PRLog - April 23, 2014 - LOS ANGELES -- When Still Life Photographer Jack Birns and fellow War Veteran Cliff Sawyer opened a small photo supply store on Santa Monica Blvd. for professional photographers in 1954, they had no idea it would grow to be one of the foremost motion picture equipment business in the world and remain in the forefront of Motion Picture Camera Technology for decades.
Soon after opening up their closet size shop, they established their signage trademark of a cameraman bent over looking into a camera and it is still a recognizable icon today.
They began to focus on the motion picture industry and pioneered the sales and rentals of lightweight cameras, recorders and lights on the West Coast and then a place to go for heavy equipment. Birns & Sawyer grew into distribution and as well as design and manufacturing.
They were instrumental in introducing the German-made Arriflex line of 16 and 35mm cameras that offered more mobility than US-made Mitchell cameras that had become cumbersome and outdated. As Motion Picture production expanded filmmaking into more and more practical locations, lighter designed Arriflexcameras gained in popularity on films like Easy Rider, Bullitt and many others.
In 2000, Birns & Sawyer began providing digital video cameras for filmmakers with the Sony F-900 and Panasonic Varicam cameras that emulated films 24 frame per second motion look. Other manufacturers like Jim Jannard formerly of Oakley Sunglasses introduced 35mm format video cameras that were widely accepted by major studios and independent filmmakers alike several years ago. Arriflex ceased building new film cameras in 2010 and supplied their digital “Alexa” camera to over 85 percent of the situation comedy’s filmed last fall in Hollywood.
Birns & Sawyer’s wide variety of dependable and innovative motion picture equipment has played a part in the success of numerous Academy Award winning films for many years.
Today, the Los Angeles City Council Chambers is proud to honor Birns & Sawyer, Inc. with a prestigious proclamation award at the downtown Los AngelesCity Hall on Friday May 2, 2014 (10:00 AM)
In addition, Jack Birns has numerous old Hollywood images that he himself shot. William Meurer (President of Birns & Sawyer) will be presenting two original photographs of Jimmy Durante to the Los Angeles City Council on May 2nd.