Grahame N's Web Pages


9.5MM

NINEFIVE NOTEBOOKS

from Grahame L. Newnham B.Sc.


Some years ago, I wrote a series of short articles in the UK Group 9.5 club magazine, where I jotted down odd information about the 9.5mm film gauge in general - regarding filming, editing, equipment etc. Glancing through back numbers, I spotted these articles, so thought it may be of interest to reprint some on my web-site. I hope they don't contain any real whoppers, but please let me know if you do spot any errors!

Remember this stuff was originally written almost twenty years ago, when we still had 9.5mm filmstock and new equipment available. At the time of copying this to my web-site in February 2020 I still have various stocks of 9.5mm equipment and new/secondhand printed films. however because I am still recovering from major surgery, I am in a nursing home. Although it is a short walk from my home, it is difficult to sort out certain bits to sell, so my proper sales lists stay closed for the present. Meantime some small items are on ebay - leader film, splicing tape, projector drive belts etc. I'll try to add more items once I sort them out (if they are easy to post!)


NINEFIVE NOTEBOOK NO.1 
(from the Group 9.5 Magazine Autumn 2000 No.103 )

Welcome to a change of title and a slight change of content to my 9.5mm column. I can now broaden the field and include other topics, like filming on 9.5mm for example. Our 9.5mm film gauge really needs to survive as a film making tool, and not become just a collectors' item. If you've not tried filming on 9.5mm why not give it a go! Unlike video, it's not expensive to get started. There are many cameras to be found secondhand under the £50 mark (even cheaper if you already have one in the family!) - the Pathé range included the "H" ("National" in France); "National 11"; and the UK Pathéscope swansong the "Prince". Don't worry that all mention of Pathéscope has been removed from most of these 9.5mm "Prince" cine cameras, it doesn't affect how they work! Incidentally if anyone would like a plastic coated photocopy replacement label for the door of the "Prince" just drop me an SAE; the exposure guide still works nicely for Fuji 'Velvia' filmstock. All these 9.5mm cine cameras take the common "H" film charger which is easy to load and means that in use a fresh charger is just dropped into the camera in full daylight with only arouud 6 inches of film being fogged.

The original charger film lengths from Pathéscope (made by Kodak-Pathé in France from 1927) were originally advertised as 1,100 pictures long! A bit of maths makes this 27.5 feet or 8.4 metres. Pathéscope were always rather coy about the length of film in their 9.5mm film chargers, eventually in the late 1950s claiming over 1000 pictures - only 25 feet / 7.7 metres. By this time Pathéscope were importing the filmstock in bulk and cutting it up themselves to try to cut costs. Dealers' lists often erroneously referred to 30foot reloads (9 metres), but apart from the East German Orwo film stocks, this was a slight exageration, and once Pathéscope had bitten the dust our colour reloads were only around 25 feet long. As an impecunious youngster, I used to measure the processed film returned to me!

Incidentally in France most Kodak-Pathé charger packaging was labelled 8.2 metres. For those pundits with slide-rules or calculators poised, I have assumed 25.4mm equals 1 inch for these calculations. (probably only correct in a warm dry room with little or no wind - just like serving French red wine!).

Today a Fuji 9.5mm charger reload (as supplied by yours truly!) is about 27.5 feet long. Much more than this may lead to charger jammming despite what our 'experts' tell us. My nominal 100 foot reload is actually around 103 feet long and the 50 ft around 52 feet. nnfortunately with 9.5mm spool loading the centre sprocket holes and lack of unused edge margins compared to 16mm and std 8mm mean there is more chance of fogging when loading cameras. One useful tip is to always unload a 9.5mm spool loading cine camera in the dark (under a coat or bedclothes will do). This means the only problem is loading the thing. Naturally very dull lighting is recommended, some have made a cover (from a suitable film can), to slip over the full spool whilst threading the camera. Certainly the film roll must be kept nice and tight whilst loading is completed. I know Kodak provide up to 4 feet at each end of their std 8mm & 16mm film spools, but this would increase our film costs.

