Back in the mid to late 90's when I first got into 16mm photography and only just managed to afford my first Bolex 16mm camera I used to dream of owning the Bolex version of the Norris Time-lapse system especially the real time metering controller the LPC-90 that included a Pentax light meter. I read an article back then on the web by Wayne G Goldman about shooting time-lapse sequences on 35mm for the film 'Nixon' for Oliver Stone and how the sequences controlled by the LPC-90 were always the most visually dynamic of any time-lapse kit he'd ever shot with. I can't find that article anywhere on the web now. Wayne sold the camera and presumably its Norris motor to Joe Taylor looking at another forum who made 'Dead Lonesome' with it which I think is an amazing time-lapse short film.
Speaking personally digitally acquired time-lapse leaves me quiet cold for example the time-lapse sequences at the start of the House of Cards TV series seem to perfectly sum up all that's wrong with digital time-lapse so dead and devoid of life especially the night shots.
Anyway the Norris always seemed like the perfect system to own in that it allowed the operator to setup his shot point the light meter at it or a gray card exposed to the same lighting out of frame and literally walk away and leave the camera without constant tweaking all day long swapping ND filters or bracketing exposure. The beauty of the system was that it would be constantly altering the motors shutter speed for the perfect exposure of every frame under changing lighting conditions.
I've always been on the lookout via ebay for this system for years and even though I've seen a few appear now and then for Bolex cameras usually the LPC-90 controller only ever seems to have been bundled with the high end 35mm kit and most Bolex motors only come with the more common SCC-300 which isn't so fancy. Luckily last week I saw one that did and after paying $900 a Bolex motor, SCC-300 and LPC-90 controller is winging its way to me! Wow my decades old dream looks finally to come true. Based on the original list price this kit would of cost me $6k what a bargain!
I noticed the Norris website left the web around 2008. Luckily a number of copies had been kept of it on the internet archives wayback machine and by rummaging through all the backups I've managed to find all the elements to reconstitute each page of the website except for the original sample videos page they had in QuickTime which were too big for the internet archive to save. It was a bit like internet archaeology doing this. If you'd like to see the site how it was in its last years before disappearing see below I'm going to leave it on my website for future reference:-
I'd really be very interested to know of anybody else's experiences with the Norris unit especially the LPC-90 and any tips or advice on its use. If the system turns up faulty is there anyone still around with the knowledge to repair it? I'd also like to know what happened to Dan Norris and others who contributed to the system? He did win an Oscar in 1988 for his time-lapse equipment after all!
I don't have any information on the Norris systems, or who would be able to service such, but I'm very much interested in time lapse photography, and especially on a Bolex. I ended up building my own setup, using some brass tubing, filed to mate with the camera's gear shaft, and mated on the other end to a stepper motor, under computer control. The nice thing here is that the computer allows all sorts of time-lapse possibilities rather than just those envisaged by a particular system. That said, there's not that much that any time-lapse controller would need to address. A dedicated system can cover all you'd probably ever need. Devoting an entire computer to such could be somewhat overkill. On the other hand, computers are a dime a dozen these days (metaphorically speaking) so it doesn't hurt. And if nothing else, a computer system does provide a way to connect time-lapse with other systems not readily connectable - time-lapse as a function of lighting for example - increasing or decreasing exposure time, or rate, as a function of such. Or more esoteric ideas: time-lapse as a function of movement, or temperature, or anything else one might conceivably do.
So if your Norris system ever fails, you can always go down this route. A DIY system.
Thanks for your reply! I'm glad there are still others out there who like to dabble in film based time-lapse especially on a Bolex H16 camera. I'm interested that you have produced your own system for the Bolex. I'd definitely like to see what that looks like! When did you make it?
The thing is if I was to design a DIY system I'd want to do one that could do what the Norris system can do and automatically alter the speed that the motor runs the shutter at when exposing a frame based on the lighting conditions. I can imagine there is a way to do this with a readily available light meter probably using a Raspberry Pi or something in the mix but i lack the expertise to do it.
