CML - Cinematography Mailing List

>Hand Crank

Published : 11th Sept. 2006

OK this ones for all those who can remember and those that wish they weren’t.

I am looking for a hand crank for a Cameflex CM3. We have a job that believe it or not is a silent film and hand cranked. We have looked at both a Universal and a Debrie but I think they will need to much work to be useable apart from the fact that all stock these days has antihalation backing so no focus.

Two other choices that I am looking at are the CM3 (the glass is 1950's) or a rack-over Mitchell which has 1970's glass.

My preference is for the CM3 (Éclair users are like Renault Drivers)

Any help would be appreciated

Jon Armstrong
Cinematographer, Photographer and Editor
http://www.nildesperandum.tv
11 Clifton Street
Maylands South Australia 5069


Jon Armstrong wrote:

class="style11">> Two other choices that I am looking at are the CM3 (the glass is >1950's) or a rack-over Mitchell which has 1970's glass.

Why not a Konvas 1M? You can get them dirt cheap and most of them come with a hand crank. The optics aren't bad and they're pretty close to being a Cameflex when you get right down to it. I have one and love it. I don't even take the electric motor with me.

I just use that camera with a loaded turret (I keep an 18mm, a 28mm and a 50mm on mine) as a dedicated hand-crank camera. I think I've got $600 in the whole rig.

Robert Jackson
Santa Rosa, CA


Jon Armstrong wrote:

class="style11">> Two other choices that I am looking at are the CM3 (the glass is >1950's) or a rack-over Mitchell which has 1970's glass.

Mitchell’s are great, and you could use a Fries reflexed Mitchell with a handcrank -- and modern lenses if you'd like (different mounts are available). The CM3 handcrank accessory is pretty rare.

Of course, there is a handcrank accessory for the Arri 435, though it's not a direct mechanical crank. You can also rent handcrank Arri IIc’s.

Jeff "has probably 25 handcrank cameras of various vintages" Kreines


Actually, it is possible to use a focus prism on current B&W stocks, in spite of the antihalation coating. The image is not very bright but it is workable. The Debrie is not a bad choice at all.

The usual B&W MP stocks don't have a rem-jet backing, but a much easier to deal with coating. I think Kodak _might_ still make 2615 RAR film, which has no antihalation coating of any sort. 2615 is lots of fun to shoot, and it does have a look that is a lot closer to that of the old stocks.

You also might consider shooting an ortho or blue-sensitive lab stock.

That said, I have improvised cranks for the Cameflex before, just with a door crank rigged to sleeve cut on a lathe. Ask your local machine shop if they can make you something; it was less than an hour's work for us.

Scott


The Debrie Parvo has 2 gates, one next to the other, and you shift it the film one out of the way to see through the lens- modern stocks should be ok to use. It was probably the first coaxial design, even though they were 2 separate mags on each side of the camera (and I believe it was in 1953 the Super Parvo reflex was introduced)

Since you're in Austraaaaaalia,(down under lol) you should contact Steve(last name?)-he posted a link on CML with a pic of a hand cranked 2C (perhaps you could do a search through CML archives) ... but a variable shutter handcranked 2C probably won't be as easy to find, while a handcranked Mitchell does offer variable shutter (the Debrie also had variable shutter).

Funny how many cameras (even before the 20's) had variable shutters, running slow film stocks from that era-

Best regards

John Babl
DP
Miami


>>Since you're in Austraaaaaalia,(down under lol) you should contact >Steve(last name?)-he posted a link on CML with a pic of a hand cranked >2C (perhaps you could do a search through CML archives)

Steve Morton.....of Monash university, I believe.

Nick Paton
Director of Photography
High Def./Standard Def./Film
Aaton Xtr Prod owner operator
Brisbane, Australia
www.npdop.com


class="style11">>Jeff "has probably 25 handcrank cameras of various vintages" Kreines

Hey Jeff.

I have two or three hand crank cameras myself- more, if you count Bolexes. I suppose almost any camera can be made hand crankable. The one I would suggest as neat would be an Eyemo. I have two with hand cranks as accessories. The lenses for the army version are very sharp. Part of the look of hand cranking is the change in exposure. I was wondering - were there any cameras that somehow compensated for that, other than using a flywheel, perhaps by changing a variable shutter?

I'm sure many of us would like to hear more about your cameras- the years and the interesting facts of.

Edwin Myers, Atlanta


Thanks to everyone who replied.

Fun things these hand cranked cameras unfortunately this is Austraaaalia (down under) and nobody gives funding to feature films that are not just like Hollywood only cheaper.

This is believe it or not, a silent comedy, in B&W (though shot on colour stock) and I have to find the cheapest way out.

A rack-over Debrie would be nice but the only Debrie I can find is one that use to belong to Frank Hurley. Its an old reporter and needs a lot of work to get it up and running. Of the cameras I can lay my hands on, its a choice between a rack-over Mitchell or the CM3.

Being an Éclair fan from way back (NPR's with BBC) I am tempted to use the Cameflex. I will get a machine shop to make the geared crank. I must say though, I like the idea of the Gear Head Handle used on the 2C since the DOP (who has never even seen let alone used a hand-cranked camera) to achieve a smoother operation.

Another reason for opting for the Cameflex is the long gate.

Regards Jon Armstrong

Cinematographer, Photographer, Editor and all round good guy.
http://www.nildesperandum.tv


I own a CM3 and would love to get a hand crank for it.


It would be pretty simple to have one made the socket where the motor connects to the camera body is pretty straight forward.

I would be curious to know if you are able to go forward as well as backward with the hand crank on the CM3.

There are some CM3's with PL mount so you could use modern glass.

Zack Richard LA DP
http://www.zackrichard.com


class="style11">>A rack-over Debrie would be nice but the only Debrie I can find is one >that use to belong to Frank Hurley. Its an old reporter and needs a lot of >work to get it up and running.

One couldn't use colour film in a Debrie since one can't view through the rem-jet backing.

Also it uses a now nonstandard core size, so one would have to rewind the raw stuck on to Debrie cores. I think the Russian Rodina uses the same cores, it basically being a relexed Parvo knock off.

Leo Vale
Pgh PA



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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