I'm going through some past issues of A. C. (Feb 03, p.86)
and see this picture of DP César Charlone on the set
of 'City of God' wearing some kind of a virtual eye piece.
On the picture he uses a 16mm Aaton camera which is connected
to this eye piece. I have never seen this device before, does
someone know what exactly it is and is it used often?
It doesn't mention it in the article but could it be a portable
'head tv' for hand held stuff, so one is free to move the
camera about without having to eye the viewfinder?!
>some kind of a virtual eye piece.
On the picture he uses a 16mm Aaton >camera which is connected
to this eye piece.
I saw a similar sounding device (5/6)years ago at a rental
house in the UK. Memory doesn't serve me as to whether it
was Arri or the late great Samuelsons. It was a 'VR' headset
that connected to the video tap of any 35mm/16mm camera and
had been converted especially for a film (Mortal Kombat I
It was exactly for the purpose you describe - specifically
fight scenes that were being covered handheld - where the
operator could 'fly' the camera around the action without
having to prance their entire body with it. Apparently it
took some getting used to and operators would get disoriented
on their first go.
I've often thought about digging it up myself – one
could certainly have some fun with it. Not much help I know
but with a little ringing round you'll probably find someone
who knows exactly what/where it is.
Flemming Jetmar wrote :
>picture of DP César Charlone
on the set of 'City of God' wearing some >kind of a virtual
I believe that Declan Quinn used one on Monsoon Wedding for
street scenes shot from the back of a pick up truck (pick
up shots? To avoid a black eye from the viewfinder. I've used
one but only during painful procedures in the dentists chair.
Anders "had a few black eyes" Uhl
DP, New York
I remember several (too many???) years ago seeing an article
about someone who was making a fibre optic eyepiece extension
for the Aaton. As I remember, it was not quite a meter long
and allowed you to position a special eyepiece over one eye,
I'm sure the Aaton folks in Grenoble would remember from where
those came. Maybe they're still available to rent somewhere.
I've worked with several Aaton owners who use the Olympus
EyeTrek FMD-700 video glasses.
Much safer. You can see the video tap display and also see
what you are about to bump into. (ouch!)
Motion Picture First Camera Assistant
Another DoP I know bought one of these systems at B&H
Photo and video in NYC. I believe he said they were called
Olympus Eye Trek (don't quote me though)? He bought them a
few years ago, but in general said the systems range from
about $500 - $1000, depending on the quality and model you
buy. I've contacted some rental houses and they seem like
an item you can only purchase, not rent.
>where the operator could 'fly'
the camera around the action without >having to prance their
entire body with it.
I know Sony had a device for "gaming" called a Glastron
which was a visor arrangement which did exactly this. I often
considered that it would be great for the Betacam and MiniDV
material I shoot on the decks of ocean racing yachts but one
of the problems for me was that the device was only available
in NTSC because all Japanese video games are this format apparently.
I understood you could vary the intensity of the visor to
adjust how much you saw thru the glass which would overcome
the viewing problems
Laurie K. Gilbert s.o.c.
Global Cinematography for Cinema & Television www.limage.tv/
Not sure this is the best of the eyepieces. I've been doing
a bit of research on them -- none of them are really ideal
yet, and some are quite costly.
I've used a number of the video headgear eyepieces on handheld
and crane shots. They make some people nauseous so try it
out first. It can ruin your day.
The original prototype Steadicam used a fiberoptic bundle
to go from the camera viewfinder to the operator's eye. Garrett
Brown actually operated some shots with this setup and told
me that it was very expensive to build and very disorienting
There's also that new HD viewfinder (name escapes me at the
moment) that showed at NAB and is going to be incorporated
into the Panavised f900s as well as be available for the Varicam.
It's about the size of a director's finder (Mark V style)
and is full rez color. It trails a very small flexible cable,
so it can be used as a director's finder, in the manner mentioned
in this thread, or mounted on a rod like an extension eyepiece.
