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Beaulieu 6008 terrible jitter issues / is 80fps a gimmick?


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#1 John Richardson

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 09:25 PM

Hello all,

I just shot a variety of different stocks, some Kodak, some third-party "pro" film, with a Beaulieu 6008 - specifically to use its 80fps function - however most of the footage has terrible jitter as if it is jamming and the claw is not gripping. The problem is not consistent to a specific stock or frame rate - it comes and goes. I'm not talking small jitter but unwatchable jamming like shuddering.

I've read Beaulieu Super 8 cameras are notoriously unreliable for some, but I was hoping to get some other expert opinions.

Is 80fps just a gimmicky option on these cameras and not truly possible on the super 8 format due to the cartridges - or is the camera possibly broken and using third party Super 8 housed film not helping the cause? Either way the terrible jitter happened on Kodak direct film and the third party film. It's strange because sometimes it worked great at 80fps, other times it didn't even manage 24fps or 18fps, which make me think maybe the camera claw is just broken (although apparently recently serviced! :blink: ) but i'm interested to hear if people have experienced this kind of unreliability before? If this is generally how hit and miss and unreliable the Beaulieu 6008 is - it is not a viable camera.

John
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#2 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 09:43 PM

It might be a claw issue. Doug at Spectra Film and Video has worked on these cameras in the past, take it or send it to him and see what he says. Call them first and see if there is a charge.
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#3 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 04:06 AM

Hello all,

I just shot a variety of different stocks, some Kodak, some third-party "pro" film, with a Beaulieu 6008 - specifically to use its 80fps function - however most of the footage has terrible jitter as if it is jamming and the claw is not gripping. The problem is not consistent to a specific stock or frame rate - it comes and goes. I'm not talking small jitter but unwatchable jamming like shuddering.

I've read Beaulieu Super 8 cameras are notoriously unreliable for some, but I was hoping to get some other expert opinions.

Is 80fps just a gimmicky option on these cameras and not truly possible on the super 8 format due to the cartridges - or is the camera possibly broken and using third party Super 8 housed film not helping the cause? Either way the terrible jitter happened on Kodak direct film and the third party film. It's strange because sometimes it worked great at 80fps, other times it didn't even manage 24fps or 18fps, which make me think maybe the camera claw is just broken (although apparently recently serviced! :blink: ) but i'm interested to hear if people have experienced this kind of unreliability before? If this is generally how hit and miss and unreliable the Beaulieu 6008 is - it is not a viable camera.

John


There are variations in friction a cartridge of certain brands and filmtypes can have. :) Especially the homebrew things could be lacking proper lubrication.

Also important is to run these Beaulieuxes with an extra strong batterypack when there is a large 200ft cartridge in or one of these high friction things. I.e. the large original external knob/fist of 8.4 volt which fits the grip. Or an external power source on the power inlet. This can be a mains adapter or a large battery-pack of 8.4/9 volt. Both with proper power ratings.

You will find the camera more responsive too with 8.4 volt inside!

Edited by Andries Molenaar, 23 December 2009 - 04:09 AM.

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#4 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 09:48 AM

Alessandro has already posted your solution, but I think your post merits some further commentary as you raise quite a few crucial points:

i'm interested to hear if people have experienced this kind of unreliability before?


Yes, exactly the same problem. A first series Beaulieu 6008, bought second hand, unserviced, shooting K-40. Horrible frame stability, totally unusable, powered using the in-handgrip AA-battery box (which was a turkey... only power Beaulieu 6/7/9008-series with proprietary Beaulieu rechargeable powerpack, as Andies posted).
Got serviced at Ritter, i.e. Beaulieu Germany, worked perfectly afterwards.

If this is generally how hit and miss and unreliable the Beaulieu 6008 is - it is not a viable camera.


