Review of new products - Journal of Chemical Education (ACS

Abstract. Considers devices in television, film, audio, and Super-8 film and audiocassettes. Keywords (Audience):. General Public. Keywords (Feature):...
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Review o f New Products

Evergreen State College Olympia, Washington 98501

The state-of-the-art in new teaching aids suitable for use in the chemistry classroom or laboratory has significantly improved within the last three years. One-half-inch video tape units can record and playback television images which are sharp and stable. The cost of a %-hr long tape is less than $20. The recorder-playback unit, which may have the tape enclosed in a cassette, has a market mice of $1200. contrastine with units which - aualitv-wise . several years ago sold for over $3000. Standards have develoned in the S u ~ e r - 8film format. Magnetic sound projectok are now available from every major manufacturer of audiovisual equipment. Cartridges developed around the ubiquitous 50-400-ft reels on which film is supplied provide a low-cost, flexible standard. Most projectors are completely automatic threading (e.g., Bolex, Kodak, Fairchild-Eumig, Bell and Howell.) The high-light output of these projectors or modified units facilitate showings of S-8-mm film to groups of up to several hundred. Other new devices, e.g., audio recorders, have been previously described. In general, the emphasis is now where it should he, on the teacher-producer making quality materials available. Clearly, sufficient hardware is available to facilitate the production and showing of images in relatively inexpensive formats in the time and place most conducive to learning. Presented is a summary of appropriate new resources.



One drawback to usine television in a laree l a h o r a t o"~. . classroom, or a u d i t ~ r i u ~the i s economics, Fn addition to the technical ~roblems,associated with ~ositioninamultiple TV receivers so that they can be used without aisturbing normal sightlines to the lecture bench and chalkboard. Television projection systems have been proposed, hut they have been expensive and require rather special conditions to work effectively. The Sony corporation has introduced a new color video projection system which may

bring new life to TV projection as a teaching aid. (See Fig. 1.) Based on their Trinitron" TV system, the projector produces a color video picture on a 23 X 30-in. integral screen or a 30 X 40-in. standard reflection type screen. The system uses a high-efficiency color TV tube that is 30 times brighter than a diiect-view color picture tube, and a hlack-matrix screen used on home TV receivers to improve contrast and apparent resolution. The rear-screen self-contained unit is only 61 in. h X 35 in. w X 25 in. d which will make it easy to move into the front of a classroom to support demonstrations previously recorded on TV tape, or performed live in front of the class and magnified through a compact TV camera. The magnification available by showing an image over one large scteen rather than multiple small screens considerably improves the power of this device to assist in emphasizing important details. For further information contact the Sony Corporation, 47-47 Van Dam Street, Long Island City, N. Y. 11101. The U-Matic Color Video Cassette System designed to put prerecorded programs on any TV screen is being marketed by the Sony Corporation of America. The Sony system uses a %-in. erasable, magnetic tape costing about $35 for 60 min (not recorded). The player unit connects to any standard B&W or color TV set. (See Fig. 2.) The videotape is at all times in the cassette. Hands never touch the tape. Winding, threading, and rewinding are completely automatic. A program can be stopped a t will without rewinding the tape and when reinserted, will pick up where it stopped. Automatic rewind takes less than 3 min for a complete 60-min tape. The tape is erasable and can he used over and over again, revised or updated. Protected in its cassette, it can be stored indefinitely. The Video cassette player is portable and can be placed on lecture bench or lab top. Price of the U-Matic player unit is $995. The player-recorder combination is priced a t $1,395. Film

A new sound Suner-8 nrniector has been announced hv Kodak: the ' ' ~ u p e ~ m a t i c ' 6 0This " is a totally new, magnetic-davhack, S u p e r 8 sound ~roiectorwith a horizontal, low-piofiie design,-15 in. wide; 19 in. long, 6% in. high: The projector has a built-in "lift-up" 6 X %in. high-gain screen. (See Fig. 4.) It can be used for showing films in daylight or brightly lighted classrooms. A Zoom lens provides


66 / Journalof Chemical Education



Figure 1. The Sony rear screen television projector. Configured for either rear screen (a) or conventionai front screen projection (6).Normal legibility should extend to a class of 150 students.

Figure 2.

The Sany cassette video tape recorder.


Figure 4. A new Super-Bmm projector from Kadak with magnetic sound, cartridge loading, individual or iarge group projection capabilities.

