House Projects

8mm Magi-cartridge Projectors

Introduction

This page was started because of my interest in my 1971 AMI/Rowe MM5 Presidential jukebox and the PhonoVue I later bought for it. What this a PhonoVue does is play short, less than 3-minute long, loops of Super 8mm film to accompany the music from the jukebox.

Chan Gade in the AMI Classic Jukebox Collectors Facebook Group said that the optics in the PhonoVue were based on the Technicolor Super 510 film projector which had a 20-32mm zoom lens and played the 8mm Magi-cartridge film loops.

Until I can get the PhonoVue to work properly I needed a way to view the cartridges of film the unit uses. In August 2022, I started looking around for cheap Technicolor Instant Movie projectors. I chose this brand to look for first as it was the only ones I knew that could play the Magi-cartridges.

There were various other cartridge systems available such as the Videotronic Compact Super 8 Cartridge, but this page concentrates on the Super 8 silent Magi-cartridges. This is because I wanted a projector that could play the cartridges that went into the PhonoVue.

This is Important!

If you get hold of one of these projectors and a Magi-cartridge to use in it, when you first test the projector take the lamp out first. This is because if the film transport doesn't work and the lamp is on, it gets so hot you only have a couple of seconds to turn the projector off and get the cartridge out before the film starts melting.

The Magi-cartridge

Magi-cartridges were developed by Technicolor who applied for a patent in 1961 for both the cartridges and the projectors to play them. Magi-cartridges can hold around 50ft of film which gives a maximum play time of 4 minutes but many are considerably shorter than this.

AMI Rowe made around 400 films for the PhonoVue. Technicolor had a catalog of 500 films for their projectors. There were countless other short films made by or for schools and colleges where these projectors and films were very popular. As these films were short they had to be confined to a single subject and were often known as Single Concept Teaching Films. Schools could make their own films which could be sent to Technicolor who would mount them inside a Magi-cartridge and return them.

A standard 8 Magi-cartridge, Egypt: Village Irrigation, made by Indiana State University, where I happen to work.

A standard 8 Magi-cartridge, Egypt: Village Irrigation, made by Indiana State University, where I happen to work.
This is made of clear plastic, has no ridge on the bottom edge, and has a rounded edge on the loop end of the cartridge, so this is a standard 8mm film Magi-cartridge.

The cartridges are robust, well-made and protect the film loop from most forms of damage. There are some disadvantages to them. The films were very short, no more than 4 minutes long. If someone wanted to make their own film they had to be inserted into the cartridge by Technicolor. There was a risk that the loops of film could rub against each other and be damaged, but that appears to have been a rare occurance.

Some companies can digitize the film loops but the cartridges seem to be destroyed during the process, the film loop has to be cut out of the cartridge. In 2022, the average cost appears to be around $15 per cartridge for them to be digitized.

History

The March 1962 issue of Popular Science had a short feature of the new Technicolor Instant Projector 800.

Breakdown of the Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800

Breakdown of the Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800
Image: March 1962 issue of Popular Science

Diagram of the Technicolor Instant Movie projector 800The feature by Alfred W. Lees says that Technicolor executives told him that only one in eight people who bought am 8mm film camera bought a projector to play the films they made. Perhaps they were hinting at a use for the range of Instant Movie projectors?

The feature mentions some of the advantages of the system. Keeping the film free from dirt and prying fingers and being able to repeat a small section of film, they give the example of being able to endlessly repeat a film of a golf shot until you are able to master it.

It also mentions some of the major shortcomings of the projectors, the films must be short to be put into the cartridges and only Technicolor was able to do that.

Technicolor originally marketed the projectors to businesses to enable their salesmen to demonstrate the company's products and services, and they advertized heavily throughout the 1960s in specialized trade magazines such as Business Screen.

An advert for the Technicolor Instant Movie projector 800 from the July 1962 issue of Business Screen magazine. An advert for the Technicolor Instant Movie range of projectors 800 from the July 1963 issue of Business Screen magazine. An advert for the self-contained Technicolor Instant Movie projector 700 from the April 1964 issue of Business Screen magazine. An advert for the Technicolor Instant Movie projectors from the May 1964 issue of Nation's Business magazine. An advert for the Technicolor Movie-Vision console from the March 1965 issue of Business Screen magazine. An advert for the Technicolor Instant Movie projector 800 from the May 1965 issue of Business Screen magazine. An advert for the Technicolor Instant Movie projector 510 from the March 1966 issue of Business Screen magazine. An advert for the Technicolor Instant Movie projector 510 and the Technicolor Movie-Vision console from the July 1966 issue of Business Screen magazine. An advert for the Technicolor Instant Movie projectors from the December 1966 issue of Business Screen magazine. An advert for the Technicolor Instant Movie projectors from the March 1967 issue of Business Screen magazine. An advert for the Technicolor Instant Movie projectors from the April 1967 issue of Business Screen magazine. An advert for the Technicolor Instant Movie projectors from the November 1967 issue of Business Screen magazine.

