Bach Auricon 16mm camera help.

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by habib_b, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. Hello, I have just gotten into 16mm film and I have heard that the Auricon
    cameras record sound onto an optical track on the film, but I have also heard
    that many auricon cameras have been converted to magenetic recorders of sound
    instead of the older optical recordering method. My question is that would it
    be possible to convert a magenetic sound recording Auricon into an Optical
    sound recording camera. If so, is it easy to do, and can I do it myself or do
    I have to give it to some one who knows exactly what they are doing to do it?
    Thanks. Also, any information that any of you know about the Auricon cameras
    would be very helpful to me if you would please include in your answers.
    Thanks again.
  2. The optical recording system on the Auricon's was never very good. And since the sound track was "exposed" in the camera. There was never any way to "applicate" develope the soundtrack the way conventional optical soundtracks are done. The applicate developing increased density.
  3. To further elaborate: The Auricons were newsreel cameras, used in the days before portable video gear. New crews would shoot, and the TV studios had in house "souping". So in 40 minutes the footage could be on the air.

    They actually sold these to these amateurs in the 1950's. Which is pretty funny if you've ever tried to load one. On the Auricon 1200 I used c1980, it took me at least 10 minutes to thread. The sound track and the picture are exposed at differing points within the camera. This to allow the projectors to have the correct distancing for sync. But remember sound rolls continuously, and picture is exposed intermittently. So the intermittent motion has to be smoothed out before the sound can be recorded.

    As I stated above the only appeal of these was for fast work such as news gathering.
  4. Thanks Steve for all the useful information, do you think that you can convert a magentic sound recording auricon back into an optical recording auricon? Thanks.
  5. You would have to have the optical soundtrack exposure lamp and lens re-installed. Plus magnetic and optical soundtracks run at different "frame advance rates". This is the amount of frames that the soundtrack precedes the picture for sync.

    I would think that you would need a 2nd junked camera, to strip the parts off of to perform such an operation. In the late 1970's I was a film student in L.A. The college had received many of these old "clunkers" via donation from various studios. We disconnected the sound recording ability and shot them with seperate sound tracks.

    Interesting side note: Many of these were converted to what was called "Super-16MM" format. This utilized a widened gate that allowed the image to extend the entire width of the single perf film. The 16MM "Super" negs were then duped onto 35MM interneg stock, and 35MM prints would be made.

    This was a very popular money saving technique in those days, for both TV and Motion picture productions. The cost of 16mm camera stock, and it's processing was a fraction of 35mm's costs. In Hollywood many foreign (Asian) film companies would fly in and shoot a movie in about a week. And they loved those Auricons.
  6. Hi Steve, Thanks again for the very useful information. Well it seems like modifing a magnetic auricon backing into an optical auricon is a difficult and time consuming task its way over my head. But I just have one last question, how would I be able to tell by looking at the inside of an Auricon camera where the film is to be thread, if it is an optical recorder or magnetic? What would I need to look for? Thanks again for all of your help.
  7. Follow the rather convoluted film path. And you will see the sound recording head. There is a small drum used to remove the intermittent motion of the film at the gate. This drum is the point where the sound "head" is located.

    The difference between the two types of mechanisms should be determinable if you are movie camera savvy. Magnetic heads look much different than the optical/lamp housing that is used to expose soundtracks.
    Come to think of it, does KODAK even still make 16MM single perf camera stocks with mag stripe?
  8. There is nothing wrong with the Auricon 16 sound camera, however it has to be processed with a special sound track applicator in order that it be either a silver or sulfide track.

    The reason is that projectors sound systems use only IR rather than light and color tracks are transparent to IR. I was tech manager of a motion picture company and all of our processors for color prints had to be either sulfide or silver, depending on the system that was used. We use silver in reversal films and sulfide on positive films.

  9. Any Auricon camera you find that was used up into the 1970's would have been converted
    to magnetic sound. To re-convert back to optical sound, you would not only need the
    original optical parts that expose the soundtrack in the camera, but the external optical
    sound amplifier used to drive the sound recording bulb in the camera. The recording
    amplifier used for magnetic sound would be different.

    The reason the Auricon cameras found popularity in super 16 low-budget film production,
    of course has nothing to do with their sound recording abilities, which wasn't used, but
    rather they were "self-blimped" cameras, absolutely noiseless, and they were cheap.
  10. Hibab B. I have a complete Auricom 16mm camera with the sound amp and it is the optical recordering method. If you are still looking for this item feel free to comtact me at tim @ upwardoutlook dot com
  11. For them other conversion (not what you want); The Auricon adverts in my 4th edition American Cinematographer Manual of 1973 calls the FILMAGNETIC. With the optical "writing" scheme there are galvos that move to creat the optical track. The Auricons use two different scheme; the RCA scheme is variable area; the Western Electric is variable density. One modulates galvo; the other a lamp. The 600; ie Pro 600 doesnt require a Blimp; plus it uses a C-mount. Thus with my LTM; Exakta; and Nikon F to C mount adapters on can use 35mm still camera lenses for longer tele shots. The reason the film path is MORE complex with a sound camera is the film is moved a constant velocity a the sound recording head; and it stops dead for each frame in the film gate. A silent camera is easier to load. Recording audio directly on the film via optical; then later magnetic was done in early pro movies; then dropped due to quality ; editing ; lack of control issues. It morphed into TV news reel usage and home movies; and some simple documentarys

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