Film loops

Technically-oriented discussion of classic films on everything from 35mm to Blu-Ray
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greta de groat
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Film loops

Unread post by greta de groat » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:12 am

Techie question again.

I have some vague memory from back in the 1970s of film loops. I guess the film was mounted in some sort of Möbius strip, i think, in some sort of cassette or cartridge. I have no idea what kind of viewer it played on, whether it was a projector or something for individual viewing.

Am i imagining this, or did this exist? I can't seem to find anything in Wikipedia about it, and googling around just gets me porn loops, which i imagine may be the same media?

In any case, if someone remembers this, could you describe it or point me to a source? What was the film gauge? Was it a cassette or cartridge? What kind of playback equipment is necessary?

Apologies for the dumb question--the library cataloging rules people strike again--and unfortunately they know even less about this stuff than I do. I spotted an example in the new rules:

standard 8 mm
Gauge of videotape in a videocassette

I think that that example is supposed to be for 8mm film reel, not videocassette, but i want to point out all the possibilities and double check with you all. Is there actually any 8mm videotape in a cassette? (like something for a videocam?). I'm pretty sure there isn't a "standard 8 mm."

Thanks!
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momsne
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Re: Film loops

Unread post by momsne » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:33 am

Maybe you are thinking about a film cassette projector like the Bell & Howell, marketed in the 1970s.
http://www.retrothing.com/2007/08/bell-howell-fil.html" target="_blank

Or maybe not. Lear eight track players had the audio tape follow a circuitous route. Not film, though.

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FrankFay
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Re: Film loops

Unread post by FrankFay » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:57 am

I remember a film cassette device in the 1970's- it was a self contained table top device with a rear-projection screen. The cassettes were endless loops, sort of like an 8 track tape. They only played a minute or two.
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Jim Reid
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Re: Film loops

Unread post by Jim Reid » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:07 pm

Tecchnicolor made a cartridge machine that would play about 20 minutes of 8mm & super 8 film. These used to be found at pizza parlors playing old comedy shorts. I had a friend who had bought out a small company and had boxes and boxes of these cartridges. The machines were all worn out and none worked, so he spent a couple of years getting the film out and mounting them on reels.

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greta de groat
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Re: Film loops

Unread post by greta de groat » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:39 pm

Thanks for the replies--gee, i'm getting so used to googling that i didn't think at first to look at the AMIM archival cataloging guidelines. There in the glossary they have:

film loop: a filkm that has the ends joined together to permit continuous viewing. If the film loop is permanently encased, it is considered to be a film cartridge.

Film cartridge: a permanently encased film that generally has the ends joined together to permit continuous viewing. See also Film loop.

Film cassette: a permanently encased film that winds and rewinds from reel-to-reel.

The film loops i saw were in a community college library, so presumably they were some sort of educational materials, i can't remember what, and i do believe they were very brief. The definitions didn't say anything about the type of film so encased, so presumably it could be 8 or super 8? This sounds like the one for the table top viewer.

As for the cassettes, i don't think i've ever seen one. Were films actually sold this way, or did you have to put it in the cassette yourself? The Bell & Howell article sort of implied that's you put your own film in, which seems more trouble than it's worth. And presumably it was standard 8 or super 8, judging from the guy who took them out and put them on reels?

greta
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Christopher Jacobs
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Re: Film loops

Unread post by Christopher Jacobs » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:49 pm

I used to have some of the 400-foot cartridges with Super 8 silent movies played at a Shakey's Pizza Parlor. A few actually had optical sound tracks (rather than the more typical magnetic sound for home movies). I also used to have an old catalog describing all the educational film cartridges which had Standard 8mm film, often only 50 feet of film, selling for $50 or $100 and up (educational pricing). In the early 70s I also had a flyer from Technicolor to shoot home movies on their Super 8 film, which they would process and mount in a 50-foot cartridge to play in their easy, convenient cartridge projector (no messy threading!). That process didn't seem to last more than a few years.

I vaguely recall that airlines sometimes used cartridges of Super 8 optical sound films for the in-flight movies for a while in the 1970s, though most were 16mm (and I'm not sure whether those were on reels or on cartridges).

In the mid to late-1970s, U-matic videocassettes and then Beta and VHS quickly put an end to all cartridged film technology by about 1980.

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