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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » The worst reel design of all time (Page 1)

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Author Topic: The worst reel design of all time
Brad Miller

Posts: 17695
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99

 - posted 06-09-2017 02:00 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
I've seen a LOT of bad reel designs over the years, but I think this one takes the cake.

I'm sure even halfway decent projectionists knows not to wind film onto a reel if it isn't clean of dust and dirt. I'm also sure everyone here has had to get a rag of some sort and wipe clean the flanges of a reel before they wound film onto it just from general dust collection.

As anyone who used the WB/New Line ELRs (Extended Length Reels) from about 15 years ago knows that while the outside flange of those reels was semi-solid and relatively easy to wipe clean, the inside flange of those had a waffle design which was a dirt trap and was absurdly difficult to clean once any dust collected in there.

And then today a friend sends me this nightmare design of a reel. What ass came up with this?

Sadly I'm noticing the center hub of this reel has EXACTLY the same design as the standard 6k (24 inch) Cinemeccannica reel, so I have a feeling this is an actual Cinemeccannica reel!

Has anyone ever seen a worse design?


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Dennis Benjamin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1429
From: Denton, MD
Registered: Feb 2002

 - posted 06-09-2017 02:05 PM      Profile for Dennis Benjamin   Author's Homepage   Email Dennis Benjamin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It looks like they took two sides of a house fan and attached them together to make a reel.

To further illustrate my point, look at the screws in the middle of the reel. They look like something bought from the store. Are they all the same size?

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Bill Brandenstein
Master Film Handler

Posts: 369
From: Santa Clarita, CA
Registered: Jul 2013

 - posted 06-09-2017 02:16 PM      Profile for Bill Brandenstein   Email Bill Brandenstein   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If it were cut square and a thin layer of material were added, it would make a heck of an air filter.

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Mitchell Dvoskin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1833
From: West Milford, NJ, USA
Registered: Jan 2001

 - posted 06-09-2017 02:47 PM      Profile for Mitchell Dvoskin   Email Mitchell Dvoskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have a friend who has one of those official Cinemeccanica reels. I believe, but not sure, that they require the European 9mm spindle center.

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Jim Cassedy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1569
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Dec 2006

 - posted 06-09-2017 02:56 PM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The only worse design was the square reels they must
have made to fit the old Powers Cameragraph projectors:


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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10732
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 06-09-2017 03:30 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The only logic I can see with making a reel full of waffle holes is bean counter logic. It doesn't take as much material to mold or cast something like that as opposed to something more solid. Those reels do look like they would be great at catching dust. I'll bet they also cause more wear and tear to the edges of film.

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Frank Cox
Film God

Posts: 2019
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011

 - posted 06-09-2017 05:04 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What about shipping weight, or ease of seeing how much film is on the reel?

Neither of those reasons is particularly compelling, though.

The prettiest reel that I ever saw came in a can from Technocolor as part of a feature played at one time. It was made of stainless steel, was super-shiny and the sides were molded or cut into a pattern that was really amazing. When I saw it I thought this reel is a work of art, and I still do. It looked brand new and I've never seen another one like it again.

The only thing wrong with it was that the hole where the drive pin goes was located in a non-standard position and I had to do something to my make-up table to allow the pin to engage the reel. I can't remember exactly what I did, though. Bent a coat hanger to make my own drive pin at a different location, maybe.

But the reel itself was beautiful.

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Kenneth Wuepper
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 996
From: Saginaw, MI, USA
Registered: Feb 2002

 - posted 06-09-2017 09:32 PM      Profile for Kenneth Wuepper   Email Kenneth Wuepper   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A reason to do the "Waffle" or "Honey Comb" is to create stability and reduce warping of the large surfaces. The reel needs to be light to reduce inertia on start up while it is empty. There does not appear to be a slip mechanism to allow the flanges to rotate freely on starting the machine.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7139
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000

 - posted 06-09-2017 10:14 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If one of those becomes gross and disgusting from extended storage in a dusty atmosphere, about the only way you'd be able to get it properly clean is full immersion in a swimming pool. Even a high pressure hose would likely miss some surfaces.

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Rex Oliver
Film Handler

Posts: 65
From: Greenville, NC. USA
Registered: Apr 2013

 - posted 06-10-2017 12:32 AM      Profile for Rex Oliver   Email Rex Oliver   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Can agree--what a dumb design-yes looks like a fan grill.Guess the only way to clean the dust off these is not with a cloth-but the dust brush on a vacuum cleaner.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16274
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 06-10-2017 11:14 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Agreed! But the Cinerama reels leaning just to the left are awesome!


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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 8003
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 06-10-2017 11:20 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Rex Oliver
Guess the only way to clean the dust off these is not with a cloth-but the dust brush on a vacuum cleaner.
Would it be possible to remove the screws, take the thing apart, and attack it with a garden hose? I would think that this would work fine as long as there are no other metal parts in it and it dries completely before film is wound onto it. I have done this with box fans--take the covers off, hose them down, and re-attach them. Obviously, it wouldn't work with this reel if it already had film on it.

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Jim Cassedy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1569
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Dec 2006

 - posted 06-10-2017 11:27 AM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't see any type of sound head on that projector, or am I missing something?

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Don Furr
Master Film Handler

Posts: 499
From: Sun City, Ca USA
Registered: Nov 2002

 - posted 06-10-2017 02:32 PM      Profile for Don Furr   Email Don Furr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jim maybe it's a 70mm only projector. That's one I don't recognize. I still don't see any mag head!

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2376
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 06-10-2017 04:11 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Bet those reels make a great sound when they get going fast.

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