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Shahid Malik

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Hi all!


I noticed that there are few thread discussing Moviecams. I was wondering what are your experience with the Moviecam systems and as they are for sale all over the place these days, would you recommend the system?

How would you say they compare to the Arricams and Arriflexes?



Shahid Malik

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We have a Moviecam SL and a Compact Mk2 in our rental inventory (as well as Arricams). They are first-class pieces of engineering. So well designed that (as you probably know) Arri bought the company in the 90s and used their ideas to develop the Arricam system. The heart of the camera, the movement, is identical to an Arricam movement, and many other aspects are very similar. The main difference I would say is that Arri's electronic engineering and quality control is superior, but that's hardly a criticism.


Moviecams have been used on a multitude of high and low budget features, TV series and TVCs. Some of the features include Aliens, Scream, Notting Hill, 21 Grams, Black Hawk Down, The Day After Tomorrow etc. I don't think you'd find so much industry acceptance if the system wasn't a very good one.


The only downside to owning one these days is the lack of technical support, since Moviecam Vienna no longer exists and Arri only supports the Arricam system. But there would still be some rental houses around that are familiar with Moviecams.

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Thanks for the reply.


Moviecams are generally cameras which people seem to own these days and I've heard they are generally easy to maintain. Of course sending one off to your local rental house for a check up is always something that will be necessary - you'd do that anyway before you shoot something.


In terms of parts, that may be a problem for buyers as rental houses are selling off all their parts and if you've got that one part missing then finding it could be quite the mission.


One thing that has also interested me is the difference between the Mk2 and Mk1 versions of both the SL and Compact. As far as I gathered the difference was quite small and was mainly a question of compatibility as opposed to a complete mechanical alteration.


It is interesting how the Arricams are considered the peak of 35mm motion picture film cameras, but the Moviecams are kind of lost with history. I heard, whilst working at Arri here in London, that the Moviecam/Arricam movement is actually "superior" to the Arriflex movements!

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  • 2 years later...

Any 24V or 26.4V block battery will work, preferably with a capacity of 7Ah or more - which should run an SL for at least 2 hours - and fused with something like a 15A fuse.


You could try to buy one ready-made, or make your own from some lead-acid gel cells and a pelican case.


The Moviecams I've seen use 4 pin XLR power sockets, but if yours has been changed to a 2 pin Fischer like Arricams and Alexas use, then maybe an Arri power cable will work, but you'd want to check the polarity first.


It might be best to take it to a camera tech or rental house service department, who can help you work out the wiring.

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