RCA TP-6 Telecine Projector

This is one of my own personal telecine projectors...everyone should have at least two or three of these, they only weigh about #400!

I really enjoy collecting and watching my films! There is nothing to be compared to the "silver screen" experience of motion-picture films when they are in excellent condition. Acetate film is quite durable and designed to withstand many, many plays a in TV broadcasting environment so I run them often and dont worry about it -- what good is it to let the films sit idly by in a can?
Besides, film can go bad even if you never run it at all...it can develop a condtion of decay called "vinegar syndrome" which will eventually destroy it and once the process begins, it is irreversable.
So, I watch films with my family and friends often!

Film collecting is alot of fun, but there is some work invovled to maintain and keep your films in top running condition. Often films arrive on cores, lacking proper leaders or worse, in need of repair from damaged sprockets, etc.
Every film must be cleaned and lubricated though no matter what. For this I employ a professional soultion called RTI-Type B.
This chemical evaporates very quickly but leaves a lubricating coating behind that is very good for the film and the projector as well. Clean film also means your projector stays clean, although it is recommended that you clean the projector gate after each screening anyway.

Below is a Telecine filmchain or "island". The machine on the left is a telecine projector Model RCA TP-6 with 16mm optical or Mag sound, it projected the 8th Man film image into the Mulitplexer at the center which diverted it into the RCA Vidicon camera, (the big box on the right) to be broadcast to the homes of the lucky ones in the big cities!

There are a lot of differeces in a home movie projector and a telecine projector which is designed to facilitate film-to-video transfer. The transport system must be rock-steady and there are differences in the shutter, light intensity and optics to provide a projected image suitable for pick-up by a television camera.

Back in the days when you saw 8th Man on your TV set at that precise moment at the TV station a 16mm film print was running on a machine very similar to the one you see here. When films were available they were used as videotape was very expensive back then. It would have been possible to record 16mm on to Quad tape, but I doubt it was ever done with 8th Man prints. By the time the more cost-effective 1" and Umatic tape formats had arrived the series had been canned.

If you are wondering is this Vintage film chain equipment hard to come across today?? The answer is YES! A friend of mine in the TV biz from years ago until now had this to say:

The historical aspects of the networks have no champions in this era of big corporation fast buck executives. There was an exec brought from RCA labs to NBC just when GE took over. My friends watched as this guy walked around and threw out all of the old engineering records, everything more than a year old. He's still there.

The story of how Jay left NBC is sad and quite typical of the GE mentality.

ABC and CBS are not quite as bad although neither has kept any historical equipment. Preston Davis at ABC told me he regrets this but there just isn't enough room in their cramped facilities. ABC has a good record of donating out of service equipment to schools. A lot of old stuff used to be kept with the remote trucks, when the networks unloaded these rigs, they dumped the buildings and everything therein.

PBS doesn't have anything; they started in 1969, had the USPS fire in 1984 and replaced everything that year. Dumont disappeared when Metromedia took over and when they moved from 515 Madison to E. 67th.

The best bet for finding historical records and equipment is probably with the stations that are still family owned.


For Film-to-Video transfer I use all professional equipment: For b/w films I get great results with an Elmo TRV-16G Telecine projector - And for color transfers the reliable RCA TP-6 projector and Panasonic CLE-200 3CCD videocamera combine to produce sharp images and truly vivid color transfers. After mastering with Panasonic AG-7400 SVHS VTR / AG-6810 VHS Duplicator w/ high bandwidth heads.



8th Man HOME