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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » ACL laser on to a Vic 4 Crap or what? (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: ACL laser on to a Vic 4 Crap or what?
Ken McFall
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: Haringey, London.
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 12-17-2008 06:20 PM      Profile for Ken McFall   Email Ken McFall   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I attended a site this week to fit new Dolby cell mount's and cell's to 2 Vic 4's that had recently been (badly) fitted with acl laser's.

The existing cell was a stereo cell fitted into the original mono cell tube. This allowed no lateral adjustment of the cell so it was impossible to get anywhere near an acceptable 'A' chain.

The new laser(s) had been fitted by a relative of the owner and as such could easily have been mounted in another room given the results. I should point out that this was an Indian independent cinema where they want the best but want you to pay them for doing it for them!!!

I fitted the Dolby cell and mount and proceeded to attempt an 'A' chain set-up.....

Some five hours later and less hair than I started with I was starting to lose the plot totally. Time was up and the screen had to open so I reluctantly went to the second screen to do the same. While the first screen was running in SRD.

This took about three hours to do which was what I had expected. Fit new mount and cell, 'A' & 'B' chain. Ignoring the foil wrapped around the fuse holders, cables hanging out of the pedestal in the film path, enough oil all over the place (my test films included) to enable the UK to be self sufficient for the rest of the decade and the sprockets that were so hooked film was wrapped almost all the way around the sprocket.

I returned to the first screen and had another go at alignment.... Got it!! Nope lost it... Got it!!
Lock it all off and run like f**k. There was so much wear that nothing would lock in place.... a nightmare and the acl's do not help at all in such a situation.

Having started the job I was committed to at least get it back to where I started.

Now I HATE with a passion acl lasers kits.... but I hate with more passion cheap skate independents that should not be allowed to operate.

This cinema is a the very worst I have ever seen. NOTHING is anywhere near acceptable. The damage to prints does not bear thinking about. The sad thing is the owner thinks his is a very good cinema and I was expected to match his other screen which was perfect.... his words not mine.

I left with black gunge deep under my finger nails and all over my clothes. I have never been so happy to get out of a cinema in my life. He wants to add another two screens.... not with my help he won't!

Has anyone else experienced anything like this.... or am I unlucky.

What do others think about the acl laser kit for Vic projectors.

Regards Ken.

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9473
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 12-17-2008 06:34 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have used several ACL lasers on Bauer U2 machines and had no issues with them
dirty projectors I hate

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Sam D. Chavez
Film God

Posts: 2094
From: Martinez, CA USA
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 12-17-2008 11:50 PM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
BACP do make a V4 version of the Vic. reader. While it is not my finest work, it does the job and installs pretty quickly.

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Ken McFall
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: Haringey, London.
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 12-18-2008 04:11 AM      Profile for Ken McFall   Email Ken McFall   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've installed a number of these laser units with little trouble. However they will not give even illumination no matter what you do.

Most of the problems with them is that you have two azimuths to align. The laser itself in relation to the lens tube and the lens tube itself.

The problem projector in this case clearly is suffering from wear as the optics would go out of alignment just by laying a finger against the laser. With an exciter lamp this did not pose any real problem as you would still have sound but with the acl line of light it moves out of line with the slit in the lens tube and you have no sound!

Trying to two slits with out a fixed reference point is tricky to say the least. This cinema has only just bought the laser's in the past couple of weeks so they are way behind everyone else.

Acl's are ok as a quick fix but I have never seen one that gives good illumination on any machine.

I did email ACL direct some months ago asking if there was a way to get better even illumination on vic 5's but they never bothered to reply...

Just my thoughts on them was interested if anyone else has had similar problems.

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Marin Zorica
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 663
From: Biograd na Moru, Croatia
Registered: May 2003


 - posted 12-18-2008 05:14 AM      Profile for Marin Zorica   Email Marin Zorica   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I had big issue with ACL laser on MEO5, just can't get illuminated slit as it should, you can see bad illumination with eye, also mounting bracket is very poor so laser can move suddenly.....