Adverts for the Technicolor range of Instant Movie projectors from Business Screen and other magazines, 1962 - 1967

Techniolor's Instant Movie projectors and the Magi-cartridges seems to have captured the imagination of the business community almost as soon as they were introduced in 1962. The July 1963 issue of Business Screen magazine reported that the Kelvinator company had bought "Viewing Centers" for their dealerships which featured Technicolor's Instant Movie projector 800 and Magi-cartridges featuring four films made by Wilding Inc. about Kelvinator's "No-Frost" refrigerator, automatic washer, electric range, and "Fooderama" featuring their deluxe refrigerator and freezer. Kelvinator reported that during trials the "Viewing Center" converted 80% of viewers into sales.

Kelvinator's Viewing Center

Kelvinator's Viewing Center
Click on the image for a larger image
Article recomposited from the original in the July 1963 issue of Business Screen magazine

Soon some of these companies were appealing to home users. "Weighing What You Want to Weigh" advertised their set of 9 Magi-cartridges along with a 510 projector. This advert appeared in the October 1966 issue of Listen magazine:

1966 Weighing What You Want to Weigh advert for 9 Magi-cartridges and a Technicolor 510 projector

1966 "Weighing What You Want to Weigh" advert for 9 Magi-cartridges and a Technicolor 510 projector
Click on the image for a larger image
The full magazine can be seen on the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research (ASTR) website

The projectors were easy to use which is how "Weighing What You Want to Weigh" described them as "The world's easiest-to-use Movie Projector". The projectors really are easy to use; insert the cartridge and turn it on. The sprockets engage, the lamp lights and the motor starts.

Because of their ease of use, the Magi-cartridges found other uses. The DAV-MAR Film Company of Los Angeles put one of the Technicolor Instant Movie projectors along with an A.B.T. Manufacturing Company coin mechanism into a machine they called a Cine Fun Movie Machine. There were both an adult and a children's version of the machines and they were advertised in the 1963 editions of trade magazines such as Billboard and Cash Box.

DAV-MAR Cine Fun Movie Machine article adapted from Billboard January 12, 1963 issue. DAV-MAR Cine Fun Movie Machine adverts from Cash Box, February 16, 1963 and Cash Box, April 6, 1963 issues. DAV-MAR Cine Fun Movie Machine image from Billboard February 23, 1963 issue. Note the Technicolor Instant Movie projector in the machine. DAV-MAR Cine Fun Movie Machine advert from the Billboard 1963/64 Coin Machine Directory.

Far from being a niche market, the Magi-cartridges enjoyed considerable success. The February 1969 issue of Business Screen magazine Technicolor announced that in addition to their own plant in Phoenix which loaded the cartridges they had licenced other companies to do the same. These companies were Super 8 City, Alexandria, Virginia; International Communication Films, Santa Ana, California; Bonded Services, New York, New York; Reela Film Labs, Miami, Florida; Audio-Graphics, Los Angeles, California; and Modern Trim, New York, New York.

The April 1969 of Business Screen magazine announced that Servis Equipment Company had been using Technicolor 500 projectors with C-106 carrying cases with rear-projection screen in 1,700 of their dealerships for the previous four years. Servis had made a dozen different films featuring their equipment for the Magi-cartridges. One ofthe dealers said that the instant movie projector was the most productive and least expensive salesman in his organization. Servis also used the projectors at various trade shows around the country.

Servis executives with their Technicolor Instant Movie projector and rear-projection screen

Servis executives with their Technicolor Instant Movie projector and rear-projection screen

Some companies saw the projectors as a means of demonstrating their products and Technicolor obliged by selling self-contained units with a small screen in the case such as the C107 which was designed for their 510, 800D and 810 projectors. Later, back projection units were available especially when the larger 8mm with sound film cartridges were made in the late 1960s.