This to me is always going to be the best solution. Over the past few years i've been using either a CD100 system designed by an Ex ardman animation company engineer or the simple and to the point Tobin Timelapse Motor. Both require constant fusing over to get properly exposed shots throughout a day. The Tobin with its stuck motor speed of 0.75fps means all exposure compensation need to be achieved by neutral density filters which means you can wobble the camera when inserting them or removing them something that isn’t a problem if your varying the exposure by altering the shutter speed.
I think if you haven’t got it already you'd very much appreciate Andrew Alden’s book about time-lapse where he discusses how you can make your own DIY system. It’s on my websites book page!
What’s your favourite time-lapse shots that you’re trying to emulate?
JUST A NOTE TO ANYONE STUMBLING ON THIS FORUM MONTHS OR YEARS FROM NOW. I REALISE THIS FORUM IS USUALLY SLOW MOVING AND IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION ON DAN NORRIS OR OTHERS INVOLVED IN THE KIT OR PEOPLE WHO CAN SERVICE / REPAIR IT OR EXPERIENCES USING IT I WILL STILL BE INTERESTED TO HEAR FROM YOU AND WILL BE MONITORING THIS FORUMS POSTINGS WELL INTO THE FUTURE.
Thanks so much for the archive of the Norris site!
I have an SC-300 and the Bolex motor and I'm trying to find pinout information on the Bolex motor. What I'd like to do is use it to control the camera with a micro controller triggering the camera and a computer and I just need to know what triggers the advance (shorting two pins, a certain voltage, etc).
Would you happen to know what the trigger is?
I also noticed that there's a 2 pin lemo connection on the SC-300 and was wondering if perhaps this was for an external trigger.
Nice to have a reply on this thread from someone else who actually owns the Bolex version of this kit. Glad you found the reconstuited copy of the Norris website usefull! I was just finding i was having to keep going back into the internet archive all the time which was a pain so thought it would benefit me and others to have a good copy of it that existed outside of it.
I bought my Norris Motor and Controller(s) from a guys in the states via ebay in Januray and started this thread going before i'd actually took receipt of them as i was expecting there may be problems when they arrived and wanted to know if there was any avenues still open for support of this kit. There are 2 or 3 old threads on this forum one of which where its discussed that the Norris website is offline and that his wife answered the phone to someone and was told Dan was in hospital so i'm assuming that Dan has passed and his company folded at some point after his website went offline in 2009.
Unfortuntely i cannot tell you what pin to short or what voltage is required to get the motor to turn. I'd love to have the PCB schematics, Pin Outs and and design information if it even still exists to upload it to the web for future parties to keep this niche and very well deisgned kit running well into the future. Unlike the Tobin Timelapse motor there is no plug in trigger push button to manually control the motor. I notice on there original price list there is something called a Remote Frame Counter which i think enables you to run a cable from the controller to somewhere distant so you can know that all is going well with the motor and camera elsewhere. Maybe that plugs into that socket your thinking off i've got nothing else to prove this. Its listed here:-
The Aux socket was also included on the Bolex motor even though this was only required on the other motors for other cameras which had to be used with a capping shutter something the bolex didnt need. But its fully wired up on mine!
The issues i've been having (the main one) is that the motor as supplied does not attach to my Bolex. I have a Bolex SBM camera from 1971 which comes as all cameras have done since 1965 with a 1:1 drive shaft that the Norris motor is designed to attach to so you'd assume i'd be able to attach it. Unfortunatley at some point Bolex made one of there subtle deisgn changes and all cameras from s/n X were designed with the 1:1 drive shaft pin instead of being equilateral both sides to one side having a hammer shape one end. Here's a picture of the slight change:-
And here's a picture of what my Norris motors drive shaft key looks like:- Are your motor electronics exposed to the air as i wonder if my motor is missing a back cover?
