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Re: EASTMAN 285 & Sony DXC-1820

Mike writes:

>First, I have recently aquired an old Eastman 285 Telecine.  It arrived in
worse shape than i was expecting. To make a long story short, i am in need of a
service manual, schematics and/or an operation manual for this dinosaur. Also,
can i get some opinions, experiences or wisdom form the masses here on the good
points and the bad points, the capabilities and/or limitations on this Eastman
285 (assuming i bring it back to full operating condition)

If I remember correctly, the Eastman 285 was a modified 16mm Kodak Pageant
projector.  The only real differences are a five-blade shutter, some rudimentary
remote control (which you don't have to bother with if you don't want to), and a
heavy duty audio system.  It shouldn't be too hard to find a Pageant or two for
parts to keep the 285 running.  Anybody familiar with projectors, or with
electromechanical devices in general, should find it easy enough to deal with.
The 285 was commonly used in educational and industrial settings, but it was a
bit lightweight for broadcast use.   I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if
there are still a few of them lurking in the basements of college media
departments.  The bulb was a 300-watt flange-base type, which is a bit hard to
find today.  If necessary, a more common 500-watt lamp with the same type of
base can be used safely.  The machine will fit 750 and 1,000 watt bulbs, which
are still readily available, but I would not try it without a fire extinguisher

>Second, I have a very nice Sony DXC-1820 Single tube Video Camera that seems to
work fine. I am planning om using this as a Source for a 16mm Kodachrome
transfer. Would i be better shelving this an getting an old 3-Tube DXC-M3A ??
Would the 1820 suffice for such a transfer using the Eastman 285 ?

The big question here is how you intend to get the light from the projector into
the camera.  If you have one of those home video transfer boxes, or a projection
lens and screen, or an optical multiplexer (which would have been part of a
fancy film chain with two or three projectors), then you can use a video camera
as-is.  On the other hand, if you go lens-to-lens (which is how simple film
chains are often set up), you'll need to flip the scans in the camera to get the
picture right north-south and east-west, and after doing this, the camera will
probably need some tweaking.  This is less work on a single-tube camera than on
a three-tube one, and in either case a lot easier than on many CCD cameras!  On
the other hand, unless it's been run into the gound, a three tube camera will
produce better sharpness and color separation, and less lag than a single tube

I would consider having a camera with a CCU (camera control unit) an overriding
consideration, BTW.  You need to be able to adjust all the video parameters as
required without taking the side off the camera.  If you don't already have
them, you should try to get a hold of a waveform monitor, vectorscope, and a
broadcast-quality picture monitor that have been properly calibrated, otherwise
you don't have a good way of knowing whether the video will really be useable.

If you get all of this together, you should be able to obtain images which will
look like '70s TV: soft, blurry, no detail in the highlights, murky lowlights,
and unnatural, possibly oversaturated colors.  Do not count on being able to
"fix it in post."  While the range of tricks that can be applied in tape-to-tape
color correction is amazing, there is no way to bring out what won't be captured
in the first place.  Yes, there has been considerable progress in electronic
imaging in the last twenty years!  With any luck, you'll start a new trend which
might be called LDTV (low definition TV), much like the folks who started
shooting black-and-white some years back, and now it turns up in every other
commercial on the air.  This would confound the hell out of those who equate the
cost of their equipment with the value of what comes out of it.

Best regards,
Christopher Bacon

Thanks to Seamus O'Kane for support in 1999
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