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Super-8 total costs in 2018


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#1 Samuel Berger

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 01:11 AM

I was thinking today about the absurdly high cost of Super-8 in comparison to even recently as 2005.  I was temporarily out of the hobby at that point but the cost of Kodachrome was $10.95 a roll directly from Kodak.  Then the processing at Dwayne's came to $3.99 at Walmart. This in early 2005. The joy of the Super 8 Kodachrome experience for only $14.97
 
Now, there's no Kodachrome.
 
Kodak has these negative stocks which no one can project. They cost $25.96 still as of 1/26/2018 and process for $22 at Yale. Ektachrome of most kinds will process for $12 each at Dwayne's.
 
So negative stock and processing totals $47.96 at Yale, it seems. And colour reversal cartridges will cost possibly $25 or so, worst case scenario. Add the processing and you're done at $37.
 
The thing is that the cost of living has also gone up in most places. I think it's expensive to shoot film but comparatively, and adjusting for inflation, it probably always was.
 
Least expensive option until Ektachrome appears, I believe, is Fomapan as regular 8mm. $14.95 per roll. With $25 for processing at Yale comes to $39.95


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#2 Mark Dunn

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 06:45 AM

In the UK Kodachrome was always process-paid, but latterly (I bought my last in 1996 at the equivalent of about $20 and used it in 2001) I worked out the comparative price over the years, to discount inflation.

In 1977, when I first used Super-8, a cartridge cost a bit less that a 36-exposure 35mm. reversal film. By 1996 it was nearly 2½ times the price. I took it to be a function of the declining size of the market.

I haven't used film since 2003 and don't expect to again.


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#3 Chris Burke

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 07:37 AM

super 16 is a better bargain. If you factor in the quality and ease of use and world wide acceptance of the standard, super 16mm makes lots of sense. Super 8 is a niche, and it is great as that. 


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#4 Rolando Morales

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 09:05 AM

I definitely chose the wrong time to start shooting Super 8, but im ok with that.

 

Of course I battled going with some sort of digital camera for home/personal movies, but I already shoot film in 35mm and Medium format. Why break with what I love? I havent even shot my first roll but im already budgeting in my head up to $100 total per cartridge (cartridge,process,scan,shipping...).

 

I saw the Formapan, but its only 33'. Although double the money in some cases, i went and bought a few cartridges of Kodak which come at 50'. Being a newbie to the hobby, i still havent read about the Formapan being "Reversal" film and what that means.

 

Im still learning =)


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#5 Mark Dunn

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 09:41 AM

Standard-8 comes in 33' lengths. It won't run in a Super-8 camera. It's 16mm. wide, you run the film twice through the camera, turning it over once, then it's slit in two after processing to 8mm. width and the two lengths spliced together. The 33' is 25' plus a 4' loading allowance at each end, running time about 4min. at 16fps.

Reversal means it's processed to a positive image for projection, not a negative for scanning.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 27 January 2018 - 09:42 AM.

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#6 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 01:26 PM

FOMAPAN R-100 is also available as Double Super 8mm at for around $15 per roll, and those QUARZ DS8 cameras are pretty good and show up on eBay from time to time, and can be gotten directly from some Russian and Ukrainian vendors.

 

  I see how 16mm advocacy keeps showing up at times on this section of Cinematography dot com, and just want to remind folks, that yes, we all for the most part already know the costs of 16mm operation.....but this is the SUPER EIGHT section, and most of us are here in support of this format, Super 8mm.  

 

There's still tons of well stored KODACHROME out there, as well as room temp stored last versions of it.  These can be used and processed as B&W Neg, B&W Reversal, and Sepia Tone Reversal.  I saw a vendor on eBay recently that has piles of film for sale, KMA40 and EKTACHROME 160A, all kept frozen or refrigerated.   I know of customers that still have film stock piled in their freezers.  Anyhow, most of this sells for less than what new current film costs, and if it has been stored well, it can be used.   There's also the option of home processing, while yes, not for everone, it does exist.   The Color Neg films can also be reversal processed, with albeit less perfect color, but is another option.

