Build Battery Packs
Record Your Sounds
VNF Film and Filters
Super 8mm Links
Kodak's S8mm Site
Ode to Regular 8mm
November '98 Update...
First, have you noticed how important it is to have the image projected
slightly above the head of your viewers? This truly helps the influence
the psychology of the viewer. By having the image above there heads,
they will give it more importance. Get the screen off of the floor and
onto the ceiling! The same goes with the image being as large as possible.
Hence, I mounted a new screen on the ceiling!
Third, pay the big bucks and get a good projection screen - it is worth it, unless you have some good luck at a thrift store or swap meet. I just got a 50x50 (inch) Da-Lite Flyer screen that I now mount to the ceiling! It looks great, especially since Da-Lite finally started making nice "white" housings instead of "obnoxious blue" and "institutional black" ones. That size worked out perfectly in my room dimensions of 16 feet by 20 feet (I project on the long axis).
So, keep up the hobby and just maybe your significant other will realize that things could be worse - you could be shooting 16mm in which case you would have to shoot the image through two rooms!
August '98 Follow-Up...
First, the projector. Height and angle are important. Be sure to keep the projector as horizontal as possible to avoid distoration/poor focus. I normally put the projector on the roof of my wife's car which is at about a perfect height. I also make sure the projector lens is not set to the shortest focal length (wide angle). I find it is better to set the projector lens in a middle-of-the-road focal length to get as much sharpness as possible. Brightness also diminishes with a wider angle and distance from the screen. Also, give some thought to your power supply and extension cords and don't forget the flashlight. Pre-load the movie indoors if possible.
Second, consider the surface of the garage door. Assuming it is white, consider carefully all of the ripples in it and how it will reflect your film. Mine has about 6 major lines crossing the screen so I plan to make some sort of temporary "white board" or similar contrivance to eliminate this problem. With a transportable screen, you won't be subject to the next problem.
Third, think about external/stray light hitting the screen. I have a nasty street light which interferes so I plan to drape some sort of tarpoline between the back of the audience and the light source.
Finally, if you are presenting a sound movie, consider some external amplification so that the tiny projector speaker does not have to serve as the only sound source. Sound has a way of falling off very quickly in the outdoors the farther you are from the projector.
One more thing...INVITE YOUR NEIGHBOURS! They'll love it!
April '98 Follow-Up...
I have been using a 40" x 40" glass beaded DA-LITE "Silver Dart" screen (the classic "silver screen"). I was lucky to find one as nice as I did. I would prefer a 60"x60" but have yet to find one in good shape. Most of the screens I come across are ribbed (from being stored too long), torn, stained, or worse, completely anihilated!! It may be best to buy one used from a camera store and pay the price to assure a good, flat screen. After all, this is what your audience will see!
Eumig Mark S 701/709 reference picture 1
Reference picture 2
Reference picture 3
Reference picture 4
Reference picture 5
A word or two on projectors. I have four (and counting) - two Bell and Howell's, one Eumig, and a Chinon. (Follow-up: I picked up a Sankyo Dualux 1000 for $8.38 at the Salvation Army store the other day. The bulb worked but there was no belt. After looking around the house, I found a couple of elastic bands that hold my newspapers together and used them as a replacement. It worked beautifully for about two months! I also picked up an Elmo VP-A Dualmatic for $11.37.) My Chinon (6000 Sound/Dual Speed) I bought for five dollars. With no bulb I have yet to use it. (PS - I found a bulb for 19.95 and it works great.) The Bell and Howell's are of the autoload variety with one of them able to accept super 8mm cartridges of some sort. It also handles regular 8mm film. I bought it for ten dollars - bulb included. The other B&H I bought for $25 dollars (with bulb).
When buying used projectors, be sure to check the belts prior to any film being run through them. Even if the gears seem to turn, the belts are probably pushing 20+ years old so it is usually only a matter of minutes prior to the belt breaking. If you are lucky - like in my Chinon - the drive belt will be of a metal spring-like material. But, be aware that some of the rubber belts decay into a liquid goo-like substance. Be sure to avoid getting this stuff on anything you treasure - like sofas, clothes, hands, etc. It is nasty stuff that is VERY difficult to remove. Replace them with either silicone or urethane.
