Monday, April 22, 2013

History repeats itself.

by Tom Poederbach

This is my translation using google it mostly makes sense.

History repeats itself.

There was a time when you could not shoot handheld. The cameras were simply too cumbersome and too heavy and not given an ergonomic shape. There was also a time when handheld was frowned upon.  Many director forbade it, they found the recorded image to be restless. Conditions have changed: the camera has become an extension of the cameraman.

"They must have thought why reinvent the wheel"
Elmo 70
With the outbreak of the Second World War handheld filming found wide expectance. The U.S.
public wanted to see their sons and fathers fight on the front lines and that was impossible to capture with cumbersome cameras on tripods. The Bell and Howell 70 Filmo first produced in 1925 allowed handheld filming for the first time. Built like a tank, highly reliable small this 16 mm manual camera with a turret for three lenses; recorded five minutes per roll. This was a camera that you held up to your face to look through similar in the viewfinders on todays DSLRs. The Filmo is also been of great importance to news gathering in the early years of television. During the Vietnam War it was also the front line camera.

Eclair NPR
These smaller film rolls were replaced by 400ft loads. That made handheld cameras, including the Paillard Bolex and Arri ST, top-heavy and hard to work with, so back on tripod. In 1969, documentary filmmaker Michael Wadley filmed the famous Woodstock Festival mostly from the shoulder with a few Eclair NPR 16mm film cameras. This French camera had a coaxial film magazine which ran for 10 minutes and sat over shoulder. This is the beginning of an ergonomic design. Long takes could now easily be operated from the shoulder and the Eclair cameras became very popular with documentary film makers.

Aaton LTR
In the late seventies, the Aaton LTR, the ultimate design 16 mm film camera, was introduced. Designed by Jean-Pierre Beauviala, an Eclair technician. To this day Aaton has maintained the same ergonomics. The lastest Delta 4K digital camera form-data according with the cat on the shoulder principle. Simultaneously with the introduction of the Aaton LTR, portable video cameras on the market, top heavy and often leading to a shoulder pain.  The introduction of DSLRs six years ago, with  video cameras capabilities, recreated the problem for long handheld shots. Many camera people can not hold the current small cameras for long at eye level, positioned 30 to 40 cm form their face.

Lion on the shoulder
In the past, with small cameras long lens handheld shots turned out poorly, now even though there are many handheld rigs,  most are too long to efficiently control. Thus far the balance point of shoulder mounted camera rig is far in front of the shoulder, requiring a counterweight behind the shoulder, often a battery. Which needs to be placed far back enough back to find balance, otherwise the weight still rests on the arms of the cameraman. Many rigs are big, ugly, often clumsily and far from ergonomic. David Ford and Peter Schneider of ergocine from New York, who with their DSLRs where shooting a lot of concerts handheld, bumped against these restrictions, until they remember the Aaton LTR, the best handheld camera ever designed. Then they thought why reinvent the wheel. So the Lion, a walnut replica of the Aaton LTR body arose. On the site of the camera cradle you can be placed small cameras such as the RED Epic, RED Scarlet, Canon C100 / C300's, Sony FS100's, BMCC and DSLRs from Canon and Panasonic. In the magazine there is space for a counterweight, or if desired you can draw power from an external battery. All this with the consent of Jean-Pierre Beauviala.  And the best, the original wooden handle of the Aaton LTR, has been restored ...

1 comment:

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