Movie camera

35 mm of movie camera Arriflex 300 in a heavy Blimp

as movie camera one designates an apparatus

  1. a sequence of the photographic pictures on passing film strips exposed. Contrary to the photo camera, which serves the admission of particulars pictures, the movie camera takes up a series of frames , which can being demonstrated later with a film projector than moved pictures.
  2. photographic frames on a photographic film from paper, Zelluloid or other cellulose derivatives exposes; this outdated designation distinguishes the film camera from the disk camera , which represented to approximately into the 30's the dominating photographic recording technology, sees camera.

This article concerns itself with the modern term of the movie camera in the context of the film art.

Table of contents


the development of the movie camera begins with the history of the photography and film history . It decreases/goes back on George Eastmans patenting and the following industrielle manufacturing of the roll film , under whose use Thomas Alva Edison designed the first functional movie camera, the Kinematograph. Four years later developed the brothers Lumière their Cinématographe, which was movie camera, photocopying apparatus and film projector in one. Both devices used the perforated 35-mm - roll film, which was transported assistance of a grip arm. The Cinématographe let the film go through however vertically instead of horizontal and corresponded thereby to the today's camera technology to a large extent.

function mode

Aufriss von Acres' Cinetic Camera (1895)
diagram of Acres' Cinetic Camera (1895)

defiance of numerous technical innovations since the invention of the movie camera remained their fundamental function mode until today: The clear Filmmaterial becomes from the Filmkassette or - reel over a guide roller into the film channel guided, there it with a platen on a guideway before the film gate led where then the exposure of the film takes place.

After the exposure of a frame a rotary rotating screen takes the film gate off , the film strip around an image height is further-pulled, before a grip arm intervenes in the perforation and stops the film for the duration of the exposure. The mechanics of the grip arm and the rotating screen are together coupled so that the rotating screen the film gate takes off whenever the film strip is by-pulled on the film gate.

technical innovations

apart from perfecting and reduction of the existing technology are most technical innovations of the movie camera since their invention in the improved handling and in the control comfort. Thus provided with the first movie cameras a hand crank for continuous film transport, later a feather/spring work, today above all akkugespeiste electric motors.

Since the invention of the first movie camera also amateur cameras were developed. Already 1898 announced Birth acre in England a patent for a movie camera named beer TAC , which the half width of the 35-mm-Films exposed and a forerunner of the late common 16-mm - cameras was. 1925 were the first camera a 35-mm-Amateurkamera with crank handle enterprise (Kinarri 35), built by Arri. 1932 presented Kodak first 8 mm - the amateur film system, whose advantage should be to lower the costs of the film development by the reduction of the Filmmaterials and put thereby the foundation-stone for the numerous following narrow film formats, which should enjoy up to the separation by video cameras and Camcorder within the family range of large popularity in particular. Although it had been developed first as amateur camera, the 16-mm found - because of their handiness employment in the reporting increasing to camera.

Geöffneter Arriflex 300-Blimp
Opened Arriflex 300 - Blimp

the spreading of the Tonfilms required a sound sealing for clay/tone photographs to loud devices. First clay/tone photographs were possible only in the Studio, where the loud camera was banished into a sound-dammed box. Starting from 1953 for the first movie cameras so-called Blimps was developed, into which the camera could be packed formally. The first Blimps was first however unmanageable and obstructed the cameramen in the work. Only 1957 developed for the Arriflex 35 Iib a large, absolutely sound proof Blimp, into which the camera at little expenditure could be built.

For two crucial innovations in the area of the camera technology Erich Kästner, chief designer of Arnold & judge (Arri) has responsibility itself. it developed 1937 a mirror reflex - system which for the first time made it possible with current camera in the Sucher a bright to see sharp and sidecorrect picture.

1972 designed Kästner a clay-suited 35-mm shoulder camera (Arriflex 35 BL) which hand camera - employment with simultaneous clay/tone admission made possible. For both innovations Kästner with the technical OSCAR excellently

until today are taken up motion picture films mostly on 35-mm-Film, whereby however in the last years production on digital cameras (for example HDCAM/SR, Thompson viper) gains ever more significance. 16-mm-Film is partially still used in the professional range with television productions . World-wide the companies Arnold & judge (Arri) and Panavision the market for professional 35-mm divide - movie cameras. Niche manufacturers such as Aaton (formerly Eclair) and Mitchell Fries play no more role within the range of large cinema productions nowadays. Highspeed cameras of the manufacturer Photosonics are used at run speeds of 360 fps (with grip arm work and intermittent Movement) up to 2100 fps (as prism camera) for advertisement, Special Effects and research. 16-mm - Cameras are manufactured also by other offerers.

technical details

action principle

the action principle of movie camera and - projector is based similarly as with the thumb cinema on the copying effect, which makes possible for the viewer to regard a sequence of frames as sequential screen sequence. A natural course of motion is given if one with the normal velocity of 18 to 25 pictures per second (so-called. Image frequency) films and projects.


opening and locking the film gate by the rotating screen gives the exposure time of the film in interaction with the Filmgeschwindigkeit. With the image frequency of 25 pictures per second the exposure time amounts to with rigid rotating screen 1/50. By the possibility of varying light sector of the rotating screen permit so-called Sektorenblenden, deviating exposure times. Film is usually exposed with 24 pictures per second. This applies to motion picture films and is in this range the international standard, the opening of the light sector amounts to then 172 degrees. For a Erstverwertung on the television however with 25 pictures (light sector 180 degrees) in the second one films. Under the prevailing 50 cycles per second in electricity mains and the half-image number in the picture tube, resulting from it, one films with 25 pictures. If motion picture films on the television are radiated, then this happens likewise with 25 pictures, which has as a consequence that the play time of the film shortens around 4%. See in addition also: PAL speed UP.

SyncSound and MOS

beside the film format are differentiated professional movie cameras according to different areas of application: SyncSound - cameras are used for photographs, with which parallel to the picture the clay/tone with an external Audiorekorder is noted. Also under 20 railways is very quiet it. Read MOS - Cameras (when gängistes model the Arri 435) are used usually only, if no parallel sound recording is necessary (e.g. Advertising trick, Highspeedaufnahmen, effect photographs, landscapes etc.…). The designation MOS originates the legend after from the early days Hollywoods: MOS meant “also without sound” - thus mutely. Whether and which ethnic German of film-creative this designation introduced is not delivered.

other camera types


  > German to English > (Machine translated into English)