Overseas 9.5mm film stock is sold as 30 or 15 metres, but this is not exactly the same length as 100 / 50 feet! (UK 16mm camera film spools were marked 30.5m). 9.5mm 100ft spools from France generally contain a total of less than 95 feet of film. Incidentally as a comparison with French printed films, for simplicity we can refer to 200 foot spools as 60 metres, 300 foot spools as 100 metres and 400 foot spools as 120 metres - not all exact, but then neither is the length of film sold as '1 reel'.

This brings us back to the legal niceties of imperial (yes that's feet/inches, lbs/ozs etc.) measurement in the UK. A couple of European directives 80/181 and 80/167 compel member states to adopt metric measurements. A concession allowed non-metric information to be displayed for ten years from the last directive in 1989. This is probably why the government pressurised Trading Standards officers to get tough this year! Certainly local traders have been threatened with seizure of illegal measuring equipment, fines of up to £5000 and six months imprisonment. One was verbally told he would "lose his business" as the officer took the phone from his hand whilst he was talking to his solicitor. So far there has been reluctance to bring court action as it appears our government forgot to repeal the UK (Imperial) 1985 Weights & Measures Act!

Naturally there is a protest group - The British Weights and Measures Association (www.british-weights-and-measures-asssociation.co.uk) but as we are now definitely bound by European law I think I'll get round to changing my 9.5mm film packs! Incidentally if we take European law precisely, weeks, fortnights, months, years, decades and now century are now effectively illegal! Strange then that Meccano was made in France to Imperial measurements and most French market stalls still sell certain vegetables by the 'livre' - pounds weight! Here in the UK by special arrangement, the good old pint survives but only for beer, you can use the term '7 inch' but only if it's a pizza, and of course a certain American burger can still be 'a quarter pounder'.

Regardless of our referendum on the Euro, you;ll be surprised to know there are plans to enforce dual pricing in Euros and pounds in the UK by 2002! Remember 'Give them a 25.4mm and they'll take 1.609 kilometres' - back to 9.5mm films next month - promise!

(Ed. - Remember that was written partly in jest twenty years ago, but the facts were (and are still) true - as I write this in January 2020, our keen Prime Minister has still to manage to revoke all that rubbish! - gln)

 


NINEFIVE NOTEBOOK NO.2 
(from Group 9.5 Magazine Winter 2001 No.104)

In the last issue we looked at simple 9.5mm cine cameras from Pathé and Pathéscope. These normally use the "H" film charger which is quite easy to refill with the 9.5mm charger reloads - try first in the daylight with a roll of scrap film. The main point is to get the film perfectly aligned around the take-up dog, if this is out of true then weaving of the take-up film roll may cause the charger to jam. After use, when removing the exposed film roll from the charger, don't forget to retrieve that take-up dog and spring clip, the charger is not much use without them! By the time you read this I should have prepared a 9.5mm charger loading instruction sheet, just drop me an SAE if you would like one (they will also be included with all empty 9.5mm "H" & "P" chargers that I sell.


The Pathéscope 'H' (on left) and 'Prince' (on right) 9.5mm cine cameras

The Pathéscope "H", "National 11" and "Prince" 9.5mm cine cameras all use the same interchangeable lens mount so lenses may swopped around. There was also a 50mm telephoto lens available, French made from Som-Berthiot and British made from National Optical - keep an eye out at film fairs or on dealers' lists. If the standard lens is fixed focus don't worry too much, at normal exposure apertures there is a good depth of focus and Pathé supplied a full range of close-up lenses. Most of these lenses accept 19mm screw mount filter mounts, earlier models a push-on fitting of about 16/17mm. diameter. It is even possible to unscrew a fixed focus lens a little for close-ups, a quarter turn for 9 foot, a half turn for 3 foot, a three-quarter turn for 2 foot 6 inches and a full turn for 1 foot 4 inches. A useful filter (which can be cut from Kodak Wratten materials) . is the orange "A" to "D" 85B which will allow "A" type Fuji 64asa filmstock to be used in daylight at 40asa. The companion to this is the bluish "D" to "A" 80A filter which will allow the 100asa Fuji Provia to be used in artificial light at 32asa. A neutral density filter is just a dark piece of glass which cuts the level of light entering the lens. For example a two-stop neutral density filter will allow the use of Fuji Provia 100asa in bright sunlight, changing an indicated aperture of f22 into a more useable f11.

