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Author Topic: Dual Optical Track
Melvin England
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Hull, East Yorkshire, UK
Registered: Feb 2016


 - posted August 28, 2017 01:10 PM      Profile for Melvin England   Email Melvin England   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have just been visually examining one of my 16mm optical films and noticed it actually has TWO tracks running side by side. This may be an obvious question, but does this mean it is a stereo print, or is it just to improve the hi fi quality of the mono?

Thinking about it......... is there a stereo 16mm projector on the market?

.

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Maurice Leakey
Film God

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From: Bristol. United Kingdom
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 - posted August 28, 2017 01:54 PM      Profile for Maurice Leakey   Email Maurice Leakey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Melvin
The soundtrack is an RCA dual bilateral variable area track, it is mono.
I have never heard of a 16mm stereo projector.

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Maurice

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Melvin England
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From: Hull, East Yorkshire, UK
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 - posted August 28, 2017 03:14 PM      Profile for Melvin England   Email Melvin England   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Maurice,thank you for that. Could you possibly elaborate a little more,please? "An RCA dual bilateral variable area track." What does that mean exactly?

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Maurice Leakey
Film God

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 - posted August 29, 2017 02:24 AM      Profile for Maurice Leakey   Email Maurice Leakey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Melvin
That is what it's called. I can't really go into any more than that, but here is a link to a site which you may find interesting. It mentions this sound track.
http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/sound/soundsamples.htm

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Maurice

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Fabrizio Mosca
Master Film Handler

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From: Milano, Italy
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 - posted August 29, 2017 03:06 AM      Profile for Fabrizio Mosca   Email Fabrizio Mosca   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
16mm stereo films were available in Italy from SanPaoloFilm (some of their later releases, if I remember right Jesus Christ Superstar was one of them) and in their catalogue they advertised also stereo projectors from Eiki and Cinemec, but I never come across any of those projectors.

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Dave Groves
Master Film Handler

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From: Southend on Sea, Essex, UK
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 - posted August 29, 2017 03:49 AM      Profile for Dave Groves   Email Dave Groves   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This topic has come up on a number of occasions in the past but this is the first time I've heard actual prints and projectors being made available. Fabrizio, do you have any other info or pictures? I recall a firm did experiments with stereo but was under the impression that it was abandoned. John Whittle has a wealth of knowledge on this subject.

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Dave

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Douglas Meltzer
Moderator

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 - posted August 29, 2017 09:29 AM      Profile for Douglas Meltzer   Email Douglas Meltzer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Here's a thread about dual tracks from back in the day.

Doug

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I think there's room for just one more film.....

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Fabrizio Mosca
Master Film Handler

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From: Milano, Italy
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 - posted August 29, 2017 02:22 PM      Profile for Fabrizio Mosca   Email Fabrizio Mosca   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Dave, yes, I have some pictures taken from an Italian fellow collector of a film he has (Romancing the stone) and from the SanPaoloFilm catalogue that advertized the projectors, but I have problems in uploading them on the forum (it says password problems).

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Dave Groves
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 - posted August 29, 2017 03:32 PM      Profile for Dave Groves   Email Dave Groves   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Fabrizio, if you can manage to upload the material I'd be most interested.

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Dave

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Melvin England
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 - posted August 29, 2017 03:34 PM      Profile for Melvin England   Email Melvin England   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Maurice and Doug - Thanks for the extra information regarding these various optical tracks. I am learning more about our hobby since being on this forum, than in the last 30 years !

Fabrizio - Thank you for bringing to ALL our attention the fact that stereo 16mm films and machines do exist. I can just imagine the look of surprise on Dave Groves face when he read about it!

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Ian John
Film Handler

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From: South Wales United Kingdom
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 - posted August 29, 2017 08:04 PM      Profile for Ian John   Email Ian John   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Fabrizio, I just done a Google search for photo's of any 16mm stereo sound projector, interesting photos, as for stereo? Here is what came back.....

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=photo+of+a+16mm+stereo+sound+projector?&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi84cGm3v3VAhWmOsAKHWdGBlEQsAQIJQ&biw=1280&bih=744

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Maurice Leakey
Film God

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 - posted August 30, 2017 02:29 AM      Profile for Maurice Leakey   Email Maurice Leakey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Inconclusive as regards stereo. But some old favourites on display!

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Maurice

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Fabrizio Mosca
Master Film Handler

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From: Milano, Italy
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 - posted August 30, 2017 06:14 AM      Profile for Fabrizio Mosca   Email Fabrizio Mosca   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I finally made it (after discovering that the username is case sensitive)!
The following pictures have been taken from an Italian fellow collector some years ago (Gian, I hope you don't mind that I posted here [Wink] )

The first two are the advertising in the SanPaoloFilm catalogue:
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while this one is of the soundtrack (notice the difference between the two optical tracks):
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I haven't seen any stereo projector up to now (Eiki are not so popular in Italy) and I think that there are very few around, considering that the film may also be screened without particular problems on the majority of projectors.

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Dave Groves
Master Film Handler

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From: Southend on Sea, Essex, UK
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 - posted August 30, 2017 08:13 AM      Profile for Dave Groves   Email Dave Groves   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, I've been running 16mm for over 50 years and I've read about Stereo experiments with 16mm theatres in mind, but it's the first time I've actually come across a picture of the object in question and a well known make to boot. Were these generally available or just a few test machines made for the Italian market? Did they make prints available (What?) and what year was this? I really can't believe I slept through all this? What a shame it never caught on? Possibly the cost? Thanks for this Fabrizio. Now where's my Italian phrasebook.

