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Author Topic: Changeover Tips Kinoton FP30/38E
Abraham Robinson
Film Handler

Posts: 12
From: Oakland, California, USA
Registered: Oct 2017


 - posted 10-29-2017 04:03 PM      Profile for Abraham Robinson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm a fairly new to changeovers, and was wondering if people wouldn't mind sharing some tips/tricks to help me get them cleaner. I've gotten pretty comfortable, but last night I ran a print with some dialogue that was very close to the changeovers, and I think I clipped a bit of a line on 1 or 2 of them.

That led me to wonder what I could be doing to really fine-tune. These Kinotons are new to the venue, and the lead tech does not have that much experience with them (we also only run prints every few months). He suggested threading on 7 or 6, but does anyone have any suggestions for how to calibrate a more exact system? I read through some old posts, and found the SMPTE Universal Standard and SMPTE Projection/Academy:

SMPTE-55 (SMPTE Universal Leader)
Motor Cue
4 frames
Distance between Cues
168 frames
Changeover Cue
4 frames
Distance to Last Frame
24 frames
TOTAL LENGTH
200 FRAMES
====================
ASA Z22.55 (Academy Leader) and SMPTE-301 (SMPTE Projection Leader)
Motor Cue
4 frames
Distance between Cues
172 frames
Changeover Cue
4 frames
Distance to Last Frame
18 frames
TOTAL LENGTH
198 FRAMES

What is the process for inspection then? I count the frames/ft, and then line up the next leader to be the corresponding offset distance? Is there a need to vary depending on the type of projector?

I'm also noticing a 'ghosting' couple-frame double exposure happening, when one dowser opens, and the other has not closed yet. I'm assuming on the E model Kinotons this is not a simple fix and will require proper servicing.

I know this is a forum where people have decades of experience, so I appreciate the help with my very beginner questions. Thanks!

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6839
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 10-29-2017 04:21 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Two gotchas to keep in mind.

Firstly, older prints that have been built up for platter use and packed off again many times may not have those 18 or 24 frames between the final "over" cue frame and the start of the runout intact. Some frames may have been lost in the process of cutting reel end ID frames. In extreme cases, the last frame of cue can literally be spliced to the start of the runout.

There are ways to mitigate the impact of this.

In an ideal scenario (uncut archival print), where you know your projectors well enough to know to near frame-accurate precision where you need to position the leader in the gate, the best way to changeover is to count half a beat in your head after you see the over cue and then punch the button: don't do it as a reflex action on seeing the cue. That will almost always make for the cleanest looking, and sounding, changeover.

If you have frames missing between the last over cue frame and the start of the runout, you can thread the incoming reel further forward to compensate, by the same number of frames that are missing. For example, if you have an Academy print with 6 frames missing and you would normally thread the incoming reel on 9 in the gate, this time you thread it to 9 and then inch it down six frames. Punch the button as soon as you see the over cue, and then at least you shouldn't be cutting anything from the incoming reel.

If the pix and sound changeovers are on separate buttons, you can also limit the impact of butchered reel ends by hitting the sound over a split second after the pix, to allow those extra frames from the outgoing reel to pass through the sound reader. Although the audience will probably still hear a pop, it'll be less obvious, especially if dialogue cuts across the change.

The biggest challenge of all is reel changes on a fade to black > fade in from black with frames missing. If a significant number of the fading frames are gone, you're not going to be able to get it to look smooth, sadly.

Where you thread the incoming reel depends on how long your motor takes to come up to speed. The distance between the two sets of cue dots corresponds to the length of the leader, and so in theory, if the motor was running at full speed from the moment it started and there was no lag in your reflexes, you'd thread the incoming reel with the START frame in the gate. But in the real world, your reflexes aren't instant, and the motor ramps up to speed from a standing start. Figuring out the ideal threading point for Academy and SMPTE leaders is a process of trial and error. I've worked in booths where it's not the same for the two projectors in the pair. In most cases it would be between 10 and 8 on an Academy leader, but I've known it as far back as between 12 and 11, and as far forward as 7.

If you're in doubt or not confident about the condition of an outgoing or incoming reel, thread a bit further down than you normally would. It's far better to clip a few frames of action than to project a few frames of black runout.

The sticky changeover shutters can be as simple as regreasing shafts, though the dowsers on later model Kinotons are more microelectronic affairs, and yes, will probably need professional attention.

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Abraham Robinson
Film Handler

Posts: 12
From: Oakland, California, USA
Registered: Oct 2017


 - posted 10-29-2017 04:41 PM      Profile for Abraham Robinson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thank you! suggestions like the note to wait half a beat on an archival print is exactly the type of tips I was hoping the experienced folks here might be able to provide.

