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Steve Switaj

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About Steve Switaj

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    Cinematographer
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    Portland OR

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  1. it would be a terrible shame if someone didn't mention the famous "burp loop" used in some IMAX projectors. Not a camera movement, but a strategy to move the large IMAX frames through the projector day after day with good registration while not destroying the perfs with a camera-like movement. The film moves on continuous sprockets through a gate that has fixed pins. The movement is timed so that a 15 perf loop of film builds up on one side of the gate, and at the right moment a puff of air picks up the film off the register pins and the energy built up in the springy loop snaps the
  2. >> However, here you say a prerequisite of filming a CRT television is that you need a 144 degree shutter. >> I think I'm sort of answering my own question here but does this mean that even with the sync box, a >> 180 degree shutter is just simply too long of an exposure to fulfill that precise window of exposure needed >> to film the CRT tv right when the electron beam begins and ends without a second partial electron beam >> exposure? Exactly. An NTSC signal takes 1/60 sec to write one field * A 180 degree shutter at 24fps exposes the film for 1/4
  3. Probably the biggest issue with the Elaine might have been lack of a well-defined market. Panavision probably felt that they had to have a 16mm camera in their inventory, especially in the late 90's when S16 was ascendant, because all the other rental houses offered one, but 16mm and Panavision were an odd fit. If you were shooting on S16 for TV or theatrical blowup you were probably trying to keep an eye on expenses, but the Elaine, because it came with the whole Panavision ecosystem, was always going to be a premium product. I remember pricing one out at one point and didn't see th
  4. I had a Nikon lens mount adapter I used on my LTR years ago, IIRC, it was quite similar to the one in the picture. it worked great. I don't know how precise the backfocus was, I used it for long telephotos, and those tend to be pretty forgiving of perfect backfocus requirements, I never tried it with say, a wide zoom.* You will, however, have to use the older lenses, with the manual aperture ring. Many of the new Nikkor series and almost all of the new aftermarket vendors have eliminated the manual ring, so there's no way to adjust aperture in a manual mount. On the plus
  5. (Long reply, sorry) There are two variables at play, speed and phase. Speed measures how fast you do something, while phase measures the timing difference between when multiple people do the same thing. Imagine several cars driving down a multi-lane highway at *exactly* 55 miles per hour. They will have some physical relationship to each other, and if their speed is right, will hold that relationship forever, but their relative positions will be random. They have a *speed* lock. Now imagine that they all decide to line up with a master car in the left lane. The master sets the
  6. If, like me, you started working back in the olde days of standard-def, when dinosaurs walked the Earth, you may have done work on DPS Perception systems - PVR's - which were the simple(ish), cheap(ish) way to do broadcast quality back then. I was cleaning up around the house and discovered a bunch of old work archived on disks in the PVR format. It's really tough to get files off those disks because the format relies on hardware compression - you need the actual DPS Perception board to read them at high resolution. But, I actually *had* one of these boards, stashed d
  7. What kinds of sealing material are you looking for? I used to get soft round rubber material (for rebuilding the edge seals on Arri mags) from McMaster-carr. They have a bottomless assortment of rubber products.
  8. Well, it's totally possible. We used this interleaving technique on Super8 to fill a projection screen with temporary material to be replaced in VFX, one frame on, one frame off. We also did some lightning effects in the matrix sequels the same way at 72 FPS, one clean frame, a flash from the left, then a flash from the right, so the effect could be selectively flashed in post. In Super8 we used a Millineum at 48 FPS, and the flashes were generated with very bright LED's. That was 10 years ago, some of the LED's we have now are a dozen time more efficient. The trick is you hav
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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 big
  13. 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 secon
  14. 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.
  15. 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 multi
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