This is topic A request for a VERY old post! in forum General Yak at 8mm Forum.
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Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on August 30, 2017, 12:03 PM:
Hey Douglas or others who might be able to find it ...
There was a post that I remember, waaaaay back in 2004 or so, that revolved around a visit to an optical sound super 8 feature film lab that was called "Sunstrand", (the lab, not the films). I know that I saw it on here many years ago, and I hope that someone can find it, as I would LOVE to read that one again. I only remember small details of it.
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on August 30, 2017, 12:51 PM:
I searched every way I could and found about three mentions of Sundstrand, two of them were by you, another was Keith Ashfield saying he was going to send you a PM about them.
-maybe that PM is what you are thinking of?
Nothing I found was very old or in very much depth.
Posted by Maurice Leakey (Member # 916) on August 30, 2017, 01:50 PM:
Posted by Keith Ashfield (Member # 741) on August 30, 2017, 02:28 PM:
Derek Simmonds of Derann visited the Sunstrand Optical printing unit.
Below is a copy of the script which was taken from “Film For The Collector” magazine.
"A few years ago I was at Rank Film Labs in Denham, having gone there to collect some work they had produced for us. I was having a chat with Roy Hubbard, the manager of the department at that time, when a gentleman entered the room. He was introduced to me and it was explained that he worked for the company that provided 8mm optical prints for the airlines. This fascinated me, and being the film fanatic that I am, I wanted to know more. I stayed and talked with him for nearly two hours, and eventually he said “next time you’re down here, give me a ring and I will come and collect you and take you round our place”. I made sure that I visited the labs the next week, and before setting out I telephoned my new found friend. He promised to come along to the labs and we would then go on to his main depot. When I left the labs, following the car in front, I was more than a little surprised to find we were heading towards the Technicolor Labs, near Heathrow Airport. We swung through the main gates, drove round the main building and ended up at the rear of the labs. There I saw a sign SUNSTRAND, and it was then that I realised that this was the company that I had come to visit.
I was led into a small office, and told that most of the prints were printed at Technicolor Labs in New York, whilst Rank Labs also provided prints of their own titles and some of the British TV material, but it was explained that the airlines preferred the material that was printed in New York since Technicolor ‘coated’ the sound tracks and this rendered much better results.
If you compare an 8mm Optical Print made in the UK against an American print, you will note that the optical track is almost pure black and white, whereas the track on a British print is dark blue. This results in the British track giving a lower level of volume and certainly more track noise, hiss and plops. Rank would never give any reason for not coating the optical tracks on 8mm prints. I hasten to add, that all 16mm prints made by the lab at the lab at that time, were coated to give optimum performances. One can only assume that in their opinion, 8mm was just not important enough for them to provide this extra service.
I was then told that a lot of the prints carried multi-tracks; the main track always being in English. But, on some prints there was another track, just on the edge of the sprocket holes, much like the balance track on a magnetic print, and this track was mostly French, German or Spanish.
I was then taken into the room where the films were checked upon return from the air craft, and where new prints were being put on to giant spools for polishing. I was astounded at the number of prints in the room – it must have been at least five or six thousand! Can you imagine standing in front of five or six thousand full length 8mm sound feature, 99% of which were never going to be offered to the collector?
When the prints came in from the various labs, they were in the same number of roles as the 16mm prints, since they had been taken from the 16mm negatives. For aircraft use they need to be on one continuous reel, so the first job was the splicing together of all the various reels. The films were then coated with a silicone polish, and then flat wound into a giant cartridge, as one continuous roll, ie; the film came form the outer edge of the large roll, went through the projector gate and sound head and wound back onto the inside of the roll. This is the reason that the films were coated with silicone, to make them very smooth and slippery, and to avoid emulsion build up and scratching. After this they were put onto projectors, the same Technicolor machines that the airlines used, each print was run, and then the prints shipped to various airlines. At one time there were twenty projectors running, checking films. These specially made machines had Xenon lamps, and the sound out put was remarkably good. Much better than the quality received through those dreadful earphones they give you on the plane!
Once the films had served their purpose, they were returned to the various dumps around the world and supposedly junked. I was at SUNSTRAND at one time when they destroyed about 500 feature films, and an official from the film industry stood there whilst they put an axe through every print. ( I don’t think I have ever got over the shock).
It seems that some prints have got out from various dumps, and have found their way onto the market. I must say that a few years ago I did persuade Warner Bros and Columbia to sell us a few prints, which they did. I think we had about ten titles in all and about fifty copies of each. But sadly, the airlines soon stopped using 8mm, when cheaper, video copies became available, and as far as I am aware, no 8mm prints are now made for airline use. If you are offered an ex-airline print, make sure they are not turning pink, as most of them were printed at the time when Eastman stock was suspect."
(Courtesy of Film For The Collector"
Posted by Tom Photiou (Member # 130) on August 30, 2017, 03:08 PM:
This was an article Derek wrote after i asked him what happened tp all the airline feature films.
Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on August 31, 2017, 11:21 AM:
Reading this still makes me a littl weepy!
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