UNDERGROUND WITH A MOVIE CAMERA
Making the Movies by Ernest A. Dench
New York, The Macmillan company, published 1915 (now in the Public Domain)
"What next?" one might well ask when referring to the accomplishments of movie photography. The ever encroaching camera has been taken below the ocean's depths, and just now the problem of taking pictures at night has been overcome.
There remains but one more difficult place -- underground. But (a fact little known) even this difficulty has not proved beyond the capabilities of the astute film producer.
It was a pretty dangerous thing to equip a coal mine with naked arc lamps, but Pathe Freres did this in England some time back for a colliery picture. It might be pointed out, however, that the mine in question was one of the least dangerous, for it contained a small amount of coal and a comparatively great amount of copper ore. But even though the volume of dangerous gasses were at a minimum it was a pretty dangerous task all the same. The film director was given but six hours to accomplish his work and from midnight to six in the morning he himself, the players, and the camera man worked like engines at the bottom of the pit. Their efforts proved successful, but the whole troop were as black as niggers when they came to the surface. Had the Board of Trades learnt of the thing beforehand they would certainly have prevented such a risky undertaking.
Our producers are no whit behind, for a film was taken at a depth of 5300 feet below the survace a the Calumet and Hecla Mines, Michigan. At this record depth artificial lighting equipment was installed. The results were excellent.
In New York, the Vitagraph Company succeeded in filming the McAdoo tunnels under the North River and the Subways for the Panama-Pacific Exposition. Sufficient light was provided for photographing by the special portable arc lamp.
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