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We moved into Halle 1 at the Bavaria Film Studios, Munich and gradually over a period of 2 weeks we were able to start testing the equipment and motion control gear. Tony Fox organised the construction of a cement base for the camera tracks as the wooden floor of the studio wasn't sufficient to keep vibrations to a minimum.
Halle1 Halle1 effects office
We discovered that the studios was an Aladdin's Cave full of VistaVision equipment left over from the 50's and consisted of 2x Mitchell (Elephant Ears) Vistavisions, 1x Paramount Butterfly Vistavision, a partially built Vistavision rostrum with various Technorama, Nikon and Leitz lenses included but the icing on the cake was a Mitchell S35R and Bell & Howell 35mm clapper gate camera. We were drooling over this amount of equipment and via Bob Edwards (Executive in Charge of Production) we were able to do a deal in buying the whole lot after the production had finished. We already purchased a Vistavision Technorama camera prior to starting the film and were already building a nodal pan and tilt head (we called a Field Recorder) which we later used for all the real-time Blue Screen shooting in Munich.
Technorama Vistavision Mitchel Elephant Ears

"it'll never work" -

Mark and Peter scrutinize some of the VistaVision equipment (from the rostrum) that eventually made it's way into the Optical Printer built by Tony.

It'll Never Work
Tony Fox looking dubious as well.
Tony Fox looking dubious
Here is the finished printer being installed at the Bourne End premises when we returned - the only thing missing was a Vistavision to 35mm anamorphic lens so we contracted David Grafton to build two lenses - a 1:1 between the two projectors and an anamorphic reduction lens (he designed and built all of the ILM lenses for their optical printers) - even at that time the total cost was £50,000 but it did what it said on the tin! BTW the Bell & Howell camera came with two beautiful 400' magazines made in wood and black lacquered.
Vistavision Optical Printer
We covered the inside of the Studio (Halle 1) in plastic so that we could shoot in a smoke controlled environment, Wolfgang Lempp designed an infrared emitter and receiver either side of the studio that automatically switched on/off the smoke machine in order to control the density for single frame shooting
Bi Pack Mitchell in smoke
Bob makes the final touches to a mock up of the Ivory Tower prior to a camera test before the final model was finished.
Bob BAllan Ivory tower
Mark following the safety regulations in the smoke tent while filming the Ivory Tower
Mark in smokey studio
Thanks to Rick Barham (Gaffer on our motion control FX unit) for these stills below. The small model of the Ivory Tower is being shot for the multi pass sequence where extra rocks were added before hand.
This nice shot was recently discovered while scanning some of Mark's older B&W he is about to shoot what seems to be scene 13 shot 15....(POV bat flying towards tower)
Shooting small Ivory Tower
Table top Sphinx landscape model
Sphinx landscape
Dennis Lowe & Peter Tyler working on the Ivory Tower
Dennis Lowe & Peter Tyler working on ivory tower
Lowe & Tyler on tower
Bob Ballan and Rick Barham with the small Ivory Tower model.
Bob and Rick - small Ivory Tower
Mark following safety regulations at a party in Munich
Mark Tony Gabby
Some examples of the matte paintings done by Michael Pangrazio while he was in Munich





Here is the Newman Sinclair that finished up on the end of the jib arm - again this was a lucky find, the original design was standard 35mm and the gate was converted to take Vistavision - we bought it 'as is' and took care of it throughout the life of the company. It was converted to take Nikon lenses and used the standard Newman Sinclair box style 200' magazines. Because it was made totally from aluminium it was the obvious choice for the jib arm.
Newman SInclair door closed Newman Sinclair door open
Newman Sinclair Vistavision gate
Brian does the rounds on his Harley Davidson.
Brian on Harley Davidson
This was the first computer we bought in 1979, a Ohio Superboard II - a 6502 based single-board computer with a massive 4K of RAM and BASIC in ROM. When the computer proved itself over a few months we snapped up another half dozen and used them for other rigs. We chose this rather stylish case. Data from the computer was recorded and saved using a cassette recorder from Boots Chemist.
Ohio Superboard Superboard case



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