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Patrick Barry

Eclair flickers... help!

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Hey all, we're about a third of the way into shooting a project on a Super 16mm converted Eclair. The lab called and informed me that some of the footage has a little bit of a flicker to it. They said its more noticeable in the day scenes, where its very bright, less noticeable on the night scenes, if at all.

 

I shot three test rolls before this project, at different times, and noticed the flicker a bit on the first roll. After that roll, I had Bernie O'Dougherty look over the camera and he fixed the fuse on it which wasn't for the proper voltage (or wattage ?). I attributed the flicker to the fact that the incorrect fuse as the next 2 rolls I did looked fine. Unfortunately, the flicker has reared its ugly head again.

 

Bernie has since mentioned to check the claw and see if it's timed up properly with the aperture's opening and closing, which it is. He had also mentioned possible power/battery issues, but the battery is new and I drain and charge it so I don't think that is it.

 

Has anyone else experienced this problem or can offer solution? It's greatly appreciated.

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Hey all, we're about a third of the way into shooting a project on a Super 16mm converted Eclair...

 

What model Eclair are you using: NPR, ACL, Cameflex?

I almost certainly can't offer any help myself, but others might be able to if they know the camera model.

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What model Eclair are you using: NPR, ACL, Cameflex?

I almost certainly can't offer any help myself, but others might be able to if they know the camera model.

 

 

It's an ACL... thanks

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I don't know much about Eclairs and how they behave when they have power issues, but just because your battery is new and you've drained and recharged it I wouldn't say it's okay for sure. Find out from Bernie what the voltage should be while the camera is running and measure it while it's pulling film. get yourself a cheap volt ohm meter and check the cables, check for loose connections, check resistance at the connections while you wiggle the connectors.

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Yeah, depending on your motor and the type of mag you are using, there could be flickering issues there. Still, not enough info is given on the camera, motor and mag configuration you are using (or other circumstances) to pin point what is happening, anything else could be the problem -like the battery or the electronics acting up (if unlikely). Generally speaking, you need a "heavy duty" multi-speed motor -commonly found on ACL 2s- to run all types of mags / film loads.

 

If you and your tech agree that the ACL motor can handle the film load properly, I would send it in and have it checked again, which will probably put you in a bind since you will need it (or a replacement) to finish your project

Edited by Saul Rodgar

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Is there any way you could post an example of footage?

 

It sounds to me a lot more like there is a light leak in the camera or magazine rather than a shutter or power problem, this makes the most sense if the problem is more obvious from footage shot during the daylight than footage at night.

 

The fuse can't change the speed that the motor runs at, all it can do was blow too easily, or not blow soon enough leading to damage to the motor. The fuse doesn't regulate speed it is only a failsafe. Also you can check the movement by loading the magazine, taking the lens off and inching the knob. Watching the film, make sure it doesn't move while the shutter is open.

 

I still think from what you describe though, it is a simple light leak and not something with the power or movement of the camera. This could even be from not keeping your eye over the eye piece when shooting, that's why the viewfinder has the slidable cover. Almost every film shoot I have been on big or small I've seen the mag lids sealed with gaff tape. It's just too easy for light to sneak though a tiny crack or hole. I would suggest loading the camera and covering every possible hole with tape. Then go out in the brightest light possible and shoot, if there isn't any flickering, then your problem is a hole somewhere.

 

The other problem I have had with my ACL was improperly loading the magazine, make sure you have the loops right. The first shoot I had with my ACL all the footage was blurry from the loops being too short. However, I would describe this as bluring, not flickering.

 

If you can, post some examples. Its really hard to describe a visual problems without an image and if we can see it, I'm sure there is someone else who has seen it before and can quickly help you narrow down the problem.

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Has anyone else experienced this problem or can offer solution? It's greatly appreciated.

 

hey Patrick, i experienced some bad flickering on my ACL footage recently. It started happening after my super-16 conversion. it sounds similar to yours - in really bright sunlight it's pretty bad, but under normal lighting it doesn't seem to happen. it's also inconsistent on my camera and I'm at a loss to know what the problem is.

 

It's actually possible to completely fix the footage in post, though. I tried every flicker-removal plugin i could find and none of them worked for me. But I discovered a plugin called Neat Video, which is not really for flicker repair, but it uses temporal filtering to remove noise and an unexpected side-effect is that it removes mild flickering as well. If you have severe flickering, I figured out some additional tricks to get rid of that too, however it's extremely tedious. PM me if you are interested.

Edited by Jason Hinkle

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Resurrecting this old thread.

I had my Eclair ACL 1.5 converted to super16 last summer by Les Bosher. The first footage looks great, except that there seems to be some --- yes, you guessed it --- flicker! Now then, I live in Europe so not modifying the shutter angle to 144 is the way the things were done with my camera. Thus it can be seen that the mirror is a bit in front of the open gate. The curious thing however is that in the footage I shot the problem was only evident with longer focal length. With focal lengths of 10-28mm I didn't notice anything. With 75mm on the other hand...

 

Take a look!

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Hey Heikki,

I saw flikering around 2:30 in that vid. Bright light was coming down the barrel, flicker was very visible on the dark leaves. Was harder to see against the sky. What is the image circle of that 75mm Kern? Maybe a piece of bright light is hitting the edge of the mirror while the shutter is open. One of the camera bodies I have here has the mirror edges painted black. The TS flange is also painted black.

 

If the flicker is caused by the mirror one could look at that with a piece of ground glass with a magnifier sitting in the gate, slowly moving the mirror at the critical place.

