the character walki ng in front of another. This involved a last minute green sc reen Directo r Ad a m Bern stein , DP Jo hn Inwood , and Charles o rder and a substantially Papert. m ore com plicated sequence, which was exeboo m range tha n the Steadica m ca n procuted using the programmable fea ture of vide, o r feat ure an ul tra-slow move of the the Ho t Gea rs. The exciting part fo r me, especially wi th a shot that complex is type we try not to have to do o n Steadica m ! O ur doll y grip, Bobby Foster, being able to be involved at the creati ve is a great listener, so when the d irecto r level. Occasio nally the directo rs and John co mes ru n ning in between takes (somewill co nfer with me whil e they a re in their prep week abo ut a shot they are planning, to see if I have any tho ughts. ''I'm in love with my Hot Gears system, this being the device that moto ri zes the gea r head to allow fo r remo te operatio n. We use it o n crane arms, times with the ca mera still rolling) and asks for a certa in sectio n of the move to o n the dolly, up in the ceiling, be slowed dow n or a m a rk to be shifted, anyw here. It's a great tool to make the sort of sho ts that are Bobby can dial in those adjustm ents o n either impossible o r ve ry di ffi the fl y. It m akes commun icatio n between cult to operate with o ne's eye in us very efficient. t he eyepiece, and achieve th is "Scrubs is a Stead icam-heavy show. No t as m uc h perhaps as ER o r The West quickly and easi ly and o n a TV schedule (the assistants can conWi ng, both of which I have had the vert the head over to rem ote Charles hono r to ope rate o n, but we do use it operati o n in just minutes). I'm nea rl y every day. There a re frequent hall ra ther pass io nate abo ut the respo nsiveway walk and ta lks and zippy bits of ness of action which we com plement by usi ng the wheels; it's a very sil ky and subtle the energy of the Stead ica m. I'm not a fee l. Plus there's the prog rammable fi.m chuge fa n of th e idea that it sho uld be tion (we are able to record the foc us, iris used specifica lly because it is faste r, and zoom alo ng with the pan and tilt o n because it isn't always, but the re's no the Hot Gea rs, maki ng th is t rue m oti o n questio n that it helps us make o u r days

control!) as well as some other unique features. "We had a shot that req u ired the camera to poi nt at a sign on a door, then wh ip pan 180 degrees into an actor's face. That's a to ugh one to pu ll off conventio nally and land on a perfect composi tion, take after take. With the Hot Gea rs, yo u can p rogram in a 'soft stop' fo r both pan and tilt in the second positio n, dial up the pan speed to the max (which is 150 percent as fast as third gear o n the head ). On 'action' I simply revved up the cra nks to a fast freewheel, the n watched the camera glide to a lovely fea thered stop on the exact co mposition, every time. Som e might think 'Where's the fu n in that?' but to me, at the end of the day, it's what's o n screen that counts. "Scrubs bei ng a 4:3 com edy, doesn't lend itself particularly well to 'edgy' fra ming or erratic movements, as they wo uld te nd to get in the way of selling the jokes. However, freq uently the camera m ovement contributes to o r actually becom es the com edy, in the hands of o ur better d irectors. In a scene where a yo ung surgeon is operating on his best fr iend, the friend's voiceover describes how weird t he process is and how it's as if he was wa tching the whole thing from o utside his body. During this, the camera (on the Hot Gears and a Fisher arm)

The exciting part lor me is being able to be involved at the creative level.

Papert SOC.

cranes up and aro und fro m th e incision and into a high-and-wide angle in the co rner of the room. The surgeon looks up at the cam era, do uble-takes and anno unces, 'Dude, cou ld you not look over my shoulder while I'm doing this? It's a little unnervi ng!'



When we do hallway walk and talks, they often turn into over-theshoulder coverage, but the foreground shoulder always ends up oddly crisp and 'present' (because of the large depth of field of the 16mm format and the wider focal length used for the master). My hope is to sneak a little zoom in, to punch into a more appropriate close-up lens as the actor rotates into the over. "I recently had the opportunity Charles Paper! SOC. to look at some footage that I shot work in, since series work can be so twe nty years ago on borrowed video equipment at my high school. I was a bit draining otherwise. stunned to see how I was already thinking "Havi ng the opportunity to work under great DPs and directors and like a cameraman: tracking backwards through the hallways, playing around assi milate and /or participate in different with rack focus, using whip pans fortranstyles of blocking and shot design is to sitions (shades of Scrubs here!) It was a bit me the most exciting part of operating. like the equivalent of the kid playing air But the mechanical aspect of it can be a guitar in his room, then smash cut to the ton of fun also. I think that any job that same kid grown up and wailing on lead requires one to make dozens if not hundreds of artistic choices a day is enviable, guitar at a stadium show. I spent a few years dreaming of operating Steadicam, and as camera operators we have so and after taking the workshop at age 19 many opportuniti es to introduce Charles Paper! w ith the actress Judy Reyes . (certainly unusual at the time), I managed nuances into our work to best serve the to save enough money to buy my first photography and present the story." tive shots, such as one marathon move beat-up old rig four years later. I worked in the New England m arket for a number that took us from the parking lot, in of years, also shooting commercials and through the first floor, up an elevator, corporate, before moving to LA. down hallways and into the ICU without a cut. T hat particular baby took 37 "Steadicam was my calling card into takes-the last being the one used! the position of A camera/Steadicam "There are some things I have planned operator, and I am grateful that my to incorporate this season based on some timing was such that this position was new equipment purchases, such as the becoming m ore common when I Preston FIX unit which will allow us to entered it. "It was a revelation for me to bedo more sophisticated ramping and procome as connected to the set as one gramming. I am currently working with does working A camera, as opposed to just chilling on the truck for long stretches punctuated by running in to bang off a shot on the Steadicam or B camera. I really enjoy the communication with the actors and working through the blocking with them. On Scrubs, we have a thoroughly delightfu l group of performers and they are Preston to integrate that unit with the quite technically savvy to boot, which Hot Gears, to allow for simultaneo us makes my job a lot easier. We have an recording and playback of focus, iris and zoom to achieve more flexible motion exceptionally light-hearted set, and control. I also have a new gimbal-mountevery day I have to struggle to keep ed Microforce which will allow me to do fro m blowing the shot because I'm suppressing giggles. It's a real treat to my own zooming (we use Canon Super Charles Papert filming the actor Zach Braff. have such a positive environment to 16 zooms primarily) on the Steadicam. "One of the great things about the writing of the show is that it is able to deftly juggle comedic and dramatic moments, and while much of the show is shot at relatively wide focal lengths, we wil l occasionally do a long lens scene for added impact. John really likes to play the depth of the sets, so it has become second nature to me at this point to place doors and windows behind the actors as much as possible. We are fortunate in that we shoot Scrubs in a decommissioned hospital rather than on stage, which gives us some nice views out the windows. It has also allowed us to do some great connec-

It was a revelation for me to become as connected to the set as one does working A camera.




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George B Stephenson SOC filming the Amazing Race II. Above, in a fl ower market in Bangkok, Tha iland . Facing page, clockwise from top left: Sa nd surfing in Na mi bia; Tha i tea msters; Braz il ia n Crew in ra in forest; atop Sugar Loaf Mou ntain , Rio de Janeiro.

AmazingdO Race II r.-w...Jiiii tite World 26Days! (7f!orge B Stephenson, SOC


,asil 08 ,..c;UC3 itO 6



to the max! Sixteen camera crews, half a dozen li pstick cameras, half a dozen So ny Elu ras (mini DV cams that fit in the palm of yo ur hand ), scores of support personnel in a dozen countries aro und the world, eleven high energy competitive racing tea ms and yo u have the making of an extraordinari ly complex productio n. The second seaso n of CBS' The Amazing Race kicked off to a roaring start January 5, 2002 from Las Vegas, Nevadamore accurately, from a dry lake bed a few miles outside of Vegas. The twentytwo contestants are paired off into eleven teams. They must maneuver their way fro m the outskirts of Las Vegas to their fi rst destination (un beknownst to them till they receive their first clue), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



Each team is shadowed by a BetaCam operator and sound recordist. The objective of the "team cameras" is to follow every move of the team con testants twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week while circumnavigating the entire wo rld . At nea rly each junctu re the last team to arrive at the designated check

the documentary cinema verite genre of film m aking. From National Geographic specials, Jacques Co ustea u, Smithsonian Insti tute and David Wolper Productions to the wo rld of "reality television ," Van Munster has run the gamut fro m being a oneman-band with a CP- 16 to being the

inevitable in an operation like th is but after September 111", 200 1 such man ipulations are even more difficult than ever. Heading up the security department is an ex British MIS commando armed with satellite phone, wi reless laptop and GPS di rection finde r. His tea m of experts are placed strategically throughout the

Th e security agent track s team s using a w ireless lapto p, satellite phone, and Global Positioning System direction finder.

