The BBC obsession with Pacemaker Graphics

Discussion in 'UK All Regions' started by Ian Grant, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    A recent episode of a BBC drama had a few scenes with press photographers and Crown or Speed Graphics, in one sequence there were about half a dozen cameras. Now if this was a US made TV series that might be accurate but very few Pacemaker cameras were imported into the UK and by the 1960's other cameras were the mainstay of British press photographers.

    Realisticly there may have been a few MPP MicroPress cameras and Rolleiflexes, even the odd Nikon, possibly a Leica, and a few pre-WWII LF reflex cameras with fast lenses. But there would have only been the occasional Graflex.

    Anyone else spot this ?

    Ian
     
  2. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Maybe the BBC has a stack of them in the props cupboard that it otherwise doesn't know what to do with?
     
  3. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    I watched the first of the Jon Pertwee/Dr. Who episodes (again!) recently, and the press photographers in the hospital appeared to be equipped with Rolleiflex cameras...

    Marc!
     
  4. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Here in the US it does seem like the Graphics are the press camera of the old days in movies depicting a certain time period. It's not inaccurate, but old time press photographers have told me that a lot used Rolleis for much of their work, if not all, because of weight and bulk benefits, plus ease of handling film. Press photographers did not spend all their time popping flashes at dead bodies and arrested suspects; especially in rural areas much of their work was of more ordinary happenings- the Mooselick County Rutabaga Queen, the old lady who turned 100, the new mayor shaking hands with his predecessor in front of City Hall, stuff like that. Not to forget Roy Bick's turnip that looked like a two-headed pig.
     
  5. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    What I hate is the way they seem to always rack the bellows out to the end of the track instead of stopping at the infinity stops.
     
  6. cepwin

    cepwin Member

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    Talking about cameras in the movies. I recently heard something recently about the famous photographer who photographed Ghandi. She used a Graflex (speed? Crown?) and when Candice Bergan (sp?) portrayed her in the Ghandi movie she was apparently well trained to handle the camera appropriately so it looked realistic.
     
  7. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Ain't that the truth!

    Reminds me of the motorless F3's, FM's etc., having a motorized advance dubbed in-and it's not even the crisp advance of the right motors, but a drawn-out advance sound from I guess some cheap camera!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2012
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    For once they didn't :smile: However in one shot the photogrrapher has the rear sight for the Wire finder up but not the front frame, and the camera looks like it's at Infinity bfocus for some relatively close shots.

    The series is actually made for the BBC by an outside company, the scenes in question are suppoedly late 1957, I'd assumed a little later when starting this thread. Pacemaker Graphics were only just being imported into the UK as there had been severe import restrictions of goods made abroad. Graflex had got around this by supplying the parts to make the MPP MicroPress - effectively a Speed Graphic in a UK made wooden body.

    Ian
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I could give them a suggestion!


    Steve.
     
  10. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Is this "The Hour" Ian? I think I recall seeing a sports viewfinder in something recently. If it was "The Hour" then watch out in future episodes( tonight maybe) for the female producer checking what looks like 35mm film which I suspect is meant to come from the 4x5 press cameras but I might be wrong:D

    Surely even the BBC wouldn't get this wrong?

    pentaxuser
     
  11. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    You surely don't expect high quality production values from the BBC these days? - One of the remarkable traits of the recent showing on BBC FOUR of the Italian 'Inspector Montalbano' series is how well made it is compared to current and recent BBC productions.

    Tom
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Yes Mike, The Hour. Actually it's a well made series, I think one problem is that these days websites etc even in Europe equate Graflex Pacemaker cameras as being the main Press cameras of the post war period through to perhaps the late 1960's. They were imported into the UK but not in large numbers and Rolleiflexes and even Leica's were in use in Fleet sStreet by the mid 1950's.

    By 1939 smaller formats were already used by some UK press photographers and that would haveaccelerated during and after WWII.

    I should have added that in other scenes there are more cameras, a 120 folder on a journalists desk which the Head of News picks up and comments about dust on the lens, and there's cameras hanging by their straps on a hook in the newsroom, one's a TLR but it could be anything fro a Six-20 Brownie to a twin lens Contalex (it has a chrome faceplate).

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2012