So to get it to fit i'm going to have to cut out some plastic from one end of the Norris's plastic drive shaft to get it to fit. Becuase i think the plastic is a bit weak anyway driving the cameras metal pin which will be even weaker when i have to cut some of it out i've sent the motor to a well know UK camera engineer to replace the plastic pin entirely with a metal one with the bigger cut out one end. This is actually a mistake on Norris's part as to supply a motor that would work with all 1:1 drive shafts they should have sent them all out with one end wider than the other as its backwards compatible putting a wider hammer pin cut out drive shaft over an original 1:1 equilateral shaft. Unless Norris noticed there mistake and started supplying later models of there motor with the hammer shaped one. Just curious if you have a cameras that attaches what type head does the 1:1 shaft have in your camera?
My other issue was figuring out how to power the LPC-90 controller as i'm missing a connector to power it. For some reason the connector is a bigger version of the connectors found on the motor and on the SC-300 controller as shown below arrowed. LPC-90 controller top and the SC-300 one bottom.
You have already helped me by telling me there Lemo connectors didnt know that so assuming the red mark is positive i should be able to make up a cable now Thanks!
Seeing as your based in the states i think you'd be better placed in trying to dig up some information. Is there any chance you could try and make some enquiries. I have multiple different adresses for Norris Film equipment maybe one of them still has a family member living there!
I've got to sort out all these issue as i have a summer of timelapse filming ahead of me so i've got to get these issues sorted.
Are you deisgning some super duper microprocessor based solution to control the motor and have it automatically adjust the shutter speed based on the lighting conditions if So Dan already did that years ago its called the LPC-90
My motor is also open on the back, so I'm assuming this is just the design. Maybe the thinking is that it would be attached to the Bolex anyway, so there's not much risk there.
I think I can provide a little clarification on the drive key (I think that's what the plastic connection to the 1:1 shaft is called): As you probably noticed, it's possible to remove the drive key by loosening the little screw on the side. I have both a drive key that fits a RX5 (and I'm assuming an SBM as well) and another one that fits an RX4 (same as what yours looks like). It would be nice if these were metal, but I kind of wonder if the thinking was that if something went wrong, it would be better for this easily-replaceable part to break than for the drive shaft in the camera to break.
I sent an email to Procam, the U.S. dealer of Bolex cameras and the place I use for repair (I'm at a university and we still have around 20 Bolexes that get used every semester). I'll let you know what I hear. If I don't get any info there, there's one other resource I'd try, too.
I'm not sure what to say about powering the controller. The SCC-300 is powered through the motor power, so there's no other connection other than the 4 pin from the motor. The red mark is usually positive, but not 100% of the time, so that might be worth more research. If you need to find a connector to fit your controller, you may be able to figure out what it is by measuring and cross-referencing with Lemo's web site: http://www.lemo.com/...erm_node_tid_1]
If I had to guess, I'd say this is a Lemo B connector. I forget how the sizes are marked.
Clairmont's present day website still lists the Norris system for a Arri 35-3 and Mitchell 35NC. Clairmont may know what happened with the Norris company, Dan Norris and family. They may have additional paper on the connections on the motors and controllers. A page from Clairmont that I attached mentions they made cables for Norris equipment.
It might take several tries to find the right person, but I know from personal experience that Alan Albert and Denny Clairmont are very approachable, and will share any info they may have. While 'Clairmont Camera' may not do the work on Norris gear, some of their techs take side jobs and may be able to help. A great company.
Gareth, do you have the Pentax Spot Meter with your LPC 90?
Thats for confirming there was no back i thought it odd all the wires exposed but yes looks like it was how they designed them if yours is the same.
