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Old May 10 2010, 07:04 AM   #42
Captain Rob
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Re: Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan in 70mm

I guess you might have seen a xenon explode? I wasn’t there to see or hear go kaboom! After the word got around that xenon lamp exploded in one of the smaller screens, (was it screen 3 and 4).
Boy have I. Around 2000 or 2001 at the Northstar we did a test for a new model of ORC 2000 Watt xenon bulb. Luckily it was off season in our smallest auditorium. When I went to start the first show of the day (luckily almost empty), the lamp started fine. After a couple of minutes there was a loud hiss for about 10 seconds and the bulb went out. At least it didn't explode. One of the seals on the bulb blew.We cancelled that show and I later put the old regular bulb back in and it worked fine. Two days later, after my day off, I come back and the engineer doing the test has put in another test bulb into the same projector. Then he leaves. When it comes time to start the first show, I hit start, the bulb strikes. Five seconds later: KABOOM! Luckily I learned years ago to stand behind the lamphouse when you strike a new bulb for the first time. I had assumed that the engineer had tested it before he left. Guess not. That auditorium was down for the rest of the week. This lamphouse was an ORC with a vertically mounted bulb. The exploding bulb sandblasted the reflective coating off of the reflector and the top end of the bulb shot up into the mirror destroying it. I'm glad that those lamphouses have double doors on both sides. Since the projector was running the dowser was open and we ended up with lamp glass (sand) in the shutter housing. They had us tape off the area around the lamphouse like a crime scene. The lucky engineer from ORC got to clean up the mess and repair the lamphouse. The following year we went back to using Christie xenon bulbs. I never ot as many hours off of a ORC bulb as off of a Christie bulb.
Back in 84', the 5K bulb on our main THX auditorium blew during the middle of a show. I was at the other end of the booth when it happened, and it was loud. We got a new Strong lamphouse out of that one. The bulb only destroyed the reflector, but I figured that it was just an opportunity to upgrade to something better. We upgraded the other THX auditorium a couple of weeks later. I'd like to know who the genius was that decided not to label the automation buttons on the side of the lamphouse. All they told us was green for start and red for stop.

The soundtrack facing the wrong way was a trick I used to test new projectionists. As in "Here's a threaded projector. What's wrong with it, if anything."
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