Still Shooting...

Two big shooting days coming up in July that will constitute a  large percentage of scenes,

In other words - progress.

As usual the most time consuming aspect is gathering the vintage costumes.

There simply isn't much left out there from the 30 / 40's and the good piece have become very expensive. The height and size of the actors is also a problem. People today are simply taller and bigger than they were in the 30's and 40's and vintage pieces in large sizes are difficult to find and priced accordingly. 

As a result I spend an inordinate amount of time going through hundreds or thousands of pages on eBay and Etsy. In short the search for costumes and props consumes by far more of my time than anything else on this project.

I very much look forward to the day when I can afford to hire a actual costume designer...

A few storyboards from the upcoming shoot.

Mitchell Variable Diffusion Filter


This is an example of the ultra rare Mitchell Variable Diffusion Filter.

This unit utilizes two gradated Mitchell diffusion filters to increase the strength of the effect as they are slid against each other via a geared track.

Unfortunately the opening is only 3.5 inches in diameter and therefore not large enough to cover most modern lenses. These units were made in the 1920's or 30's and used with early Cooke, Baltar, Astra etc lenses.

Sometime in the late 90's I found a partial frame of one of these devices in a junk box and didn't know what it was until I read John Alton's 'Painting with Light'. Ever since then I have been on the lookout for one. About three years ago I came across this one and immediately grabbed. These diffusers are exceedingly rare and aside from the fragment of one I came across years ago I have never seen another one.


Bausch + Lomb Super Baltar Prime Lenses

Back in service after a full overhaul by Paul Duclos and his team at Duclos Lenses.

This is a rare set of vintage Bausch + Lomb Super Baltar prime lenses dating from the early 1960's. They flare, breath and look terrible on a projector, but are considered by some to be the Stradivarius of cinema lenses. Examples of films shot with Super Baltar primes include 'The Godfather' by Gordon Willis, 'Birth' by Harris Savides and many others.

This particular set has an interesting history. After many years of service at various studios they nearly ended their career in a dumpster at 20th Century Fox. But as fate would have it a man by the name of Norman Brown happened to be on the lot that day. He was able to rescue not only this set of lenses, but also two complete Mitchell NC-R camera packages from the landfill.

It was around this time that I was looking to purchase my first camera package and after many twists and turns I eventually landed at a small company called Ferraflex, where I met Mike Ferra and Norm Brown.

I ended up purchasing one of the Mitchell NC-R (#56) packages that Norm had rescued from Fox. On the way out the door Mike Ferra handed me a battered case and I've been grateful to both him and Norm ever since.

"Here kid, I'll throw in a box of lenses for free, so you have something to shoot with."

Mitchell NC-R #56 was originally purchased by Paul Ivano. ASC in 1936 and rescued from oblivion by Norm Brown and Mike Ferra around 1999.

Mitchell NC-R #56 was originally purchased by Paul Ivano. ASC in 1936 and rescued from oblivion by Norm Brown and Mike Ferra around 1999.

Super Baltar magic from Chanel Timeless courtesy of cinematographer Aymeric Montouchet

The Never Ending Search for Costumes

In recent years clothing from the 1930's and 40's has become increasingly scarce. The supply has mostly dried up and the collectors have swopped in and are snatching up the prime pieces at premium prices.

Clothing of this era becoming collectable cuts both ways.

On one hand it is nice to see history being preserved. Far too much of it has been cut up for Halloween costumes or trashed in other ways. But on the other hand this is not making my life any easier...

Sony F3

Sony's favorite redheaded stepchild, the Sony PMW F3.

Great dynamic range, accurate colors and an owl like ability to see in the dark. 4k may be the future (if we like it or not), but the Super35 2.4k / HD sensor in the F3 is nothing but kind to the faces of actors of all ages. Sometimes I feel that we need to remind the camera manufacturers that we shoot people, not test charts.

Cooke T3 18-100mm

14 lbs of the finest British glass and metal...

Thankfully it came in a box big enough for me to live in, because that is where I'm headed after writing a check for this one.