There are just two more essentials before we start actually filming - the first is an accurate exposure meter. There are exposure guides enclosed with the 9.5mm filmstock supplied in the UK, but for good results really accurate exposure is essential. You may find an exposure meter amongst a still photography friend's oddments box or at a car boot sale. Try to check its accuracy against a known working example before wasting lots of filmstock with possible faulty exposures. The effective shutter speed of most 9.5mm cine cameras is around 1/35th of a second ("H", "National 11", "Prince"), although I believe the Pathe Webo "A" camera is 1/50th of a second. Once you have tried a sample roll of film, adjust future exposure if necessary to match camera, lens calibration and metering method.

So what is the other essential before filming starts? Well I'm afraid it's ideas! But just a few useful hints - we are making moving pictures, so try to do just that. The inventors of cinephotography like the Lumiere brothers in France and Friese-Green in the UK rushed out and filmed scenes with movement - people walking along, a train coming into a station, feeding the baby, even a couple kissing! If you want to capture lovely shots of castles, winding rivers and rolling downs use a 35mm or digital still camera - for real impact cine film footage must contain movement. A Pathé instruction book included another useful maxim - 'let the subject move not the camera' - OK you might want to follow the action as it goes by, like a racing bicycle or that steam train pulling away, but panning around a ostatic scene is wasteful on film and generally painful to watch.

Right, now to the ideas for subjects to film. Start with something simple that others will want to see - what about the children? (OK maybe grandchildrren for some of us oldies!). Next time the youngsters are going to the park, why not grab that 9.5mm cine camera and capture some of the fun. Try to make a simple story - perhaps mum looking out at the sky, children putting on coats or getting toys, strapping baby in the pushchair, then setting off for the park. (Get lots of close-up shots, they have more impact and will appear sharper and more colourful). Once at the park, mum, dad or grandpa gets the children started on the swings, roundabout or a game. This will be the main part of the film. Then maybe an adult looks at their watch - 'time for tea' - children have to be dragged away returning home - maybe finish with the front door closing. A similar theme might be - getting out the paddling pool, blowing it up, filling it up with water, children helping, then playing in the pool, people getting wet, for a finish maybe the rain starts or mum calls the children indoors. Keep your film short and simple, family and friends will love seeing it for many years to come! Watch children's TV programmes for other little ideas, there's just no way one can easily copy the cinema to turn out that James Bond epic single-handed.

All done? Now don't forget to clean the camera film gate after each charger loading! Next time we'll look at editing and showing your first effort. Finally, having spent a few hours repairing a 9.5mm printed film - please - if the picture jumps or you lose the loop between the sprockets and the film gate while you are showing a film - STOP the projector immediately and sort out the problem. This damaged film (quite a rare title) appears to have been run on an "Ace" or similar projector without sprockets. Every few feet are a couple of damaged perforations caused by too fierce a take-up or maybe a bent feed spool. There's no substitute for a littlr care when showing rare films, particularly irreplaceable amateur productions.


NINEFIVE NOTEBOOK NO.3 
(from the Group 9.5 Magazine Spring 2001 No.105)

In the last issue we looked briefly at filming on 9.5mm. OK so now we have got back a few rolls of film from processing. At the very least it would be useful to join the lengths together onto a larger spool and cut out the useless bits - no, I'm sure some shots must be viewable!

