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ACL out-of-synch woes


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#1 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 02:17 PM

I wonder if any of you guys can help with this issue.

I was shooting in the wee hours of the AM in the mountains (38 degrees F + wind chill, about 25 degrees F, I sould say) with a Super 16 ACL WITH the heavy duty motor at 24 fps, Kodak 7217.

The camera was on the ground resting on the last charged battery (even the high hat was too high and I decided to rest it on the battery {hint?}, which is not insulated, instead of a sand bag). I was lying alongside it (freezing my ass) shooting a long scene, over one minute long easily.

The camera would start fine and then completely go out of synch, I could see the light on the motor start to flicker slowly and get gradually worse to where I could hear it bog down. I would take the 400' mag off and the camera would run synch, put it on, out of synch again and back and forth. Suffice to say that we had to wrap right there and then.

Now, with this heavy duty motor, the ACL should run crystal synch with 400' mags on as far I know. I thought the battery was draining, but it was the last one charged and when I came home (the next day) I ran a test on the same battery (not the same mag, though), 250' of test film went fine, no out of synch issues. Of course the camera and the battery were warm then and weren't on the ground and I only had about 250' of scratch-test film (ran it twice) If I had had 400' of test film I would have used it, but I am not going to spoil $150 worth of perfectly fine film to test it now, am I?

I am thinking a combination of cold weather exposure/ battery being on the ground might have done it. I have never had any problems with that motor before that night or after. I remember at the end of the previous mag, the out-of-synch light flashed a couple of times during a take, but it stopped and the camera was on a tripod then . . .

I am wondering If you guys have any clues.

If only my Aaton LTR were back from the shop or we could afford to rent a 416 . . .

Thanks!
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#2 Tim Carroll

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 03:10 PM

Welcome to the world of batteries in the cold. From reading your post, my first thought is that the battery got too cold. A rechargeable battery will lose lots of it's power when it gets cold, and the more load you put on it as the camera ran, the less it was putting out. Putting the battery on the ground was probably the worst place to put it.

Was a photojournalist for years and spent many a long night in sub freezing weather, trying to get "the shot". We always kept our spare batteries inside our clothes so our body heat kept them warm. Even had a remote battery pack that I would keep inside my clothes with a cable that came out and went into the camera, so the battery never got cold.

The reason everything worked fine the next day is that the battery was warm again and regained its power.

The other thing that probably contributed is the lubricants in the camera were not "cold weather" lubricants. We have special oils and greases that we use to lubricate Arriflex cameras that are going to be used in sub-freezing weather. The "warm weather" lubes get stiff and tacky/gummy in the very cold, and this can put more strain on the motor.

So, with your battery being on the cold ground, and your camera not being lubed for winter, I would be surprised if the camera could keep sync.

Hope that helps,
-Tim
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#3 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 06:21 PM

Tim:
Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Earlier this year I was shooting in REALLY cold conditions (in the mountains in Feb, with a couple of feet of snow on the ground) with the same battery, different camera, but the batteries weren't on the ground. And everything was perfect, until we put the batteries down on the snow! Then the camera went out of synch, briefly though. Now I remember! That's got to be it, as we suspected.
Thanks a lot for your feedback!

S
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#4 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 07:27 PM

The other thing that probably contributed is the lubricants in the camera were not "cold weather" lubricants. We have special oils and greases that we use to lubricate Arriflex cameras that are going to be used in sub-freezing weather. The "warm weather" lubes get stiff and tacky/gummy in the very cold, and this can put more strain on the motor.

38 F is well above freezing, (32F) although the lube may very well be stiffer than at 20C.

Keeping bateries warm is always good practice. inside the coat with an extension cable is great, or somewhere in a vehicle.

IN Canada in the Winter one technique sugested to start a car on a cold day is to turn on the headlights for 10 seconds. The drain on the battery is suposed to be enough to warm it up a bit and make the subsequent crank of the motor work better. FOlks swear by this even though draining the battery may seem counter-intuitive. For years "Canadian Tire" (http://canadiantire.ca/ ) used to advertise "battery Blankets" that are 300W electric heaters that plug into the mains and keep the car battery warm. This is seen as more important by some than a block heater to keep the oil warm. In Winnipeg they probaly use both.
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#5 Olex Kalynychenko

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 05:21 AM

I wonder if any of you guys can help with this issue.

I was shooting in the wee hours of the AM in the mountains (38 degrees F + wind chill, about 25 degrees F, I sould say) with


I wish say too, "Welcome to the world of batteries in the cold " , but, i wish add The battery+ camera.
38 degree of F, near +2C,
25 degree of F, near -5C.
I not use of Eclair, but, can tell about my experience of use Konvas-2M and Kinor-16 at -10...-20 C ( 14..0 degree of F ).
This is "normal" temperature for Russia at winter.

About cameras. The cameras must be serviced and must have " winter version" of oil. This is special type of more fluid with additional low temperature additive.
The battery must be at special cover.
We use of many soft cover with rubber bottles with hot water.

Other idea, to use of belt- battery and warm up of battery by heat of personal body.

A some russian cine cameras ( Kinor-35 H and other ) have special devices for shooting with low temperature.
This is small size heaters and sensors near base parts of mechanism with special 24 V DC control.

And, If I need shoot with low temperature, i begin of shooting ( camera not run of long time ) from run of camera without magazine with film.
The run of camera without a film magazine to heating of base parts of mechanism and will have less resistance of rotation at shooting with film magazine.
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