Best Mitchell Geared Head - Worrall of course!

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Best Mitchell Geared Head - Worrall of course!

Post by mrcinephd » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:09 pm

Gentlemen: I'm unlikely to learn disagreement on this subject but a big BNC just doesn't look right on anything else other Worrall Geared Head. Yes, Mitchell put their name on it as well. And yes, Moy made a wonderful one too. Of course the Arriflex Geared Head is an exotic beauty, a definite work of art to be sure. But none of them won this award:

Society of Camera Operators
1996 Technical Achievement Award
George H. Worrall Sr.
Worrall Geared Head, first stable, smooth and balanced triple-mode geared head

As always - Keep on filmin'


Re: Best Mitchell Geared Head - Worrall of course!

Post by oldprodp » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:28 pm

Hello Mr. Cine and Phd. We are in complete agreement. Have you ever watched a DP try to follow a shot with a Worrall Head when he's upset at the camera operator and shouts "Just let me do it?." Very amusing.

Wilson, the oldprodp


Re: Best Mitchell Geared Head - Worrall of course!

Post by gadesro » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:07 am

Great topic. I think you'd be hard pressed to find any seasoned camera operator that has tons of experience that didn't love the Worrall. I have a BNC that I use for display and it sits on top of a Mitchell Friction head. It almost looks like it isn't even a BNC because of the friction head vs. a Worrall head. It just doesn't look right and/or complete without the Worrall.

It's a might pricey item to buy for just completing a display piece. The most economical price that I've seen is for around $3,000 and you don't see them listed for that very often.

If I had deep pockets, I would not only mount my BNC on a Worrall Geared Head but also place the Worrall on top of a "stomp up" tripod known also as a "Sputnik" tripod. I can only dream. See the attached photo.

pump up.jpg


Re: Best Mitchell Geared Head - Worrall of course!

Post by yoyo29_monica » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:01 am

Hi there. Beautiful gear head and I simply love the sputnik styled tripod. Question: Did Mitchell make the sputnik tripod or who? Does anybody know? Request for information from our knowledgeable people here ...

Monica of Tarzana


Re: Best Mitchell Geared Head - Worrall of course!

Post by focuspuller12 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:08 pm

Hey all; love that stomp up tripod as well. Did everybody see where to do the stomping?


Re: Best Mitchell Geared Head - Worrall of course!

Post by 35mmKing » Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:15 pm

Hi there, great topic. I am a Worrall lover as well. Is it OK to say that? I'm referring to the fact that the wife sometimes reads my posts. Here are some more beauty shots of the famous geared head.


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Re: Best Mitchell Geared Head - Worrall of course!

Post by pilotpin » Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:42 am

Yes, the Worrall geared head is a beautifully crafted peice of equipment. Unfortunately, the companies (Worrall of course plus Cinema Products in later years) that produced it have long since disappeared and there is very little in the way, at least on the Internet, of pertinent documentation to be found. Would any one out there have any assembly and/or exploded view drawings related to these heads? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and cheers.


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Re: Best Mitchell Geared Head - Worrall of course!

Post by marop » Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:50 am

I here they are like a Swiss watch mechanism inside making them difficult to work on. I have not seen any interior views or diagrams.

Good luck,


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Re: Best Mitchell Geared Head - Worrall of course!

Post by Cinemachinery » Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:31 pm

As has been pointed out in this thread, Ed DiGiulio's Cinema Products bought the Worrall Company. CP announced the purchase in the Feb 1976 issue of American Cinematographer.

A very good pdf about the history of geared heads.

Geared and Belt Heads
Professional motion picture camera support

Written by Ryan Patrick O’Hara ... dHeads.pdf

A big Thanks to Ryan Patrick O'Hara for putting this article together and making it available to everyone!

In the mid 80s, Mitchell offered 2 geared heads for sale, the 'Lightweight Geared Head' and 'The Vitesse'.

I don't beleive Mitchell built these 2 heads, as they say "Built to exacting Mitchell standards" in the fliers they gave out. I think the heads were made in the U.K. by Dunton.

In the late 70s and the 80s, the Panahead was the popular head for the new lighter weight 35mm cameras. That is until the Arri head came along in the 90s.

As for the camera operators, the very experienced guys would often have their own hand wheels which no one else used. Usually they bought them from the manufacturer, or, they would have custom hand wheels made in various sizes to fit their hands. Larger wheels for more refined camera movement, smaller wheels for faster movements. These hand wheels were perfectly balanced. Operating a camera with "wheels" is an art, and your reputation is on the line when shooting the big stars.
76-2 Worrall 01.jpg
76-2 Worrall 03.jpg
85-1  Mitchell Lightweight 01.jpg
88-1  Mitchell Vitesse 01.jpg
88-1  Mitchell Vitesse 02.jpg

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Re: Best Mitchell Geared Head - Worrall of course!

Post by Charlescowper » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:34 am

I've just aquired a Worral head and it currently doesn't stay at tilted at an angle. Instead, it slips down. Is this normal or does it need servicing? Many thanks.

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