Portion of the Technicolor catalog from 1970

Portion of the Technicolor catalog from 1970
The full brochure can be seen on the Optical Toys website

The Magi-cartridges proved to be very popular with the pornographic film industry. First there were inventions like the Kinetoscope, Mutoscope and similar machines. With the invention of the Panoram, a sort of film loop jukebox in 1940, film loops drew the attention of pornographers. They soon developed the Solo-Vue and Hollywood Peep Show conversions for the Panoram which showed risqué films only one person at a time could view. Businessman George Atkinson is sometimes known as the father of home vieo rentals. His empire started in 1968 when he discovered the Technicolor Instant Movie projectors. That led to the formation of Home Theater Systems and the renting out of the projector, a screen and the Magi-cartridges for "adult entertainment."

Solo-Vue conversion of the Panoram by George Ponser Company. Billboard November 27, 1943 issue. Solo-Vue conversion of the Panoram by George Ponser Company. Billboard January 1, 1944 issue. Hollywood Peep Show conversion of the Panoram by William Nathanson. Billboard January 1, 1944 issue. Hollywood Peep Show conversion of the Panoram by William Nathanson. Billboard February 12, 1944 issue. Solo-Vue conversion of the Panoram by George Ponser Company. Billboard March 11, 1944 issue. George Atkinson's Home Theater Systems advert in the Los Angeles Times of June 8, 1975.

There is nothing on the Technicolor Instant Movie projectors themselves to say whether they were designed for Standard 8mm Magi-cartridges or the Super 8 ones, but it is obvious which they were designed for by looking at the cartridge slot. Standard 8mm projecters have a "V" shaped bottomed slot, Super 8 ones have a groove to accept the ridge those cartridges have.

Technicolor stopped making Standard 8mm cartridge projectors in 1964. Starting in 1965, all the projctors were designed for Super 8 Magi-cartridges. The cartridges are not interchangeable.

Standard 8 vs Super 8 Magi-cartridges

The Standard 8 and Super 8 Magi-cartridges look very similar but they are not interchangeable. This is because of the different formats of the film.

Comparison of 8mm abd Super 8 film

Comparison of 8mm and Super 8 film

Standard 8mm film was developed in 1932 by Eastman Kodak and had a picture area of 4.5mm x 3.3mm. Production ceased in the 1990s. Super 8 was developed in 1965 also by Eastman Kodak and has a picture area of 5.79mm x 4.01mm. It is still being made in 2022. Because of its slightly larger frame size, Super 8 tends to give better quality images.

To differentiate between the cartridges Technicolor made them slightly different. Standard 8 Magi-cardridges are made of clear plastic. Super 8 Magi-cardridges were made of transparent blue plastic, have a ridge running along the bottom of them, and were squared off on the loop end of the cartridge. Another clue is the fact that the Super 8 Magi-cardridges have "SUPER EIGHT" embossed om them.

A selection of Magi-cartridges:

An Ealing Super 8 Magi-cartridge. A Technicolor Standard 8mm Magi-cartridge. A Technicolor Standard 8mm Magi-cartridge. A Technicolor standard 8mm Magi-cartridge box A Technicolor Super 8 Magi-cartridge. An educational Super 8 film loop from Eothan Cinette. Image from Museum of Obsolete Media, CC BY-SA 4.0 A Technicolor Super 8 Magi-cartridge. Image from Museum of Obsolete Media, CC BY-SA 4.0 A Technicolor Super 8 Magi-cartridge. Image from Museum of Obsolete Media, CC BY-SA 4.0 An educational Super 8 film loop from Eothan Cinette. Image from Museum of Obsolete Media, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Projectors

Technicolor made a range of Magi-cartridge projectors between 1962 and 1980. They all had a frame gate control and a levelling screw. Here is the data for the ones I know of:

Model Date Cartridge Type Retractable Cord Pause Frame Brightness Control Accessory Socket Lens Lamp
250 1963/64 Standard No No No No Technor Zoom f: 1.5 F: 9.5-15mm DCL 120V 150W
260 1965/66 Super No Yes No No Technor Zoom f: 1.5 F: 20-32mm DJA (original) but also DCH/DJA/DFP replacement 120V 150W
280 1968/69 Super No Yes No No Technor f: 1.1 F: 10mm DJA (original) but also DCH/DJA/DFP replacement120V 150W
500 1962/63 Standard No No No No Technor Zoom f: 1.5 F: 15-25mm DJA (original) but also DCH/DJA/DFP replacement 120V 150W
510 1965/66 Super No No No No Technor f/1.4 F:? DJA (original) but also DCH/DJA/DFP replacement 120V 150W
520 1965/66 Super No DGB/DMD 30V 80W
580 1966/67 Super Yes No No Yes Technor Zoom f: 1.5 F: 15-25mm DCL120V 150W
800 1962/63 Standard Yes No No Yes Technor Zoom f: 1.4 F: 20-32mm DCL or DJA but also DCH/DJA/DFP replacement 120V 150W
800 Deluxe 1962/63 Standard Yes Yes No Yes Technor Zoom f: 1.4 F: 20-32mm DCL or DJA but also DCH/DJA/DFP replacement 120V 150W
810 1966/67 Super No Yes Yes No Technor f: 1.1 F: 10mm DCF 21V 150W
820 1976/80 Super No No Yes No Technor f: 1.1 F: 10mm ELE or EPF 30V 80W

