F. and S. Marriott 140 Newbegin, Hornsea, England, HU18 1PB

May 2010. Stephanie died peacefully on 19th April after a short stay in hospital. She had been suffering from acute cervical cancer. Fred will continue to run the business to the best of his ability. The web site is slowly getting under control again as he tries to take over some of Stephanie's responsibilities, and learns some of the mysteries of Dreamweaver.

Pieces An on-line look at cameras etc. by Stephanie Marriott



Bolex Multimatic

Paximat Cine Mk 8


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June 2001

Cartridge-loading 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 different.

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.

Most 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 well.

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 reel.

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 regular use.

This column has previously appeared in International Movie Making, a magazine for film-makers published by Roy Salmons, and appears with his permission.

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