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Trick to loading an eclair acl mag?


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#1 Nick Norton

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 10:45 PM

So i have put some leader through my 200ft. eclair acl magazine and have the science down fairly well.

However, by loading it with too much slack or not enough (loops near the film gate too big or too small) i have learned the great importance in getting the loops the right size.

I am now fairly good at this, but i've been doing it all in broad daylight!

I can't really imagine doing this successfully in a changing bag where i can't see anything.

Do you other eclair owners have a trick or advice on how to do this correctly?


Thanks-
nicholas
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#2 Tom Hepburn

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 11:41 PM

Well Nicholas,

I can tell you what has worked for me since purchasing my Eclair 2 months ago. I've only used 100 ft loads in my 200 ft mag so far. In the dark, I load the feed side of the mag and put the cover on it, with black photo tape at the seams of the mag. Then in very muted light, I thread to take up side. I'm pretty much giving up 2 feet or so of film to get the loops right. I feel like I'd rather burn a foot, rather than the whole reel.
I'll be moving up to threading the 400ft soon. That I'll attempt to do in complete dark (changing bag). I'm getting pretty good at it myself. As I'm sure you know, if the loops are wrong, the filming makes a different and louder sound. If that is the case, it's back in the changing bag for adjustments. I think it's possible to do it without looking, but it'll take some practice and some sensitive finger tips.

Hope this helps and I'll be looking for more responses myself.

Tom
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#3 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 12:08 AM

It's been more than a few years since I had to load one of these. I don't remember many details, only that it took a LOT of practice. In the light is fine, but try closing your eyes and do it that way for awhile until you get it down. All I really remember is that it was a major pain in the a** and I thought that whoever designed the thing clearly never had to use it.
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#4 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 01:43 AM

Oh, come on you guys, it ain't that bad. :) Wait until you move to some of the really hard mags to load . . .

Seriously now, the first ACL mag that I loaded was a mess, the footage came back all messed up, but I learned my lesson.

Practice, tons of practice is the name of the game here.

Your brain will appreciate the work-out you are giving it by loading it in the dark. I practiced it until I could do it in my sleep.

Just remember: If you run film through it and it sounds like a machine gun, you are doing it wrong. It has to sound smooth and fairly quiet.
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#5 Mike Panczenko

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 11:58 AM

I'm curious as to what in particular makes this mag so hard to load. I've never loaded an ACL mag, but I took a peek at the manual, and it looks like an Aaton-style design (or probably rather Aaton is an Eclair style design...), where you set the loop while doing the takeup side of the mag, which, being coaxial, you can do in the light.

Is the connecting roller between the takeup and feed side not truly effective at being lightproof? Is that why everyone here is recommending to do the takeup side in the dark as well? Or am I totally misunderstanding the dialogue here. Thanks!
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#6 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 12:27 PM

I'm curious as to what in particular makes this mag so hard to load. I've never loaded an ACL mag, but I took a peek at the manual, and it looks like an Aaton-style design (or probably rather Aaton is an Eclair style design...), where you set the loop while doing the takeup side of the mag, which, being coaxial, you can do in the light.

Is the connecting roller between the takeup and feed side not truly effective at being lightproof? Is that why everyone here is recommending to do the takeup side in the dark as well? Or am I totally misunderstanding the dialogue here. Thanks!


I was used to loading Mitchell/ Panavision style mags before I did ACL's. So it was little trick going to coaxial. They are not hard to load really, just tricky. It is a little hard to find the opening for the film to go to the take up side, especially when you have the 200' or 400' (there are those two types of mags) pressing against it -there is not enough room for your fingers to feel the slot.

I don't know why people load the take up side in the dark, to save film I guess. But the connecting passage between the two sides is lightproof, 100%. Or it should be in a well kept mag.

Originally, the first mag I loaded was damaged, I later found out, I kept on losing my loop too, as I had only left two fingers insead of three worth of film slack at the throat. And the 100' load I used I had to respool, because it was the first ACL mag I had loaded and I didn't realize it loads counter-intuitively, so it was fighting me all the way. Later I realized the film follows a curious film path on its way to the connecting passage. It follows an over /inverted type curl, as opposed to an under straight curl which is what I would expect, if that makes any sense.

Aaton mags load in a similar way, except for the direction of the film on the loading side, and that it follows an under straight curl.

I'll try to upload some pics to clarify those obtuse descriptions, which were the best I could come with.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 02 September 2008 - 12:28 PM.

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#7 Nick Norton

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 01:08 PM

Thank you, all of the responses were extremely helpful.

-nicholas
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#8 James Baker

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 03:03 PM

I'm curious as to what in particular makes this mag so hard to load. I've never loaded an ACL mag, but I took a peek at the manual, and it looks like an Aaton-style design (or probably rather Aaton is an Eclair style design...), where you set the loop while doing the takeup side of the mag, which, being coaxial, you can do in the light.

