Cinema Product Reviews

Metric Ultrasonic Splicer Model 3001
Manufacturer:  Metric Splicer and Film Company Inc.
Grade:  A-
Reviewed April 2000 by Joe Redifer

Tired of those wimpy tape splices collecting dirt, peeling off or breaking midway through the run of a print, or the fact that you can see the edges of the tape onscreen no matter how clear the tape is?  Then take out a loan and get the Metric Ultrasonic splicer!  This splicer can also splice 16mm and 8mm with special adapter plates, if for some reason you fell the need to do that.

This splicer is huge and heavy.  It requires that you plug it into the wall.  Unfortunately, it does not have provisions for a rechargable battery pack, and that seriously limits any kind of portability.  So you'll have to plug it in and leave it.  The power cord is also very short.  Also, don't get overzealous and splice together your previews with this thing, or you will go insane trying to change out trailers.

The ultrasonic splicer works by using soundwaves to "weld" the polyester film together.  You must cut the film with this splicer to ensure that it gets the proper overlap that is required.  After the film is cut, you just flip the plates back and press the "Splice" button.  About 5 seconds later, your splice is ready.  After this, it is a good idea to use a pair of scissors to trim the excess gunk off of the edges that stick out ever so slightly.  We leave the inboard gunk attatched because it is on the "springy" side of the lateral guide rollers and won't affect image steadiness in the gate, and also so we can find the damn splice when we break down the film. The splicer takes off one sprocket worth of film and dumps it out of the front, which can get VERY messy.  This is not a good design.

A decent solution is to put a piece of tape in front of the slot where the shavings come out, and then empty it once every few weeks or so.

Although it may look like a little lab splice (it is), the quality is much better, since the splice is made after the film is processed, unlike how it is often done at the lab.  The quality of the splice is excellent!  It is extremely strong and will glide through the gate effortlessly.  It won't collect dirt like tape splices do.  It does not cut out of digital in any format, not even on a Christie basement reader!  However if you are playing your movie in analog, you may hear a "pop"in the sound if it is in a fairly quiet scene.  That's not too good.  Otherwise, watching the splice go through is like watching any other scene change in the movie, unless you have a really sharp eye.

For well over $3000, I wouldn't expect anything less.  If you are willing to spend this type of money for a splicer, then presentation is obviously your #1 concern.  It does take a couple of minutes to get used to, but doesn't everything?

Bottom line:  If presentation is of prime importance to your theater, buy this splicer.

--Joe Redifer
Metric Splicer and Film Company Inc can be contacted through

Joe Redifer has been a projectionist for the last few years.  He learned at Mann Kipling, went on to the UA Greenwood and finally spent 2 years at Mann Chinese.  At the Chinese, Joe performed most of the daily maintenance on the equipment.  Joe is not a technician and has no test equipment, but is an experienced projectionist.  These reviews are representative of the performance of the equipment/services from his perspective.

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