Logistically, AR/1 is a potential quagmire for the field producers. point is eliminated fro m the race. Each program segment is an hour in air time comprising th irteen episodes. O bviously, with eleven teams and thi rteen episodes there is not an elimination for every episode. The first tea m to cross the fi nish line wins $1,000,000!


ogistically, ARII is a potential quagmire fo r the field producers. Each area of operation has a cad re of local producers and production staff to coordi nate the race in their country. This complex undertaking is the brainchild of Bertram va n Munster, producer/creator of the successful p rogram Wildthings, UPN/Viacom, and for merly cameraman/prod ucer of Fox TV's Cops. He shot and p roduced Cops for over five years and utilized m any of the unique p hoto techniques from that show in Wildthings, kind of a Mea n Streets meets the jungle. Van Munster is originally fro m Holland, and is deeply rooted in


executive p rod ucer of m ajo r network TV shows. Van Munster is the consummate globe trotter. By jo ining forces with Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of major action/ adventu re films, Va n Munster parleyed his extensive documentary background into the wo rld of primetime television. Second in command wo uld be Rick Ri ngbakk, the stro nga rm of the Wo rld Race Organization. High energy, type 'I\ perso nality, non-stop, no sleep, Rick manages to keep all the ba lls in the air at all times. Sending camera crews aro und the wo rld covering the team contestants like a one-on-one basketball strategy, he paces the floor of hotel production offices like a couga r pacing its cage, cell phone pressed into his ear. "They have to make that fl ight or we're doomed! (actual wo rd not fit to print) I don't care what it takes or how much it costs. Just get it do ne!" O n the other end is a field prod ucer with a wo rld satellite phone in his hand standing at an airline ticket coun te r in Buenos Aires. The flight from Rio to Capetown was dive rted to Buenos Aires and now the ca rnet for hundreds of pounds of camera equipment is null and vo id. Last minute changes and diversions are


wo rld wide course ready to intercept the tea m members at any moment were they to encounter a security problem. Having been through this the first season, one wo uld think th at the producers wo uld have worked out a lot of the kinks.

Many of the contestants have never been out of the good o/' US of A... Not so after 9/1 1. The world has defin itely changed and no one knows it better than a producer of The Amazing Race. Meanwhile, atop Sugar Loaf mountain in Rio de Janeiro, mountain climbing experts are fin ishing the fi nal touches on a rope belay system which the contestan ts must use to descend from the top of a rock faced Sugar Loaf to the bottom, some 800 meters below. Once down, they are ferr ied off to a boat in the bay where they are to rest for 12 hours fro m the mom ent they arrive till the exact time of departure. The camera crews however have far less rest tim e as they must continue to document every livi ng moment of the

Scenes from Brazil one guachi , two guach i, lgua<;u Fall s.

contestants' li fe on the road. Remember the treasure hunts and scavenger hunts yo u used to do as a kid at yo ur best friend's birthday party? Multiply that times I 00 and include a trip arou nd the wo rld instead of around the backyard or neighborhood and yo u have an idea of what The Amazing Race is all abo ut. Realizing of co urse that most of the contestants have never participated in rock climbing, belaying on ropes, hang-gliding, river raftin g, bungee jumping, camping in a Brazil ian rain fo rest, spelunking in Australian bat caves, traversin g m ountain trails on elephants in Thailand, sliding down the wo rld's tallest sand dun e on a Masonite board in Namibia, etc, etc. Many of the contestants have never been out of the good ol' US of A so you can imagine their fea r and trepidation negotiating relati vely simple transactions in fore ign countries wi th fore ign languages and customs. After landi ng in Rio the teams are whisked away to the top of a mountain where they are to take fl ight on hang gliders (in tandem with a pilot) to the Copacabana beach below. The alternative route is a slow hike down the hill. Not an alternative for a competitive racer. Some

teams were so intent on being the first off the n ext morning on a hang glider they opted to sleep overnight on the hill sans sleeping bag, tent, or even a blanket! They gave up the luxury hotel in Rio where

The camera crews worked continuously while the race teams had a few hours of R&R.

Local crew setting up Tyler Mount in Rio, with Corcovado Mountain in background.

they had reservations. T heir competitive spirit was fierce and evident from the beginning. From Rio they made their way on an overnight bus ride to Igua<,:u Falls, in a southern Brazilian rain forest. Once there, they camped overnight, this time with tents and sleepin g bags provided by production. As was the case at each check point, the camera crews worked continuously while the race teams had a few hours of R&R.



~t I

capacities of the race teams and camera crews alike. There were times when a crew would check into a luxury hotel only to be told they had to film an incoming team or teams and never make it back to the hotel until the next day at check out time. Beds never slept in , showers never taken, bags never unpacked! Many of the itineraries were planned with educa tion and cultu re in mind as well as sheer adventure. Certa in teams arriving in Capetown managed to visit the small island off shore where Nelson Mandela was inca rcerated for twenty

Above : A irport in Walvis Bay, South Africa. Right: George Stephenson flanked by two Kalahari Bushmen .

The next mornin g the clue packet directed the teams on a wild river raftin g trip heading towa rd the base of the falls . Inflatable rafts were powered by huge outboa rds so as not to get sucked down by the numerous whirlpools created by the massive waterfalls. When they reached another check point at the base of the falls, the next clue took them to Capetown, So uth Africa! This entailed many route possibilities involving long and arduous interco ntinental fli ghts. So me ended up fl ying from Sao Paolo, Brazil via Atlanta, London, Frankfurt, Ca petown! l managed to hook up with the tea m which fortunately was able to think "outside the box" and ca ught a flight to Buenos Ai res (slightly backt rackin g west!) in order to go direct-Buenos Aires to Ca petown! Even so we spent eleven hours

in fli ght in coach! About the only time the camera crews had to sleep in duration was on long distance flights. Sleep deprivation weighed in heavily on the physical and men tal

Swakopmund Hotel , Namibia



years. They even witnessed the actual cell where he spent most of that time. It was a very eerie and profo und experience. From Capetown the teams ventured north to Walvis Bay, So. Africa on the west coast. They encountered what's reputed to be the world's tallest sa nd dunes wh ich they had to descend on simple 2'x4' masonite boards. What a thrill! The BetaCams had to be shrouded in plastic bags to protect them from the fl ying sand. Lawrence of Arab ia revisited! A brief encounter with authentic bushmen of the Kalahari was another memorable event. The production tea m pressed them into service acting as local ambassadors as they handed our contestants clues for the next leg of the journey. Next stop was atop a mountain in Namibia at a safari lodge on a private game reserve. The teams slept in comfortable safari tents under the spectacular southern hemisphere constellations. The

Mike Roth SOC (in black t-shirt) settles himself and his cameras into a Thai river boat.

next morning they were greeted by a couple of cheetahs which had been rescued from poachers by the lodge owner. Two m o re tall lanky bushmen showed up to greet the next few arrivals and then late r to give the teams their next clues. The crews stayed up all night in o rder to film each of the straggling team m embers, the last of which arri ved at dawn. Sma ll lighting packages were used for night exteriors and a jib arm w ith remote head added so m e production value to

Jim Ursulak and George Stephenson in Ch iang Mai at 4:26 A.M.

more treacherous river raft ride to the next destination . Most of the contestants o pted for the bamboo rafts which nearly sa nk at o ne point and were probably ha rder to maneuver th an a n elephant would have been.