Also thanks for the information on the fact you've got two plastic drive keys with yours. Clearly I'm missing this. Have you actually tried to swap the plastic drive pin? I unscrewed two big alan key screws and 4 small alan key screws and still couldnt take the metal surrounding the plastic drive pin out all screws are out and it still aint budging. Thats when i gave up and gave it to my camera engineer to look at along with instruction on making a metal pin. None of this is documented in any of the pdf instructions they wrote either. Still make no sence that they supplied two when everyone else uses the hammer pin design that's compatible with all cameras. First time i've even seen a plastic drive key on any motor drive or timelapse motor mader for the Bolex EVER!
Glad to hear your cupboards well stocked at Uni with Bolex's always nice to hear there being used for what they were designed for. Let me know how you get on! You never mentioned
Going to look into the Lemo connector issue today.
Yes Charles i do have the pentax spot meter with the LPC-90 controller. Though it may turn out to be damaged because the instructions say don't put batteries in the Pentax meter as it gets its power from the LPC-90 controller down the same lemo cable as the light meter data signal. Sods law when the kit arrived from the ebay seller i open the light meter battery compartment to find 3 batteries. So the meter or controller might be damaged and have to do some reverse engineering on a new meter to fix. Won't know until i get it all powered.
I did stumble on Clairmont's page a while ago as its one of the only pages that Google finds for the search terms Norris + LPC-90 and was wondering how much they'd charge me to hire the LPC-90 controller if i even found a motor now i don't have to as i've got both.
I'll post some picks of the LPC-90 controller and Pentax spot meter later in the day if you like Charles.
Thanks for both your help on confiming some things for me. Let me know how you get on Bruce!
Did you get a set of 'Norris' instructions for the LPC 90 when you acquired your LPC 90 and Pentax meter?
I think the probability that the batteries in your meter may have hurt the meter are very low. I had a Pentax V meter converted by Dan. Actually we swapped meters, mine was new, never used, and he sent me a meter he had already converted (yes, there was an additional fee for the conversation labor) in order to get me the converted Pentax meter quickly.
Dan told me that with his conversion, the meter was permanently activated (the trigger switch was also bypassed). He said the meter would not be able to work without it being connected to the LPC control box, as the power came from there. But, you already know that.
A wiring schematic for the socket on the Norris modified Pentax meter....
Using the schematic of the Lemo socket on the meter, I did a continuity check from the positive contact in the battery compartment of the meter to pin 1. It was a continuous reading, so, the meter's positive battery circuit is still applied to the power from the LPC. Not knowing how Dan wired his modification, it is hard to say where he connected his wires. I do know that when connected to the controller, the meter's internal light still works when the white button is pushed, the meter is constantly activated, so if batteries were inserted into the meter, they would run down quickly. Seems to me if the additional voltage from the meter's internal batteries would cause problems, there would have been a strong warning about this in the instructions.
BTW, the Pentax V spotmeter was the last spotmeter made that was analog, that's why it was desirable for the Norris system.
As for the Lemo connectors and plugs...
"The red mark is usually positive, but not 100% of the time, so that might be worth more research."
The red marks on the Lemo plug and sockets is used as a quick way to visually line up the keyways on the plug and the fixed socket/receptacle. It does not indicate the positive side of power cables. You would still need the schematics to see how the pins are wired in relationship to the keyway, reference the schematic above.
The article that you mentioned in your 1st post......
"I read an article back then on the web by Wayne G Goldman about shooting time-lapse sequences on 35mm for the film 'Nixon' for Oliver Stone and how the sequences controlled by the LPC-90 were always the most visually dynamic of any time-lapse kit he'd ever shot with."
is titled "A Time Lapse Primer" by Wayne Goldwyn, SOC and was published in the 1996-97 fall/winter issue of "The Operating Cameraman", the Society of Operating Cameramen's magazine.
In this article Wayne writes of his use of the then 'prototype' LPC 90 designed/invented by Dan Norris.
There is an ad for Wayne Goldwyn on page 12 of the 1996-97 issue. A quick search shows that the phone number in the ad is still registered to Wayne. No email address however.
