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35R3 Mitchell blimp.

Paul Bruening

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I checked my 35R3 fit into the Mitchell blimp I have. My principle concern was the focus system. It is such an integral part of the blimp that I hoped like heck that the camera's lenses would simply match up. Well, except for the camera's mount screw, which will have to be moved, the lenses line up great with the focus drive gear. All of the lenses from 20mm to 180mm fit on the drive gear and fit within the glass front. I'm pretty darn happy about that. I'll still have to chop and mod some of the body of the blimp to cover the video reflex part of the 35R3. But, that's doable in my shop and won't have to be farmed out, which I can't afford.


Have any of you ever tried to pick up the Mitchell blimp? Damn, is it big and heavy! On the plus side, you could set off an atomic blast inside it and not hear it over a mic.

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Hello Paul yes i have picked the blimp up i worked a hundred years ago as cam. assistant on a terrible film called "Le Mans" with and paid for by Steve Mc Queen , its was shot Panavision anamorphic i was on one of the units using the 35R [ which in think is a great camera ] but in the blimp is a beast , but to be fair not as bad as a BNCR .

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Hey John,


Great to hear your story. What do you think the weight of this unit all together is (blimp, camera, loaded 1000' mag, video reflex, accessories like video transmitter, power supply...)? This system is definitely from the grand days of Hollywood: Heavy equipment? Get more guys to lift it! This is where the geared head makes sense. So much weight on my O'Conner 100 or Mitchell Friction is dangerous. It's too easy for the weight to tilt violently backward or forward.


I liked LeMans. I'm soft for racing movies. Grand Prix still takes my breath away.

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I have...but I almost dropped the BNCR I was holding in my other hand.


I've been reading a book about Ed Emshwiller, the cover artist and filmmaker, "Emshwiller infinity x two".

It claimed than when Emsh was shooting Adolfas Mekas' 'Hallelujah the Hills', he manged to do a couple of hand held shots with a BNC, a rackover model.

However I have seen a photo of Emsh and 3 other guys running through the snow carrying a BNC.

It was in an issue of Film Culture.

Maybe that was the hand held shot being done.


Oh, and here's a 65mm Mitchell in an MGM blimp being moved for 'Raintree County'.



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Eight guys. Holy moly! A couple of them look like they're about to blow a nad.


Whoever I stole that picture from stole it from a 'Raintree County' promo short that pops up on TCM whenever they're showing the feature.




It's about 1/4-1/3 from end. There's at least a couple more grips cropped out on the left in the frame grab. & they look relieved to set it down.


Double checked the Emsh book & it states that a couple of times he filmed with the "135 pound camera on his shoulder". It also refers to the filmmakers as "masquerading as a professional film crew".

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