Cinema Product Reviews

Strong 35mm SP35 tape splicer
Manufacturer:  Strong International
Rating: F

The original review of this product can be found in the Review Warehouse.

Letís have a close look at it.  First, for reference purposes, let's consider the next picture below "picture #1".

Now let's consider the next picture below "picture #2".

That splicer blade assembly (5, PN # 5035) <picture # 1> (as well as the photo above) is a superb, perfect design.  Perfect results, nothing to add.

Oh, whatís this? Yes, Iím not wrong, that poor thin stainless steel plate is the tape holder! What a  cheap design, made from a badly folded thin steel sheet, poorly finished! All the edges and angles are as if they were hand-filed. If I had to make such a part by myself, with a vice and a file, I would make a more beautiful one! Oh yes, the  STRONG SP 35 film splicer is provided with two tape holders, one at the front, one at the back. I still have to find a purpose for this.  Now letís try that tape holder.  It is incredibly hard to pull a piece of tape out of that strange device, needlessly complicated. It must have been designed before the discovery of the wheel!

Letís open the jaws of the STRONG SP 35 film splicer. Oh this is the stripper plate (12, # 4928) <picture # 2>! Once again that poor, thin, roughly filed stainless steel! Cheap, cheap, cheap!

Letís have a look at the tape trimming device. It is made from two small blades (pic 2, 9, # 4806).  Instead of being cut obliquely as on every guillotine device, it is cut straight and held askew under two small bolts. Once again, poor design, probably dictated by industrial simplification!

Letís look at the splicer punch plate assembly   (pic 1, 16, # 5037) Once again, same poor finish, this plate is even slightly shorter than the base on which it is fixed. Never mind, itís not serious! No but it isnít beautiful.

Enough with blabla, letís try it!
As Iíve already said, the splicer blade works perfectly, it is twice as thick as the CIR one.

Now letís place a film and punch the tape. The motion of the punching handle is short, smooth, neat!
Letís have a look at the work.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! HOW DREADFUL! The five upper sprocket holes are severely damaged, dramatically enlarged on the inner side, all the inner edges are folded upward, HORRIBLE! Now my film is like a cheese grater on that very place!

Is that all? Not at all, the upper edge of the film has been severely chopped. The sliver is 0.4mm (0.0157 inches) large and 15mm (0.591 inches) long!

Just think I still have to proceed to the punching of the other side of the film, the ten perfs will be ruined and both edges chopped!
Why is the  STRONG SP 35  so rough? Itís obvious, it is awfully badly designed!

Look at the punch blades, they move toward the film according to a rotation axis (the 2 splicer hinge pins, P1, 6, # 4802)  and so penetrates obliquely into the holes of the punch plate assembly, so do the trim blades.  On the CIR splicer, both punch blade and trim blade move perpendicularly, thatís the only right solution!

 I can admit mine was built on a Friday and  needs an adjustment but then, the quality control at STRONGíS leaves a lot to be desired and the technically wrong design remains.

Iím awfully disappointed by the STRONG SP 35 ($405, internal shipping included).  I bet a GE M2 splicer ($156) from American Cinema Equipment in Portland does a better work as itís a knock-off of the unrivalled CIR.

Bottom line:  STRONG gave me a full refund without any hesitation.

-Philippe Laude
Strong International can be reached at

Philippe Laude is a 48-years chemical research lab technician. He  entered the film sphere by the 16mm side and soon shifted to 35mm, given the better technical specs and availability possibilities.  He assists a professionnal 35mm engineer on the field, setting up open-air and one-day projection sites.  He has been running his own 35mm private screening room since 1993.

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