- DiGiulio, Ed (Edmund)
- Ed DiGiulio is an electronics engineer and president of the Cinema Products Corporation, a Los Angeles company that specializes in designing custom equipment for film and television applications. At the behest of STANLEY KUBRICK, DiGiulio developed special camera equipment for A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971), BARRY LYNDON (1975), and THE SHINING (1980).DiGiulio works as a direct liaison with filmmakers and helps to translate their stylistic needs into workable technologies. During the last 30 years, Cinema Products has developed numerous custom lenses, cameras, camera stabilization units, and monitoring systems for 16- and 35 mm film production and video production. “We attempt to define a ‘hole’ in the market, and then set about to develop a product that will fill that vacuum,” according to DiGiulio. Receiving his initial training as an electronics engineer in the aerospace and computer industries, Ed DiGiulio started working as director of engineering for the Mitchell Camera Corporation in 1963. While at Mitchell, DiGiulio discovered that few changes were being made to the camera designs despite the growing needs of filmmakers. With this in mind, he left the company in 1967 and started Cinema Products Corporation in 1968, solely with the purpose of modifying cinematic equipment. The first major success of the company was the addition of reflex viewing units for Mitchell’s BNC cameras, allowing through-the-lens viewing without parallax distortion (the inaccuracy of framing resulting from a sidemounted viewfinder that does not give the same view as through the lens). Another early development was the J-4 Zoom Control, a motorized device to facilitate motionless zoom changes during shots. The J-4 “joystick” zoom control received one of its first cinematic tryouts during several exceptionally smooth zoom shots in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.In the late 1960s, the introduction of lightweight, portable audio equipment, such as the Nagra IV quarter-inch tape recorder, created a need for cameras that were equally portable while also being silent enough to use in proximity to the microphone. Moreover, there was a need for the tape recorder to be synchronized with the camera during location shooting. In the studio, this was done through an “umbilical cord” that linked the recorder to the camera. However, during location shooting, it proved difficult, if not impossible, to tether the two devices together. Cinema Products, in conjunction with the Research Center of the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers, developed a crystalcontrolled direct current motor to provide the necessary synchronization and power to drive the camera. As a result, the camera and tape recorder could operate independently while maintaining perfect synchronization, thereby granting both the camera and sound teams greater latitude during shooting. Cinema Products Corporation also recognized the need for new, super-lightweight 16 mm news and documentary cameras to accommodate the growing media outlets. The workhorse of the newsreel industry previously had been the single-system Bach-Auricon Cine Voice camera, which, in 1973, served as the template for the Cinema Products’ new CP-16 camera. In order to meet the changing needs of location news-gathering, the camera was made significantly lighter and given a shorter viewfinder and a quick-change film cartridge design. The real advantage of the CP-16 was the dualsystem sound capability of its new Crystasound amplifier network, which enabled camera operators to run the camera in sync with a crystal-controlled tape recorder or to record the sound directly onto the film. In the latter mode, camera operators had the flexibility to shoot and record sound simultaneously, and the camera rapidly became the preferred field recorder in the United States and Latin America. The following year the camera was further advanced with the inclusion of a reflex viewfinder for in-studio work.Along with designing cameras, Cinema Products Corporation was also the exclusive worldwide distributor of Canon’s ultra-fast aspheric zoom lenses, that allowed for “night-for-night” shooting on location. Already familiar with Cinema Products Corporation from A Clockwork Orange and curious about their ultrafast lenses, Stanley Kubrick contacted Ed DiGiulio about the custom use of a number of specialty lenses on Barry Lyndon. Although it was unusual for Cinema Products Corporation to develop hardware specifically for a single film or filmmaker, Kubrick’s strong cinematic vision provided a unique challenge to DiGiulio and the company’s engineers. Slightly perplexed by Kubrick’s desire to custom-design the lenses when several existing lenses were adequate for the job (with the addition of some fill light), DiGiulio asked the director the purpose behind the request.Kubrick replied that he was not doing this just as a gimmick, but because he wanted to preserve the natural patina and feeling of these old castles at night as they actually were. The addition of any fill light would have added an artificiality to the scene that he did not want. To achieve the amount of light he actually needed in the candlelight scenes, and in order to make the whole movie balance out properly, Kubrick went ahead and push-developed the entire film one stop—outdoor and indoor scenes alike.In order to provide the realistic sense of lighting for the scene, Kubrick had the company adapt two Zeiss 50 mm still-camera lenses, originally designed for NASA satellite photography, for the nonreflex Mitchell BNC camera. A special focusing barrel was added, as the rear element of the lens needed to be 2. 