[tig] Rank Cintel Mark III experiences

Dave Corbitt dcorbitt
Tue Sep 23 14:27:09 BST 2003

MKIII. There were several version of this old workhorse and many mods done 
as aftermarket upgrades. First, you need to understand these machines can 
be maintenance headaches. As Dick mentioned, there are many analog tweeks 
that need routine attention. I would not say they need daily adjustments 
that need hours of tweeking. Most of the tweeks will hold for a long time 
if left alone and done correctly to begin with. These can generally be in 
the following categories:

1.      Video Channel. I suggest you install the Lift After Gamma mod 
(posted on TIG a long time ago) to simplify the Color Channel and improve 
performance on Negative Film. Once the Video Channel is properly aligned, 
it holds for a long time.

2.      XYZoom. A very important upgrade to have. Most later MKIII's had 
this. Invaluable to assist the operator in changing image size, 
repositioning, and changing aspect ratios. However, alignment can be tricky 
but once done correctly should be good almost forever.

3.      Servos. Several versions of servos were made available as the 
machine evolved over the years. Meta-Speed is an aftermarket servo that 
works really well. Highly recommended if you can find one. Most tweeks are 
available from a remote Keyboard and monitor at the operators desk. Some 
are on the boards but the book will document how to adjust.

The following Cintel and aftermarket upgrades will make the machine a 
better choice for reliability and performance:

1.      Digiscan-4. This will give you parallel digital outputs that you 
can serialize for feeding SD SDI output around your plant or to your color 
corrector. A must have. Older versions of Digiscan are notoriously 
unreliable with frequent failures of the archaic RAM and Shift Registers 
used in the frame store buffer.

2.      Festival. An aftermarket Burn and Shading corrector. Must have for 
decent burn correction. Many MKIII's will have had this fitted.

3.      Meta Speed servo. See above for advice on this. Definitely a plus.

4.      Revised head amps. Newer head amps were available from several 
sources including Cintel, Options, ITK, and DGS. These improved the front 
end signal to noise performance. Later versions from the factory came with 
improved head amps but many machines were fitted with third party upgrades 
also that did a good job.

5.      CRT. Make sure your CRT is in good shape and of sufficient screen 
grade quality to do the work you need to do. A CRT will last approximately 
1-3 years in average use. As a CRT ages, the screen burns from use and the 
burn can create shading artifacts that are uncorrectable. Light output will 
drop off as the CRT ages also and once it drops too low, signal to noise 
will drop off making pictures too noisy. Replacing a CRT is not a casual 
thing to do and requires a skilled person who understands the safety 
precautions and necessary alignments to get good performance. High quality 
CRTs can be purchased by at least 3 different companies. No plug here for 
any of them. If a CRT is old, it may also exhibit poor emission which 
creates poor focus and reduced light output. Watch for these things when 
you evaluate a used machine. Most CRTs in my experience will suffer from 
uncorrectable burns before poor emission becomes an issue. A new CRT will 
typically cost between $6000 and $13000 depending on screen grade and 
vendor. You want a CRT with a thick lens attached to the front to improve 
flare performance and reduce the visibility of dirt on the faceplate of the 
CRT. This lens is called an Optic by some, a thick faced tube by others. 
The lens is bonded to the face of the CRT with an optically matching resin 
or medium to make the transition form one material to the other invisible.

6.      Mechanicals: Check that the Capstan is in good shape, the rollers 
are not dinged, all roller bearings are in good shape and turn freely with 
no gravelly noise.

7.      Gates. Make sure the gates you get are what you need. There are 
several variations including after market gates by Steadifilm. A 35 gate 
may be for either Academy or Super 35. Make sure you get what you need. 16 
mm gates are available for Regular 16 and Super 16. If you need Super 16, 
make sure the rollers on the machine are fitted for S16. Replacing all your 
rollers can be expensive if you have the wrong ones and the wrong ones can 
ruin a S16 negative. Once again, check before you lay down your money. 
There are people out there who specialize in refurbishing older gates.

8.      PTR rollers. PTR rollers are an excellent way to keep film clean as 
it runs through the film path. Must have.

9.      Make sure you have the machine powered up before you buy and check 
it out thoroughly with an experienced engineer other than the seller. You 
want to make sure high voltage works correctly with no arcing, servos 
function, scan boards are working correctly, CRT lights up and is bright 
and sharp with minimal burns, machine passes video correctly and is 
controllable by the color corrector desk.

10.     Make sure you get yourself a good color corrector also but that's a 
different entry.

11.     Another good upgrade would be to have Digital Deflection. This 
aftermarket deflection system addresses many of the reliability issues of 
older MKIII's. Well worth the extra money if your budget allows it.

There is more to check but time limits my entry.

Good luck!!!!

Dave Corbitt
Chief Engineer
Post Logic NY
New York, NY 10014
email: dcorbitt at postlogic.com  
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