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  • Gillian McKendree

The Archivist: Shooting Film

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

We felt the film relied heavily upon 1970’s aesthetics, and pondered how might we do a film of this nature justice, especially in the modern era where digital rules the masses. Decidedly, Kodak film seemed to be the perfect contender as it glues images together wonderfully, all the while capturing color so uniquely.

So began our search for the perfect cameras. We ended up employing three different vintage models to complete The Archivist. The Arriflex 2B Super-Techniscope 35mm, a crystal sync system designated for dialog, then the Arriflex 2C Techniscope 35mm (our B camera) to capture the car interiors and pyrotechnics. Lastly, our prized camera among the vintage models was the Mitchell Vistascope S35R 35mm for studio interiors.

While all three cameras were used on iconic films such as The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, or Once Upon a Time in the West, our Mitchell Vistascope had an authentic historical background.

The exact model of the Mitchell Vistascope we obtained to film The Archivist was the same camera used to film The Atlanta Campaign, a civil war reenactment filmed in 1989 for the Atlanta Cyclorama Museum. Below you will see the exact camera that serves us on our production in action over 30 years ago.

The Archivist’s devotion to film in turn created extra discipline on set. Shooting endless takes wasn’t an option, so rehearsing lines and actions to perfection was imperative. Plus, who could ever deny that getting the footage back from the lab was like getting special presents each week? After all, that’s the joy of shooting film in a digitized world.

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