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Mike Panczenko

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  • Occupation
    2nd Assistant Camera
  • Location
    Philadelphia, USA

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  1. I've had lots of issues with Arri WCU units- going back several generations back to the older "chocolate bar" style batteries. They seem prone to interference and seem to lose signal at distances much closer than the Preston. Yet, European ACs swear by them! I've heard that it's because the frequencies that they operate on in Europe are not allowed for it to operate on in the US, or something of similar to that nature... Does anyone know if there is any truth to this?
  2. Hello, I was the "A" camera 2nd AC for the US portion (8 weeks were shot in France, and 2 in the US.) We shot single camera almost al the time. A 416 as you noted. The lenses were a set of Superspeeds (we used mainly primes), a 14mm T2 Zeiss, an 8mm Optex. We also had an 11-110 Zeiss Vario Sonnar that we used mostly for footage of recreations, if I recall correctly (it's been a while). For filtration we had NDs, 85 sets, diffusion, polas, an 81EF set, and maybe some more, but we were almost exclusively NDs, 85s, and diffusion quite a bit. The DP, Stephane Fontaine, had a dimmable LED light that he mounted diffusion in front of, that he often mounted directly above the lens, as a beautiful glow. We shot 7213 200T, and 7219 500T. For the US portion, every day at our film break, the runner took the film to NY where it was sent to Paris to go in the bath, at the same lab that was used throughout production. As for the DI and more detailed workflow iformaiin, I'm not sure what was involved. It was almost all handheld. Steadicam played some days in, sometimes in very involved and lengthy shots. The steadicam operator, Manolo Rojas, was incredible. There was a Red used for plates, as well as a 1980s Ikegami that the director owned that was used for the recreations of certain older video shots. It was an incredibly difficult job, with weather being awful, but, based on the trailer, it looks like it was all worth it!
  3. I recently wrapped a network television show that we shot on the Alexa, and I started wondering... What happens to the hard drives (shuttle drives) that the cards are copied to to send to the post house with the film break? What happens to the power cables, e sata cables, fw800 cables, that go with those shuttle drives? After the show ends, are they used on other projects for the network? Are they just tossed aside to sit forever unused? What's the norm for network projects in this digital age?
  4. They did not shoot the entire movie in Turkey. They filmed in California, Washington DC/Virginia, and Turkey (maybe one more Middle Eastern Country?) The Alexa was used for the scene in the Hagia Sophia, and for a night driving shot in Washington DC.
  5. How is it halving the sensitivity? It would if everyone shooting with an Alexa was shooting with no shutter, and then were forced to go to 180 to use the optical finder, but I'm almost always at a standard 180 shutter when using the Alexa. The exposure time is the same, so what are you saying is halving the sensitivity?
  6. You shouldn't use any light under 5k because the filament is small to the point that it doesn't hold the residual heat/glow from every hertz cycle of electricity going through it, so at very high speeds you will actually see it flicker with the electrical cycle. Larger filaments retain the glow so that it will not be an issue. I would not use HMIs with the Phanton. You can get get flicker and/or arc wander.
  7. I'm not saying it's going to be necessary, and it will be a fairly pricey rental compared to the 135mm and probably significantly slower. They just are offset so that the camera is at a right angle (although other orientations are possible) to the long periscope, so that the camera does not shadow the subject when you are so close to it. The lens is usually very small too so that it can get into smaller places. I was just saying it could resolve some potential issues that may or may not come up- not that it is the only way to do what you want to do.
  8. A 4x5 MB will work fine- it's a 110mm back, if I remember correctly. Minimum focus is 2'9, but be careful casting a shadow on the bugs with the camera. This is where a periscope could come in handy.
  9. "Also, The phantom flex will be a problem as well, as it is rather large. Is there a way to shoot the camera through several mirrors? which brings even more reflection issues. Anyway, at this point I will try or have the crew build anything that is within the budget." You could try to use a periscope lens and build an entry point in the glass for it, but what would this buy you? If you were going to end up building glass for the foot to step on to shoot through, is there a reason why you wouldn't want to build it big enough to accommodate the camera underneath it, too? Another though is that you could put a low angle prism on a regular lens, and have the glass that the foot steps on at lens height. You could then have the low angle prism looking upwards through the glass- which could be flagged off with duve, with just the prism sticking through it. You could have your normal operating room, with just this little glass gag built in a fairly small, albeit raised, area. If you do the prism though, they naturally have very slight double imaging, so you'd have to really make an effort to flag off stray light from the glass, so as not to introduce any additional. I can't help as far as suggesting a stable but non-flexible material. Sorry. Hope this helps somewhat.
