Movie Camera Trivia


 “Eclair” comes from the French word for “lightning flash,” and “NPR” is for “Noiseless Portable Reflex.” “ACL” comes from the initials of the designers, Anston Coma and Jacques Lecoeur. The Eclair CM3 was named after its designers, Messrs. Coutant and Mathot.


 Perhaps they have all been outranked in the electromagnetic spectrum by “Aaton” which is a name of the sun god.


 “Arri” comes from the first two letters of the founders, Arnold und Richter; adding reflex viewing adds “flex.” The “S” in the Arri-S we think stands for “Standard” and the “M” in the 16-M for “Magazine.” “BL” means “Blimped Lightweight” and we are reliably informed that “SR” means “Silent Reflex.” 


 “Bolex” comes from the designer’s name Bolsky (and did you know Bolexes were once made in either 8mm, 16mm or 9.5mm?) Jacques Bogopolsky was Polish (or possibly Ukrainian,) living in Geneva; he later changed his name to Bolsky which was used for the Bolex brand name. (Bolsey was the brand name of the camera equipment he made after he left Paillard for the Pignons company, where he also designed the Alpa still camera.) We think that ”EL” means Electronic, “EBM” means Electric Bayonet Magazine, “ESM” means Electronically Stabilized Motor, “MST” something like Motor Sync Tone, and “SBM” means “Springwound Bayonet Magazine.” 


 Beaulieu cameras are so named after the company’s founder, Marcel Beaulieu.


 “Bell & Howell” was named after its pioneer founders of the same names; though the company is defunct for movie equipment, their legacy lives on eternally worldwide in their “BH” standard perforations for 35mm negative film. Bell & Howell’s Professional division formerly made motion picture printers; this operation was taken over by a new company, BHP, whose initials might sound familiar.


Lastly, “Krasnogorsk” is a brand of Russian camera, named after the factory’s city near Moscow.

Clive Tobin

Information from Tobin Cinema Systems: