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Mitchell BNCR 103

Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2020 4:36 pm
by GlennPrzyborski
As the former owner of Mitchell BNCR #103, I thought I’d share a couple photos. I purchased my camera back in 1978. (The previous owner claimed it was used on the Robert Altman film, “M.A.S.H.” but I have no way to confirm that.) The camera had a 24V Cinema Products crystal sync motor, 4 Baltar lenses, an old original Angenieux 25-250 zoom and 4-1000ft mags.

I used the camera extensively for the sync-sound portions of numerous TV commercials through 1983. The camera always delivered excellent, rock steady images. Due to it’s size, weight and lack of video assist capability, I replaced it with an ARRI 35BL2, then eventually a 35BL4.

Today, Hollywood loves to talk about women in film… Back in the early 80’s my company, Hartwick-Przyborski Productions put together a female director & cinematographer team to shoot primarily retail commercials. Laurie Streiner (formerly our assistant director) directed the projects and my assistant cameraman, Barbara Freeman became the DP & operator. (see photo) They shot dozens of ad campaigns throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Barbara was the only young woman I was aware of who could carry, setup and shoot with that beast of a camera. Today, Barbara Freeman is a very successful director and cinematographer based in Chicago.

In 1984, I sold BNCR #103 and accessories to a major production company in India. I’m sure it spent the rest of its life shooting features in “Bollywood”… Glenn Przyborski

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:17 am
by mediaed

Thanks for the great info. To the best of your knowledge the viewfinder door was the original? That makes it one of the 42 factory built from scratch BNCR Mitchell cameras as opposed to the earlier and later conversions. did it have the front lens blimp for the 25-250 lens? My conversion has both lens blimps from the same time period.
BNCR 104 conversion from BNC 1968-72
# 103 was shipped in Feb of 1969. It could have been bought specifically by Fox or Aspen/Preminger Productions for M A. S. H. Or was a rental camera picked new for the shoot ( possibly Armistead? He was buying a number of Mitchells at that time.)

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:13 am
by GlennPrzyborski
I believe it was an original BNCR from Mitchell, not a conversion. Yes there was a lens blimp for the 25-250 Angenieux plus I believe a smaller one for the Baltar primes. I've attached another photo showing Barbara Freeman using it... you can see the mounting holes for the lens blimps.

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 12:41 pm
by mediaed

Do you recall the contact for where the camera went?

We are trying to build a database of all surviving Mitchells on this website as you can see from the index page selections. It is all about building a future awareness of these examples of precision film machinery that will never be seen again.

If you know of anyone who still owns a Mitchell, please encourage their participation.


Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 6:46 pm
by Guest
Sorry Ed, I don't remember from mid-80's the name of the production company in India. I believe my late business partner originally listed the camera in the classified section of American Cinematographer Magazine (I think). The company wire transferred the money, and I drove the heavy cases to the air cargo terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 6:10 am
by mediaed
Yes. All the cases. Finder and accessories, body, lens and accessories, matte boxes, Worrall head, motors and blimp covers, mag blimp, lens blimps, 2 mags per case X 3......
And that is just the BNC/BNCR. All the cases for the 9 other cameras and 3 other blimps, motor cases, various mag cases plus the tubes for the sticks and cases for all the pan/tilt heads and risers/highhats make a weird art installation at the top of a stairway in the office building here.
When asked "would you like the case?" I generally say no.

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:55 pm
by GlennPrzyborski
I stumbled upon another photo of me and my old #103 from back in 1981. We were shooting a TV commercial for a major bank in West Virginia.
I have a lot shorter hair in 2020...

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:08 am
by GlennPrzyborski
Another shot of my Mitchell BNCR #103 from 1982. Usually BNC’s are mounted on Worrall geared heads. I owned a Sachtler & Wolf Hydro 300 fluid head. It worked very well with this heavy camera and allowed an operator to zoom and/or follow focus. This was very helpful when shooting with small crews.

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:34 am
by mediaed
Thanks for the new pix. Was wondering about the pan-tilt head.

I have a O'Connor 150 head supporting a full dressed out Arri 35 blimp but have hesitated to put the BNCR on it.

I had a person in India searching for info on the camera but the Covid19 lockdown there stopped the effort for now.

Stay safe.ED.

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:23 am
by marop
Great pictures! To think that most of the newer camera operators probably don’t even know what a BNCR is! That was a Movie Camera!