So the first requirements are a rewinder and splicer. In my youth I made a 9.5mm rewinder out of Mecccano. In fact it is still quite a feasible proposition (I just glanced at my box of bits), even the 4mm Meccano spindles can be suitably sleeved up to the 9.5mm spindle diameter of 1/4 inch or 6.4mm by means of the polythene rod connector part. However you may prefer to purchase a secondhand ready-made rewinder from a cine dealer or search one out at a cine fair or on the internet. I myself prefer to use the tri-gauge French made Marguet rewinder, these have handles on both arms with two speeds and take up to 1000foot / 300 metre spools. Naturally they can be used for 16mm, 9.5mm, std 8mm and even super 8mm with those little plastic 8mm adaptors. These rewinders can only be found today xecondhand (if you do find one, make sure it still has all the spool adaptors). As far as I know there are no 9.5mm rewinders currently available new in the UK, although a model for 1000foot spools can be imported to order for around £120.


Marguet tri-gauge cement film splicer

Joining cine film can be done in two ways - using film cement (which is a special solvent not glue!) or using special adhesive tape. Either method requires a device to accurately cut the film ends and hold the film in place whilst the cement dries or the special adhesive tape is applied. Good secondhand cement splicers can be found for between £10 to £20. Again I use the Marguet tri-gauge model because it has a built-in trimmer and scraper to remove the film emulsion prior to joining the film, makes reliable splices and can be used for 16mm, 9.5mm and std 8mm. Many other models also give good results.

 

The only tape splicer readily available for 9.5mm is the one from CIR. These should now be available in the UK from stock, but the new price is a little over £100 I'm afraid. There is also a professional Hamman 9.5mm tape splicer - however the last time I checked the price it was over £650, yes six hundred and fifty pounds! The beauty of tape splicing is that no film is lost when resplicing, making them ideal for editing amateur films and also for repairing and removing / replacing the leaders and trailers on 9.5mm optical sound films where they are made up onto larger spools. Incidentally always use the special PEC adhesive tape, normal tape will soon dry out or ooze all over the surrounding film surface.

With one or two larger 9.5mm spools (available both new and secondhand), the joining up of those processed films can begin. Even with the aid of a small lamp, a white background and the naked eye, one can spot the really useless shots and clear film etc. to edit out. A simple reading glass can also be rigged up (these can be bought on a suitable base from electronic and embroidery hobby shops) to give a better view of the film image. Those actually designed for film use, fitted with guide rollers and a lamp, do sometimes turn up secondhand. The ultimate is an animated viewer, these were sold in 9.5mmm versions, but seldom turn up for sale, suggesting that even in the past, ninefivers were not too keen on editing their films! For the serious nine-fiver a professional style Muray de-luxe 9.5mm animated viewer can be purchased at around £170 from Buckingham Film Services. These are all-metal, give a bright crisp picture and even have an automatic inspection light.

Using the rewind arms, splicer and lens or animated viewer, it will be possible to join the various shots, maybe intercut with titles, into a semblance of a complete film. Don't forget to add at least 2 metres (6 feet) of leader film at the start and end to ensure no damage occurs to your actual film during threading or unthreading. White, black and clear leader is available from 9.5mm specialists. The benefit of the animated viewer is that you can now wind your film through and see the actual moving pictures. At this point you may wish to shorten shots, intercut longer scenes with close-ups or alter the sequence of the shots. The addition of a calibrated scale (like a tape measure or ruler) either in frames and/or seconds on the rewind base board may make checking the duration of individual shots easier. Most simple 9.5mm cine cameras were designed to run at 16 frames per second.

Finally try to avoid damaging your precious movie film before it even appears on a screen! Always keep the lengths of the film wound on a suitable spool and store films in a can or even a plastic bag to avoid dust and dirt. Many people wear thin cotton editing gloves when actually handling the film. Certainly make sure that it doesn't rub against parts of the rewinder or viewer, and ensure that all guide rollers turn easily. Marks or scratches on film are difficult if not impossible to remove.

Next time a bit about 9.5mm cine projectors and showing your 9.5mm epic on the big screen. Incidentally if some of the new prices for 9.5mm equipment seem a bit high, just check out the price of video editing equipment!

