I’ve just picked up an old Eumig 8mm projector along with family films from
my mother’s flat. Amazingly the projector works just fine. I assumed all
the belts would have rotted away but it seems to use chains.
Anyhow, some of the old acetate films could do with a bit of repair work
and I have a splicer but no acetate cement. What is acetate cement? Could
I just try acetone or is there more to it than that? There are some small
bottles available on eBay but they’re pretty pricey.
How old are the films, roughly. My dad's Super 8 films from late 60s to late
70s were shot on either Kodachrome or Fujichrome. The Kodachrome ones can be
spliced with acetate cement (which did not smell of acetone - it was a very
characteristic smell, but not acetone) whereas the base of the Fujichrome
ones isn't dissolved at all by the solvent, and can only be spliced with
You should find that they will splice with splicing solution. I'd be
cautious about using superglue.
Is the splicer one which makes a zig-zag cut, separates the two ends of the
film to allow you to apply solvent to each cut end, and then moves them
together so they *butt up* to each other and the softened acetate can weld
together? As opposed to one which scrapes the base so it is thinner and then
*overlaps* the ends by a frame?
When you play the films for the first time, keep your hand on the
projector's off switch, ready to switch off if the film doesn't feed
properly. There are two feed sprockets, up just upstream of the gate and the
lens, and one a long way downstream, beyond the sound head (if the projector
has sound). Film can bunch up in the area between the input sprocket and the
gate, if the little claw in the gate which advances the film frame by frame
jumps out of the sprocket. Also the loop that you need to leave between the
gate and the sound head can be dragged tight (I'm never sure how that
happens!), which causes the picture to jump vertically.
In this image
1 = feed sprocket and spring-loaded "loop-creator"
2 = gate
3 = loop before sound head
4 = take-up sprocket
When you are feeding a new film, you hook the film onto the feed sprocket,
press the spring-loaded "loop-creator" (I can't think of a better name for
it!) and run the projector for a couple of seconds to feed the film through
the gate and towards the sound head. Stop the projector and release the
loop-creator. Thread the film through the horizontal slot of the sound head,
leaving a gap of a few mm rather than pulling it tight - there is a little
dashed line on the case which shows roughly where the film should sit. Hook
the film onto the take-up sprocket and then onto the take-up spool. You
*should( now be good to go.
Instant meltdown if the film fails to feed. How much of an issue that is with 8mm I don't know, I only ran 16 & 35. I wouldn't be surprised if you could use an IR filter to reduce the problem, never tried.
Hence always do the feeding with the bulb off, and then when the film is
running OK, turn the bulb on - and hope the film doesn't jam later on. In my
experience, some films (mainly the Fuji) seemed to be more prone to folding
up in the gap between the feed sprocket and the gate. It was rare to get a
jam after the gate: the usual failure there was loss of the intentional
slack before the sound head - once the film pulled taut, it came out of the
feed claw in the gate, leading to blurred pictures which jumped vertically
because the shutter opened during the time that the film was advancing. I
earned a few brownie points on a course that I was on, when the 16 mm
projector suddenly started doing that. I knew of the symptom and the cause
from my dad's Super 8 projector, so it was just a matter of finding the
corresponding location of the take-up sprocket, unthreading the film to feed
a couple of frames back through the sound heads to re-create the loop, and
the job was done.
On the kit I've worked there's no way anyone could feed the film with the bulb on. It would never make it through the gate. But that was all ancient pro equipment. And I'm using the term 'bulb' loosely with the Kalees.
Professional film splicing does use tape because it is stronger than
solvent-welding of the film base. The tape is designed to be as near
invisible as possible and has sprocket holes punched in it (or else maybe
the splicing tool punches them).
To get completely invisible splices, cinema films and high-quality TV drama
use a technique called A/B roll editing, in which the shots are divided into
two alternate groups and assembled with black film in between. See
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