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Movies Star Wars Prequels Entertainment Idle

Original Star Wars Camera Sells For $625,000 65

Posted by samzenpus
from the that's-a-lot-of-drallish-crowns dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Panavision PSR 35mm motion picture camera used by George Lucas to film Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope was was sold for $625,000, surpassing all expectations and setting a new world record. The camera package included a Panaspeed motor, matte box, follow focus, a Moy geared head, Italian-made Elemack camera dolly and lens, and two 1000-foot magazines. True Star Wars fans will be delighted to know the camera is still functional and has been completely restored."
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Original Star Wars Camera Sells For $625,000

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:04PM (#38296750)

    But they decided to repaint it anyway, since it had seen a lot of action.

  • by MrTrick (673182) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:04PM (#38296758) Homepage
    ...coming soon; All new revisions, extra footage, Han Solo shot accidentally!
  • My holiday shopping this year is complete! I have the ultra-rare Grunt FB-11426 [starwarsho...pecial.com]
  • Never underestimate how much rich nerds will pay for props while still living in their mom's basement.
    • I understand that the camera used to film the sweded version (an iPhone) sold for a whopping $1.98.
    • by iluvcapra (782887)

      Panavison rarely sells cameras, and the entire package's market value without the provenance is probably at least a quarter million dollars.

      This equipment is just going to get rarer. Don't have the link at the moment, but were you aware that Panavison, Arri and Aaton, the last 35mm camera manufacturers, haven't actually built a new camera in about 18 months? This gear is EOLd and increasingly harder to get a hold of.

  • by jd (1658) <imipak@noSPam.yahoo.com> on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:09PM (#38296814) Homepage Journal

    In an extended version, a digital version, a re-digitized digital version and a Jar Jar Binks version at a later date.

  • ...the camera you're looking for. Move along....
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Didn't they make a big deal out of the fact that it was shot with Vistavision cameras?
    Or were those only used by the special-effects unit?

    • Re:Vistavision (Score:5, Informative)

      by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:22PM (#38296948) Homepage Journal

      Yes, that was for the effects work. All the live action was shot with a Panavision camera, as Panavision has a near-monopoly on Hollywood due to contracts/union deals.

      However, because of the demands of the effects work, the only thing accurate enough to shoot 10 passes exactly the same (at the time) was Disney's Vistavision cameras.

      Remember that hardly anybody had been doing blue-screen at the time for over a decade. Even 2001 was shot mostly with "in camera" effects work (which is why it's not grainy, you never see matte boxes but to it's detriment, nothing can pass in front of each other, which would have made shooting the battle sequences near impossible).

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        However, because of the demands of the effects work, the only thing accurate enough to shoot 10 passes exactly the same (at the time) was Disney's Vistavision cameras.

        Do you mean Disney's Vistavision cameras *on computer controlled mechanisms*?

        I thought that one of the big advances at the time was the computer controlled camera mechanisms, to _do_ the multiple passes.

      • Even 2001 was shot mostly with "in camera" effects work

        I was pretty surprised to learn that most of the FX in "Moonraker" were shot in-camera by winding back the film.

        Bit of a silly movie, but FX are pretty impressive considering how they were done.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI6ygeZxUBA [youtube.com]

      • Re:Vistavision (Score:4, Interesting)

        by John Bresnahan (638668) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @09:20AM (#38301954)

        Paramount, not Disney, first used the VistaVision format.

        The advantage of using a larger format, such as VistaVision or 65MM, was the greater detail captured on the larger negative. That allowed the copying required to produce the effects shots to still retain the same quality as the original 35MM non-effect filming

        The more stable image was also helpful, but not the primary reason to go with a larger format.

      • by iluvcapra (782887)

        I know of no contract ot union deal that locked Panavision cameras in (I'm a member of IATSE, why does everyone always blame the union?). The real reason was Panavison had a patent to the world's first non-distorting 2.35 CinemaScope lens system, and they made the lens mountings incompatible with anything but Panavison camera bodies.

  • What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya ... m minus math_god> on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:12PM (#38296846) Homepage Journal

    It's a freaking camera. A book by it's operator would be more interesting.

    Next up, the coffee pot that was used on set during the filming of SW:EPIII

    • Yes, it is just a camera, but Panavision cameras have never been cheap, especially with the dollies and the follow focus which has to be custom geared to the dolly's wheel diameter and the lens you're using.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They aren't cheap since Panavision doesn't sell their gear at all (except in very very rare cases). Also, "follow focus geared to the dolly's wheel diameter"?? What? Having been a focus puller for 10 years at one point, I have never seen this done even once - or even considered.

    • And then lets not forget you can't actually purchase one.

    • by Baloroth (2370816)
      Only if it it has Lucas' DNA on it, so I can clone him and then kill him without getting into (too much) trouble.
      • by youn (1516637)

        Lucas DNA! I have a brilliant ida... let's clone him and have a show about the clones growing up as a disfunctional family... let's call that clone wars... oh wait.... oops :)

    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      You obviously don't know what it feels like to have "too much" money. I don't either, no regrets.

    • If the item has a solid record of verifiability, is scarce and famous then the resulting artifact could be a good non-degrading value/money carrier.
    • by HaeMaker (221642)

      ...an obsolete one, at that...

