I always love to read the kind of stuff we used to be able to in "Movie Maker" and the likes regarding the latest model reports on Cameras and Projectors etc.
With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to start off a new post on here giving everyone an opportunity to re-live those days and see some of those wonderful reviews from back in the day.
I start with some of the machines I own that were very kindly interpreted back in to English for me from the Dutch popular small format magazine.
Here to begin with is the report for the Beaulieu 708 EL CD Stereo:
Beaulieu 708 EL Stereo
By Piet Joosten, october 1980, magazine Smalfilmen als hobby
It was predestinated that the Beaulieu-manufacturer in France would come, at a certain moment, with a projection machine that also had the possibility of stereo sound. With the introduction of the duoplay-version some time ago, they pointed in fact already in this direction. Now, we speak about a top of the range machine, not only for the many possibilities, but one has to keep the price from about f 5500 (about 2750 euros) in mind - notice some differences in prices at one place or another. For the test, Piet Joosten had one of the very first machines in his disposition. For that reason, we could react with the test this soon.
Next to the very well known 708 EL Duoplay, Beaulieu has now also manufactured a complete stereo projector. Because of the fact that they had to place an extra amplifier and some other things that had to be changed, one has used the occasion to perfect the projector even more. It has not become a projector for everyone, because the price is in a high level. But those who can pay this amount, buy a projector with everything in it. With the most pleasure, we frolicked with this projector to see what all the possibilities were.
In our test from the duoplay projector (in january 1979), we treated all the technical novelties from this projector. Especially the gate and the directly driven capstan. Both were now present unchanged. The system had apparently shown its worth. The case is in its total from moulded metal. The back cover is made from fiber. The spool arms are good for 700 meters of super 8 film. On the back, all the in- and outputs are situated for the input signals and extra loudspeakers. On the front, the lens fitting with the focusing and level-control by screw threat, strikes. By mean of this screw guide, focusing precisely has become very easy. Nevertheless, the picture moved a little bit upside when focusing during the projection with this projector. No big deal, but anyway...?
Inserting the film is very easy by pushing the threading button. Then, the film runs through the whole mechanical part, but not till the reel. That last part, you have to do yourself. This running in of the film makes some more noise. The duo-play machine had this also. No complains came in, that the film was damaged somewhere here. We also had no problems during the test with this.
The further projection-steps are controlled with de massive mono-knob. This one goes very heavy and because of the lamphouse, which is situated right above it, you have to take time to learn how to handle it. All further function by buttons, slides and switches were working excellent. Everything is provided with clear superscriptions and/or lighting led's. The sound of the running projector, is just very low. Only at the stand 'sound' of the mono knob, the film is pushed against the heads. In all other stands, the film is running free. So, no extra wear of the heads. The film can be taken out from the projector quite easy half-way the projection. And... even again in the projector, nevertheless this last one will need some exercise. The loop former will prove you good services with that.
A build-in counter with 0-stand shows where you are: 1 number is 4.8 pictures. In my opinion, this counter is a complete mistake. After all, there are counters who count one frame as one number? And why, at such a future-focused machine, not an electronic counter with programming? But it is praiseworthy that at the back of the machine, there is an extra output for one contact a frame for the connection with synchronization machinery.
Light system and lens
The projector is equipped with a 15 Volt 150 Watt halogen lamp with dichroid mirror. Directly at the powering of the projector, the bulb starts burning at 2 Volt glow light. With help of the excellent one-image-axe in front of the projector, you can now just turn the wanted image in front of the lens. There is a separate switch for CFL and full light. The CFL burns at 13 Volt and full light at precisely 15 Volt. De respectively light output can be found in pictures 1 and 2 (page 41, above). This lamp can be centered with ease. The standard lens is a Schneider MC Xenovaron 1.1/11-30mm zoom. This lens pleased us well. It gives a good sharp image with only little blur at the edges. Also the mask satisfies precisely the SMPTE-norms, so that you have the full image when projecting.
The projector has two fixed speeds: 18 and 24 frames per second. When showing films from others, it can happen that a small difference in speeds happens. Therefore, the sound pitch changes. To help this, the projector is equipped with a switch and a adjustment dial to make small speed changes possible more or less. Our measurement results look like this:
• At 18 frames fixed, we measured 18.3 frames/sec.;
• with the button in minus-position, 16.6 frames and in plus-position 20.7 frames;
• At 24 frames/sec.: 24.2 frames;
• with the button in minus-position, 21.3 frames and in plus-position, 26.8 frames.
The most important factor is obviously how the synchronization is at all this speeds. These is excellent, in accordance with our measurement. The speed variations are very small.
The rotating shutter is, when delivered, at the three-blades position. However, there is a adjustment possible. After losing two adjusting screws, the blades can be moved in such a way that a two-blade shutter is made. This gives 16% more light and is the best position to transfer your film to video yourself.
Then, the rotating speed can be increased till 25 frames for the best results. This marking is not mentioned. You will have to determine experimentally. Because this is something kind of new, the projector is marked with "video transfer capability". Good to transfer to video.
To record the stereo sound and reproduce this, the projector has two separate amplifiers. At each amplifier, you have to fix a loudspeaker as result. In the projector, two loudspeakers with a power of 6 Watt each are located. At the back, two extra outputs for loudspeakers are situated. Here, two external loudspeakers of 4 Ohm 25 Watt can be connected. The loudspeakers of the projector are then switched off.
