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Author Topic: I get to see a carbon arc setup!
Tony L. Hernandez
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 158
From: Windsor, CO, USA
Registered: Dec 2005


 - posted 06-28-2006 11:10 PM      Profile for Tony L. Hernandez   Email Tony L. Hernandez   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
YAAAY! I am so excited I could just die! I am going to finally, after many years of working on 35mm platter systems and 2000' change over systems with xenon lamps, get to watch a movie presented on a carbon arc setup with 2000' change over. I can hardly wait; I have extensively researched the mom and pop/ historic theaters around my state and surounding states and believe this to be the last carbon arc set up around me and one of three total I know of in the USA. This is at the Comanche Drive In in Buena Vista, Colorado. I will also get to visit a small mom and pop twin in a neighboring town and a historic opera house turned single screen theater that is owned by the drive in owners that I have visited once before.

Does anyone else agree that seeing a carbon arc system in operation is a VERY rare treat in this day and age? Now if ony I could get to run one...I can drean, can't I?

P.S. I am running a 35mm print of "Night of the Living Dead" on 2000' change over at my Rialto Theater tomorrow and Friday so I am just on cloud 9!

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Cameron Glendinning
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 845
From: West Ryde, Sydney, NSW Australia
Registered: Dec 2005


 - posted 06-29-2006 01:44 AM      Profile for Cameron Glendinning   Email Cameron Glendinning   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
just keep them well trimmed and make sure they don't burn together.

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John Walsh
Film God

Posts: 2490
From: Connecticut, USA, Earth, Milky Way
Registered: Oct 1999


 - posted 06-29-2006 07:50 AM      Profile for John Walsh   Email John Walsh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It is fun to see or operate carbon arc setups; it reminds you of the days when operators really 'worked.' However, I think many people would not like to actually return to the days of running carbons. Not trying to dampen anyone's enthusiasm, but running carbon (especially with 2000ft reels) was work, and doing it every day for a few years would make you be glad for xenons.

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Robert Throop
Master Film Handler

Posts: 412
From: Vernon, NY USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 06-29-2006 08:07 AM      Profile for Robert Throop   Email Robert Throop   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Capitol theatre in Rome, NY and the Stanley theatre in Utica both run Ashcraft Core Lites. They are both performing arts centers so they don't run full time. They both have quite a few screenings in August. The Capitol still has the original Moller pipe organ and frequently shows silents with organ accompaniment.
Bob

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Mitchell Dvoskin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1869
From: West Milford, NJ, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 06-29-2006 08:43 AM      Profile for Mitchell Dvoskin   Email Mitchell Dvoskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yawn. I am still running carbon arc's at The Loews Jersey, I wish I could convince them to install the Xenons.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12814
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 06-29-2006 09:13 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I dunno...I didn't find carbons work...at least not the tinker toy ones like the Peerles. Now when you get into the larger rotating carbons (11mm - 13-6.mm) then the work started to come in since the drives need to be constantly maintained. Also, the rotating carbons are not copper clad and would get all over your hands....those were more like work but so...it is a job...you are supposed to work and it was a superior presentation.

As to running 20 minute reels (carbon or xenon) big deal...that really isn't work...it is a rythmn.

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Mark Ogden
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 943
From: Little Falls, N.J.
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 06-29-2006 09:24 AM      Profile for Mark Ogden   Email Mark Ogden   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Geez, I never thought of it as work at all, it seemed like a nice easy gig to me. I put myself thru college in various single-screen carbon arc booths, and I got a lot of studying done, wrote a bunch of term papers and fooled around with the occasional concession girl all without missing a single change-over ever. I mean, it wasn’t like moving furniture.

Interesting, though, the original poster’s enthusiasm. Really, the vast majority of people who come to this site have probably never trimmed a carbon, opened a title curtain or made a change over in their lives. That was the pleasure of the job, knowing you put on a nice smooth presentation without any kind of platters or automation whatsoever. The last changeover show I saw was years ago at the old UC Theatre in Berkeley, and it was flawless. I stopped to shake hands with the guy when he came downstairs after the show. It’s great that there is a few places left where the old ways are still in practice.

Enjoy the show, Tony!

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Stephen Furley
Film God

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From: Coulsdon, Croydon, England
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 06-29-2006 11:51 AM      Profile for Stephen Furley   Email Stephen Furley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Tony L. Hernandez
Does anyone else agree that seeing a carbon arc system in operation is a VERY rare treat in this day and age?
Very rare now, the last I heard there was still one cinema in Britain regularly running carbons; I don't know if they still are, I've never been to the place. There was another place that still had one of their old machines set up, and could run the odd reel, but that's now closed for major building refurbishment/repair works, and will re-open with all modern equipment.

quote: Steve Guttag
As to running 20 minute reels (carbon or xenon) big deal...that really isn't work...it is a rythmn.
To me, running twenty minute reels just feels 'right' somehow. When I'm ready to put the next reel on, it's ready to go on. I find it much more tiring at the end of a long shift making up and breaking down on 6ks or towers. I don't really know why, the reels are much heavier to handle of course, and there's a big rush to get a print ready to run if it arrives at the last minute. With 2ks you just need to inspect the first couple of reels, and you can do the rest while the show is running.

With towers there's also a rush to get the whole feature rewound if you're running the same film on two consecutive shows, though that's not something I often do.