Some of the projectors say to use the DJA type of lamp only. In reality the DJA, DCH, or DFP type lamps can be used as they are equivilents. The Accessory Socket that appeared on the 800 and 580 models was for thing such as a table lamp. When the projector was turnedon, the power to the whatever was plugged into the socket would be turned off.

It seems counter-intuitive but to turn the projectors on, the on/off button needs to turned counterclockwise.

Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 260

In 1966, Technicolor described the 260 projector as the export version of the 510 projector capable of operating with dual voltages of 110/120 volts and 240/250 volts 50-cycle supplies.

Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 280

The Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 280 was manufactured in 1968/69 and uses Super 8 Magi-cartridges.

Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 280 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 280 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 280 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 280 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 280 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 280 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 280 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 280

Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 500

The Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 500 was manufactured in 1962/63 and uses Standard 8mm Magi-cartridges. In July 1963, Technicolor announced they had a wide-angle version of this projector, the 500WA. The new projector would fit into their C-106 rear-projection case which also had room for up to 8 Magi-cartridges.

Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 500Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 500Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 500 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 500. The bottom of the cartridge slot is angled rather than grooved showing this projector was designed for Standard 8mm Magi-cartridges. Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 500. The on/off knob is missing on this model Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 500 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 500 with rear panel removed to show the lamp holder and cartridge slot. Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 500 lens and lamp removed for cleaning. Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 500. The pins on the DJA 120V 150W lamp. Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 500. Rear panel leg adjustment and reflector assembly

Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 510

The Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 510 was manufactured in 1965/66 and uses Super 8 Magi-cartridges.

The box for this Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 510 was more or less intact. Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 510 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 510 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 510 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 510 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 510 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 510 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 510

Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 580

The Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 580 was manufactured in 1966/67 and uses Super 8 Magi-cartridges.

The box for the Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 580 was more or less intact. Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 580 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 580 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 580 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 580 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 580 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 580 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 580

Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800

The Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 was manufactured in 1962/63 and uses Standard 8mm Magi-cartridges. In July 1963, Technicolor announced they had a wide-angle version of this projector, the 800WA. The new projector would fit into their C-106 rear-projection case which also had room for up to 8 Magi-cartridges.

The box for the Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 was more or less intact. Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800. The lens was particularly dirty when I got it. Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 The on/off knob on the 800 model projectors are held in place by a Torx grub (set) screw. Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800

Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Deluxe

The Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Deluxe was manufactured in 1963/64 and uses Standard 8mm Magi-cartridges. The 800 Deluxe differs from the standard 800 in that it has a still-frame feature and the lower fascia is chromed.

Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Deluxe Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Deluxe Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Deluxe Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Deluxe. Showing the auxiliary output and the self-winding cord storage. Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Deluxe Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Deluxe Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Deluxe Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Deluxe. This model has a metal fan. Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 800 Deluxe

Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 810

The Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 810 was manufactured in 1966/67 and uses Standard 8mm Magi-cartridges. In their 1966 advertising, Technicolor described the 810 Deluxe projector as having a "Super Brilliant Light System" with a low-wattage lamp and a dual output transformer that allowed a choice of normal lamp brilliance with a 500% increase in lamp life or a 40% increase in brilliance with normal lamp life. That model also came with the still-picture feature. This model has the same features but there is nothing on the projector to indicate this is the Deluxe model.

Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 810 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 810 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 810. The brilliance switch is prominent. Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 810 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 810 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 810 Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 810

Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 810 Deluxe

In their 1966 advertising, Technicolor described the 810 Deluxe projector as having a "Super Brilliant Light System" with a low-wattage lamp and a dual output transformer that allowed a choice of normal lamp brilliance with a 500% increase in lamp life or a 40% increase in brilliance with normal lamp life. This model also came with the still-picture feature.

