Studio Motion Picture Camera
This Bioscope camera probably dates back to 1910 or
earlier. Bioscope cameras were very popular and were
sometimes used to shoot the "second" negative.
Scenes were often shot with two cameras right next to
each other. The second negative was then exported to a
foreign country where it was processed and then cut into
a feature. Hence, as an unfinished product, the costs of
customs and import duties were negated.
is interesting that the Bioscope movement was purchased from Alfred
Darling. At the time, he built movements for Williamson and Bioscope,
among others. The logo can be seen stamped in the brass "side
finder" on the rear of the camera, as a blend of the letters
A and D. can also be seen on the main mechanism support frame, usually
near the shutter. He manufactured and shipped all the metal parts
and sent patterns for the wood along. The blue print was then taken
to a cabinet maker, who created the wood body. Thus, Darling was exporting
parts and not a finished camera, reducing the high duty cost of a
"finished" motion picture camera.
Bioscope camera cost about nine hundred US dollars in
1909, the cost of an average house at that time.
Throughout this century a good 35mm motion picture camera
has consistently cost about the same as an average house.
Among its features, this camera has a frames per
second "speedometer" on the crank side just
above the footage counter. When a cameraman wanted a
certain "feel" to a scene he would often crank
the camera just a little faster or slower to give an
emotional emphasis to the footage. We still use this
terminology today when we ask to over crank or under
crank a scene.
camera comes complete with an antique tripod and