#2: [Left]

 

   


  RUNE ERICSON

 

Born: 29 May 1924, Stockholm, Sweden, as Gunnar Rune Eriksson.

Died: 4 February 2015, Thailand [on holiday].

Career: Started as lab technician. Became c.asst.

Ph doc's for CBS-tv and NBC-tv in Africa.

Was the founder of the Föreningen Sveriges Filmfotografer/Swedish Society of Cinematographers [fsf] in November 1961.

Invented the Super 16 system as a feature film format. The system was called 'RuneScope'.

Awards: As doph: Guldbagge 'Special Jury Award/Juryns specialbagge' [1984]; fsf Årets Filmbana/Golden Aperture Plate Award [1987] for 'Amorosa'; 'Oscar' AA 'Award of Commendation' [special award plaque] [2001] for his pioneering development and 30 years of dedication to the Super 16mm format for motion pictures.

As dir: Berlin IFF 'Golden Bear Award' nom [1964] for 'Olle Olsson - Hagalund'.


GO TO FILMS

Super 16

 

Lets go back 41 years to April 1966. I was 42 years old and had been working in the film business for 24 of them.

In the spring of 1966, [director and former actress] Mai Zetterling contacted me and asked if I'd like to make a film with her. She told me that the project involved traveling around the world for six months with a very small crew. But most of the filming would be done in Iceland. We would have to do a lot of the work with a handheld camera, Mai told me. [Remember, the lightest, noiseless 35mm camera at the time was the ARRI 2C in a 120 blimp, which weighed 20 kilos.] "No problem," I said to Mai, "we can shoot handheld with a regular ARRI 2C, but you'll have to dub all of the dialogue." "No. No. No," said Mai, "I hate doing that." So, of course, we thought that shooting in 16mm might be a way to do it. There were two noiseless 16mm cameras we could use for our film: the ARRI 16BL and the Éclair NPR.

Mai and I went to Iceland to check out locations. Just for testing, I brought a little spring-loaded Kodak Cine Special camera and some reels of Kodak Ektachrome Commercial. Back in Sweden, the lab made a blow-up to a 35mm internegative 1.66:1 wide screen by cropping the original Ektachrome. We looked at the 35mm print in the screening room and agreed that the quality was quite acceptable - particularly for the type of film we were planning to make.

But as I sat there in that screening room in the spring of 1966, an idea popped into my head. Something just went click. And - in a fragment of a second - Super 16 was born. A very simple idea!

A simple idea - yes! But the rest of the Super 16 story became rather complicated. But first, Mai Zetterling's film project was cancelled by the producer.

The idea of Super 16 was still firmly fixed in my mind. The first thing I did was to take a piece of a 16mm copy with sound track. I had a piece of paper, a pen, a slide caliper and a calculator. And I discovered that if I left 1mm of the side for supporting the film in the camera as well as for the lab, the widescreen area 1.66:1 was 40% larger than the cropped standard 16mm and with widescreen 1.85:1, it was 46%. Theoretically, I understood that the results on a screen ought to be good compared to a cropped standard 16mm. But how to prove it?

First, I called KODAK's man in Stockholm, Östen Söderlund, and asked him if it was possible to get single-perforation 16mm camera film. It was, he said, on special order.

But how to actually go about doing the tests? Before I went any further, I had to prove to myself that I was right. And what was the easiest way to do that? I didn't have a Super 16 camera. And the lab didn't have a Super 16 aperture plate for the Acme Optical printer. So I took a 35mm ARRI 2C camera, removed the aperture plate and glued in a piece of black paper with the Super 16 format cut out in the center. I removed the ground glass and marked the Super 16 format with a pen. In the center of that, I marked the standard 16mm cropped to 1.66:1. I filmed around ten shots, wide angles, mediums and close ups. I did the same scenes framed in exactly the same way with the cropped standard 16mm format. I used Eastman Color film.