At the landing point the teams were m et wi th 4x4 vehicles which they wouJd have to drive themselves along the rough jungle roads to another river's edge. Greeted by a sm iling dugout canoe owner they were lau nched down river to

The BetaCams hac/ to be shrouclecl in plastic bags to /TOtect them from the flying sane/. this remote location. In keeping with the race rules, the last team in was eliminated at dawn. Next stop: Bangkok, Thailand ! Another lo ng flight fro m Walvis Bay, South Africa via Johannesburg to Bangkok. T he re maining team s wo und their way through crowded streets of flower vendors, motor scooters and open air markets in search of yet another obscurely placed destination clue. When fo und, it wo uld lead them to the enchanting northern Thailand city and province of Chiang Mai. There they wo uld have to choose between a slow but chance-of-a-lifeti m e trek o n elephant back or an arguably faster but potentially

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their ultimate Chiang Mai destination, an authentic floating

The arrivals lasted well into the night, lit only by torches clipped in coconut oil. village, deep in a coconut plantation. The arrivals lasted well into the night, lit only by torches dipped in coconut oil. The BetaCams did well under these marginal conditions. The local villagers cooked up fabulous Thai dishes for crew and contestants all night long. Local musicians played folk Sylvester songs while chickens ran under foot and exotic tropical birds sang overhead. From Chiang Mai it was back to Bangkok and then on to Hong Kong, a city built on many islands with some of the world's tallest skyscrapers. The teams and crew dined on fa ntastic Chinese food, sailed on junks and hoisted cargo con-

Campe, Brazilian camera operator, steals a much-needed nap in Buenos Aires Airport.

tainers with giant cranes in Hong Kong's largest shipping yard. After several scavenger hunts amongst the urban maze the remaining team members received clues to Australia's Outback. From there it was all a blur: New Zealand, Hawaii, Alaska, and finally

to the finish line ... the Golden Gate Bridge, San Fra ncisco! We were in no one place for more than 36 hours and visited 16 destinations on four continents in 26 days. Truly an Amazing Race!

Zen and the Art of Excess Baggage Management, as practiced by John Platt, story writer, also in Buenos Aires ai rport.



Left: Cinematographer Ron Vargas ASC looking for a headshot to use . Above: Camera operator Paul Pollard , Vargas (with his back to the camera) and assistant Tony Jones watch director Robby Ben son block the camera shot with Baby Bob's stand-in (seated) .


& CAMERA OPERATOR 15th in the Series



he SOC caught up with cinematographer Ron Vargas Sr, ASC on the set of the new comedy Paramount television show Baby Bob. The production is scheduled around an infant who "speaks" with the assistance of a computer generated mouth, lined up on the real infant's face with the use of two blue locator dots. Currently the baby is teething - aU goes smoothly if the baby's spirits are lifted when the cameras roll. Ron Vargas Sr, ASC is well acquainted with filming special effects. He is often called in to set up a show, to bring his extensive experience and seaso ned background in laying down a solid foundation for a production tea m. This time he is taking on Baby Bob where three cameras are often used to maximize the lim ited on-ca mera baby time. "We work as a team, an efficient ca mera crew. You have to remember there are other cameras trying to get in there for

their shots in fairly small sets. Sitcoms often force yo u to sacrifice for lighting and composition, so you have to rethink creatively. There is no optimum because you have to light for several different camera angles at the same time. Therefore, one's backlight becomes another's key. Back crosses are used as

I let [my operators] set up their own composition because I believe this creates more natura/framing. fl esh kicks with a fill light for the eyes. My chief lighti ng technician Bill Glasscock and I work closely to doublecheck the actors' eyes from each of the cameras' perspectives and to see where the shadows fall.

"We lay out the scene with the shot sequences and I let my operators go as much as I can, letting them know when we want an 'over' versus a 'two-shot.' I let them set up their own composition because I believe this creates more natural framing . Forced or unnatural movements and camera designs are usually more difficult to achieve, especially when they have to hit the same composition take after take. I may work wi th an operator to tweak a shot if necessary. Anything objectionable and I will come up and whisper in their ear. I never try to take away their creativity. I've learned from watching them too, from their mistakes and how they go about solving them. It is more difficult lighting three angles at once and it isn't the most fl attering. You have to be careful not to put a light into another camera's shot. It is harder ali the way aro und production, including



sound, so everyone needs to pay attention during rehearsals and anticipate problems before the cam eras roll. Hi Definition doesn't fall off like film. Plus there is the 60 cycle power in television . In 24 frames-per-second film, the shutter

It is a shame the system wasn't developed with the crew's needs in mind. allows the images to be 'doubled' when projected for a continuous vision . In 24 P, each frame has to be duplicated in order to achieve 48. Imagine one set represented as black and another set as white. Now put them together as a checkerboard when they are duplicated. (24 P they do

dots, another series of dots in a 60 cycle. And it's too bad we don't shoot it 60 fps.) Post production has to sync up 24 P in 60 cycle with picture as well as sound so a lot more goes into the post." Bill Sturcke is the digital technician on board. He explains why everything works the way it does and he is very good at supporting the camera team with these 24 P set-ups. "It's a fairly new system and they are still trying to work out the production kinks. There is a question about the amo unt of RF resonating out the back and the operators have to maneuver aro und that extra space taken up by the on-board battery block. Small color monitors are used instead of the camera's lower resolution black-and-white eyepiece. They are mounted on a slide-bar on the side of the camera to let the operOperators George Loomis a nd Deborah ator tweak its O ' Brien . position. Their optimum view of the monitor is quickly changed as the shot progresses and the dolly moves. I've even seen cases where the operators must shift from their monitor to the assistant's during the take. Even though it can work, the operator must have a mom ent when they are caught between 'seeing' the whole shot. That has to be very frustrating. The two worlds of film and digital are colliding in the use of these new tools of technology. It is a shame the system wasn't developed with the crew's needs in mind ." Camera Operator Deborah O'Brien commented, "I have to operate from a distance when using the side monitor.

It is up to each operator to outfit their camera the best they can.

Robby Benson reviews camera action with operator Deborah O ' Brien on the Plu s8Vi deo Pana sonic HiDef system.



Your body needs to be further away so we rigged an adj ustment bar on a sliding plate off the left side of the camera. Yet for optimum viewing, I should really be sitting back on the dolly grip's handle bars. It is up to each operator to outfit their camera the best they can. I personally don't use the eyepiece because of its lower resolution. And there are red tally lights that flash i.n the eyepiece for tape rolling, low battery warning, and low tape warning. It can be very distracting with all those lights going off during the take." Ron comes back from adj usting the bounce light, filled with energy and good cheer. "On Sabrina, they needed my wide variety of experience with all of their special effects. Today we are losing vital knowledge by not utilizing the older Directors of Photography who know a lot about problem solving as well as planning different production's solutions into the schedule. Picture 12 people who need to reach the top of a hill. One experienced cinematographer can show you 12 different paths to reach the top instead of just one- and this can help more people who need to

means that the cameras have to be closer to the actors. Otherwise your hi-definition frame would be shooting the wall braces. And it is curious how the sets seem to have gotten smaller instead of wider." Operator get themselves ready, and then stan ds by, George Loomis ready for any instance. SOC designs a We always have to be one set ahead. I Ron Vargas ASC and operator Deborah O ' Brien line up a camera shot taking into angle with assistant Scott Birknrant and dolly grip Mark Pickens. pre-light once the set is built. Then we account a lens bring in the actors and block the action. drift at the end Yo u don't want to wait for the camera of its zoom. "No one ever checks witll ing wo rks the best. They stop when you the operato r before locking in a design. crew since there is only one baby. There do, unlike most of the servos I have run At least no one ever called me regarding up against." is a pair of twins tl1at can be used as Operator Paul Pollard adds, "It is quite the Millennium. The camera systems doubles but only when we shoot from aren't built with tlle operator in mind. a challenge for an assistant to hit an accubehind or in wider establishing shots. Yet Often they will be upgraded for the assisrate millimeter with these lens' markings. I th is can be very disr uptive for the rest of tell them to hit a man-made mark instead, tants because they go ahead and make the professional cast: Adam Arkin, Joely not a millimeter etching. Being just over Fisher, Elliott Gould and Holland Taylor. their own accessories to make tl1e whole thing work. The 24 P's mechanical focusthe line can make a bigger difference here. Using three cameras in tllese smaller sets "Ron is always there on the set. He is a very hands-on cinematographer, always ready to help. No matter what needs to be done, he is there to solve tlle problems. He is seen usually working the whole thing out in advance, keeping the bigger picture within arm's reach." Camera assistant Larry Humburger quotes Ron Vargas: "Making movies is making movies, regardless of tl1e equipment. Sometimes we make tllings harder than they really are. You constantly have to step back and keep the right perspective about what is happening. More opportunities show up when you don't get sucked into the panic." Larry elaborates witll the digital production having to get its legs. "Cables for tllis Cinematographer Ron Varga s ASC goes over the camera blocking with director Robby Benson digital camera system are a (back to ca mera), operator George Loomis SOC, and 2nd assistant Larry Humburger on set of big time pain, but tllere is Baby Bob at Paramount Pictures. come from the bottom. I was brought on here to launch a new show. Baby Bob shoots around a talking baby for a large percentage (80-90%) of each script. The production has to be able to work quickly arou nd the baby's desires and his allowed two hours on -camera per day. The crew works quickly and quietly to