Technicolor Instant Movie Projector Silent 820

The "Silent" in the name of this 1976/80 Super 8 Magi-cartridge projector refers to the fact it cannot play sound films not that the mechanism is silent. It is about as noisy as any of these old projectors. This model has a flat brown textured vinyl front instead of the curved silver front many of the Technicolor Instant Movie projectors used. The projector does not have a zoom lens and the body is made of plastic not steel.

Technicolor Instant Movie Silent Projector 820 Technicolor Instant Movie Silent Projector 820 Technicolor Instant Movie Silent Projector 820 Technicolor Instant Movie Silent Projector 820 Technicolor Instant Movie Silent Projector 820 Technicolor Instant Movie Silent Projector 820 Technicolor Instant Movie Silent Projector 820

Consumables

These projectors have very little in the way of consumables. The main one being the lamp and the other being the rubber drve belt bweeen the motor and film transport. Belts sometimes stretch or break. One of the best suppliers of replacements I have found is Turntable Needles.

Projector lamps do not have an infinite life, most for these projectors are rated at just 15 hours of use. When these projectors were made a new lamp would cost between $5 and $6. A new one today could cost close to $100. The Australian Council of Film Societies (ACOFS) has a very useful guide to projector lamp substitutions. This can be used to find cheaper alternatives or alternatives if the orginal type of lamp is no long available. Of course, you could always take a chance and buy another projector!

As with any projector lamp, it is recommended not to touch the lamp or reflector with bare fingers but to use gloves or a cloth instead. Grease from your fingers can cause uneven heating of the lamp and shorten its life.

Of the ones I have seen, as time went on the build quality went down a little. One of the worst failures is that the cam that controls the movement of the film claw was made of plastic and sometimes disintegrate. These cams were used on the 280 (1968/69) and 820 (1976/80) models. Knowing what I know now about these cams, I would stay away from both the 280 and 820 models.

>Broken film claw cam on a Technicolor Instant Movie projector 280

Broken film claw cam on a Technicolor Instant Movie projector 280
The cam should be on the pulley wheel behind the film claw

This is Important!

If you get hold of one of these projectors and a Magi-cartridge to use in it, when you first test the projector take the lamp out first. This is because if the film transport doesn't work and the lamp is on, it gets so hot you only have a couple of seconds to turn the projector off and get the cartridge out before the film starts melting.

Disassembly

Disassembly of these projectors is not difficult, but as with the taking apart of anything, you just have to be a little careful. Before doing anything, make sure the projector is not plugged into the mains electricity. These pictures are from my disassembly of a Technicolor Instant Movie 580 projector but all the models I have seen are about the same.

Technicolor Instant Movie Projector 580. The disassembly of this projector is the same for any other Technicolor Instant Movie Projector. As with any electrical device, ensure the projector is unplugged from the mains before opening it. Start by unscrewing the lens body and zoom shroud anticlockwise from the projector. It will take at least 8 turns of the zoom shroud to completely unscrew the lens from the body and then it can be simply be pulled out. Unscrew the lens body from the zoom shroud. The knobs on top of the projector have to be removed. Turn the "Frame" knob anticlockwise and it will unscrew. The on/off knob simply pulls off. If it is tight then it can be prised off with a screwdriver - protect the body of the projector when doing this. The on/off knob on the 800 model projectors are held in place by a Torx grub (set) screw. The knobs on top of the projector removed. A growing collection of removed parts. The lamp cover and adjustable leg assembly on the rear of the projector now needs to be removed. On the bottom of the projector, near the rear edge are are two sets of screws. The inner pair are slotted and the outer pair are Phillips. The inner slotted screws are the ones holding the lamp cover in place and need to be removed. With the slotted screws removed the rear lamp cover can be lifted out. Be careful not to drop the cover into the projector. The lamp is directly behind it and could be smashed. To remove the bulb wear gloves or use a cloth and hold the lamp. On the underside of the projector, under the lamp is a small hole. Push a pencil into the hole and push against the bottom of the lamp with a steady pressure until it is free of its holder and remove it from the projector. The projector with the lamp removed. Now remove the two Phillips screws near the rear edge on the bottom of the projector that were noted earlier. Pull of the cover of the projector backwards and upwards to remove it. The exposed projector. The exposed projector.

Cleaning the Film Mechanism

When playing a film sometimes there is fluff and debris showing up as shadows on the projected image, especially around the edges. If these shadows are in the same place when showing different films then it is time to take a look at the projector mechanism and clean it. The following photos are from the cleaning of a Technicolor Instant Movie 510 projector but all the models I have seen are about the same.

