Seasonal Almanac

Start of winter: Pheasants enter water and turn into monster clams (5 of 5)

May 20th, 2009

Start of winter 15 of 15In an experimental screen subject I teach, I introduce students to hand-made 16mm film, which they generally embrace with much enthusiasm. So much so that the sturdy film projector has been taking quite a bit of experimental beating. The projection speed has started slowing down erractically. At first I thought it might be the loosening of the drive belt, but after dissection and some further testing, this diagnosis simply does not account for all its unusal behaviours.

I found this trusty Bell and Howell 1680E at the basement of the university’s learning support unit and they were only too happy to get it off their hands. The fatal mistake I committed was that I did not return to enquire about the rest of the film gear. When I did, I was told I was 2 months too late as all the equipment was disposed of – skip style.

There was surprisingly little about 16mm projector repair on the internet. A search only led me to eBay’s sellers selling ‘vintage’ film gear. After further research, I begin to suspect the capacitor on the starter circuit to be at fault. I need to consult one of those dying breeds of technicians called Keith, or Mike, or Paul, stowed away at the back of a film school somewhere – what will happen to mechanical know-how of these amateru film formats when they all retire?

One Response to “Start of winter: Pheasants enter water and turn into monster clams (5 of 5)”

  1. 1 Jade Markham
    June 10th, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    This is such a sad story.
    The part with the skip reference made me shudder.
    I had the same kind of experience myself,
    with my usual gusto,
    talking to Keith or Mike or Paul one day.
    They take their knowledge for granted,
    when it needs to be conserved.
    They are all fatalists, you can tell,
    they have seen it all,
    from film to video to dvd, from sides to av and powerpoint,
    can’t blame them though.
    They ascribe to ‘obselete’
    I personally won’t have a bar of it.
    Can’t we just start again, with the knowledge that we have now?