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Acquired a 16mm flatbed--next step?


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#1 Tim Halloran

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 07:35 PM

So I finally got my hands on my own Magnasync/Moviola 16mm flatbed. I got it for free from a guy who said that it was working fine the last time he used it but that it had been stored in his garage for the last ten years. Well, it looks to be stable and in relatively decent shape, but as you can imagine, it is dusty filthy and who really knows what the working condition is.

I have to admit that I was hoping that I could just get to work on this thing but I don't think that is going to happen. I really need some advice on how to proceed--should I just get a manual and consider the restoration of this thing a long-term project? Just cleaning it up seems like it will be some effort but getting the mechanical and electronic workings correct might be beyond me.

Or should I try to track down somebody who is still working on these things to do a service/overhaul of it? Problem is, there seems to be very little even basic info circulating about flatbeds and less still about maintenance and service possibilities. Who does it--anybody have a connection or resource? I'm in Los Angeles but would consider hiring somebody to come out here.

Any experiences, contacts, or advice would be helpful. Thanks in advance.

Tim
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#2 Tom Jensen

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 09:31 PM

Clean it up and see if you can sell it.
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#3 John Sprung

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 02:04 AM

If you can't find anybody here, go to the Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA) and get on their e-mail reflector. Lots of post old timers there....

http://www.hpaonline...itePageId=21462



-- J.S.
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#4 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 10:15 PM

Got my 16mm flatbed for $1200 and it works great. Bought it from the guy who does all the servicing on them. These guys are still out there. Try to get in contact with someone so you can restore it and get working on it.

Not enough people "cut" film these days.
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#5 Simon Wyss

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 01:48 AM

Open it, check the following:

Voltage setting (do you know the exact mains tension in your place?) belts, bearings, leakage at motor gear.

Clean the beast thoroughly, give each idle roller a little sewing machine oil, and have at first run leader film only. Lace it up with white leader in all gangs. Listen to the noise(s) it makes. Procure yourself a dust cover for the table. Waxed cloth is best.

The rest is wonderful trial and error.
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#6 Chris Millar

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 02:07 AM

next step...

craigslist :lol:

I had a scope 35mm able KEF that ended up going for free to the next guy with analog ambition - pretty sure he would have also passed it on also, I found some important bits in my garage for it a year later.

But yeh, I was moving countries so it didn't come along for the ride - I would have kept it otherwise
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#7 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 09:44 AM

Open it, check the following:

Voltage setting (do you know the exact mains tension in your place?) belts, bearings, leakage at motor gear.

Clean the beast thoroughly, give each idle roller a little sewing machine oil, and have at first run leader film only. Lace it up with white leader in all gangs. Listen to the noise(s) it makes. Procure yourself a dust cover for the table. Waxed cloth is best.

The rest is wonderful trial and error.


Pick this up to clean your rollers...


http://www.triflowlubricants.com/
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#8 Tim Halloran

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 12:19 PM

Thanks for all of the varied feedback, especially the positive encouragement. I guess more than having "analog ambitions," I am a guy that is committed to the world of analog filmmaking for clear and specific reasons that range from the personal to the artistic to the historical. I learned to cut 16mm film on a flatbed many years ago and have only recently returned to it in the past year after a long stint of analog 8mm filmmaking.

Luckily, I have had access to a fully equipped--though unfortunately, seldomly used (except by me!)--university editing suite with a 16mm flatbed. I have never cut anything on a computer and have no real interest in it, frankly. But to get my own flatbed in my own studio would be a nice luxury. That is what this is about. The Magnasync/Moviola is not the ideal choice, I know, but it is what came my way.

But that does bring up another point that I mentioned in my first post--for how important and prevalent these machines were in industry and education for so many years, there is just not that much current info or discourse about them. A couple of artist filmmakers are dedicated to the process/equipment and many people are very encouraging in theory, but I feel like this whole thing is slipping quickly into oblivion.

Anyway, thanks again for the responses. Oh, and btw, supposedly Christys here in Los Angeles has some techs that still do repair/maintenance on flatbeds (I just asked the department equipment tech how he learned to work on the flatbeds and he said "I don't, I call Christys!"). After I do the cleanup and the basic checks and maintenance that some of you suggested, that might be my next call.

Tim
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#9 John Sprung

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 01:09 PM

--for how important and prevalent these machines were in industry and education for so many years, there is just not that much current info or discourse about them.


Yeah, flatbeds were a short-lived phenomenon. They didn't sell all that well, because the fiction film editors who tried them mostly preferred the traditional upright Moviola. They were better suited to documentary work, where they have way more film to search through. She never got credit for it, but it was actually Leni Reifenstahl (spelling?) who invented the flatbed.



-- J.S.
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#10 John King

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 11:52 PM

Hello Mr. Halloran,

My hats off to you sir, as I prefer to work in analog systems too. I also have a Moviola Flatbed. If you do not have a manual for yours, let me know, and if your model is the same as mine I will scan my manual and send copy to you. Hope this helps out!

God Bless!
J.M. King
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Aerial Filmworks

Willys Widgets

Tai Audio