Now, for the first time, we could blow up "Super 16" using the 35mm optical printer. We made a direct blow-up to a 35mm copy. Looking at the result on a big screen was wonderful to me, of course. The difference in quality was enormous. The test proved that Super 16 just might be the format of the future. You can laugh, but the first Super 16 camera ever was a converted 35mm ARRI 2C.

I'm glad to say that the Filmteknik lab, under the management of John Egermark, helped me considerably. Without the support of Filmteknik, I don't think Super 16 would ever have been born.

I showed the test to colleagues at the Swedish Society of Cinematographers and they were all impressed. I also spoke with some interested producers. But nothing really happened, though I did receive economic support for some more experiments from Lars Svanberg at the Swedish Film Institute.

We started trying to convert an ARRI 16BL, but the construction of the mirror shutter and the size of the ground glass made the conversion difficult and expensive. After examining the Éclair NPR, we came to the conclusion that it just might be possible to make a Super 16 adaptation with this camera. By we, I mean Carl Hellstrand and myself. In my opinion, Carl was the best camera technician in Sweden.

That was the situation around 1966-67. Over the next few years, I filmed as usual with 35mm, and the Super 16 idea was more or less asleep.

But in early 1969, a director called Vilgot Sjöman contacted me. He said, he'd heard about my idea for the "RuneScope" [That's what my colleagues had dubbed Super 16 in the early days, after my first name]. I showed him my early experiment and he told me that he wanted to do a semi-documentary film where around half the story took place aboard an old 50-60 foot boat. We'd have to spend around 20 days filming below decks in narrow, cramped areas. And many of the dialog scenes were to take place in the cab of a big truck as it was driving along. "I think 'RuneScope' is perfect," Vilgot said, "because my film can't be done with a 20-kilo blimped 35mm camera." [Remember, The ARRI 35BL hadn't been built at that time.]

Vilgot and I went to Sandrew Film and spoke with the producer Göran Lindgren. We described the Super 16 idea. Lindgren turned at me and said: "Rune, I know you as a very serious and skilled cameraman. Do you really believe in this?" What should I answer? "Yes, of course I do." Then he turned to Vilgot with the same question, and Vilgot answered, "Yes, of course". "OK," he said, "if you two really believe in this, then let's do it!"

Now the throttle was on full speed. We ordered an Éclair NPR. We bought a Siemens double-band projector to be converted. A 16mm Steenbeck table moved into our workshop. Filmteknik started to convert the processing machine and all the rollers, etc, which would be in contact with the larger image area.

I had an optics factory make a new ground glass for the viewing system. In addition, Carl Hellstrand partially removed surfaces from wheels and other places in the magazines and camera body where the sound-track side of single-perf 16mm film would ordinarily ride. These were milled down to the point where there was only one millimeter of surface left.

 

[#1] With the lens removed from the Éclair NPR, the extended 16mm frame

aperture plate adaptation can be clearly seen. Also obvious is the lens mount

modification made to shift the optical axis of the lens one millimeter to the

side, so that the lens will cover the enlarged frame without vignetting.

[#2] A view inside the camera showing the Super 16 frame modification

of the aperture plate and its position in relation to the film channel.

 

Of course, we had a certain amount of trouble with scratches at first , but we worked on this problem and managed to correct it. [During the filming of Vilgot Sjöman's picture we shot 50,000 feet of film, and we had to reshoot only three scenes due to scratches. I think that wasn't so bad.]

Then there was the matter of lenses. Most standard 16mm lenses will not cover the enlarged field of the Super 16 frame. I found Canon lenses made for television cameras - 13,5mm, 25mm, and 50mm - that were surprisingly good. Plus a Kineoptik 9mm and Schneider 18mm.

In the fall of 1969, the whole chain was ready to be tested - camera, processing, contact printing, sound syncing, screening the 16mm rushes, editing, negative cutting, blow-up to 35mm Color Reversal Intermediate Negative, and release print.