The sound/picture changeovers are on a single button.

So it's really just trial and error to learn the motor speed time? On these Kinoton's there is a very noticeable change in sound (and visually if you look through the gate) when they hit sound speed. Maybe I could try to time that? If I figure out that time, how do I figure out the offset? I am pretty sure the 'always thread on 7' suggestion is leftover from when they had Simplexs in the booth.

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Sascha F. Roll
Film Handler

Posts: 82
From: Berlin, Berlin / Germany
Registered: Sep 2015


 - posted 10-29-2017 04:51 PM      Profile for Sascha F. Roll   Email Sascha F. Roll   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
On my pair of FP30E the „start cross“ has to be at 5 seconds and 6 frames if you have standard changeovers cues as quoted above.
Of course you have to be very fast hitting Motor Start (or FWD in your case) at the first cue and breathe once before hitting the Dowser Button when you see the second cue.

Best solution is to test your timing with a DTS print as any changeover that is too early would be noticeable as the sound switches exactly at the end of the reel.

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Abraham Robinson
Film Handler

Posts: 12
From: Oakland, California, USA
Registered: Oct 2017


 - posted 10-29-2017 05:07 PM      Profile for Abraham Robinson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
thanks but we don't have a DTS set-up.

5sec6frames is about 3-4 frames short of the 8ft mark? my guess is our system is close to that. I had been told to thread at 6 or 7ft, and had usually been threading at 6 (because I'm fairly new, I wanted to 'choke up' and make sure to not hit black). But after the first changeover clipped some dialogue on an un-cut print last night I backed up to 7 and that seemed better, but maybe I can start backing up a bit more.

thanks for the help, I am really enjoying doing changeovers, and just want to learn how to get them as perfect as possible.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 11982
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 10-29-2017 06:17 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For newbies, I normally tell them the simple rhyme of "Eight in the Gate." That is a starting point and as others have told you, you need to get the feel of your own reflexes. FP-E series projectors are inverter drive so their ramp up time is constant based on the parameters set. From the factory, Kinoton inverters are set up for a 5-second ramp up/down. This is slower than typical mechanical projectors from the US (typically 3-3.5 second ramp up but that may vary due to loading in typical systems).

Note, just because your projector's intermittent changes from shuttle to intermittent mode (happens on each start up), it doesn't mean that things are ready for change over. It takes nearly 7-seconds for a typical sound drum to come up to speed. If you don't want wow/flutter in your sound at start up, you will need to allow for that in your changeover timing too.

If you really want to test yourself, take some scrap film or a leader, mark off the standard cue placements and put have an "/" on it on the last frame. On a second piece of scrap film or leader, on the first fame put an "\". When you get it to the point that you put an "X" on the screen, you've got it.

As for the double image, that is less common with "E" projectors than lazy changeovers where it feels like someone winked. There are two things that I think could cause the double imaging. 1) The return spring is too weak (that is all that closes the changeover. 2) the damper is misset and is allowing the douser to bounce when closed (this would look more like a double flash).

Adjusting these takes a bit of patience and finesse. Depending on when these were commissioned and your personal mechanical abilities, it might be best to have your tech work on the dousers to get the best match.

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Abraham Robinson
Film Handler

Posts: 12
From: Oakland, California, USA
Registered: Oct 2017


 - posted 10-30-2017 01:06 AM      Profile for Abraham Robinson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
thanks steve!

it's definitely not doing a double-flash, and that is really helpful to know about the sound-head flutter

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6839
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 10-30-2017 08:09 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Another issue you may face is prints that have no cue marks at all on them, or so many multiple sets that none are reliably usable. The former is mainly a problem with foreign prints and archival prints derived from DI filmouts. For one specific example, the LTC and Eclair labs in Paris did not put cues on their release prints unless the customer specifically asked for (and paid extra for) them. Therefore, if you're an arthouse that plays imported prints of French movies, if you get one that's only ever been run on platter, it will likely have no cues on it. Again, the major European nonprofit archives tend not to put cues on their new prints deriving from digital restorations, though I've had some from UCLA and MoMA as well.

In this situation, you have three options for adding cues.

