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S8/16mm Camera Crystal Control Unit


When we introduced our Crystal Control Unit in 1982 it was with the intention of giving filmmakers the low-cost option of shooting double system sync sound with their existing Super-8 or 16mm camera. Our Crystal Control Unit is designed to interface seamlessly with a wide range of Super-8 and 16mm cameras including Beaulieu, Canon, Nizo, Elmo, Nikon, Chinon and Minolta. Over the years we have added many cameras to our list of available conversions to what is currently over 30 models. The small CCU device is the heart of the camera's crystal control system. The unit provides the means of locking the running speed of the camera to a precise, quartz crystal reference at exactly 24 or 25fps (specify when ordering). Cableless operation with a crystal sync recorder such as a Nagra, modified cassette deck, DAT or MiniDisc recorder is then possible. Our Blooper Slating Unit is the perfect companion device for your crystalized camera and sync recorder.

The CCU is a separate package of electronics connected to the camera by a lightweight, coiled cable. The unit runs on its own power supply using a single 9v. alkaline battery. There is no power drain from the camera, itself. The CCU can be simply slipped into a shirt or hip pocket or even attached to the top of the camera with a strip of velcro. There is an LED lamp on the faceplate to indicate proper sync operation. Starting the camera activates the device and locking synchronization is obtained instantly.

Crystallization of the camera does require certain modifications that must be provided by The Film Group. All original features of the camera are unaffected when the CCU is disconnected. The crystallization of single-system Super-8 sound cameras requires the use of standard 50' silent cartridges when shooting crystal sync. The CCU can also be supplied at 25fps for the same cost.

NOTE: Over the years we have converted hundreds of cameras for our Crystal Control Unit with excellent results. In fact, it is our most popular product. The modification is completely safe and will not adversely affect the camera's normal operation in any way. The CCU is sold as a package, only, with a camera conversion.

Canon Zoom DS8 Crystal Conversion!

We are now offering a crystal sync conversion for
the Canon Zoom DS8. The Canon DS8 is finding
renewed interest among a small band of filmmakers
and The Film Group is supporting their efforts with
this new conversion. A bit more expensive than our
other cameras, the Canon DS8 requires extensive
modification work to make it suitable for our CCU.


Current CCU Modification Price List:


NIZO			S56			$600
				S80			  "
           	S480          "
				S481		  "
				S560		  "
				S561		  "
           	S800          "
           	S800P         " 
				S801		  "
				1048		  "
				2056		  "
				6056		  "
				4080		  "
				6080		  "
NIKON			R8			$650
				R10			  "
BEAULIEU		2008		$600*
				4008		  "
				4008ZM		  "
				4008ZM2		  "
				4008ZM3		  "
				4008ZM4		  "
				3008S		$625*
				5008S		  "
				6008S		$600
				7008S		  "
				**R16 series	$625*
FUJICA			ZC1000			$625 (note #2)

CANON			814XL-S			$600 (note #1)
				1014XL-S		  "        " 
				Zoom DS8		$800* (see above)

ELMO		612S-XL			$625*
			1012S-XL		  "

MINOLTA	D-12			$600	

CHINON		12SMR			$600
			200/8XL			  "
			200/12XL		  "
			506SMXL		      "	

Pricing listed above includes the camera modification and Crystal Control Unit.

The CCU system can also be supplied in 25fps, for the same cost.

*Includes internal electronic frame rate switch.

**The Beaulieu R16 can also be supplied at 30fps or 29.97fps.

All speeds and features are retained on the camera when the CCU is not connected.

Many models of cameras not listed for conversion may be used for double-system sync sound if they have a standard PC contact, through the use of our Digital-to-Pilotone Converter.

Note #1: It is possible to use 24fps. Canon cameras with a 25fps crystal without any changes necessary to the camera beyond our basic crystal conversion. The crystal will automatically boost the speed to 25fps when connected. This will allow filmmakers to purchase US version cameras (24fps) and have them crystal-synched for 25fps use.

Nore #2: The modification to the Fujica ZC1000 Single-8mm camera requires the Fujica Pulse Generator unit.


It is important not to be misled by auction or classified ads for "new" Super-8 cameras. Yes, there are some Russian cameras and one or two still offered by Beaulieu but all the rest were made quite some time ago. Even cameras that may be listed as "like new" or "mint" will more than likely be 15 to 30 years old. They may have seen little use, but they are hardly new. In many cases these cameras have not been run in years. They may have corrosion on the electrical contacts, be lacking in vital lubrication, have a dirty optical path, etc. Personally, I'd rather buy a camera that the owner said he/she just shot a film with than one claiming to be "new in the box" and made in 1975.

Checking your camera before sending it in for a crystal sync conversion will save time in the long run. The following test procedure is one we are now using for all cameras entering our shop. If the camera fails any of these tests it will be returned to the owner for service before the conversion will be done. If you are purchasing a camera from a dealer, ask them to do this procedure for you before you purchase the camera. If you already have the camera you should complete the tests yourself.

1) Camera Run Test: Install fresh batteries in the camera and set the speed to 24fps. Begin by applying short run bursts to verify proper operation. The camera should not be making any squealing or screeching sounds indicating a lack of lubrication. If all is well, set the camera to "run lock" and let it go for at least 20 minutes.

-Camera speed should remain fairly constant and smooth with no loss of power or any decrease in running speed.

-There should not be any increase in camera noise as time passes.

If a dealer is performing these tests, have them also check for excessive current drain. A higher than normal current load may indicate poor lubrication and/or improper motor alignment.

2) Operational Check: Check all electrical functions for proper operation such as the zoom, auto iris, variable shutter/dissolve system, time lapse modes, etc. Check all other running speeds including single frame function. If there is a speed pot, rotate from minimum speed to just beyond 30fps to check for any abrupt speed fluctuations indicating wear on the control. Gently shake and turn the camera in all directions while running at 24fps to verify proper electrical contact.

3) Physical Examination: Look through the viewfinder to check the light path for dirt and dust. Flip in the ground glass screen and check it as well. Inspect for any signs of physical abuse such as dents in the casing, deep scratches or gouges. Check the lens for excessive wear by working the focus and manual room rings. Examine the camera for any loose or missing control knobs, loose or missing name plates, markings, covers, etc. Many of these plates are glued on and will fall off with the slightest pressure.

You should be satisfied in your own rind the camera is fully operational before having any conversion work done to it. The dealer who sold it to you will probably not honor any warranty once the conversion is done, so you should have any problems taken care of, first.