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Help Loading 400 foot magazine


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#1 Evan Ferrario

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 11:18 PM

The French 400 foot magazine I got for my ACL appears to have two different paths for loading the film right before the take up spool. If you look at the two photos, one goes around the upper roller and the other skips it completely. There appear to be markings for both methods and I was wondering if anyone knew the difference. Is one way for daylight spools and the other for cores. Or am I doing something wrong and there is only one right way to load it.

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#2 John Sprung

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 02:16 AM

Looking at the little lines and arrows, the upper picture appears to be correct. It might run the wrong way, but I'd be scared of having the inbound and outbound film so close together. A slightly loose loop going towards the takeup could get pulled back into the feed side, and wrap around until it all jams. This used to happen on Beaulieu R-16's all the time. Also, the fewer rollers your film touches, the better. Each one has the potential to scratch the film.



-- J.S.
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#3 Evan Ferrario

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 10:05 AM

Loading the film the way you suggested does seem to run better John, when I do it with the extra roller, it makes a slight squeaking sound. I just don't understand why that roller would be there if it isn't used at all.

Also, the picture doesn't show it well but there is a small black wall between the inbound and outbound film, probably to avoid the problem you mentioned.

Edited by Evan Ferrario, 14 January 2010 - 10:07 AM.

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#4 Bernie O'Doherty

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 11:15 AM

The problem with the squeaky roller is with the roller itself--it needs cleaning and lubing. You can probably do this yourself if you take the roller off carefully (try not to squash the spacing washers top and bottom of the roller), and clean and relube it with some Tri-Flo.

The second (bottom) photo is actually the correct film path, and the separation wall is there to prevent scratching. You're right that all the rollers are there for a reason: every roller stabilizes the film more and reduces the chances of jitter.

Cheers,
Bernie
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#5 Evan Ferrario

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 02:11 PM

Thanks Bernie, always a big help. The markings on the magazine are confusing because it makes it look like it should skip that roller. I'll give it a try cleaning.
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#6 Evan Ferrario

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 10:25 PM

Well today I decided to compare all 3 magazines I have for the ACL and was perplexed by the slight differences. It's not that I don't believe the way suggested by Bernie is correct, I've shot with the 400 looped that way and the images were very stable, I just like to understand the reason for the differences and apparent modifications. I also think it would be helpful for anyone with an ACL to know how to loop any of the variations of the magazine. The only guide I've seen only shows one variation of the magazine.

I've taken a few better pictures to show the "wall" I mentioned a little clearer. After comparing it with the 200 foot French magazine, it looks like the wall had been moved as the markings on the 400 foot magazine match the 200 foot magazine, but it appears the wall has been moved to make the 2nd roller part of the bottom loop and not the top. I assume the wall was moved as the markings on the 400 match the 200 foot mag, and also there are two little holes which match the placement of the wall in the 200 as well. I've written the serial numbers off the mags to help comparison. Also all the magazines are French manufactured I believe, based on the "Made in France" engraving.

400 Foot - SA 544
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200 Foot - B 835
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Was the change made to help stabilize the film? Am I just guessing that both magazines were at one time the same because they appear so similar? Then I compared that to the 2nd 200 foot magazine I purchased separate from my camera package.

200 Foot - B 436
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This magazine has a much simpler roller setup and I've been loading it the same as an NPR mag which looks the same, just reversed. However, I am 2nd guessing whether or not I should go over or under on the last roller before the take-up spool.

400 Foot NPR mag
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If anyone else has a different configuration to post, I think it would be helpful for all of us to see the different versions.
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#7 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 01:03 PM

I have the same 3 mag designs as you and I've always loaded my the way that Bernie mentioned but I have on occasion wondered about the extra roller. I had always assumed that it creates a bit of a buffer loop between the two less-forgiving parts of the mechanics - those being the sprocket and the spool.

If you don't go around that roller, it seems like the film is putting downward pressure on the lever/roller that holds your film against the sprocket and could possibly flip it open. That seems unlikely but I do have one mag where that little lever thing doesn't snap shut very tight and I could see it popping open. As Bernie has mentioned before, some things may work fine at 24fps, but when you try to run it at 75fps it could become more squirrely.

Of course loading these things is a bit of art and science, people mod their gear and things are sometimes held together with gaffers tape!

Edited by Jason Hinkle, 21 January 2010 - 01:05 PM.

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#8 Boris Belay

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 09:45 AM

Well today I decided to compare all 3 magazines I have for the ACL and was perplexed by the slight differences. It's not that I don't believe the way suggested by Bernie is correct, I've shot with the 400 looped that way and the images were very stable, I just like to understand the reason for the differences and apparent modifications. I also think it would be helpful for anyone with an ACL to know how to loop any of the variations of the magazine. The only guide I've seen only shows one variation of the magazine.

I've taken a few better pictures to show the "wall" I mentioned a little clearer. After comparing it with the 200 foot French magazine, it looks like the wall had been moved as the markings on the 400 foot magazine match the 200 foot magazine, but it appears the wall has been moved to make the 2nd roller part of the bottom loop and not the top. I assume the wall was moved as the markings on the 400 match the 200 foot mag, and also there are two little holes which match the placement of the wall in the 200 as well. I've written the serial numbers off the mags to help comparison. Also all the magazines are French manufactured I believe, based on the "Made in France" engraving.

400 Foot - SA 544
Posted Image

200 Foot - B 835
Posted Image

Was the change made to help stabilize the film? Am I just guessing that both magazines were at one time the same because they appear so similar? Then I compared that to the 2nd 200 foot magazine I purchased separate from my camera package.

200 Foot - B 436
Posted Image

This magazine has a much simpler roller setup and I've been loading it the same as an NPR mag which looks the same, just reversed. However, I am 2nd guessing whether or not I should go over or under on the last roller before the take-up spool.

400 Foot NPR mag
Posted Image

If anyone else has a different configuration to post, I think it would be helpful for all of us to see the different versions.


Hi Evan,

First of all, check with the manual (easy to find online) and you will get the official Eclair answer (that's just a general piece of advice...).

Now, your puzzlement is quite justified, as your 400ft mag (SA544) was modified by somebody -- probably a tech, as I have some magazines with the same modifications. Frankly, I'm not sure what it's supposed to do... Maybe prevent S-16 scratches? (Bernie, do you know?) Either way, I'm not convinced it's any better than the original design.

(The two holes you see under the separation wall were originally meant for the screws to that wall.)

Your two 200ft mags show you how the mags were designed by Eclair. The simpler one top roller design (Mag B436) is the earlier one, found only on 200 footers. The later design (mag B835) has two top rollers, and was meant to improve high-speed performance of the mags after the multi-speed motors were introduced. Eclair then suggested earlier models should all be ugraded to the later version. If you only shoot at 24/25 fps, there shouldn't be a problem with these earlier mags, though.

Eclair only ever used these two designs (except for the altogether different British layout on their 400 ft mags, designed before the French 400 footer). The modification in your mag is the only one I've ever seen (and yes, obviously, it should be threaded by going over that roller, as in your second photo).

Boris

Edited by Boris Belay, 25 January 2010 - 09:47 AM.

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#9 Evan Ferrario

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 07:29 PM

I tried loading my 200 foot magazine with as much film as it could possibly hold from a dummy 400 foot roll. It was able to run for 6:35 secs at 24 fps so i figured it to be about 234 feet. Its unpractical to spool 230 feet down from a 400 foot roll, but its good to know it can hold well over 6 minutes worth of film if you were in a situation where it was necessary.
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