I think optical extension eyepiece tubes are vestigial in
the electronic world and can easily be replaced by devices
such as this.
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MitchGross wrote :
>There's also that new HD viewfinder
(name escapes me at the moment) >that showed at NAB and
is going to be incorporated into the Panavised >f900s as well
as be available for the Varicam. It's about the size of
a >director's finder (Mark V style) and is full rez color.
You're probably thinking of the Accuscene. It's not full res
-- it's 1280 x 1024, but then letterboxed to 16:9.
I was quite unimpressed by it. First off, it's big for what
it is (there is a big circuit board needed to drive it that
they try to keep hidden when demoing it). It's 4:3, so for
widescreen images, you waste a lot of the real estate. It's
expensive (about $12K). And at least one of the company guys
is a very grumpy Scotsman. (Russell Branch, the other guy,
is nice enough.)
I also saw it on the Viper. Can't decide whether it was worse
than the Angenieux optical finder, which Steven Poster described
as being akin to the reflex finder on a Pan Cinor 17-85 Zoom
(I think he was being generous).
Accuscene was somewhat dumb in licensing it exclusively to
Panavision for camera viewfinder purposes, not realizing that
that would limit sales to perhaps 100 cameras owned by Panavision
(as I assume they don't plan to sell it).
I thought Sony's overpriced finder looked better, when used
with the expensive Chrosziel optics. But I didn't love any
Jeff "viewfinders are the Achille's heel" Kreines
MitchGross wrote :
>The original prototype Steadicam
used a fibreoptic bundle to go from >the camera viewfinder
to the operator's eye. Garrett Brown actually >operated some
shots with this setup and told me that it was very >expensive
to build and very disorienting to use.
Les Zellan tried to sell these back in the late '70s -- I
remember he had one on either an Aaton or an NPR. Back then
it seemed like a cool way to avoid big and heavy video viewfinders
(all used tube cameras and monitors) but it was dark, lots
of dead fibres, and expensive.
Of course, I'd love one for my collection...
Jeff "um, just kidding, I think, unless it's really cheap"
I tried using a virtual eyepiece (gaming goggles) on an industrial
once - it's very disorienting and a lot less useful that you
might think. I would much rather operate off a camera mountable
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List http://www.cinematography.net
>Though the younger generation
of video-game kids might feel >differently...
I kind of doubt it. The brain is wired in such a way that
if there is incongruity between head movement and movement
in the visual field, it produces nausea as a protective mechanism
- the emptying the stomach is a safeguard against accident
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List
Jessica Gallant writes:
>I kind of doubt it. The brain
is wired in such a way that if there is >incongruity between
head movement and movement in the visual field
I can attest to that. However some people can get used to
it, but it's not a pleasant process. A little publicized aspect
of the space program is that nearly all astronauts get motion
sickness in zero G. Again, it's the disconnect between what
your brain senses that your body is doing and what your eyes
Brian "some things we don't need to see on TV" Heller
IA 600 DP
Jessica Gallant wrote:
>The brain is wired in such a
way that if there is incongruity between >head movement
and movement in the visual field
Ah, that explains the barf bags that they put in all the seats
Jeff "like I went to see it... right" Kreines
On a film I shot last summer, we had a situation where our
Steadicam guy was not available on a very crucial day.
We had a scene where the lead actress & her father had
to talk & walk thru a park…some 6 pages! Meaning
somewhere about a 300' dolly move!! Of course, we had only
64 feet of track. So, we broke down the action into 60' moves…but
I needed to be framed in a frontal/neutral position 2 shot,
thus allowing us cutaways to side 45 degree coverage [to help
mask the short 60' track]. The lead actress insisted that
she not have to walk over dolly track.
Ok...So we rigged the Moviecam Compact out on a jib arm extended
from a dolly who's track ran parallel to the actors. I had
to operate walking backwards. My 1st had those really cool
I was able to view the video assist while I walked backwards
AND was still
able to maintain my footing.