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Is it okay to invert film cameras for lowmode?

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#1 Mike Marriage

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 01:31 PM

I know this has been touched on before, but members seemed to disagree if inverting film cameras for low mode is a good idea. I do it on video the whole time.

I have also done shots with an SR1 inverted without issues but is there anything I should be aware of? I was planning to gaffer the mag and battery down just in case.

I prefer inverting the rig for low mode because of the time it saves but I don't want to chew the film up... or worse. The camera I am particularly thinking of is an SR2 as I am shooting a load of low mode with one this week.

Thanks again,

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#2 Sean Jensen

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 02:04 PM

Hi Mike,

I have done this plenty of times with an SR2. No problems ever. ADs always love it when you tell them "two minutes for low mode" ;-)

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#3 RobVanGelder


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Posted 30 April 2007 - 10:25 PM

With 16 mm camera's there is - in general - nothing against the reversing of the camera, except for the fact that you put a very sensitive part, the viewfinder, optics and video assist, on the bottom where you can easily hit something.
So be careful!

With a camera like and Arri 3 (IIc) 435 there is not much problem either. These camera's have fixed bodies, the magazines are firmly attached as well.

It will be different with sync-sound 35mm camera's. They have in general an internal body that hangs in rubber fittings in the outside- visible - body, which acts as a sound blimp.
The internal bodies are in this firm rubbers and stay there with special lockable screws that still allow some movement. That means that the moment you turn it into an extreme angle, up or down or sideways, the internal body starts to hang over to the lower side and this CAN cause problems.

The moviecam for instance has an moving weight in a special construction that moves the inner body (the movement) forward or backward on a lever, so when you tilt the weight will prevent the movement from hanging to one side. however, if you reverse the camera or put in in 90 degrees up or down, you have reached the limits for sure or blocked this counter-movement completely.
You also can expect some focus issues when this camera is seriously in high speed, irregular motion, as the weight block might shift due to speed changes even when perfectly horizontal.

The Arricams don't have this special movement, but are supported in rubber internally so can be offset as well.
I don't know about the Panavisions.

The Arri BL series is also in rubbers, though the lens mount is more firmly attached to the movement. The magazines wont give problems here, they are coaxial and putting them upside down does not really matter. (but sideways does matter!)

Another issue can be the sideways mounting: here the Arri 435 is definately sensitive, also because the magazine movement is mounted in rubbers too. There can be a slight misalignment when shooting at 90 degree angle, for instance for long tall shots that need to be inserted in other shots (think long black hair on high speed (150 fps) for shampoo commercials)
This can cause the mags to jam.

Similar problems might appear with other camera's and magazines at 90 degrees sideways.

So be careful, be sensible, if in doubt, use a low mode bracket is my opinion. It's all mechanical, unlike video cams (and even they have their preferences)
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#4 Mike Marriage

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Posted 01 May 2007 - 04:08 AM

Great guys,

Thanks for the advice!
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