VistaVision Butterfly camera with 400’ magazine, Cinema Products swing away matte box, and video tap.

VistaVision Butterfly

After countless interruptions, numerous wrinkle paint failures, much choking on magnesium dust, and stripping and re-foaming all of the original cases, the VistaVision Butterfly camera and all of its accessories is finally ready to find a new home! This updated Mitchell VistaVision “light-weight hand-held” production camera features a Nikon lens mount; a crystal motor with 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, and 32 fps as well as variable speed control; Fries Engineering spinning mirror reflex system; NTSC video tap; four 1000’ magazines; four 400’ magazines; a CP swing-away matte box; a clip-on matte box; two 36V battery chargers; magazines belts; power and video cables; and cases for all. In our limited research time, we have only been able to find one publication that specifically mentions these cameras, a January 1956 issue of Paramount World, which talks about how this new “light-weight hand-held VistaVision” camera was first used on the feature “The Mountain” starring Spencer Tracy, Robert Wagner, and Claire Trevor. In my distant memory, I recall an article in American Cinematographer showing the camera operator laying on his back, shooting hand-held with one of these cameras. So, while lightweight is a relative term, these cameras were certainly lighter and smaller than the elephant ear cameras. This would make a wonderful collectors piece, or a fabulous production camera.