No one ever checks with the operator before locking in a design.



always a trade-off with equipment adva nces. We are lea rning how to bundle and to let go of preconceived notions." Operator (currently over on Paramount Stage 23's Girlfr iends) Eugene Jackso n remembers back some thirty- two yea rs

Dolly grip Mark Pickens confers on camera move with DP Ron Vargas ASC.

ago when he was the second ass istant on a Disney fea ture called The Ba refoot Executive. "There was a fantasti c fi rst assistan t on th at show who really trained me right. I owe him a lot. He is such a great gentleman, one of the true artists

and craftsmen there is in this business Ron Va rgas." Gene's enthusiasm is contagious and I eagerly concur. My own experience as a fill-in operator witl1 Ron resonates that same image: a man who is gracious, full of energy and confident in co mmanding a set. The crew responds to his positive interaction and they proudly bring their skills together to better the production. Synergy isn't difficult to achieve, yet all too ra re a fumin g ingredient. Ron Vargas makes the wo rk day run smoothly with great results - even if the baby has a d ifferent day in mind. Ron smiles and shrugs away any potential second thoughts. "We still have some trying out to do on this show. It is a 'look-see' situation. There is a 'j ust let the tape run' philosophy here which seems to fi t us pretty well. Especially fo r a show where there can be some baby attitude challenges. This way Jimmy Wagner, the baby wra ngler can step in and calm Baby Bob down, keeping his spi rits and smiles high as we put on the fi nishing to uches."

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The Wide Screen Revolution (1952-70):

Roll the End Credits? by Rick Mitchell


t is somehow fitting that the publication of the last chapter in this series of articles should coincide with the 50 1" anniversary of its beginning. While these articles have primarily dealt with the Revolution's technological developments, their acceptance or rejection was determined by economic factors, i.e., the cost of their implementation and the willingness of the public to pay to see them. For example, while sound was enthusiastically embraced by the public in 1928, wide film was not embraced until two years


later. In the early 1950s, anamorphic projection caught on, 3-D didn't. Aiding the

Broadway entrepreneur Michael Todd had been responsible for the success of Cinerama. acceptance of Wide Screen in Europe and South America, distributors there could charge higher rental rates for anamorphic


films so exhibitors charged higher admission prices. As a result a number of American films shot spherically were released overseas squeezed via the Superscope/ Super 35 process. Economic factors were particularly important for the acceptance of65/70mm. Broadway entrepreneur Michael Todd had been responsible for the success of Cinerama. His personal view was that certain films should be events equivalent to a theatrical or circus presentation. It was with that thinking that he had helped launch Cinerama and that concept was also behind his development of Todd-AO. Denied involvement in the production of Oklahoma!, he reasserted himself during its release, insisting it be roadshown in select theaters in which nothing reminiscent of the average moviegoing experience was to be found; even popcorn could not be sold! The concept of roadshowing was not new to motion pictures. The term comes from the theatrical practice of taking a stage presentation from a big city like

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New York, to smaller cities and towns. Since this was already being done with motion pictures, to this medium it meant presenting a film as if it was a quality stage production in legitimate theaters. This entailed having two shows a day and reserved seats sold at higher prices, often bought in advance. The first films presented this way were done in France in 1907 by the Film D'Art, which recorded silent movie versions of stage classics. In 191 2 this method of presentation was used in the United States to get around the Motion Picture Trust in the importation of feature length films from Europe. The best known example is Adolph Zukor's involvement with the Frohman

Poster for Queen Elizabeth ( 191 2), the first film to be roadshown in the United States.

Brothers in the presentation of Queen Elizabeth. As the Trust's power declined and the industry began to develop, variatio ns on this roadsh ow technique were used to give selected film s, especially those whose running times were longer than two hours, a "prestige" opening in New York and occasionally Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington. The Birth of A Nation (1915 ) was the first significant American made roadshow. United Artists was founded with the idea of roadshowing the film s of its partners. Following a slump in attendance in the


early 1920s, the major companies seized on making roadshow "epics" as a way of regaining the lost audience, a method which proved successful since films like

The Uncovered Wagon, The Hunchback of

The success of these films really opened the eyes of the industry to the economic possibilities... Notre Dame and The Ten Commandments (1923) , Ben Hur, The Big Parade and The Phantom of the Opera (1925), and Wings

shown instead at special venues in large cities. Mike Todd hoped to do the same with special dramatic films in Todd-AO. Unfortunately, Oklahoma! did not prove to be as big a success as anticipated outside the more sophisticated big cities. However, Todd's own production of Around the World in 80 Days succeeded in ushering in a period that had as signi ficant an effect on its audiences as a visit to the picture palaces of the 1920s had on the audiences of that era. For many kids of the 1950s and early 1960s, a trip to the remaining picture palaces for the presentation of the latest roadshow release became an annual event and strongly influenced many of those who later became filmmakers. Beginning with the sleeper success of DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949), the industry had turned increasingly to costume epics in color, and later CinemaScope, as a way to recover dwindling audiences once again, fin ding success in films like Quo Vadis? and David and Bathsheba (1951), Ivanhoe (1952), and The Robe (1953). The success of Tlzis is Cinerama and announcements about the distribution plans for Oklahoma! cued interest in roadshowing subsequent epics

(1927) would play roadshow engagements for as long as two years! The jazz Singer ( 1927) was roadshown in its initial engagements since theaters showing it had to be specially set up and wired for Vita phone. Prices were often increased to cover the exhibitor's investment. It was really the first film to associate technological development with special presentation techniques, there still being some debate over the extent to which the Magnascope projection zoom lens had been used. The wide film productions of 1930 were also given roadshow type presentation in the few cities in which the wide film versions were shown. The Depression ended the practice except for the New York and sometimes Los Angeles engagements of certain fibns . Though Fantasia (1940) was roadshown in its initial FantaSound engagements, Gone With the Wind (1939) was the last film to be widely roadshown until the 1950s. (The roadshow version of Fantasia has recently been restored by Disney. The essential changes included a few more bits with the orchestra and more narration from Deems Taylor, recreated by a voice double.) Cinerama established in the public's mind the idea of a film presentation different from that to be found in the Filming Fantasia average movie theater,


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and as a result Arowzd the World in 80 Days was one of fo ur films of elephantine length to be released on roadshow basis in the Fall o f 1956. Of the other three (Giant, War and Peace and The Ten Commandments), the latter two were filmed in VistaVision and only the last p roved any real commercial challenge to Around the World in terms of public appeal. Todd's fi lm wo uld play in its 70mm roadshow version in many theaters fo r over a yea r as wo uld Commandments, which was shown by hori zontal projection in New Yo rk and Los Angeles. The success of these two films really opened the eyes of the industry to the economic possibilities of such a release pattern . The films might cost mo re to m ake, especially if shot in 65mm, but income could be derived fro m adva nced ticket sales before the picture opened, at prices two to three times those of a normal release. In theory the film could play in

roadshow format for at least six m onths then go into general release; most regular releases made the bulk of their income in the fi rst two or three m onths of release. At another time of generally decreasing boxoffice fo r most pictures, the idea of roadshowing had great appeal, particularly for the fin ancially tro ubled 2 Qth Century-Fox and MGM. MGM already had Raintree County (1957) in production in Camera 65/Ultra Panavision and revived the idea of a remake of Ben-Hur. Fox took over Magna's rights to Todd-AO and began production on South Pacific. O ther companies also began production of potential roadshows not only in 65mm, but 35mm anamorphic, and Technirama, especially after Technicolor proved it could m ake 70mm prints fro m Technira ma negatives that looked as good as material originated in 65mm. Unfortunately th is fi rst wave of widescreen epics was doomed, primarily