You now have the choice between three possibilities for reproduction: stereo, duoplay and mono. All this happens over the two loudspeakers. The difference between duoplay and mono is here, that you can change, at the duoplay-mode, the ratio between track 1 and 2 a bit with the balance controller. This is not possible in the mono-mode. But there is also another trick incorporated. At stereo-mode, you can let track 1 influence track 2, or vice versa. Suppose: you have recorded music at full hight at track 1 and a text on track 2. By simply turning over the switch, the text will influence the music. This means that the music will lower as soon as a text appears. That begins two seconds before the text and three seconds after it. This is a soft fading, then. But it can also faster. The quantity of music that must be kept under the text, can be fixed with the trick-controller, you can do this itself. Just speak in the text here fluently. Hitches in that text give the music the chance to appear again and that isn't always that nice.
We have measured the amplifier for you. The output powers from track 1 and track 2 are precisely even: 17.3 Watt (sinus 1000 Hz 0 dB +- 4 dB). So, large enough for a small room. There is also a PA (Public Address)-switch, in a way you can also use the projector amplifier for speeches or pausing music. The frequency reach from the amplifier is high more than what you will ever manage to get from the stripe. Thus it is now to get the maximum out of the stripe. This means a recording height to the edge of the red of the VU-meters. Our testing reel gave a frequency reach at 18 frames from 50 - 12 000 Hz. This measured at track 1. The balance track wasn't that good as this. Of course, this was expected to happen at a track wide of 0.4 mm. Especially the high tones are here worse. So, record at this track as much text as possible. Because of the projector which has three heads (one for deleting, one for record, one for post-listening), you can, as already understood, post-listen the things you recorded on the tape. You do that here always; keep this in mind when recording synchronic. It may vary some frames. I would like to have had another choice possibility of pre- of post-listening. This choice is here in the choice of track. You can post-listen. track 1 or track 2. Also, when you are recording on 1, you can listen to track 2 and vice versa.
The number of variations in the techniques of recording is very big with this projector. You can record on track 1 or 2 or on both tracks on the same time (stereo). But you can also transfer from track 1 to 2 or the other way. One does only have to turn a single button. Also fading in, fading out and fading over is simple and good. Dubbing of texts at the correct time in an existing sound on one of the tracks is easy with the delivered trick-switch. This one must be connected on the back of the projector. The recording happens when you turn over the switch: with a hard or soft input. Without clicking. Whatever you want, it is possible with this projector. We ourselves have made the most impossible composings, after some exercise, we managed it all.
Volume, tone and balance
There are two sound regulating sliders. One for the high tones and one for the low tones. With these, you can make the sound colours you desire. It's a pity that they regulate both tracks. For the balance track, I would have liked a separate one, to make it possible to influence the track which is a bit weaker, a bit more. Besides, they both work excellent, and it is probably my too high perfectionism that would like to have two sliders. You could say the same for the volume control, but this is not necessary in fact. There is rather a perfectly functioning balance regulator on it. Just adjust these ones and you can bring the force from both tracks then perfectly on height. All sliders work flexible and without hard points.
Also this projector has a automatism that is possible to be powered on or off. The best method is also here to record manually. Although for me, especially with spoken texts, I have thankfully used the automatism position. The text is then on a bit more single loudness. Notice that in the pauses between the text, there is nothing to hear. If you work manually, adjust the incoming sound with the clear VU-meters. Please not in the red. As soon as the projector runs, you have to fix this a little bit.
There are two microphones with the projector: directional microphones. They both work fine. A bit weak in the high tones, but as long as you use them for texts, they are satisfying well. We recorded no projector noise anymore at just 50 centimeters distance from the projector. At the position "manual" of course. You can even go just to 3 meters from the projector, the cord is that long.
The whole film path, including the sound heads, is very well to clean. The lens holder can be turn aside, so that the complete film path is open in front of you. Especially the masks are free to be cleaned now. The bridge above the heads is lifted at the maximum with the lens holder opened. All the heads are now very good accessible. Clean at the same time the sprockets and the transport rollers. By opening the lamp house, the lamp can be changed very easily. Pay attention, with a new lamp, that the lighting is even on the projection screen. Adjust the lamp if necessary.
Yes, it is solid price, those 5450 gulden. Comparable with a 16 mm projector, were it not as a fact that this last will never have the possibilities from this 708 Stereo. This projector has a number of possibilities that are definitely very good. But you will have to learn it. Do this with help of the somewhat compact, but clear user's instructions. Then you will be able to take the maximum from this projector. The somewhat less interesting aspects, like the difficult turning of the mono knob, one pair of sound regulators and the counter, have no big influence on your creative expressions. A comparison price - quality is always difficult to make. We have worked with it for a long time. We opened the thing and studied the technique. Also, we had eye for some technical solutions. The thing that was to notice was that not always the cheapest solution was chosen. In my opinion, this projector is worth those 5450 guldens.
In the grey frame:
Projector type: Beaulieu 708 EL Stereo
Format: super 8 and single 8
Lens: Schneid MC Xenovaron 1.1 11-30 mm
Reel capacity: max 700 meters super 8
Light: 15 Volt 150 Watt
Speeds: 18 and 24 frames/second fixed, variable +/- 2 frames
Sound system: Stereo
Power amplifier: 2 X 18 Watt (fabrication note)
Loudspeakers: incorporated 2 x 6 Watt
Inputs for: line, aux and 2 x microphone
Outputs: aux, 2 x loudspeaker 4 Ohm, 25 Watt synch. contact
Weight: 13 kilos
Accessories: 1 wire, 1 reel 240 meters, 1 diode cable, 1 trick cable with switch, 2 microphones, one dust cover
Price: f 5450 (about 2725 euros)
Constructor: Beaulieu - France
Importer: Kinotechiek - Badhoevedorp