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Supporting Panavision Cameras


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#1 Yuk Hoy Cheong

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 09:20 AM

Dear One and All,

I am based in Malaysia and am equipped to support most Arri Film cameras from 16mm to 535B's. I might have work to fly Panavision cameras soon. Is there any thing that I should be aware of or look out for? Cables, power supply, etc? I have DIonic 90's, Hytron 140's and Trimpac's for power, Bar-tech Follow Focus, TransVideo Transmitter/ Receiver in my Package.

Any suggestions and knowledge is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Best regards and happy flying
cheong
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#2 pauldudeck

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 09:22 PM

Hi Cheong,

The only thing that I can think of is that Panavision does wire their 3p XLR's different than the standard. Pin #1 (+) and Pin #2 (-), so be sure to check polarity if using your own cables.

Paul
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#3 brooksrobinson

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 01:29 AM

Cheong,

Several things to know about Panavision 35mm film cameras.

• They are all 24V – even the Panavised Arri 3’s. Your Dionics will run a 35mm Panavision body very nicely.

• There are two different power connectors depending on the body type, so you’d need to know what body it was before the job and make sure you had the correct cable.

• They use different screws to mount to your steadicam dovetail plates than Arri or Moviecam cameras. These are generally included with the body, but it is worth a conversation with the assistant at the prep to make sure. Sometimes the case arrives without them. They typically come with 4 screws for the bottom plate and 4 for the top, low-mode plate.

• Unless you are using the XL, some bodies come with standard mags (heavy). Make sure to ask ahead of time for lightweight mags.

• The XL and the Lightweight are the best 35mm cameras for steadicam use. The XL is more versatile as the Lightweight doesn’t have a viewfinder, and can’t (shouldn’t) be used on sticks or a dolly. The XL converts easily from steadicam to hand-held to studio mode.

• The Lightweight also needs a power/video cable for the integrated video tap. The black and white tap version of the body utilizes the same cables as many of our old-school Sony eyepiece taps (XC-75 etc.). The newer, modified color taps use the same connector, but the cable is different. In Los Angeles, this cable is supplied with the body but check to make sure it is there too.

• The lenses use a 32 pitch gear for focus (like Cooke, Zeiss, etc.), but the iris gear is 64 pitch, and the zoom is 48 pitch. You’ll need ring adapters for your Preston (etc.) motors in order to do an iris pull or a zoom.

• You are obviously going to want a clip-on mattebox. Panavision has a great one, but you’ll need to figure out where your focus motor rods are going to mount. I use XCS dovetail plates which work very well for this. Jerry Hill also makes a nice bracket for the Lightweight that works with the XL as well – you’d also need to get his square to round rods to mount off of if you went this route. Mounting rods off of the steadicam dovetail plates (like the old-school CP or GPI ones) might not work very well, as Panavision lenses (like the 50mm Primo) tend to be big and stiffer than Cooke or Zeiss. The stiffness of the lens might cause too much flexing in the rod for the motor to work well, causing it to stop spinning or skip out of the gear.

• Speaking of stiff lenses, have the assistant make sure all of the primes spin easily. The 50mm Primo is notoriously stiff with a clip-on. There are others, especially if they get cold. Back before Preston came on the scene, we used to team two Heden motors together on our Seitz units to turn certain Panavision lenses.

I’m sure someone else will chime in with something I’ve forgotten, but that’s about it. Panavision cameras are great assuming you get one designed to be on a steadicam (XL or Lightweight). The Platinum, Gold or G-2, and Flying X are disasters waiting to happen regardless of what “lightweight” accessories they might come with. Make sure to get to the prep if you haven’t worked with them before, as there can be surprises – especially where you are located I’d imagine.

Feel free to ask if you have more questions.

