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Spirit, Light Bulbs, etc...


  I too was wondering what the year old J. Dowdell posting was all about.  
Maybe just trying to stir up some product interest before the big 
show?  Whatever;  it did seem somewhat inappropriate.  Never the 
less,  I have been maintaining Cintel machines for over ten years and 
have truly enjoyed the constant tweaking, modifying, and general 
fooling around that the product requires.  The range of picture 
output quality  is in direct relation to the vintage of machine as 
well as the time spent fiddling with it.  Some machines  make great 
looking pictures,  some are really hideous.   No one could say that a 
properly maintained and operated URSA Gold makes a "bad" picture.
In fact it makes a beautiful picture.  The best available for any money 
..........until the Spirit hit the streets.  As you know,  with the  crush of
bodies and distractions encountered on the NAB showroom floor, it's
somewhat difficult to evaluate something as complicated as a different 
telecine.  Just walking up to a monitor while the machine is playing 
a piece of film is no way to seriously evaluate a machine you will be 
paying a lot of cash for.   We too saw the machine at NAB last year 
and spent considerable time checking it out.  We were so impressed 
with the pictures coming out of it that we decided to take the chance 
and ordered it.   
  We have had the Spirit on line since January and are even more 
impressed with  it's ability to deal with just about any condition 
and produce superlative results.  Over exposed?  Under exposed ?  No 
problem,  no noise;   plus you are able to see into the dark areas of the 
picture AND deliver the blown out whites as well.  There's never a 
shading problem, tube grain problem,  Zoom crossover problem,  
stop-play level problem,  dirt on the tube problem,  and when you go 
back to the transfer a week later,  the picture looks exactly the 
same as it did the first time.  The machine hides scratches and dirt,
has a very stable transport and the steadiest gates I have ever seen.
Playback speeds can be selected in the thousands of a second and can 
match any camera speed.  So what is that worth to you?  What is it 
worth to your clients?   If they have scratched their negative and 
would be looking at a re-shoot or paintbox fix,  how much is it now 
  As to the light source,  it was recommended that we
change it at  around 2000 hours but we would see an increase in the 
bulb power supply  current when it was getting some age on it. The 
current is still at the nominal value and we have probably somewhere around 
4000 hours on the lamp delivered with the machine.  I do have a spare 
that I paid $500 dollars for.  So if I change it every 3 months at 
$500 per it would cost hmm..  $2000 per year?    That is not much 
compared to the $11,000 per tube we spend each year on our Cintel 
machines and there is no setup time involved.  Just install the lamp, 
FPN the machine and go.  
   I'm wondering what the "Buyer Beware" thing was supposed to mean?
Beware that if you buy  this machine you will be disappointed?  In 
what?  Better pictures?  All I know is I have heard a lot of people that 
don't own or operate a Spirit complaining loudly about it.  You also have to 
remember that the Spirit has only been on the market for less than a 
year and Cintel has had fifteen years to get their product to the 
level it is at now.   How much  can the Spirit improve in the 
next couple of years?  

  I do not represent Philips, Cintel or any other product being 
mentioned here;  just my opinions.
  Yours Truly,Telecine

David Warner
Filmgroup at Crawford Communications
tel  404-875-5403  fax 404-875-4908

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