 


NINEFIVE NOTEBOOK NO.4 
(from the Group 9.5 Magazine Summer 2001 No.106)

 

In the last issue we looked at 9.5mm rewinders, editors and splicers - the next stage is to present the 9.5mm film on the big screen! Over the years, many many 9.5mm cine projectors have been marketed (I know to my cost as my personal collection of 9.5mm equipment threatens to overflow my house!).

Whilst it may be easy to find a 9.5mm cine projector - specialist dealers, magazine adverts, film fairs, internet auction sites etc., maybe a little thought of what one wants from the cine projector may aid the final choice. For example will it need to handle vintage printed films - some of the early 9.5mm Pathéscope releases had notched titles. These require a special projector which will automatically stop at the special notches to show the short titles. The choice of these is pretty limited - the original "Pathé-Baby" or "Home Movie" cine projector often appears on dealers' shelves and at film fairs. With a modern halogen lamp these are quite interesting machines, but check that the mechanism does work properly, the combined flywheel/shutter is made of mazak and often cracks or distorts. New shutters are availablr though. The Pathé "Kid" and "Imp" although perhaps collectable are not really up to the standard for showing decent film prints.


Pathé 'Lux' (on left) and Bolex "DA" (on the right)

A better quality Pathé machine for handling notched titles is the "Lux", once fitted with a modern halogen 12 volt 50 watt lamp these can give good results and still allow projection of stills for the notched title 9.5mm film prints. Maybe the best machine for showing notched titles is the Paillard Bolex model "PA" (9.5mm only) or "DA" (16mm and 9.5mm) This model has sprockets to isolate the intermittent movement of the film through the picture gate from the feed and take-up spools. Again, upgraded with a modern 24 volt 150 watt halogen lamp, the results are very good.


On the left a "Specto" (this model has 900ft spool arms) - on the right the Pathéscope "Gem" - (this takes 900 foot / 250 metre spools)

If notched titles are not of interest then maybe a later machine will be more suitable. If one just wishes to show silent 9.5mm films (both amateur and printed ones), then the more common post-war machines include the "Specto" (very kind to old films) and the Pathéscope "Gem". Both these 9.5mm cine projectors have sprockets and decent film gates, and with modern lamps fitted will give good results. The pre-war Pathescope "200B" has sprockets and a stylish design, but check that the film gate is not too worn and that the picture is steady, as these models may have shown many thousands of feet of film in their lifetime. Another pre-war Pathéscope cine projector, the model "H" also turns up from time to time. This also has sprockets and can give good results with a modern lamp conversion. All these 9.5mm cine projectors will accept the 300 foot / 100 metre or 400 foot / 120 metre film spools. The "Gem" will also accept the larger 900 foot / 250 metre spools whilst models of the "Specto" can be found with the longer spool arms and special 900 foot spool arm extenders were marketed for the "200B"

These and other 9.5mm pre-war cine projectors were designed before many electrical safety regulations came into force and the original wiring may be worn or modified. It is a good idea to get any older cine projector checked out electrically, ideally with an earth connection added. In any case a mains leakage trip adaptor (the sort you should be using on your lawnmower or electric drill in the garden), now costs around £10 - always use one of them if running vintage projectors. Because these early projectors were only designed for showing black and white films, the projection lens may not be colour corrected - this means not all colours will focus at the same point - I certainly remember this as a problem when I showed colour films on my Pathéscope "200B".


The French Cinegel GR (this later one is labelled Cinegel 100)

Some of the last 9.5mm cine projectors marketed in the 1960s were the little French made Cinegel G and GR models. These are very neat modern styled machines with sprockets and variable speed motor, which give a good bright picture with few frills. The basic model used a Saipe 8 volt 50 watt lamp which can be replaced with the A1/17, A1/263 or A1/202 as it uses the same base. The model GR with tape sync. provision used a Saipe 10 volt 100 watt lamp which is now obsolete. The lamp holder will accept the 8 volt 50 watt A1/17 and some users claim that settting the transformer to the 250 volt tappping will give about the correct voltage for that replacement lamp. I personally like those little Cinegel models, but the Gelor lens, although colour corrected could be better. The main switch is only a simple radio type 'yaxley' and inadequate for switching the lamp current. Kept clean the contacts will survive careful use or a relay can be fitted by an electronics expert. The attractive 1960s Pathé "Europ" cine projecror gives a bright sharp image but is rare and expensive in the UK.


