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Steve Switaj

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About Steve Switaj

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    Cinematographer
  1. I had to do something like this once, with some food photography where the camera had to be in place over steaming mashed potatoes for a long time, and a hair dryer is a good tip. Don't forget that steam condenses on relatively cool surfaces. We used a piece of glass held in front of the mattebox, and heated it with a hair dryer between takes. We kept it pretty hot, and consequently, the steam didn't seem to have all that much tendency to condense on it.
  2. I don't think it was common knowlege, but Kodak actually used to be pretty good about custom runs. I was on a project years ago, before the era of common high-speed stocks, and we had them cook up a batch of what was, essentially, their new TMAX800 still stock with a rem-jet backing and perfed for cine cameras. I don't think we had to do a ridiculously large run, either. IIRC, it was maybe 80 or 100 thousand feet. And, of course, they were always good about the various specialty VFX stocks, many of which were made in small runs and really weren't part of the "official" catalog. But I think the key back then was that they maintained several coating lines, and could make individual "master rolls" (I think that was the term) that were about 5 feet wide and a couple of thousand feet long. If I recall correctly, all but one coating line is gone now, and the one line that's left in Rochester is tooled to make and use enormous rolls tens of thousand of feet long, so they really don't have all that much capability to do specialty runs anymore.
  3. Yes. The engravings were filled in with black paint to eliminate reflections. Reflections on... well, everything. The interior surface of filters, the piece of glass you have to shoot through once in a while, mirrored sunglasses, anything dark and glossy right in front of the lens where seeing the letters "YNAMREG NI EDAM - 3.1*T SSEIZ" slowly rotating through the frame might be less than ideal.
  4. Steve Switaj

