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Are German Super-8 Resellers being Shortchanged?


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#1 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 04:50 PM

By the way: I have sold many cameras and projectors on eBay in the past and until a year ago, I ALWAYS sent the cameras I received to Mr. Schacherl to get them fully serviced and checked, before I listed them on eBay. This checkup and service did cost me about US$ 100 to US$ 150 for each camera, depending if there was something defective or not. These costs had to be added to the price I wanted to receive for the camera on eBay and I had to sell a fully serviced and checked BAUER S 715 XL for US$ 400 and more.

As I can tell you from my past dealings, nobody wants to pay this price nowadays, even for a fully serviced camera. Thus today I check the cameras myself and sell them for lower prices. If I find any faults during this checkup, I state them in my description on eBay or send the camera to Mr. Schacherl and get it fixed. If everything is working flawlessly, I list the camera on eBay, without giving any warranty. How can I give a warranty if a camera is not fully serviced - these cameras are over 25 years old.

Further most of my customers are not even willing to pay for AIRMAIL shipment and then they are bothering me if it takes 4 weeks for a packet to arrive. This shows that most people (especially foreign buyers) do not want to spend a reasonable price but rather get their items CHEAP.

Best Wishes

Heinz-Juergen Schachner
Germany


Consider this an editorial by yours truly.

I am mortified to think that U.S. cheapness is causing super-8 cameras to be sent from Germany without the proper servicing. NOBODY in the U.S. who buys a super-8 film camera that they paid a measley 200 bucks for has the right to call anyone else a thief if they themselves refuse to pay for a proper servicing of a Super-8 camera that is being sold on Ebay.

To that end, I would respectfully ask Mr. Schnachner to reinstate his practice of having every Super-8 camera serviced before it is sold on ebay. Anybody who simply wants a Super-8 camera at the cheapest price possible is merely an opportunist with no real appreciation of the Super-8 format or the 25 year old cameras that keep the format going strong. Germany has a strong Super-8 community and the German shooters of super-8 keep the super-8 technicians in business.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the super-8 system in Germany that allows for certain brands of Super-8 cameras to be serviced at all! Unless a person in America is completely unbeholden to anyone else, meaning they only shoot scenics with no people in them and they load, process and transfer their own film to video, we should be grafteful to receive a Super-8 camera that has actually been recently serviced.

How can someone dare to call other people to help them on a super-8 shoot, be it actors or P.A.'s, when the camera they are using hasn't even been recently serviced??? And even if the camera is for personal use only, how much time does a super-8 user who is unwilling to purchase a serviced camera waste of the people who actually provide professional services for Super-8? If something goes wrong with their footage, the actual condition of the camera is the last thing to be blamed. What a colossial waste of everyone's time when the camera hasn't even recently serviced.

The Super-8 camera motors need to be periodically lubed. Just because a Super-8 camera still sort of works doesn't mean you aren't ruining it by using it if the lubrication has been depleted or dryed out.

I have made two suggestions that I think will help the situation. The Super-8 repair technician makes a DVD of the actual servicing of the super-8 camera that is being sold on ebay, complete with a time and date stamp superimposed over the picture. This DVD would include zooming into the actual serial number on the camera during the servicing and NO stopping or starting of the video camera during the acutal servicing. This DVD gets shipped with the camera after it is sold on eBay. In case the technician does not want his techniques copied, the camera can be kept as an overhead wide shot. (except for the zooming into the serial number), and it would be wise for the technician to actually announce the serial number as well as just showing it.

