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Kodak 500T on Beaulieu Pro and Canon 814XLS?


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#1 Samuel Berger

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 05:40 PM

I'm covering an indoor gymnastics event soon and I was planning on shooting on 16mm Vision3 500T but now I'm reconsidering.

 

I think I'm going to use Super 8 instead because the lighting won't be that wonderful and I can get more depth of field with Super 8. Plus, I don't want to scare anyone walking around with a huge Eclair NPR at a time when cops are shooting photographers because they mistake cameras for guns.

 

But I was wondering if I would need to do any sort of notch hack to get them to work properly. The Beaulieu is new, I've never used it before. I got it as a gift, it's a Max 8 gate altered by Bjorn Andersson. And the Canon, I haven't used it in ten years so I will need to re-learn some of it. I sorta moved away from the hobby after losing my entire Super 8 collection.

 

I admit that I tend to default to Single 8 and the ZC1000 but the only film I have for it is the 100D. That's not going to do great in a place lit mostly by fluorescent tubes.

 

The Beaulieu has been modified to take regular C-mount lens. I intend to use a Canon 12-120 fluorite zoom.

 

Do I have to worry about notching using this stock on those cameras?


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#2 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 06:36 PM

The BEAULIEU has a fast shutterspeed of 1/80th due to the up and down design of the Guillotine shutter.  A low light camera it is not.  Also, on the BEAULIEU the cartridge notch means nothing since it has its own ASA/ISO dial on the control side of the camera.  I would opt for using the CANON since it is a low light camera, thus the "XL" designation, faster shutter opening of 220 degrees versus the very small opening time on BEAULIEU.  Of course, make sure the CANON is working okay.  As for the cartridge notch on the CANON, it will read up to ASA/ISO 400 and that's close enough as the slight overexposure will work in your favor, IF there's the opportunity for such.  If you prefer the BEAULIEU, then I suggest going to where the venue will be and take some meter readings to see if it will work.  I mean, some events are so well lit, that you may not need an "XL" camera.  That being said, the CANON's viewfinder is a bit brighter and the camera is easier to use generally speaking.  Lastly, if the camera gate aspect ratio isn't any trouble, since you mentioned that the BEAULIEU has the Super 8W gate (Super 8 Wide is what this was branded by it's inventor in Switzerland, Ruedi Muester......not Max, not Super Duper...that last one sounds so childish) anyhow, check the lighting/illumination levels, check the CANON for working condition (let the motor run for a minute at least and check the meter and other settings you will be using), and make your decision.  Actually, IF you had time, and the equipment to do so, you could unload the Super 8 500T Color Neg and reload an empty Single-8 cartridge, albeit you'd only get 40ft to 44ft into it.   Good luck on your shoot however you decide!


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#3 Samuel Berger

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 06:49 PM

Thank you as always, Martin. I was only considering the Beaulieu because of the Zoom. I wasn't entirely sure that the 814XLS's 56mm zoom would be enough to cover the event from a distance but I have just checked it out and it works great!

 

Only issue I'm finding is that the handgrip no longer locks in the down position. I hope this isn't a sign of bigger problems to come.


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#4 Samuel Berger

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 01:37 AM

Today I filmed the event at last with the 814XLS and Kodak 500T. I ended up only catching some of it on Super 8 and had to use my BMPCC backup camera because of a very annoying issue. The footage counter on the 814XLS wouldn't reset to 0 and it kept telling me my cartridge was over long before it actually was. So I had to retire the Super 8 for the evening. That was an annoying thing to happen. I guess it's time to send the 814XLS for a CLA. I hope that was the only issue with it. I managed to run a full cart, which will likely need to be pushed a stop. The underexposure warning was on for the whole thing. 

 

My BMPCC set to 800 ISO managed to work well even at f/3.2. The Canon 814XLS was wide open the whole time. I wonder what it's going to look like when it comes back from Cinelab.


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#5 Nick Collingwood

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 11:57 AM

Honestly I wouldn't go for the push. After having similar issues with low light and pushing Super 8, I have found that pushing Super 8 results in incredibly incredibly grainy film and doesn't do much in the end vs what a good 2k scan from a place like Gamma Ray Digital can do instead. Phil of Pro8mm even suggested against pushing film because of the improvements in scanning within the past few years. You can see how grainy this ceremony at 2:30 was where I pushed the film 1 stop in a CRAZY low lit terrace although part of it was shot at 9fps to help. Hope you had your shutter angle at 220º! Ultimately you'd be surprised at how sensitive 500T is.
 
