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Camera used to film "The Wizard of Oz" (1939)

74 comments
95% Upvoted
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level 1
r/Movies Veteran
99 points · 1 month ago

What's cool is that you can see the actual camera inside the giant box needed to sound-proof its motors.

level 2
Original Poster31 points · 1 month ago

Nice catch. That thing must have been super loud.

level 3
46 points · 1 month ago

It was filmed in three-strip Technicolor which means it's running three times as much film as a regular camera at the time. I can only imagine how much louder it was.

level 4

3 times louder

level 5

The math checks out

level 6
8 points · 1 month ago

Not really, as decibel is a logarithmic scale

level 7

Also I believe it was only single lens and therefore one shutter, which is also where a lot of the noise comes in. Funny joke though u/nullthegrey

level 1

It's sometimes really crazy to me that the design of the dolly that the camera is mounted on is still in use today.

And the thing still costs like $100,000 new.

level 2

You can't even buy them. Even rental houses can only lease them. At least with Fisher and Chapman.

level 3

Don't mention that to Tommy Wiseau!

level 2

I was thinking the same thing. Such a pure and simple design and basically still used today.

level 2

Why is that crazy?

level 3

Just because everything else around it has changed so much.

Digital cinematography largely replacing film (and even film stock nowadays is very different from back then), lights back then were mostly incandescent whereas now LEDs are starting to really take over.

Grip equipment are the only filmmaking tools to have largely stayed the same for nearly a century.

level 1
Comment deleted1 month ago(4 children)
level 2
36 points · 1 month ago

Pauly Shore has been cast as the new Wolverine

level 3
26 points · 1 month ago

Hey buuuuuuuuuuuuuub.

level 2
5 points · 1 month ago

Or the latest cast photo from Glass.

level 2

Breaking News: Extremely qualified and well known actor to play small part in an overrated movie series

level 1

Three strips of film at one time. Ingenious and insane.

level 1

Amazing to think that nowadays something like this can fit in just a suitcase.

level 2

More like your pocket.

level 3

More like my butt.

level 4

You got me there. More like your butt.

level 4

I believe this thread is about listing smaller places to fit a camera.

level 5

Ohhh nice. Not sure when I’ll use that burn but I’ll find a way.

level 2
-28 points · 1 month ago(13 children)
level 3
43 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

35mm film has much higher resolution than 1080p. The Wizard of Oz was recently restored and scanned at 8k. After all virtually every film until like 10 years ago was shot on 35mm film.

level 4

35mm has a theoretical digital resolution of 4k - and phones today are capable of shooting in 4k.

The difference is not so much the resolution, but the quality of lens.

level 4

That's pretty amazing. I worked in the hometown of L Frank Baum, Chittenango NY. They have a yellow brick sidewalk, Yellow Brick Road Casino, Wicked Good Pizza(Only place outside of Boston I've ever seen that word used on a storefront) and every. single. store. has Wizard of Oz decorations up year round.

level 4

Huh, I honestly never knew that. Goes to show you how much I know about video cameras. I was going off the idea that old = lower quality.

level 4
-2 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

At 8k they probably render several pixels per flake of silver. This should give it a more realistic true to film look. But it doesn’t mean the move was 8k originally.

EDIT———

It looks like by the down voats I need to clarify something here when you render a movie from the original film to digital you’re taking a picture of each frame.

Film is the plastic and gelatin strip. Contained in that strip are frames and within those frames are microscopic pieces of metal. Those pieces of metal make up the image. In the 1930s those individual dots were much larger than they are in today’s film technology.

I am speculating when I say it’s possible that one piece of metal on the film could be registered by multiple pixels in the new image.

Another way to think of this might be that the individual components or the grain of the original film might be so large that it might register across multiple pixels in the new image.

level 5
14 points · 1 month ago

Well it was shot on 35mm film that's it's original resolution, there isn't a good way to convert film "resolution" to digital resolution in terms of the numbers.

level 6

35mm is not a resolution. It’s a hypotenuse.

level 6

Found more info. Modern 800 speed film has grains at about the size of 17 microns each. A full frame 35mm camera sensor that is 8MP has pixels that are about 8 microns each.

Assuming a 1 to 1 scan with a full frame sensor than a flake of film grain could easily measure across multiple sensors pixels.