 

What about trying a matte in the in-camera filter holder, removing some unwanted light..

 

Another possible source of flicker, a separate cause I think, if shooting in bright sun you need a good light seal for your eye on the viewfinder, a good eye patch, good contact, shade the area with your hat.

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I agree with Gregg on all accounts, especially the image circle. I've had issues in the past with many different camera and my m42 35mm still lenses. The ACL is especially bad. If it's bright light and the image circle is large, some light will hit the mirror even though it's swung to the side. That light will bounce around off anything in the camera that is not perfectly matte black. I'd start by checking around in there for any non-matte-black surfaces that may be reflecting light around.

 

As far as overall mirror timing, you can watch the mirror move by manually advancing the motor slowly and watching the mirror swing back and forth and the shutter open and close. Go slowly, step by step. If the shutter opens before the mirror leaves or the mirror enters before the shutter closes, you may have a very slight timing issue that could be correct without replacing the whole shutter.

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Just re-read your post.

 

I'm especially on board with the image circle idea. The image circle will be larger at longer focal lengths. So, definitely something hitting the mirror and bouncing around.

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Thank you Gregg and David!

 

Your explanation sounds quite probable. It's rather interesting that the problem is so bad with so small lens as Kern Yvar (sorry, not Switar but almost!) while almost non-existant with 28mm Contax Zeiss which is 35mm SLR lens.

 

I have done some testing with both 28mm and 50mm Contax lenses and should have the film processed soon. Today I also did some further testing with the 75mm Yvar -- this time I tried it with the behind the lens filter holder taken out & opening blocked with gaffer's tape. Having examined it certainly has seen its best days and become somewhat reflective (even those that didn't have that much wear seem to be closer to reflective black rather than matte). I also did take the same footage with the filter holder in so It'll be interesting to see if there is any difference between those two.

 

If this is a problem that will only present itself with that long lenses in lens flare situations I guess I'll just have to refrain myself from trying to emulate the look of the new Star Trek movies ;)

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In the days when the ACL was used professionally, it was well known that the flicker was caused mostly by a worn rubber connecting shock absorber between the motor and the mechanism. With age, this disk will get softer and the holes will grow larger. Replacing this shock absorber will solve many problems.

  • Upvote 1

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@Dirk.

I'm familiar with the parts. I've fitted and removed motors and the rubber drive disk (shock absorber). But I don't yet understand how a soft disk with worn holes gives the flicker. When I first read your post I mimmediately felt, ah that makes sense, then realized that I did not understand it at all. Do you know how that works. Is there an occilation from the rubber and a lead / lag thing going on if there is enough play between the movement and the mirror, so the edge of the mirror is sometimes in the wrong place.

Edited by Gregg MacPherson

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Still waiting for results. The lab I use moved and had a longer pause in processing. The test films have now been processed but now I'm waiting for their new scanner to be finished before having them scanned...

Edited by Heikki Repo

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Okay, I finally got the film transferred.

 

It doesn't look good at all.

 

1) There are huge internal reflections in my camera (the lens used is Contax Zeiss 28mm -- both Zeiss 28mm and 50mm were really bad. This time though 75mm Yvar didn't flare at all. Weird.)

f032702.jpg

 

Removing the filter holder and taping the top shut didn't help -- on the contrary, the reflections might have even gotten worse.

 

2) Those huge internal reflections make the flicker very easy to see.

 

 

As for the shock absorber -- I didn't have this kind of flicker problem before S16 modification:

 

 

Next I'm certainly going to go once more through my camera and try to find the non-matte black which could be reflecting something. After that it'll be tests with a matte in the in-camera filter holder.

 

Is there anyone there who has had this problem with their ACL and fixed it with success?

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Heikki,

There may be more than one thing causing flicker.

I would put a new rubber drive coupler in for the motor after what Dirk said, unless your service guy is sure it's good.

If you noticed a change with/without the filter holder then IMO there are reflections from the oversized lens format. Matt blacking all the surfaces may help. If the lens is not expensive I would consider an experiment where you apply good black camera tape to the rear element to mask the frame. I had some Scotch brand that never left residue, even after 17 years. It looks like black masking tape, even the gum is black. Inch your mirror carefully to make sure you havent added something that will not clear.

 

Do you have a B&W tank, or a lab that is friendly with camera tests.

 

I better look at the footage now I suppose.

Cheers,

Gregg.

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Okay, got around my camera to take a look inside.

 

First of all, the adapter for Contax to C-mount is black, but it could be more matt black.

 

CRW_0143.jpg

 

However, the prize of reflectiveness goes to.... shiny gate!

 

Look at that shiny piece of black painted but oh so reflective gate. Considering that the reflection in the photo in my post above comes from the top of the frame (=bottom of the gate) and there is a narrow area not affected, I guess we might have a winner?

CRW_0140.jpg

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However, the prize of reflectiveness goes to.... shiny gate!

 

Look at that shiny piece of black painted but oh so reflective gate. Considering that the reflection in the photo in my post above comes from the top of the frame (=bottom of the gate) and there is a narrow area not affected, I guess we might have a winner?

 

 

However, the prize of reflectiveness goes to.... shiny gate!

 

Look at that shiny piece of black painted but oh so reflective gate. Considering that the reflection in the photo in my post above comes from the top of the frame (=bottom of the gate) and there is a narrow area not affected, I guess we might have a winner?

 

Do you have a picture from the font, with your mount adapter full frame, lit so we can easily see the gate, the edge of the mirror.

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