Magazine article American Cinematographer

The New Moviecam 3n Camera

Magazine article American Cinematographer

The New Moviecam 3n Camera

Article excerpt

Film 79

A sleek new camera for studio or hand-held use that runs at the incredibly low noise level of 17.5 dBA and is so sophisticated that it diagnoses electronically the cause of any malfunction

Shown in prototype form at both FILM 77 and Photokina '78, the MOVIECAM 35mm camera in its Model 3N incarnation emerged as a finished product during FILM 79. Due to a shortage of available exhibition space at the Royal Lancaster hotel, the MOVIECAM 3N was shown privately at the Eucam agency in Wardour Street and caused a sensation when it became known that this latest model of the camera operates at the incredibly low noise level of 17.5 dBA-with film!

In appearance the MOVIECAM 3N is a handsome piece of modern sculpture, with an irregularly hexagonal body and a rakish back-mounted magazine-all of which adds up to an ergonomically comfortable design for hand-held operation. The camera looks like something new and different- and it is.

The MOVIECAM 3N (with 500 feet of film in the magazine) weighs 27 pounds and features a completely new BLN compensating link movement. Double transport claws and twin registration pins insure smooth pull-down, as well as a high degree of frame-to-frame registration. It is also mainly this new movement that is responsible for the phenomenal 17.5 dBA noise level of the camera when it is pulling film.

"We didn't purposely set out to get the camera to run that quietly," says Fritz Gabriel Bauer, designer of the MOVIECAM. "It just happens that this new movement makes very little noise."

In terms of electronic sophistication, the MOVIECAM 3N rates in the "spaceage" category, since just about everything on it that could be automated has been.

Following is the manufacturer's description of the camera:

The new MOVIECAM 3N is a trendsetting modular-system-designed 35mm camera for use in the production of theatrical and television feature films and television commercials.

The 3N incorporates all of the professional features required for theatrical filming and introduces many new features and accessories unique only with the 3N MOVIECAM. Some of its exclusive features and accessories include: Dig/clapper, built-in slating system . . . Moviespeed System, which allows the camera speed to be changed during filming, while maintaining exposure control . . . EBU Time Base Code, which prints real-time on film for editor's reference . . . and Microprocessor DC motor-control, which permits the camera to operate from 24V DC or T10/220V, 50/60 HZ.

MOVIECAM 3N's sound level is less than 18 dBA (measured by AKG, Vienna, with film in the camera) making it the quietest 35mm feature production camera in the industry.

Some of the unique features of the MOVIECAM 3N are truly ingenious.

For example, the Digiclapper built-in automatic slating system optically prints a pre-dialed scene number onto the first 100 frames of each scene in the-middle of the frame, which insures easy legibility during projection. The savings in time and film stock made possible by this feature can be considerable.

One of the several plug-in modules available for the MOVIECAM 3N is the Moviespeed System, which allows the running speed to be changed at programmed rates during the shot. For example, a pole-vaulter can be shown at normal speed running up to plant his pole. As he does so, the frame rate smoothly changes and he soars through the air in "slow-motion," without even the slightest variation in exposure density. The time interval in which the acceleration or deceleration is to take place can be pre-set on switch banks. Control is affected by means of a microprocessor, which also makes the appropriate exposure corrections via the automatic iris control servomotor coupled to the lensiris ring.

The Moviespeedbox is a control unit with microprocessors and switchboard to be mounted on the camera, which controls the Moviespeed System in forward and reverse modes, plus single-frame operation. …

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