I was the Head Repair Tech for NYU Film & TV for almost 12 years and during that time, one of my biggest jobs was keeping over 90 ARRI S 16mm cameras running. Up until Summer 2012 the ARRI S was the workhorse of the introductory film class but NYU finally made the transition to digital and while they still shoot a lot of film, the amount of digital projects continues to grow and the ARRI S has been retired.
I may have moved on from NYU but I inherited a massive amount of new and used ARRI S parts and still do camera repair when I have time. Contact me if you are looking for any parts or need some work done.
During the ARRI S heyday it was vitally important that we had the capability to repair them in-house. It was not feasible economically and time-wise to send every camera out for repair. When I became the Repair Tech, there was a lot of knowledge that had not been documented and therefore lost or incomplete. What information there was got passed down by word of mouth and I felt that there was a lot missing. The cameras were breaking down more frequently, repair parts were almost impossible to get and NYU was seriously considering finding an alternate camera. I spent the next three years amassing information, speaking with old ARRI repair techs, buying tools, and even tracking down a nearly impossible to find service manual on eBay. By then I could completely tear down and rebuild an S and even developed some custom replacement parts. The pinnacle of my obsession came with the tracking down and purchase of a long out of print multilingual cinema dictionary which allowed me to translate some of the old German repair documents.
I love this camera and am extremely proud of my work to keep them going. The following documents what I did.
Below are just some of my many notes, diagrams and how-to guides I have made, parts manuals I tracked down and my beloved Cinema Dictionary which helped to figure a lot of this out.
I took a damaged shell from a dropped camera and cut out the side so I could install the movement and make adjustments without having to tear apart the camera each time. It also has a custom power switch so the door does not have to be on.
It's silver because I sandblasted off all the paint.
I salvaged, cleaned-up and sorted parts from motors that were beyond repair.
Check out some more of my camera-related projects here.