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TOPIC: The good, the bad and the ugly (equipment)

The good, the bad and the ugly (equipment) 08 May 2008 12:42 #18443

  • Keweler
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Hello everyone,
I am in the planning stage of buying a 2 screen theater. Since I am new to the business, I would love to have some input on the equipment that is there:
new in 1987, Kristi lamphouses, Potts film platter, Simplex projectors, ads are run on dvds
Does anybody have experience with a similar set-up? Anything I should look out for?
Any help is appreciated.
Jay
P.S. I've read the Faq's and there were awesome. Thank you for the info.
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly (equipment) 09 May 2008 10:15 #18444

  • NSCInemas
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The simplex projectors should give you very trouble free service for years and years if they are maintained properly by a qualified cinema tech on a regular basis and kept oil. The most common problem with these machines is leaking oil besdies that they are built like tanks! I would make sure that you have a reverse scan L.E.D. optical sound reader installed as opposed to a white light exciter lamp reader as the majority of sound tracks today are not compatible with the white light. You also gain better channel seperation (less crosstalk) and better frequency response from reverse scan.

If the Christie lamphouse is a CH console or an H model on a pedestal I would look to upgrade as those lamphouses are very inneficient compared to todays models. The current Christie SLC lamp houses are fantastic and one of my favorites!

Your potts platter shouldnt give you too much trouble again as long as it is timed, and maintained by a qualified tech. I prefer Christie AW-3 platter systems but the potts should work fine. If you have the microswitch style feed plates with the on and off motion of the decks I would try to upgrade to phase control feed plates as the payout will be much smoother and you will have less chance of a film being tossed off. I would check out the Modification on the Film-Tech.com for the break down clutch as one of the major desing flaws on the potts system is lack of back tension during break down causing uneven winding, cinch cratching, and other film issues.

You shouls let us know what equipment you have for your sound system. Do you have a good technician for your theatre? Many companies offer service contracts that include routine maintanence such as sound alignment, oil change and mechanical checks, electrical checks, light focunsing and balancing, lens focus and alignment, film path check and alignment, platter check and timing. If you want to give your customers the best picture and sound possible these maintenance routines are a must. If you shoot me a private email letting me know where youre located I can give you some reccomendations if you're interested!

Good Luck With Your Theatre!
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly (equipment) 09 May 2008 10:18 #18445

  • slapintheface
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Good equipment ........all but the platters..POTTS are known for being the worst in the industry...
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly (equipment) 09 May 2008 13:32 #18446

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I was just on a used equipment buying spree with my tech and he loves Potts. I guess to each their own.
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly (equipment) 09 May 2008 14:56 #18447

  • muviebuf
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Nothing wrong with Potts platters.
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly (equipment) 09 May 2008 16:57 #18448

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I actually have 5 Super Platters (a knock off of Potts) that I converted the brains to Potts (larger microswitch) I have only had 1 microswitch die in 10 years and never have had a platter wrap related to the equipment (a couple related to stupidity) and never even came close to throwing a print (knock on wood) I am more than happy with Potts and checking/adjusting timing is not rocket science.
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly (equipment) 09 May 2008 18:27 #18449

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The problem with Potts platters is that the design is conducive to film damage. The lack of back tension on break down causes a lot of damage to film including uneven winding onto reels, cinch scratches, film getting dumped onto the floor, etc... Modifying them to use a clutch mechanism to add back tension helps but you should not have to modify a piece of film handling equipment to not damage film. Besides the knock on the head they cause the braces that support the deck can cause control plate wraps if the deck below one that is rewinding is paying out. The phase control and DMC models are very stable during payout but the older microswitch version is prone to failure of the micro switches, and uneven, jerky payout. The microswitch has even been known to cause "clicking" in the sound systems if the platter is run on the same power circuit.

Do they work? yes they do. Are they reliable? most of the time. Are they a lower cost option? Yes. Are they my first, second, third, or fourth choice? No.
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly (equipment) 11 May 2008 13:01 #18450

  • rodeojack
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The equipment package you describe isn't bad at all. NSC has covered a lot of the pros & cons. Personally, I would emphasize the attitude about the Christie lamphouses. The old blue ones are aweful. The SLC's are great. If you're on a budget and the wattage fits, go find a Super Lume-X, Kneisley, Xetron, or Big Sky. All of them will put out more light with smaller bulbs than will the Christie. If you see an ORC along the way, especially a console, run!

I have XL's at my drive-in. Yes, they're tanks, forgiving and reliable... yes, the picture is rock-solid... yes, they leak!


I have Strong platters here... similar to the Potts models. They're fine. Yes, you can damage film with them... Yes, they can also do that for you. Once you learn how to operate and maintain them properly, these problems won't happen. I had ORC platters here for years. Once I learned their personalities, they worked fine, too.
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