If they used a smaller than full frame chip than the pixels could have been maybe 5 microns or less. And a film frame could span 3 pixels or more.

This kind of resolution could mean that original grain has a more realistic shape in the final digital render.

Remember they used 1930s film. The grains were probably larger than 17 microns.

level 3

My gramps pocket camera takes better pictures than an iPhone X.
But you have to know what are you doing.

level 4

Oh, nice! 45mm, f 2.8 lens. Not too shabby.

level 4

The equipment means nothing.

level 3

I once saw a professional, major network newscast that was shot with a cell phone.

level 4

Well then, the argument is over. /s

level 1
Evil Studio Shill
7 points · 1 month ago

I feel like I saw this somewhere once. Is it at a Smithsonian? Or Griffith Observatory?

level 2
Original Poster9 points · 1 month ago

I'm pretty sure it's at the Smithsonian. On display with a pair of ruby slippers.

level 3
Evil Studio Shill
6 points · 1 month ago

It is! American History in DC.

level 1

I just wanna stand behind this bad boy and shout "Yer gonna be a star, kid!" to everyone I see.

level 1

damn, i should use something like that to film "my wife" and I doing the nasty.

level 2
Original Poster19 points · 1 month ago

You'll get it in full Technicolor.

level 2

You’d just need a macro lens to see your penis.

level 3

dont worry buddy, i have a condom adapter that makes it visible so that takes care of that.

level 4

Oh... kay...

level 1
3 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

Vox did a neat video going over the process of these cameras (and Technicolor in general): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mqaobr6w6_I

level 1

There are actually parts in the movie that you can see the shadow of the camera.

level 1

I can just picture some berret wearing, cigarette smoking director screaming at his actors. Like Dom DiMello (Andy Daly's Character)

level 2

I wanna bring that back in style.

level 3

Bring out the GIRLS! Dance around in your little fucking outfits and don't give me any lip.

Keep it firm in the tits, Firm in the ass, Firm in the belly or I'll send you to the farm with Falcon.

level 1
3 points · 1 month ago

Even back then they were making smaller cameras look large due to clients thinking bigger is better.

level 2
Original Poster4 points · 1 month ago

That box around the camera is soundproof. It's not there to look larger, but to make sure that the camera noise isn't heard.

level 3
3 points · 1 month ago

It was a fairly meta-joke about being an indie cinematographer today, that's all.

level 4
Original Poster4 points · 1 month ago

Oh, sorry. Didn't get the joke.

level 5

Yeah, the amount of not-really-necessary grip kit you bolt onto your camera is directly proportional to the importance of the client!

level 5

It's pretty obscure to be fair :)

level 1

In awe at the size of this lad!

level 1
4 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

It blows my mind how nowadays every one of us have this machine hidden in our pockets and we do nothing about it. And we can record hours of footage, and then watch it seconds after shooting. But it doesn't stop there, now we can edit it even on our phones and upload it to be watched by millions of people.

And I'm not one of the people who say "...and we record dumb snapchat shit". Because that's great too actually. What I mean is everyone can create art right now, just take your phone and that's it. People in 1939 couldn't imagine that kind of situation in their wildest dreams. We live in the future.

level 2
Original Poster5 points · 1 month ago

I can't imagine how they reacted to color films.

level 2

We live in the past simultaneously

level 1

Looks like a pet Robot

level 1

Is "Technicolor No. 12" the model or serial number?

level 1

So, the real question is...how much horsepower did it have?

level 2

Don't know about the camera but I'm guessing the lighting to get a proper exposure was 5+ horsepower every color scene.

They sweated in those costumes.

level 1

Looks like a big Brownie in a box

level 1

Don't GoPro

level 1

Fun fact: the dolly was invented to load atom bombs into planes super super smoothly

level 2
9 points · 1 month ago

Well that’s interesting since the Wizard of Oz was released in 1939 and the first bombs were set off in 1945...

level 3

he's actually right though!. but it was the motorised version, and it just wasn't the atomic bomb http://www.mountpleasantstudio.com/moviola-dolly-at-film-studios/

level 3

then it '62 the time machine was invented and it was bolted to this device noob

level 1
0 points · 1 month ago

We need a banana for scale.

level 2

51 percent of bananas are eaten for breakfast at home.


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