Birth of a Lens Support for the Mitchell 205

The original thought was to convert the Mitchell 205 to PL lens mount. When I discovered that this was impractical, the compromise was to fit the camera with an Angenieux 25-250 zoom lens. This is an older Angenieux zoom that has the unique 1960’s vintage Hollywood look that was found both in feature films and television. As is true with many zoom lenses, this lens is big and heavy, so it needs a lens support. This particular Mitchell 205 is fitted with a Panavision matte box and support rods, which meant that none of the support  brackets I had would work with this camera. Because of course not! So I had to machine a custom lens support to work with the lens and camera.

The only thing I had in stock to begin this project was an older J4 zoom motor bracket, so I used that as the basis for the new lens support. First, I installed the J4 bracket on the lens. Then, I made a foam core mockup of the parts that had to be machined. With the basic shape in hand, I layed out where the holes needed to be machined into aluminum plate and began machining the rough shape of the support bracket. Everything was fit to the camera with the lens mounted on it and the support rods in place. Once the basic shape was carved out of aluminum, I made a jackscrew assembly that raises and lowers a support cradle that fits to the J4 bracket. In the pictures you can see the engineering process and how the new lens support bracket evolved. This simple design gave new life to a J4 zoom control motor and bracket, and was an elegant solution to the lens support problem. There is still a little more work to be done to couple the follow focus knob to the focus gear assembly at the front of the zoom lens, and then this part of the work will be complete.