Retro Telecine

Building an 8mm Telecine Machine with Style

Friday, January 23, 2009

Open the Gate

I love the film gate on the DeJUR. It’s long and complicated, made of brightly polished stainless steel, and it does a great job keeping the film flat and in the right place without scratching it. In normal projection, the outline of what you see on the screen is determined by the little rectangular hole in the plate. It produces a blurry image edge with rounded corners. It also keeps you from seeing the sprocket holes go by.

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In a telecine, the image produced is a digital file and the edges are determined by the array of pixels on the CCD. We don’t want to capture the fuzzy hole in the film gate, but we do want to capture as much of the film frame as possible. So the hole in the gate must be enlarged. This job calls for careful filing away of the metal until the hole is big enough that you can see all four sides of the film frame through it, along with a bit of sprocket hole. The edges of the enlarged hole are rounded and the whole thing polished on a wheel and cleaned.

This gate design allows the film to be loaded or unloaded in mid-reel, by popping the lens mount open – pretty handy for telecine work.

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