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Boris Belay

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Everything posted by Boris Belay

  1. Hello Amaury, I don't have the exact mesurements at hand right now, but the NPR/Coutant is quite a beast, especially with that motor (there is a later Aaton-built motor that is quite a bit shorter). Off the top of my head, I vould say the camera is at least 50 cm tall, maybe 60. The next issue is weather that tripod system would hold the weight of the camera properly... By the way, I'm in Brussels and I repair Eclair cameras, so don't hesitate to let me know if you'd like to drop in for a chat. Best, Boris
  2. Hi Gregg, Sorry for the late answer but the answer is yes, and no ;-) Yes, there is, you can see it in your VF if it has a lightmeter built-in : it's the center circle that is slightly yellowish, or at least darker. That is where some of the GG light is diverted to the lightmeter cell. So, yes, there is some light loss, as you can see, but only in that center spot. Removing the Lightmetering system does not help, since the center spot pellicle is built into the GG and prism optical block. Not sure why sme technicians remove it for S-16 conversion, it's not necessary and it's a pretty useful feature of the camera. Some ACLs never had it, by the way, it was a factory option. I have one of the last ACL II and it didn't have a lightmeter built in (so no center spot either). And yes, you are right, the lightmeter is described in detail, with schema, in the mid-70's user manual (the one that most people have). Cheers, Boris
  3. Hi Brian, I'm pretty sure that there is a NPR Spare Parts manual floating on eBay at the moment. This is just about all you are likely to find as technical documentation on that camera (as far as I know, but I have looked for 7 or 8 years now). I recommend you get this first, study it, and then make up your mind as far as how much you want to get into the internals of the camera. Some parts are easily taken off, like the motor assembly (meant to be swappable in the field), so that may be a first step. Obviously, you'd want to be confident about your mechanical skills before anything else. In case you do want to get in there, my first recommendation is to get good tools, and in particular a very good set of fine to medium straight screwdrivers. Most Eclair screws have a very narrow head slot, and since the camera is old, it is easy to destroy those heads and leave you with a screw stuck in place if you don't have a screwdriver of the right size and in good shape. Eclair made their own screws, so don't expect to easily find replacements. Cheers, Boris
  4. Hi Giorgio, Just a few prototypes... They were shown at Photokina 1982. I have actually seen one ;-) As for the value of the camera, very hard to tell (too few built, unknown real-world operatability,...), not to mention the upheavals in the 16mm market today ! Ciao, Boris
  5. Sorry for this rant, people, but I can't let so many errors in so few paragraphs go unchecked -- ciinematography.com will only remain a bit authoritative if we don't let 'anything go' with respect to information, albeit historical (but perhaps historically accurate information and the perspective that comes from it is the thing we need most in the face of the ongoing technological upheaval in the field of image production...). So here goes : 'The cat on the shoulder' marketing claim was actually Aaton's very own, dating to the mid 70's, by which time many camera designs were shoulder-held. I was meant to advertise a better, more ergonomic design, not just any shoulder-holding (and the target was probably more Eclair than Arri in that respect : Eclair does it well, we do it better!) The Eclair 16 was by no means the first shoulder-held camera : just think of Eclair's own 1947 design, the Caméflex Jean-Pierre Beauviala had nothing to do with the design of the Eclair ACL, which was designed by Coma and Lecœur. The ACL was not 'much delayed'. In fact, it's the Aaton 7 that was 'much delayed', and I'm pretty sure (although I'm ready to be corrected on that), date-wise, it was more like 'announce and '73 and produced in '75), making it a contemporary of the Arri SR. And to give back Beauviala his due, if the ACL was not his 'sketch' for the Aaton 7, he certainly looked at it closely and had one briliant idea to improved on its ergonomics : to move the viewfinder in front of the camera (rather than on its side as on the ACL and many previous designs), so that the body of the camera could be moved back and better balanced, weight-wise, on the shoulder -- that's the genius behind the cat on the shoulder ergonomics of Aaton cameras. Paradoxically, it's also what nearly brought Aaaton's demise when, after much delay, the Aaton 7 was released in the same time frame as the Arri SR (which also has that forward V-F design)and Arri decided to sue Aaton on patent infringement. Putting its great financial weight behind the legal procedure, Arri did bring Aaton to its knees, but Beauviala is also an astute entrepreneur and managed to get his company back on its feet after only a short while. Voilà, end of my rant. But please, Michael, check your facts before posting, next time.
