Mitchell Beauty shots from Seawood Photo

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Feel free to discuss any topic related to the Mitchell Camera. Both 35 mm and 16 mm models are welcomed here. Also consider posting topics of other major motion picture cameras that you feel are important to the development of the Mitchell Camera. Feel free to upload a photo from the option on each new post.
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admin
Site Admin
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue May 22, 2012 7:13 pm

Mitchell Beauty shots from Seawood Photo

Post by admin » Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:41 pm

This camera was listed for sale by our friends at Seawood Photo and they did such a great job with the photos, I wanted to archive them here. If you are looking for a very nice Mitchell in the future, take a look at these beauty shots. This is the condition level you should aspire to for a great collectors piece.
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cwstratn

Re: Mitchell Beauty shots from Seawood Photo

Post by cwstratn » Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:48 pm

I need help. I just purchased this camera and indeed Seawood Photo says it is a 1939 Mitchell NC, and yes it really looks just like the photos! But, it has the "acorn" plate on the camera body that simply has the numbers "397" with no model number below like the BNC serial number you show on this website. So, I wonder if this thing is even an NC at all, or some other Mitchell product. If I understand your NC serial number chart correctly, a serial number this high should have been manufactured around 1946 or 1947, so I'm confused as to why Seawood Photo was saying it was a 1939 Mitchell NC.

It has all of the accessories it should have including the side finder, matte box, follow focus mechanism, and four beautiful Baltar lenses. With the three included motors, this had to be someone's serious working camera!

Can anyone help me understand why the "acorn" serial number plate doesn't carry any model number on it like the BNC plate? Was that common on the NC models? Everything on this camera has Mitchell acorn plates all over it. It even came with a heavy-duty Mitchell set of legs. Can anyone help me to find out more about when this camera was manufactured or who might have used it? Thanks so much!

mediaed
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:53 pm

Re: Mitchell Beauty shots from Seawood Photo

Post by mediaed » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:32 am

I have had discussions in the past about this listing with the folk at Seawood.
First. If this is NC 397, Company records show that canera to have been sold to a person (Tsiu Yung Lee) in China on 9/2/47. By the pictures, I figure this camera has been repainted.
Second. Company records indicate that a Standard High Speed Chronograph model was sold to the US Navy on 12/17/40. This is consistent with the odd motor side gearing construction directly linked to the main drive shaft and does get closer to the claimed date.
While this motor placement was a specific feature of the NC camera, it is not a deciding feature.
Third. The film drive mechanism is not an NC. The NC does not have a cam driven registration pin system (pictures to follow.)
Fourth. An NC would never have a motor mounted on the top.
Last. You are correct in assuming the letters "NC" should appear on the badge and stamped on the inside mechanism.

Thus was all pointed out to the seller who rejected my advice. These situations are one reason I published the serial number charts to stop the freewheeling misidentification some sellers have engaged in the past.

mediaed
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:53 pm

Re: Mitchell Beauty shots from Seawood Photo

Post by mediaed » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:37 am

As part of our registration process, we do have detail shots of all the cameras registered. Here is the comparison of the different camera movements:
s-l1600-6.jpg
Here is the film movement for a standard (#151, 1928)
Mitchell NC 35mm camera #199 (Millet)-3.jpeg
This is the film movement for an NC (#NC199, 1942)

mediaed
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:53 pm

Re: Mitchell Beauty shots from Seawood Photo

Post by mediaed » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:45 am

All of this does not go to negate that Navy chronograph camera 397 is not a worthy piece especially with all the high value accessories. It is just unfortunate that the camera was misrepresented - as original unmodified NC's are rare.

Another factoid: NC's are taller than Standards with the faceplate measuring 7" wide X8" high (not counting the mask knobs/)

Guest

Re: Mitchell Beauty shots from Seawood Photo

Post by Guest » Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:34 pm

Thank you so very much for your response and all the detailed information. Not sure yet what to think about this camera. It looks great and appropriate in my home screening room where I'm sure it will bring a lot of questions and conversation, which was my purpose in purchasing the camera in the first place. I'm not a knowledgeable collector of Mitchell cameras and now that I've found this website, I'll try to learn more about the cameras. As a cinematographer, I came along too late to use any of the Mitchell cameras, and only have had experience with the Arriflex 35mm cameras. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge about the Mitchell NC!

Chris

mediaed
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:53 pm

Re: Mitchell Beauty shots from Seawood Photo

Post by mediaed » Fri Nov 01, 2019 3:50 pm

Chris,

Glad to he of help. I too was closed out of working with these cameras by time period and budget restrictions. I gravitated to video as a producer and moved into the Avid world really early. (Dancing pixels) Later, I found a few of these cameras in need of TLC. Being of a mechanical bent, I took on the challenges because I admired the beasts and had been trained as a cinematographer. That lead to years of research, fun times in the workshop and networking leading to where I am now with a runaway stable of old working studio cameras.

