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How long do the big boy 16mm cine' scanners last before needing service?

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Big name 16mm cine' scanners - how many feet can be scanned before they need service? 

And by service, I mean...a major repair.




GIF Collection

Selection from the Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Popular Culture Archive

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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Electronic components seem to be the achilles heel of many appliances nowadays. For mechanical wearing surfaces, there are some splendidly robust metals available and surface finishing has been a fine art for many years. Modern automotive engine valves often endure the lifetime of the entire car.  My money would be on camera sensors becoming obsolete and being upgraded before they actually lay down for the count. Pixels do go hot. Capacitors do age and not in a beautiful way. Electric motors seem to endure for years if the quality is built in. Simple plain oilite bearings and ball bearings so long as they are not drowned by water can go on for years. The film transports of old telecines are enduring long enough for the machines to become rebirthed with modern electronics. Steenbeck flatbeds seem to live forever mechanically and it is perishable stuff like electronics and synthetic cogbelts which bring them low. A few old ones have burned down. In stepping scanners, Intermittent transports may eventually wear enough to go off spec. Maybe this can be adjusted for or replacement parts required. I guess it may depend upon how much any given manufacturer wants to extract revenue from after-sales product support. Finally, any appliance depends upon the care shown by the operator as to how long it will keep running. As to how long a machine wikll keep on going. - that is anyone's guess. There are two basic usage models for any machinery. Drive until it until drops then rebuild/replace or operate it within a regular maintenance schedule and replace parts within their lifetime before they fail.

Edited by Robert Hart
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We have had our ScanStation for almost 10 years now. Only one thing has ever required mechanical/electronic repair: the camera in our optical track reader failed about 5 years ago and needed to be replaced. I can't speak to other equipment though.

As Robert pointed out though, upgrades probably head off some eventual failures. In the 10 years we've had the machine, we're on our third sensor, due to upgrades (from 2k to 5k to 6.5k). In the scanstation, there are a lot of moving parts in the camera assembly, and the upgrade entails replacement of the entire unit, not just the camera.

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 A billion feet?

Two of the Spirit scanners I have came from a Indian post house in LA that scanned Bollywood films for years with them, probably a few hundred million feet of film or more. Both Spirit scanners worked when they arrived years ago. One became a parts machine when I got the 4K from CPC London which had presumably also scanned hundreds of millions of feet of film.

The two Xena scanners started life as a Cintel Mk3 and a URSA and the Mk3 was from the mid 1980s and the URSA Y-Front from 1998? and both probably also scanned hundreds of millions of feet of film before being remade into Xena scanners. The electronics worked fine and the transports were and are in great condition, perhaps having received a bearing replacement somewhere along the line of their 30-40+ year life.

Newer scanners like the Scan Station have much more simple electronics and the only problem I had with the first one I got was the capstan encoder somehow worked it's way loose from the Capstan motor causing some odd behavior, this was fixed by screwing the encoder back down.

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