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16mm 800' Mags


In planning for an upcoming super-16 feature, a DP and I have been discussing the use of the new 800' magazine systems. The 22 minute loads are awfully appealing.

class="Body" I'd like to hear any experiences folks have had with these mags, either the GX-800 for the Aaton, or the equivalent Arri unit? Specific questions on my mind include....
- any noisier?
- any issues with overcranking - how fast can they go?
- light leaks?
- real world experience with 800' reels - stock availability, labs, etc
- anything else....

One thing I've noticed is that, in browsing three or four rental house websites, nobody seems to actually list these units. Are they actually available anywhere?


Andy Stadler
San Francisco

I've used them quite a bit.. The only issue come from mishandling.
Due the large roll, dishing can be a problem if the AC or Loader doesn't take care, Not much different from handling the 1000 35mm loads though. When they were first introduced cores were hard to get and you MUST use the 3" core for take up, but now they are common place enough. Stock availability is only an issue outside of LA and NY, but Kodak so far has seemed to have plenty available to ship to us in Atlanta.

As far as finding magazines, CPT in Atlanta has 2 or 3 and a Cameraman Marc Dobiecki here has another 2 for his XTRprod Package. Plus Able in NY has as many as you'd want.

class="Body" Bret Lanius - Camera Assistant - Atlanta GA, USA

class="Body" http://blanius.home.mindspring.com

We used 800 ft. mags on an Aaton XTRprod for "the Court" and didn't have any problems overcranking or with light leaks, and they seemed to be just as quiet as the 400 ft. mags.

I thought the XTRprod w/the 800 ft. mags was just about perfectly balanced for handheld use (w/a Canon 8/64, mattebox and follow focus). I had absolutely no problem running up and down the basketball court with it on my shoulder to capture game footage.

class="Body" >One thing I've noticed is that, in browsing three or four rental house websites, >nobody seems to actually list these units. Are they actually available anywhere?

class="Body" Our rental house, Oppenheimer, subrented the 800 ft. mags from Abel, but that was a little over a year ago - they might be more common now.

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List

A ndrew,

i've worked with my aaton 800 foot mags with great success. the convenience and practicality of having 800 feet in certain situations goes without saying.

class="Body" > - any noisier?

i find the 800s to be more quiet than the 400s. i'm not sure if it's the insulation of the anti-dishing plates on each side that makes the difference, or the fact that the anti-dishing plates are part of the drive mechanism.

class="Body" > - any issues with overcranking - how fast can they go?

class="Body">i've used them up to 75fps without a problem.

> - light leaks?

class="Body" none.

> - real world experience with 800' reels - stock availability, labs, etc

it's mostly the vision stocks that are available. maybe there's 45, 48, and 93 also. no problems with the labs. no black and white stocks are available though the 800s happen to run the ilford black and white stocks well. You must use the large diameter cores on the take-up side for reasons of torque. you can use 400 foot loads in the magazines but still must have the large cores.

class="Body" A 400 foot load taken-up onto a large core will barely fit into a 400 foot can, but it will fit.
make sure you get some 800 foot cans in case you have a larger than 400 foot short end.

class="Body" Using both 400s and 800s can make matters a little complex: if you're using both 400s and 800s it can sometimes get confusing as to how much stock to order in what size: you don't want to get stuck with an 800 foot load and only 400 foot mags available, or having to shoot just a couple hundred feet and short-ending 600 feet.

class="Body" if you are doing precise operating and framing, or using a jib arm, and are using both 400s and 800s, remember that you will have to rebalance the camera when switching between mag sizes.

if you're using a three axis weaver steadman, re-balancing gets a little more complicated with the use of both mag sizes, especially with the aft distance needed to pull the mag out to make a mag change when the 800 is on-board. Also make sure that if you are using a small fluid head that it has the range to balance forward enough to counter the 800 foot weight. the old version of the o'connor 1030b large euro sliding balance plate did not accommodate the range and they redesigned it. A s to whether the 800s balance out a front-heavy camera well, i'm not so sure. the weight of the mag is not really far enough out aft to really counter balance a large front-heavy rig with a large zoom, mattebox, filters, eyebrow, and handheld microforce. on the other hand, i don't really mind the additional overall weight of the 800 foot mag compared to the 400. then again, i may answer differently after a day of handholding.

class="Body" > Are they actually available anywhere?

A belcinetech in New York has them available for rental.


class="Body" Darren Lew

They are very quiet as they have a sound dampening plate inside, Fairly easy to load as well. They are hard to come by during pilot season, as a lot of shows are shot 16 with these mags. Panavision should have a few for rent.

class="Body" Raoul Germain
DP/Los Angeles