projectors seem a strange idea to me. I suppose they
seemed like the logical progression from
cartridge-loading cameras but while a simple Super-8
camera can be sold as a starting point, a stepping-stone
to better things, a cartridge-loading projector is
Some cartridge-loading projectors can
only accept 50 foot reels, thus effectively precluding
even the possiblity of much creative edting. These cannot
be sold as a starting-point; they are locking the buyer
into a pattern of behaviour which may well have been
adopted by many people, I agree, but I suspect most of
them aspired to editing their films 'one day.'
Other systems require a take-up reel,
in which case i cannot see how they have much (if any)
advantage over a good auto-threading system.
cassette-loading projectors have cassettes designed to
accept a standard reel, often the 50 ft. reel as it is
returned from processing. The Technicolor system
required the film-maker to buy special mailing envelopes.
The film was returned, spliced into a continuous loop and
loaded into a Magi-Cartridge. To show the film, the
cassette had to be slotted into the projector and the
projector switched on. Sounds reasonable thus far but
there were a whole raft of restrictions on the use of the
cassette that makes the system sound a lot less
appealing. The cassette should not have more than ten
feet of film edited out. An 'S' cut tape splicer should
be used to splice the film. Film not processed and
returned in a Magi-Cartridge should not be spliced into
the cassette (apparantly the film was wax-coated to make
it run smoothly in the cassette).
All these restrictions would almost
certainly preclude the projector from ever being popular
with the domestic market but a continuous loop projector
would have commercial applications. It seems likely that
this is one area where these machines may have been used
although the information sheet I have seen warns the user
to not show a film more than four times without
interruption, making commercial use unlikely as
Much more flexible
are the more conventional cartridge loading projectors
like the Bolex Multimatic. The Multimatic will
take up to 5 cartridges at once and show them in
sequence, rewinding one while showing the next. The
cartridges are easy to load and take the 50 foot reel so
a film can be back from the processors, loaded into a
cartridge and shown very simply and quickly.
The Multimatic offers 18 and 24 f.p.s.
plus slow-motion. Several lenses were offered including
the 17 mm. to 20 mm. f/1.1 and the 12 mm. to 30 mm. f/1.3
Vario-Switar. It was expected to be introduced into the
UK in mid-1969 but this was delayed and the projector was
only available for a short time before Paillard-Bolex ran
into financial difficulties. It takes a 15 v. 150 w.
A1/232 tungsten halogen lamp which is easy to obtain and
inexpensive. The projector is an interesting piece of
engineering and design and tends to be reliable. In 1971
it cost between about £125 and £150 depending
on the lens.
The Multimatic was
just one of several such machines of course. The
Paximat Cine Mk. 8 takes Standard-8 and Super-8
film, using the same cassette design for both (of course,
the two cannot be mixed in one cassette). The cassette
takes up to 150 feet of film, an improvement over some
designs, and the projector can be used TV-style or for
more conventional projection onto a screen. In 1969 it
cost over £125 (for comparison, the Eumig Mark DL
was less than £80).
Bell and Howell also tried a
cassette system but their system required an external
take-up spool so was really little different from an
auto-threading projector. The cassette took up to 400
feet of film.
Kodak also tried to
launch a cassette system, with cassettes available in 50,
100, 230 and 400 ft. sizes (designated A, B, C and D
respectively). The Eumig Mark 510D is one of the
projectors which accept these cartridges as well as
normal cine reels (up to 400 ft.).
The Kodak system, as used on the
Eumig, provides for films to be fixed in the cartridge.
In this case, projection stops automatically - the lens
carrier opens, the lamp switches off and the motor stops.
Rewinding is simple as the film does not have to be
threaded from the take-up reel to the feed
All of these systems disappeared
without leaving much trace of their passing. Cassettes
are rarely seen now (and, when they are offered for sale
they are usually accompanied by a projector) and
therefore none of these system can be recommended for
This column has previously appeared in
International Movie Making, a magazine for film-makers
published by Roy
Salmons, and appears with his
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