At last, all of us who had been involved for six months, more or less, brought our baby to a big movie theater in downtown Stockholm. I think the result was better than we had expected. In any case, the quality was good enough for the semi-documentary feature we were planning.

The film, called 'Lyckliga skitar/Blushing Charlie', was shot between February and April 1970 - a dark season in Sweden, so I had to use a fast film. Eastman Color Negative 7254 was really my only choice. I remember being very worried during the entire shooting period. Only one Super 16 camera existed in the whole world - what if something would happen to it! Accidents, dropping it on the floor, getting it stolen from the car, mechanical breakdowns, the list goes on. We were lucky though - nothing bad happened.

'American Cinematographer Magazine' has been my main source of information through the course of my career as a cinematographer. It was very natural for me to contact the editor Herb Lightman about our Super 16 experience. The story was published in the June 1970 issue of 'American Cinematographer'. Of course, reactions were mixed. Initially, most of the negative ones came from conservative film people - "stupid idea", "better to go 35mm for a feature", and so on. Most of the big labs were rather negative too. "Dangerous", "it will scratch", "why rebuild a lot of equipment", etc. ARRI declared that is was a stupid idea. OK - it took them almost 20 years, but in the end they admitted that Super 16 was a nice idea.

A letter came from Paris soon after the June 1970 issue was out. It was from Mr. Coma, the manager of Éclair. He was neither positive nor negative - just invited me to visit him. He pointed out that I had done things to his camera.  Honestly, I was quite nervous when I went to him. But I had no reason to be afraid. He shook my hand and patted my shoulder with a friendly smile and said: "Well done! I like your idea." He showed me around in the factory, and we went to a counter where a young man with enormous black hair was sitting. He was Jean-Pierre Beauviala, an electronics engineer working on the design of the first crystal-controlled motor for the NPR. Mr. Coma introduced us and asked him to take me to lunch.

In the restaurant, the table was covered with plain white paper, very common back then in Paris. I understood immediately that Jean-Pierre really liked my idea. Not only liked it. He was extremely enthusiastic. His English was as bad as mine, but with so much uniting us, we had no problems to communicate. He had a pen and started to make drawings on the table paper. Before long, there were aperture plates and pressure plates. There was a NPR camera completely redesigned. You could hardly recognize the old NPR. Two years later, I realized that these were the first sketchy drawings of the AATON camera.

 

[Right] with Jean-Pierre Beauviala [1972]

 

Jean-Pierre and I met again at the Photokina in Cologne, in 1972. He was sitting at a desk showing me the prototype of the Super 16 AATON camera. He said to me: "Now that you've made me build a Super 16 camera, it's your duty to sell it up there in Scandinavia." Well, why not, I thought. Selling a camera and shooting pictures - what a great combination!

 

With first AATON Super 16 camera [1976]

 

In early 1976, Jean-Pierre Beauviala delivered the first AATON camera to me from the serial production. I started a company called Rune Ericson Film AB. Suddenly I was a business man. But my life-long profession first and foremost, was that of a cinematographer. Fortunately, after a year I had hired two very skilled technicians, which meant that I could still shoot at least one feature a year.

Remember, when I pioneered Super 16 exactly 40 years ago, I had just one goal. It was not to make film production cheaper, but to make better semi-documentary feature films for cinema release.

31 years after Super 16 was first introduced, I received an 'Oscar' ['Award of Commendation', 2001]. I couldn't have been more proud and happy: my struggle - and the years of work I put in - for Super 16 hadn't been in vain.

In 1986, I shot the first feature film ever in 35mm 3-perf with the first two Golden Panaflex cameras which were converted for me by Panavision. But that is another story... [From article (July 4, 2007) by Rune Ericson on the KODAK website. Published with Mr. Ericson's permission.]

