Visual Instrumentation Corporation Model SP-1 Cine 8 Camera

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Visual Instrumentation Corporation Model SP-1 Cine 8 Camera

Special purpose super slow motion camera

Variable speed 10 fps to 250fps

Pin registered

C-mount lens

Heater built in to film chamber

Excerpts from the 1976 Handbook of Super 8 Production by Mikolas and Hoos:

Visual Instrumentation Corporation's Model SP-1 Cine 8 Camera is designed to run super 8 film up to 250fps using the standard super 8 cartridge (including the MFX 100 foot cartridge). This is the only super 8 camera we know that incorporates a precision pin registered intermittent film movement in its design.
The running speed is variable in one frame increments from ten frames to 250 frames per second. In addition, the camera will respond to pule inputs for timelapse work down to one frame per second.
Outwardly the camera resembles other super 8 cameras, but the inside is very different. The speed is accurately controlled by a drift-free system that controls the width of a constant frequency pulse supplied to the permanent magnet of the DC motor. A tachometer driven by the film transport mechanism provides the servo reference.
Despite the fact that the Cine 8 employs the standard super 8 cartridge, loading is somewhat different because of the pin-registered film movement. When inserting the cartridge in the film chamber, it becomes necessary to pull out a longer piece of film from the cartridge and thread it through the pin registration movement and around a large sprocket wheel.
The camera is also well suited for cold weather applications. A 50 watt heater is built into the film chamber. By means of a sensor mounted near the film plane, this heater will keep the film chamber between 50 degrees F and 65 degrees F at external temperatures as low as -65F.










Please edit this page if you have any more information about this odd camera.

"Visual Instrumentation Corporation Model SP-1 Cine 8 Camera", nicknamed "VIC".

This camera was designed between the years 1971 & 1972 by 2 engineers Maurice Amesbury and Jack Van Vonderen -both of whom were working for Milliken (Teledyne) at the time- both, thereafter, went on to form "Mekel Engineering", the company who built the camera. The "Visual Instrumentation Corporation" were the distributor, handled maintenance and sold the camera for "Mekel". The Cine-8 was both companies first product.

110 of these cameras were made between the years 1972-1982. The serial numbers begin at 1200 and end at 1310, 1310 being the last camera sold in 1982. Cameras were built to order.

It's the same camera as the "Weinberger Cine-8 Model SP-1", Weinberger were the European distrubutor of the V.I. Cine 8. Approximately 10 cameras were sold in Europe.

It can actually film as fast as 300fps but it is advised that the limit be 250fps, the super 8 cartridge spindle is liable to melt above this speed.

It is not the same camera as the Mekel 300, that is a Polavision camera made exclusively by Mekel.

Offered on eBay January 2009 for 2000 GBP (no bids) with a mention that this camera can still be serviced by Gil at VIC, 1110 West Avenue L-12, Unit 2, Lancaster, CA. USA 93534-7039.

eBay Auctions[edit]