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Re: Eclair ACL Magazines

Hmmmmm. Interesting questions. Regarding the HD-144 kits, once I sell the last 2 Gold kits I'm just staying with the PLATINUM and SILVER --- I'm not going to manuafacture any more mirror offsets (though I do still have a bunch of connecting rods if anyone needs a replacement). Although I personally like knowing that my ACL is up to full S-16 specs by having the mirror re-centered and new "factory-like" S-16 parts in the camera, most ACL owners seem to want basic functionality as cost effectively as possible --- in fact, many owners will have their ACLs converted to S-16 by having their Tech modifying the existing R-16 parts, and this works perfectly well. Since keeping the mirror on the R-16 shaft seems to give the same quality of S-16 image on film, most owners have not really been interested in re-centering the mirror. That's why I've put together the PLATINUM kit --- the GOLD was more than most users wanted, and the Platinum kit costs less by eliminating the offset. Hopefully it will satisfy most needs, because I've run out of precious metals!

I will try to get back to my workbench and finish my latest finessing of the 350' mag conversion so that I can post photos on my site for those interested in it. My prototype was fully functional, but now I'm trying to make the little added "hump" on the top that contains the rollers look "factory" instead of jerry-rigged. Unfortuately I'm more of a "draw the plans and let the shop build it" type --- I'm not a machinist --- but because of the horrific cost of prototyping (the HD-144 kit got out of control, and I still haven't broken even) I'm forced to do my own lame machine work and it takes me forever. Mayone once I post the photos some machinist out there will see a way to take my modifications and create an assembly-line approach that would allow for a good price to modify a large quantity of 200' mags to 350''. An inexpensive conversion to small 350' mags would really put the ACL in a special class --- the A-minima can't do that!


The future of S-16 in general is a good question. The following are just personal speculations based on reading a few tidbits here and there, and I'm not an authority on any of this:

I think the longterm survival of S-16 depends on how quickly HD cam-corders come to the consumer market (the MPEG-100 format). Right now I don't think there is any doubt that the specs on S-16 are still technically superior to mini-DV (and even DV-cam), and Kodak will certainly be coming up with even better film stocks that will allow S-16 to match the 1125 line res of HDTV so that it remains viable (hang onto those Zeiss lenses, folks!). Almost all drama primetime TV series for cable are currently shot on Super-16 to retain HD compatibility. And because there is disagreement among the 4 major TV networks on whether to go 720p or 1125i, (2 plan to start broadcasting with 720p and two with 1125i), the HD compatibility issue will likely create fear among producers that can only help S-16 stay alive longer. And of course if the current schedule for a 2003-2006 switchover to HDTV in America is scrubbed, that will help S-16. And the longer America and the World stay in recession, the more slowly new technologies are likely to be deployed. On the "indie" front, there will be those folks who will go with DV-cam (or mini-DV on the lower end), and those who stick with S-16. 2 of the 5 films that won Sundance last year were shot on mini-DV. BUT ... my prediction is that when consumer versions of HD cam-corders come out (even at less than full HDTV resolution), then I think that nothing will save 16mm film. HOWEVER, my guess is that viable MPEG-100 is still many years away --- until all American networks are broadcasting in HD there probably won't be enough HDTV sets around to make introduction of an HD consumer camera in the US viable (unless everyone is content to watch their videos on their computer). And if I were the Japanese electronics companies, I'd be worried about pre-maturely marketing really hi-def consumer equipment that might destroy the professional market. But that's just my personal guess --- for all I actually know the consumer HD cameras will be out next week. (Meanwhile the 7 major Hollywood studios just announced that they were forming a consortium to create standards for digital theatrical projection.) I'll bet a lot of others have thoughts on the matter, and likely more exact info since I don't really keep up with this stuff on a daily basis. Mark.

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