 

As far as the 814XL-S issues, that's odd about the footage counter. Sometimes if the batteries are low on the 814XL-S it will continue to shoot for mere 1 second intervals before stopping and showing the "End Cart" light. So perhaps try and replace the batteries with fresh ones. I know Du-All in NYC will refurb the 814 or Pro8mm.


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#6 Rudy Velez Jr

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 12:31 PM

that looks great 


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#7 Samuel Berger

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 12:39 PM

There's nothing in this world that would make me use Pro8mm for anything. But, I think you might be right about pushing the 500T. I don't think I'll do it. Film is easy to grade on Resolve when the program decides to work.

 

I'm attaching an ungraded generic frame converted from DNG to JPG, taken at 800 ISO at f/3.2 with the BMPCC, which is what I had to use after the 814XLS started becoming unreliable. Batteries were fresh, the counter was just not resetting completely.

 

jpg.jpg

 

This shows how dark it was in there.


Edited by Samuel Berger, 15 January 2018 - 12:42 PM.

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#8 Mark Dunn

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 05:30 AM

The frame grab tidied up reasonably well in Lightroom. About 2 stops under and a lot of shadow noise but fixable. Don't know if that helps.


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#9 Nick Collingwood

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 11:17 AM

Also you have to keep in mind that the Canon 814 is reading the 500T cart as 400ASA as that's the highest it can read. So you'll get a little more exposure than the meter is reading. Looking forward to seeing the results.


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#10 Samuel Berger

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 02:44 PM

The frame grab tidied up reasonably well in Lightroom. About 2 stops under and a lot of shadow noise but fixable. Don't know if that helps.

 

You're always helpful, Mark. :-) What do you think of the pushing idea? That digital frame was two stops underexposed at 800 ISO, f/3.2. But, in Super 8 I should have comparable depth of field even wide open with 500T rated at 400.

 

 

Also you have to keep in mind that the Canon 814 is reading the 500T cart as 400ASA as that's the highest it can read. So you'll get a little more exposure than the meter is reading. Looking forward to seeing the results.

 

I still have about 20 feet left to shoot so I'll film odds and ends around the house before sending it in for processing. I wanted to scan at Gamma Ray but I'll likely get a better deal using Cinelab since they process and scan at the same place.


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#11 Samuel Berger

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 12:05 AM

Three months later, here is the 500T footage.

 

 

As you can see, the low light made it impossible to see the focusing circle in the viewfinder and I'd say two thirds of the film came out of focus. I shot wide open and it was underexposed through the whole thing. I've never filmed Super 8 in such low light conditions before.

 

What's surprising is that the film actually captured images. Had I nailed the focus, this wouldn't have been a bad thing.

 

But the Canon 814XL-S has a really hard-to-see focusing circle in low light. And the diopter adjustment isn't quite as clear as I had hoped, Unlike the ZC-1000, the Canon doesn't have a ground glass screen for adjusting the diopter. So it's possible I had it on the wrong setting.

 

It's not the camera's fault. All of this should have been figured out long ago. But I learned my lesson. Next time I'll take the Eclair. Or the Bolex. Or the K-3.


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#12 Mark Dunn

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 04:43 AM

I see you managed to find a LUT (or whatever- I don't know the jargon) because that looks much better than the flat scan. Did Phil put you right?

Unfortunately split-image focussing can be rather sensitive to the dioptre setting. I recall I could change it just by relaxing my eye. The only sure way is to set it up in advance on a target at measured distances.


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#13 Nick Collingwood

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 10:24 AM

What's surprising is that the film actually captured images. Had I nailed the focus, this wouldn't have been a bad thing.

 

But the Canon 814XL-S has a really hard-to-see focusing circle in low light. And the diopter adjustment isn't quite as clear as I had hoped, Unlike the ZC-1000, the Canon doesn't have a ground glass screen for adjusting the diopter. So it's possible I had it on the wrong setting.

 

I'm not surprised you got some well exposed images. That's what I was saying. 500T can see in the dark. It's crazy. Even when the lights were off at 0:35 you still got images. Also that part is a bit crazy. haha. Almost surrealist.

 

The other option being shoot at 9fps but for fast motion like you were shooting, I can't really recommend that.

 

As a personal opinion, not crazy about the stabilization. Or at least if you were going to do it, crop it to the usable area. The shift frame was really jarring visually. Plus I've just kind of learned to love and embrace the shakiness of handheld Super 8 instead of stabilizing everything. But some people like the clean, stable look.