Is the connecting roller between the takeup and feed side not truly effective at being lightproof? Is that why everyone here is recommending to do the takeup side in the dark as well? Or am I totally misunderstanding the dialogue here. Thanks!


Yes, I don't get this either. It's lightproof. But maybe I'm missing the question, too?

Load, close. Open the take up, do the "two finger" spacing outside the mag and push the length back up into the mag. Lock, close mag. Perfect every time. The ACL is very easy to load which is part of its attraction.
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#9 Mike Panczenko

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 03:06 PM

Yeah,

I wouldn't load the takeup in the dark- it seems odd to save a foot or two of film, when you lose a foot getting up to speed. I can see why loading an Aaton's takeup in the dark would be a bear, which is apparently like the Eclair, but in the light it's so simple, because it's meant to be done in the light. The idea behind coaxial mags is to be able to do the takeup side in the light. The SR, for instance, you can't couldn't load both sides in the dark, because to set the loop you need to take the film out to a loop marking, which you couldn't see in the dark. So the fact that it's extremely difficult to do in the dark is because it was not meant to be done in the dark. Even displacement mags lose a foot or two of film when threading.

Forgive me if I have misunderstood something again, but I think that the trouble you save yourself by loading the takeup in the light is worth losing a foot or two of film.
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#10 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 03:41 PM

I kept on losing my loop too, as I had only left two fingers insead of three worth of film slack at the throat.


Oops. I messed up, I meant to say left one finger of slack instead of two, sorry.
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#11 jacob thomas

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 05:01 PM

Yeah,

I wouldn't load the takeup in the dark- it seems odd to save a foot or two of film, when you lose a foot getting up to speed. I can see why loading an Aaton's takeup in the dark would be a bear, which is apparently like the Eclair, but in the light it's so simple, because it's meant to be done in the light. The idea behind coaxial mags is to be able to do the takeup side in the light. The SR, for instance, you can't couldn't load both sides in the dark, because to set the loop you need to take the film out to a loop marking, which you couldn't see in the dark. So the fact that it's extremely difficult to do in the dark is because it was not meant to be done in the dark. Even displacement mags lose a foot or two of film when threading.

Forgive me if I have misunderstood something again, but I think that the trouble you save yourself by loading the takeup in the light is worth losing a foot or two of film.


The footage you save by loading the take up in the dark won't be exposed anyway as it's gone past the gate.

So you're not really losing any film it just means the head of the roll will be black instead of clear or vice versa (neg or reversal).
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#12 James Baker

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 10:00 PM

The footage you save by loading the take up in the dark won't be exposed anyway as it's gone past the gate.

So you're not really losing any film it just means the head of the roll will be black instead of clear or vice versa (neg or reversal).



That's correct.
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#13 Mike Panczenko

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 11:58 PM

That's correct.



True true- didn't even think of that. So I don't see any reason at all to load the takeup in the dark. Coaxial mags were designed for that reason. I can't think of a reason why it would be beneficial to do the takeup in the dark.
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#14 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 12:55 AM

Loading the feed-side is done in the changing bag, but the take-up is done in the light. I actually put the mag on the camera, remove the take-up cover and run a few frames while watching the loop to make sure it's all perfect. Then I slide the cover back on with the mag still attached to the camera. It seems kinda wasteful, but actually it's only 1-2 seconds of film. Whereas a bad loop will ruin the entire roll. Most people just go by the sound, but I like to also visually confirm that the loop is perfect.

One great tip that I received is to give the bottom loop an extra frame or two and make sure to manually turn the motor a few turns whenever you connect the magazine to the camera. This allows the film to gently snap into position in the gate and create a balanced loop. Otherwise if you just hit the power switch, a few frames can slip by before the film snap into position and you wind up with a lop-sided loop - usually all the slack will be at the top.

One other thing - I was originally told the loop should be exactly 12 frames. But if you follow the ACL instruction manual it shows you to measure by folding the loop over to the edge of the mag. I find this way measures 14 frames. I've had film come out both ways but I'm always kinda wondering if one is better. I usually do it the "ACL way" using the mag edge to measure.

Edited by Jason Hinkle, 03 September 2008 - 01:00 AM.

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#15 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 11:27 AM

Loading the feed-side is done in the changing bag, but the take-up is done in the light. I actually put the mag on the camera, remove the take-up cover and run a few frames while watching the loop to make sure it's all perfect. Then I slide the cover back on with the mag still attached to the camera. It seems kinda wasteful, but actually it's only 1-2 seconds of film. Whereas a bad loop will ruin the entire roll. Most people just go by the sound, but I like to also visually confirm that the loop is perfect.


I do this exact thing but I run the camera at 8fps instead, if I am feeling very stingy . . . :P
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#16 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 12:18 AM

I do this exact thing but I run the camera at 8fps instead, if I am feeling very stingy . . . :P


That's a good idea actually! knowing me, I would forge to set it back to 24fps the first shot of every reel. i guess i could make a benny hill movie with the footage!
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