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Axel Arft

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About Axel Arft

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  • Interested in Sound for Picture
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    working with Nagra since 1982. Until 1999.After a 10 year DAT break again since 2009 thanks to NAGRA VI
  1. Hi al mcguire I'm a new member and I just read your post from Feb.5 ,2015 That reminded me of an incident I had in 1992 being sound mixer on set for „THE INNOCENT“ directed by John Schlesinger with Anthony Hopkins, Isabella Rosselini and Campbell Scott as main cast. The movie was shot entirely in Berlin, Germany and it was my biggest job so far. Seeing the advances in Cinema Sound I thought it would be a good idea to record with the best quality possible – that would be 15'' per second. Nagra IV-S had quite a lot of noise in the 7,5'' mode compared to the 4.2 full track. But 15'' speed and 5'' reels would mean max 12 minutes of recording. So I got a 7'' lid amd found out that BASF PER 368 was not available on 7'' reels. So I recalibrated my NAGRA IV-S to PER 468 and had nearly 17 minutes of recording time. So far so good. Then I noticed that the 7'' take up reel was not turning smoothly but nearly stopping from time to time and the accelarating again – It did not really affect the recording but it did not look good and I was afraid of just not hearing the problem while recording dialog. Then I noticed by not pushing the pinch roller to the full play position the problem dissapeared. But that did not look good either an I was afraid that the tape transport would be not correct. So I looked for the problem inside the machine. ( that was in between takes while shooting dialog with the main actors) I thought of dirt in the transmission or not enough grease somewhere. During the search for something unknown I lost the tiny red rubin bullet which is the bearing for the take up reel drive. Big problem because the take up reel was not moving any more. I had opend the machine on a billiard table on the set and I asked the electricians to put some light around the table and asked them to help my find the tiny red ball. ( 3mm diameter ?) At this point there was no denying that the was a sound problem, specially because the next set up was ready and everybody was waiting. So I closed the machine and started recording with my right reel rolling up by hand. After some takes which were not forgotten by me and the other people on set: Next set up and I could continue the search. The red ball was inside the machine glued on a little dot of grease! So I refitted it and could record normally again. But the problem remained the same until I found out shortly after that it was not the machine but the poorly manufactured empty reels by BASF ( or was it EMTEC already?) So I had to check with every reloading the empty reel: if there was a contact between empty reel and pinch roller: bad! Usually you had only to turn it around and the other side would run smoothly. That was quite a relief to find that easy solution.
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