1 - Add new permanent ones, using a Clint Phare (or equivalent) scriber. Most nonprofit archives have a "do nothing irreversible" rule, and won't allow you to do this, but you can for commercial arthouse prints, unless you find a note in the cans or Goldbergs telling you not to. Personally I think this is the best option, if you have a footage and frame counter, and are confident that you can put them on the correct frames and in the correct position (opposite side from the soundtrack, or on a full gate silent print, on the furthest side of the film with the head of the frame pointing to the right, as you wind from tail to head, left to right). Once done, this should discourage others from putting grease pencil cues, or worse, all over the print, thereby creating a blizzard of marks that come and go throughout the last few seconds of action.

2 - Grease pencil marks on the base side of the film only. This is my least favorite option. Although they are non-invasive and can be wiped off (wearing gloves and using a lens cleaning or other non-abrasive cloth), they can be difficult for the projectionist to see on dark frames, and distracting for the audience on lighter ones.

3 - Click strips - one or two layers of splicing tape on each side of the film, where the first cue mark in each sequence would be. Instead of looking for the mark, you listen for the click. This is my preferred method: they are invisible to the audience, and can be removed without leaving a trace after the show. Whether you need one or two layers depends on your projector and the ambient noise level in the booth during a show.

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5159
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 10-31-2017 06:02 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Years ago an old-timer showed me his method.

You will need:

1) A reel of film that is pristine, i.e., no splices/missing frames between the LAB MADE cues.

2) A real of film that has a pristine (again, no splices) Academy leader (in those days that's all there was...SMPTE hadn't yet screwed up theatrical leaders to placate TV and their bloomin Plumbicons.

3) A common grease marker/pencil

On "A" Projector (Outgoing), thread up the print with pristine lab cues. It will be if it is a short, like a cartoon. If it's a full reel, you may want to threat it so that only a few minutes remain on the reel before changeover cues otherwise you will have to wait for the entire reel to play out.

On "B" Projector (Incoming), thread up the splice-less countdown leader> This you will run BACKWARDS, but it will be running backward, i.e., with the body of the print on the takeup reel and just the countdown on the supply reel. Thread so that the first frame of the image is in the gate. When the projector is turned on, the leader will be counting UP to PICTURE START.

Start "B" Projector to play out the last few minutes of the reel.

Go to "A" Projector and place the Grease Pencil in the Frame-Viewing window, poised and ready to press it down on the film when you see the Changeover Cue.

When you see the first cue -- the Sync Start Cue (some call it "Motor Cue") -- start the "A" Projector -- the Academy leader will count UP.

When you see the Change-Over Cue, press the grease pencil on the film. Let everything play out and shut everything down.

Now inspect the Academy Leader; find the grease pencil mark that you made when you saw the Changeover Cue. Note the frame location between what two numbers; that will now be the frame that the "A" projector should have in the Frame-Viewing Window for you to be able to make as frame-accurate a changeover that can be made without it being accomplished with a couple of sensors and a few pieces of foil.

This method will take into account both the projector motor acceleration time as well as your own reaction time. Test it running a normal changeover and see if you will need to tweak it. You can see how close you get by keeping the dowser and zipper shutter so you can see where picture from both projectors land. It should be done on both projectors because as mentioned, ramp up speeds can vary between machines, and also actually reaction times between projectionists can also vary -- each should test and adjust for where they should line up their own personal start frame.

For houses that run retrospective or archive prints using changeover, having independent picture and sound changeover switches certainly can be essential for to get a huge save on some prints that have had been subjected to ID frame clipped. It can mean saving the last word of a sentence or the last note of a music crescendo.

I like to give the example of a changeover that, if you missed it by even a few frames, you would lose an all-important single word that makes the whole joke of the scene work. It is in CAMELOT at the end of reel 2 where King Arthur is explaining how fantastic Camelot is. He explains that in Camelot, when the leaves fall from the trees, "they are just whisked away." Then he adds, "...at night," pause, "...of course." And Guinevere sort of mocking him repeats, -- CHANGEOVER -- "Of course!" If you miss that last second of sound, you lose her "of course" and you ruin the pace and the comedic flow, and if Joshua Logan were in the audience, you'd lose your job. With a split sound and picture changeover, you can catch that last word by hitting the sound changeover switch one beat after picture, and you'd hear the "Of course!" You also get to keep your job...of course.

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Abraham Robinson
Film Handler

Posts: 12
From: Oakland, California, USA
Registered: Oct 2017


 - posted 02-11-2018 01:39 PM      Profile for Abraham Robinson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks everyone my changeovers are looking much smoother.

However! now there's a new issue.

The electronic douser on Projector 2 is not fully blocking the screen. I can still see some of the image from Projector-2 after I switch over to #1. Is this something I can adjust myself? For now I can lean over and pull the manual douser asap, but that looks pretty amateur...

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