Brooks Robinson
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#4 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 03:44 PM

I’m sure someone else will chime in with something I’ve forgotten, but that’s about it. Panavision cameras are great assuming you get one designed to be on a steadicam (XL or Lightweight). The Platinum, Gold or G-2, and Flying X are disasters waiting to happen regardless of what “lightweight” accessories they might come with. Make sure to get to the prep if you haven’t worked with them before, as there can be surprises – especially where you are located I’d imagine.

Feel free to ask if you have more questions.

Brooks Robinson


Fantastic, comprehensive advice from Brooks,
Cheong, where are you getting your cameras from? I am using a Platinum from Panavision Bombay, and they have no steadicam accesories. No dovetail, no mags ... nothing. I am flying it in studio mode. I hope you are in better shape than me.

Cheong - are you the aerial (chopper) operator I worked with on "Don" in Langkawi and KL ? Just wondering ...

Sanjay Sami
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#5 Yuk Hoy Cheong

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 06:04 PM

Thanks Paul for that polarity issue on the power cable. Will definitely do the test and bear that in mind. Have a great day.
cheong
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#6 Yuk Hoy Cheong

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 06:13 PM

Hello Brooks Robinson,
Many thanks for the comprehensive breakdown of what to expect of Panavision cameras. I will look out for them when I get the chance to. I do not think that the cameras are in town yet. You really have given me a better insight to the cameras. There are so many things foreign in their system compared to the Arri systems found here in Malaysia.

Thanks again. I will digest all and will come back with more questions when I have more.

Cheers
cheong
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#7 Yuk Hoy Cheong

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 06:23 PM

Hi! Sanjay,

Yes I am the same person that you are mentioning about. Great to hear from you.

The cameras are coming in from Hong Kong, my guess. As for accessories and other stuffs, we are at their mercy too. I have virtually no idea at all as to what is coming in but will definitely request for some form of decent stuff from the producers here. But it could be a nightmare, ha! ha!

Hear you might be flying in soon??? Give me a call when you're in. We'll catch up. Have fun.

cheong
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#8 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 10:12 PM

Hi! Sanjay,

Yes I am the same person that you are mentioning about. Great to hear from you.

The cameras are coming in from Hong Kong, my guess. As for accessories and other stuffs, we are at their mercy too. I have virtually no idea at all as to what is coming in but will definitely request for some form of decent stuff from the producers here. But it could be a nightmare, ha! ha!

Hear you might be flying in soon??? Give me a call when you're in. We'll catch up. Have fun.

cheong


Hey Cheong! Good to catch up in cyberspace.
Hope Panavision Hong Kong is better equipped than Bombay for your sake.
I am not in KL yet. My crew was there scouting for a movie we start in November, but we do the first 3 months in Berlin, so we get to Malaysia only in February ( atleast thats the way it looks right now)
I am in Abu Dhabi airport right now in transit to Greece and Istanbul on a movie called "crooked"
Hope your job goes well.

Sanjay
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#9 Yuk Hoy Cheong

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 08:48 AM

Hi! Brooks,

Had been over to the local Panavision Rental House and they had the Platinum Panaflex, Golden Panaflex GII and Pan-Arri III in the camera package for the film. Had just eye-balled the Platinum only. Looks like disaster is waiting to happen. Will be going in tomorrow to test it with my rig.

The things that I had found out on this Platinum are:-
1 ) They had just the bottom plate and no screws - I had managed to find the said screws. Will find out more about the top- low mode cage tomorrow.
2 ) They are using Canon 3-Pin XLR connector from the battery pack. Polarity of power supply is reversed (as Paul Dudek had said) Can the Platinum be powered with 32Volts? I was intending to use a Dionic 90 and a Trimpac to provide power to the camera. A combination that I had used successfully to power for ARRI cameras. Any reservations or thoughts about that.
3) They had ordered the BarTech for remote follow focus on their remote head of which I had two channels too. But where would they mount the motors from? And yes the gear for the iris would be a problem too... How and what would you use as alternative?

Any other suggestions to add? Anybody???

Thank again for all the help guys.

Happy flying
cheong
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