Showscan #001 and #102 Back for a Visit

I have a soft spot in my heart for the Showscan system as I was lucky enough to be part of the team in John Russel’s shop that built the first few cameras that were used to test the system. The three cameras that we built were based on Mitchell FC cameras. We also built a custom sound blimp for one of them. When the owner of these CP65 cameras came to me and asked if I could help make these cameras back into working 65mm production cameras, I agreed. Camera #001 is probably one of the prototypes of the CP65 system and is quite different in design from camera #102, which was likely a production camera. There were two goals with this initial work: make camera #001 as functionally similar to camera #102 as possible, and have Arnold Peterson bring the electronics up to modern standards. 

When I took the movement out of camera #001 I saw that this movement was put together with 12-point cap screws which, to me, didn’t make any sense as it meant that the camera assistant had to carry a special tool around to do work on this movement. I replaced all of those screws with allen-head cap screws that work with standard tools. The other item needing immediate attention is a Pic Design belt that they used as a coupling between the movement and the main drive shaft. The one that was in the camera is all rotted and needs to be replaced. Then I began to list all of the things that will need to be done to this movement to get it production ready. First on the list was to set, adjust, and dowel pin the pressure plate assembly. Second on the list was to modify the pitch control so that it can’t crash into the movement if adjusted incorrectly. Third is to do a total disassembly of the movement, clean it, lubricate it, and reassemble it. Once work is done on the movement, a new baseplate has to be designed and machined for both cameras, and the film threading pattern on camera #001 has to be made as close to that of camera #102 as possible. Once this work is done, we can begin testing the electronics and mechanics to work out any bugs.