Heurtier Supertri 60 cine projector (these take up to 1000 foot / 300 metre spools)

Another suggestion for those trying for multi-gauge items is the Heurtier Supertri. Although launched in the late 1930s, the newer models were marketed in the UK in the late 50s and 60s; these were the "Supertri 58" and "Supertri 60". These machines are quite stylish and run std. 8mm, 9.5mm and 16mm silent films. The gauge change is quite easy with the sprockets rotating for each film size and exchangeable parts for the film gates and spool arms. Results from the 500 or 750 watt pre-focus lamp are very good for 9.5mm and 16mm, but the std. 8mm picture is not so bright. The Som Berthiot lens gives a sharp image. Incidentally the gate presser plates on these machines must be made of a mazak type material as some are now showing signs of bowing.

The ultimate in silent machines today must be the Buckingham 9.5mm conversion of the 16mm Elf/Eiki cine projector. The silent version of this provides a briliant steady picture, it also accepts spools up to 2400 foot allowing longer printed films to be screened without reel changing. The biggest benefit of these machines is the fact that they are modern, reliable, easy to service and with spare parts readily available. They cost just under £500 but should give years of use. For those wanting to show optical sound films or even those with a magnetic sound track, Buckingham also produce talkie versions at prices from £795. Probably the best sound and picture from 9.5mm. More about other 9.5mm sound projectors and screens next time.

 


NINEFIVE NOTEBOOK NO.5 
(from Group 9.5 Magazine Autumn 2001 No.107)

 

In the last issue I mentioned a few of the silent projectors a ninefiver might choose for showing amateur and printed films. For those also interested in collecting the 9.5mm optical sound films issued by Pathéscope, a ninefive optical sound projector is going to be required. The first 9.5mm optical sound projector was the 1938 French made Pathé "Vox" which had one of the first low voltage lamps (15volt 200watt), soon uprated in the "Super Vox" to 31volt 400watt. Although at the time it was an excellent machine, nowadays a "Vox" may need some mechanical work and maybe a solid state amplifier conversion with a modern halogen type lamp. Remember these are 110 volt machines! The other main problem with the "Vox" projector is it's sheer weight!


Pathé "Pax" ("Joinville" in France)
(note the 9.5mm model only has 1000ft / 300 metre spool arms)

By the late 1940s the French Pathé parent company introduced the Joinville range of cine projectors, the 9.5mm "Pax" being the optical sound model marketed in the UK. Although a more modern design with a nice long stainless steel film gate, the amplifier and lamp may need upgrading. In any case the "Pax" is very rare. By 1951 Pathéscope had introduced the UK manufactured "Son" 9.5mm optical sound projector - this was effectively a "Gem" with a sound base added. It retained the variable speeds with governor controlled 24 frames/second projection speed. Even when new these machines were not too reliable - mainly caused by an underpowered motor and an amplifier only just man enough for the job which tended to overheat. The "Son" does turn up quite often and may be OK for someone willing to do some modification. It has been suggested however that the rather twisty film path has caused much of the cracking perforations prevelant on 9.5mm optical sound prints


Cinegel "Royal 235" 9.5mm/16mm optical sound cine projector

The French Cinegel company produced a dual gauge 16mm / 9.5mm optical sound machine - a few were imported by ninefive specialist Larry Peare of LGP Cine. The Cinegel "Royal 235" talkie featured pre-focus projection lamps up to 750 watt and a fixed speed motor giving 16/24fps by belt change. For running 9.5mm optical sound prijnts, the film has to be twisted between the gate and sound head - a little unorthodox. One or two Heurtier cine projectors were also capable of showing 9.5mm optical sound films - these are generally rather large machines but can normallly show all three film gauges.