For most of the cleaning inside these projectors I use good quality isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol) wipes. I use them for the lenses, mmechanisms and bodies. Be careful when cleaning the lenses. For larger areas use bottled isopropanol and a lint-free cloth. You do not want to leave more lint inside the mechanism. If they have larger specks of dirt and grime on them, wipe them off with a small brush. You do not want to wipe them until these have been removed, you could scratch the lenses. Take a little care when cleaning the mechanisms. You do not want to push anything out of alignment or wipe grease from the other parts of the mechanism onto the film transport.

The problem - dirt and fluff showing around the edges of the projected film. I was just using an old sheet to project the film while I was cleaning it, so the film is not very even. If the problem is the projector, the dirt and fluff will show in the same place no matter what film is being projected or even none at all. Unscrew the lens from the body and clean the hole left and surrounding areas of the body. Some of the projectors had a lens unit that screwed into a zoom shroud. Unscrew the lens unit from the shroud if possible. Everything should be cleaned and it makes it easier if these two parts are separated. The separated lens unit and zoom shroud. With the lens, lamp and cover removed the entire mechanism can be cleaned. Be careful cleaning the pulley wheels. They are greased and you do not want to transfer that to the film transport mechanism. Before putting everything back together, put the on/off knob back on the projector and turn it on and off a few times to ensure the mechanism works smoothly. This is the mechanism in the off position. This is the mechanism in the on position. Take a look at what is happening at the bottom of the on/off shaft. The cam should be making contact with the switch to turn it on. Here is the mechanism in the off position. Here is the mechanism cam in the on position. The switch is now hidden as the cam has pushed it on. If everything appears to be in order then everything can be reassembled and the projector turned on. The dirt and fluff should now all have been removed. If done properly, any remaining artifacts are on the film itself.

Frame Adjustment

Sometimes frame adjustment of the film is required. What is happening is that the film aperature gate does not line up properly with the film frame causing the bottom of one frame to be shown along with the top of another. All models of the Technicolor Instant Movie projectors were made with a frame adjustment knob on top of the machine next to the on/off knob.

The frame adjustment knob can be completely unscrewed from the projector and putting it back incorrectly can cause problems. The bottom of the knob has to sit correctly on a small plate on the aperature plate arm. If it does not then the film claw arm cannot work properly and it creates more friction on the shutter disk and that cause the driving belt to slip which sometimes causing a squealing noise, or cause the belt come off the pulley wheels completely. It also makes the projector noisier than it should be. Worse still, it can cause the film claw to stop working at all which can cause the film to melt from the heat of the lamp.

The frame adjustment and on/off knobs on top of a 580 model projector. A film showing need of frame adjustment. The bottom of one frame is showing along with the top of another. Correct positioning of the bottom of the frame adjustment knob on top of the plate on the aperature plate arm. Correct positioning of the bottom of the frame adjustment knob on top of the plate on the aperature plate arm.

Removing the Film Mechanism

Sometimes it may be necessary to remove the film mechanism. Doing that is easy, there are only 3 or 4, depending on projector model, Phillips screws holding it in place, but there is a problem. When the mechanism is removed there will be a piece of shaped spring steel left on the floor of the projector. The only thing holding this piece of steel in place is the fact it is jammed between the motor and lamp holder mounting and the film mechanism. The is no positive mechanism holding it place and getting this back in position is quite a job but there are three methods of doing it.

The purpose of this piece of shaped spring steel is to provide a positive feel to turning the on/off knob. The projector will work without it, but the knob will feel "sloppy" and not very positive so it is best to put it back where it was. Depending on the projector model, on the lft, looking at the rear of the projector, the piece either rests against the wall of the motor and lamp holder platform, or into a small groove. On the right, it fits into a notch in the cam at the bottom of the on/off shaft.

The spring steel part is difficult to see but it is behind the lamp holder. On the left, it rests against the lamp holder platform, sometimes in a small groove, and on the right in a notch in the cam at the bottom of the on/off shaft. This component is common to all Instant Movie projectors I have seen, This one is in an 800 model and it provides a positive feel to turning the on/off knob. The spring in position. This is from an 800 model projector and I had to loosen the lamp holder to take the photograph.

I found three methods of getting this piece back in place that work. The one that is easiest seems to vary from model to model as there are differences in the lamp holders, if it fits into a groove or not on the left side, and whether the projector has a self-winding cord mechanism on the right.

