American Cinematographer, August 1977 | Go to article overview
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A new version of an instrument that is extremely useful to directors and cinematographers for setting up camera angles, particularly since it includes built-in adjustment masks for every format from 1:1.33 to 1:2.35

A new model of the popular IIIB 35mm/16mm Director's Zoom Finder is now available from Alan Gordon Enterprises Inc.

The new Finder has been recalibrated to include all widescreen formats and film ratios from 1:1.33 (Academy) to Safe-Action TV and other formats, including Panavision and Cinemascope. The Finder also has a new, easy-to-read scale on the barrel which simplifies the selection of lenses in the various formats.

The Zoom Finder is used as a guide in the selection of lenses and composition by cinematographers, directors, producers and anyone else involved in filmmaking. Because most motion picture cameras are equipped with lenses of different focal lengths or a zoom lens, the Finder helps in two ways. It can show what the camera reveals through its available lenses and, conversely, it can aid in selecting the best composition by determining what focal length lens should be used.

The Model IIIB 35mm/16mm Director's Zoom Finder is adjustable for various widescreen formats and film ratios. Built-in adjustable masks frame the view at 1:1.33 (Academy), Safe Action TV, 1:1.66, 1:1.75, 1:1.85 and 1:2.35, the latter setting being the popular Cinemascope and Panavision anamorphic formats.

Two simple controls operate the Director's Finder: the top ring (Ratio Scale) and the bottom ring (Focal Length Index Scale), both adjusted in relation to the two stationary white dots below each ring.


First set the top ring at the ratio scale in which you will be filming, i.e., 1.33 (Academy), Safe Action TV, Cinemasocpe/Panavision (2.35), etc., by lining up the top ring and white dot to the correct format ratio. (Note: This setting need not be changed as long as you continue to film in the selected format.)

Next, depending on the focal length lens you are using to film a particular scene, refer to the chart on the barrel of the Finder for the following information: Lens Focal Length, Film Format and Lens Focal Length index number.

Let's assume you are filming in 35mm, using a 25mm lens in the 1.33 (Academy) format. Having lined up the top ring so the white dot is just below 1.33, you would now refer to the horizontal line of numbers to the right of the Lens Focal Length 35mm column, stopping at number 25, which corresponds with your 25mm lens.

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