By George Leon
A Short Story about Director's Viewfinders
line up a camera angle using a Mitchell viewfinder
on the set of "Citizen Kane" in 1940
In 1975, Alan Gordon Enterprises in Hollywood, California started the development of what would become the 10:1 Mark IV Directors Viewfinder. The Mark IV was introduced at the S.M.P.T.E. conference and trade show in 1979. This was the beginning of the modern day Director's Viewfinder. Subsequent updated models have been the Mark V, introduced in 1991 and the current Mark Vb model in 2005. In addition to its 10:1 zoom range, the Mark IV featured windows through which the director could easily see the lens focal length he was considering. These windows represented 16, 35 & 35 anamorphic formats, and gave the cinematographer instant information about lens focal length and scene framing.
Mark IV evolved into Mark V Director's Viewfinder in 1987. With the Mark V, Alan Gordon Enterprises introduced an enhanced 12:1 zoom range, a wider angle capability, and two additional windows covering Super 16, 1/2" & 2/3" video formats.
TODAY'S DIRECTOR VIEWFINDERS
Michael Bay's retrofitted and engraved Mark VB by Panavision
Cavision VFC52PL with Arri PL bayonet mount for
35mm standard lenses with extension eyepiece
The Panavision Mini-DV Director’s Viewfinder, made in Australia, uses Panavision Millennium 35mm camera ground glasses. The ground glass image can be viewed through a color viewfinder or flip-out colour LCD monitor and instantly recorded to high quality digital video or stills. An on-board microphone enables the recording of location sound or commentary. An additional video monitor can be fed from its video out connector. The unit has a FireWire connector so that your video and still images can be easily transferred to computer. Power is supplied by an on-board Canon camcorder battery. An infrared remote control is included for convenient playback control. Available in PV or PL lens mount, the Panavision Mini-DV Director’s Viewfinder will make a valuable addition to your next shoot.
This high-end director's viewfinder allows you to use your actual camera lens to view and set shots. The OIC-35 is a precise instrument which was conceived for the rough environment of a film shoot, the housing is a light alloy, hermetically sealed and fitted with a 54 PL mount (BNC socket available).
Features: Specially computed and designed optical light path. Ergonomic eyepiece with diopter balance from -4 to +4 . Eyepiece adjustable for right or left eye. Ergonomically designed cherry wood handle, for left or right hand or universal grip. Carrying belt, made of fine nappa leather. Delivered without ground glass (Arri 435/535)
Courtesy of Allan Gordon Enterprises