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Beaulieu News16 documentation


Duncan Brown
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Why did all these companies come out with some of their coolest cameras and then hardly make any of them (I'm looking at you, official Arri Super16 16S).  Well here's a big fancy brochure for Beaulieu's entry into that hall of infamy - the News16.

Scanned at 600 dpi, it's a monster PDF (nearly 70MB)

http://backglass.org/duncan/16mm/beaulieu_news16_brochure.pdf

If you just want to read it and don't need that insane quality, I also usually make a 100DPI version of my scans.  Here's this one at a kinder gentler 3MB:

http://backglass.org/duncan/16mm/beaulieu_news16_brochure_100.pdf

Enjoy!

Duncan

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I have nothing of great import to say but I did see a Beaulieu News16 in a glass countertop in a tiny storefront film lab/football film company in a run-down part of Waco, Texas in the mid 80's. The place had probably been a cigar store or something earlier. I asked about buying the camera, but the guy said he didn't want to sell it.

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Duncan,

From my perspective as a newsfilm cameraman in the 70's, the biggest drawback to acceptance was the 200 foot limit to film capacity.

Auricon, Frezzolini,  and Cinema Products (sound cameras) had 400'  (on core) capacity.  Arri S's (MOS, without sound) had 100' daylight loading, plus 400' core via add on magazine. 

1200' loads were used less frequently, mainly in larger markets, when, say, an entire speech had to be recorded.  In smaller markets one depended on the reporter to cue you when to roll.  Sometimes the politician would bloviate and fool you, so film was wasted. 

In the end, there was little demand. (Other factors may have been involved, also.... ergonomics, price, maybe?).

In our midsize market, one filmed, at the News Director's order, one roll of 100' for silent B' roll,  or one 400' load for sound and B' roll combined, per story to keep costs down.  One learned to pick and choose when to roll, to conserve film, and still cover the story. 

Another thing may be that cameramen of that time prided themselves on how well they could zoom and focus manually, and were leery of surrendering control to electronics.  That changed with portable videotape cameras and has now become standard.

Beaulieu had a fixation for 200' load limits, and because of that was both ahead of its time and behind the times.

As for S16,  news organizations would have had to change over all of its associated machinery to accommodate the loss of single system sound recording.  Keeping in mind that 4:3 was still TV's main delivery platform then, it would have been very expensive just to gain a slightly larger picture.  

And then came Videotape!  

And now, Digital.

If,  a very big, big,  IF,   film (whether 16mm, 35mm, or 70mm), makes an exceedingly DRAMATIC comeback I don't think film cameras will be produced again in large numbers. 

I guess 50 years from now when digital files corrupt,  Martin Scorcese will be campaigning for preservation of today's masterpieces (if the files can be read).

 

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Amidst my first case of Beaulieu News 16 I’d like to share my fresh insight.

A client has sent me two examples, one for spare parts. The mechanism of both doesn’t budge. The motor spins.

After four hours of ruthless disassembly of the parts example, I cut all the electric lines that ought to be soldered off correctly, I have come to the conclusion that this is the worst 16-mm. camera by far. The fastest moving parts, that is the motor coupling, the friction clutch behind it and the speed sensor, form the innermost group. One has to dismantle everything in order to separate that group. A fresh rubber coupling? Friction parts? I don’t know where to procure. The problem with the present examples is that no spare parts are useable, they’re all totally rotten. The speed sensor grinds.

It is impossible to lubricate anything of the gear train or a bearing from the outside. These were just made to make money. Today, more than half a century later, the remaining Beaulieu News are dying.

Mechanics always come first, then optics, then everything else. If somebody wants to endeavour a thorough service, s/he better prepares to at least a grand in cost, at least with me. On the photo I’m showing the motor receptacle. To the left of the gear is the clutch, on the right would sit the sensor.

1608587713_P1020162-Kopie.thumb.JPG.84ba9d86a2113b6a6ce7747a6bbfad09.JPG

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What a primitive friction clutch. It consists of a spring and a flat washer between the steel bush, second from left, and the C clip.

526934471_P1020170-Kopie.JPG.b674ae5d3f9c61e3d0208a2d21ee618f.JPG

I don’t have a specification on the torque it should hold but from feeling it’s too weak.

The steel bush within the black anodized group body is pressed in. In its bore sits the smaller ball bearing. The bigger ball bearing is held on about a quarter to a third of its length by the black plastic ring, second from right. A strange affair, I must say. According to Marcel Beaulieu the project dates back to 1966 or 1967.

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Why should I? No.

The chain of forces needs to be known. In the case of the Beaulieu News we have additional drag from the COMMAG module. The take-up friction is decently designed. Another factor is how fast do we wish a mechanism come to speed. A 35-mm. cinema projector on which the film accelerates the sound drum flywheel can speed up over three to six seconds. A camera often should expose the first frame already (almost) equally short as the following. It’s a balance question of film mass, mass of the moving parts, and overall performance. The Ercsam Camex has heavy weights on the governor. It therefore takes two to three cycles to speed up and 32 fps is top speed but it acts very smoothly. The relatively lightweight governor of a Paillard-Bolex H camera spins up within the first cycle. The high-speed governor of the Bell & Howell Filmo 70 is still faster. With little mass, see the Leicina 8 S, you have a lightning fast start. An Arriflex 765 in which you have 2 kg of wide film can’t do that.

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49 minutes ago, Simon Wyss said:

Why should I? No.

They need a bit more maintenance, and the  friction fluctuates depending humidity. But I like em - I was just wondering as you've taken apart so many different designs.

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Two aspects of crucial mechanical elements stand out.

  1. Size. To give a friction clutch or any other coupling the dimensions it needs is important. Larger areas or surfaces allow better control of forces. I think this is obvious with the Beaulieu News toy thingy.
  2. Accessibility. I did find a way to remove the motor group without having to desolder one electric line but the rest of the mechanism is still hidden packed. I dream of a camera that opens like the door of a fridge.
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Is it my imagination, or is everything in your first disassembly picture fairly coated with corrosion?  Bad sealing design?  Bad storage?  For some reason, people like to stash old no longer needed cameras away in very wet environments, so when they come out decades later and go to an estate sale and then ebay, with everyone just assuming it might work, you end up discovering everything coated with green and brown fuzz.  It's why I'm such a lowballer on untested cameras on ebay., especially when they only have a couple of crummy pictures.  

Duncan

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On 6/17/2022 at 6:38 PM, Simon Wyss said:

A client has sent me two examples, one for spare parts.

The other camera is in good shape but I returned both declining further work. The client accepted my decision. He wrote he thinks I was very close to solving the problem.

He didn’t quite understand. So be it published for everybody dealing with the Beaulieu News 16:

  • There are no spare parts tangible. Those from the parts example  were more or less unusable. The rubber coupling has an intricate form. In addition I’d have had to find a suitable torque strength of the friction clutch.
  • The camera isn’t quiet. The ratchet claw ticks. Quite a difference to the older Eclair NPR. For example
  • Lateral film guidance is not compliant with ISO 466. That standard is vague OTOH. With the exception of the French camera manufacturers most makers followed Bell & Howell, RH reference edge, pressure on LH edge. Yeah, Paillard inverted lateral guidance in 1954. Does it show? Sometimes

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