Method 1

Remove the film mechanism and place the piece in roughly the correct position. Pull on the shaft that holds the cam at the bottom of the film mechanism until it is proud of the position it normally occupies. It makes it easier to line up the cam with the piece so that it fits properly. The rest of the mechanism can then be pushed into place.

Method 2

Place the piece in position on the left side and when refitting the film mechanism slide it slightly to the left so the right side of the piece latches into the notch on the cam at the bottom of the film mechanism. Then tighten the screws holding the film mechanism in place being careful not to move it out of place.

Method 3

Tighten the film mechanism in place and using a pair of long-nose pliars and long thin screwdriver maneuver the piece until its left hand side latches into the notch on the cam at the bottom of the film mechanism. Using the long thin screwdriver push against the left-hand side of the piece until it clicks into place.

All three methods are fiddly and may require more than one attempt, but apart from taking the whole projector apart I do not see how else to put this piece back in its proper position.

Motor Mounting

Working on a 580 model projector I saw the film transport was not working properly. Taking the cover off, I saw that the motor was loose on its mountings. Replacing the 3/8" grommets on the mounting secured the motor properly and the film transport started working normally.

With the top cover of the projector off and looking at the rear of the projector, the motor is on the left. The motor has a shaft which drives a small pulley wheel and the projector fan. The motor is attached to the backing plate by three bolts. These bolts pass through a rubber grommet with a metal bushing. Over the years the rubber grommet may corrode or crack meaning the motor is no longer properly secured to the backing plate. To replace the grommets and bushings, it is easier to remove the front cover of the projector.

A 580 projector looking at the rear. The motor is on the left. Looking down, a shaft from the motor runs through a backing plate to a small pulley and then on to the fan. When working on this area of the projector, it is easiest to remove the front cover. The cover is held in place with three bolts. This is the left bolt when looking at the back of the projector. When working on this area of the projector, it is easiest to remove the front cover. The cover is held in place with three bolts. This is the middle bolt when looking at the back of the projector, it also helps hold the film transport mechanism in place When working on this area of the projector, it is easiest to remove the front cover. The cover is held in place with three bolts. This is the right bolt when looking at the back of the projector. The motor is held on to the backing plate by three bolts. Each passes through a rubber grommet and a metal bushing. Here, the top 3/8" grommet is the original, the right-hand lower grommet has been replaced and the left-hand lower grommet has been removed ready for cleaning and replacement. The original metal bushings were kept and reused. The reassembled grommets, bushings and bolts. The discarded original grommets.

Self-Winding Cord Mechanism

I got hold of a Technicolor 800 projector. I have no idea where it had been stored, probably somewhere very warm, as the main electrical cord was falling apart and ruined. It was not possible to simply replace the cord where it joined the the projector as this is one of the models that use a self-winding cord mechanism. Rather than just discard the mechanism I decided to try and repair it.

An 800 projector. The electrical cord probably got into this state by being wound up inside the projector and being stored somewhere very warm for an extended period of time. The elecrical cord on all the Technicolor Instant Projectors is on the right-hand side looking at the rear of the projector. For ease of access, both the main and front cover needs to come off the projector. Prise off the protective cover of the internal switch. This is because there is not much slack wire inside the projector and as much as possible is needed later. Remove the screws holding the mechanism in the projector. It can be a bit of a struggle but remove the mechanism from its support. Pay attention to how the various components are placed and be careful not to strip any insulation from any of the wires. The tension to rewind the main electrical cord is provided by about 10ft of spring steel that is wound inside the mechanism, be careful not to let the mechanism come apart yet. The red wire (inner) side is easiest to do, so simply pull the cover off. Remove the two screws under the cover. One of the main electrical terminals exposed. The terminal simply pulls loose. Remove the top cover of the black (outer) wire. Then pull the black wire from the electrical terminal. Under the larger cover is the other main electrical terminal and the spring steel that provides the tension for the self-winding mechanism. The main electrical terminal is removed simply by pulling on it. Should the spring steel fall out or become dislodged, the easiest method to put it back is to place the outside loop over the post provided for it and feed the rest of the spring from the outside in. Desolder the old cord from the terminals and solder the new one on. The hole the wires pass through are funnel shaped and the wires enter from the small end and then solder seals the larger end of the funnel, stopping the wires being pulled back out. The mechanism can now be reassembled in the reverse order it was disassembled. The inner end of the tension steel spring has to be fitted in the slot on the inner side of the plate tha twas removed earlier. When winding the main electrical cable onto its spool, the spring must be under tension. This is done by turning the plate in the palm of your hand. The tension can be felt as the spring is wound tighter. The reassembled self-winding cord mechanism.