I think you would get all your answers about Dan Norris and the LPC 90 from Wayne "Mr Timelapse". Give him a call!
A 2nd article about timelapse, by Wayne, is in the below issue. In the photos you'll see that he is using the Pentax and LPC 90 on this shoot. I like his use of the long 'snoot' on the meter to eliminate extraneous light from hitting the meter's sensor.
Thanks for all the usefull information. Got to read the old article again about the timelapse filming Wayne did on Nixon and the very interesting 2nd article about the filming he did for the washington monument restoration that i hadnt read before. All Really interesting stuff! Thankfully I won't be attempting to do a 2 year timelapse and have to account for every variable that could go wrong over 2 years.
I'm glad you think batteries being in the Pentax hopefully won't have damaged it. I was hoping that they hadnt but as i haven't got the Lemo cable sorted yet i have never powered it on thus far. Here's a pic of the power socket with ruler this time on the LPC-90 i presume its still a Lemo B connector i need?
I have the cable to connect the Pentax to the LPC-90 so i'm sorted there as regards pinout for that. Not sure why Arri have a Pin out for it were they in some way connected with Norris's work? Or was it that they supplied there cameras with Norris motors and would make up cables for people?
I'm was going to use Kodak 50D Negative film on my project and its clear Wayne used the same Speed kodak film although back then it was called Kodak EXR 50 as he mentions it in the washington monument article he used an ND 1.2 filter to drop 4 stops so he could have his lens at around 5.6 on a sunny day. I used this filter strength when doing timelpase with my Tobin and other timelapse units.
Its really usefull the LPC-90 advice you cribbed from a user on some site back in the day. I really need to get my head around how to actually set the LPC-90 up. The highlighted in red sentence threw me a bit "meter does not inidiate exposure just change in exposure." Umm gonna have to really think as to how this all works still.
Just curious do you still own Norris's equipment and use it still?
I'll answer your last question1st, no, I do not own a LPC 90. I have never owned any of Dan Norris's motors and controllers, nor have I had the pleasure of using them. After meeting Dan in the early 90's at a Film Gear convention and having several phone conversations with him, I did end up buying his converted Pentax Spotmeter in order to use on the Arriflex 435 camera with Arri's 435 Single Frame System, Integrated Capping Shutter and Intervalometer. The 435 has a digital controlled motor, so no additional external motor is required to operat it for single frame use. Dan did not offer any support for this model Arri camera, except for his modified spot meter. Re-read the Clairmont article I posted previously in this thread. I did get the cable to connect the meter to the Arri controller from Arri, Dan did not offer that. That's how I acquired the schematic for the cable I posted.
Here is a link to a copy of the Arri instructions for their single frame system:
Go to page 44 for instructions on using Dan's meter. There is a paragraph explaining the voltage and the how the change in voltage effects exposure. This is the same for the LPC 90 system. Arri does mention Norris and Arri's cable that is required. Arri also warns about "reciprocity behavior" of film for exposure times over 1 second.
The meter works the same for both the LPC 90 and the Arri system, it reads the changes in the light level of the spot it is aimed at.
You did a terrific job re-creating the last Norris web site. I discovered a printed copy I had made of the LPC 90's instructions downloaded from the site before it went down. That site was mostly a copy of the last sales brochure Dan made (I have a copy). I have a copy of an earlier sales brochure, and possibly some answers to your questions about the equipment you have. This brochure is pre LPC 90 sales, he mentions the Academy Award, but there is no mention yet of the LPC 90 in the brochure, so this must be from around 1989. There are accessories he offered then that weren't shown in the brochure, and on the price list, on the web site you recreated.
Gareth, a question for you...... in your photo you posted showing the SCC 300 and the LPC 90 controllers together
you said "LPC-90 controller top and the SC-300 one bottom." Did you get that reversed? The bottom controller (with the arrow) sure looks like the LPC 90 controller you showed in your photo of the controller and the spotmeter you posted later.
