Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hello,

I'm intrigued by the Panavision Elaine 16mm camera which seemed like a good camera that never seems to get used anymore and is largely forgotten. 

It was introduced in 1987 but the only thing I know was shot with it was some of 'Malcolm In The Middle' back in the 90s. I'm assuming it was used primarily for TV. 

Has anyone here had any experience with it or used one recently? What are your thoughts on it, what was it like to use?

 

Kind regards - Aren

Link to post
Share on other sites

It was largely forgotten because it was huge. Aaton and Arri solutions were way smaller and neither required threading on set. So changing magazines was way easier. 

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, John Salim said:

Aren, Search this forum for 'Elaine' ... there's plenty to read 😉

John S

Indeed, we have several old threads about the Elaine where you can find more information. Do a word search, or look in the Cameras > Panavision section. 

I doubt the cameras have seen much use in the last several years.
 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I used the Elaine in 1988 on a series and from an assistants point of view a good camera. It was a mini Panaflex with a slightly less complicated Mitchell movement. It was quite compared to its competitors, easy to reload and assistant friendly. Only 26 were ever produced.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Timothy Spencer said:

I used the Elaine in 1988 on a series and from an assistants point of view a good camera. It was a mini Panaflex with a slightly less complicated Mitchell movement. It was quite compared to its competitors, easy to reload and assistant friendly. Only 26 were ever produced.

I had no idea they only ever made 26, wow. What was the series you used it on? 

Also, what was the viewfinder like?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The viewfinder was comparable to the SR2, if I recall correctly. Maybe a little brighter. Still hard to judge focus, compared to a modern 35mm format camera. Only used it a few times about 10 years ago.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

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 that much difference between the Elaine and a GII. We went with an XTR and it was fine.

And frankly, shows where camera budget wasn't a driving issue would probably try to shoot 35 for 'distribution insurance' in a market where S16 is a less... prestigious... format. So... where does a 'premium downmarket' camera really fit?

Unless you had a DP who was really loyal to the Panavision system and the way it handles, there wasn't much reason to rent an Elaine when every serious rental house in town had well dressed Arri or Aaton packages at a much better price.

Along similar lines, does anybody know how many 416's Arri ever sold? That seems like a camera that would have the same market issues, especially since it was introduced well into the 2000's, when HD was starting to bite really deep into the 16mm market. It seemed really cool, but I don't think I've ever seen one outside of a trade show.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, Steve Switaj said:

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.

Panavision had plenty of 16mm Arriflexes in their inventory in the late 90s. I know because I learned to work on them at Panavision Sydney back then. Panavision has long been Arri's biggest single customer.

The Elaine was made for a very specific market I think: studio-bound TV production. Production crews and DOPs who were familiar with the 35mm Panavision system could basically use the same workflow and accessories. I don't think it was ever expected to compete with a market already dominated by Arri's SR series and Aatons, and the low number of bodies made reflects that. They never made many sets of 16mm Panavision lenses either. 

1 hour ago, Steve Switaj said:

Along similar lines, does anybody know how many 416's Arri ever sold? That seems like a camera that would have the same market issues, especially since it was introduced well into the 2000's, when HD was starting to bite really deep into the 16mm market. It seemed really cool, but I don't think I've ever seen one outside of a trade show.

Most modern 16mm productions with a decent budget have used the 416 - films like Carol, Black Swan, The Wrestler, Mother!, Hurt Locker, Jackie etc. I don't know how many were sold, but probably not more than 50. Panavision still have about 10 these days. The digital ascension and massive success of Alexa within a few years of the 416 release meant Arri pivoted away from film and that was pretty much that for the 416. Here in Melbourne we've rented a 416 a few times over the past few years,  but professional film production in this country is nearly non-existent. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, David Sekanina said:

I always thought "the wrestler" and "hurt locker" were shot on Aatons (except the extreme slow motion shots of the explosions in the latter).

Sorry yes, The Hurt locker was Aaton (Barry Ackroyd owns one I believe) but I'm pretty sure The Wrestler was 416:

https://www.moviemaker.com/maryse-alberti-the-wrestler-spirit-award-20090319/

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/6/2020 at 5:43 PM, Dom Jaeger said:

I don't know how many were sold, but probably not more than 50

I'd bet quite a bit more than 50.  Rule/Boston Camera had 2 of them as a point of reference.  Plus Aaton made about 60 Penelopes which was a camera released deeper into the digital shift.  4 years earlier in 2004 I'd imagine a lot of rental houses pounced on the 416.  But I'd love to know a definitive answer!

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Dan Finlayson said:

I'd bet quite a bit more than 50.  Rule/Boston Camera had 2 of them as a point of reference.  Plus Aaton made about 60 Penelopes which was a camera released deeper into the digital shift.  4 years earlier in 2004 I'd imagine a lot of rental houses pounced on the 416.  But I'd love to know a definitive answer!

The number on the camera body of the 416 I sold a couple of years ago was 3037. That doesn't necessarily mean that they made thousands of them but I know several rental houses who had four or five of them. And I don't know many rental houses 😉

DSC_1548.jpg

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dan Finlayson said:

I'd bet quite a bit more than 50.  Rule/Boston Camera had 2 of them as a point of reference.  Plus Aaton made about 60 Penelopes which was a camera released deeper into the digital shift.  4 years earlier in 2004 I'd imagine a lot of rental houses pounced on the 416.  But I'd love to know a definitive answer!

The 416 was first announced at NAB in 2006, but didn’t start shipping til 2007. The same year RED cameras arrived. Back then a 416 package cost around US$140,000. Many rental houses already had SR3s or Aatons and could see the writing on the wall for film, especially in the lower budget 16mm arena where relatively cheap digital cameras like REDs were beginning to eat into the market. I remember here in Australia the 16mm TVC market collapsed around 2008 when it pretty much all went digital. By 2010 when Alexa came along the value of film gear had plummeted and you couldn’t sell a 416 for half what you’d paid 3 years before.

I’m sure some rental houses invested in them, but most would have been cautious to invest that much in a medium that was already looking on shaky ground, especially when getting your investment back through rentals takes years. 

I have a feeling Arri made a batch and couldn’t sell them all, so at some point they offloaded them at a discount, or as part of a package deal along with their newer digital cameras, or as long term loans. By 2011 they and every other film camera manufacturer had announced they were no longer making film cameras.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Dom Jaeger said:

The 416 was first announced at NAB in 2006, but didn’t start shipping til 2007

Ah I thought the 416 shipped earlier than that!  I think you make a lot of good points but suspect they did indeed produce more than they could sell at the price they wanted like you said.

 

18 hours ago, Uli Meyer said:

The number on the camera body of the 416 I sold a couple of years ago was 3037

Such a beautiful camera!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...