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Author Topic: Film speed, physical inspection.
Mark Davies
Film Handler

Posts: 65
From: Stourbridge, UK
Registered: Jan 2018


 - posted February 28, 2018 08:48 AM      Profile for Mark Davies   Email Mark Davies   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
From just examining a film by eye (that is, not running it through a projector), can you identify what speed it should be run at.

My initial thoughts are no.

Which would bring me onto a second question. If one runs the film, a silent film (taking away the ability to identify the speed by slow or fast audio), is it always possible to identify the correct speed? Thanks

Kind Regards Mark.

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

Posts: 7016
From: Long Island, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted February 28, 2018 09:28 AM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Basically anything commercial from about the mid-twenties on really should be 24 FPS, even the silents from that era. If you have something from the 'teens or earlier you can legitimately do 18.

That much being said: I often run twenties silents at 18 because the projector is quieter. I do this at the risk of the pace of the story feeling a little bit lazy, but without audio to cover the machinery sounds...

Home movies will almost always be 18.

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Mathew James
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 740
From: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Dec 2014


 - posted February 28, 2018 09:41 AM      Profile for Mathew James   Email Mathew James   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I picked up a weird anomaly recently..at least weird to me because I hadn't any others before in my collection...

Charlie Chaplin Blackhawk 400' Super 8 Sound code 875 The Tramp
It is my only Super 8 sound I own that runs at 18. In fact, I actually love it because I get a bit more film time...

I cannot tell by looking...

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Cheers,
Matt 📽

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

Posts: 7016
From: Long Island, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted February 28, 2018 10:01 AM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Matt?

Did Blackhawk put some kind of notice in the packaging so the customer knows about this?

(I've heard of these, but never seen one in person.)

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Ty Reynolds
Film Handler

Posts: 93
From: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Registered: Nov 2015


 - posted February 28, 2018 10:16 AM      Profile for Ty Reynolds   Author's Homepage   Email Ty Reynolds   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Chaplin, among others, shot some of his films at 18, to be projected at 24. He did this even into the sound era, in certain scenes of City Lights and Modern Times. I wonder if that's the case with yours.

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Mathew James
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 740
From: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Dec 2014


 - posted February 28, 2018 10:38 AM      Profile for Mathew James   Email Mathew James   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
@steve, If there was a notice originally, it was removed from inside box.
However, the spine sticker says 875, so those who know the blackhawk codes could know potentially by seeing the spine.
I wonder if it specified in the catalogue?
880=s8s
860=s8silent
875=s8s_18
It was a pleasant surprise for me. I bought 4 mint chaplins from someone here in Canada and one was the 875.
I want more!!!

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Cheers,
Matt 📽

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Brian Fretwell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1785
From: London, UK
Registered: Jun 2014


 - posted February 28, 2018 10:52 AM      Profile for Brian Fretwell   Email Brian Fretwell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The only thing that could be a guide is gravity. If a car in the film seems to bounce on its springs at an unnatural rate (slow or fast) then the film is not being projected at the same frame rate it was filmed at. This is most obvious when chases have been under-cranked and sped up to show a more exciting view. Small changes are more difficult to spot, though.

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Dominique De Bast
Film God

Posts: 4486
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jun 2013


 - posted February 28, 2018 11:10 AM      Profile for Dominique De Bast   Email Dominique De Bast   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have some silent films with a music score that must be projected at 18fps. One of the film (not Blackhawk) has a specific instruction about the speed. Some (Chaplin) silent films with an optical soundtrack are also at 18fps (but for those I haven't the original boxes).

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Dominique

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

Posts: 7016
From: Long Island, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted February 28, 2018 11:24 AM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Gravity is the best guide: unless they are supposed to be on another planet it is very telling.

Walking is also very good: 24 FPS walking becomes kind of a leisurely strut at 18. 18 FPS walking at 24 looks a little bit caffeinated!

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Chip Gelmini
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1733
From: Brooksville, FL
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted February 28, 2018 11:58 AM      Profile for Chip Gelmini   Email Chip Gelmini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mechanically speaking you can purchase a strobe light that can be set to 24 flashes per second and aim it at the shutter blade with the gear box open. If the machine is up to speed, the shutter blade will appear to be frozen still position. However if the pattern of the shutter blade seems to turn either direction during this test, then it could be going to slow or too fast.

I saw this done with a 35mm machine and it is a most interesting test to do. Even though I might not be answering the question that was asked....

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