The Lemo socket in your photo on the SCC 300 controller may be, in my opinion, an accessory port to possibly remotely trigger the camera. Its proximity is close to the trigger button on the top.
In the older brochure I posted above, in the picture of the Bolex with the motor and controller, the right side of the controller does not have this socket. But, in the later picture of the controller on your site, it shows the socket (red arrows). I don't think this is a power input, the plug seems too small compared to the LCP 90 controller's power in-put socket.
In the 'Single Frame System' description on page 3 of the brochure I posted above, the last paragraph, it talks about synchronizing up to 10 cameras. I think that socket is for that use.
You know that the SCC gets its power through the interconnecting cable to the motor. The battery power plugs into the motor via a 4 pin female pug.
What cables do you have for your Norris equipment? Do you have the coiled cable that goes from the SCC 300 to the camera? Do you have a power cable? The older picture shows the camera set up with the cables.
Battery connection is with the industry standard "XLR" type 4-pin male receptacle, and with the industry standard polarity of pin 1 negative ( - ) and pin 4 positive ( + ) for 12 volt power supplies. This should be the same connector as the cable for your Tobin Motor, the same pin 1 and pin 4 for 12 volts.
Neutrik XLR 4 Pin Female Connector | NC4FX
You will also note in the Bolex description above in the older brochure, it says: Note: the 1/16 shutter speed requires at least 16 VDC, or more.
I can't tell what the Lemo plug number is for the LPC 90 is, I've no experience with that size of connector. You could try a pro camera rental/sales house, they might have someone who would know how to look it up. As for the polarity, you could open the controller and look at the wiring, you might find a number for the socket also, or use a VOM to check for ground.
Dan made the LPC controller to be powered by a separate battery, and the motor by a 2nd battery. However, in his instructions on page 1, he talks about a "Y" cable to run both off a single battery.
Depending on how long your system would be running for your 'time lapse', it would be desirable to have the controller and the motor on seperate batteries for the longer run to extend battery life. Good call on Dan's part.
I'm sure the LPC 90 control draws a lot more power than the SCC 300.
There was some talk of power issues with the Norris units:
page 437 : "They also were very sensitive to voltage shifts."
I don't know if Dan supplied cables with his equipment, or if it was up to you to make the cables. There's nothing in the literature that mentions power cables. Possibly you were able to buy cables from him once your system was figured out. Possibly he only supplied the interconnecting cable from the controller to the motor, then it was up to you to supply the power cables. What batteries will you be using?
What cables do you have for the LPC 90 unit? I know you don't have the controller power cable, but did you get the interconnecting cable and power cable for the motor? When using this stuff professionally, you would have at least 2 sets of each cable incase of unpredictable failure, you don't want the shoot to shut down because of a bad cable and you are far away from home :-(
This is a nice feature on the LPC controller, being able to read the EV number during the shoot. The Arri system does not offer that.
As long as you have power applied to the meter, you can use the spot meter as it was originally designed by using the calculator wheel on the side of the meter. This would be hard to do if you scout the location the day before as you would have to carry a lot of equipment to power the Norris modified spot meter. A 2nd spot meter (not necessarily a Pentax) would be helpful in this case. Once you've entered the light reading and started the time lapse, you don't want to be fiddling with the meter, adjusting the calculator dial and looking through it, you might disturb the spot from the original spot it was aimed, also you might be caught during the next exposure on the camera. My feeling and practice on using the meter was, set the meter, lock it off, cover the eyepiece, and leave it alone.
From page 5 of the instructions:
A cap or cover should always be used after you set the meter when using in low or high light levels. You never know when a stray refection, light from a flashlight or a work light at night could hit it just before or during an exposure. Just a precaution, as you won't know until you see the processed film.
Gareth, you said you weren't sure your meter was still functioning because when you received it, there were batteries in the spot meter's battery compartment. Reading page 5 of the Norris instructions, Dan does warn about using the 3 batteries.
