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Blurry image from 1st acl test reel


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#1 Evan Ferrario

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 12:38 PM

So I just got my first roll I shot on my acl back from cinelab and in the box it had a note saying "cam problem".

I looked at the film on my projector and sure enough, it was a blurry to a point where nothing was recognizable.
Posted Image
Posted Image

The 2nd shot is a guy standing on a dock over a lake with his reflection below him. Just to give you an idea of what it was.

Now I know I loaded the magazine with the loops too short. I have recently seen the video explaining how to load an acl 200 foot magazine. My magazine has a clicker and I think this was clicking the whole time, I thought it was part of the camera as I had always heard it.

The images are just screen grabs of a projector playing the negative on the wall, the saturation and overall color correction are terrible so judge the problem based on image sharpness not color. I know the projector was in focus so the focus problem all came from the camera The one good thing I learned is that my camera is covering the ultra 16mm frame. It won't show because the projector isn't widened, but when I looked at a frame, it went between the perfs.

Anyways I really am hoping this is just from loading the magazine wrong, but it seems too severe. We were focusing based on distance measurments so I don't think the lens had any problem with it. Also we shot really wide, 12mm most of the time. I have seen the guide showing how to check if the film is moving when the gate is open and I am going to check that. It might be hard to just from two still pictures, but if anyone has seen what improper loops looks like, could it make the image this bad?

Thanks in advance for any help. I know I need to get the camera serviced before I do any major project with it but I am just finishing school right now and don't have extra money. I would like to shoot another test roll if the magazine could of caused my problem.
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#2 Tom Hepburn

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 01:12 PM

Hi Evan,

The first thing I would ask is if you know the history of the camera? If I bought it off of Ebay, which I did myself, I think it would be money well spent to get a camera tech to look at it and get it up to speed. Also, what about the lenses? They may need collimation. Have they ever been used successfully?
I have had bad loops on my ACL and it did in fact badly affect the focus, but not to that degree. I would guess that it could be a combination of things, but I'd wait and get more responses.

Sorry the tests didn't come out well, but it's good to find out early.

Tom
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#3 David Auner aac

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 01:50 PM

Hi Evan,

what did the image looks like in the finder? And does it look the same with different focal lengths? What about the FFD of the camera? Was it recently measured? Remember that wide lenses have a really shallow depth of focus (the range where a reasonable sharp image is formed behind the lens, ideally the film should sit in the focal point). So a longer lens might have yielded a sharper image if the FFD is off!

Cheers, Dave
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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 02:08 PM

Does the footage only look like it's out of focus, or is that also smearing of the image that we're seeing? If so, it could be a serious registration issue, it looks like the pull down claw may not be engaging, so your film is basically running free through the gate.

Or it could just be a mag issue, and the film wasn't pressed firmly against the gate, in which case an out of focus image is easily explanable.
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#5 Bernie O'Doherty

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 04:27 PM

Evan, The fact that you were hearing a clicking noise would indicate that you had lost the film loop. The test also shows loop loss.....lack of registration and vertical blurring. Try making your loop size 13 frames. Then measure 6 frames on the top loop and 7 frames on the bottom loop. Put on the magazine and inch a few frames of film with the motor inching knob. Then roll at 24fps. This might help.
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#6 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 11:40 PM

You might also see this video for checking the timing:

http://eclair16.com/...eck-the-timing/
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#7 Rob Vogt

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 12:51 AM

Also once you do another test to see if the FFD is correct, you can do a registration test by drawing a series of parallel lines and shooting that for a minute or so. Then rewind the film and change the angle (like a dutch angle) either by erasing the lines and drawing them differently or changing the angle on your tripod if it allows. Then double expose the film to see if the lines wobble. If they remain still it was just the incorrect loading. If the lines shake, you probably have an internal issue. Judging by your pictures it seems a little extreme to just be a loading issue hopefully this is just the case though. When I loaded my ACL incorrectly the first couple of times the footage came back extremely shaky but not as badly out of focus.
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#8 Evan Ferrario

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 05:08 PM

I just did the sharpie timing check and that appeared to be okay. I realize now how the clicker works and think its a great invention. And my camera is much quieter too now that I know it's not part of it. I am going to have it checked out by a professional before I do anything major, but I am considering doing one more test roll.
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#9 Boris Belay

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 06:36 PM

I just did the sharpie timing check and that appeared to be okay. I realize now how the clicker works and think its a great invention. And my camera is much quieter too now that I know it's not part of it. I am going to have it checked out by a professional before I do anything major, but I am considering doing one more test roll.


That does look way out of focus... I would check that before wasting another roll with this simple test : focus the camera (on a tripod) with the viewfinder on a very clear, brightly lit object. When you have a very clear image in the viewfinder, rotate the mirror out of the way of the film path (viewfinder becomes dark), remove the magazine and put a 16mm. wide piece of translucent drafting paper infron of the film window. The grain of the paper should be fine enough to act like a ground glass and give you something like the image that would actually be on the film.
This rough test does not test precisely for collimation, but if there is a big difference in focus between the image you had in the viewfinder and the image projected on the paper pressed right up against the window, you can be sure that your flange focal distance is off and there is no need to waste film before sending your camera for service.
If the image on the paper is roughly as sharp, then the blurring may have been due only to the short loops while loading, and you can try a test roll to confirm that.
B.
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