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Questions about anamorphic 35mm that have me wondering.


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Yes, I apologize for my grievous error. I was referencing the II itself, rather then 1950's model that came later. I got the years mixed up, I was going off memory and was off by 10 years.

 

I also thought the Academy camera gates (full height) were taller then the Academy projection gates. This way cameras COULD use 2X anamorphic lenses without a problem. I thought that was just common knowledge as all the gates I've seen are full height, but protect the side for the soundtrack area.

Not a grievous error, just one more fact you confidently assert that turns out to be false.

 

So when you say "all the gates I've seen are full height" do you mean just the one that you pulled out to inspect?

 

As I mentioned before, the scope gate for 2Cs is full height at 19mm but not full silent or S35 width, with an aspect ratio of 1.2:1. It's centred for Academy like the standard gate which is only 16mm high x 22mm (1.375:1).

 

I believe part of the reason the Arri 35 models don't have full aperture gates is because the claw is right next to the aperture and its cutout in the gate doesn't leave enough room for a support rail if the aperture was extended all the way into the soundtrack area.

 

Later Arri 35mm cameras had full aperture gates with interchangeable masks if required.

 

I'll try and post some photos when I get time.

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Actually I think Tyler in this case was confirming what you are saying, that the gates were Academy width but Full Aperture height -- what I was wondering is:

 

-- Would such a gate be labeled by ARRI or any seller as "Academy"?

 

-- Were there actual "Academy" gates sold for those ARRI cameras -- sounds like you're saying that there were, so I assume that the taller anamorphic gate should not be called an Academy gate.

 

If there is any confusion on the market out there, it's up to the buyer to make sure his camera has the type of gate he needs.

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My query was whether Tyler had made a general assumption about all 2C gates based on inspecting just one.

 

I don't know what Arri called the larger gate, I imagine it was something like Scope or Cinemascope. The Academy gate is the standard 1.375:1 smaller one. There is no written identifier on them, so I'm sure some people might get confused and label them both Academy. The scope gate is actually wider than Academy, but not enough to be full aperture.

 

From what I've been told by someone who has used and owned a number of 2Cs since the 70s the scope gate was a special order item, but many owners had one and used them for both anamorphic and spherical shooting.

 

On the left a standard Academy gate, on the right a scope gate. Note the very thin support rail on the right edge of the scope gate (which is the soundtrack area) due to the cutout for the claw.

 

post-46614-0-87939000-1478564607_thumb.jpg

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Are there some quirks about shooting 2x anamorphic that might be encountered if you've never shot anamorphic before - particularly in relation to film? There's lens flare and bokeh, and obviously it's the 2.40:1 format. I mean potential issues of camera movement, pans and the like, should these in general be slower, should there be less camera movement, maybe no handheld, compared to spherical shooting, to get the most out of the medium? Maybe there's no real difference and you quickly get used to it, beyond the obvious compositional differences. Camera and lens combination would be a lot bigger, making some shooting a bit more difficult.

 

Rental lenses has got me thinking. Buy some short ends, get processing and DI in Sydney. I already have a great old wooden tripod (for a theodolite!) made by Kern so would just need a head for it.

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My Samuelson's manual says that an object shouldn't cross the FoV in less that seven seconds for 'scope, as against five seconds for flat with a 170-180deg shutter, but I suspect that that rule is honoured more in the breach than the observance nowadays.

Edited by Mark Dunn
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I don't think anyone really changes their panning speed for anamorphic, or editing speed, though a wider frame may or may not allow you to cut less often.

 

There are quirks to watch out for like the minimum focus, some anamorphic lenses don't focus that closely. And breathing is so bad sometimes that you have to really think about when to rack focus to something, you can't ping-pong the focus back and forth during a dialogue scene, for example. And if your anamorphic lens creates horizontal flares, you have to think about where the flare will cross the frame because you don't want it covering an actor's eyes. And with the generally shallower depth of field, it's harder to hold two things in focus at a time. The wider-angle anamorphic lenses have a lot of barrel distortion in them so vertical lines will get bent at the sides of the frame. Most anamorphic zooms are rear-adapted conversions and are about a stop slower than their spherical counterparts, so many don't open any wider than T/4.5-ish.

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2B's and 2C's have to be the most modified cameras in the history of cinema. I've never actually seen a "stock" un-modified Arri 2C. Different gates, mounts and motors...never the same thing twice. I love my Steve's Cine modified 2C with PL mount and wonderful crystal motor.

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I recently saw an "almost" all original IIC at a camera sale. It had the original Arri hand grip motor tripod adaptor and everything. Very sick kit, I would have snatched it if the seller didn't think it had some value. He was using it for decoration at his house so it was just a body and magazine, but he wanted $7500 bux for it because someone told him it shot MOS shots from The Godfather. It was the closest thing to "original" I've ever seen. Pretty neat piece.

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Apparently there were a few 2C's that were converted, maybe around 30 years ago or more, to PL hardfront, and the gate was custom machined to full aperture S35 (not the Scope gate). One sold listing I looked at on ebay went into a bit of detail and said these cameras were set up to be used either for Super 35 or for anamorphic. But that can't be right as the lens must be centred for one or the other. Were these early S35 conversions, maybe for TV series filming non-dialogue shots? Is it possible to tell just by looking through the lens mount if the lens is centred for full aperture or for sound - how wide, approximately, is the optical sound track on an anamorphic 35mm print - maybe 2 or 3mm? Peering through the film door, the right hand side of the gate on an Arri 2C would have to be very close to the film claw slot, as Dom said, on a S35 conversion.

Edited by Jon O'Brien
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I believe "Silverado", an early Super-35 production, used some of those ARRI-2C's with full aperture gates for a few shots... I don't think the mounts were shifted over from Academy, but as long as the lens image fills enough of the frame (easier when you're going to be cropping to 2.40) it might not noticeable if the lens isn't optically centered side to side. After all it's not centered top to bottom when shooting common-top.

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Ah, so my thinking has probably been too 'perfectionist'. The lens doesn't really need to be centred. Only in zoom shots there would be a problem. Still, I suspect some of these conversions may have been centred for S35. I'm actually getting more interested in Super 35, and less interested in anamorphic, at least as a way to get started with 35mm. Easier to find lenses, and more image area than 2-perf.

Edited by Jon O'Brien
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Here is probably a really dumb question but I'm sorry, I must ask it. In the original purely photochemical Scope filming process, circa 70's, does the camera negative have to leave unexposed the little area of the film frame where the soundtrack later goes, or does it not matter? I'm guessing it did have to be left unexposed, due to the contact printing process. If the area where the soundtrack went contained image in the original negative then this would also be exposed on the contact print, spoiling the area where the optical soundtrack was to be added.

Edited by Jon O'Brien
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It didn't matter, when making the contact print, the printer can mask that area off. Optical tracks could either be silver or dye -- if silver, it was an application to the edge of the print so that the optical track could be exposed and developed onto it.

 

We had a discussion about printing here:

http://www.cinematography.com/index.php?showtopic=61134

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