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-   -   Elephant (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/alternative-imaging-methods/30216-elephant.html)

Ryan Mattos August 7th, 2004 02:46 PM

Hey, in the making of section of the movie Elephant they are rehearsing camera movements and scenes with a little handheld consumer camera mounted on something that seems to be a mini 35, but it is much smaller and differently shaped than anything I've seen. If anyone can tell by the description or if they have the disk could they please inform me what it is? Its a beautiful flick anyways and well worth renting

Charles Papert August 7th, 2004 06:27 PM

Haven't seen the making of but I'm going to take a guess that what you were seeing was a video viewfinder (aka video finder, aka vidstick). Here's one version of this (look under "Products", then "Digital Film", then "VDF 35/16"), made by P+S Technik who also make the Mini35.

For years we have used finders on set that accept the actual film lens and include an accurate groundglass to rehearse the scene, line up shots etc. The device accurately recreates what would be seen in the viewfinder of the film camera with the lens mounted, but are obviously much more portable although they are not bantam-weight; sometimes they can weigh a good 15 lbs with a big lens!. The real problem is that only one person can look through the finder at a time.

A few years back video cameras got small enough to allow them to be added to finders, similarly to video taps on film cameras. The finders themselves got bulkier, but with the flip-out screens you could show others what you were lining up, and record moves and discuss afterwards (the engraved groundglass is recorded as well).

James Cameron had a beautiful and elegant version of this technology built years ago which he dubbed the Vidstick: it incorporated a video transmitter and was designed ergonomically to be held in the hand something like a gimbal-less stabilizer (think Action Tracker/Steady Tracker type devices). It can be seen on the making-of's of various of his films, such as the steerage dancing scene in "Titanic"

It is somewhat easy to see how this basic concept progressed into the Mini35; swap out the tiny 1 chip camcorder for the new and impressive 3 chip versions, lose the markings in the groundglass and figure out a way to eliminate the texture of same by first rotating, then in the current version by oscillating the groundglass.

Hope this proves to answer your question, Ryan.

John Jay August 8th, 2004 06:49 AM

Ah yes,

if you go a lil further back in time the Dutch master painter Vermeer transcribed what he saw on a ground glass to the canvas

I guess it was just a matter of time before the canvas was replaced with CCD!

There is a beautifully shot film out there at the moment called the Girl with a Pearl Earring

Ryan Mattos August 8th, 2004 10:11 AM

Thanks a lot Charles thats exactly what it was

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