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Regular 8mm Projector Recommendations for Archival Film Screening

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  • Nick Regan
    replied
    If you can find one there is a Specto 750 silent 8mm projector, looks good, same output (or more) as some 16 mm machines. Uses a 220v 750w lamp. These unfortunately are getting rarer but are still around.

    http://www.pathefilm.uk/95gear/95gearspecto.htm

    I have had a couple of these machines the later 8 mm format. Great piece of gear

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  • Nantawat Kittiwarakul
    replied
    Originally posted by Nantawat Kittiwarakul View Post
    Still 2 unanswered (and VERY important) questions.
    - How many audience expected to attend?
    - What's the screen size? More info about the viewing condition would be very useful also.

    Most, if not all, regular/dual 8 projectors were designed for home viewing. That translates to 3-5ft screen for no more than 5-10 people. That could be stretched to 5-10ft max screen size (and in ideal viewing condition) for 50 people - a very stretched condition. May have to keep this in mind too.

    With these questions unanswered, it's still impractical to get definite decision.

    If it turns out that you need to show the work to, for example, 200-250 people on 15' screen in normal lighting condition all day long or so, then forget it - no 8mm projector in the world is capable of that task. That's why it's ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to have these questions answered first.

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  • Thomas Dafnides
    replied
    I remember in the 60s, we projected 8mm/super 8 films during a student film festival on a 6 to 8 foot wide screen in an auditorium with at least 500 people. The images were beautiful. They were standard projectors with 12v 100 watt lamps. One was a Noris.

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  • Martin Davey
    replied
    Its probably better just to project the footage from a digital source via a modern LCD or similar projector. It will make your life and everyone else's simpler, and give you a large image that can be seen in many conditions and suit any size of audience, and suit your art 'installation'. Leave the original footage well alone as it is valuable. Dealing with cine projectors always have a slight risk even with those experienced in running them, but when inexperienced people get involved you're asking for trouble. As the post above says you won't find a machine able to do that task. Rebuilding machines to a different specification is really not an option as its like changing a mini into a four door estate car, changing every single part in the process. Standard 8mm was designed for living rooms.

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  • Joseph Banfield
    replied
    Brian, if what you are looking for is the perfect standard 8mm projector, it simply does not exist period. There is always going to be a compromise with any projector, especially standard 8mm. You have more options with Super 8 machines, but far fewer with standard 8.

    You're now discussing using Xenon lamp modifications but at the same time wanting to keep the room intimate and not too far from the screen. With 8mm and even Super 8mm a certain distance is always going to be neceassary to perceive a reasonable sharp image on screen...there are no work arounds for that, not even in a cinema! The people in the last row will always perceive a much sharper image than those in the front row. And using more light is not going to change anything other than brightness...it will always be the distance from the screen that will determine perceived quality and sharpness, especially with standard 8mm film. Like I mentioned earlier in a post, the larger the image you project in any film format requires the seating to be moved further back from the screen or you just see a grainy unpleasant image. No extra bright lighting or film projector quality will ever change that...in fact if you're looking for something intimate a brighter light may not be the best choice unless you are projecting a larger than normal image with the seating much further away from the screen. I suggest a projected image of no more than five feet across with seating about 15 feet from the screen for the closest row and a totally dark room. Without a totally dark room you are going to get terrible contrast like in the old days in school during a film with far too much ambient light entering the room through the windows...it's only when the room is totally dark that you perceive excellent contrast, which is why cinemas always go totally dark during projection.

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  • Brian Virostek
    replied
    I looked more closely at the interchangeable sprockets of the Mark 8 and found them less solid in their construction and in their registration to their respective shafts than I had hoped.

    From the postings in this forum and over in the Film Tech forum, most people prefer the efficiency of the halogen bulbs, but the transport of the older silent film machines. This has me thinking of a modification.

    In fact, there is a projectionist/mechanic here who put a Xetron lamphouse from a 16 mm Bell and Howell JAN onto a 8 mm Kodak or Keystone. With the proper lens, such a set up could help create a larger, brighter projection.

    Would anyone be able to comment as to how Xenon bulbs compare for heat and efficiency?

    I will have more information about the desired size of the audience and the room soon. There are certainly issues about how to present the work in a way that approaches how the artist presented this work. As they were shot on 8 mm, an intimate format, some of that intimacy will be lost in a larger room, a more distant screen, and with more people. It is true that when this avant-garde filmmaker would screen his films for classes at NYU in the 60s, he would go into the projection booth (for 16mm) and throw the film out of focus or turn the projector on its side to experiment with the image and to see how his compositions were working an abstract level. That is to say, he was open to experimentation in projection in the context of research. However, he regarded video and digital transfers as something quite different, like looking at reproductions of Jackson Pollack paintings in a book: extremely useful as a reference or to reach a wider audience, but removed from the work itself. It is just one point of view, but the point of view of the maker of the art we are attempting to present.