Please consider registering your camera here and feel free to peruse through our knowledge base.
I have some videos posted in the "members articles section about some of my cameras you may find interesting.

Thanks for the feedback.

Ed Johnson-director mitchellCamera.com
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cwstratn

Re: Mitchell Beauty shots from Seawood Photo

Post by cwstratn » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:27 pm

Ed,

Thanks for the additional bio information on yourself. It's interesting to learn how people arrive at a certain place in their careers. I started life as photojournalist and combat photographer in Vietnam. When I returned from the war, I was hired as a full-time staff photographer on the San Jose Mercury News. I spent my weekends working for UPI and AP, mostly covering professional sports events in the Bay Area.

After five years of covering everything from fires to plane hijackings to presidents and NFL games, I became sort of disenchanted with still photography and moved to L.A. to become involved in cinematography which I felt would offer more of a challenge. I wanted to restrict myself exclusively to shooting feature films as Director of Photography, but found myself shooting commercials, documentaries and corporate films, in addition to a few features.

Later, as video cameras began to improve, I started shooting (and yes, editing in the Avid) more video-based productions, although my heart was always in film!

I'm retired now and living on the Central Oregon Coast where I have a screening room that needed some "Hollywood" flavor in the form of a Mitchell camera. That's why I bought the camera from Seawood photo. It was the first camera I had seen that was offered in such a complete state. I hope I didn't make a huge mistake!

If you think that registering my camera might possibly help some other folks on this forum, then I'll gladly do it. I can also send photos of the Mitchell "acorn" emblem, the inside, showing the camera movement, and any other close-ups you think might be helpful,although the Seawood Photo shots show most of the detail. Again, I'm just not sure exactly what this is that I have. It seems to have all genuine Mitchell parts and accessories, but now I'm concerned it's not a Mitchell NC at all!

Wow, you've been able to collect a lot of interesting stuff! Is that a BNC I see behind you? And is it sitting on a Worrall gear head? I've used Worralls and Mitchell gear heads on every feature and commercial I've ever shot. I prefer them to fluid heads for most kinds of shots!

Please let me know how I should proceed to register my camera. Should I just follow the instructions listed under "Camera Registration"?

Thanks Ed!

Chris

marop
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:45 pm

Re: Mitchell Beauty shots from Seawood Photo

Post by marop » Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:31 pm

Chris,

I’m a member here and I would certainly enjoy seeing additional photos of your camera! It’s always fun and I always seem to learn new things. Ed is a great source of information. I’ve never been in the film industry but had an interest since I was a kid playing with my windup Kodak Brownie Camera. I recently was telling someone that I taped it to a go-cart while driving around...perhaps the first GoPro??? As an adult I returned to my fascination with the machines that made movies. The very first pro camera I bought was on eBay about 12 years ago, a Mitchell GC (stands for Government Camera which your camera likely is). That then gave me the bug to buy a camera that was actually owned by a major studio. Well about 8 cameras later... Funny thing is 5 of the 8 were originally owned by Paramount Studios. So now I’m a Paramount fan! Then I got the bug to actually find out what particular movies my cameras actually filmed...but that’s another story, some of which you can find on this forum as an older topic.

In this hobby of collecting this machines I’ve met some interesting people. Welcome to the forum!

Mark

mediaed
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:53 pm

Re: Mitchell Beauty shots from Seawood Photo

Post by mediaed » Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:04 am

Chris.

Thanks for the info. Kudos for making the move to LA. I stayed in Ohio reinventing the wheel.
The camera on the Scorpion dolly/Worrell is BNCR 104 one of the few bowtie spinning mirror Mitchell factory conversions. It was a Hollywood rental camera bought originally by Armistead as BNC 104 in 1951. It is detailed in one of the videos.

Yes, the instructions on our registration page are the way to go.

It may seem an impossible undertaking but the registry is an attempt to build a census of the surviving Mitchell cameras on the planet. We see this as the best hope for their continued future and possibly as a resource for future research. These artifacts are traveling through time and we are just the custodians of the moment.

Rest assured your camera is complete but it is not an NC.

This can be seen from the evidence presented -especially the pictures of the differences between the film drives.

A complete camera is when the inside film movement plate, the outer badge and the stamp on the L base (remove the 12 o'clock lens to see the number) are all the same. Accessories like the motor, magazine, sidefinder and mattebox/compendium are never the same as the number of the camera. They each have a completely different numbering system.

Registration would be as Standard #397.

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