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Has anyone flown/used the Panavision Elaine (elan)


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#1 Ari Gertler

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 02:01 PM

I used this camera about 5 years ago when I was just starting out as a Steadicam Operator, but have I forgotten all about it.These are basic general questions that would like to be answered:

Total and dummy side Weight?
VideoTap?
Lenses?
Should I stay away from this thing?
Anything else I should be aware of?

Thank you for your responses.

Ari Gertler
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#2 Dave Schwartz

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 10:42 PM

Hi Ari,

I used an Elaine this summer. Don't know the exact weight, but without a doubt it is the heaviest 16mm camera I have come across. Felt more like a Moviecam Compact. The videotap is built-in and worked fine, and with the eyepiece removed there were no serious side-to-side balance issues. I'm not sure what questions you have about the lenses, but there is a full set of Panavision primes available and they all work fine, with no size/weight issues. Go for the clip-on matte box, of course. All in all, the camera worked like a charm, so I don't see any reason to avoid it.

One thing that you should be aware of is the power connector. I called Panavision LA and asked them whether the power connector was the same as on the 35mm cameras and they said yes. It is not, at least on the camera that we had. It looks like a smaller version of the Panavision connector, so be prepared for some possible splicing.

David Schwartz
d.a.schwartz@verizon.net

By the way, does anyone know the genesis of this camera's name? I heard that it was named after a Panavision receptionist, possibly as a prototype title only that somehow took hold, much to PV's chagrin. When I called to inquire about the connector, I was corrected with a somewhat sniffy "The Elaine? Oh, you must mean the Panavision 16."
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#3 Chip Monk

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 07:03 AM

One thing that you should be aware of is the power connector. I called Panavision LA and asked them whether the power connector was the same as on the 35mm cameras and they said yes. It is not, at least on the camera that we had. It looks like a smaller version of the Panavision connector, so be prepared for some possible splicing.



Power is a 2 pin Lemo. Like the XL? I believe. Same connector as most of the Pana accesories. (lens lights, OB Monitors, zoom power)

Chip
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#4 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 09:58 AM

I've got a job coming up with an Elaine. I've never flown this camera and I'm wondering what connector they use for power. Is it the same as the GII or the XL? Also, is it 24v or 12v. I'm assuming 24v, but just want to have my bases covered before the job. Anything funky or different about this camera that I should know about? How's the weight? I've heard it's on the heavy side in comparison to other 16mm cameras. Any info is appreciated.
Thanks.
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#5 Ari Gertler

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 01:51 PM

The Pana Elaine is a fine camera. The weight is nearly perfect (heavy for a 16mm, but the weight of lighter 35's). The power is the large 2 pin alt pana power. The video assist (Woodland Hills) is bright. I had to fly it last time WITH the studio matt-box which was not really a problem, I used the rods for my motors. The only thing that I don't like is that is seems to suck more juice than other 24v. cameras, at least the last time that I used it (although I was only using the back 2 positions on my Pro: for better balance. If I used all 3 batt. positions I may not have needed to change batts. every few take).
Nothing to worry about.

Ari Gertler
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#6 Chip Monk

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 03:23 PM

I've got a job coming up with an Elaine. I've never flown this camera and I'm wondering what connector they use for power. Is it the same as the GII or the XL? Also, is it 24v or 12v. I'm assuming 24v, but just want to have my bases covered before the job. Anything funky or different about this camera that I should know about? How's the weight? I've heard it's on the heavy side in comparison to other 16mm cameras. Any info is appreciated.
Thanks.



Same as Ari said. 2 pin XL power cable, 24v. They do have a low mode bracket that fits in the top mag position, and maybe another steadicam part that goes on the bottom. It's been a while. I also seem to remember as a safety thing to power down the camera (unplug) to change mags. May not be an issue using a remote on/off, but something about blowing fuses in the camera if the switch is engaged.

Take Care,
Chip
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#7 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 06:01 PM

Thanks for the info guys. Sounds like no problem.
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#8 Charles Papert

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 09:03 PM

If you end up flying it with the Panavised 16mm zoom (a Canon conversion, if I remember correctly) which was often the case when I used it, it's a bit front heavy but a long dovetail plate should take care of things. There are primes for it but I can't remember using them. It's sort of cute, like a shrunken-head version of a Platinum. God forbid you should have to conventionally operate it though, the viewing optics deliver a small, dark image compared to an SR3 or Aaton (or any modern 35mm system).
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#9 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 02:29 AM

Hmm, it's a "b" camera/steadi gig, so I guess I'll find out for myself just how good the optics are for myself. Or if it's anything like a lot of my jobs lately every shot will be steadicam every day I work. I'll have my squinty face ready though in case we go into conventional mode.
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#10 Marc_Abernathy

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 06:50 PM

hey brad, any update to this cam? id like to hear how it turned out. i have been waiting to hear if people have flown this cam and how well it flys...
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#11 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 05:40 AM

It flew really well. Nice weight, although a bit heavy for a 16mm camera. We had a lot of jamming problems and the camera blew a fuse at one point, but otherwise it was pretty good. The optics weren't great, but it worked out. I did a little bit of squinting when I did some conventional operating, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. Overall it was pretty good. I'd do another job with that camera with no problem.
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#12 Mitch Gross

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 11:34 AM

I persoanlly think that camera is ridiculous. It was built for studio work where people used to operating Panavision 35 but forced to work in 16 would be comfortable and familiar with the setup. But it is way too heavy and cumbersome for a modern 16mm camera, as you mention the viewfinder is dim and the loading is far trickier than any other 16mm camera (although a little simple than Panavision 35). The optics are rehoused Zeiss and Canon glass, but they have not kept up with all the 16mm optics available so you can't stick on soe desireable glass. For just about any shooting I'd take an Arri or Aaton just about any day.
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#13 Joshua Harrison

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 01:41 PM

I persoanlly think that camera is ridiculous. It was built for studio work where people used to operating Panavision 35 but forced to work in 16 would be comfortable and familiar with the setup. But it is way too heavy and cumbersome for a modern 16mm camera, as you mention the viewfinder is dim and the loading is far trickier than any other 16mm camera (although a little simple than Panavision 35). The optics are rehoused Zeiss and Canon glass, but they have not kept up with all the 16mm optics available so you can't stick on soe desireable glass. For just about any shooting I'd take an Arri or Aaton just about any day.


Honestly it's not all that heavy, and the added mass probably helps with steadicam. As for it being difficult to thread, it's not hard it just takes a few days getting used to the tinier film, other than that it's almost exactly like a panaflex. Your comments on the optics are correct though, it would be nice to see an update in lenses and the finder, but the most important thing they could do is update the video. If they did we would see a lot more of these out there. The lightest camera is not always the best and you won't find a quieter camera out there than this one.


Joshua Harrison
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#14 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 09:02 PM

Mitch,
I think most of your points deal more with conventional use than they do with steadicam. Although your point about the lenses is a good one. They were quite stiff and the focus thread was an odd size. But other than than it wasn't a bad camera to fly at all. I'd certainly take an SR3 over and Elaine too if I had a choice, especially if I was doing a lot of conventional operating as well.
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#15 Charles Papert

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 10:25 PM

Oh yeah that's right! 48 pitch focus gear. Just plain weird...!

I will have to say that when the camera came out in the mid-80's, Panavision had a great graphic design going to promote it--a very cool semi-abstract poster. I bought one, and it arrived personally signed to me by Elaine herself (whose signature also appears inside the door). Still have it, it's a nice relic. There were also these great Hawaiian shirts that consisted of the same Elaine graphic printed over and over, if you looked closely. Didn't get one of those though...
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