Figure 3. Portable videotape recorder. The Sony AV-3650 Video tape recorder is a compact unit with editing features and picture stability found in the past on larger, mare expensive machines. Of particular interest to the teacher producing his awn materials is the au'tamatic gain controls which maintain proper picture and sound recording levels automaticaliv. Sound can also be added to a orerecorded oicture. imaaer can be ;how" at normal speed, variable slow motion or stop motion, through a high-resolution monitor or the antenna terminals of any regular TV set.






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a 4% X 6-in. image on the built-in screen or will zoom onto larger screens. The Supermatic-60 will accept Kodak Projection cartridges, available in four sizes providing screen running times from 45 sec to 30 min. These cartridges can be easily opened for cleaning, editing, or film splicing. To trigger automatic threading a lever is pushed and the film is led out of the cartridge to a concealed take-up reel. The same lever also controls still review, for repeating selected scenes. When the film is finished the Supermatic-60 projector automatically rewinds 400 f t in less than 1min. This projector became available with volume deliveries beginning in October. Catalog prices are AVGOA-Kodak Supermatic 60 Sound Projector with fixed Ektanar Projection Lens, $460; and AVGOZ (with f11.3 zoom lens), $490. Kodak has also introduced the "XL" line of movie camera for available light color filming. (See Fig. 5.) The new models with about seven times the light efficiency of the average reflex zoom camera together with the new Ektachrome 160 film have made possible a new slogan, "color movies by the light you live in." In designing the new cameras, some sacrifice in features was required to give the added light gathering power without undue cost. While they are indeed unsurpassed for low light capability by any other Super-$ camera standards, the new XL 33 and XL 55 models lack: reflex viewing and focusing (essential to the teacher producing his films where closeups are emphasized), through-the-lens exposure control, variable speeds, wide zoom ratio, manual exposure override, single frame cable release, and the ability to accept film speeds other than ASA 40 and 160. The companion development in low light capability was the new Ektachrome 160 film rated at ASA 160 tungsten which gives good results for a film of its speed. High-speed Super-$ film has been available for several years known as "SO-105." SO-105 is now being manufactured as Ektachrome 7242 (as in 16 mm) rather than its former desiznation which implied a special order. Also the cartridges for this film are being notched to ASA 160 for comoatihilitv with the XL cameras.

Figure 5. A recent camera design, the Kodak XL-55. works like binoeuEars with the elbows and forehead forming a steadying tripod, the automatic exposure system is designed for available light photography.

F gLle 6 The Tech" C O O ~Mode 1300M Pro eelor A Cnrtr age-loaa ng device, a leacner or stmenl nee0 on, 9 D n 1ne carlr aqe an0 D&n me ' g o o ~ t l o nTne I lm va*e 5 at 74 IDS Tne o m cctor sn& all a.tomat -


at the end of each film. It has two built-in speakers and an outlet for external speakers or headphones. The 7 X 9-in. rear screen can be detached tar front projection to large groups. Available from the Technicolor Corporation. 299 Kaimus Drive, Costa Mesa. Calif. 92627.

Technicolor, well known for its silent continuous loop projectors and as an advocate of Super-$ film optical sound tracks, has announced a line of magnetic sound projectors. (See Fig. 6.) The possibility of an accidental erasure of a recording on the magnetic track has been eliminated in the new Technicolor projectors by not including any erase record circuitry. Since the projectors will accept only the Technicolor continuous loop cartridge the user of this device must plan on a supplementary device to add sound to his magnetic striped films. Previous articles in this Volume 50, Number I.January 1973 / 67

series have identified manual load proiectors capable of recording play-back sound, e.g., ~airEhiidEumig Projector or the Bolex SM 8-B. A MARC conversion kit for the Kodak M95 and MlOOA projectors to permit large screen projection (up to 10 ft) of Suner-8 film has been announced hv Kelmar Cor~oration, 169' East 2 Street, Huntington station, New ~ o r k N. , Y. 11746. The firm also sells new . nroiectors that have been converted. Conversion includes supplementary forced air cooling of the highlight output arc lamp. Well exposed Super-8 film compares favorably with 16-mm footage when projected u p to 10 ft wide. As Super-8 is coming into its own as a professional product there has been a critical need for a professional Super8 splicer at a reasonable price. This need is met by the Guillotine Superd splicer which utilizes the Guillotine perforating method on optically clear Mylar tape. The Guillotine Super-8 splicer incorporates a film cutter for trimming the ends of the film on the frame line, pins to engage the sprocket holes for critical alignment of the film for splicing, a perforator to punch sprocket holes in the tape, and a blade for trimming the tape to the exact length. (See Fig. 7.)