George Marshall , director of The Railroad for Metro-GoldwynMayer-Cinerama 's How the West Was Won, points out the a ction to Cinematographer Joe LaShelle during preparation s to film the big buffalo stampede scene. On Marshall 's left is the huge three-le ns Cinerama ca mera.



because of the quality of the actual films. Though South Pacific ( 1958) was a big hit, Raintree County (1957), Sleeping Beauty and Solomon and Sheba (both Technirama), Po1gy and Bess (Todd-AO), and The Big Fisherman (Super Panavision ) (all1 959) all bombed, as did the 35mm CinemaScope version of The Diary of Anne Frank (1959). And yet, with two exceptions and one subject of debate, the next batch of widescreen roadshows were successful enough to encourage the industry to continue making them . It started with Ben-Hur (1959), which like its silent predecessor would play as long as two yea rs in its roadshow engagements. Following the failures of Can-Can (Todd-AO) and Pepe (CinemaScope and Panavision ), two of the next three 1960 roadshows wo uld be equally successful: Exodus (Super Panavision) and Spartacus (Technira ma), as wo uld 1961's West Side Story (Super

Director Henry Hathaway waves hi s hat as he joins camera crew on take-off for a helicopter shot of the train-top battle on Arizona location of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer-Cinerama 's all-star producti on How the We st Was Won. Hathawa y directed The River, The Covered Wagon and The Outlaw Era for HTWWW; John Ford directed The Civil War (see picture on page 26).

Panavision), King of Kings and El Cid (Technirama), and judgment at Nuremberg (spherical black-and-white). The subject for debate was John Wayne's The Alamo (Todd-AO, 1960). It was usually listed as a financial failure, which it was in its roadshow engagements in New York and Los Angeles. However, it did better in lower profile roadshow engagements in the Midwest and South, and when put in general release in 35mm anamorphic, it was one of the top grossing films of the summer of 1961, including the Los Angeles area in its wide release form! 1962 proved to be the peak year for roadshows, with all of that year's releases proving successful: The Wonde1jul World of the Brothers Grimm (Cinerama), The Longest Day (CinemaScope), Mutiny on the Bounty (Ultra Panavision), and Lawrence of Arabia (Super Panavision). How the West Was Won (Cinerama) was successfully released in England in November but did not open in New York and other American cities until the following March. Though the failure of 55 Days at Peking (Technirama, 1963) should have been a warning, the continued success of roadshows, including the troubled Cleopatra (Todd-AO) resulted in every studio including American International announ cing at least one roadshow on its annual schedule. T he highly successful presentation of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Ultra Panavision, 1963) as a single lens Cinerama presentation had been followed by the disastrous Circus World (Technirama, 1964), The Hallelujah Trail (Ultra Panavision, 1965) which reportedly was reduced to popular prices after two weeks, and The Greatest Story Ever Told (Ultra Panavision, 1965). Non-"Cinerama" roadshows didn't fare well either: The Fall of the Roman Empire (Ultra Panavision) and Cheyenne Autumn (Super Panavision, both 1964) Th e Agony and the Ecstasy (ToddAO) and Lord jim (Super Panavision, both 1965), as compared to My Fair Lady (Super Panavision, 1964). The tremendous success of The Sound of Music (Todd-AO, 1965), even greater than that of Ben-Hur, again blinded film companies to the failures and cued the final round of roadshow ftlms, most of whose lack of success would finally doom the practice. The problem was that too many of them lacked sufficient

Director John Sturges gets the camera's perspective while filming (1965) in Ultra Panavision .

story and/or subject material to sustain the 2-3 hour plus intermission length which had become the basic standard to qualify for roadshowing. Two films which exemplified the folly of inflating anything to roadshow status were Ice Station Zebra (Super Panavision, 1968) and MacKenna's Gold (various formats, 1969), especially the latter. It had been announced as a single lens Cinerama presentation but for some reason, while its location scenes were shot in 65mm Super Panavision, those shot back at Columbia Studios were done in 35mm anamorphic Panavision. The embarrassingly bad miniatures in the climax were photographed spherically and cut directly into the negative where they received a ridiculous horizontal stretch not only in the projection of 35mm anamorphic release prints, but the ?Omm ones as well! Three other occurrences in the 1960s contributed to the downfall of roadshowing and also negatively impacted the use of film formats other than 35mm for production. As noted, 65mm or Technirama had not been considered for all potential roadshows. MGM had shot its remakes of Cimarron (1960) and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962) in 35mm Panavision with the idea of roadshowing them

The Halleluiah Trail

but after the first failed in exclusive roadshow type engagements in New York and Los Angeles, the plans were dropped; the finished version of the latter was reportedly considered not worthy of release, much less roadshowing, though because of its cost, it had to be. Warners had shot The Music Man and Gypsy in Technirama and gave them roadshow type engagements in their New York and Los Angeles runs but did not make ?Omm prints for any American engagements; reportedly they did make some 70s on both films for Europe. As Walt Disney had done in 1958 with his Technirama show Sleeping Beauty, in 1963 Otto Preminger asked Technicolor if it was possible to make ?Omm prints of his 35mm anamorphic film Th e Cardinal. Working with Panavision, they came up with an optical printer lens which could do this with extremely high quality results, eliminating the necessity of shooting in 65mm or Technirama and making it possible to give a "roadshow look" to any anamorphic film. As a result, an increasing number of roadshows would be shot in 35mm anamorphic and blown up to ?Omm, including Beckett (1964), The Great Race (1965), The Sand Pebbles (1966) , Camelot ( 1967), Funny Girl (1968),



and most controversially Doctor Zhivago (1965), which many have assumed was shot in 65mm because of David Lean's well known love for the format. Additionally, this brought abo ut a kind of modified roadshow practice in which

Souvenir road-show book for The Cowboys ( 1972) starring John Wayne . The book includes stills, a li st of cast and credits, and photos of the cast. Th is one is sepia toned; most are in full color.

70mm blowups of certain high profile films would be shown in New York, Los Angeles, and sometimes Chicago, Boston, Washington, and San Francisco in one theater for a month before goi ng into general release. This practice was begun with The Carpetbaggers (1964) and was even applied to the black-and-white films In Harm's Way (1965) and Is Paris Burning? (1966) as well as The Blue Max (1966) . Max is one of the nvo films shot with CinemaScope lenses known to have been blown up to 70mm, the other being a blowup of The Longest Day done in England in 1968. (Though credited as being in "CinemaScope;' Luc Besson's Tlze Big Blue (1988), on which 70mm prints were made, was not shot with official Bausch & Lomb CinemaScope lenses.) In 1967 MGM Laboratories successfully made 70mm prints from the spherical negative of The Dirty Dozen. The blowup was to the full 2.2: 1 70mm aspect ratio, and while composition did not suffer too much as the film had been shot and protected for 1.85:1 (and the negative hard


matted for 1. 75:1 ), the additional graininess and image softness was noticeable but not as objectionable as their subsequent controversial "tilt-and-scan" blowup of Gone With the Wind. In a comparison of the original frame and the blowup, the latter appeared to use only about two-thirds of the center of the original. This now meant that any 2-and-a-halfhour+ film, old or new, could be exploited as a 70mm roadshow. Indeed, a 70mm blowup of The Ten Commandments was also shown in England in 1968, as was the spherical julius Caesar (1953), and Universal experimented with having All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) hand colored in Japan and blown up to 70mm for a re-release; they abandoned the project because in those pre-Dolby days they couldn't clean up the sound track acceptably. The second occurrence was a change in audience demographics. Roadshow type films were primarily aimed at, and had been most successful with, the older segment of the audience that had primarily deserted theatrical moviegoing for TV. The commercial potential of a roadshow was usually gauged by the success of advance ticket sales which generally became available three to six months before the picture was scheduled to open, making it possible for the studios to be getting money back on the film while it was still in production or post-production. When advance sales for 200 1: A Space

Odyssey (1968) were nowhere near those for its previous roadshow release Grand Prix (1966), MGM executives feared they had a bomb on their hands and were prepared to write it off, only to discover after it was released that it was far more successful with young people who preferred to buy their tickets not in advance, but just prior to a particular showing. This pattern

In the mid-1960s the mainstream film industry suddenly discovered" the teenage and young adult audience that had always been steady moviegoers. 11

would occur with subsequent roadshows and led to a gradual modification of this exhibition pattern. Many films designed for roadshow release, though still having overtures and intermissions, would be shown at regular prices with more than two shows a day. In 1969 the "modified roadshow" pattern would be escalated with releases like Where Eagles Dare, Sweet Charity and Anne of a Thousand Days. Thirdly, as previously noted, roadshow tickets, especially for the more expensive seats, were bought by middle class, middle aged and older groups and individuals for whom attending such presentations were

Eddie Albert as the peddler Ali Hakim and Gloria Grahame as Ado Annie on their way to the pie supper in Oklahoma! (1955) .