 

See also: Film Formats - Super 16


 

 FILMS

1944

Med älven mot havet [Harald Victorin] b&w; doc/320mtr

1947

Mästerdetektiven Blomkvist/The Master Detective Bill Bergson [Rolf Husberg] b&w

1947

Det vänliga fjället [Harald Victorin] b&w; doc/11m; cph: Hilding Bladh

1947

Vårt bygge [Bo Löfberg] b&w; doc/27m; cph: Carl-Eric Edlund

1948

Cement [?] b&w; comm doc/?m

1948

I Sagas värld [Rune Ericson] b&w; doc/16m

1948

Robinson i Roslagen - En sommarfantasi [Schamyl Bauman] b&w

1948

Skarpsill går till! [Bo Löfberg] b&w; doc/10m

1949

Sommarens inläggningar - vinters delikatesser [Bo Löfberg] b&w; doc/18m

1950

Anderssonskans Kalle/Mrs. Andersson's Kalle [Rolf Husberg] b&w; addph (Winter scenes); ph: Curt Jonsson

1950

Södrans revy - Farväl till 40-talet [Sven Paddock & Arthur Spjuth] b&w; cph: Hilding Bladh, Göran Strinberg, a.o.

1950

Starkare än lagen [Arnold Sjöstrand, Martin Söderhjelm, a.o.] b&w

1950

Tini-Kling - Drömresan till Fjärran Östern [Lennart Ehrenborg] b&w; doc/88m; + co-ed/co-sound

1952

Döderhultare [Olle Hellbom] b&w; doc/13m; optical efx: Gösta Bjurman

1952

Vincent van Gogh [Hans Eklund] b&w; doc/15m

1952

Harsprånget Sveriges största kraftbygge [Eric Nordemar] b&w; doc/11m

1952

Klasskamrater/Classmates [Schamyl Bauman] b&w

1952

Ogift fader sökes/Unmarried Mothers [Bengt Logardt & Hans Dahlin] b&w

1952

Folket i fält [Sölve Cederstrand] b&w

1953

All jordens fröjd/All the World's Delights [Rolf Husberg] b&w; cph: Hilding Bladh

1953

Det hände på 4 sekunder [Rune Ericson (foto) & Göran Schildt (text)] b&w; doc/7m

1953

I Mau-Mau land [Rune Ericson] b&w; doc/15m

1954

Flicka utan namn [Torgny Wickman] b&w

1954

Sol över Chaggaland [Rune Ericson] b&w; doc/9m; + ed

1954

Flickan i regnet [Alf Kjellin] b&w

1954

Resa i natten [Erik Faustman] b&w

1954

En natt på Glimmingehus - En historia om kärlek och spöken [Torgny Wickman] b&w

1954

Blockerat spår/Blocked Line [Torgny Wickman] b&w

1955

Farligt löfte [Håkan Bergström] b&w

1955

Finnskogens folk [Ivar Johansson] b&w

1955

Rätten att älska [Mimi Pollak] b&w

1956

Sju vackra flickor [Håkan Bergström] b&w

1956

Den tappre soldaten Jönsson/The Brave Soldier Jönsson [Håkan Bergström] b&w; cph: Sven Nykvist