There's one simple way to check your meter without having to plug it into the LPC controller. You'll need the 3 recommended batteries that would normally be used for the meter, this is the current replacement number I found:
Get the 3 batteries (about $10 -12 U.S.), get a second meter you know that is working and calibrated (preferably another spot meter, but you could do this with an incident meter and a gray card).
Again, without any cable plugged into the meter, observing the polarity markings for the batteries, put the batteries into the base, screw the cap down, the meter is then activated as if you were pushing the trigger on the front. Take a look through the eyepiece and observe if the meter is moving as you point it at different objects. Check the battery reading (read the Pentax instructions, link below) by pushing the "B" button just above the trigger. If the meter is moving, then it's working so far, then take a reading, using the calculator dial on the side of the Pentax, see if the calculated exposure matches your other meter.
The down side, the Norris modified Pentax meter is wired in the activated position, so it's eating the batteries while the batteries are in the meter. You'll have to take them out so you can use them again. You'll be out the cost of the batteries, but you'll find out if the meter is functioning or not.
Do you have an instruction manual for the Pentax? Dan's modification didn't change the meter's reading ability, so the meter should operate as it was designed.
Dan did a very careful job when modifying the meter, can't tell that it was opened.
As for this statement.......
I looked at the Norris modified Pentax meter as a device that measured the changes of the light level on a selected spot, any changes in that level would then be used to adjust and match the exposure time to the reading I gave the controller when I started the camera. I did not use it to calculate the 'F' stop. I always used other meters to calculate the F stop using the pre selected exposure time ( 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1 second, etc) and filter factors (if any used), also personal judgement.
To confuse you even more, the Arri system also adjusted the mirrored shutter opening, 180 degrees open down to a narrow 11.5 degrees closed. You could handle your complete light level change just by changing the shutter angle and keeping your camera exposure time at one constant value, say 1/4 of a second. This is different from the Norris system. With the Arri system, you could reach a max exposure time of 1/128th (use less filtration?), Dan's motors only went to 1/16th.
Endless possibilities to the subject you want to time lapse.
Did your spotmeter come with the nice case that has the Norris logo on it?
Wow a Big thank you for all your help and advice on fleshing things out even further as regards the LPC-90. Just got back late tonight from a long trip this weekend and its kind of overwhelming to see all this useful information! I think I need another day to fully mull it all over in my head and fully reply to your questions and probably pose one crucial one that's been bugging me throughout (but the Pentax Manual which I've never seen before when I get chance to read it may answer).
Going to get some batteries tomorrow to test Meter! Fingers crossed!
Suffice to say a more worthy reply coming shortly!
Thanks to Gareth and all the contributors on this forum. It may prove to be a treasure trove far into the future. I have not only read it several times but joined cinematography.com to be able to post here.
I started shooting 16mm time-lapse in 1980. My first attempt was with a nail taped to the motor on an Arri 16S. This was "rigged" up for me by the special effects supervisor at the company in LA where I had just begun working. I hand cranked it as the sun rose over an archaeological site in New Mexico, and returned with remarkably even exposures at perhaps 2 fps.
But I obviously needed a better solution. The Arri S was great at 6fps, but when I needed slower rates, nothing else I took into the field worked well enough. A few years later I met Tom Hoskinson, a superb still photographer and archaeologist who had also been trying to shoot time-lapse during solstice related light "events" at ancient Native American sites. Tom had experimented with various systems, none of which worked with any consistency.
Fortunately, in 1983 (1984?) we met Dan Norris, who finally put us on the right track. Over the next couple of years we made numerous trips to his house in La Canada, as he was constantly developing and upgrading the controller. And... because we kept making mistakes. Neither of us were professional cinematographers. Dan was extremely kind, and taught us some of the subtleties of time-lapse (he recommended 1/4 second exposures for us) as well as the basic operations.