Airport (1970): Control tower personnel negotiate how to land an ill-fated, badly crippled Boeing 707 above) that has flown out on an evening flight to Rome during a blizzard. Left: Dean Martin, the married pilot having an affair with stewardess Jacqueline Bisset, talks to the impish old lady (Helen Hayes, who won an Oscar for this role) who specializes in sneaking aboard airliners .

Chitty Bang Bang (Super Panavision, 1968), Star! (Todd-AO, 1968), Paint Your Wagon (35mm Panavision, 1969), Tora! Tora! now an even t in their lives, as by the early 1960s many of them rarely attended general release films. In the mid-!960s the mainstream ftlm industry sudden ly "discovered" the teenage and yo ung ad ult audience that had always been steady moviegoers and since the early 1950s had been catered to primarily by American Internatio nal, Sam Ka tzman's B unit at Columbia, and Albert Zugsm ith's at MGM. Films that were popular with young ad ults were rarely successful with older audiences and were generally made at far less cost, especially when compared to roadshow films. The slate of roadshows inspired by The Sound of Music were put into production without considering the rapidly changin g demographics of those times against the two or more years it wo uld take to make them . Of the approximately 15 wo uld-be roadshows released between December 1966 and December 1970, only five would be bona fide hits: Grand Prix (Super Panavision, 1966), 2001 (Super Panavision, 1968), Funny Girl (35m m Panavision, 1968), Patton (D imension 150, 1970), and Airport (Todd-AO, 1970). Unfortunately Dr. Dolittle (Todd-AO, 1967), Chitty

Tara! (35mm Panavision, 1969) and Darling Lili (35 mm Panavision, 1970) we re all major boxoffice disasters while the degree of success of others like Camelot (35mm Panavision , 1967) and Krakatoa, East of java (Super Panavision and Todd-AO, 1969) continues to be a subject of debate. The success of Easy Rider ( 1969) versus the failures of such extremely high budgeted filn;s caused a number of executive heads to roll and a trend toward small scaled youth movies, which also proved to be boxoffice disasters since the "new" Hollywood executives also proved to be out of touch with young audiences. Iron ically, the old fashioned Airport ( 1970), the next to last film in Todd-AO, proved to be a success with audiences of all ages. 1970-71 would see the release of the last five 65mm films for a decade: Patton,

Airport, Road to Norway, Ryan's Daughter (Super Panavision ), and The Last Valley (Todd-AO). By 1970, for all intents and purposes, the Revolution had proven successful. Though 65mm production essentially ended that year, exhibition of 70mm blowup prints continued on a limited

basis and 2x squeeze anamo rphic had become the professional standard for 35mm and 16mm projection, as was mas ked projection of spherical films to aspect ratios between 1.66: I and 1.85: ! except in Russia, which stuck with 1.37:1. Interestingly enough however, it was not particularly popular with the generation of college students who adopted film as their m edium in the early 1960s. Their preference was for "realistic" black-andwhite foreign and burgeoning 16mm experimental ftlms, associati ng wide screen with big Hollywood epics. Of the foreign ftlmmakers they admired, only Federico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa and Fran~ois Truffaut would regularly work and make notable use of the wide screen. That generation's filmmakers, raised on 16mm, either were afraid of dealing with the extra width or didn't like anamorp hic lenses, though intimate dramatic films had been shot in 35mm anamorphic, such as Truffaut's The 400 Blows (1959), The Apartment and Sons and Lovers (1960), TheMark(l961),and Ii짜oforthe Seesaw (1962). Some of that generation's filmm akers did experiment with Techniscope when it generally became available in the mid-1960s since they could use the extremes of spherical lenses from wide to telephoto, as well as various zooms, which were popular at the time. Ma ny of these



directors and cinematographers moved into mainstream filmmaking in the early 1970s and continued to shy away fro m anamorphics until they actually worked with them and became instant conve rts. Overlooked by the attention given these " 1960s radical filmmakers and film buffs:'

both then and now, was a yo unger generation growing up on roadshows in the movie palaces, exploitation films in their neighborhood theaters and drive-ins, and old movies on TV. This generation loved the wide screen experience. Entering the m ainstream industry primarily in the

mid-1 970s, directors like Joh n Carpenter, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg would insist on shooting in Panavision anamorphic, wh ich wo uld contribute to a revival of 70mm for exhi bition. Between 197 1 and 1977, 70mm blowup prin ts wo uld be made on a li mited number of both anamorphic and spherical films including Too Late the Hero (spherical) and Fiddler on the Roof(both

A younger generation growing up on roadshows ... loved the wide screen experience. 1971), The Cowboys, Deliverance, Man of La Mancha (spherical) and The Poseidon Adventure (all 1972), That's Entertnin ment, Lucky Lady (both spherical) and The Towering Inferno (ali 1974), and Logan's Run and A Star Is Born (spheri-

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cal) (both 1976) . Between 1978 and 1994 there was an explosion in the use of 70mm blowups, not fo r the higher quality image, but fo r the sound. 70mm prin ts and Cinerama had always used mag netic sound, which was cleaner and clearer and had a fa r grea~er dynamic range than the optical sound that had been standard fo r 35 mm since 1930. It was also possible to have 6-8 tracks of discrete stereophonic sound . 4 track magnetic stereophonic sou nd had initially been pa rt of the CinemaScope package, but because of the extra cost of applying the stripes and sound ing the prints, as well as exhibitor reluctance to maintain the so und heads, its use was gradually phased out in the late 1950s except for occasional fi rst run prints. The major negative with magnetic tracks, generally igno red at the time, was a hiss from the actual tapes, which was multiplied as they were copied or dubbed. As ea rly as 1970, there had been experimentation with various systems for both reducing th is noise and extending the frequency ra nge of optical tracks. In 1954 John G Frayne ofWestrex had begun experimental work on developing a two chan nel va riable area optical track for dual language 16mm prints.

The problem in working with tracks of such narrow width was the increase in no ise that acco mpa nied the necessary increase in volume. In the late 1960s, Ronald E Uhlig of Eastman Kodak revived this experiment applying some of the noise-redu ction techniques that had recently been developed, including one fro m Dolby Laborato ries. In 1974, Dolby took over th e work and applied it to 35mm with the idea of developing a stereo optical track. Dolby's noise reduction techniques took care of the noise problem and made it possible to prese nt film s in 35 mm stereo without the problems of magnetic tracks though the results were not as satisfying as magnetic's discrete separation and dynamic range. This was particularl y notable with Sta r Wa rs and Close Encoun ters of the Third Kind ( 1977) which had been dubbed with

prints to fill the sam e screen proportions! In 1978, the spherical Days of Heaven was blown up to 70mm in such a way as to retain the 1.85: 1 composition with black on the sides of the fra me. Over the next four years, a select number of spherical films were blown up to aspect ratios of less than 2.2: l. The last fu ll frame blowup from spherical of which the author is aware is the American

release of Cocoon (1985). In 1989, Lawrence ofArabia was restored andre-released with brand new 70mm prints. A generation that had not seen the quality possible with original 65mm negative was stunned and excited. Subsequently new 70mm prints were struck and shown of Ben-Hur (corrected fo r non-anamorphic projection), West Side Sto ry and The Sou nd of Music as

lOmm blowups were often shown in tiny multiplex theaters which c/iminishec/ the impact of both the image one/ the sound. a particular accent on low end enhancement for explosions, ship rumbles etc, m ore than had been done in previous fil ms. The 70mm prints reproduced these with a theater shaking effect not found in the matrixed Stereo Variable Area optical tracks, resulting in those theaters showing the fil ms in 70m m doing better business than those showing it in 35mm. The res ult was a sudden increase in 70mm blowups which led to an increase in auditoriums capable of projecting 70mm, plus an increase in such print runs, of up to 200 on Return of the jedi for example. That these prin ts were often shown in tiny multiplex theaters which diminished the impact of both the image and the sound seem ed to have been lost on m ost exhibitors and all but the most knowing audiences. The significance of the 70mm image was lost as the number of spherical films blown up increased, and many theaters were not only showing 70mm on the sa me size screen used for 35mm anam orphic, they were even m asking the latter down to 2.2: 1 and so metimes blowing up 35mm spherical



well as new 70mm prints of The Ten Commandments from Vista Vision and Spartaws from Technirama. My Fair Lady was similarly restored in 70mm by Robert A Harris and James C Katz, who had supervised the Spartacus restoration and who also did a major restoration of Vertigo from Vista Vision to 65mm, retaining that film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Scott MacQ ueen at Disney did a restoration of Sleeping Beauty from its Technirama sequential exposure negative to