  6. Hi Steve, I probably have an exploded view of some model of the R16 somewhere. If interested, send me a PM with your e-mail address and I will check. B
  7. HI, Yes, that looks like a decent battery. At 12Ah, it should last for quite a while -- more than you're likely to ever use on any single day's shoot. Basically, all you need is a Lead Acid 12V. battery of 4Ah or more and a power cord terminated by an XLR-4 female connector (pin 1 is ground, pin 4 is 12V.). Lead acid batteries are cheap and solid, and they come in many sizes (and amperage). THey are the same that are used in cars, but smaller -- often used in R-C model airplanes, cars; etc. Best, B.
  8. Ciao Giorgio, To me, this camera looks like a 1976/1977 model that had an ACL II base added later. Everything coresponds to the late 70's model : motor, viewfinder, small details on the body... Also, the ergonomic handgrip and its attachment on the body are not standard, so they were also probably added later. Look at all the info that I put on eclair16.com to help with the dating of these cameras, and a lot more info too. Regarding the viewfinder, yes it is removable easily. But yes, if you want to trade it for another kind of ACL viewfinder; you have to have the matching mount. If you do, it's easy, as it's only attached with two screws. CIao, Boris
  9. Hi Erkan, That's on principle... Bu the Ange 12-240 is truly a heavy lens. I think I would use a lens support with it myself. I have a couple of custom made models I picked up with ACL kits. If interested, send me an email at bobolex@gmail.com Best to you in lovely Instanbul ;-) B.
  10. Hi, Yes, you can... In a black bag, of course. Either unthread the begining of the film and spool it back onto its daylight spool, or cut the film where it enters the light chamber on the spooling side (you will lost a couple of feet, but it's simpler -- just don't forget to put scissors into your changing bag !). Cheers, B.
  11. Hi Gregg, That Ferania stock was probably too old and became too stiff to move through the mag properly. Not to mention it's Italian mad ;-) No seriously, old stock is always more rigid than fresh stock, more noisy, etc. I've never tested any sound-stripped stock, but it may even add to the problem. Time to test all of these mags with fresh film ! THe best would be to spool 200 or 400 ft on a large daylight spool (do you have one?) and test all the mags with the same roll (filming a board with the mag serial number at the beg. of each take, to keep track of which is which). You definitely don't need to shoot 100ft per mag to test them. But do take them out into the sunlight light (I know it's winter in NZ, but hopefully you still get more sun than we do in dreadful Belgian Summer...) and test for real-world light leaks. How are the mag-nose rubber seals, by the way ? I have to look for a good source of them, since these old mags are usually in sore need of new seals. Best, B.
  12. Hi Gregg, These adapters were designed for the NPR and the Caméflex, which didn't have the optional mounts of the ACL. They're not as good, but should be fine nevertheless. Check the mating surfaces on the lens seat and on the adapter front : that's what's critical for FFD. As for the lens seating, if it's tight, with no play, you're good. If you only have one Arri B mount, you could also leave the adapter on the lend (some have set screws in them to fasten them to the Arri B mount) ans treat the lens as a CA mount lens. Cheers, B.
  13. So much confusing information guys ! The simple answer is : ALL Macro-Switar 26/1,1 lenses have a preset aperture design AND are RX specified. And they are great lenses that do cover the Super 16 frame. Voilà !
  14. Because of the large depth of field on a wide angle like the 10mm, it's best to check the focus at closer distances too, like 20 or 30 cm. This will tell you whether your distance scale is accurate.
  15. Hi Richard, The Vario-Switar 100 POE has a constant aperture (max f : 1,9), which means there is no light loss whether zoomed in or out (one of the design features of a lot of cinema zoom lenses over cheaper photo lenses). If anything, you may want to expose your film 1/2 of an f stop slower to compensate for light loss of the optical elements (for some reason Kern does not give T stops which account for that) and for the ageing of the lens. Film will be able to handle this very slight over exposure in any case.