Running 2ks just feels more 'relaxed' somehow.

quote:
Yawn. I am still running carbon arc's at The Loews Jersey, I wish I could convince them to install the Xenons.
Mitchell, keep the Core-lites running just a bit longer [Smile] . There aren't many of them left now.

The light was much better last month than it was a year ago by the way; have you found some replacement mirrors from somewhere?

Even when you get the DP-70s set up, why not keep one 35mm machine set up with carbons for running odd trailers, shorts etc? There's plenty of room up in that box, and striking a xenon just to run five or ten minutes of film isn't ideal. You could use up odd stubs of carbons for that.

Give my regards to the folks at the loew's when you see them next, and to Peter at the Lafayette. Is Bernie still at the UCAC? I haven't heard anything of him for a couple of years now.

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 06-29-2006 12:20 PM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Steve Guttag
Also, the rotating carbons are not copper clad and would get all over your hands....those were more like work but so...it is a job...you are supposed to work and it was a superior presentation.

What, you didn't wear "carbon handlers" gloves? [Wink]

At the Grandview Drive-In (1967-1970), we used National Carbon (Union Carbide) 11mm positives, and I recall they didn't leave much carbon dust on your hands. There must have been a cleaning operation after the rods were baked, cut and filled.

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Mitchell Dvoskin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1869
From: West Milford, NJ, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 06-29-2006 12:28 PM      Profile for Mitchell Dvoskin   Email Mitchell Dvoskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mark,

You are welcome to come down to The Loews Jersey on Journal Square in Jersey City. We still run carbon and 2000' reels. Our next season will start sometime in late September. If I'm there the night you attend, ask for me and I'll show the booth.

Stephen,

The Ashcraft Super CoreLites are not going anywhere soon. We have enough 13.6mm carbons to last the next few years, still burning old Union Carbides, and we have a cases of new foriegn no-name carbons that we haven't started yet.

No, we have not yet found new or re-silvered the mirrors, but we have been tweeking everything else that we can.

Yes, Bernie is still at the Union County Arts Center. The last film of their this year's series is tomorrow night.

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Richard Fowler
Film God

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From: Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA
Registered: Jun 2001


 - posted 06-29-2006 12:40 PM      Profile for Richard Fowler   Email Richard Fowler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A night with dirty Lorraine carbons and you went home looking like a coal miner [Big Grin] When I was a young service tyke most emergency calls where due to arc lamp problems...jackets, water problems, feeding problems et cetera. I remember my arc lamp parts box with jaws, fittings, plumbing parts, cables, emergency jumpers, motors; nice hernia box. The last set of Ashcraft I handled was more than 22 years ago for a film festival. I was the on call service tech and helper in case the projectionist was a little rusty in arc lamp operation. Do I miss carbons....no [Razz]

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Stephen Furley
Film God

Posts: 3059
From: Coulsdon, Croydon, England
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 06-29-2006 01:49 PM      Profile for Stephen Furley   Email Stephen Furley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mitchell Dvoskin
No, we have not yet found new or re-silvered the mirrors, but we have been tweeking everything else that we can.
Well, whatever you've tweaked, it's made a big improvment this year.

quote: Mitchell Dvoskin
Yes, Bernie is still at the Union County Arts Center. The last film of their this year's series is tomorrow night.
I've been to just one show there, about two years ago. I saw Bernie outside the theatre that evening. My main reason for coming over last month was to see 'To Kill a Mockingbird' at the Lafayette, so that set one date when I had to be there. The price of flights varies greatly, a few days difference can more than double the price, so I had to try for various dates, both out and back, to get the cheapest price I could. Then I had to try to match up possible flight dates with days when there were shows at the other theatres, and when I was able to take leave from work. I was able to make it to two shows at the Loew's, plus the students' screening, but it just wasn't possible to be there when there was anything on at the UCAC.

If I remember correctly, there were six public events posted at the loew's on four consecutive days, plus the photo shoot that they had in there one morning; the place seems to be getting quite a bit of use at the moment.

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8367
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 06-29-2006 02:41 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
(I've posted thid pix before)

Yea, this IS pretty fun!

 -

On sweeping out the lamphouses: You would open up the dampers all the way, make sure the exhaust fan was definitely on and sweep the ash that is on the upper insides of the lamphouse, right towards the stack. Anywhere else, you swept carefully towards the copper dripping pan (after you emptied the pan of copper drippings in the coffee can to recycle..)

I remember seeing many-a-lamphouses that had accumulated layers upon layers of ash, one can fill up a large coffee can full of ash after a good cleaning.

Then, the single edge razor blade as always handy to scrape the copper spits off the mirror. Then, make a paste out of Bon-Ami to scrub the mirror after the spit cleaning.. Really made that mirror shine.

....and this was a daily opening procedure that I would always do with the lamphouse along with cleaning the two machines.

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 06-29-2006 04:04 PM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In hindsight, that carbon ash has "rare earth elements" that may have adverse health effects. Wear a dust mask at the very least to protect your lungs.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12767
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 06-29-2006 05:27 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Monte - that pic could have been taken in the Roxy 30 years ago. Even the booth walls were about the same color. (Different lamphouses though.)

I agree it's really a rhythm. The challenge was always to see how quick you could get the reel in the rewinder, and the next reel threaded, in order to get the max amount of sit-down time while watching the running machine.

If I had any complaint about that job, it was the heat in the booth....other than that I really enjoyed it.

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