65mm and has been working on The Big Fisherman and Krakatoa, East of Java the latter acquired when Disney bought ABC. Schawn Belston at Fox has recently restored Patton in 70mm and Grover Crisp at Sony is working on Lord Jim. The success of these revivals cued new production in 65mm of Far and Away (Panavision Super 70), Bm路aka (Todd-AO, both 1992) and Hamlet (Panavision Super 70, 1996) . Unfortunately none were successful. With the exception of Bm路aka,

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the 65mm photography was not played up in promotion and that film was an independently distributed documentary which got few 70mm playdates. All three were dubious projects to attract a 1990s audience for the superior photography, though Far and Away did better in its 70mm first run engagements than in 35mm . 65mm as a production medium now seems to be limited to special venue situations like IMAX and Iwerks 870, while 70mm as an exhibition medium has, for all intents and purposes, been doomed by the introduction in 1994 of various digital sound formats which supposedly can provide 35mm prints with better aural quality than 70mm magnetic. After a notable decline in the mid- '80s, there was an increase in the number of productions filmed in 35mm anamorphic. Recently these seem to have been supplanted by a greater number of

Italian poster for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad which was shown there at 2.35:1 in "MegaScope," a varia nt of Superscope/Super 35 . releases in the Super 35 format, which was even used by Steven Spielberg on Minority Report (2002 ). As noted, this format has been favored by some directors like James Cameron who like wide screen as a theatrical presentation medium but not anamorphic lenses, despite the grainier, less sharp images that result.

Arguments that certain shots cannot be done with anamorphic are easily disproven by a look at older anamorphic films in which such shots were done, such as holding three receding characters in focus in a tiny space capsule in the

Cinerama Adventure is a superb documen tary on the process currently in post-production.

anamorphic Marooned (1969) vs the Super 35 Apollo 13 (1996). It is possible that Super 35 is being imposed on filmmakers by production companies, as Franchise Pictures does and 20 1h Century Fox did for a brief period, to eliminate "letterboxing" or "pan/scanning" the video version because the subsequent video release is often more profitable than the theatrical one. Most contemporary directors using Super 35 seem to have their films composed as if for a more tightly letterboxed 1.85:1 than so mething intended for projection on the big wide screens to which theaters are now gratefully returning. This may be due to the video orientation of directors who have emerged over the last decade, as well as the increased use of video in production and post-production. Except for Geo rge Lucas, at this writing there seems to be no interest by those embracing digital to work in a ratio wider than video's 1.85:1 compatible 16x9, though much of the story material being

exquisitely maintained custom camera paclfages Arriflex/ Aaton/Canon Photo-Sonics 4ER+ 35mm/16mm/mini DV accessories/ support lenses/ speciality items filters/ expendables

shot in vario us video formats is not really suitable fo r theatrical exhibition, much less wide screen. Lucas did want a 2.40

Super Dimension 70 projector: Special projector developed for Super Dimension 70, 5 perf 70mm shot and shown at 48 fps, projector and platter designed to be easily installed in any booth. aspect ratio for Attack of the Clones but Panavision was unable to adapt its anamorphic lenses to the HD cameras, so it was composed for a Super 35 extraction for the film version. Ironically anamorphic lenses with different squeeze ratios are being used in digital projection for both 1.85 and anamorphic subjects. While the conglomerate-owned production and distribution branches of the industry couldn't care less, the exhibition industry, in its "excitement" over digital projection, which is possibly more media hype than reality according to "off-therecord" sources, may be headed in the wrong direction, charging audiences ever increasing prices for the equivalent of an entertainment experience they can now get at home more cheaply, if not for free, as well as not considering a yo unger generation that has no problem watching "letterboxed" films on a computer screen! Unlike 50 years ago, they are overlooking the high visual impact not only of 70mm as an exhibition medium, especially of material originated in 35mm anamorphic, but also as a production m edium. Over the last decade, three panel


Cinerama has been shown to enthusiastic response not just by buffs in faraway places like Bradford, England; Toledo OH; and Seattle WA. By the time this is published, a new three-panel print of This Is Cinerama will have been shown at Hollywood's Cinerama Dome, in the industry's backyard. Audience response will hopefully open executives' eyes to the commercial prospects of the big wide screen expenence. While some current cinematographers are eager to shoot new footage with the old Cinerama cameras, they are aware of how impractical the process is for serious contemporary production. But there are equally dynamic processes currently being ignored, like Super Dimension 70, which is 5 perf 65mm shot and projected at 48 fps using existing cameras. It has been designed as a complete production-exhibition system that can easily be installed in any projection booth to show the kind of big screen roadshow type ftlms that were so popular in the 1960s, and the success of big screen friendly films like Twister, Titanic and The Petfect Storm suggests could be so again. Perhaps there is hope that this great Revolution will continue and endure.

Acknowledgments This subject has been a Lifelong interest of mine and in the 35 years I've had contact with the motion picture industry I've taken every opportunity to hear in lectures and/or speak directly with persons involved with the subject in various ways. Much of the information in this article was gleaned from these sources and I would particularly like to thank the following fellow wide screen scholars for the information we've exchanged over the years: Peter Anderson ASC; John Hora ASC; Douglas Knapp SOC; Edward R Nassour; Paltl Rayton, American Cinematheque; Daniel J Sherlock; Aubrey Solomon; and also the following, those who are with us and posthumously to those who aren't, for the information they graciously shared with me: LB Abbott ASC; Leith Adams, Warner Bros; Gene Allen; John A Alonzo ASC; John Bailey ASC; John Baptista, CFI; Walter Beyer; Adrian Bijl; Larry Blake;


Digital projector: Anamorphic projection lenses with different squeeze ratios on a Christie DLP projector. Richard Bracken; Frank P Clark; Mike Coate; Grover Crisp, Michael Schlesinger, Sony Pictures; Jim and Karen Danforth; Linwood Dunn ASC; Howard Epstein; Herbert E Farmer, Richard Harber, USC School of Cinema; Rudi Fehr; Harvey Genkins; Bill Gleason; Theodore E Gluck, Scott MacQueen, David McCann, The Walt Disney Company; Ray Harryhausen; Robert Harvey, George Kraemer, Takuo Miyagishima, Panavision Inc; Ron Haver; Norman T Herman; Bud Hoffman; Roswell A Hoffman; Jeff Joseph; Nathan Juran; John Kirk, MGM Pictures; R J Kizer; Richard H Kline ASC; Dr Robert Knudtson, Alvista Perkins, USC Special Collections Library; Ron Kowall, Batjac Ltd.; Ken Kramer; Charles Lang Jr, ASC; R A Lee; Grant Lobban, BKSTS; Paul Magwood; Richard May, Warner Bros/ Turner Entertainment; Robert Miller, Paramount Studios Projection Dept; John Mosely; gary j prebula, Steve Hubbert, CSULB; William Reynolds, ACE; Joseph W Schmit, Technicolor Inc; Phil Scott; Tony Shapps, The Widescreen Association; Sidney P Solow; Bill Taylor ASC; George Turner; Joseph Tushinsky; Rick Victor; Marvin Walowitz; Gene Warren Sr; Robert Weisgerber, Super Vista Co rp; Albert Whitlock; Billy Wilder (via Rex McGee); Robert Wise; Richard Yuricich ASC; Maurice Zuberano.