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Ken McFall
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: Haringey, London.
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 12-18-2008 07:41 AM      Profile for Ken McFall   Email Ken McFall   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Pretty much the same here. Trying to get a slit of light thru another slit is just plain silly. Any minor shift and the slit on the film will either vanish or reduce in width.

My favoured laser is made by Veronace ?, not sure of the correct spelling, and I get them from Omnex quiet reasonably priced.In fact much cheaper than an other supplier I know of. It does away with the original optics and it gives excellent uniformity and flat response. Like to see anyone get an acl on a vic 4/5/8 to match.

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Sam D. Chavez
Film God

Posts: 2094
From: Martinez, CA USA
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 12-18-2008 11:55 AM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A lot of BACP sales into Europe are to replace lasers, not because they don't work so well, but because the lasers tends to fail completely instead of fading away as LEDs tend to do.
BACP makes a reader for Meopta 5XB as well and it is one of our best units as it eliminates the right angle mirror.

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Marin Zorica
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 663
From: Biograd na Moru, Croatia
Registered: May 2003


 - posted 12-18-2008 03:11 PM      Profile for Marin Zorica   Email Marin Zorica   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Original MEO5 sound head is just crap, that can't pass over 6KHz or so, also slit and all alignment knob are bad desinged, you aligning slit focus and in same time slit is jumping up-down....wtf??

Whole MEO is just too bad copy of last BAUER U series, don't make me tell about intermittent! [Big Grin]

At end, BACP reader on MEO is only bright solution on that machine!

I remember friend told me issue about ernemann laser has high level and distortion.

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Pete Naples
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1551
From: Dunfermline, Scotland
Registered: Feb 2001


 - posted 12-18-2008 03:49 PM      Profile for Pete Naples   Email Pete Naples   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Firstly I've fitted countless ACLs on Cinemecannice projectors of various models. They are no easier or harder than fitting them on a Westrex, Century etc. However there are a couple of pitfalls for the unitiated.

Ken, what vintage of optic are these V4s fitted with? It may well be that the individual who installed the ACLs has got the wrong model for the tube in use. There are two types of ACL for Cinemecannica.

You mention that there's oil all over the place. Did you check the optic for oil contamination? It may well be that the fault does not lie with the laser, but with the 60 odd year old, oil filled optic [Wink] Been there, done that.

There is also an issue with laser to entrance lens distance on some early Vic5, so possibly on Vic4 too. You had to modify the exciter bracket slightly, to move the laser relative to the lens. From here in the Republic of Ireland I'm damned if I can remember if it's closer or further.

The one make I wil never use an ACL on again is anything Phillips/Kinoton. It's just too much heartache to align correctly, as you can't get at the laser hat to adjust it's azimuth with it in place.

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Ken McFall
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: Haringey, London.
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 12-18-2008 06:43 PM      Profile for Ken McFall   Email Ken McFall   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Good to hear from you Pete,

YES there is oil all over and in everything!!
I made a point of opening up the optic and showing the guy how bad it was.

However I went prepared with replacement optics and the situation was no better.

As for adjusting the distance of the laser from the optic, it's the first I've heard of it. As I've already said ACL did not bother to reply to my email.....

One projector was fine the other came from hell.

I have to say the acl dose suffer from the right angle mirror which if out of alignment is a real bastard to correct on site. Direct lasers do not suffer from this potential problem.

The three units were purchased from Omnex and I am in NO WAY putting Omnex down. I told the guy he should have paid for an engineer to install them in the first place. But they went ahead and did a diy job and adjusted everything on the laser including the mirror azimuth, which should never normally be touched.

Without at least one constant you are fighting a losing battle trying to get it all aligned on site whilst covered in years of oil and dirt.

I would be interested to see any further info that is available for installing these beasts....

Enjoy your time in Ireleand.