  16. Thanks Jean-Louis. I should also add that you should be thinking not twice but three times before removing the prism from the mechanism plate, or even just loosening its screws. the ground glass is glued to it, so that is where the viewfinder image is formed. In other words, if it's not placed within extremely stringent measurements, the viewfinder image will be off and most of your shots will be out of focus. The idea to mark its position on the mechanism plate before loosening it may seem good, but without a lot of further testing with film afterwards, you're likely to be just off for those difficult low light shots at wide opening (and shallow depth of field), whereas all looked good ad wider opening or with wide angle lenses... Tinkerers, beware ! The point is not to scare film-makers from touching their gear and to say that only factory-trained technicians should open up a camera (in fact, nobody has been trained by Eclair for at least 25 years, when the company closed), but to realise that if you decide to do any service by yourself, you should be well informed, well equipped, and well endowed (I mean : with a steady hand, a good head, and a lot of patience, of course!), and you should be very critical with your own work and test, test, test before shooting anything important. In fact, it's by opening an ACL that you realize the engineering genius that went into designing such a small camera 40 years ago. It's not just that the rotating mirror was replaced with the ACL's swinging arm mechanism (making for a smaller overall size), but also that the whole mechanism of the camera fits on that single mechanism plate : motor shaft, claw mechanism, shutter and drive, spindle mirror, viewing prism and ground glass, magazine drive shaft, and of course, the picture gate -- in other words, the whole heart of the camera (and that's why you need to proceed with more caution than Tony shows in this video when you work on that incredible mechanism plate...). An amazing camera indeed -- love it, open it, but don't botch it !
  17. Hey guys, watch this video for your entertainment, but proceed with caution... Tony seems to have started 'servicing' ACLs last year and he hasn't bothered to look around for serious information about the cameras... Several things are downright wrong in what he says, like : a) a shorted bloop light would not cause flicker, it would burn out the film continuously ; B) you don't set the timing on the camera from the rear drive axle, because you need to see precisely where the shutter is with respect to both the claw and the mirror, instead, you do so by loosening the shutter (without removing the set screws completely) ; c) you don't need to remove the filter or filter holder to remove the main mechanism plate, and in fact, you don't even need to remove the motor if you're careful and you know what you're doing.... Also, you can tell he's not serious about servicing cameras just by looking at the workbench and the tools he uses. I'm not being pedantic, it's extremely important since Eclair screws are very special, with a specific pitch, so you don't want to use crappy tools and break the screw head. If you're going to open an Eclair camera, start by going to the tool shop and buying a set of good quality screwdrivers (flat ones, Eclair didn't use Philips screws) in all the sizes beginning with 1.5mm. And many things about the explanations are just not clear or downright misleading. The ACL he is opening up is not a regular model. Many things have been modified, including an important fact : once you have removed the two bits of back covering, there is normaly yet one more screw that holds the mechanism plate to the body. This is important, since you should be able to run the camera without its back covers when you service it, so that plate has to be set firmly into the body. And what about the claims that 99% of rattling noises on ACLs come from a bent shutter ; that the best motor for the ACL is the CP model ; that an ACL is not made to run over 25 fps -- come on ! I could go on to mention another number of approximations and confusions, but the point is : before you post a video or some other bit of information about something as specific (and more importantly, as dear to their owners) as a 16mm movie camera, please, please do your homework ! Some of us spend years just gathering up original technical information to make it available on sites like eclair16.com (I wrote a history of the evolution of the ACL on the site, just to debunk all the wrong information that was floating around the internet thanks to overnight 'specialists'), so it's really annoying to see all that work being undone by another guy's desire to be the next Eclair technician in Hollywood, now that the people with proper training are disappearing. And I'm not saying that just because I'm a snotty French ;-)
  18. Hi again Gregg, I do have the British maintenance manual ;-) PM me and I will see if I have waht you need. But basically, figuring out these mags is straightforward enough if you're mechanically minded. Best, Boris
  19. Hi Evan, The HD motor should work on the ACL I, all you need is the large mounting plate. You will not get automatic mirror parking (even if it's an HD motor that has that function) since that's part of the electronics in the base, but the motor should run fine. Don't pay an arm and a leg for the large mounting plate, I probably have a couple laying around that I could sell for not much if necessary. Enjoy your camera ! Boris
  20. Hi again, Gregg, I would go with an Aaton or Arri one, because of the optical quality, but above all because these extensions basically all do the same (optically deport a focus point a given distance), so you don't need to reinvent the wheel. The only thing you'd have to worry about is modifying the end of the Kinoptik VF (removing the eyepiece holder, including the iris that closes it) as well as the mounting on whichever extension you opt for. Easier said than done, but at least the difficult (optical) part of the job is done for you ;-) Cheers, B.
