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How many runs will a 16mm copy last?


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#1 Terje Luven

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 04:01 AM

I need to order viewing copys for a 16mm looper setup for an exhibition and I need figure out how many I need. Is there any rule of thumb for doing this. The show is open some 30 hours a week. The looper and projector runs fine and has a quite moderate light, so the wear on the film should not be more than average. A good guess would be much appreciated.
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 12:36 PM

There is no rule of thumb. I have done film loop projection for close to 10 years now. The greatest danger to the loop is the high likelihood it will get mangled as it goes 24 fps through the gate. Broken sprocket holes can break the film fast. We hole punch the loops and do a lot of unkind things to it, jam stuff in the gate for fun, etc.

A good loop can last all night or 3 minutes. The projector itself, the quality of the splice(s), the quality of the sprocket holes, the length of the film loop, what has been done to it and where are all factors.

In the last couple of years I have moved away from running loops -and into other film-less projector art areas- as I find it very high maintenance and limiting. My one-of-a-kind loops get mangled fast and once the film is chewed up, it is gone. Good luck with your project.

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#3 Simon Wyss

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 03:17 PM

In 2004 I've been asked to set up an endless 16-mm film projection for Kunstmuseum Basel. The print went 106 seconds at 24 fps. Upon inspection of a worn acetate print I found out that the action lasted only five seconds. It was repeatedly printed from looped negative.

They had a Japanese projector, a quick shifter, which hacks into the perforation. So I offered a better construction, a Siemens & Halske 2000. A looping device on top of the projector conceived by a Frenchman was left there and the film threaded straight through it. Nobody would see that there was only a three-foot length laced up. This time I had access to a polyester-base positive.

I joined the ends with pressure-sensitive transparent tape, lubricated the film and had it run at 24 fps for seven weeks, six days the week, from 10 a. m. to 5 p. m. The splice broke exactly three times (its purpose as protecting measure for the whole). No wear whatsoever on that sniplet after 211,680 (two-hundred-eleven-thousand-six-hundred-and-eighty) runs.

Of course, a longer copy will not last that much because of more dust collecting on it due to static charge. Scratches must be expected.
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Ritter Battery

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