By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A vast collection of historic motion picture cameras that famed cinematographers have used to make the magic of film play out on the silver screens throughout the world is tucked away in a quiet office building in Coral Gables.

The collection, owned by Coral Gables Arts Cinema founder Steven Krams, is something you expect to see in Hollywood or maybe New York.

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One of the cameras, which requires cranking by hand, is a true classic.

“You see the serial number is 468. Right below the serial number, you’ll see C. B. DeMille’s name down there,” said Krams.

Yep, it is one of famed director Cecil B. DeMille’s cameras used in his productions.

Cecil B. DeMille camera (CBS4)

Krams says his collection contains cameras that were used in a number of productions like “South Pacific,” “The Godfather,” “The Sound of Music,” “Around the World in 80 Days,” “The Jazz Singer, and many other film classics.

Krams heads several international companies that supply cinema equipment throughout the world, but his first love is old movie cameras.

Some of Krams’ cameras are on display in a mini-museum at the cinema.

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(CBS4)

Giving a tour to CBS4’s Hank Tester, Krams pointed to a large camera on a tripod and said, “This was used by Director Michael Todd, used on South Pacific, Around the World in 80 Days, Oklahoma.”

“Is this your best stuff?” Tester asked.

“No, it gets better,” he quickly replied.

Located near Miami International Airport, Krams oversees a very busy restoration workshop where true craftsmanship is performed and historic cameras are restored. The shelves are filled with vintage parts and cameras. There are several major projects underway.

A good example is a camera used to film Al Jolson’s “The Jazz Singer,” essentially one of the first movies with singing and speech. The camera is symbolic of the end of silent movies.

So what will eventually happen to this treasure trove of historic cameras?

“Little by little it is getting sold, museums, collectors, or just to people who have an interest in theater,” said Krams.

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The Coral Gables Arts Cinema is located at 260 Aragon Avenue in Coral Gables.