That's a totally off the road conclusion. If your friend's Model X heating boiler breaks down, do you automatically conclude that you having the same boiler will mean that it is an unviable boiler? Do you not consider maintenance cycles, usage conditions and the way it was built into the friend' house as cause for the failings first? :)

Is 80fps just a gimmicky option on these cameras and not truly possible on the super 8 format due to the cartridge


The Multi Speed features on the 3/5008 as well as the 6/7/9008-series are NOT a gimmick. Neither is the 70 or 80fps on the 4008 ZM II or ZM IV. They work perfectly if your camera went through proper CLA jobs at least once in its life in your (!) own (!!) ownership with a reputational company: Ritter in Germany in the past, now Björn in Sweden, or Spectra in LA. In most of the cases I hear about or see people complaining about the Kodamatic cartridge or even motor friction issues due to newer film stock , the cause of origin is just badly maintained gear (literally).

I just shot Kodak 7219 and Wittner 7285 using 12 different cameras of varying quality (but all in my or my film groups ownership for years - bought first hand or off eBay over the years - and all properly maintained), and none had any problems. Frame stability in projection is excellent, and once you hunt the footage through FCP, you get awesome results.

I've read Beaulieu Super 8 cameras are notoriously unreliable for some.


Beaulieu had a reputation of being a "problematic mademoiselle" even when they were new, but these calls came mainly from the Bauer/Nizo or Canon/"Japanozooms" (to speak with Santo) camps back in the 1970s/1980s. This has more to do with brand snobbery. Just like you have RED vs Panavision et all debates in some circles today.

The guillotine shutter and variable shutter construction Beaulieu employed is natively very complex and miniaturised. Obviously this needs more attention than simpler designs like the prism & ratchet-claw movement of a Bauer III XL or Sankyo EasyShoot. Just like carburettor engines vs EFI engines in automobiles, in some way.

I disclaim that I am not a fan of the 6/7/9008-series because I dislike the ergonomics, feature combination, the materials Beaulieu/Chinon-B&H OEM manufacturer used, and generally consider it a step back from the Beaulieu 4008-series by BEaulieu's own standards.

But even today, browsing through Cinematography.com, I don't think Beaulieu cameras have actually more malfunctions than other cameras like Elmo, Bauer, Nizo or Canon. But just as some goon crashing his Lamborghini gets reported on the BBC evening news, the other 1000 crashed or broken down cars on Britain's road remain unreported, so does everyone chat more about the Beaulieu than other cameras.

I just took a 4008 body out of storage that was bought essentially for the supplied lens, back in 1994. It was said that the pull-down claw mechanism was damaged and the camera hasn't been CLA'd since original manufacture (i.e. some time in the early 1970s). Due to time (and because we only wanted the lens anyway), we never checked the body.
Now, with the laziness of pre-christmas, we included that body (with Nikon lens) in a test reel with 7219, and it's images are perfect!
=> so even a body that hasn't been used in 15 years and wasn't maintained before that can deliver exquisite results.
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#5 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 11:26 AM

Alessandro has already posted your solution, but I think your post merits some further commentary as you raise quite a few crucial points:



Yes, exactly the same problem. A first series Beaulieu 6008, bought second hand, unserviced, shooting K-40. Horrible frame stability, totally unusable, powered using the in-handgrip AA-battery box (which was a turkey... only power Beaulieu 6/7/9008-series with proprietary Beaulieu rechargeable powerpack, as Andies posted).
Got serviced at Ritter, i.e. Beaulieu Germany, worked perfectly afterwards.



That's a totally off the road conclusion. If your friend's Model X heating boiler breaks down, do you automatically conclude that you having the same boiler will mean that it is an unviable boiler? Do you not consider maintenance cycles, usage conditions and the way it was built into the friend' house as cause for the failings first? :)



The Multi Speed features on the 3/5008 as well as the 6/7/9008-series are NOT a gimmick. Neither is the 70 or 80fps on the 4008 ZM II or ZM IV. They work perfectly if your camera went through proper CLA jobs at least once in its life in your (!) own (!!) ownership with a reputational company: Ritter in Germany in the past, now Björn in Sweden, or Spectra in LA. In most of the cases I hear about or see people complaining about the Kodamatic cartridge or even motor friction issues due to newer film stock , the cause of origin is just badly maintained gear (literally).