1956

Johan på Snippen [Ragnar Frisk] b&w

1956

Moln över Hellesta/Moon Over Hellesta [Rolf Husberg] b&w

1957

Som man bäddar... [Börje Larsson] b&w

1957

Sjutton år [Alf Kjellin] b&w

1957

Bakomfilm Sjutton år [Alf Kjellin] ?; 'behind-the-scenes' of 'Sjutton år'/?m

1958

Vi på Väddö [Arthur Spjuth] c

1958

Att se på vägen [Rune Ericson] 16mm/c; comm doc/12m

1958

Trelleborg - porten mot kontinenten [Håkan Bergström] ?; comm doc/575mtr

1959

Med SJ på vildmarksfiske [Håkan Bergström] c; doc/10m

1959

Tärningen är kastad [Rolf Husberg] b&w

1959

Vänner på vägen [Torgny Wickman] c; short/8m; cph: Tage Göransson

1959

Vikingabygd i jetåldern [Håkan Bergström] c; comm doc/30m

1960

Änglar, finns dom?/Do You Believe in Angels?/Love Mates [Lars-Magnus Lindgren] c

1962

Kurragömma [Lars-Magnus Lindgren] c

1962

Raka spåret till Jämtland [Rolf Husberg] c; comm doc/13m

1962

En vacker dag... [Göran Gentele] AgaScope/b&w

1963

Olle Olsson - Hagalund [Rune Ericson] c; doc/355mtr

1964

Bröllopsbesvär/Wedding: Swedish Style/Swedish Wedding Night [Åke Falck] b&w

1964

Käre John/Dear John [Lars-Magnus Lindgren] b&w

1964

Stimulantia [seg 'Dygdens belöning' dir by Tage Danielsson & Hans Alfredson & 'Negressen i skåpet' dir by Vilgot Sjöman] 16mm-35bu/b&w-c; 8 seg; other ph: Gunnar Fischer, Ingmar Bergman, a.o.

1965

Minnesstund vid Anders Sandrews grav den 13 mars 1965 - 80 årsdagen efter födelsen [Rune Ericson] b&w; doc/2m

1965

Festivitetssalongen/The Ballroom [Stig Ossian Ericson] c

1965

Här börjar äventyret - Harriet Andersson perukprov [Jörn Donner] hair screen-test with actress H. Andersson; the prod 'Här börjar äventyret' was ph by Jean Badal

1966

Nattlek/Night Games [Mai Zetterling] b&w

1966

Mai Zetterling - Island/Prov M.Z. [Mai Zetterling] test filmed in Iceland, Spring 1966, for unrealized film

1966

Sotaren/The Chimney-Sweep [Kjell Grede] b&w; short/10m

1966

Tvärbalk/Rooftree [Jörn Donner] b&w

1967

Le viol/Övergreppet/A Question of Rape [Jacques Doniol-Valcroze] c

1967

Doktor Glas/Doctor Glas [Mai Zetterling] b&w

1968

Flickorna/The Girls [Mai Zetterling] b&w

1968

En dåres dagbok [Jan Bergquist] b&w; short/20m; cph: Rolf Wertheimer

1968

Bokhandlaren som slutade bada/The Bookseller Who Gave Up Bathing [Jarl Kulle] c

 

[Right] with dir Vilgot Sjöman

 

1970

Lyckliga skitar/Blushing Charlie [Vilgot Sjöman] s16-35bu/c

1970

Ministern/The Home Secretary/Good-Bye Nana [Jarl Kulle] c

1970

Brother Carl/Bröder Carl [Susan Sontag] b&w

1970

Du Sparbanken... [Stig Ossian Ericson] 16mm/c; doc/?m; cph: Göran Strindberg

1970

Troll/Till Sex Do Us Part [Vilgot Sjöman] s16-35bu/c

1972

The Day the Clown Cried/Le jour ou le clown pleura [Jerry Lewis] c; unreleased

1972

Visions of Eight/Olympic Visions [seg #2 'The Strongest' dir by Mai Zetterling] c; doc/110m; 8 seg; chief ph cons: Michael Samuelson

1974

Vita nejlikan eller Den barmhärtige sybariten [Jarl Kulle] s16-35bu/c

1974

Kom till Casino! [Gösta Bernhard & Mille Schmidt] c; perf/91m; cph: Jörgen Persson & John Olsson; addph: Hanno Fuchs, Roland Lundin, a.o.

