A George Lucas Éclair NPR 16mm camera
Complete with Angenieux 9.5 x 95mm lens, two 400' Magazines, vintage standard leg tripod, vintage baby leg tripod, O'Connor 30 fluid head, two battery belts and Zoetrope Studios camera cases. The NPR (Noiseless Portable Reflex) was the 16mm camera of choice for documentarians in the late 1960s and '70s, used by L.M. Kit Carson in David Holzman's Diary (1967) and by Michael Wadleigh to make the famous festival film Woodstock (1970).
This particular camera, owned by Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope Studios, was used by George Lucas to shoot a documentary of the making of Coppola's The Rain People (1969), entitled Filmmaker (1968). While Lucas was working on The Rain People, he found an unused camera and asked Coppola if he could document the making of the film. Coppola agreed and paid Lucas out of the film's still photography budget. Fellow Coppola employee Mona Skager remembered, " 'George could not carry a sixteen-millimeter camera for very long' ... Skager often saw Lucas on the floor, shooting up through glass-topped tables. 'It was basically because the camera was too heavy.' ... [Lucas] devised a system of preparing his equipment so he could run over to the camera, pick it up and immediately begin shoot" in order to best capture what was going on around him (Skywalking, Hollywood: 1990). During this time, Lucas painted the blue stripe on the camera case so that he would be able to locate his camera more easily amongst the other equipment being used on the film. Filmmaker is still used in documentary film classes today and gives insight into Lucas's ideas about film making which would shape his later career.
Retained by Zoetrope, the camera was used almost a decade later by Eleanor Coppola (Francis's wife) to document the making of Apocalypse Now (1979), footage that was later used in Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991).This camera package was purchased by the consignor from Zoetrope Studios when the company was making the transition from film based production to the digital format. It is accompanied by a copy of his check to Zoetrope and his receipt from them as well as a letter of provenance from Francis Ford Coppola, stating that this camera was owned by Zoetrope Studios, used by George Lucas to make The Filmmaker and additionally used to document the making of Apocalypse Now.
Large tripod (extended): 76 in.; Large camera case: 26 x 19 x 9 in.