Figure 7 .

telephone lecture can he as low as the phone hill. Dial-up phone rates for a 1-hr lecture initiated 2000 miles from the classroom may average $25. For further information on the portable conference telephone contact a local Bell Telephone representative. Audio tape cassettes are frequently issued for self-paced instruction or with supplementary instructional information. The cassette is difficult to store, free from lint or physical damage. Indexing or labels are difficult to identify in a stored position. A line of cassette and film albums has been introduced which provide rigid plastic platforms which hold the cassettes firmly but release them easily with finger tip pressure. (See Fig. 9.) The cassette can he stored like a book on a shelf. The plastic spine on the album holds labels for cataloging or identification. For further information contact Plastic Sales and Service, 81 Yesler Way, Seattle, Wash. Super4 Film and Videocassettes

Kodak and other manufacturers of film equipment are pushing to make Superd color film the universal medium for the TV (video)-player market. Kodak, Polaroid, Fuji, Nordmede, and others have demonstrated or patented

A super-8-mm version of a 16-mm professional film splicer.

Operation of the splicer is simple and fast. The two ends of the film are placed on the pins so that they butt up against each other at the center of the splicer. The tape is then stretched from the tape roller across the film and pressed down firmly on the film. A perforator/cutter assembly is swung down to punch sprocket holes in the tape in perfect registration with the film sprocket holes and to trim the tape. The unique feature of the Super-8 Guillotine is that the tape is cut oversize on one side, with an extra set of boles punched on this portion and after it is removed from the splicer it is folded over by hand to make a perfect double sided splice. The folded over portion is shorter than the width of the film so that it will not cover a mag stripe. The entire splicer is manufactured of metal, machined to precision standards. The cost is $24.50 and i t is available from Guillotine Splicer Corporation, Western Division, 3407 W. Olive Avenue, Burbank, Calif. 91505.

Figure 8 . A telephone set with internal loudspeaker and microphones facilitates two-way group participation in talks presented over phone lines.


Many teachers are familiar with "Tele-lectures," amplified discussions initiated over the telephone lines. Previously equipment was bulky, expensive, difficult to converse over, and required special installations. These problems have been overcome with a new portable conference telephone introduced by Bell Telephone. The device connects to any telephone line using a standard telephone jack. The device is only a little larger than a standard telephone but contains a built-in speaker or can be connected to a public address system. (See Fig. 8.) A built-in microphone plus two remote microphones enable a teacher and a claes of up to 50 t o share exciting two-way conversations with other faculty, authors, professionals in industry, or specialists in other subject areas of interest. The cost of a 68 /Journal of

Chemical Education

Figure 9. material.

A storage unit for audio tape cassettes and related resource

sprocketless, continuous motion (and therefore quiet) video players for direct hookup to the antenna terminals of an ordinary TV set. Fuji has dubbed its system "CVR," Cine Video Recording. It is presumed that all systems would accept normal Super-8 magnetic sound film and feed video and audio signals into either a regular TV set, or a closed-circuit TV system. With cartridge-loading and the absence of projector "chatter," the user might not realize that the medium inside the snap-in container is film. The potential market for videoplayers is enormous, encompassing educational, cable TV, industrial, and religious users, possibly even TV broadcasters, and eventually the vast consumer market. The device com~lementsa video recorder in the same fashion as a TV camera. Important advantages of Super-8 as a videocassette medium-include (1) The possibility and economy of low-cost, color origination on TV with a $30 Super-8 movie camera instead of a $10,000 color video camera. The editing capability of film is maintained. (2) Filming in color and sound without expensive and backbreak-

ing apparatus. Williamson Camera Co. (8619 Yolanda Ave., Northridge, Calif. 91324) has recently announced the firs1 reasonably-priced Superd sound-on-film camera, a converted Bolex 160 Macrozoom for $995. Presently the only available prestriped film stock is Ektachrome EFB SO-240, but other film types should become available with a growing market demand. (3) The possibility of large-screen presentation with a Superd projector of high light output. (4) The absence of high-maintenance items in the video player such as spinning magnetic heads.

There are still a few questions to be answered. Will the film be in the Kodak cartridge, or some other cartridge? Will the frame rate he a t the 18 or the 24 fps speed, or at some other rate such as 20 or 30 fps for easier TVcompatibility? Will the price of Super-8 videocassettes be competitive with recently developed videotape duplication techniques? The answers to these questions might very well come within several years. Clearly, producing in Super-8 film with an eye toward connecting the image directly into a TV signal or converting to video tape is a visible opportunity.

Volume 50, Number 1. January 1973 / 69