1974

Lejonet och Jungfrun/The Lion and the Virgin [Lars-Magnus Lindgren] c

1974

Ålskade Jeanette MacDonald [Vilgot Sjöman] b&w-c; doc/11m

1975

Vi har många namn/We Have Many Names [Mai Zetterling] ?; doc/64m; comm by BBC-tv

1976

Man måste ju leva... [Margareta Vinterheden] 16mm-35bu/c; cph: Odd Geir Sæther (started film) & Petter Davidson

1976

Bröderna Lejonhjärta/The Brothers Lionheart [Olle Hellbom] c; filming started in May, but was interrupted several times and finished in Spring 1977

1977

Stortjuven [Ingegerd Hellner] c; cph (finished prod in 1977); ph: Tony Forsberg (started film in 1976)

1978

Jag är Maria/I Am Maria [Karsten Wedel] c

1979

Charlotte Löwensköld/Charlotte Lionshield [Jackie Söderman] c; also 5-part tv-miniseries (1981)

1979

Mannen som blev miljonär/To Be a Millionaire [Mats Arehn] c

1980

Barna från Blåsjöfjället/The Children from Blue Lake Mountain [Jonas Sima] s16-35bu/c

1981

Rasmus på luffen/Rasmus and the Vagabond [Olle Hellbom] c

1983

Ronja Rövardotter/Ronja Robbersdaughter/Ronja, The Robber's Daughter [Tage Danielsson] c

1985

Amorosa [Mai Zetterling] c

1986

Mälarpirater/Pirates of the Lake [Allan Edwall] c

1988

S.O.S. - en segelsällskapsresa/S.O.S.: Swedes at Sea [Lasse Åberg] c

1991

Den ofrivillige golfaren/The Accidental Golfer [Lasse Åberg] c

2010

Jussi - i våra hjärtan [Torbjörn Lindqvist] b&w-c; mus doc/77m; cph: T. Lindqvist, Per Niia, a.o.

 

 TELEVISION

1954

International Criminal Police Commission [Mike Road] tvm/b&w/30m

1960

Sweden: Trouble in Paradise? [Willard Van Dyke] 2-part doc; for CBS-tv series 'The Twentieth Century' (1961)

1971

Bröderna Karlsson/The Karlsson Brothers [Vilgot Sjöman] doc/19m/16mm

1978

Kvinnoborgen [Judith Hollander] tvm/62m

1979

Of Seals and Men/Av sälar och män/Om sæler og mænd [Mai Zetterling] doc/33m; part of series 'Fälteko'

1980

Från och med Herr Gunnar Papphammar [Gösta Ekman] tvm/47m

 

 MISCELLANEOUS

1944

Jagad [Bengt Palm] electrician; ph: Walter Boberg

1944

Tre söner gick till flyget [Rolf Husberg] c.asst; ph: Olle Nordemar & Sven Nykvist (finished prod in December)

1944

Barnen från Frostmofjället/The Children from Frostmo Mountain [Rolf Husberg] co-c.asst (+ uncred co-still ph); ph: Olle Nordemar & (uncred) Sven Nykvist

1948

Stjärnsmäll i Frukostklubben [Gösta Bernhard] c.asst; ph: Göran Strindberg

1949

Bohus Bataljon/Bohus Battalion [Sölve Cederstrand] c.asst (+ still ph); ph: Sven Nykvist

1956

Sommarflickan [Thomas Engel & Håkan Bergström] c.op; ph: Göran Strindberg

1971

Georgia, Georgia [Stig Björkman; feature] s16 tech cons; ph: Andreas Bellis

 

 DOCUMENTARIES AS DIRECTOR

1948

I Sagas värld [+ ph] see Films

1953

Det hände på 4 sekunder [+ ph] see Films

1953

I Mau-Mau land [+ ph] see Films

1954

Sol över Chaggaland [+ ph/ed] see Films

1958

Att se på vägen [+ ph] see Films

1963

Olle Olsson - Hagalund [+ ph] see Films

1965

Minnesstund vid Anders Sandrews grav den 13 mars 1965 - 80 årsdagen efter födelsen [+ ph] see Films