Mitchell Camera Corporation

Mitchell Camera Corporation was founded in 1919 by Henry Boger and George Alfred Mitchell. Their first camera was designed and patented by John E. Leonard in 1917, from 1920 on known as the Mitchell Standard. Features included a planetary gear-driven variable shutter (US Patent No 1,297,703) and a unique rack-over design (US Pat No 1,297,704).

There were several off-springs of the Mitchell, namely the Fox-Grandeur Wide Film Camera (70 mm) in 1928-29, the Beam-Splitting Three-Strip Camera for the Technicolor Corporation in 1932, the CinemaScope-55 Camera (55-mm film) in 195?, and the Todd-A. O. Camera for 65-mm film in 1955, an adjustment of the Grandeur.

Cinema Products Corporation was an American manufacturer of motion picture camera equipment. It was formed in 1968 by Ed DiGiulio, a former director and vice-president of Mitchell Camera Corporation. Their first product was a Silent Pellicle Reflex conversion of the Mitchell BNC 35mm Motion picture camera.

Cinema Products made a custom lens for Stanley Kubrick film Barry Lyndon the Cine-Pro T9, the company grew with the introduction of CP-16. The CP16 sound on film camera was the most widely used by TV news cameramen before compact hand held video camcorders such as Sony’s betacam based cameras displaced the “film at ten” CP16.

The Mitchell BNC conversion to reflex was followed by the studio quiet XR35. The Cinema Products XR35 had a Mitchell NC camera inside a light weight housing or blimp. The blimp was so close in size to the original camera, it looked small compared to the blimps made for Mitchell or Arriflex cameras. The XR35 was a crystal controlled 35mm motion picture camera considerably lighter than the Hollywood studio owned blimped Mitchells. The X stood for crystal, the R for reflex. The reflex was based on a spinning mirror shutter, during the mirrors’ revolution at one point the film would be exposed, then the operator would view the image in the mirror as the film was advanced to the next frame, at 24 times a second. Cinema Products horded the Mitchell NC camera market as the XR went into production. Cinema Products sold the remaining Mitchell inventory to a Japanese company when the XR35 was challenged but still selling well.

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Panavision and Arriflex came to market with their lighter weight 35mm cameras in 1972; Panavision’s Panaflex and Arri’s BL1. These cameras were not blimped in the sense they had a camera in a housing; these cameras were designed to be quiet. The BL1 gave the French New Wave it’s style of shooting; the ability to be hand held and shoot on location. The Panaflex became America’s industry standard motion picture camera, displacing the Mitchell legacy.

The studio quiet 16mm Cinema Products GSMO was introduced in the mid 70’s. It had quick loading coaxial magazines, in camera light meter viewable in the eyepiece and an on camera battery. The GSMO stood for Gun Sight Man Operated. Cinema Products would develop products under government contracts, then industry market them.

The GSMO had crystal speeds of 12,16,24,25,32,48,64 FPS. The GSMO had a novel and rare 100 foot magazine and the standard 400 foot mag. The 100 foot mag was the height of the camera so the camera with mag would be only 5 inches tall. The GSMO did not have video assist, a way of viewing what the cameraman was seeing on a video screen. TV commercial producers and directors wanted video assist and the GSMO fell behind the competition. After market video assist is now available for the GSMO.

In the early 80’s, Cinema Products introduced the CP35, a non quiet 35mm camera. With a BNCR lens mount, it was to partner with the studio quiet XR35 that had the same BNCR mount. The CP35 had video assist, but it was not as integrally designed as the competition’s. The CP35 had multiple crystal speeds like the GSMO ranging from 6 to 120FPS.

The FX35 was introduced in 1987. It had a larger body but resembled the CP35. They shared magazines. The FX35 had integral video assist. It used the PL lens mountArriflex had introduced. The camera’s electronics were cutting edge for the day with special effects and motion control underlining the electronics design. From the switch-mode power supply to the 36 pin computer interface, the FX35 offered features unavailable on cameras at that time. The speeds were thumb-wheel selected in .01 increments. A CRT computer monitor with 72.06 hertz could be filmed with no roll bar, the black bar visible when a 24 or 25 FPS camera records a TV or computer monitor due to the difference in refresh rates. The FX35 was originally designed for a motion picture and video camera rental company in Great Britain. The production rights and remaining inventory of the CP35 and FX35 were sold to Redicam in 1992.

