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Video Taps – Models & Mounts

Published : 26th December 2003


Hello,

Looking at several used cameras packages(35-III, BL1/2) with video taps and wondering if anybody can enlighten me on the major differences between a few of the more common models or the mounts (Jurgens video elbow or door, PL mount types, other?) For the price range I'm looking at, most taps are B/W and not flicker free, so features like auto iris/gain adjustment, power connectors, are of interest. Are retro-fits and/or certain housings common?

Some models I've come across :

Sony XC-75 (variations of?)
Sony XC-999
CEI VP-2
CEI VP-3
CEI VP-4
Sony CCD? (assuming this could mean anything)

I've probably used most of the above, but for the life of me, either I almost never pay attention to what model the tap is or an AC takes care of it. I'm not a fan of the XC-999 as I vaguely recall it required unscrewing something and adjusting nearly a dozen DIP switches just to change auto iris (as instructed by rental house tech).

Lastly, what type of door/elbow tap mount set-up common on either a 35-III or BL1/2/3 body would make it easy to swap for existing XC-75 tap (thread mount, BNC vid out, 3-level gain, 11 pin power connector)? To save bucks I'd like to use one that currently is on a SR3.

Any comments or info for video tap links/resources would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Dave Luxton
Cinematographer
Edmonton, AB



Dave--

The man you want to talk to is Addie Boltersdorf in Long Island, NY. He's made custom taps for every camera out there and commonly uses the XC-75 or a similar model. He made the handle mount tap for my Aaton and probably half the video taps in New York. He can work the elbow optics or tell you what you need, and can probably machine a universal mount to swap between cameras.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



XC-75 is B&W widely used as video assist, has 12 pin Hirose connector and BNC, Housing is weak and pulling of BNC can Bend the housing. Manual gain available - delicately with small screwdriver. Good budget video assist. Discontinued by Sony. They have a similar new model.

XC-999 Color CCD is the heart of most high end systems but in its raw form is not especially sensitive and the few available controls are like doing dentistry with small dip switches as you recall. The housing is narrow / long and vulnerable. Small threaded mount not C-mount, adapters available. Hirose 12 pin at far end, no BNC, Special y-
cable to the 12 pin to break out the video or have a custom housing made. Discontinued, they have a newer similar model that is physically shorter.

CEI VP-2,3,4 Older series B&W tube cameras, Image flexibility, sizing , centring, inversion available but setup can be tricky. Image stability is subject to good grounding with camera body and RF interference. Would not suggest building any new systems around these.

CEI Color 4,5,6 Color CCD Flicker free, rugged housings, relatively easy to move from camera to camera with image inversion, centring and rotation built in. Expensive, widely used high end video assist.

Swapping from SR3 to Arri 35's: swapping the XC-75 from one system to another in not a real big deal. It will take some effort to get level, centred and focused each time you move. May not be worth the energy considering how easy it is
to own 2 cameras and leave them put (used XC-75's are fairly inexpensive.) Swapping the camera with the optical set is not likely to pay off. The mechanical and optical requirements of the SR3 VS the 35 mm cameras is significantly different. More energy & $ in versus savings.

Best Regards,

Greg DeFoe
Design Engineer
San Bruno CA 94066



>XC-75 is B&W widely used as video assist, has 12 pin Hirose connector >and BNC, Housing is weak and ...

Wow! Thanks Greg. That was great info.

I wasn't too confident in the whole SR3 to 35mm body swap for the XC-75. The more energy required to do this would be mine no doubt, so a few extra bucks for another tap would make me happy.

A commercial production co. I used to work for (as a focus puller) had an Arri tap, I believe (it was just a black box, no markings), that I'd swap between a 35-III and a SR2. The tap had a pseudo PL type mount and it was a pain in the ass constantly aligning the frame and I couldn't tighten it like a thread mount. So many clients bitched about the regular "skew" that we'd just rent another complete 35-III door w/tap.

I'll keep the adapter possibility open until I see how much, or even if, an adapter would be required for the XC-75 to said 35mm body.
(Thanks for the contact Mitch).

Design Engineer huh. 4 years of engineering school and here I am still making movies.

Good ol' CML.

Dave "from super conductors to super16" Luxton
Cinematographer
Edmonton, AB