5 millimeters away from the film stock. These lowlight lenses, with an extraordinarily low f-stop of 0. 7, allowed for the filming of interior scenes with nothing more than candlelight. A second Zeiss 50 mm lens was fitted with a Kollmorgen projection lens adapter to create an even wider focal length of 36. 5 mm, while maintaining the f/0. 7 aperture. Both lenses were used to dramatic effect in the film, but a third 24 mm version of the lens was scrapped due to noticeable distortion.The Angénieux Company of France developed a number of extremely long zoom lenses for work with still cameras and 16 mm motion picture film. The lenses were designed to offer extreme zoom ratios (between 15-to-1 and 20-to-1) with no distortion. Stanley Kubrick had the Cinema Products Corporation modify a 20-to-1 Angénieux zoom for use on Barry Lyndon. Similar to the Samuelson Film Service 20-to-1 lens used on A Clockwork Orange, the Angénieux lens was used for many long, slow zooms out as well as for a number of extreme long shots. This new lens design, called the Cine-Pro T9, allowed for extreme changes in focal length to be accomplished as part of a particular sequence. The reframing of a scene from the maximum zoom (480 millimeters) to the maximum wide-angle setting (24 millimeters) served to emphasize the relationship between the cinematography in Barry Lyndon and the emergence of forced perspective in painting in the 18th century.Another development of the Cinema Products Corporation, in conjunction with its inventor Garrett Brown, was the STEADICAM camera stabilization system, a device that piqued Kubrick’s interest early in its development. After a number of refinements, the Steadicam was used extensively in The Shining, and Kubrick’s modification to include a video tap became standard for the device in the 1980s. Cinema Products Corporation and Ed DiGiulio radically refined their 16 mm film camera with creation of the ultraminiaturized GSMO camera with its direct “gun sighting” and coaxial feed magazine for news and documentary work. In the 1980s and 1990s, the company continued its innovations with a number of stabilization control devices, such as the Mini-Mote remote-controlled pan-and-tilt head and Garrett Brown’s Skycam. They continue to provide accessories and camera modifications for the film and television industries, while exploring new advances and techniques in cinematography.References■ Cook, David A. , “Chapter 9—Technological Innovation and Aesthetic Response,” Lost Illusions: American Cinema in the Shadow of Watergate and Vietnam: 1970–1979. History of the American Cinema, vol. 9, Charles Harpole, general editor (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2000);■ DiGiulio, Ed, “A Crystal-Controlled Cordless Drive Motor for Motion-Picture Cameras,” SMPTE Journal 80, no. 6 (June 1971): 496–488;■ ———, “Designing the CP-16 and CP-16/A News/Documentary Cameras,” SMPTE Journal 83, no. 4 (April 1974): 287–291;■ ———,“The CP-16R Camera Makes Its Studio Debut,” American Cinematographer 55, no. 9 (September 1974): 1058–1059, 1067;■ ———,“Two Special Lenses for ‘Barry Lyndon,’” American Cinematographer 57, no. 3 (March 1976): 276–277, 318, 336–337;■ ———,“Developments in Motion-Picture Camera Design and Technology—A Ten-Year Update,” SMPTE Journal 85, no. 7 (July 1976): 481–487;■ ———,“Steadicam-35—A Revolutionary New Concept in Camera Stabilization,” American Cinematographer 58, no. 7 (July 1977): 786–787, 802–803;■ ———, “Cinema Products’ New ‘GSMO’ Camera,” American Cinematographer 58, no. 9 (September 1977): 958–960;■ ——, “Film vs. Tape Controversy,” Cinema Canada 41, (October 1977): 44–45;■ ———, “Film or TV Timecode?—The American View,” American Cinematographer 60, no. 9 (September 1979): 881, 946–948;■ ———,“The ‘New Generation’ GSMO 16mm Camera,” American Cinematographer 62, no. 12 (December 1981): 1206–1207, 1233–1235;■ DiGiulio, Ed, E. C. Manderfeld, and George A. Mitchell, “An Historical Survey of the Professional Motion-Picture Camera,” SMPTE Journal 85, no. 7 (July 1976): 487–492;■ Henderson, S. , “The Cinema Products Story,” American Cinematographer 56, no. 5 (May 1975): 574–576, 580, 583–584, 598–607;■ Salt, Barry, Film Style & Technology: History & Analysis, 2nd expanded edition (London: Starword, 1992).J. S. B.
The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. Gene D. Phillips Rodney Hill. 2002.
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