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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » Repowering long unused booth (Page 1)

 
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Author Topic: Repowering long unused booth
Larry V. Price
Film Handler

Posts: 7
From: Shoreline. WA USA
Registered: Mar 2004


 - posted 01-24-2018 12:49 AM      Profile for Larry V. Price   Email Larry V. Price   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was recently had a chance to take a brief look at the booth in a theater about 90 miles from where I live. They are willing to pay me a fair price to return for a day to evaluate it's condition. This is a 1920's 1,200 seat movie palace, now used for concerts and stage shows. In the early 1990's when it transitioned to a non profit from first run films, the booth was re-equipped as follows. One Christie autowind 3 platter w/70mm conversion kit, one Norelco AAII 35/70, One Simplex XL 35 (original to the booth), one Xenon 16mm. The 16 is a late model Bell and Howell with a 1,600 Xenon on the rear. Audio equipment consists of a Dolby CP 65 and a Dolby MPU for the 70mm. Output of the CP 65 is to XLR connectors, signal was fed to house PA. No DTS was ever installed. Film was last shown here about 12 years ago, nothing in the booth has been powered up since. Much rewiring work has been done since film was last run here, numerous runs of conduit now run across the booth just below the ceiling. Everything is covered in concrete dust from the construction work. My question is, after much cleaning, do I need to be cautious about powering up anything? I think not but wanted second opinions. BTW, no staff remain from the last time film was run. My thought is, if they want it to function again, to ditch the platter (and the 16) and make it a changeover booth for 35mm. I could even give them another XL and a soundhead. That is how I run archival prints in Seattle at several venues. Sorry for the long post.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6809
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 01-24-2018 09:02 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Check oil levels, and the integrity of the oil seals, in the projectors, and turn them over gently before trying to run the motors. If you feel significant resistance, something mechanical is likely wrong.

Even if it appears to work, I'd be cagey about trying to keep the CP65 in revenue-earning service, especially one that hasn't been powered up in over a decade. Dolby no longer supports it, and if any of the cards go bad, you're on your own for diagnosis and on Ebay for spares. If this place is serious about bringing back movie projection capability, the budget should really allow for replacement of the audio processor. A Datasat AP20 with the H338 35mm optical preamp card would be a possibility, one that would also enable digital cinema audio to be added easily.

Consideration should also be given to installing a digital cinema projector and server (or IMS). The few archives and arthouse distributors that will still provide 35mm prints are becoming increasingly cautious about who they will lend them to, and will likely want to inspect new venues, and be convinced that the projectionists working at them know what they're doing. Expect to jump through a lot of hoops, multiple times (with each archive or distributor) as a new venue, before being allowed to book prints. Furthermore, the shipping and handling of these prints can be expensive. You may find yourself in a situation whereby $500 to play a DCP of a classic title is viable, but $1,500 to play a 35mm print is not. And of course, the shipping cost of 70mm is an order of magnitude higher.

Agreed that a platter-based film system is not viable.

Used Series 1 digital projectors and servers are not that expensive in the context of a major refurb project, and for a part-time venue (one that shows movies two or three nights a month, not 12 hours a day, seven days a week), this might be the most cost-effective option.

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Sam D. Chavez
Film God

Posts: 2043
From: Martinez, CA USA
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 01-24-2018 10:20 AM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm quite sure the CP65 is probably fire up and work just as it did before the shutdown. They are pretty rugged and no software upgrades are needed. LOL

BACP provide card exchange on a number of Dolby processors, including the 65.

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Larry V. Price
Film Handler

Posts: 7
From: Shoreline. WA USA
Registered: Mar 2004


 - posted 01-24-2018 02:38 PM      Profile for Larry V. Price   Email Larry V. Price   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for the tips. It will be at least 3 weeks before I have the time to return. At present, it's mostly a booth inventory and evaluation. If they ever do decide to do anything it is at least a year away. When they last ran a film series, it was a single monthly show, 8 months a year. If they ever do anything again, it will be on film and on a very irregular and infrequent basis. The theater is the Mt. Baker in Bellingham, WA and the city is well served with 3 small art house screens in close proximity to the Mt. Baker. I can't really see them ever installing Digital Cinema capability. I might add that the Baker is a very beautiful theater, inside and out. I had gone up there as a Union stagehand for a single day in December and had not seen the inside since I was a relief projectionist there about 1980 or so.

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Buck Wilson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 843
From: St. Joseph MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2010


 - posted 01-24-2018 08:10 PM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You may want to consider the xenons- having a buildup of dust on them may lead to overheating and explosion when turned on for a while. I don't know if a good cleaning with lintless tissues and alcohol is advisable or not over an outright replacement, but do keep the xenons in mind.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6809
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 01-24-2018 09:01 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Good point. After a decade of summer <> winter heat and humidity cycles, it may also be that the pressure seals on the bulbs have failed, with the result that they simply won't strike at all. But yes, moisture or other contamination on the envelope of a bulb that has retained its pressure is asking for a kaboom.

