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Author Topic: Why Some Blackhawk Titles Are 18FPS?
Brad Kimball
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Highland Mills, NY USA
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 - posted March 17, 2012 09:18 PM      Profile for Brad Kimball   Email Brad Kimball   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Why in the world would the execs at Blackhawk choose to release certain sound titles in 18fps? I get it when it's a silent film that may appear jerky like "Birth Of A Nation" or a Chaplin vehicle, but Laurel & Hardy or "Midnight At Madame Tussaud's" shouldn't need the slow-down nor would they benefit from it. I can only imagine how ridiculous it must have looked and sounded.

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Winbert Hutahaean
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From: Nouméa, New Caledonia
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 - posted March 18, 2012 08:11 AM      Profile for Winbert Hutahaean   Email Winbert Hutahaean   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Weren't some silents movies shot in 16 fps? If so obviously releasing themmin 24 fps would be too fast.

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Winbert

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Hugh Thompson Scott
Film God

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From: Gt. Clifton,Cumbria,England
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 - posted March 18, 2012 02:09 PM      Profile for Hugh Thompson Scott   Email Hugh Thompson Scott       Edit/Delete Post 
Well the truth of the matter is there were no set speeds as such
because the cameras were hand cranked and one cameraman
might turn slower than another or vice versa.So for any firm
to release these prints at the speed they were filmed seems
perfectly sensible to me.If they were to be "stretch printed" for
to be shown at 24 fps,it wouldn't really be a true copy of the film
because it's been interfered with and would put up the price of
your film also for the extra work and filmstock involved.It's far
easier to alter the film speed on your projector,or show them on a separate machine made for silent projection.

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Osi Osgood
Film God

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From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
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 - posted March 18, 2012 08:15 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Quite true Hugh ...

Therefore, it's aq simple fix. Just slow down your projector to 18 fps!

However, it is of note, that Blackhawk actually released some 16 or 18 fps silents as 24 fps sound shorts, with an orchestrated soundtrack, sometimes an organ.. One such short I used to have, "Barney Oldfields Race for Life". It was one of the Silver Box editions. I believe our own Shorty bought it from me.

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Brad Kimball
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1171
From: Highland Mills, NY USA
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 - posted March 18, 2012 10:19 PM      Profile for Brad Kimball   Email Brad Kimball   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
But why do it with sound subjects from the 1930's? Why release a Laurel & Hardy title, that was already shot at 24fps, modified to 18fps projection speed?

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Michael De Angelis
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: USA
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 - posted March 18, 2012 10:57 PM      Profile for Michael De Angelis   Email Michael De Angelis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The answer is that Blackhawk manufactured and offered
these prints as a savings to the customer.
This experimental marketing also included Busy Bodies and Dirty Work of the few that became available.

I don't remember and I'm not sure if this had any bearing on the Hunt Bros. from Texas?
They were trying to corner the market and to drive up the cost of silver.

Likewise I have a sound striped print of The Great Train Robbery, that is best viewed at 18fps,
but the soundtrack is scored to play at 24fps.

So go figure?
It's best to run it with the sound off, or ignore the music.

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Osi Osgood
Film God

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From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
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 - posted March 19, 2012 01:40 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Good points Micheal ...

also, Blackhawk did release some sound titles, without sound, especially Laurel and Hardy shorts, as silents, and at a lowered 18 fps. One title I have, just for novelties sake, is "The Music Box" with subtitlesm supplied by Blackhawk, and it does fit onto one very full 400ft reel. Brats is also a sound title released at 18fps. I had forgotten that I had that one.

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Allan Broadfield
Master Film Handler

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From: Bromley, Kent
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 - posted March 19, 2012 02:01 PM      Profile for Allan Broadfield   Author's Homepage   Email Allan Broadfield   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Does seem odd that some companies would go to the trouble of supplying 18fps prints of sound releases.
When I was a kid in the late forties, early fifties I was a 9.5 enthusiast, and used to rent films from a silent library in a chemist shop in Shepherds Bush (UK). Often the titles were silent versions of sound releases, and in my ignorance I would wonder why people would appear to move rather slowly. Pathescope, the suppliers, didn't bother to correct the speed, just supply titles to explain the proceedings. The prints, though, were of excellent quality and edited to cut out too much yakking on the parts of the actors.

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Michael De Angelis
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: USA
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 - posted March 19, 2012 04:08 PM      Profile for Michael De Angelis   Email Michael De Angelis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Osi,

My foray into Blackhawk Films was collecting silent editions
of Laurel & Hardy sound films. A new film in standard 8mm was $13.95,
and on a budget it was difficult to purchase more. When Blackhawk had
sales or especially 1/2 price silents at $8.99 I was in pure heaven.

This was the only way I could enjoy the films. I became inventive and taped
the sound tracks on a cassette tape and later syncing it to the projector.

Sure it was wild sound, but with my hand on the pause button, I learned
exactly when and where to cue the voices to perfection.

The family loved it too and when I nailed it dead on, they were very satisfied.
The action did not appear as slow as the Castle, Ken, Columbia, editions,
so it worked out very well.

This was the most meaningful method to build a small library collection.

If it was impossible to find the original track, I would then make my own.
dubbing the voices against a honky tonk record.

There was a company in NYC, that sold 200' silent editions of L&H shorts.
My first one was the Laurel - Hardy Murder Case.
It had all of the action scenes one after the next. I used a halloween sound effects
record LP that was made by Disney. Screaming cats, howling wolves, blood
screeching screams, driving wind storms, lightening, and pouring rain were some of the few.

