Tag Archives: ARRI

Movie Cameras History – Movie Equipment

One of the first motion-picture film cameras, was designed by Louis Le Prince in 1888. It still exists with the National Media Museum, England. Le Prince employed paper bands and celluloïd film from John Carbutt and or Blair & Eastman in 1¾ inch width.

On June 21 1889, William Friese-Greene was issued patent no. 10131 for his ‘chronophotographic’ camera. It was apparently capable of taking up to ten photographs per second using perforated celluloid film. A report on the camera was published in the British Photographic News on February 28 1890. On 18 March, Friese-Greene sent a clipping of the story [2] Friese-Greene gave a public demonstration in 1890 but the low frame rate combined with the device’s apparent unreliability failed to make an impression.

Georges Demenÿ, employee with Etienne Jules Marey, constructed the Beater Movement in 1893. The film width is 60 mm.

Max Skladanowsky conceived his own make of camera in 1894-95, but more interesting is his “Bioscop” projector, the first duplex construction in practice. Green, part designer for Prestwich, also designed a duplex projecting machine. This 1896 wide-film projector can be seen at the South Kensington Science Museum.

The Lumière Domitor camera was originated by Charles Moisson, chief mechanic of the Lumière works at Lyon in 1894. They shot on paper film of 35 millimeter width. In 1895 the Lumière could buy celluloïd film from New-York’s Celluloid Manufacturing Co. This they covered with their own Etiquette-bleue emulsion, had it cut into strips and perforated. It is not known which recipe they used for positives.

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Then an ever increasing number of cine cameras came up. The makes and brands would be: Birt Acres (1894-95), the Latham Eidoloscope by Lauste (1895), the Marvin & Casler Bioscope by Dickson (1895), Pathé frères (1896) with ratchet claws, Prestwich (1896), Newman & Guardia (1896), de Bedts, Gaumont-Démény (1896), Schneider, Schimpf, Akeley, Debrie, Bell & Howell, Leonard-Mitchell, Ertel, Ernemann, Eclair, Stachow, Universal, Institute, Wall, Lytax, and many others.
The first all-metal cine camera is the Bell & Howell Standard of 1911-12. One of the most complicated models is the Mitchell-Technicolor Beam Splitting Three-Strip Camera of 1932. With it, three colour separation originals are obtained behind a purple, a green, and a red light filter, the latter being part of one of the three different raw materials in use.

The most popular 35 mm cameras in use today are Arriflex, Moviecam (now owned by the Arri Group), and Panavision models. For very high speed filming, PhotoSonics are used.

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Renting A Movie Equipment

So, now you are an independent movie director, you’ve got a movie script and prepared a movie budget, where do you go next? You go to a movie equipment rental!

What could possibly be simpler than that, you might say? Believe us or not, but it could be a pain in the ass to pay a week rated retail with no instructions and professional who could assemble and disassemble all that stuff properly and in time. The time is crucial for you, then you are shooting your first 90min. feature film in two weeks! Don’t think that you are too smart to handle with that with your own hands.

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Remember that fiddling with the professional movie equipment (doesn’t matter film or digital) is not a work for a novice, you can damage the fragile elements of film or scratch the focus. A lot of problems with hinges and crooks which could be not mentioned by your retailer.  Yes, movie implements are heavy and complicated. It is not your home camcorder! Let’s start our survey:


The cinematographer (DP) is not going to handle with the renting of movie equipment, remember this. It’s your own problem. Take 2-day week agreement and don’t buy retail! Also remember to take a whole pack, with tripod, wide angles, screen, etc. You need a pack not a body of camera. Don’t think you can buy other parts somewhere else cheaper and it will roll with that.


Don’t you ever in your life use sound tools fitted in your rented movie camera (digital)!  Those are cheap consumers chips used only for camera testing. Don’t use even microphones which coming with it! They are for documentaries and college gonzos not for movies! Hire a sound-man with his own best equipment. The good sound-man should have own professional stuff. Check out if he has different types of microphones. If he hasn’t, then leave him alone.


“Independent” light trucks! Never seen them in your town? Check out in yellow pages and directories and you will probably find them. Why it’s the best choice to hire an “Independent” light truck? Because an independent truck, or van has already gripper, gaffer and light equipment inside! Help those entrepreneurial people to survive, give them a job! Let’s specify a little bit about lightning. It should be classical three position light bulbs:

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Just two famous brands “Fisher Dollies” and “Chapman-Leonard”.  And don’t be neurotic renting a movie equipment, don’t show your naive and emotional notions, or they will boost the price! Be cool. Wanna save money on dollies? Grab your camera on shoulder and run. Those steel bastards are not cheap, so you’d better find some alternative posts about how to assembly your own movie dolly.

Film stock.

Most expensive part in your movie equipment for a first time film-making activity. Just two words: Kodak and Fuji. Make a request how to get a free stock from them, maybe you heard they also provide that optioned.

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