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What can my elmo st 1200hd do?

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  • What can my elmo st 1200hd do?

    Hello Filmies,

    Well, the subject line is relatively accurate but probably a little broad and I realize that. My focus (no pun, maybe) is to determine if I can use my Elmo ST 1200 HD to add analogue sound via a separate Cassette Deck and or Reel to Reel, on both Main and Balance stripes and have it roughly in the position I need it to be for final play? I know that unless I use an Elmo SR-1 with synchronizer (I have the syncro btw) that I cannot add sync dialog. I don't wanna add sync dialog. I wanna shoot and edit a film and present it almost as if it were a silent film but with music and narration roughly in the general proper place. . My goal is to make a film the way I did for my first ever Super 8 I shot in the 80's. Profile pic is me shooting that 80's film with my Canon 1014 xls while racing down I-5 near Stockton - oh the 80's.

    For that film I shot on silent reversal. Had mag stripe added. And then used, with the help of the late great Super 8 Filmmaker Dennis Duggan of SF, his Goko 8008 Editor to add both music to Main and Narration to Balance. In that case before I took it to Dennes, I talked my way into San Francisco State film lab and used their Super 8 Sound recorder II (Uher) to transfer my source music from records - my narration from reel to reel tape onto Full Coat. I hope not to have to do something like that again - but I can't remember if it needed to be in sync for Dennis' Goko?

    Can I do this with the Elmo ST 1200 HD I have and not worry about transferring from Full Coat? And fellow fanatics, are there any big problems or pitfalls I should be aware of and avoid if I transfer from basic analog players?

    All the best - Happy New Year!

  • #2
    I am not sure. Maybe you need something like a GS 1200.


    • #3

      Good news is that your projector is able to do what you want. So you don’t need any other, special equipment. :-)

      The main caveat is that the projector is getting very hot when recording (and re-recording) take by take. (I once did this for a 30min film in the early 90s - and after 3h my projector burned a hole into the film while it was paused while I was swapping CDs.) And you’ll have to remember that the magnetic sound for Super8 is recorded 18 frames before its corresponding image.

      When you don’t have any special sound-FX that need to be 100% in sync (slamming doors, talking people, …), then I would recommend to load the film, put a mark onto the white leader where it’s still visible before going into the projector and simply record the projection of the silent version with a smartphone or dslr. Then try to edit the sound on a PC with one of the usual tools (ignore the flicker etc.) - main track and balance track separately. When done on the PC, connect the PC‘s line-out with the projector‘s line-in. Then load and advance the film so that your marking on the leader is at the same position and press play on the PC and record on the projector at the same time. When done with the first track, repeat this with the second track.
      The result of this will not be perfect as the second projection might be 1s faster or slower than the first, given that the film is only 120m long. But it’s normally okay for music and some comments. Simply remember to not stop the music with the last frame of the video, but let it continue for some additional seconds.

      When going the full analogue route (with the sound coming from a cassette-recorder or reel-to-reel-tape-recorder), then either the recorder has to be synced with the projector or you might have another source for failure as also the second playback of the sound might be slightly faster or slower than the first run. (I don’t know if you have all the needed devices to sync the recorder to the projector.)
      Last edited by Joerg Polzfusz; January 03, 2023, 09:06 AM.


      • #4
        Hey Joerg!

        Thank you so much for getting back to me, the colonial upstart, about this. Lot to unpack there for a luddite such as I.

        The lag of sound to picture I am aware of but to me that's the nice thing about it. I only have the one example to my Super 8 credits - my 80's film but it has a kinda netherworld quality to it. It's SO not now. Haha.

        And probably won't have to worry about the overheating. The film I intend to do next is in the 15 min - 20 min ballpark and I can just give the whole thing a break here and there and come back to it for lets say the next bit of music as the scene changes - and or narration.

        But I tell ya, gonna be rereading your post for a while. Although I'm on a computer now and use one for parts of my living, I kid you not, I am a luddite. I'm the guy who thinks its insane that Super 8 isn't the state of the art currently and wonder why everybody thinks an iPhone is so darn handy. The fools.


        • #5
          Hey Again Joerg

          As to your last paragraph regarding either fast or slow for additional track recording perhaps thats why I recorded all sounds via a Super 8 Sound Recorder back in '85 and then took all those elements to Dennis to transfer onto the mag striping of my already cut film? I just can't remember for sure why I went to SF State to use their equipment first. Man, it's been a long long time.


          • #6
            The „I simply feed my sound directly from the recorder/LP-player/microphone into the projector“-method has got some limitations:
            1. You’ll have to use „duoplay“ (=no mono or stereo).
            2. It’s extremely difficult to get lip-sync sound. When having a lot of long dialogues, this is close to impossible.
            3. You’ll need several persons to operate all the devices (starting several recorders in sync with the projector, …) unless you are able to cut the sound in advance (reel-to-reel tapes or fullcoat).
            So I guess that you didn’t fulfill any of these preconditions back then. Or you simply wanted to meet someone that shares your hobby.


            • #7
              Well, if I remember correctly now looking through the way back machine, I did a checkerboard edit via Sacramento State's editing bench. In other words A and B for pictures and C and D for sound so I ended up with a final cut silent picture on one roll and a matching separate final cut soundtrack on Full Coat for another roll - and marked the relatively exact starting point with a punch for each of the two final rolls. I then sent the silent picture off to get mag striped and when that returned took it all to Dennis Duggan. So I guess I must have been aware that it needed to run in relative sync. However, it was not sync dialog. Nor do I wish to do that now.

              Like I said I have an Elmo Synchronizer R-1 but I don't know if this will be helpful at all. I also don't have an instruction manual for it although I bet I can find one online - and the only thing the ST 1200 HD manual says about the sychro is that it gets coupled with their recorder.

              As to meeting someone who shares my new old hobby - I'm all for it, but as an elder statesman now, I am literally trying to remember how I did what I did back then and to see if I can replicate it. I work in the standard motion picture industry now and to tell you the truth one of the least interesting things I think anybody can do with their life is work in the standard film industry. Too many people and too many dumb ideas and a lot of lame drama and most of behind the camera. SO! I have an idea for a Super 8 film again and I wanna see it through to completion!