viernes, 11 de diciembre de 2020

WHICH SUPER-8 PROJECTORS TO BUY? HEURTIER STEREOVOX, THE STEAMPUNK PROJECTOR (Part 7 of 10)

I was an adolescent when Heurtier introduced the Stereovox in 1977. I was very susprised with its amazing slider sound control console and its design so cinematic that combined the latest technology, with then novel LEDs, along with very archaic mechanics conceptions together even with jewels!, in what was already a retro-futuristic design already at that time. The general appearance is also absolutely iconic: the Heurtier Stereovox, due to the arrangement of the reels, comes true the image that even children have in the imagination of as a a motion pictures film projector should be. 

Heurtier, for those who do not know it, was a French firm that from the 1930s to 1981 manufactured some of the most amazing film projectors ever conceived. One day we will write about his tri-format sound projector (for 8, 9.5 and 16 mm), present in my  collection, or about the first stereophonic projector, the ST42, manufactured in 1972 !, many years that the Japanese , achieving what Kodak, the inventor of the format, said was impossible: record sound on the compensation track to achieve Super-8 stereophony.

The owners, a French family,   closed its factory in 1981, just before the unpredictable collapse of the Super-8, because its main patents were expiring and could be freely used by anyone. This chance of fate saved them from ruin.


A REAR PRESSURE PLATE WITH RUBIES.

As is traditional in French projectors, and in some German ones, the Stereovox has a rear sprung pressure plate (in the lamp side): it is a technical delicatessen and is very important to project films of different thicknesses on the same reel. This allows to project films of different thickness (polyester with triacetate, Ektachrome 100 with Provia 400, camera originals with print positives), without the need to adjust the focus during projection, as this arrangement allows the distance between the emulsion and the lens to be constant regardless of the film thickness, as seen in the previous installment.

The most amazing feature, and unique in the world, is that the pressure plate has two real rubies embedded just before and after the projection window, in order to keep the image of the frame perfectly flat in order to be able to use very high luminosity lesses, very critical with the focus. But wiht this ingenious madness, however, is much better not project recently processed material, called "green film" in Spain,  with the soft emulsion, because it could be scratched!

OTHER FEATURES.

The Stereovox comes with the famous 12 to 30mm Scheneider Xenovaron variable focal lens, but not the 1.1, but the 1.3, technically sharper. The level meters, made of LEDs, in the Seventies! they were sensational and almost hypnotic.

Unlike projectors from other brands, even from later years, the Stereovox does not need an external cable to transfer the sound from one track to the other: track to track transfer can be done by simply pressing a button!

THREE MAGNETIC HEADS.

The Heurtier Stereovox has three magnetic heads.  Heurtier being the first brand to incorporate this feature (later, it was included in only three other devices: the Bauer 610 Microcomputer Stereo, the Beaulieu Stereo and one cheap projector made by Silma in Italy). Thanks to the third magnetic head, the projector not only manages to record with an echo effect, but, even more importantly, allows you to listen, as soon as it is done in a recording session, to the superimpossed sound mix recorded by the immediately preceding heads, to check that the sound is recorded with the correct mix percentage (nowdays, it can be done easily with the computer, and, later, transfered to the film track, buy many readers are like me and enjoy recording the sound of the most traditional way possible, becasue it is a real delight).


ANSELM VIDAL: THE GREATEST EXPERT IN HEURTIER.

My friend the engineer Anselm Vidal,  from Barcelona, a Bolex and Beaulieu fan, and the proud owner of a Fujica ZC1000, is also the world's greatest Heurtier expert: he owns several projectors of this brand, to which he has incorporated various improvements designed and manufactured personally.

Heurtier 3 format.

THE STEAMPUNK PROJECTOR.

The Heurtier Stereovox is the  most amazing piece of retrotechnology aplied to Super8 sound projectors, that does not leave even the neophyte indifferent: the Heurtier Stereovox with its amazing slider controls console that would make Hollywood sound engineers pale with envy. In this projector, I like the notable quiet running, the sound mixing features and the rear pressure plate with rubies!But above all, I like to see it, to look at it. Even though I don't consider it a practical projector to use, it's so beautiful! that I used it in my very popular music clip shot in Super-8 "Camino de Vuelta": 

CAMINO DE VUELTA (Pleasant Dreams). KODAK SUPER-8 4K from IB CINEMA Motion Picture Films on Vimeo.

In this series of ten articles, a digest of the one published in the international magazine SilverGrain Classics, are described the most interesting projectors to buy, depending on the use they will be put to. 

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