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Gary A. Hoselton
Film Handler

Posts: 42
From: Portland OR U.S.A.
Registered: Nov 2005


 - posted 01-24-2018 10:04 PM      Profile for Gary A. Hoselton   Email Gary A. Hoselton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Please post a picture of the 16mm late B&H with xenon added. I'm curious to see what it looks like.

In the late 1960's I saw an early evening film at the Mt. Baker, then went to the Greyhound station for a bus south, and great fuss there as the bus had disappeared. Next day I read in paper that the bus had been found off edge of road near the main gate for Whidbey Island Navy base.

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Julian Antos
Film Handler

Posts: 54
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: Nov 2009


 - posted 01-25-2018 03:25 PM      Profile for Julian Antos   Email Julian Antos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'll put $100 on the CP65 firing up just fine! Rugged indeed.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7921
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-25-2018 04:28 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Having done this sort of thing a couple of times with equipment that was out of use for longer, I'm willing to bet that _everything_ works just fine after cleaning and oiling, aside from any rubber belts. Assuming that the equipment was previously in good condition and that there have been no roof leaks or excessive humidity, my guess is that the soundhead bearings will need replacement, but that there will be no other major problems. If they keep the platter, the rubber drive pucks might need replacement.

Personally, I would keep the 16mm machine (if it is in good shape), too.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6809
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 01-28-2018 11:05 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
On the CP65 issue, I've answered calls for help over three failures in the last six months, two of them for units that had been adapted for use in D-cinema installations by adding the Doremi AES to analog converter box.

One was that a nasty buzz on the center channel, that was probably a bad backplane (swapping the cards around didn't move the problem, and neither did replacing the power supply from a spare unit. The second was that massive crosstalk from center to surround suddenly started on A-type film sound. The third was that the power supply suddenly died, and the unit went totally dead, in the middle of a show.

All three customers decided to replace their units, rather than spring for several hundred bucks for a service call, with no guarantee that their CP could be fixed, either without spending hundreds more, at all. The two venues that didn't need film sound bought CP750s, and the one that did a refurbished CP650.

In this case, as we'd potentially be talking about a part-time venue, with access to a service vendor that still offers a full support package for this model (BACP), then that could be an argument in favor of keeping it, especially if it works without any faults when powered up.

However, in a full time movie theater, in which every lost show potentially means thousands in lost revenue, I would be very wary, as a general rule, of having equipment in use that is not backed up by an overnight parts service from the manufacturer, and a service vendor who can perform any repair needed being able to get there within a few hours.

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Jack Ondracek
Film God

Posts: 2273
From: Port Orchard, WA, USA
Registered: Oct 2002


 - posted 01-28-2018 11:37 AM      Profile for Jack Ondracek   Author's Homepage   Email Jack Ondracek   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In this case, Larry is experienced & well-prepared to deal with used equipment. In this area, there's no end to decommissioned film equipment and there's a good company here that has a long history with film equipment service & supply. Don't think there's much to worry about, as far as parts availability goes.

Haven't seen a 16mm xenon machine since the demise of Seattle's Midtown Cinema. It was a Hortzon, which made more sense if you were left-handed.

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Sam D. Chavez
Film God

Posts: 2043
From: Martinez, CA USA
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 01-29-2018 11:34 AM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As I'm sure Jack knows, the Hortson and others were left handed to fit into the very tight booths in Europe. There even left and right handed Bauer and other brands of 35mm projectors for the same reason.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 11951
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 01-29-2018 12:43 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'd think that the left-handed 16mm machine was born from where it would best fit in the booth. Presuming that one designs a booth for a pair of 35mm projectors, you wouldn't want 16mm to be way off center since you aren't going to want to file that aperture plate (or do anything fancy with it, at least). By making it left handed, it can fit between the 35mm projectors and tight to the #2 non-op side. This would put 16mm, laterally, pretty much on center-line.

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Sam D. Chavez
Film God

Posts: 2043
From: Martinez, CA USA
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 01-29-2018 05:37 PM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Steve Guttag
I'd think that the left-handed 16mm machine was born from where it would best fit in the booth.
Of course this is generally correct, but since the Hortson is French and FP16 is German I would presume they were designed for booths in Europe first and foremost. I'm trying to think of an American left handed 16mm projector.

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Stephen Furley
Film God

Posts: 3043
From: Coulsdon, Croydon, England
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 01-30-2018 07:35 AM      Profile for Stephen Furley   Email Stephen Furley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Why would you make a portable/classroom type projector left handed? There was at least one, the Carpenter.

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