In its last years, Cinema Products was still innovative. A film to HD video transfer machine was introduced, novel in that the HD camera was not part of the transfer machine but mounted on it. An upgrade would be easy, just change the HD camera, the film transport deck stayed the same. A fiber optic based 35mm ground glass to video chip reducer was patented and sold to a competitor. A consumer oriented Steadicam unit designed for small mini DV cameras was added to the Steadicam line. The Steadicam Jr. incorporated a 8 layer non-glare LCD video monitor comparable to the professional Steadicam rigs. The Steadicam line became the company’s leading marketable product. Tiffen Filter bought the rights to make the Steadicam when Cinema Products Corporation went out of business in 2000.

Andre de Dienes –

Andre de Dienes was born in Hungary in 1913. At the age of nineteen, he decided to leave his native country and traveled all over Europe and North Africa, finally settling in Paris, where he became interested in photography. In 1938, he settled in the United States and later became a citizen. He became a freelance photographer for a while but later decided to follow his own instincts and purposely refused all photographic assignments in order to be able to devote himself to the kind of work he most enjoyed. In particular, he wished to photograph nudes. Gradually, he became so involved in this subject and its techniques that most of his time had been given up to it.

Many of de Dienes nudes were impersonal artistic nudes photographed in nature. He traveled extensively just to find the right backgrounds for his models, and the desert and seashore were a few of the locations he found especially suited to his style of photography. Concerning his work, Andre once wrote: “Every picture I have taken of the nude was for the sole purpose of expressing my feelings for the beautiful”. When giving advice to other photographers interested in this type of photography, he cautioned them: “I ask you not to disgrace the nude with your camera. Respect it, express its beauty, exercise and better your beautiful emotions. Try not to photograph just naked girls; try to give meaning to your pictures; be proud of the photos you take. Do not abuse the luck and privilege of having a girl pose for you in the nude. Do not photograph nudes as I do, but try your own techniques, give in to your own feelings. Try to create something entirely new, abstract, in any way, as long as it remains within the bounds of decency.”

De Dienes is also well known as one of the first major photographers to photograph Marilyn Monroe. Andre and Marilyn traveled extensively together in Dec. 1945, and during this time he took hundreds of photos of her, some of which later ended up on magazine covers throughout the world. Andre de Dienes was also a regular contributor of photos and articles to several photography magazines during the late 40’s and 1950’s. He also contributed to Playboy during the early years of the magazine. In fact, in the very first issue of Playboy (Dec. 1953), a nude photo of glamour model Diane Hunter that had been taken by de Dienes was featured in the back pages. Diane Hunter would later be photographed by Bruno Bernard, and his pinup of her would be selected by Playboy to make her Miss Nov. 1954 (see my glamour models page for more info).

Other actresses and glamour models that de Dienes photographed include: Elizabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman, Anne Francis, Leslie Caron, Jill St. John, Julie Newmar, Barbara Peyton, Yvette Mimieux, Ruth Roman, Carroll Baker, Anita Ekberg, Joan Bradshaw, Pat Crowley, Jeanne Carmen, Judy Crowder, Sara Shane, Arline Hunter, Kathleen Crowley, June Wilkinson, Joyce Winthrop, Marianne Gaba, Colleen Miller, Bobbie Shaw, Jean Peters, Vikki Dougan, Stephanie Griffin, Kathleen Hughes, Joan Tyler and Joan Kerr.

Camera equipment used by the photographer included 4″x 5″ view cameras (the Graflex, Graflex D, Auto Graflex and the Linhof Technika) and a Twin Lens Reflex (the Rolleiflex). At least one of Andre de Dienes photo books, “The Nude”, was shot entirely with his Rolleiflex, which was also the Medium Format camera of choice by most glamour photographers back in the early to mid 50’s. Peter Gowland, Bunny Yeager, Bruno Bernard, Frank Bez, Danny Rouzer, and Sam Wu all used the Rolleiflex during this period. The Rolleiflex uses 120 film which gives an image size of 2 1/4″ x 2 1/4″. Like most photographers, his was equipped with the Zeiss Tessar 75mm f/3.5 lens, which was highly praised for its sharpness. Andre made sure to always shoot at f/11 or f/16 in order to gain good depth of field and maximum sharpness. Consequently his indoor shots were usually taken at shutter speeds ranging between 1 to 6 seconds and his outdoor shots were usually taken at between 1/50 to 1/500th of a second. He often liked to use Plus-X film in his Rolleiflex due to its fine grain.

Andre de Dienes was one of Bunny Yeager’s early influences, and I believe she followed de Dienes technique of shooting at f/11 with her own Rolleiflex, even for nudes shot indoors using available light.

