Old Timers: TV cameras shown in "Dog Day Afternoon" - Page 3 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media

The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
Let's talk about anything media related.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 14th, 2004, 12:12 AM   #31
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,750
It's only in recent years that prop TV cameras have become indistinguishable from the real thing. I well remember replica cameras that lacked much of the detail while approximating the shape. When you see press briefings or news events in movies these days, you might be assuming that you are seeing working Betacams since they appear to be just that. Chances are they are prop replicas that use actual Betacam shells, and are even weighted to about half the weight of the real thing. They use real Anton Bauer batteries and Mini-Cool lights so that when the trigger button is pressed, the tally light and Mini-Cool switch on. Otherwise all the switches are glued in position and the tape door does not open. Cost of each camera: $7000. And that's for a non-functioning camera, folks! Our main man Chris Hurd visited me on set while we were simulating a White House press conference and was particular impressed with these props.

Usually when I'm shooting a scene where these cameras are being held by extras, I end up having to explain how to hold them properly to at least half of the extras. Why is it, exactly, that the natural tendency is to hold these type of cameras with one hand on the viewfinder and the other on the top handle?
Charles Papert
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 14th, 2004, 12:18 AM   #32
Retired DV Info Net Almunus
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Austin, TX USA
Posts: 2,882
Hey! I wrote to Chuck Pharis about this and never got a response! You Hollywood-types have all the pull... ;)

Thanks for getting that information. Very interesting.
John Locke
John Locke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 22nd, 2004, 03:43 PM   #33
Major Player
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Northridge Ca
Posts: 734
OK, I wrote a very detailed explanation of what you are looking at in this picture, but it seems to have mysteriously disappeared from this list. So, I will try again.

These cameras are the result of a joint project of CBS Labs and Thompson Electronics that took place in the early Seventies. Up to this time, the most popular "portable" production cameras were the PCP 60 and PCP 70, both from Norelco, which was the dominant manufacturer of television studio cameras at the time. (RCA, which also manufactured cameras, was confined mostly to NBC network and their o and o stations.)

One of the first results of the CBS/Thompson effort, the portable camera was the three tube monster you see in the picture. Actually, it was an improvement over the Norelco's, which were extremely heavy, in order to protect the tubes, and required the operator to carry a backpack filled with circuit boards and other electronics. All of this attached to a cable the size of a "horsec..k," which was the popular jargon for this cable.

The CBS/Thompson camera at least cut down on the weight factor considerably. The profile of the camera followed the outline of the tubes: the green tube pointing straight ahead, with the red tube on top and the blue on bottom, I believe. All three tubes were focused on an optical prism block, which received the image from the lens, which was inside the housing you see in the picture. The operator viewed the picture on a crt viewfinder that was mounted vertically, and the operator saw the image through a mirror, similar to a periscope. You can see just the top of the viewfinder in the picture.

The backpack is mostly microwave, and the signal was sent to a line-of-site dish that was hand-held, and from the dish was hard-wired to the remote truck.

Most likely, for the production of the movie, the local CBS outlet rented a remote truck, cameras, operators, etc, to the production. This would allow the production to get actual video footage at the same time the film cameras rolled, to insert into monitors/tv later on. I don't remember, but I would not be surprised if there is film footage that was shot inside the remote truck for the film.

At any rate, I promise you those are real cameras, and not "fabulous fakes." And people bitch about the weight of a PD150?

Wayne Orr, SOC
Wayne Orr is offline   Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

Omega Broadcast
(512) 251-7778
Austin, TX

(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

(800) 238-8480
Glendale, CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:20 PM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2015 The Digital Video Information Network