I just shot Kodak 7219 and Wittner 7285 using 12 different cameras of varying quality (but all in my or my film groups ownership for years - bought first hand or off eBay over the years - and all properly maintained), and none had any problems. Frame stability in projection is excellent, and once you hunt the footage through FCP, you get awesome results.



Beaulieu had a reputation of being a "problematic mademoiselle" even when they were new, but these calls came mainly from the Bauer/Nizo or Canon/"Japanozooms" (to speak with Santo) camps back in the 1970s/1980s. This has more to do with brand snobbery. Just like you have RED vs Panavision et all debates in some circles today.

The guillotine shutter and variable shutter construction Beaulieu employed is natively very complex and miniaturised. Obviously this needs more attention than simpler designs like the prism & ratchet-claw movement of a Bauer III XL or Sankyo EasyShoot. Just like carburettor engines vs EFI engines in automobiles, in some way.

I disclaim that I am not a fan of the 6/7/9008-series because I dislike the ergonomics, feature combination, the materials Beaulieu/Chinon-B&H OEM manufacturer used, and generally consider it a step back from the Beaulieu 4008-series by BEaulieu's own standards.

But even today, browsing through Cinematography.com, I don't think Beaulieu cameras have actually more malfunctions than other cameras like Elmo, Bauer, Nizo or Canon. But just as some goon crashing his Lamborghini gets reported on the BBC evening news, the other 1000 crashed or broken down cars on Britain's road remain unreported, so does everyone chat more about the Beaulieu than other cameras.

I just took a 4008 body out of storage that was bought essentially for the supplied lens, back in 1994. It was said that the pull-down claw mechanism was damaged and the camera hasn't been CLA'd since original manufacture (i.e. some time in the early 1970s). Due to time (and because we only wanted the lens anyway), we never checked the body.
Now, with the laziness of pre-christmas, we included that body (with Nikon lens) in a test reel with 7219, and it's images are perfect!
=> so even a body that hasn't been used in 15 years and wasn't maintained before that can deliver exquisite results.


If the example of the boiler applies then it applies even more to a 6008 comparing to 4008 somewhere else.

Just plug in a better powersource and check the workings before sending it off for a repair of some unknown part.
In USA you might also use super16inc.com. Best pricing and references.

Beaulieu cameras are best compared with Citroën DS cars if it must be a car, lifelong lots of complicated maintenance rather then german ran Lamborghinis. Which you hardly ever will see by the road with its bonnet open. :) Nor will you find there any japanese cars. :)
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#6 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 11:48 AM

If the example of the boiler applies then it applies even more to a 6008 comparing to 4008 somewhere else.

Just plug in a better powersource and check the workings before sending it off for a repair of some unknown part.
In USA you might also use super16inc.com. Best pricing and references.

Beaulieu cameras are best compared with Citroën DS cars if it must be a car, lifelong lots of complicated maintenance rather then german ran Lamborghinis. Which you hardly ever will see by the road with its bonnet open. :) Nor will you find there any japanese cars. :)


:P

I think if you had the choice between a Lamborghini Miura or Espada or Countach vis-a-vis a Citroën DS, to be decided based on maintenance and what the Germans call "Störanfälligkeit", you would choose the DS (Audi owns Lambo only since 1998, and only the Gallardo is German-built... which shows in its lack of... "excitement").
;)

On a serious note: of course checking power supply first is key. I presumed that John had done so.
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#7 andy oliver

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 03:27 PM

def not a gimmick, i have a 7008 pro that transports wittner 100d, plus all the kodak products perfectly. Sounds like be your claw requires adjustment.. Aww, make sure your batts are good. The 6008/7008 are rather power hungry, you may only get 4-5 carts with one new set of AA batteries..
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#8 John Richardson