As for performance, the Eumig 701-S sound projector (super 8mm only) far surpasses and outshines the B&H's. The Chinon and Sankyo are very good and compare well to the Eumig. The images are sharp and very bright. The B&H projectors tend to look cloudy and cannot throw the image as far. Perhaps it is best to keep the distance short, like, say, 10 feet or less. An interesting projector is the carousel-style Kodak Ektasound Moviedeck projector from the mid-1970's. It can display your movies on a built-in, matte viewer or via regular projection onto a screen. It looks like a phonograph at first glance due to its smoked plastic cover and sideways orienation. I believe some people are using this model to videotape their movies(?). My newly acquired MPO Videotronic projector does the same thing but projects onto a much larger 9" by 9" screen and only at 24fps.
The most important thing about projectors (after you get it running) is whether they will scratch you films. Prior to any film being run through them, clean all parts of the film path. Check the operation of the claw (not all have one) and look for hairs and dust by running the projector without film in it and having a can of compressed air in the ready. For example, one projector I picked up is too scary (in my opinion) to run film through it - the film path is very difficult to clean. Also, you cannot simply slide the film in from the side when loading it. It must be run through the teeth and through a difficult 90 degree bend. A couple of my film leaders jammed so I put that projector back on the shelf. Maybe it has some value to someone else but none in my books.
I have taken many of my older cameras apart and successfully put them back together. Be patient, make notes, and give yourself enough time to get it back together before the day is over (even just temporarily). You are less likely to forget what went where.
The most common problem is a noisy gear or two. I have used a bit of mountain bike grease (there's another idea - mountain bike filming!) and lubricated the possible culprits. I must admit though that I have been unable to take apart my K-Mart camera to get at a noisy gear! Go figure - a supposedly cheap camera built like a brick!
The Kodak M-22 I had, I stripped right down to find a gear which had dissolved into nothing over time. I was unable to find another gear so the whole camera went into the trash. Don't worry, I'll find many, many more! But from what I saw, this may be a basic design flaw and others will all eventually lose that important pinion gear, too. Another reason for keeping it cheap. Update: same thing happened on a M-8. The drive gear of the DC motor broke into tiny pieces after running fine for about a minute. Both of these plus an M30 and XL-352 went into the trash. Sorry, just too many cameras to keep around.
The newly acquired Kodak M4 (same as the M-2 but with a CdS cell) is a dream to work on. Two screws hold it all togther. Upon checking the gears I found that no forseeable breakdown is likely to occur. They look like an AFX slot car inside! These models were built far stronger than the later M series cameras. Also, judging from the returned film, this camera is a definite keeper. As long as I am not trying to film the Rocky Mountains or anything, this camera is a great performer! It seems Lenny lipton was right!
My Bolex with the broken light meter can be fixed. The part costs about $100 dollars and the labour would be a few hours at $60 an hour! For me, I'd rather risk butchering it and make my own modifications for only a few bucks. After realizing that it would be very difficult to trigger that meter with an external switch, I took it completely apart and put the pieces in a bag. Maybe I'll find another that needs a few cosmetic parts to swap in??
As for the newer plastic Super 8mm cameras, I find they were usually over-engineered for their time and require little in the way of maintenance. About the only thing I check is whether the plate under the film cartridge is removable and hopefully there will be a gear or two I can lubricate. Everything else is pretty well sealed. I have heard of someone taking apart a Eumig Nautica to replace the O-Rings but this is not for the faint of heart.
Finally, projectors need two things: a light source and a drive belt. For lamps, check out the bigger metropolitan areas for stores that supply lighting for all applications. Sometimes you have to call a few stores to find someone willing to look up all the cross-references. As for the drive belts, typically two are required. One for the motor (fan) to the (usually) three-bladed shutter. Another one is necessary to drive the gears so the film rewinds will work. I use either rubber bands for a temporary fix or (more properly) silicone gasket material for the "fan/shutter" belt. They allow for some stretch to get around the gears. You can also check with your local old-fashioned camera store to see if they have a cross-reference book for price and availability.
For the drive belt I use urethane. It is best to buy it a bit long and then cut it shorter to match the required length. Simply cut the "plastic" to length and then rejoin it by using a lighter to melt the ends. Push together when it just starts to melt. The bond will be stronger than the rest of the length! Check for these products in the Yellow Pages under "Rubber" or "Gaskets." Good luck and be careful!