One technique for which de Dienes became well known was his creative way of combining images from two separate negatives onto one photo. He would sometimes spend an entire day on just one or two such photos, dodging and burning the light from the enlarger until he got the seamless effect he was looking for on the developed print. The end result was always a beautiful fantasy image.Andre de Dienes was born in 1913 in Turia, Transylvania (now Romania). Following his mother’s suicide he left home at 15 and traveled throughout Europe, mostly by foot, before ending up in Tunisia, North Africa, where he worked odd jobs, learned to paint, and purchased his first camera, a 35mm Retina.In 1933 de Dienes arrived in Paris to study art and bought his first Rolleiflex camera. Fascinated with taking pictures, he made a living selling photographs to publishing companies, including La Humanite ( a Communist newspaper) and worked for The Associated Press until 1936 when famous Parisian couturier, Captain Molyneux, encouraged de Dienes to become a fashion photographer.

In 1938, with the help of Esquire magazine editor, Arnold Gingrich, he emigrated to the US and settled in New York to work for Esquire, Vogue, Life, and Montgomery Ward. De Dienes spent his vacations traveling parts of the US, taking pictures of the scenic grandeur of the Western United States, and especially the Hopi, Navajo, and Apache Indians.Dissatisfied with the restrictions of fashion photography, de Dienes moved to Hollywood in 1944 to pursue to pursue his real passion of photographing nudes and outdoor scenes. An emotional and passionate photographer, de Dienes’ objective was to see the beauty in nature and in an effort to make his photographs as true to life as possible, he never retouched them. He believed that to take good photographs, one must have great patience, imagination and endurance, and the capacity to reveal both truth and beauty.

De Dienes’ association with Marilyn Monroe began in 1945 when he hired her for her first modeling job at age 19. A five week road trip photographing the young Norma Jeane across California, Nevada, and New Mexico resulted in a love affair and numerous magazine covers around the world. Their working relationship continued until 1953. Today, de Dienes’ images of Monroe are considered by most to be the best studies ever taken of her.De Dienes’ work on nudes has generated twenty-four books, published in the US, England, and Germany. Marilyn Mon Amoura was published in 1985 by St. Martinas Press, and Marilyn in 2002 by Taschen (Newsweek featured the three volume book in a six page cover story). Married twice but with no children, de Dienes died in 1985.

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Kodak Verichrome (V127) Film

This is an unopened, expired roll of “Kodak Verichrome (V127)”, with a “Develop Before” date of “S JULY 1951 LL”. The box features the classic Kodak “Yellow”, with the name “Kodak” in bright red text on the top. The front reads; “Kodak Verichrome Film”, accompanied by a red and black checker stripe along the sides of the box.

“Verichrome” was Kodak’s version of “Safety Film” (Cellulose acetate film). In the 1920s manufactures were searching for a suitable replacement for the unstable and highly flammable nitrate film; which had been previously used in both still and motion picture photography. Introduced by Kodak 1931, “Verichrome” was released in various film formats including 116, 120, 127, 616, 620; as well as 828.The main advantage of “Verichrome” over previous Kodak NC “Non-curling” film (introduced in 1903) was a finer grain, increased light sensitivity and speed in the emulsion. The original “Verichrome” was eventually replaced by “Verichrome Pan” in 1956; and was produced by Kodak until 1995. The film speed of the original “Verichrome” would have been rated at 50 ASA; while the later “Verichrome Pan” was 125 ASA.

The 127 film format, sometimes referred to as “Vest Film” was introduced in 1912, and was originally designed for the “Vest Pocket Kodak” folding camera. 127 would never really become one of the main film formats due to the fact that the 127 cameras where primarily marketed towards the niche market of candid snap-shot photography. However, during the 1950s; 127 enjoyed a brief revival as market demand shifted towards compact inexpensive cameras that used smaller film formats. Despite this, by the 1960s; 127 had lost ground to the highly successful 35mm and 126 Instamatic film formats; as camera and film manufactures turned their attention to developing 35mm and Instamatic cameras and film. Kodak would cease the production of 127 film in 1995.

These un-exposed Duo – Pack Two Roll of Kodak Verichrome Safety Film  roll have been found inside box,along  with a Rolliecord ll (Type 4) camera. There where over  10 Duom packs in total. All the frames are from Seminole Okalee village, in Hollywood,FL, Lake Arrowhaed,CA, Los Angeles,Hollywood, CA and New York City.

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