    My new Milliken

    If I recall correctly (and this is going way back) those cameras were wired for both 28VDC and 115VAC. There are actually different power cords that are used for each voltage. These pick up different pins on the body connector and feed through the camera to a connector where the motor mounts. The motors were interchangeable, there were options for AC and DC motors, configured for various default speeds. The 28V motors use different pins than the 115motors, so it all sorted itself out. That being said, the fact that you've got a 400Hz motor is probably going got be the biggest stumbling block. 400Hz is the frequency standard for aircraft, chosen because magnetic devices can be much smaller, and therefore lighter, at higher frequencies. You'd think the motor wound just run slower, but it's more complicated than that, because some motors use line frequency in a strategy to control current flow in the motor windings. Depending on the type, AC motors can be quite sensitive to line frequency, and not in a good way.
  5. I once owned one of these cameras. As I recall, it was a great little machine. I liked it a lot better than the ubiquitous SR's. That being said, I have to get in the way-back machine to remember much about how to use the thing. If I recall correctly, they were really easy to switch between regular and super-16, thogh realistically, nobody did that. If you have a S16 gate you're OK for both formats, there's no reason to try to switch back to a regular gate. The difference between Reg16 and S16 is that he S16 frame is somewhat wider - stretching into the space where the second set of perfs would be in Reg16, and slightly taller - there's very little frameline between S16 frames. Additionally, since S16 frames are centered differently on the film, so you have to shift the lenses over a millimeter or two so they're back over the frame center or zooms will drift and wide lenses will keystone. But you don't have to change the gate, if you shoot Reg16 with a S16 gate the gate will be wider than necessary but you'll just expose some “overspill” image onto areas of the frame that will be ignored later anyhow. As for recentering the lens (again, it's been a while) I recall that you removed the lens mount (there are about 4 screws on it), flipped it upside down, and reinstalled it. The lens mount and body were machined with a few millimeters of eccentricity built in, so when you rotated the mount it shifted over into the right position. A similar mechanism is used on contemporary Arri's to convert from academy to super-35 you could tell at a glance which way the mount was set, if the locking ear was on the operator side of the camera it was set for regular 16 centering, if the locking ear was on the off side of the camera it was set for super16 centering. The viewfinder also had to slide over to match. If you look carefully, you'll see that there are elongated slots where the finder mounts, and the recess in the body that takes the finder is 2mm wider, allowing the finder to slide back and forth. This gap is always on the same side as the lens mount ear. My camera had a small, L-shaped key that filled this slot. You moved it from side to side when you moved the finder. I'm fuzzier on the ground glass. I don't remember if you replaced the glass or just slid it back and forth. I think I might have a pdf of the LTR manual somewhere where I can dig it up. If you need one, PM me with an e-mail address, I'll send you a copy.
  6. After a day of trying to pull focus at f0.7, your AC is going to murder you in your sleep and nobody will have the heart to convict him.
  7. Oops - my bad. When I wrote the last post this morning I was multitasking, glanced quickly at the pictures, didn't think too hard on what I was typing, and got it totally wrong. The mount shown is, of course, a Standard mount, not a B-mount. The standard mount was Arri's first interchangable mount. The B-mount was a later introduction (60's?) to solve some of problems with the B mount (soft materials, poor rotational indexing, poor seating repeatability). The B mount was superseded by the PL mount. Many Ang. lenses, like this one, had a tail end configured to take multiple, interchangable (with colimation) mounts. The rest of the post should be accurate. Both the B and Std mount had a 52mm backfocus, so this lens could, in theory, mount onto an EOS with a backfocus of 42mm, provided it could clear the mirror box inset, but I've never seen such an adapter. The lens would probably have marginal coverage at the wide end.
  8. You have an old Angenieux zoom which probably dates to the early to mid 70's. This lens has a "universal mount" scheme. The tail end was threaded, and there were several camera mounts which could be installed, depending on which camera you were using. The actual lens mount is an "Arri B" or "Arri bayontte". This was Arri's first bayonette mount. IIRC, it was used from the early models up to the the BL 2 or so. There were probably some mounting shims between the mount and the lens body at one time. Since they are gone it's a crapshoot whether the lens is properly collimated and would hold focus during zoom. Many of the B mounts were made of aluminum, as is yours, as this is a soft metal, they tend to pick up nicks and dents with use, which makes mounting imprecise. The B mount was superseded with the PL mount in the 80's or so. The PL mount is much more rigid, and, importantly, much more repeatable. As to your question about using this on you 60D, the answer is yes, it is probably technically possible. The B mount has a focal distance of 52mm, while the EOS has a an FD of 42 mm, so assuming the tail of the lens clears the mirror box, there is probably enough space for an adapter. However, good luck finding a B to EOS adapter. I've never seen one. If you were good in machine shop, you could probably loose the B-mount part and make a pretty rigid adapter to pick up the threads on the tail of the lens. The lens probably won't cover the Canon frame at the wider focal lengths.
  9. >> In the 84-year history of Oscar®, no Academy Award®-winning best picture has ever been made without motion picture film. True. But for better or worse, the writing is on the wall. Hugo won best cinematography in 2012 with digital origination, and before that, Avatar won in 2010, and "best cinematography" is arguably more intimately tied to capture media and overall cinematic look than "best picture", which is an amalgam of story, acting, and (typically) perceived importance.
  10. >> But then I saw the Samyang lenses and now I'm wondering if these are >> any good. These are faster, with de-clicked aperture primes which are >> pretty cheap as I can buy the 14mm, 24mm, 35mm and 85mm for about 1800$. I've had some experience with the 14mm. We had several on the last project I worked on (a stop-motion animated feature). For a $300 lens, the 14 was a surprisingly well built, surprisingly sharp, and surprisingly contrasty. It did, however, have truly wicked distortion. Over an APS-C sized area it was simple barrel distortion, and reasonably managable if you didn't have a lot of straight lines giving the game away, but then it distorted back the other way into significant pincussion over the larger 8-perf frame, so if you had lines you'd get a weird triple bend as they ran through the frame.
  11. If you look at the film on a light table, is the color cast this bad, or has it gotten worse in transfer?
  12. It's (mostly) a B mount. You can tell because of the two milled slots for the mount "ears". As Dom notes, this is a low-end mount. The better ones have a nicer locking mechanism and can stay the camera as a new mount. This one seemingly uses setscrews to retain the lens, and is meant to be attached to the lens and left there. This is OK so long as the screws either have soft tips or some sort of pressure pad underneath them, otherwise, a normal set screw (made of hard alloy) will leave a ding in the (relatively) soft stainless steel of the lens mount, and you obviously don't want that. Although this adapter clearly allows for B mounts, many set-screw type adapters could also take an S mount lens since the throat diameter and backfocus were the same. It's a matter of whether the setscrews are placed to get a good grip on the flange groove.
  13. Don't know if there's a standard. Every one I've worked on used the left eye as the master. We'd compose on the left, then converge on the right.
  14. >> I've just been playing around with a Canon DSLR, an old micro-Nikkor, a lightbox and some 35mm (stills) film, image reproduction is pretty good. You know what would work really well for this wouldn't be a micro Nikkor, it would be an old c-mount 25mm macro-Switar mounted backwards. I played with this a few years ago for some micro work with a custom bellows system, using reverse-mounted 16mm lenses. They don't have a big image circle, but if you're on a small subject they have phenomenal image quality over the area they do cover, and they're physically small enough to light around.
  15. Actually, yes, Dragon would be an ideal building block for this sort of thing. I do a lot of motion control and stop-motion work, and I've bee around Dragon a lot. i actually looked at an application like this about a year ago. It's a good startign point for this kind of stuff, since it handles allt he camera overhead plus has a reasonable motion control capability that lensd itself well to step-and-repeat functions. You'll still have to make an "optical bench" of sorts, with an appropriate, reasonably well-registered movement and light source with long-term consistancy, but if you can hook a step motor up to it, then you won't have to re-invent the wheel as far as coordinating motor and camera and storing off the frames goes. Dragon is inexpensive - somewhere around $300 IIRC. You can roll your own motor electronics, but if you don't want to do that, Dragon sells a unit called an Iota controller for $750 that can do all the motor driving (The Iota controller was originally designed to drive an I/O slider and focus motor, but it can drive any two small step motors) . Two caveats - first, you'll probably want to arrange the gearing so that an even number of motor turns advances one frame (dragon step motor axes don't like fractional steps in the current software rev) and second, you'll probably have to work in blocks of a few hunderd frames at a time - because it's juggling allt he frames in memory, the program can bog down on really long animations.
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