As for shipping costs, most Super-8 cameras can be shipped for under 2.5 pounds, if the packaging is done properly, perhaps even under 2 pounds. Here is a shipping idea to consider.

http://www.hostboard...ic/f/405/t/1437

Hopefully this idea makes it affordable for the Super-8 camera to be shipped first class or priority.
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#2 santo

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 05:37 PM

Wow, another interesting post, Alex. Some good points in this one.

rasberry:
I'd only add that I think your DVD idea is silly. Since when are you going to buy an Arriflex with a DVD of the tech working on it? That's ridiculous. What you will get, hopefully, is paperwork. The bill and repairs done and who did it and contact info.

applause:
I'll also applaud your assertions that it is plain wrong to get people to work on your super 8 productions in any volunteer manner if you are using a super 8 camera which is not serviced and tested. I'd also add that only a complete fool doesn't do film stock tests and at least a single reel camera test to check for vignetting and any other basic problems before trying to shoot any kind of a production.
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#3 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 06:28 PM

The DVD idea is primarily meant for Super-8 cameras. I agree that those working on 16mm and 35mm cameras earn their reputations quickly or film productions can lose hundreds of thousands of dollars, yes paper work would suffice.

Maybe paperwork would suffice for Super-8, but I don't think it would be that difficult to actually show the tech servicing it.
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#4 James Grahame

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 11:48 AM

To that end, I would respectfully ask Mr. Schnachner to reinstate his practice of having every Super-8 camera serviced before it is sold on ebay. Anybody who simply wants a Super-8 camera at the cheapest price possible is merely an opportunist with no real appreciation of the Super-8 format or the 25 year old cameras that keep the format going strong.

The big problem here is that "serviced" can have a wide range of meanings, to the point that it's really hard to quantify it in an eBay ad. It could mean inspected, or maybe inspected and lubed, or maybe inspected/lubed/repaired.

I know that was probably the thinking behind the repair DVD you suggested. Perhaps a simple standardized checklist/repair list would be a much better idea? If someone released a standard form in acrobat format, camera techs could check off what has been done to the camera. It would still rely on the seller's good faith (ie: unscrupulous sellers could easily forge the papers), but at least it would provide some assurances with more reliable long-term sellers.

"As for shipping costs, most Super-8 cameras can be shipped for under 2.5 pounds, if the packaging is done properly, perhaps even under 2 pounds. Here is a shipping idea to consider."

The magic number is actually 2 kg (4.4 lbs), because it's the maximum weight to ship a parcel internationally as a "small packet" to/from many countries. Splitting a shipment like that is an interesting idea, as long as the seller is willing to put in a bit more work. An alternative is to ditch any accessories that you're unlikely to ever use.

Edited by reflex, 15 March 2006 - 11:50 AM.

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#5 David Goldfarb

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 12:42 PM

The big problem here is that "serviced" can have a wide range of meanings, to the point that it's really hard to quantify it in an eBay ad. It could mean inspected, or maybe inspected and lubed, or maybe inspected/lubed/repaired.


Indeed, some of the best deals I've made have been on equipment that was in non-working or marginally working condition, but where I had a strong intuition that the repair would be easy or not too expensive, and I could send it to a repair shop that I know and trust. In general, I'd rather purchase something and have it serviced by a shop that I know, than to purchase even from a dealer with a guarantee, if I don't know who has serviced the equipment.

Edited by David A. Goldfarb, 16 March 2006 - 12:43 PM.

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#6 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 01:12 PM

Indeed, some of the best deals I've made have been on equipment that was in non-working or marginally working condition, but where I had a strong intuition that the repair would be easy or not too expensive, and I could send it to a repair shop that I know and trust. In general, I'd rather purchase something and have it serviced by a shop that I know, than to purchase even from a dealer with a guarantee, if I don't know who has serviced the equipment.


Do you mind sharing your Super-8 repair resources?

I think you are pointing out the irony of what can happen if a reseller checks out a camera without actually oponing it up. As Santo and Reflex have pointed out, a legible written document from a known repair entity, perhaps with an original "seal" of authenticity on the receipt would be the ideal way to go.

Either sell the camera with such a document, or as is.

I'm concerned that simply because a camera works when one turns it on does not mean that it should be used until it stops working, because by then, the camera may have been damaged beyond repair if it was in need of lubing or some type of realignment or cleaning.
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