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How long can I leave a super-8 projector running...?

loop projector

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#1 Niall Conroy

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 07:07 PM

Hey guys!

Quick question (which i'm sure won't have any concrete answer).... I've edited together a short super-8 loop which i'll be projecting at an Art exhibition. The exhibition will be running from Wednesday till Saturday. So the projector will technically have to be running for at least, on average, 4 hours a day, non-stop.

The projector itself is a Eumig Mark 502D.

Does this sound possible? What sort of issues would one predict I might encounter? Bulb blowing? Film getting too hot and melting?

I DIY telecined the loop - so I do have a digital back up which I could project if all fails. But it would be nice to have the real thing projecting.

Thoughts?


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#2 David Cunningham

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 07:31 PM

You will certainly fade the color if nothing else.  Is this Ektachrome 100D?  If it's old Kodakchrome it would be even worse.  Kodakchrome faded from use very quickly.

 

You may blow the bulb.  But, as long as the cooling fan and other mechanics are working correctly, you shouldn't have a problem.

 

But, I am VERY certain you will noticeably fade the film especially if it's a really "short loop".  Even assuming a 5 minute loop.  That would mean the film would loop 20 times an hour, thus 80 times a day.  I'll almost guarantee you will see fading by the end of the first day.

 

If it's really short (less then 30 seconds) you will fade in under and hour and possibly melt the film which won't have time enough to cool off between runs.

 

In the end... probably won't work out.


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#3 Geoff Howell

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 07:45 PM

perhaps it's worth swapping out the bulb for an LED light source


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#4 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 09:09 PM

I recently supplied a 20 second loop of Standard 8 Ektachrome 100D for an art installation, ran for about 3 or 4 hours no problem on a Bolex 18-5 projector. I didn't notice any major fading, though I didn't study it closely afterwards. But even if it does fade, so what, that's film and this is art right?  B)

 

I seriously doubt the film will melt, even for short loops, unless the projector is faulty. Older projectors that used very hot bulbs (like a Bolex M8) might be a different story, but a Super 8 Eumig should be fine I reckon. The bulb might blow though, so I'd keep some replacements handy.

 

The simplest method for running loops I've seen is 2 rubber bands on the take-up spool (at the film edges) and smooth metal rings a bit larger than the film width suspended from the ceiling for the film to loop through. Just avoid too tight a bend through the rings. Works a treat. 


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#5 Richard Tuohy

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 04:40 AM

Personally I don't think fading will be an issue.   I've done this sort of thing a number of times and never noticed a fade problem.  People have been running loops in galleries for a long time now.  The issue is scratching and wear and tear.  The trick is make sure the projector is clean clean clean and same with the film.  But most importantly, make sure the film doesn't touch ANYTHING in its path around.  As Dom says, metal key ring rings are good as the film passing through them will only touch on the edges.  And use rollers made from plastic spools with rubber bands on the edges.  Remember, the image area of the film mustn't touch anything.

What may happen is that a belt in teh projector breaks.  Have some spare rubber O-rings handy that fit at least the main drive belt of the projector.  Take the projector to a place that sells roller bearings. You can find roller bearing sellers in the phone book or google.  Such places also sell O-rings.  have a bunch.  And a spare globe. 

Your splice needs to be perfect as that is the point at which the system is most likely to break down.  Your splice could catch on one of the rings or a roller, or else just trip up in the gate and cause the loop to drop.  That is when the film will get damaged to the point that it may no longer work as a loop. 

But with care, you can do this.  It's been done many times.

rt


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#6 Niall Conroy

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 07:19 AM

Thanks for all the replies, guys!

I think i'm just going to have it running the night of the opening - then for any other day, i'll just have a note beside the projector with a little' illustrated instruction of how to turn it on and off.

The splice is just a piece of cello-tape! having said that, i punctured the sprocket holes and smoothed it out to a decent degree - so hopefully it wont fall apart on me.

And yes, the loop is very short, as in - it's length is exactly that of the film going over the front spool, through the projector and then by-passing the back spool and connecting directly back to the front spool.

Oh, and the actual film is a combo of 2 old 'blue movies' (nothing saucy, unfortunately) one of which is quite faded already - but hey even if they do progressively wear out, as Dom Jaeger said above, that's art!


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#7 Bill Rodgers

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 12:13 PM

I've used two Eumig manufactured Bolex 18-3 Duo projectors in an installation, both with ten minute Super 8 loops and new bulbs, running for seven hours a day for three weeks solid.

They would get really hot each day, one bulb blew in week three and another died soon after the installation but I didn't notice any fading on the 100D and Tri-X stock projected.


 


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#8 David Cunningham

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 01:56 PM

Wowa.. really surprised at the lack of fading.  That's good to know.

 

I guess you're all right... the biggest issue would be the mechanics of the projector not failing or damaging the film.

 

Also, I got the impression he was going to be running this loop for 4 hours a day for a few weeks, not just 2 days.  Not much of an issue probably then.


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#9 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 02:38 PM

I would think a big issue would be suddenly losing the loop and nobody there to reset the loop.  A second projector would probably be just as easy to get as assembling all kinds of logical spare parts for the first projector, assuming the second projector was as reliable as the first one.


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#10 Bill Rodgers

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 07:16 AM

Someone should always be on hand to keep an eye on running film projectors. - End of. - As it's a safety issue.

I use two Bolex 18-3 Duo projectors (but with always a third spare) for installations, along with two 4x3 Panasonic CRT monitors (and one spare). Those CRT monitors have run happily for days & days without fail.

Here in the UK everything has to be PAT tested yearly for electrical safety standards and I get all three Bolex projectors and my parents' old Eumig 807D regularly checked out at the same time. Along with the three CRT monitors, three B&H 16mm projectors, a Sony HD LCD projector, an Acer laptop, four stage lights, a smoke machine, two Sony DVD players, a Denon AV amplifier, six electrical extension cables and a set of B&W speakers. This costs a small fortune each year, as every power cable and transformer has to be tested too but is needed for my public liability insurance for exhibitions & installations.

I'm thinking of adding another HD LCD projector and two Blu-ray players but I know it's only more to have tested and insured. 


Despite all this I enjoy exhibiting experimental shorts and I used to listen in wonder to Jeff Keen talking about his own exhibitions, which could be more like interactive performances for the audience. People seem to love watching projected films.  :)


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#11 Mark Dunn

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 12:39 PM

A 20' loop running for four hours projects each frame for about 5 seconds by my reckoning. If that caused fading I woudn't have any slides left.

Do try to make a proper double-sided tape splice, though. Sellotape isn't up to it and you may have to remake the splice anyway.

Bulb life is probably 100 hours or so so definitely a spare. Unless you have asbestos fingers wait for it to cool down.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 18 September 2013 - 12:43 PM.

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#12 Dominique De Bast

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 06:46 AM

In cases like this, the projection speed makes in theory a difference as the film spends less time in front of the bulb at 24fps than at 18fps.


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#13 Heikki Repo

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 07:02 AM

You could also transfer that edited film on Kodak Vision3 50D (frame by frame) and then have Andec print it on super-8 print film. Thus the original wouldn't be affected and you'd have a copy that is much better suited for continuous projecting (polyester based). Since your film is short it wouldn't be too expensive I think.


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#14 Zac Fettig

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 08:09 AM

Someone should always be on hand to keep an eye on running film projectors. - End of. - As it's a safety issue.

 

I second this. It's why projectionists are required to be licensed. Too much risk of fire, even with safety stock.

 

At the very least, keep a fire extinguisher close and visible.


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