 

KODAK's bulk volume lowest pricing has always been for 200 cartridges onward.  So, if several went in together on a large order it would yield the lowest prices.  Quite a few years back we had several Double 8mm enthusiasts do that and we all did well with the best prices.   Once the new EKTACHROME 100D comes out again, for those wanting color reversal, such an option might be doable.   Also, I keep hoping that FERRANIA is able to put out their film also, and they might be willing to offer bulk film for cutting and spooling down to those interested parties.

 

We all lament at times the costs of previous days, but the reality is that back then, there was still an incredible volume of film. Today, the volume is a fraction of what it once was. We just can't expect super cheap prices otherwise the labs would be forced to go out of business and make more working at flipping burgers etc.  Another way to do it is to buy film when you can afford it and freeze it, and let it build up so you have what you need to do a project when you're ready.  In the meantime, to learn, to practice, to experiment, to play around, use some of the cheaper expired film that shows up.....of course perhaps the types that can be processed more affordably.  I saw a batch of film for sale on eBay that had several cartridges of KODAK B&W films in there, as well as some KMA40, and it all sold for the equivalent of $10 each considering the sell price and shipping. 

 

Another area that can be expensive is getting the films scanned, digitized.  This is an area that the DIY approach would help again, even doing your own chain type transfer to save on costs.  The savings can be applied to getting better equipment later.  I normally project films, but am working on digitizing them as I'm able to here.  There are some lower cost setups out there, in the $300 to $1500 range, that will yield nice results satisfying many;  yes, not a Rank Cintel etc type of quality, but with care, decent.  Super 8 is like anything, you work with what you can afford.  We rarely go out and buy our first car new or expensive, same with homes or anything, with a few exceptions of course.  Do it yourself as much as you can.   I've been processing film as a hobby since 8th grade at age 13 and professionally since age 17.   I met a guy when I was a young teen who was also into spelunking back then (caving) and he dragged ammo boxes with batteries and supplies with him, motorcycle lights for lighting, and shot in Regular 8mm, and processed all his own films.  His stuff looked better than the soupy slop that was often offered at any of the variety of crappy labs that existed back then.  If a kid can process their own film and look great, so can most anyone.

 

I think, that if I only wanted to ever shoot something that would only be shown digitally, I would probably just shoot in digital in the first place.  Seems like a lot of trouble and cost per minute of screen time going film, then scanning costs, etc etc.  Maybe it's just me and those that like to see film projected (heck, I like slides also, and they look awesome projected compared to on an HD TV, different feel to it).   But no matter, cut the costs where you can.  Use old film for testing a camera or trying out some technique and then commit fresh good film to a project when ready.   With what costs are, you don't want to just waste it.  These days, all of us into Super 8mm can shoot with the cameras that were beyond our financial range back in the day, since they are affordable now.  Get a lemon on eBay, heck just buy another or another.  I've gotten several cameras to get one or two great working ones, and in the end, all things being equal, I still made out well.

 

If Dwayne's Photo had put their old Kodachrome machine to use, they could be processing both Kodachrome in B&W, as well as offer B&W processing for other B&W films.  Most of the main labs are in expensive areas where taxes are high, so they have to pay their rents, taxes, employees, overhead etc.  I'm a tiny part time lab, but charge less than those big labs, but I can't handle the volume, and don't even want to attempt it. - - - - -   This brings me back again to DIY.  Believe me, you can process your own films if you really want to.  There are various methods, and the learning curve has to overcome first.  The cost is less than $10 per film (process only costs, not counting leader & reel & cleaning or transfer, is in the range of $5 to $8 each for Color Reversal, B&W Reversal, cheaper for B&W Neg, or even Color Neg), and you can see it sooner, same day if you want to. Not factoring in electricity or water costs, just the chemical expenses.  Anyhow, I've rambled on enough.  I know the costs are bothering us all.  I'll shoot something in video or digital to test something out before I waste film, and that helps with idea concepts prior to committing film to something.  Family events notwithstanding of course, same with spur of the moment filming while out and about or traveling.    Make the best of Super 8 for yourself, and have fun.