After a long interval without shooting, I came back to Dan and got an LPC-90 for a Bolex Rex 4. I used it extensively in the late 90's. It worked like a charm. But once again I got into other aspects of filmmaking, and then out of filmmaking altogether.
I am now trying to see if my system works. I have my notes, as well as Dan's original instructions. And of course all the information and links posted on this forum. But I am wondering, Gareth, how has your LPC-90 worked out for you? Did you solve the various power issues? Have you needed more than a single 12v battery? I rarely used the Pentax-- it worked well for certain types of shots but for the most part I wanted the light to change and darken or flare out. I don't believe I used two batteries very much, if at all.
By the way, as I dug out my two Bolexes recently I spoke with Dieter Schaefer. Dieter and Dan were close friends, and I heard Dan defer to Dieter's expertise, many times. Dieter's company, Procam, is in Prescott, Arizona. Dieter is the #1 Bolex guy in the U.S., no doubt about that.
Thanks for your message. I've been away on holiday for the past 3 weeks and just returned this week, otherwise you would of got a message a lot sooner! Reading through the whole thread myself again today after quiet some time has passed I realise I got Dans LPC-90 kit 2nd hand back in 2015 and I also realise I didnt return to state what issue I eventually had with it (I always thought i had). I started the thread anticipating there would be problems after bidding on a used one before it turned up from the ebay seller and so that came to pass.....
I did attempt some time lapse sequences with the kit in 2016 after I had sorted my missing cable and battery issues out where I discovered that the motor was slipping and did not come to a stop at the same position on each rotation so you could get either 1) The shutter fully closed 2) The Shutter fully open 3) partly closed at some random angle (more often this). The Light meter also has some dry joint in the circuit board as i have to shake it and or flex the case to get it to give readings. I didn’t notice these issues until after I got my footage back.
So I put this kit to one side and slightly forgot about it always meaning to research the issues further, thinking I'd mentioned the motor issue here and got no response and all the time continuing to monitor ebay in the hope other ones come up. They are few and far between although one showed up earlier this year naturally with busted drive pin plastic and no cables so no way the seller could guarantee that the motor if I buy another one won’t have the same problem as there all going to be 20+ years old now. So I let someone bid and I put the new message on the end of the thread to hopefully snare the person who bid when they inevitably have issues to ask them as all google searches for Bolex+Norrs lead here.......
Hence I would be interested to know if yours still works? Or if its started slipping? Are you able to confirm this? I'd love to see a video of a working one where i can see the shutter rotate and each time cover the frame. I want to rule out if this is a common thing or mine was maybe bashed around? Interesting to hear that you actually met Dan who does sound to be a top rate Back Shed cinematic tinkerer of the first order (he did win an oscar after all). I have had a few emails from past users directly to my website address reminiscing of using his equipment telling me they met Dan and how helpful he was to them also. Do you think Dieter might be able to replace the motor or source a new motor for me?
I would also be interested to know how you went about setting up a shot for it and where you placed the meter and what shutter speed you started out at initially and what filters you used etc etc and good rules of thumb you learned. I'd gladly do a youtube video talking you through my issues and you can see what mines doing. I'm always tinkering with all things Bolex and would love to finally get to the bottom of this kits issues so as to be able to use it if your able to lend a hand.
You can email me if its easier at my website address gareth @ bolexh16user . net
I have been reading this thread with interest as I have recently aquired an Arri SR3 which I would like to use for time-lapse work.
I just received a Norris intervalometer unfortunately without cables, but before I try to power it up, I am concerned that there is a problem with the motor. It does not turn at all by hand which does not seem right to me - does anyone who has experience of this piece of kit or own it know whether this is a sign the motor is totally seized up?
I have opened the unit up and will test it with power when I can solder up a lead, although the din socket pin layout looks non-standard with one off centre pin. Maybe I could change it as only 2 of the pins are being used.