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Any info on Fairchild Cinephonic Eight Sound Zoom?

Kirk Anderson

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I picked one of these up recently and it's actually really well built. I love super 8 but getting this thing going sounds like some fun! The lens is nice and the internals look good.

I think it can shoot 100 foot rolls, not just 50.

The sound film is extinct of course, but if it's used for sound is it sync? 24fps? Could use an external recorder and get some good results.


No battery as far as i can see, some terminals on the bottom under a cover.

Looks like you could get a cheapo DC power supply and run it off the wall if I knew the voltage.


Anyone know these kind of things? Or should i just put it up on the wall for the collection and not bother?

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The sound film is extinct of course, but if it's used for sound is it sync? 24fps? Could use an external recorder and get some good results.


No battery as far as i can see, some terminals on the bottom under a cover.

Looks like you could get a cheapo DC power supply and run it off the wall if I knew the voltage.




Happy New Year Kirk!


Here's a youtube with a description of the



The camera ran at 24fps. The maximum load of film was 50ft (split after processing = 100ft reg 8). You could load "silent" 25ft loads in also.


The Cinephonic film was Ansco stock available in AnscoChrome color (iso 32 tungsten) or B&W. Kodak did not support the camera with mag striped film.


The sound was recorded 56 frames ahead of the picture. Hard to edit! Info on the mag track from a Kodak ad for their 8mm sound projector.


The battery is built in, and you would plug the charger in the base. I can't tell you how accurate the speed control was. I don't recall hearing anything about "crystal" sync control.


I bought a turret model new when I was a kid. The zoom model wan't available at the time. But I did get a 8mm-48mm Schneider zoom with reflex finder for it. Nice lens.


I still have the projector (non working amp) and a few hours of film. Problem is, the mag stripe flakes off easily as the film ages, there goes the sync "words".



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  • 4 months later...

I bought a Fairchild Cinesonic Eight in 1962 when I was in the Army in Germany. I saw a PR squib in a magazine, and wrote the Fairchild factory, which sold it to me direct.


It was a tech wonder for its time, but was horrendously expensive. (Over three months' pay as a Sp/4!)


I got the add-on zoom lens (with separate through-the-lens viewfinder mounted to the side), which broke in an accident soon after. I sent it back to Fairchild, who repaired it free (maybe they took pity on me) and mailed it back, just in time for me to rotate back Stateside.


Because the film was so rare and expensive, almost all my European footage was too-brief shots. When I get it transferred to digital someday, I can slow it down in iMovie or FCP, or if nothing else, extract single frame pics.


It was a very expensive indulgence. Its saving grace is that I was able to record irreplaceable sound footage of my parents.


The great design flaw, for which the engineers should have been horsewhipped, was making the projector power cord and the camera charging cord (which had an inline transformer) with the exact same fitting.


So one day I plugged in the wrong cord to charge the camera, and —POOF— the battery fried with a flash. And I was too poor to get it fixed.


And of course, Kodak's Super 8 quickly rendered it obsolete.


Editing was not a problem, so long as you allowed a couple seconds at the head or tail of any sound take. I used a Mansfield 8mm editor and a little splicing block.



Now I just have to find a vendor who can transfer the film to a digital format, whilst dubbing the mag sound to a separate track, maintaining sync.


Any recommendations?



I'm afraid to take the film out or project it until I find a resource that can properly handle it.


Worst case: the film has turned to mush, or the mag track has flaked off.


Best case is that the film will have aged and lost color. But if that's the only problem, that can be corrected digitally later.


Of course, the film will have scratches and dirt. Ultrasonic cleaning will take care of the latter. If the scratches are in the base, expensive wet-gate printing could fix it*. Scratches in the base mean nothing less than frame-by-frame Hollywood-level expertise will fix it.



*I've been away from the film biz for so long, I don't know what gear the "we transfer anything" places have rescued from old motion pictures labs, and what they don't.




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  • 10 years later...

Hi.  Rob here, back when I was turning 19,  in 1964 I wanted a new 8mm movie camera.  I had worn out my wind up silent one making a goofy syfy movie with friends and Brothers over a summer.  (actually tried to put sound from a tape recorder on film afterwards as Kodak came out with magnetic stripe service.  They pushed a 8mm sound projector that could record sound on that mag stripe (1/16th of an in) great for travel films etc.. Also Universal and other film companies with big libraries, made "headline" (short 12 or so min 8mm movies in sound) that were sold in film and dept stores or by mail.

