Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

Silent Hand Held

Published : 14th August 2003


I have a possible operating gig coming up - 35mm - where the director want to shoot some protracted & 'intimate' (poss' 24mm close ups) dialogue scenes with a hand held camera and as long takes as possible.

The choice of camera would be either the Moviecam SL, an Arricam Lite or an Aaton 35 (poss 3 perf).

In my book the Aaton wins in terms of lightness, balance and the 3 perf movement increased running time of 400'. Its disadvantages for what's required are that shooting 3 perf would preclude a DI (to match to 4 perf material) and that it isn't as quiet as the competition. ADR might be a contentious issue.

I'm looking for advice on how the Movicam and Arri could be stripped right down to reduce weight (though removing the video assist isn't an option) or how the Aaton can be barneyed to the max without significant weight increase.

I know the answers to these questions should be self evident but if anyone has a magic formula they'd like to share....

Tom Townend,
Cinematographer/London.



>Its disadvantages for what's required are that shooting 3 perf would >preclude a DI (to match to 4 perf material)

You can do a "Disney Squeeze" and optical your S35 3 Perf material to 4 Perf although the cost might be pretty close to a DI in the UK.

Otherwise the SL is probably your best bet. You could also use a "sky hook" type rig to put the weight on your hips and take it off of your shoulder. (?)

Best,

Anders Uhl
cinematographer
ICG, New York



> and that it isn't as quiet as the competition.

The 3 Perf Aaton is much quieter than the 4 perf Aaton, that's one of the advantages.

Best,

Anders Uhl
cinematographer
ICG, New York



Having played with the Aaton with the new 3-perf movement I can tell you that it is extremely quiet, and the slight putter it does make is a low frequency rumble that is much easier for sound to deal with than most camera noise. I've heard many Moviecam SL cameras that were much louder. They Aaton is also available with a leather barney which is very comfortable to shoot with.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



Mitch Gross wrote:

> Aaton with the new 3-perf movement[...]it is extremely quiet

Just checked the specs and the Aaton 3perf & Movicam SL do seem comparable in terms of dB/A. I guess what I really meant is that non of the preferred hand held cameras are as quiet as a studio camera

Tom Townend,
Cinematographer/London.