  10. You always bring the lens without caps- extenuating circumstances being snow or rain. Keep hands cupped over both elements so you don't smudge them, but are still protecting them. Before handing it to your 1st, examine both the front and back elements, and if there are any smudges or dust, clean them off before giving it to the 1st. When it reaches them, it should be ready to go. Some people do like to receive the lens with a certain hands, and pass it off with a different one. This is personal preference. The lens cases should be at a close enough distance that you can get a new lens in a few seconds. If it's a big zoom lens, bring the case over to the camera and change it there, rather than carry a cumbersome, loose, zoom through a crowded set. If it's a lens that requires support, the order is to give the rods first, then the support bracket, then the lens. Some 1sts like you to hand the lens to them so that they can put the lens on properly without having the flip it or reorient this. Most of the time, if a 1st is going to want you to do this, it is only with a big zoom lens that requires low support, but some are more particular and want it like that with every lens. Is there is grease pencil on the lens that hasn't been cleaned from the last time, clean off the marks so they don't get confused by old marks on the lens. When passing or receiving a lens, wait for an acknowledgment of receipt before you let go!
  11. If the iris is set at one of the stops that is blue, use the blue hash mark for your focus scale. If it is set at one of the stops that is yellow, use the yellow hash mark for focus. If it is set in between, use an imaginary (or make your own), hash mark the same split in between the focus hash marks and use that.
  12. There was one NYC 1st AC I worked for who kept a collimator (auto?) in his kit on the truck- probably about a foot long, but he never pulled it out. It certainly sounds like the way to do it, and if it's 30 seconds a lens, it would save all the time 2nd guessing your eye focus on the chart on the wide lenses! I'd snatch one up in a heartbeat!
  13. Well, yes, you are correct, but again, oftentimes if the FFD is too long or short, the ground glass will still be correct, so you would see it in the GG. Yes, there can be an instance where the flange to ground glass distance is correct, while the flance to film gate is not, but I am just saying I have not run across that, so often times taping out the lenses will reveal if the mount is off. You are absolutely correct in saying that the taping out does not check the FFD- but most of the time if the mount is off, it will still be revealed because either A) the ground glass won't be or B)both will be, and when the techs do a true depth reading, it will be revealed. This is, though, 100% in conjunction with the rental house actually checking it with the dial indicator before you show up, and, on a feature, shooting actual film tests to confirm. One more clarification- this is for non-Panavision cameras. With Panavision cameras, I would check the FFD every morning, like a lot of assistants do. The movements inside can float much more, but can also be easily adjusted. So with those, I would say, just because it is sharp in the eyepiece, it may not be and may not stay that way. With Arri/Moviecam, etc, I am more under the belief that you check it at the checkout, and if it's sharp, you are probably good, and you leave it. One more thing- the taping out does only check the mount- not the movement. So, yes, taping out does only check for an improperly shimmed mount. If the movement has floated, you will not see that by taping out. Is it common-place in European rental houses to use an autocollimator at the checkout? Maybe we are just behind- I certainly can't argue with the fact that it is more scientific.
  14. I will say that every checkout I have ever done, we (the assistants) have never used an auto collimator. That's not to say that the techs have or haven't, but never once have I seen an auto collimator brought out during a prep. It does sound like it is a more scientific way to do it, but if the lenses are not taping out, and it is the ground glass being off, when they take the camera back for the FFD check this would reveal itself to be the problem. I've had it happen more times where the FFD is off and the ground glass good, rather than the other way around (I actually don't know if I've ever had it where the FFD is right but the ground glass distance is off.) So, using the autocollimator sounds to me, as far as the assistants go, to be more of a way to check what is already suspect, or to confirm a fix, rather than the first step you would take.
  15. It's a PL mount camera, so you would check it the way you do with a traditional film camera- throw the lenses up, and see if they tape out. If they don't, then you will need to get the rental house to fix it and then you repeat the process.
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