How Much?

There were thousands of the projectors and cartridges made between 1960 and 1980. They were very popular in schools and colleges to show short educational films. Any for sale now probably came from one of those.

When new and depending what lens was fitted, a Technicolor 510 would cost between $109.50 and $136.50. A Technicolor 810 would cost between $149.50 and $176.50.

It is always hard to price these things but today in 2022, the projectors should cost between $30 and $40. You can sometimes find them for less than $10. I have a Technicolor 800 that cost me $0.99. On average I have paid $24 (plus postage and tax which brings the average up to $40) for my projectors. You can pay more for a projector depending on its condition and whether it has the original box and instruction booklet.

Bear in mind that the projector lamps do not have an infinite life, most are rated at just 15 hours of use. When these projectors were made a new lamp would cost between $5 and $6. A new one today could cost close to $100. The Australian Council of Film Societies (ACOFS) has a very useful guide to projector lamp substitutions. This can be used to find cheaper alternatives or alternatives if the orginal type of lamp is no long available. Of course, you could always take a chance and buy another projector!

I think that $5 to $7 for a standard, generic Magi-cartridge is a fair price but some specialist or rare subject cartridges sell for over $100.

Collectors often pay more for particular projector models or Magi-cartridges. In 2017, Christie's auctioned a Technicolor 800 projector that once belonged to Audrey Hepburn (1929 - 1993). It was sold for £4,375 ($5,312).

>Christie's 2017 auction for a Technicolor 800 projector that once belonged to Audrey Hepburn

Christie's 2017 auction for a Technicolor 800 projector that once belonged to Audrey Hepburn

Sources and Resources

Australian Council of Film Societies (ACOFS) has a very useful guide to projector lamp substitutions
Billboard - a weekly magazine dedicated to the music and jukebox industries published from November 1894 to the present. PDFs of the magazine are available from World Radio History
Billboard November 27, 1943 (World Radio History)
Billboard January 1, 1944 issue (World Radio History)
Billboard February 12, 1944 issue (World Radio History)
Billboard March 11, 1944 issue (World Radio History)
Billboard, January 12, 1963 issue (Google Books)
Billboard February 23, 1963 issue (World Radio History)
Billboard 1963/64 Coin Machine Directory (World Radio History)
Business Screen - a specialist magazine about Audio/Video for industrial and business film makers. The Hagley Digital Archives contains issues from 1938 to 1973.
Cash Box - a weekly magazine dedicated to the music and jukebox industries published from July 1942 to November 1996. It includes information on the jukeboxes. PDFs of the magazine are available from The Internet Archive, William and Mary University and World Radio History
Cash Box, February 16, 1963 issue (World Radio History)
Cash Box, April 6, 1963 issue (Internet Archive)
Christie's auction of a Technicolor 800 projector that belonged to Audrey Hepburn
Billboard November 27, 1943 issue (Google Books)
Danish Jukebox Archives - A history of the jukebox. This site also contains a list of films that were made for the AMI Rowe PhonoVue system
ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) / Institute of Education Sciences has a document called Lesson Guide for Captioned Films from 1972 that mention 8mm film loops. I do not know if these were Magi-cartridges or some other type.
Filmkorn Technicolor Projector Database
Museum of Obsolete Media - A page of the various older film cartridges
Museum of Obsolete Media - A page of Technicolor Magi-cartridges
Optical Toys has a brochure for Technicolor's 1970 range of Instant projectors
Optical Toys has a brochure for a Technicolor 260 projector
Panorams, Motels, and Pirates: The Origins of Adult Video by Peter Alilunas, University of California Press
Preservation Self-Assessment Program - History and preservation of old film by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Smutty Little Movies: The Creation and Regulation of Adult Video by Peter Alilunas, University of California Press
Technicolor Instant Movie Projector brochure
Technicolor patent for a cartridge motion picture projector
Technicolor patent for a motion picture film cartridge
Turntable Needles - One of the best suppliers of replacement drive belts I have found for these projectors
Van Eck Video Services - Breakdown of a Technicolor 250 projector
YouTube Magi-cartridge Projectors Playlist
YouTube user amt253 - A collection of Magi-cartridge films

Link to Jukebox Home page Link to Operating Squequence page Link to Troubleshooting page Link to PhonoView PV1 page

This page created August 12, 2022; last modified September 14, 2022