    • by iluvcapra (782887)

      It's a freaking camera. A book by it's operator would be more interesting.

      The camera's operator was a guy named Gil Taylor [imdb.com]. Taylor is famous as a british DP for shooting Dr. Strangelove and the Richard Lester's Beatles films, A Hard Day's Night and HELP!, among other things, but he was a notorious fuddy-duddy ass on the set of Star Wars and was constantly undermining Lucas to the crew. He's had little positive to say about the experience.

      He's still alive, at 97, if you wanna shoot him an email :)

  • by msauve (701917) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:12PM (#38296850)
    The obvious question is, how much were they when new?
    • Panavision doesn't sell their cameras, they operate as a rental house only.

      • by msauve (701917)
        They didn't build them for nothing. Just because they didn't sell them (although, they apparently sold this one at some point), doesn't mean they didn't cost anything. One could probably figure out a reasonable retail price if they knew the rental fee, expected lifetime, and guessed at PV's profit margin.
      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        Is it a requirement of the rental agreement that they appear in the credits? Of course the camera type has been mentioned in the end credits of most if not all movies for decades.

        • Is it a requirement of the rental agreement that they appear in the credits?

          I don't know if it's a requirement as part of the contract, but if it isn't, you can be it's there because Panavision gives them a financial incentive to put it there (or a financial *penalty* if they decided not to put it there).

  • by RobinEggs (1453925) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:17PM (#38296886)
    That guy probably has the best sci-fi cinema collection in the world; TFA doesn't say who bought it, but I bet it's him.

    The full-size science fiction museum he opened in Seattle seems to get mediocre reviews, but when I saw a small traveling exhibit of his collection I almost creamed my pants. An original, full Darth Vader suit, Arnold's leather jacket from Terminator, Luke's severed hand model with lightsaber, Dan Akryod's suit and proton pack from Ghostbusters, several Bladerunner costumes, the original witch's hat from the Wizard of Oz, many artifacts from Star Trek and TNG, etc.

    Best damn hour of my life.
    • by morcego (260031)

      the original witch's hat from the Wizard of Oz

      Ok, now THAT is a real jewel, a piece of history. The rest is nice and all, but nowhere in the same league.

      • It makes me wonder where this piece of memorabilia [snopes.com] ended up.

      • the original witch's hat from the Wizard of Oz

        Ok, now THAT is a real jewel, a piece of history. The rest is nice and all, but nowhere in the same league.

        Well, it's not in the same league yet, I guess, but it's all kind of arbitrary. You're making it sound like only ubiquitous appeal plus a certain age qualify something as 'a real jewel'. And if you feel strongly about the age part - not saying for sure that you do, but while I'm thinking - The Wizard of Oz is only 70 years old. You don't think a culturally significant number of people will feel the same way about Star Wars or Bladerunner in the year 2040?

    • I'm normally not into this type of stuff (collecting), but I saw a movie at his house once and he had a display with some items from some movies - it was actually kind of fun to see the originals on display. And I liked that it was just a few select items - when I go to museums there is so much stuff the novelty seems to be diminished for each individual item.
      • And I liked that it was just a few select items - when I go to museums there is so much stuff the novelty seems to be diminished for each individual item.

        Which is why I spent probably 30 minutes of my hour groveling in front of the Darth Vader costume. Seriously, it's fucking terrifying up close, even when you can see the cheesiness of all the 'life-support equipment' being only painted fiberglass.

    • Best damn hour of my life.

      And... now we know why you're single and always will be.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Ihmhi (1206036)

      God damn, talk about showing off.

      I mean, an enthusiast of anything might go as far as to dedicate a display case or room in his house. Paul Allen said, "Fuck that!" and decided to ship his collection all over so that other people may enviously stare at it. He's managed to outsource envy.

  • Hey, this camera can be put to good use! Use it to film another great Star Wars movie.

  • ... you can count on him destroying this too.

  • Really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by x1r8a3k (1170111) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:36PM (#38297108)
    Star Wars fans should know better by now when something from that franchise is "restored"
  • I would have expected he'd fucked up the camera just like he fucked up his movies with "improvements"...

  • by sootman (158191) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @08:11PM (#38297530) Homepage Journal

    ... so Han can shoot first!

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @03:09AM (#38300268) Homepage

    I'm amazed what fans will pay for.

    A few years ago, I was over at Kerner Optical, the Lucasfilm spinoff for practical effects, and they were showing off an early 3D camera with variable separation between the lenses. (Watching that, wearing shutter glasses and looking at a monitor, while someone played with the separation, produces weird feelings in your eyes.)

    Since we were in the camera shop, they showed us some of the stuff they had around, including the first 35mm movie camera with a carbon-fiber case. They built that in-house, for scenes where the camera was going to be banged around. It had been used for some Star Wars job and many times since. They just viewed it as a working tool, not a collectable. It was a film camera, so it's probably been retired by now.

    I'll say one thing for Lucas's operation. People stay there a long time. Most of the people at Kerner had been there for decades. One guy with five years on the job said he was still the new guy.

  • The website linked to this story is horrible, it has so much ads, it looks like a placemat in a cheap pizzeria. It will take me a while to regain my moral equilibrium after seeing that eye sore.

  • The camera was used to film Star Wars. Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope was made on a computer.

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