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RE: Eclair ACL Super-16 Conversion and Noisy ACLs
Thanks Phill. Here is a copy of my FAX to Steve's Cine Service in Vancouver,
since it contains info that might be of interest to owners of "noisy" ACLS:
FAX TO: Steve, STEVE'S CINE SERVICE (604) 876-6827
FROM: Mark e-mail: Super16ACL@aol.com
Hi Steve. Phill said you'd like more info on the ACL Super 16 conversion kit.
You can find out pretty much everything that there is to know at:
You can even download the installation guide as a WORD file, (sometimes the
photos don't download with it). Or I'd be happy to mail you one, or answer
questions via e-mail.
With hundreds of ACLs in use around the world, I really think that getting
good, quiet Super-16 versions out there may actually help to keep 16mm film
alive for the "personal filmmaker" years longer even as we enter the HDTV
era. With new Kodak stocks ahead, Super-16 will be perfectly capable of
shooting HDTV quality images far less expensively that the cost of renting
HDTV gear, and with greater ease and portability (especially with a 200'
mag, and I've even done a prototype conversion of a 200' mag to hold 350').
The S-16 conversion requires that the camera be taken apart and rebuilt from
scratch. So far nothing too difficult about that for a qualified Tech, of
course. The trickiest part, I've found (AND I AM NOT AN AUTHORIZED TECH, nor
claim to be!), is re-setting the proper "pitch" and "depth" and "tilt" of the
pulldown claw so that a seemingly silent-running camera doesn't suddenly
chatter when a mag with film is loaded --- a common problem that makes some
ACL owners want to hurl their cameras out the window, when a miniscule (but
highly difficult) adjustment will make it silent.
As you know, the ACL was designed as the VW Bug of 16mm sync cameras --- to
be affordable by all. As a result, the cam-block responsible for setting the
"pitch" etc. is very simple and un-elegant ... clunky adjustment of two
screws holding the entire cam block in place, rather than a nice worm-gear
knob found in modern 35mm cameras. And to top it off, making this adjustment
is not possible while the camera is running!
An old-time tech that I know sent back his official ACL service kit in
frustration, took a spare camera body front, and cut a huge hole in the front
so that he could adjust this cam-block by hand while the camera was running.
He took a very noisy ACL of mine that I was ready to toss, and made it
whisper quiet in this way.
I don't know your background in ACL work, so I'll just make this general
statement that may not apply to you at all: Make sure that you have the
know-how and/or tools to make this critical "pitch", "depth", "tilt"
adjustment before attempting a conversion, otherwise you'll spend countless
hours in pain trying to figure out how to make the thing quiet, and be forced
to make the excuse to the customer that "old cameras tend to be noisy".
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