Later on, I found the original soundtrack and recorded over my home made track and the family
was very disappointed that I ruined my improvement over the original.

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Hugh Thompson Scott
Film God

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From: Gt. Clifton,Cumbria,England
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 - posted March 19, 2012 07:48 PM      Profile for Hugh Thompson Scott   Email Hugh Thompson Scott       Edit/Delete Post 
Sorry Brad I misread your post,changing films shot in 24 and
releasing in 18 is odd,but then various firms did the strangest
things,WALTON FILMS who for some reason best known to them
started omitting the balance stripe from prints and were at the
time putting out 'scope prints where focusing was crucial.Other
companies reduced footage on prints,Sinbad & Jason have a lot
of footage that was cut on the later releases.The only reason
I can give is just corporate greed and amounted to nothing more than penny pinching.Frustrating,especially if it was a well
loved film.

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Osi Osgood
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From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
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 - posted March 20, 2012 01:26 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Wonderful post there Micheal and yes ...

... that was the very reason for the silent Blackhawk versions of sound shorts! That just shows how much Blackhawk really loved the collector, to actually go out of thier way to make a silent version of a sound film, complete with subtitles, supplied by Blackhawk.

It was a wonderful company!

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Michael De Angelis
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: USA
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 - posted March 20, 2012 09:49 PM      Profile for Michael De Angelis   Email Michael De Angelis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Osi,

Before there was ebay, I advertised these silent versions of sound shorts,
through The Big Reel magazine. They were a match for a hearing impaired
young man. The silent two reel version of Saps at Sea-
650 feet, was a highlight of the package.

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Isn't it great that we can all communicate about this great
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Michael O'Regan
Film God

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From: Essex, UK
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 - posted March 21, 2012 03:48 AM      Profile for Michael O'Regan   Email Michael O'Regan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
To be honest, I've never heard of SOUND films running at anything other than 24fps.
Brad,
Did you see these advertised in the Bulletins?
Are you certain that these were not silent versions?

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Mal Brake
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Neath, South Wales, UK
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 - posted March 21, 2012 04:04 AM      Profile for Mal Brake   Email Mal Brake   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Mike,
I have a DCR released sound railway film about branch lines which runs at 18fps. It's the only one I've ever had in my collection.

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I'm gonna live forever or die trying

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John Skujins
Expert Film Handler

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From: Greensboro, NC, USA
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 - posted March 21, 2012 10:57 AM      Profile for John Skujins   Email John Skujins   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have some Super 8 Chrysler training films that run at 18 fps.
Here's one of them:

http://www.imperialclub.com/Repair/Lit/Films/346/

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Michael O'Regan
Film God

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 - posted March 21, 2012 02:09 PM      Profile for Michael O'Regan   Email Michael O'Regan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, I checked through a 1977 Blackhawk catalogue and found DIRTY WORK offered at 18 as well as 24.
I'm surprised.
It says in the bulletin that this was an experiment to see whether projector owners would accept the slower speed??
I don't get it, I'm afraid.

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Michael De Angelis
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: USA
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 - posted March 21, 2012 05:59 PM      Profile for Michael De Angelis   Email Michael De Angelis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Blackhawk explicitly announced that this was a trial offer, and in order
to accommodate collectors to purchase sound films at a reduced cost.

The reduction in cost reflected less film on a reel.

Busy Bodies was the first entry that was available in this specialized format.

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Isn't it great that we can all communicate about this great
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John Skujins
Expert Film Handler

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From: Greensboro, NC, USA
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 - posted March 21, 2012 07:23 PM      Profile for John Skujins   Email John Skujins   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Why would there be less film on a reel? If the sound was recorded at 18 rather than 24 fps, that wouldn't make the film shorter. The film would be physically the same length but would take more time to run at the slower speed. All of the same frames would still be on the film.

Or did Blackhawk actually remove one of every four frames, making the film's action seem just as fast at 18 fps as the original did at 24 fps? That would seem pointless, since the purpose of the slower-sound versions was to presumably slow down the action while not having a slowed-down soundtrack.

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Michael De Angelis
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: USA
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 - posted March 21, 2012 09:39 PM      Profile for Michael De Angelis   Email Michael De Angelis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This has been discussed before.
18fps sound titles

It would be good if anyone is able to secure one of these titles
and provide a complete report.

This topic should be put to rest.

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Isn't it great that we can all communicate about this great
hobby that we love!

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Osi Osgood
Film God

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From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
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 - posted March 22, 2012 12:39 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Your right John, that is exactly what Blackhawk did, which ended up giving these 24 to 18 fps silent versions a "choppy" look if there was quick action on screen.

They have thier charm, however, I would certainly prefer a sound version of the titles that Blackhawk released over a silent version. There's too much to love with Laurel and Hardy to do it any other way for me!

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Christian Bjorgen
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 - posted March 22, 2012 04:39 PM      Profile for Christian Bjorgen   Author's Homepage   Email Christian Bjorgen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I belive the print I have of "Birth of a Nation", that I aquired from Tom Stathes, is an 18 fps title, as it certainly looks alot better when projected at that speed.

It's on 6x400.

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Allan Broadfield
Master Film Handler

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From: Bromley, Kent
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 - posted March 22, 2012 06:31 PM      Profile for Allan Broadfield   Author's Homepage   Email Allan Broadfield   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Christian, I would think your 'Birth of a nation' print would run at the slower speed as it was made in 1915, several years before sound speed was established.

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