Cameras used in making Hollywood movies

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Cameras used in making Hollywood movies
Film cameras are rarely used in Hollywood now. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

The Pathe Hand Crank Model 1909 was used to shoot what is widely considered as the first ever Hollywood movie, “In Old California," according to the Internet Movie Database. Historically, 35mm movie cameras were the equipment of choice for most Hollywood directors until digital cameras became dominant in the first decade of the 21st century.

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Bell and Howell 2709

The Bell and Howell 2709 was one of the first truly professional cameras used in Hollywood. This was a hand cranked camera that first appeared in 1912. The Bell and Howell 2709 was much used in Hollywood’s silent era, when British comic actor Charlie Chaplin rose to prominence. These cameras were well made and some are still functioning.

35mm cameras

Hollywood’s main movie camera for many years was the 35mm motion picture camera. Mitchell cameras made four models of note, according to MitchellCamera.com. The first was the Mitchell Standard, which appeared in 1920. As the silent era gave way to the era of the “talkies,” the Noiseless Camera -- or NC -- appeared. The Studio model was known as the BNC, which stood for Blimped Newsreel Camera. Finally, Mitchell created the BNCR camera, or Blimped Newsreel Camera Reflexed.

Large format cameras

Large format cameras are the 65mm and 75mm models, such as the Panavision large format system 65. According to Panavision, large format system 65 cameras were used to film “Lawrence of Arabia,” which starred the Anglo-Irish actor Peter O’Toole. “My Fair Lady,” which starred British actress Audrey Hepburn, was another film made with this camera. “West Side Story,” inspired by William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, was a third.

Modern Hollywood cameras

Modern Hollywood cameras are mainly digital and some are handheld. ARRI, which bills itself as the world's largest manufacturer and distributor of motion picture cameras, made the Alexa Studio camera. The Alexa Studio was used in the making of the 2012 James Bond movie "Skyfall." 3D cameras, such as the Quasar, Pulsar and Neutron, were becoming increasingly popular in Hollywood during the early 2010s. "Pirates of the Caribbean 4," about fictional English character Captain Jack Sparrow, was filmed in 3D.

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