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Pete Naples
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1551
From: Dunfermline, Scotland
Registered: Feb 2001


 - posted 12-18-2008 07:10 PM      Profile for Pete Naples   Email Pete Naples   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
OK Your replacement optics. Were they of the later type? With later optics you need the version of the ACL which comes with an L shaped bracket, and a replacement for the slit width adjusting ring. Basically you remove the existing knurled ring, and replace with the supplied one, and remove the exciter bracket altogether.
The L bracket attaches to the now exposed section of tube and fit the laser into the bracket, you align the laser to the optic with it on the bench, then simply fit and align. Basically you are turning it into a combined laser/optic unit. If I remember rightly it moves the laser hat very close to the entrance lens. It's ACL9A, if I remember rightly.

Now the older type Cinemec optics. On some of them one had to elongate the mounting screw holes in the exciter casting to allow adjustment to the distance between the laser and the lens. It's a small amount, maybe 2mm, but it's enough to make the odds. I'm budgerigarred if I can recall in which direction, might be worth giving Alan a call, he is the font of much knowledge.

The design of the ACL9 'L' bracket was done by one of my colleagues, and the points about distance on the earlier optics was discovered by one of our number also.

Your point about one constant is a good one, so here's something I learned years ago. A small LED torch is a very handy ally when aligning and fitting ACLs. If I have a difficult one, for example I've removed the optic tube and have no reference, I use the torch to illuminate the slit enough that I can get a decent focus and accurate azimuth. I then adjust the laser to match the optic slit, as I'm sure you know you can alter the lasers azimuth by way of the mirror hat. Yes it's fiddly, yes it can give you a headache but it does work if you persevere.

The installation of ACLs can be fiddly and time consuming but despite the comments made above, you can get excellent slit illumination. I've often seen a Cat566 trace flat to 1dB.

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Ken McFall
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: Haringey, London.
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 12-19-2008 04:25 AM      Profile for Ken McFall   Email Ken McFall   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Lot of interesting info to look into Pete, thanks.

I had already tried to go back to exciter lamp to get an alignment to work from but could not get the psu working? God knows what they had been doing but if you were to see the mess you'd not be surprised.

The spare optic's I had were the original type and there was no difference, considering your comments that is again no surprise.

'IF' I ever go back there I will take a psu with me so I can get an alignment to work from and then adjust the azimuth of the laser to match. But to be honest it's such a filthy hole I'd rather not get involved any further.
Given time and a half decent, clean, setup I'll have a play and using your suggestions see what results I get. I'll be very happy to revise my opinion then.

Regards Ken.

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4435
From: prospect ky usa
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 12-19-2008 02:49 PM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ken; you have got to help those who look like they can make it. The rest you cut loose or, at least, use 'em "for the money." Louis

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Benjamin John Doman
Film Handler

Posts: 35
From: Slough, Berkshire, England
Registered: Jun 2007


 - posted 12-20-2008 07:28 AM      Profile for Benjamin John Doman   Email Benjamin John Doman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Ken,
Glade to hear you are settling into you’re new job.

“My favoured laser is made by Veronace ?, not sure of the correct spelling, and I get them from Omnex quiet reasonably priced.In fact much cheaper than an other supplier I know of. It does away with the original optics and it gives excellent uniformity and flat response. Like to see anyone get an acl on a vic 4/5/8 to match.”

We are the ONLY UK dealers of these Veronese lasers and therefore Jed buys them from us! Give Karen a ring in the office for the latest pricing.

Another hated laser to add to the list – Fitted to a Vic 4 (coincidence?), no markings. The LED was mounted on three screws inside the sound drum, in the place where the cell bracket was fitted. You adjusted the LED position by the three screws. Spent two hours lining it up. Anyone seen anything like this?
Regards,
Ben (Future Projections Ltd)

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Ken McFall
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: Haringey, London.
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 12-20-2008 10:16 AM      Profile for Ken McFall   Email Ken McFall   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ben I'm not too sure if you are in fact correct about the supply of the laser I mentioned.

I've bought 3 from Omnex so far and I'm informed they come direct from the manufacturer in Italy. I would in NO way buy anything that came via your employer... Nothing against you personally.

Louis,

you are so right. The Indian cinema I mentioned is without doubt the worst I have ever seen and I will not be going back there again. They can find another mug to do their very dirty work for them.

Regards.

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