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Time Lapse, Single-Frame, and Sync motor for all Bolex.

Bolex Motor Crystal Sync

Operations Manual

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Congratulations on your purchase of a Revolution Motor (RM) for the Bolex camera. The Revolution uses advanced motor driving techniques to allow single-frame, time-lapse and sync filming.

When shooting single-frames, the motor is accelerated from the stopped position for least stress on the cameras. When shooting sync, the motor speed ramps up to the target sync speed, then decelerates when stopping.


The RM consists of the motor unit, which mounts with the camera, and the control box.

The motor unit consists of the base plate, upon which is mounted the motor pod and the motor driver box. Power is supplied to the motor driver box via a standard 4-pin XLR connector. Pin 1 is ground, pin 4 is positive. Input voltage can be from 12V up to 24V. Generally, 12V is sufficient for time lapse and normal (24fps) sync filming.

The base plate of the motor unit mounts between the tripod and Bolex.

The control box is connected to the motor unit via a 6-pin RJ-12 jack. Two cables are includeda short one when the control box is attached to the base plate, and a longer one that lets you use the control box remotely.

The control box will not be damaged if you plug (or unplug) it from the motor unit while power is applied.


The motor unit is shipped with the motor pod unattached to the base plate. Unscrew the knurled thumbscrew, align the hole in the pod with the bolt in the right-angle support, and tighten with the thumbscrew.

The hole in the motor pod is oversized so there is some adjustment to get the brass coupler lined up with the 8:1 shaft. The flex-attachment will also compensate for some misalignment.

The right-angle can be shifted forward and back by loosening the two screws on the bottom. This shouldnt be necessary. Also, the coupler can be moved in and out a little bit by loosing the setscrew (2mm hex wrench).

The slot in the base plate allows the motor pod to flex up and down without disturbing the camera. When mounting the camera to the motor unit, the motor-pod side must be allowed to flex up and down.

The camera can be mounted to the base plate by using your tripod head. Or, you can used the included 3/8" bolt to attach the base plate under the camera.

Before mounting the Bolex, push the internal motor switch to 0 position (you might have to push forward on the single-release button to get it to go), then push the side-release button back.

Also, set the speed dial to the fastest setting. This is very important, as otherwise the internal governor will not allow the external motor to drive the camera.

The Controls

The control box has a pushbutton, three thumbwheels, and two indicator LEDs.

The three thumbwheels are used to set the parameter for filming. The first digit is used to specify what parameter to set, and the second two digits are used to set the value of that parameter.

Shutter Alignment [0:nn]

To align the shutter (important for correct time-lapse and single-frame exposures), turn the thumbwheels to 0:40 and hold down the pushbutton. The motor will slowly turn the shutter. Release the pushbutton when the shutter is down by the bottom of the frame.

Turn the thumbwheels to 0:02. Now when you push the pushbutton, the RM will revolve 2/8 of a frame. Press the pushbutton. The shutter should be closed now.

To check that alignment is correct, turn the thumbwheels to 2:12. Press and release the pushbutton. Youve set a 2 second exposure. Turn the first thumbwheel to 4. Press and release the pushbutton. The RM will start filming with a 2 second exposure. It will open the shutter, pause, then close the shutter. When the motor pauses with the shutter open, confirm that the shutter is fully open.

Time-Lapse Operation

The RM will be in idle mode when power is applied. The red light will flash at a 1 second rate. This indicates that the RM is ready to be programmed with your desired filming parameters.

The RM allows three time-lapse parameters to be set. Exposures, shutter speed, and interval.

When first powered on, exposures is set to 10 seconds of film (240 frames), shutter speed is set to 3/8th second and interval is set to 1 second.

Exposures controls how many frames are exposed. Shutter speed controls the duration of each exposure. And interval is the delay between exposures. Longer intervals compress time more.

If you want to shoot 240 frames of film with a 3/8th second shutter speed at a 1 second interval, you can just turn the first thumbwheel to "4" and press the pushbutton. However, youll probably want to pick your own settings.