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Dave

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Fabrizio Mosca
Master Film Handler

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From: Milano, Italy
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 - posted August 30, 2017 09:21 AM      Profile for Fabrizio Mosca   Email Fabrizio Mosca   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
SanPaoloFilms was a firm that rented 16mm films for schools, religious entities and also for private use, and they were the official distributors for some films in Italy in 16mm. The titles ranged from religios ones to fiction and also for general entertainment (some of them I remember: 2001, Raiders, Goonies, Cocoon, Jesus Christ Superstar, Octopussy, Moonraker, Blade Runner, CE3K). They are not so easy to be found nowadays and prices may vary according to the quality and conditions, but usually they are over 300€, in some cases much over that amount.
Unfortunately it's quite difficult to find a pristine 16mm SPF print, as the latest ones were sent immediately to the rental offices and sometimes this led to green lines and spots on the film starting from the first run on the projectors.

I think they started to print stereo prints at the beginning of the '80s and only some titles were available in stereo (they were advertized as stereo in their list). As soon as I can, I will check in the catalogue of a friend of mine what titles were advertized as stereo.

Regarding the projectors I don't know how many were sold or produced. In 15 years collecting 16mm I've never come accross a 16mm stereo projector.

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Maurice Leakey
Film God

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 - posted August 30, 2017 10:38 AM      Profile for Maurice Leakey   Email Maurice Leakey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Perhaps Sampaolofilm were also responsible for the conversion of the Eiki projectors. It's most interesting to see an actual 16mm stereo soundtrack.
They seemed to have films from many distributors.
http://cinema16mm.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/sampaolo-film-8788.html

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Maurice

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Dave Groves
Master Film Handler

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From: Southend on Sea, Essex, UK
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 - posted August 30, 2017 03:27 PM      Profile for Dave Groves   Email Dave Groves   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
According to a comment on the site Sanpaolo closed in 1991. Wonder what happened to any films and equipment.

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Dave

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Steven J Kirk
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From: Southern England
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 - posted August 30, 2017 05:09 PM      Profile for Steven J Kirk   Email Steven J Kirk   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I can absolutely confirm that 16mm optical stereo exists. I have an Elmo LX 2200 sitting in my front room right now that has stereo optical. I have yet to obtain a print but I have heard that GREASE and ROMANCING THE STONE 16mm optical stereo prints exist as two examples.

If you look at the ex-Sinatra estate machine currently on eBay US and look at the picture of the control panel you can clearly see the settings for stereo and left and right VUs.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Elmo-16MM-2-KW-Xenon-Projector-LX-2200-Optical-Magnetic-Sound-Frank-Sinatra-Jr-/302311124731?hash=item466325aefb:g:6SgAAOSwVm5Y99t4

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VistaVision
Motion Picture High-Fidelity

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

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From: Manchester Uk
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 - posted August 30, 2017 05:53 PM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
An amazing machine Steven, for someone like Frank Sinatra, who had all of the room and hospitality to accommodate such a machine adequately and correctly.

I wonder how many semibreve's of New York, New York it took Frank in Vegas, to buy this beauty,.. not many i'm guessing! [Wink]

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Mike Blasko
Junior
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From: Cleveland, OH, USA
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 - posted August 30, 2017 10:58 PM      Profile for Mike Blasko   Email Mike Blasko   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Steve Osborn from Reel Image in the U.S. can get new Stereo prints struck. I ordered a stereo short from him and in fact the print was bi-lateral. The LX-2200 is the easiest commercially available machine to reproduce stereo.

I understand some later Eiki 6000+ series have dual stereo pickups, alas mine did not. All others were custom jobs as I understand it.

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Fabrizio Mosca
Master Film Handler

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From: Milano, Italy
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 - posted August 31, 2017 01:46 AM      Profile for Fabrizio Mosca   Email Fabrizio Mosca   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Dave, SPF started to sell the prints to the dealers/rental offices and to some collectors when they dismissed the film section (SanPaolo still exists as company, but deals with books and maybe dvds).

Regarding machines, I'm not sure they were distributors, as the advertising refers to other import companies (Eiki to Decima, Cinemec/Cinelabor were already in Italy).

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Dave Groves
Master Film Handler

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From: Southend on Sea, Essex, UK
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 - posted August 31, 2017 03:54 AM      Profile for Dave Groves   Email Dave Groves   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A question comes to mind. Why did Elmo produce such machines when stereo prints barely existed, or did buyers have access to prints from specialised almost one off sources. I see there's another machine for sale on Ebay at $5000+. I'd have to go back to work to afford it (and what would my wife say?).

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Dave

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Paul Adsett
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 - posted August 31, 2017 10:58 AM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
16mm optical stereo must be great, but it still would not approach the frequency response of super 8mm magnetic stereo.

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Andrew Woodcock
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 - posted August 31, 2017 12:29 PM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
Spot on Paul.

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Steven J Kirk
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 - posted August 31, 2017 02:31 PM      Profile for Steven J Kirk   Email Steven J Kirk   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
At one point AMC in the US experimented with 16mm theatres and used the Elmo LX. It is the period 1995 to 2002 time period in my guesstimate. Some of this info I have gleaned from this forum, also the film-tech pro forum and elsewhere. This, if you have been collecting 16mm theatrical trailers, is where you can find a bunch of titles in very good quality. Presumably there were feature prints but they may have been destroyed, the trailers survived. Any info on this period from first hand sources would be welcome. I'm trying to put this period together in my mind.

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VistaVision
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