Š 2002 by Rick Mitchell. World Rights Reserved. Rick Mitchell is a film editor, film director and film historian.

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!RjJster of tfie Society Of CameraOperators ACTIVE CHARTER lou Barlia Parker Bartlett Paul Basta Michael Benson jerry Callaway Joseph Calloway Mike Chevalier

Joe Epperson Bill Gahrel Peter Hapke Norm Langley Ed Morey

l ee Nakahara Jay Nefcy

leigh Nicholson Dan Norris David Nowell Wayne Orr Ernie Reed Michael Scott Michael Sl Hilaire Ray Stella Joseph F Valentine Edward Ventura Ron Vidor

ACTIVE Bernie Abramson Art Adams Bret Allen Derek MAllen Lee Allison Sai l Aridi Ted Ash ton Jr Bill Asman Dan Auerbach Daniel Ayers Paul Sabin Randy Baer Christopher J Baffa Vincent Baldino Gerard Ban ales Jeff Barklage Ri cardo Barreda Tom Barron Gary H Baum Guy Bee Tim Sellen Richard Benda Jeb Bergh Bonnie Blake jason Blount Bob C Boccaccio Richard Bolter Denise Brassard Scott M Browner Michael K Bucher Robin Buerki Gary Bush Stephen S Campanelli Susan A Campbell Capt jose A Cardenas Michael W Chambliss Louis Chanatry Joe Chess)r Julian Chojnacki Gregory Paul Col lier Michael Condon John A Connell Tom Connole Ivan Craig Caleb Crosby


Richard A Cullis Michael L Culp Joseph C D' Alessand ro Richard W Davis

Mark T Davison Ray de Ia Motte Eric DeBiackmere Kri s Andrew Denton David Diana Troy Dick joseph Joe DiGennaro Jerry Dugan Keith I Duggan Simon Duggan, ACS Louis R Duskin David E Elkins David Emmerichs Steve Essig James Etheridge Brant S Fagan Tom Faigh Benjamin Sean Fairburn David B Fang Yuen Diane L Farrell Randal Feemster Michael Ferris Kenneth Ferro Craig Fi ske Lance Fisher Aaron Fi tzgerald Heuman Forough lan Foster Thomas Fraser Michael Frediani Mike Freeman Michael Richard Frill David Gasperik Rusty Geller Michael Genne Wayne Getchell Vito Giambalvo William Gierhart Laurie K Gilbert Kristin Glover Allen Gonzales Lee Grover John Gunselman Anelle Haellmigk Dennis Hall Chris Hayes David Haylock Steven F Heuer Sean Higgins Ronald High Charles M Hill, Jr Jeffrey Hoffman Joachim Hoffmann Abe Holtz Robert Chapman Horne Casey Hotchkiss Gary Huddleston jeffrey G Hunt Philip Hurn David Insley Levie C Isaacks Michael Jarecki Simon Jayes Torn jensen Michael A Johnson SLeven Jones jacques Jouffrel John H Joyce David Judy

Mark D Karen Michael Ka rp Wayne L Kelley Glenn M Ki rkpatrick Douglas H Knapp Dan Kneece Rory Robert Knepp Robert Kosilchek Kris Krosskove

Erwin landau George F Lang Robin Lawless Joshua Lesser Michael Levine Ken Libby Hugh CUllin Michael Lillie Lynn Lockwood Thomas l oizeaux George Loomis Allan Lum Li Kenji Lu ster Vincent C Mack Heather MacKenzie PaulS Magee

James Mann Stan McClain Donald M McCuaig Maurice K McGuire Marlin Mclnally Robert L Mehnert Anastas N Michos Andrew Mitchell Wi lliam Molina Lawrence P Moody Robert Moore Denis Moran Don Muirhead Marty F Mullin Sean Murray jon Myers Thomas W Myrdahl Julye Newlin Wi lliam R Nielsen, Jr Randy Nolen Tamas P Nyerges William O'Drobinak Russell Ofria Andrew William Oliver Lucio Olivieri John Orl and Rafael Ortiz-Guzman Georgia Packa rd Charles Paperl David Parrish Philip Pasluhov Aaron Pazanti Mike Pierce Joseph Piscitelli Robert Presley Kevin Ri ley Randall Robinson Rick Robinson David Rebman Andy Romanoff Abraham Romero Peter Rosenfeld Andrea Vittorio Rossetto Michael S Roth And rew Rowlands James Rush Tony Salgado Tom Sanders




Michael Santy Richard J Schaefer Gregory J Schmidt Chuck Schuman Philip Schwartz Alicia Craft Sehring Brad Shield Floris Sijbesma Osvaldo Silvera Jr Jamie Silverstein Philip Sindall Guy Skinner John Sosenko Mike Spodnik Sandy Spooner Edwa rd B Springer Stephen Sl John Greg St Johns George B Stephenson David Stump Brian Sweeney james H Sweeney Bill Swinghamer Gene Talvin Stephen Tate Richard Tiedemann john Toll, ASC Tsuneyuki Tometaka John Trapman Massirniliano Trevis Jeffery I Tufano Chris Tufty Pernell Tyus Robert Ulland joseph Urbanczyk Richard C van Nijnallen, MBKS Paul D Va rri eur Bill Waldman William Webb Aiken Weiss Kit Whitmore, CSC Brian Kei th Wilcox Bill Williams Chad Wilson RL Wise Chris Wissinger lan D Woolston-Smith Noel Adrian Wyatt Wa rren Yeager Elizabeth Ziegler

ASSOCIATE David S Adelstein Leonard lance GAllen, Ill Samuel Ameen Gary-Oiyn Armstrong Chuck Barbee Peter Bonilla David Boyd Chris Boyer Maja Broz Douglas Busby Bruce Cardozo Kirk Chiswell Ed Clare Greg Collier Robert E Coll ins Richard Crudo Christopher Dawson Donald P De Simone Ronald Deveaux David Dibble George Spiro Dibie, ASC

Kevi n Downey Paul Duclos Bert Dunk, ASC Michael Escobosa Ruurd M Fenenga, Jr John C Flinn Ill, ASC Mark Forman Peter F Frinlrup Richard Garbu tt James Garvey Harvey Genkins Wayne Goldwyn AI Gonzalez Phil Gries Wynn Hammer James W Hart Robert Hayes John Hill Ken Hizmer Chris Hood Kent Hughes Carrie lmai Gregory Irwin Chris Ishii John Chancellor Jennings Thomas Patrick Johnson Frank E Johnson, ASC Broderick jones Douglas Ki rkla nd Michael Klimchak Robert La Bonge George La Fountaine, ASC Thomas Lappin Slevan Larner, ASC Lee David Laska-Abboll Mark R Leins Alan I Levi Mark Levi n llya Jo Lie-Nielsen Stephen Lighl hiii,ASC jong Lin Roland J Luna Duane C Manwill er Richard Marks Dr Ellen Matsumoto Ray McCort Michael P McGowan Nick Mclean, Sr John McPherson, ASC Charles Minsky K Adria na Modlin Richard Mosier Joshua S Narins Sol Negrin, ASC John Newby Nicholas Nizich Andrew Parke Randy Peck Matthew A Petrosky Ted Polmanski Serge Poupis Don Presley Andrea Quaglia Udo Ravenstein Richard Rawlings Jr, ASC Marcia Reed Bill Reiter Brian D Reynolds Alan Richter David Rosner Marvin Rush, ASC Mehran Salamati Carl Martin Schumacher, Sr

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Tara Summers Ueven Van Hulle Craig W Walsh Brian Watkins Haskell Wexler, ASC Shaun Wheeler Tony Yarletl Vi lmos Zsigmond, ASC


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Profile for Society of Camera Operators

Camera Operaotr 2002 Fall/Winter  

Denis Lenoir, ASC, AFC: Relationship between Director of Photography and Camera Operator, Safety on the Set: Photographic Dust Particles, Ch...

Camera Operaotr 2002 Fall/Winter  

Denis Lenoir, ASC, AFC: Relationship between Director of Photography and Camera Operator, Safety on the Set: Photographic Dust Particles, Ch...