 

As far as the focusing, that's tricky although I think it's a matter of getting used to the camera focusing AND lighting. I've shot in super dark areas and gotten relatively sharp focus but:

  1. It wasn't tack sharp as wide open the 814XL-S isn't super sharp. 
  2. I had adjusted my diopter to a point that I knew it was spot on.
  3. The adage "measure twice, cut once" definitely applies. I check focus a 2-3 times before I shoot to avoid out of focus footage.

 

I'm sure you know but you have to zoom in on a far far building or pole with focus on infinity, then adjust the diopter to that. Then you'll be good.

 

In the end, I think the footage came out pretty well given the circumstances. The XL lens definitely helped compared to those 16mm cams you mentioned.


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#14 Samuel Berger

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 04:28 PM

I shot that at 24fps. I didn't do the stabilisation, YouTube asked me if I wanted to stabilise and I clicked yes. ;-) It worked with everything except the surreal sequence where it actually made stable footage shaky.

 

If I knew how to stabilise in Resolve I'd do it myself and get it properly cropped.

 

I had a lot of problems with that shoot and I'm going to have to make sure they don't happen again, beginning with the frame counter issue.

 

One thing I noticed is a lot of small debris on the film. I don't know where it came from. Either it got into the carts while they were in my bag or it came from Cinelab.


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#15 Will Montgomery

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 05:00 PM

Focus has always been my weakness with Super 8, but out-of-focus shots kind of make it look more Super 8 anyway.

 

Stabilization is not quite intuitive in Resolve, but there are undoubtedly some good YouTube videos to help you through it. At one point it wasn't available on the free version but I think they've changed that now.

 

A wise colorist once told me, whenever you have the lighting setup just right...double it. It always easier to remove light in post but not so great putting it in.


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#16 Mark Dunn

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 05:23 AM

White specks on neg mean dust on the film. Much more noticeable than black on reversal and of course it looks bigger on S-8 than 16 or 35.
You can only do so much. Hopefully the lab is as careful as it can be.

Edited by Mark Dunn, 21 February 2018 - 05:30 AM.

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#17 Nick Collingwood

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 09:40 AM

As far as the dust, did you get CineLab to both process AND scan? Or did you have it sent back to you then sent to somewhere else for scanning? If CineLab does everything, it should be super clean. Or when I have CineLab send my film straight to Gamma Ray Digital, also super clean. They ship the reels in cans with the reel wrapped in plastic to keep dust out. I never open my film before it's been scanned these days.


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#18 Samuel Berger

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 02:20 PM

The film was processed and scanned directly at Cinelab. I didn't know you could have them send it straight to Gamma Ray Digital. Do you find the extra step of sending it to Gamma Ray really worth it? How do you go about it? Is there really that much a difference in quality to warrant it?

 

I removed the excess noise with Neat Video. I don't really like how the film grain becomes video noise but that's inevitable. After removing the grain I found that the result looked like 60's home movies and loved it.


Edited by Samuel Berger, 21 February 2018 - 02:32 PM.

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#19 Mark Dunn

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 02:30 PM

I think Nick means that it shouldn't get dirty if it stays at one lab or moves between two, if they know their trade.


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#20 Nick Collingwood

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 02:37 PM

That's odd that there's enough dust for you to be bothered if CineLab did both since it should be kept away from dust the entire time. But as Mark said, white specks are much more noticeable than black specks for reversal. Most dust is introduced once the film has been run through a projector or hands touched it.

 

As far as scans, depends on what "worth it" is to you I guess. I find GRD scans the sharpest and most stable scans ever. The ScanStation they use is in good hands with Perry and the scan itself is only a couple dollars more than CineLab's 2K (of course you have to pay for shipping which I use bubble mailers at $7 flatrate and get as much scanned at once as I have).

 

GRD scans are stabilized on the edge of the film which makes the final image very stable and closer to what projection looks like. Other scanners use the sprocket to stabilize and ends of making the image drift back and forth as S8 has no horizontal registry. And it's not any weird post-stabilization like Premiere or Resolve which can create weird distortions at times. Plus, I found GRD scans to be easier to grade but maybe that's just me.

 

And sometimes CineLab's scanner's get backed up whereas GRD is crazy fast. And as far as grain, even on 500T, I've started to not even use Neat Video on GRD scans as the grain is still so fine. This video below I've linked to before was 500T scanned at GRD. The guy I shot this for kinda complained that the scans were TOO good. haha. And that it looked better than what he thought S8 was capable of.

 

 

Also I like the small overscan that GRD can do. I use it as an aesthetic choice in my films so that clients are even more so reminded that it's shot on film.

 

haha. So lots of small reasons. But I still recommend CineLab for people looking for the best bang for your buck for the least amount of work as it's a one-stop shop kinda deal.


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