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Eclair ACL Cameras for video assist

Mark, could you tell us how much of a problem flicker has been with this camera you are using, it may in part help answer Phil's question. From my own experience, it really depends what camera you use. You can obtain non-flickerless cameras from a range of dealers but they are very pricey. Typically upward of $700. The problem here is trying to find which ones don't flicker, because there's no such designation with manufacturers. Instead you have to find those cameras which have either an adjustable electronic shutter or adjustable gain control.

You see, flm cameras pose several problems for video assist. Firstly, the viewing screen on the ACL is not very bright and therefore the image picked up by the assist can appear dim without an increase in gain. Secondly, the moment the film camera shutter starts turning the CCD (or CMOS) gets confused and thinks it's gone dark. It compensates by maximising it's gain (or worse, lowering shutter speed) and does the same thing the moment the shutter opens again. Of course it does this extremely fast, but the strobing effect is clearly visible. It's acceptable in daylight or bright studio shots, but in lower light conditions it's very distracting.

I can't say I've found a cheap board camera that doesn't flicker, but I bet there's one out there somewhere. They're best used for shots where you can't get access to the viewfinder, not for pulling focus.

The only way you can find out which cameras work are by probing suppliers of video assist cameras very gently. Try asking John Oaten in the UK, he knows them all, but it's like getting blood from a stone. I'm sure someone up here could find out this info.

Also, remember you're not going to find a colour video assist that doesn't flicker unless there is a digitizer in between it and the signal. These are prohibitively expensive.

One last thing, Mark did your 8mm lens work okay and was it for Super 16mm? I've found the 10mm C mount lens are best for standard and 8mm for Super. I may start supplying these lenses if the demand is reasonable enough.

Even a video tap won't alleviate these problems. You will still need a flickerless CCD, so anyone who has a video tap on their camera I'd be interested in hearing what camera they are using. Somebody mentioned a company who will replace the viewfinder with a video tap, but I can't see why anyone would want to use a video camera in place of optics. There's no way of putting the viewfinder on again quickly. As for the video tap modification that allows you to use the viewfinder also, there must be a pellicule inside that will mean you are losing approx 30 - 50% of the light hitting the eyepiece. That must make for very dim viewing.

Robert Latimer
(The Movie House)

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