You do not have to enter the three parameters in any specific order. Nor do you have to re-enter them every time you start filming (unless you disconnect power).

Exposures [1:nn]

The RM allows you to set the maximum number of frames to expose (exposures). This value is entered in seconds, with each second representing 24 frames of film.

To set 10 seconds of film (240 frames), turn the thumbwheels to 1:10. For 1 minute of film, turn the thumbwheels to 1:60.

If you set the thumbwheels to 1:01, exposures will be set to one frame. This is useful for animation.

To set a value greater then 99 seconds, turn the thumbwheels to 1:00 and press the pushbutton. Both lights will start flashing. Then, turn the thumbwheels to the number of minutes and seconds you wish to film, and press the pushbutton.

For example, setting the thumbwheels to 3:20 will set exposures to three minutes and twenty seconds of film (140 seconds total, or 2880 frames).

Shutter Speed [2:nn]

Shutter speed can be set to 1/8th, 1/4th, 3/8th, or second (all crystal-controlled). Or, you can set a long duration exposure from 1-89 seconds.

Refer to the shutter speed chart. To set a speed of second, turn the thumbwheels to 2:02. To set a shutter speed of two seconds, turn the thumbwheels to 2:12. Of course, you must press the pushbutton to enter the speed.

Value Shutter Speed
2:01 1/8th sec
2:02 1/4th sec
2:03 3/8th sec
2:04 1/2 sec
2:11-1:99 1-89 secs

Interval [3:nn]

Interval can be set from 1 second to 9 hours. You can set values from 1 to 99 seconds by entering the desired interval directly. For example, 3:05 will set interval to 5 seconds.

For longer intervals, set the thumbwheels to 3:00 and press the pushbutton. Both lights will start flashing. Then, set interval in minutes:seconds on the thumbwheels (minutes on the first thumbwheel, seconds on the second and third thumbwheels) and press the pushbutton again.

For example, turning the thumbwheels to 2:30 will set interval to two-and-one-half minutes.

To set interval in hours and minutes, turn the thumbwheels to 3:00, then press and release the pushbutton. Dont change the thumbwheels. Press and release the pushbutton again, then set the interval in hours:minutes on the thumbwheels (hours on the first thumbwheel, minutes on the second and third thumbwheels). Press and release the pushbutton one final time.

Filming [4:xx]

Turn the first thumbwheel to 4 and press the pushbutton. Filming will start. Once the programmed number of exposures has been filmed, the unit will return to idle mode.

The second two thumbwheels can be at any number less then 80.

To stop filming at any time, press and hold the pushbutton until both lights come on. Release, and the RM will return to idle mode.

The motor will always stop with the shutter closed.

Changing Interval/Shutter Speed while filming

It is possible to change shutter speed and interval without stopping and re-starting.

To change shutter speed, turn the thumbwheels to 2:nn and press the pushbutton.

To change interval, turn the thumbwheels to 3:nn and press the pushbutton. Interval will now be nn seconds.

To stop filming, turn the first thumbwheel back to 4 and press the pushbutton.


The RM has 10 memory locations. These locations store combinations of exposures, shutter speed, and interval. These memory locations are referred to as Presets.

Nine of these Presets, accessed by thumbwheel settings of 4:91 to 4:99, can be programmed by the user. Preset 4:90 is special -- it stores the values used the last time the RM was run.

To program a Preset with the current settings of exposures, shutter speed, and interval, first turn the thumbwheels to the desired Preset number minus 10 (between 4:81 and 4:89). Then, press and release the pushbutton. The Preset will be programmed, and will hold those values until reprogrammed.

For example, to program Preset 99, first set exposures, shutter speed, and interval as described earlier. Then, turn the pushbuttons to 4:89 and press the pushbutton. Now Preset 99 is programmed. Turn the thumbwheels to 4:99, press the pushbutton, and filming will commence.