I figure they came close to doing what Fairchild did with a sync camera -but then came up with the S8 cartridge which made it so easy to do movies,. Not only was the picture a tad bigger due to smaller sprocket holes but they came out with a sync sound version in mid ? 70s.  Anyway back to the Fairchild, yes, it was advanced for the time, but a tad late. It had early germanium transistors, that got noisy,  I had to smack the camera when I heard static!..  Also there was small Nicad battery inside the camera - another new tech at the time, and it like all those older nicad setups, they "learned " bad charging habits.  Ours  didn't hold a full charge when it got older and it would run down at end of film which would make the film seem it was going faster - (24fps dropped down to prob 18, 15  etc.  this is going to make it difficult to sync the sound the way I have to do it - sync sound to pic in Computer. I'm trying out a guy with a pricey sprocketless LED scanning system and having it set for 24fps-   There are a few units custom made with led lamp, speed control on motor, and a HD vid camera shooting into the lens barrel or using an optic box - you have to adjust the speed control to get rid of the frame sync issues btwen projectors and video .  I have a rig like that for Super 8 film .

So its something I've been wanting to do for years, these new "retroscan units " area pricy but great for old film -  a lot of my old Fairchild films were over played by my younger Brothers while I was off to college, USN, etc etc. and many areas where sproket probs.  more later If anyone is out there.

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  • 2 weeks later...

These were well made cameras.   Sound striped film was available for quite a few years for these cameras, offered by both ESO-S  Pictures and Superior Bulk Film Company [which sold KODACHROME-II, Anscochrome, DuPont and 2 of their own brand, as well as offered raw stock sound pre-striping at $4.00 per 100ft with $10 minimum...so that's 2 sound stripe tracks on the 16mm width Double 8mm 50ft spool film].  

These days aside from getting film custom sound striped on raw film stock, the camera issues are the rechargeable battery, and hoping the recording electronics still work.  All this can be sorted out of course if desired.   That huge 56 frame picture to sound separation is based on the 16mm film format counterpart's ANSI specs.  Had Super 8mm not come onto the scene, I suppose Double 8mm [aka Regular 8mm] could have continued to evolve with other options, such as sound recording at 16fps or 18fps, and a smaller picture to sound separation such as the 18 frame gap in Super 8mm magnetic sound.

    The Fairchild 8mm sound projector was well made, but the odd drive belt is difficult to replace and is toothed to maintain internal component synchronization.  I couldn't find a replacement for years, so ended up substituting a gear drive instead which worked fine.   I had thought of changing the camera to run at 16fps so the film would last longer.  KODAK's Sound 8 projector allowed audio recording/playback at both 16fps and 24fps, and 16fps sounded fine to me at the time. 

Regarding old magnetic sound stripe on these 8mm films and others, a lot of the flaking issues are due to the fact that most films never got proper cleaning and lubrication ever.......film lubricant would minimize the abrasive wear not only on the film but on the mag tracks.  It is interesting how some films hold up well for many decades (I have 2 rolls of ancient Kodachrome film from the first offerings that still look great) and other films break down with dye fade and worse with vinegar syndrome.  Besides storage and film treatment, other issues contributing to this age deterioration have to do with original manufacturing and of course film processing quality.  So many films processed throughout the years did not have sufficient washes to remove residual chemistry from the film emulsion.   I know KODAK did their processing right.....as KODACHROME films I had processed by other labs doing K-12 and K-14 processing, have had all kinds of processing related artifacts show up over the years.  Well, processing of film and photo paper for that matter, is subject for another topic.  I just thought I should add some input regarding these venerable old cine cameras.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi , yes, Martin,  I’m familiar with the most of the wealth of info you have provided.  

The film made for Fairchild I believe was Ansco, and it was lousy.  Naturally it was great when Kodak started making the film. They have held up well vs Ansco and even the b/w Superior , both very grainy etc. 

I didn’t have my Fairchild projector all that long , and sold it a few years later, never had to take it apart ? !  I was in the USN, did take the camera on 1 cruise (1967)to the Orient during the Nam era and later moving around , eventually I bought a used Kodak pageant sound 8 , and it is still working today ( after I did some servicing on it last year) I used it to play the old Fairchild films ( after splicing etc) w/o running film thru pull-down as Just was digitizing the sound tracks.  They are filed in my desktop and am getting the films scanned at 24fps on a moviestuff retro unit @ FPS.  

The plan then is to sync the sound best I can to the image with editing software.  My first test with a 3 min clip from 1965 actually worked!  It will be great for our family to be able to see and hear family  friends and relatives , many no longer with us in sound!

My very first roll was of course “ Fairchild film” and I just got it scanned on a retro ( avoiding use of beat up sprocket holes, lots of chemical artifacts , etc) . It was in bad physical shape as my younger brothers played those movies as well as the older silent ones from a silent camera so much while I was away.  However the image is there and the sound which I digitized (&cleaned up ) is there providing great memories from 1964!    

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