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Panavision Millenium XL2

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#1 Jameson Johnson

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 01:02 PM

I have a potential job with an XL2, but I've only worked HD / digital jobs before. First time with 35mm.

Are the panavision power cables the same? Can anyone offer first time film advice?
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#2 Daniel Stilling DFF

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 06:46 PM

Since you've not used film cameras before, there's a few things you need to prepare yourself for:
The XL2 is a nice payload. Good combination of not too heavy and enough mass. Different from digital, you will have film displacement. On this camera you won't feel much, as the film moves on the vertical axis, but you will feel a little difference between the beginning and the end of the mag.
Try to talk them out of using short ends. Different weight on every roll.
Now, I haven't seen a film camera for the last 3 years, so if Panavision hasn't updated the video system, you'll need an up converter, or an NTSC monitor, capable of showing composite video, in case your monitor can't.
The power cable for the XL2 and the older cameras, like the G2 are different. Make sure you have the right one, and even if the package comes with a 3 pin XLR power cabl3 for 24v's it's wired opposite than the industry standard. At least it was half a decade ago...
Have fun!
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#3 Erwin Landau

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 07:07 PM

Hi Jameson,

Oh memories…

In retrospect it was/is a great little Camera. The Lightweight II was the camera to get, but anyhow…

I included a picture from my old set up (PRO Lite) that was almost to the day 10 years ago (nov. & dec. 2002, shoot at the Paramount backlot), the only thing that I still own from that set up is the TB-6… wow.

Some info:

The camera is 24 Volt, using a two pin Lemo, the same you would find powering the Transvideo Titan.

The run cable is a 10 pin hermaphrodite the same as with all Panavision cameras.

You will need the dedicated Millennium camera to steadicam adapter brackets (it's a quick release dovetail plate with an additional lever that holds the camera in place, great for back and forth between Handheld, Sticks and steadi) to be able to mount the camera to your camera plate. (To prevent of flying it with the sliding baseplate, which you don't want, adds about 4 pounds to the mix).

The low mode bracket attaches via the top magazine throat. (Very similar to the Genesis low mode bracket).

The magazines are the regular 400' Pana mags, it puts it at about an 5 degree slant, there is a throat adapter that puts the magazine perfectly vertical but also pushes the mag back by about an inch. Some like it as it spreads the weight out… I preferred to keep it compact.

Make sure you get the original Millennium mags, or the Lightweight mags… regular mags are heavy and throw off you balance.

You don't need a 100% Video top, as the video is build into the body (it's NTSC, BNC's are on the dummy side of the camera), the viewfinder just slides off and the prism is covered by an integrated aluminum cover.

Also make sure to get the clip on mattbox, you don't want to fly the iris rods as again they are heavy and one-sided attached…

Getting the motors on to the lens can be challenging at times, also the gear pitch on the lens for focus is 32 which is equivalent to a regular 0.8 like the Zeiss or Cook or all "normal" lenses out there. The Iris is 64 and the Zoom is 48, so Panavision specific.

As I see from your signature, you own an Archer… Is that rig 24 Volt capable? Not very familiar with the smaller rigs from Tiffen.

Depending on the Lenses used (older glass or Anamorphic) or older mags used, you might very quickly run out of lift in your G50 Arm.

You will have to offset the body to the smart side as the motor and the mirror are housed on the dummy side of the body.

I usually got about 4 to 6 mags per battery set (13.2 Volt NiCads). Depending on standby time and amount of rehearsals of course, as long as the camera is not rolling they last forever.

The camera flies beautifully. Perfect weight distribution… miss camera like that…

The beauty about film is that once the AD screams rolling EVERYBODY shuts up immediately because we are burning film…

It's been a year since I shot film… missing the days.

Hope that helps, good luck with your project.

Fly safe,


PS: Do me and the AC a favor and always dock the rig with the lens facing to the left, makes life easier to get to the camera door and to to change the mag and thread the film... just a heads up!

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#4 Jameson Johnson

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:29 AM

Thanks for all the feedback -

The archer does have 24v on it, so powering should not be a problem. If it's confirmed I'll order a cable. And they are using Primo spherical lenses for the shoot with a clip on matte box, so I should be good there.
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#5 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:37 PM

Pleas give us your feedback when you shoot. I'm curious th know what a HD operator thinks and feels with a film camera.
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