Automatic Filming with Preset 99

If you apply power to the RM with the thumbwheels set to 4:99, it will automatically start running with the contents of that preset.

This is useful if you have the power source to the RM controlled by a timer or hooked up to a switch.

Automatic Filming of Multiple Presets [8:90-8:99]

The RM has a useful feature which allows you to tell it to film using the contents of multiple Presets, one after the other. This is called chaining.

For example, let us say Preset 91 contains an interval setting of 1 second and an exposures setting of 120 frames (10 seconds of film). Preset 92 contains an interval setting of 5 seconds and a exposures setting of 60 frames (5 seconds of film). To chain from Preset 91 to Preset 92, so that first 10 seconds of film are exposed with an interval of 1 second, and then 5 seconds of film are exposed with an interval of 5 seconds, do the following.

Turn the thumbwheels to 8:91 and press and release the pushbutton. Both lights will start flashing. Turn the thumbwheels to 8:92 and press the pushbutton.

You can chain from any Preset to any higher Preset, for example, 91 to 99, or 93 to 96, but not from a higher Preset to a lower Preset.

To finish with the current exposure sequence but cancel pending exposure sequences, turn the thumbwheels to 8:00. To cancel all exposure sequences and stop filming immediately turn the thumbwheels to 8:00 and press the pushbutton

Sync Filming [6:nn]

Sync-enabled units can turn the camera at sync speeds from 1-48 fps. Turn the thumbwheels to 6:24 for a 24 fps filming speed. Press and release the pushbutton to start filming. Press again to stop.

The motor is accelerated to the target speed. When accelerating, the red light will be on. When sync speed is reached, the green light will turn on.

Generally, you wont know in advance how long the shot will be. But if you do know how long the shot will be, or would like to limit the maximum length of a shot, you can preset the maximum number of sync exposures.

Sync Exposures [7:nn]

You can preprogram the number of seconds of film you want to expose when filming sync.

Sync exposures is set the same way as time-lapse exposures are set (mode 1). When powered on, sync exposures is set to 2 minutes.

For example, if youd like a 30-second take, turn the thumbwheels to 7:30 and press the pushbutton. When you film at sync, the camera will stop after 30 seconds of film have been exposed.

Note that if you are shooting at a speed other then 24fps, the actual running time will be different. For example, if you preprogram 30 seconds of film to be exposed, and film at 12 fps, the motor will run for one minute.

Reverse Filming

For Revolution Motors with revese capability, enter 5:02 for reverse. 5:01 will restore forward running.

Special Functions [5:00]

To wipe out all Presets, turn the thumbwheels to 5:00, press the pushbutton, turn to 5:01 and press the pushbutton again.

Revolution Bolex Operating Summary

The first digit on thumbwheels is the control digit.

  • 0 - Manual Advance
  • 1 - Exposures (in seconds)
  • 2 - Shutter Speed
  • 3 - Interval
  • 4 - Run
  • 5 - Special Function
  • 6 - Sync Running
  • 7 - Sync exposures
  • 8 - "Chaining"

0 - Manual Advance

The motor will rotate while the pushbutton is held down. Set the speed (from 10-90) on the thumbwheels (lower is faster). Or use 0:01-08 to advance the shutter in 1/8th frame increments.

1 - Exposures

Enter the number of seconds of film you wish to expose on the thumbwheels (1 second equals 24 frames).

2 - Shutter speed

Value Shutter Speed
2:01 1/8th sec
2:02 1/4th sec
2:03 3/8th sec
2:04 1/2 sec
2:11-1:99 1-89 secs

3 - Interval

Enter the interval in seconds on the thumbwheels.

4 - Start Time Lapse

5 - Special Function

5:00 -> 5:01 clear presets
5:01 - run forward
5:02 - run in reverse

6 - Sync Running

Run at the speed on the thumbwheels (1-48 fps).

7 - Sync exposures

Seconds of film to expose when sync running


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