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Super 16

Hi everyone,
     As a relative newcomer to this list, I probably missed a great 
discussion on the Super 16 format.  I bring it up now because of an 
event that (didn't) happen at work today.
     We had an unsupervised session booked with a client.  The film 
that arrived was Super 16, and our facility does not own a gate.  It 
appears that the only place to rent one is with Rank in L.A., and a 
frantic call there yeilded the expected:  The only gate they have is 
rented out for the foreseeable future.
     Now we don't do much S16.  We installed new rollers and all the 
ancillary stuff, and the only job we did left me quite unhappy -- the 
gate we received from Rank was a kludged 35mm gate with a modified 
aperture plate.  We had to blow up the picture so much things got 
soft.  Yet I understand gates are out there with true 16mm optics...
     Anyway, we sent the job to a facility with its own gate 
(apparantly Washington, DC has a lot of S16 work!) and are left 
pondering a few things.  
     Except for archival or Important footage, what would be the 
advantage of shooting S16 when today's television is 4:3?  I can 
understand The Discovery Channel or National Geographic shooting S16 
for future widescreen television, but this was a topical spot with no 
future importance.  Had they wanted letterbox, standard 16mm film 
composed as such would be fine.  This one was a mystery.
     It appears a new S16 gate costs about $24,000.  Our facility 
does not have enough S16 volume to justify that at this juncture 
(wouldn't be prudent).  Yet it appears impossable to rent one on 
anything but long notice.  Is anyone addressing this?
     Well, off the soapbox for now.  Hope some of you kind folks can 
provide me with insight into this format.  

Bob Lovejoy