    I appreciate all of your input, the precise information is useful as are the subjective opinions. I am enjoying the discussion.

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  • Brian Fretwell
    replied
    With those projectors I also check by eye by the gate to see that the claw if fully retracted, just to make sure. It is easy to see,

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  • John Capazzo
    replied
    Missing gates are more common than a missing pressure pad. I have acquired many dual 8 machines over the years. Some remove the pads and end up breaking the claw when the dot isn't at 12 0'clock. A broken claw is not fun to replace as I have done so. I still enjoy running my regular 8 sound prints on either my 824 D or 804 D.

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  • Joseph Banfield
    replied
    Like Dominique pointed out make sure the gate and sprockets are there for standard 8 as this machine is indeed a dual 8 machine. Also make sure it is running as this series uses the notorious friction drive system, which means there are no drive belts. But it is usually pretty easy to get them running after replacing the often cracked or disintegrated motor mounts which are available or can be made pretty easily. There are many postings here on this forum regarding that problem and the fix so I won't go into that.

    The Eumig Mark is very close to a dedicated machine once you swap out the gate and sprockets for standard 8. But since it is a dual 8 machine there will be just a single pin on the claw instead of two which probably won't affect you much if your film has no damage to the sprocket holes.

    I like that particular lens you mentioned and prefer it to the slightly faster and more standard f 1,3 zoom lens that Eumig often used. I mentioned that screw type f 1,4 zoom lens recently here on this forum as being a favorite of mine. I like the very white light it projects and the excellent contrast it produces...a highly underrated lens in my opinion!

    ​​

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  • Dominique De Bast
    replied
    It's a dual gauges projector so you have to make sure the standard/regular 8 parts are not missing.

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  • Nick Regan
    replied
    Another question should perhaps be what is the type of showing/event? I think what I mean is, would an old silent projector with all its antique looks, be more aestetic for showing historic films and become part of the show itself, rather than say a square plastic box? Is the film the show or is the show the show?

    The old silent projectors have very little to go wrong, they were designed to do this job and still do it well. However the older machines tend to have a fair bit of glass in the light path, Reflectors, Condensors, Lenses,Heat Filters etc. Once this glass is removed, the 30-40 years of smoke detritus etc removed and the cleaned glass replaced, the lamp cleaned and the hotspot set correctly, projector suddenly becomes as bright at is was designed to be. For instance some of the Specto 500 w and 750 w machines have about 6 individual pieces of glass between the lamp and screen most of which is ignored during normal cleaning.

    I am not too much of a fan the later Eumigs, that is my own view I would like to point out, Its just not what I personally want from a projector although some of the older models, the P3 P25 & P26 I do have and am happy with them. The Spectos I like, solid reliable machines, I also like Paillard Bolex G816's, great engineering throughout. Have you thought of the Bolex 18-5 Silent 8mm machine.

    Of course the old favourites such as the Kodascope Model C (Hand and motor cranked) and the Kodascope Model D are still out there. Lot of those hard working well engineered machines still around to choose from.

    Nick

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  • Brian Virostek
    replied
    Thanks for reminding me of those questions, Nantawat. I will get back to you soon with specifics.

    In the meantime, does anyone have experience with the Eumig Mark 8? It has the 12 V 100 W bulb that Joseph mentioned and an Austrovar f 1,4 lens f=15-25.

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  • Nantawat Kittiwarakul
    replied
    Still 2 unanswered (and VERY important) questions.
    - How many audience expected to attend?
    - What's the screen size? More info about the viewing condition would be very useful also.

    Most, if not all, regular/dual 8 projectors were designed for home viewing. That translates to 3-5ft screen for no more than 5-10 people. That could be stretched to 5-10ft max screen size (and in ideal viewing condition) for 50 people - a very stretched condition. May have to keep this in mind too.

    Leave a comment:


  • Brian Virostek
    replied
    Thanks, everyone. This gives me a lot to go on. You have thought of everything from transportation, maintenance, and documentation to the theatrical set up. The comments about bulb type and lens speed are useful, too.

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  • Stuart Budd
    replied
    If buying online request the sender pack the inside of the case in Maurices link and pack underneath so that the feet don't cause impact. Double box with the lable the same way up as the projector!
    Check facebook for a local one you can collect and see running.
    Good luck.

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