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#7 Doug Palmer

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 05:47 AM



If Dwayne's Photo had put their old Kodachrome machine to use, they could be processing both Kodachrome in B&W, as well as offer B&W processing for other B&W films. 

 

Martin,  so they still have their machine ?  Maybe then there's a slim chance for the return of Kodachrome.  Or is it packed away in the garage waiting to be scrapped :(


Edited by Doug Palmer, 28 January 2018 - 05:51 AM.

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#8 Mark Dunn

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 08:09 AM

 


If Dwayne's Photo had put their old Kodachrome machine to use, they could be processing both Kodachrome in B&W, as well as offer B&W processing for other B&W films. 

 

Martin,  so they still have their machine ?  Maybe then there's a slim chance for the return of Kodachrome.  Or is it packed away in the garage waiting to be scrapped :(

 

There isn't. It's not just a matter of machinery- Kodak don't make the chemicals anymore.


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#9 Pavan Deep

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 03:00 PM

Super 8 was cheap for the amateur and hobbyist, today most amateurs and hobbyist are using DSLR's. Kodachrome in the UK was sold with processing included and that made it much easier to use. In recent years Super 8 has gradually become more expensive, today you are paying for the film stock, processing these costs keep on going up. Negative film has to be scanned the scanning can be costly and the total cost can be as much as 16mm. Granted the equipment can be better, more portable and cheaper than 16mm.

Pav


Edited by Pavan Deep, 28 January 2018 - 03:03 PM.

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#10 Christopher Ian

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 05:36 PM

I too have come into the Super 8 world at the peak of cost, but it is forcing me to storyboard everything I want to do, unlike when I was shooting with my Canon HV40  - I would shoot endless amounts of footage and go through it later. 

 

The one thing I wasn't counting on was the digitization formats. I have an old Windows computer with Sony Vegas Pro 8 and it appears unable to handle the file of my first test roll. Looking at new computers is making my head spin. 

 

Chris


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#11 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 03:46 PM

I too have come into the Super 8 world at the peak of cost, but it is forcing me to storyboard everything I want to do, unlike when I was shooting with my Canon HV40  - I would shoot endless amounts of footage and go through it later. 

 

The one thing I wasn't counting on was the digitization formats. I have an old Windows computer with Sony Vegas Pro 8 and it appears unable to handle the file of my first test roll. Looking at new computers is making my head spin. 

 

Chris

 

Possibly the size is a problem in itself but to get going you might try doing a conversion to an older readable format? There are even free online services for that. Be sure to NOT accidentally share the images :)


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#12 Will Montgomery

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 05:21 PM

Kodak's new processing and scanning service will define what Super 8 costs will be while it lasts. I can't imagine they could sell the film, process it and scan it to 4k for less than $80 per roll+shipping...probably more like $99. For three and a half minutes? It will die quickly and be lampooned on the internet forever.

 

We all know that's pretty much the cost of Super 8 with a decent scan, but the world doesn't know it yet. Is it worth it? Sometimes...guess it depends on what you're shooting.

 

They SHOULD offer a budget service for just film and processing of Ektachrome for $50 or less. That might let it have a chance.


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#13 Jon O'Brien

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 09:03 PM

What is the main difference in look between Kodachrome and Ektachrome during normal daylight shooting, for home movie type photography? Is Ektachrome grainier? I seem to recall it renders colour slightly differently.


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#14 Jon O'Brien

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 12:36 AM

Apologies if this has been posted here before. Hmm, I wonder if Ektachrome might be the answer to what I'm looking for.

 

https://nofilmschool...ektachrome-35mm

 

Was Kodachrome better?


