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B25 Camera Ship from Battle of Britain film

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  • Dave Homewood
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Mar 2004
    • 5636

    B25 Camera Ship from Battle of Britain film

    I am rewatching "Battle For The Battle of Britain", the excellent documentary with Michael Caine on the BofB film DVD.

    When he talks about Jeff Hawke's B25 camera ship he says each camera was hooked up to closed circuit television and videotaped for instant playback. This seems a great idea. Does anyone know (and I know one or two here worked on the film), did the cctv record exactly what was seen in the cinefilm camera lense, or did the cctv have a seperate lense alongside? Was it possible for a camera in those days to output from a film camera to video directly whilst also exposing the film?

    In the photo section on the DVD the chap states the stills cameras were mounted alongside the film camera. That's what made me wonder, was the video camera lense alongside too, or was it directly fed electronically from the film camera to the tape?

    Either way this concept must have been quite innovative in filmmaking then, as the custom was to await the rushes to be printed for viewing the next day.

    It is no wonder the costs were so high. In 1968 video tape was hugely expensive (300 pounds for an hour of TV grade tape) and could only be used a few times, three at most. Think of all the hours of footage from the several cameras. Wow.

    I wonder if the video footage was all archived and kept, or would they wipe it after each shoot for reuse of the tapes. Probably not much reason to keep it since the film stock was archived too.

    Also, does that particular B25 still exist? If so, does it fly? Is it the same B25 as used by Aces High for filming Memphis Belle?
    Last edited by Dave Homewood; 4th November 2004, 11:05.
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  • Yak 11 Fan
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Jan 2000
    • 4377

    #2
    As I understand it the Bof B Mitchell still exists and was rebuilt by Tom Reilly as Chapter XI, where it is now I don't know. The Aces High aircraft was ex Tallmantz and is also back in the US as a Warbird.
    www.hardwickwarbirds.com

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    • aerovin
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Mar 2004
      • 58

      #3
      The BOB cameraship was N6578D (s/n 44-31508) that is currently parked and going derelict at Franklin, Virginia. A photo is posted as a link on the B-25 Locator page at the Aero Vintage site.

      Comment

      • Mark12
        MEANS MOTIVE OPPORTUNITY
        • Jan 2000
        • 10840

        #4
        BoB B-25

        A shot from my good friend, the late Ron Cranham.

        Mark
        Attached Files
        "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney"

        Comment

        • J Boyle
          With malice towards none
          • Oct 2004
          • 9727

          #5
          Originally posted by Dave Homewood
          When he talks about Jeff Hawke's B25 camera ship he says each camera was hooked up to closed circuit television and videotaped for instant playback. This seems a great idea. Does anyone know (and I know one or two here worked on the film), did the cctv record exactly what was seen in the cinefilm camera lense, or did the cctv have a seperate lense alongside? Was it possible for a camera in those days to output from a film camera to video directly whilst also exposing the film?

          In the photo section on the DVD the chap states the stills cameras were mounted alongside the film camera. That's what made me wonder, was the video camera lense alongside too, or was it directly fed electronically from the film camera to the tape?

          Having had some experience with early video systems (albeit a few years later) I'm guessing it was a seperate video camera. The tape would be great to see, but even if it hasn't been erased, over thge yaers it would of had a loss of quality.
          I wonder if it was colour? My guess is probably not. Back then colour video cameras were rather large and complex.
          And remember, back then video tape was on reel to reel spools, as it was before the days of video cassettes. Operating that stuff in a flying Mitchell would have been a challenge.
          My hat's off to them.
          There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

          Comment

          • Mark12
            MEANS MOTIVE OPPORTUNITY
            • Jan 2000
            • 10840

            #6
            Originally posted by J Boyle
            Having had some experience with early video systems (albeit a few years later) I'm guessing it was a seperate video camera. The tape would be great to see, but even if it hasn't been erased, over thge yaers it would of had a loss of quality.
            I wonder if it was colour? My guess is probably not. Back then colour video cameras were rather large and complex.
            And remember, back then video tape was on reel to reel spools, as it was before the days of video cassettes. Operating that stuff in a flying Mitchell would have been a challenge.
            My hat's off to them.
            JB

            Does this closely cropped shot of the camera installations tell us anything?

            Mark
            Attached Files
            "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney"

            Comment

            • J Boyle
              With malice towards none
              • Oct 2004
              • 9727

              #7
              My guess is the lens above and to the left of the 35mm camera are the video lens.
              Given the state of the art of the time, I can't image a combination cine/video system through one lens. By having the video lens mounted alongside the cine lens, the playback image would be close enough to tell the director (or director of cinematography) if the last shot was what he wanted.
              There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

              Comment

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