Pathé had introduced magnetic sound stripe on 9.5mm in the early 1950s (before 16mm) but in the UK, Pathéscope were a little slow in importing the "Marignan" projector - this is a peculiar machine in that it only rns at 16fps and although it can record and playback on magnetically striped films, it cannot replay 9.5mm optical sound prints. Another magnetic stripe only machine was offered in the 1960s by Heurtier. In addition to requiring a separate cine projector for optical sound prints, these also recorded the track on the original 'standard' 9.5mm right hand sidee (as seen from the back of the projector) - opposite to the 16mm standard. These days with manyy ninefivers using converted 16mm projectors most magnetic tracks (including those on my few striped 'Presto' printed film releases) are now on the 16mm (left hand - viewed from back of the projector) side.

For probably the best 9.5mm optical sound reproduction, the converted Eiki/Elf machines marketed by Buckingham Films can be recomended. There is also a magnetic/optical Buckingham version that can also replay magnetic sound tracks, but the magnetic record version (the RM3; RT3 or NT3) is very rare even as a 16mm machine. The 9.5mm Buckinghsm is normally supplied with the standard 50mm (2inch) focal length projection lens; for home use the 35mm or even the 25mm lens will also be very useful. Next time a bit about projection screens.

 


   NINEFIVE NOTEBOOK NO.6 
(from Group 9.5 Magazine Winter 2002 No.108)

The final step in film production is the presentation - on the big screen naturally. If one has spent good money on equipment and film stock it would seem rather silly to show the result on an old bed sheet! Apart from it not being a true white, there will be creases and remember that if light shines through the surface this is light lost to the audience.

At most film fairs and get-togethers, not to mention free-ads and car boot sales, secondhand cine/slide projection screens are often to be found at quite low prices. So what does one look for?

Perhaps the first criteria is the picture size. To some extent this will depend on the projection set up and the focal length of the projection lens in use. Don't try to get a bigger picture than the light will allow - a smaller brighter picture is always better. In a domestic situation many people use a 50inch x 50inch (1.25metres x 1.25 metres) screen, naturally for normal cine use this is only extended to 50inch x 40inch. For larger venues one can search for a 60inch x 60inch (1.5metres x 1.5 metres) or even 70inch x 70inch (1.75 metres x 1.75metres) model. I actually use a six foot square screen for home use and those Pimlico shows. (It's also the largest that will fit in my car!). Personally I prefer a tripod design which allows the screen to be erected and free-standing in any location without worrying about hooks or tables, but hanging and table standing models may be used in certain cases.


Folding tripod screen

In the days of lower power projector lamps and lenses, special screen surfaces were often supplied whch gave improved brightness but in a rather restrictrd area. The brightest of these surfaces was the glass-beaded type which reflected most light back towards the projector - needing the audience to be seated near the centre line of the room. These tend to discolour and are probably not necessary these days. The lenticular type of surface is still somewhat directional but gives a bright picture. The totally non-directional type of surface is the matt finish. In all cases ensure the screen material surface is bright white, clean, undamaged and not excessively creased.

For those wanting to treat themselves to a nice new screen, a number of dealers still supply a good variety. First stop may be your local Jessops store - the catalogue I have, shows three dual surface models, sizes from 50 inch / 1.25metres with prices starting at £34.99. For a larger range, separate screen material and technical assistance, try the Widescreen Centre - telephone 020 7935 2580. They can supply many types of screen with 50 inch / 1.25 metre models at around £60, up to 12 foot folding models at £850, and even bigger sizes to order. You have no excuse from showing your 9.5mm films at their best!

Note - all the above was written some years ago - sadly many dealers sre now gone - like everything else these days - the internet is a good place to start looking .....




If you have can add any more information, or spot corrections etc. Please contact me:-

(Grahame Newnham) at: presto @ pathefilm.uk (no gaps in actual e-mail address)


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Created 19Jan2020 - Last updated: 10 February 2020 ..... 95ninefivenotebook.htm ..... ©MMXX Grahame L. Newnham