  21. Hi Gregg, As far as I know, Clive Tobin did not adapt his Milliframe controler to the ACL II's outboard synch circuit. His short-lived ACL motor does accept the Milliframe, though. But it's a very rare item and not a very ergonomic design. So basically, the only accessory that works with an unmodified ACL II (with its MIPIL pilotable motor) is the extremely rare Eclair BOTEX accessory, which synchronizes the phase of a video signal to the motor's electronics to avoid the roll bar effect. (If anyone is interested, I know where to locate one, btw). On the other hand, AZ Spectrum does offer a modification of the ACL II (and maybe some earlier versions of the camera) so that it accepts the whole set of Arri outboard control accessories (those made for the 70's and 80's Arri cameras with Fischer 11 pin plug input). I have tried one of these modifications, and I can attest that it's quite functional : the speed variator works even for ramping speed while filming, the 3-digit precision speed controler also works. It's not a cheap modification, but it truly modernizes the camera. Cheers, B.
  22. Boris Belay

    ACL Problem

    Hi Guillaume, Indeed, it could be a battery problem, or a film-loading problem, or also a problem with old stock (the film was not stored properly and is sticky, for example)... So test with a fresh battery and with fresh film. If the problem continues and you are not confident about opening up the camera, send me a message and we can talk about it. I'm not far from Paris : Bruxelles. Salut, B.
  23. Hi Alain, I don't know who he is either, but I can tell you that that page on eclair16.com was culled from the old Eclair Super-16 website and not checked over. A number of techies on there are now retired or have moved on. I've helped with the site before... maybe I should get back to it ! ;-) B.
  24. Hi Gregg, The quick answer to that question is that most adapters to mount Arri Bayo lenses don't accept Arri St lenses, but a few do... Mostly Eclair TS mounts for Arri St lenses that were later adapted to also mount Arri B lenses. So, most likely, you will have to get both kinds (Arri St and Arri Bayo), unless a technician like Les Boscher builds one that does both for you. The good news is that the ACL's mounting system is so flexible that you have 3 ways to mount Arri (St or Bayo) lenses on your camera : 1. a C-mount to Arri adapter (cheapest, least sturdy/precise), most likely only made for Arri St 2. a CA-mount to Arri lens adapter that fits into the ACL's CA adapter (quite sturdy, but multiplying adapters is not the best idea in terms of accurate flange depth), which were made for either Arri St or Arri Bayo. Look for the copper version of these for an ACL. Don't get the black anodized kind : they do not fit into the ACL CA adpater (or check with the seller that it does), as they were designed for the NPR and Cameflex native CA mount, which is deeper than the ACL's. (As a matter of fact, be aware that not all CA lenses fit into the ACL CA adapter for the same reason!) 3. A proper TS (ACL adapter thread mount) to Arri adapter : the sturdiest and most precise option. Again, most are for either one Arri lens type or the other, but a few are for both. As for the mounting principle, as far as I can tell, all Arri Bayo adapters work on the principle of friction... which is the principle behind bayonette mounts, no? Cheers, Boris
  25. The grip in the picture you refered to will simply NOT work on a flat base Bolex model. You need the flat-topped grips with the quick release disc, or possibly the 'Sure-fire' handgrip (the one where the grip runs nearly parallel to the base of the camera so your wrist is not bent when holding the Bolex, and which triggers the camera through a flexible release cable), although that wold be a very personal preference. Cheers, B.
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