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 09:05 PM

This is good discussion, and I appreciate all the good advice. It was news to me that the camera is so power hungry, but I did actually think the batteries could have something to do with it just by looking at the motor rotating after running 20 + rolls it visually looked like it was rotating slower! Its a shame the 6008Pro doesn't have a battery meter, I came from the 1014XL and the AAs on that hardly ever needed to be changed and was always such a reliable option. There is certainly something plastic about the camera bodies as if it's one bump away from being a write off! I do agree seeking the right people to service these Beaulieu's it is important, so thankyou for your recommendations, the camera apparently came from a "pro" place in LA but still needs work so I can appreciate the car analogies!

Happy holidays all. John.
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#9 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 11:25 PM

I'm a bit late but I would like to complement the suggestion made by many others that you make sure you have a good battery charge. It's an excellent suggestion and always the cheapest way to go see how your camera is behaving.

I seem to recall that when the batteries lose charge and you try to do slow motion that the camera actually goes out of slow motion and back to a regular speed but its been so long that I used a beaulieu that I am not sure. I also seem to recall that there is a battery tester on the camera and it may involve depressing the handle switch halfway and if a red led lights up either in the viewfinder or on the tip of the handle than the battery is sufficiently charged???
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#10 Roger Todd

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 12:29 PM

Is 80fps...not truly possible on the super 8 format due to the cartridges

Well, I can't say anything about your camera specifically, but I can attest to speeds of up to 200fps being possible with Super-8 cartridges with no discernible problems.

Many years ago I modified a cheapo Royal Super-8 camera to shoot at high speeds (a real hack job, I literally cut a hole in the side of the body to accommodate a more powerful motor). Among various bits of footage I shot was this:

YouTube Super-8 Mini Pyro

Anyway, be that as it may, I wish you the best of luck sorting out your camera!
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#11 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 02:49 AM

The Mekel Super-8 does 250 fps from a standard S8 cartridge. Although it has a special way of handling the film outside the cartridge.

The Mekel 300 does 300fps from a Polavision cartridge. No modifications!

Edited by Andries Molenaar, 05 January 2010 - 02:50 AM.

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#12 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 03:14 AM

The Mekel Super-8 does 250 fps from a standard S8 cartridge. Although it has a special way of handling the film outside the cartridge.

The Mekel 300 does 300fps from a Polavision cartridge. No modifications!


add:

There was a Lecina Special extra sepcial edition which would go over 100fps :) Now find one of these...
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#13 Zack Spiger

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 06:10 PM

Does anyone know where to get one of these large battery-pack of 8.4/9 volts for the 6008 Pro? I've never seen this before anywhere. I thought the 6008 only takes AA batteries.
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#14 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 06:17 PM

Sure, Wittner Cinetec aka Beaulieu

Don't be fooled by the German language, they speak English.

CLICK ME TO GET TO THE BEAULIEU 6/7/9008 HEAVEN :-)

-Michael
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#15 Zack Spiger

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 10:07 PM

Sure, Wittner Cinetec aka Beaulieu

Don't be fooled by the German language, they speak English.

CLICK ME TO GET TO THE BEAULIEU 6/7/9008 HEAVEN :-)

-Michael


Beaulieu heaven! Thanks Michael!
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#16 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 03:56 AM

Does anyone know where to get one of these large battery-pack of 8.4/9 volts for the 6008 Pro? I've never seen this before anywhere. I thought the 6008 only takes AA batteries.


The insertable thing for the grip can be found at Wittner's

You could also get an external batterypack and connect this to the 9 volt inlet. The 8.4 volt ones are popular in modelcar racing. Dirt cheap. Even a small one has over 2000mAh and could be strapped on top or to the camera.

Make sure the connector remains in fully or you may short the battery and wreck it. :(
Too bad it has no lock screw facility. Better find a 3.5mm plug with a partial plastic shaft.

Edited by Andries Molenaar, 14 January 2010 - 03:58 AM.

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