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#15 Doug Palmer

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 04:58 AM

Apologies if this has been posted here before. Hmm, I wonder if Ektachrome might be the answer to what I'm looking for.

 

https://nofilmschool...ektachrome-35mm

 

Was Kodachrome better?

Kodachrome was always sharper than Ektachrome at a similar film-speed.  Although not so much difference in later years. Kodachrome also had its own distinct colour palette, and because of its construction it was interesting to see the various layers in relief over a lightbox.  Both were quite contrasty, suitable for direct projection, but the contrast could be reduced by flashing. Ektachrome is more versatile in that pull and push processing is possible.

I would love to see a slow, low contrast version of Ektachrome, as existed at one time (in 16mm).


Edited by Doug Palmer, 31 January 2018 - 05:01 AM.

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#16 Rolando Morales

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 09:11 AM

Kodak's new processing and scanning service will define what Super 8 costs will be while it lasts. I can't imagine they could sell the film, process it and scan it to 4k for less than $80 per roll+shipping...probably more like $99. For three and a half minutes? It will die quickly and be lampooned on the internet forever.

 

We all know that's pretty much the cost of Super 8 with a decent scan, but the world doesn't know it yet. Is it worth it? Sometimes...guess it depends on what you're shooting.

 

They SHOULD offer a budget service for just film and processing of Ektachrome for $50 or less. That might let it have a chance.

 

I agree that 3 1/2 minutes of footage for roughly $100 is kind of crazy for a hobbyist (Which i am). As for myself, I already spend about $25-$30 give or take on a roll of film that I send out to get processed, scanned and sent back prints. 36 images max. Sure, there are cheaper ways but I leave it to the pros in that area. 

 

I only hope since i'm NOW getting into this hobby I can easily find various films to work with. Maybe I should start with the ones that are available first hehe ...


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#17 Mark Dunn

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 11:49 AM

 

I agree that 3 1/2 minutes of footage for roughly $100 is kind of crazy for a hobbyist

Too right. I checked out after it reached £11.


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#18 Samuel Berger

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 01:04 PM

Too right. I checked out after it reached £11.


Spectra quoted us $287 for processing and scanning 3 rolls of Super 8 negative. This is the moment when I say, from now on, when it comes to Super 8, I'll only shoot reversal.

These carts were an exception as I needed 500T for an indoor event, footage from which I was going to integrate into my now canceled Spring project. But for family home movies, if I can't project it I'm not shooting it.
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#19 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 02:21 PM

I don't understand the relevance of super 8 at all, I never will.

If you look at the numbers, and compared them directly to other formats, here is what you get.

A super 8 cartridge holds 50ft of film which is 2.5 minutes @ 24fps
Super 8 stock costs around .48/ft
Super 8 costs around .50/ft to process
Super 8 costs around .60/ft to transfer (2k transfer)

So ONE ROLL Of super 8 film costs 24 + 25 + 30 = $79 for stock + process + transfer for 2.5 minutes.

A daylight spool of 16mm holds 100ft of film which is again, around 2.5 minutes @ 24fps
Super 16mm stock costs around .34/ft
Super 16mm processing costs around .18/ft
Super 16mm transfer costs around .40/ft (2k transfer)

So ONE ROLL of super 16mm film costs 34 + 18 + 40 = $92 for stock + process + transfer for 2.5 minutes.

So you can see that 16mm ain't much more and it's TWICE the resolution!
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#20 Samuel Berger

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 02:49 PM

I don't understand the relevance of super 8 at all, I never will.

So you can see that 16mm ain't much more and it's TWICE the resolution!

 

You're not looking at it from our hobbyist perspective. It's not about the resolution, it's about our love for the format and intimate process of filming, which apparently Kodak has forgotten how to embrace.

 

We're all just thankful for it being kept alive, but I believe Kodak doesn't understand very well what it has, anymore.


Edited by Samuel Berger, 31 January 2018 - 02:50 PM.

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