Just a briefly compiled overview of how debates and discussions evolved on Super 8 ( ) mostly over the past two years, plus a quick reference guide for forum freshers as the topics pretty much cover all the format's essentials, from all the different approaches and divergent perspectives that are around.
"The Super 8 Direct To Hard Drive Revolution. Who, Where, and How" by Santo 6131 views
"How To Shoot Razor Sharp Super 8: Use Deductive Reasoning Rather Than Nostalgia -- A Newbie Primer" by Santo 5989 views
"Scanning Super 8" by xoct 3616 views
"Why I like to shoot super-8 over 16mm" by John Adolfi 2999 views
"Petition against Production Stop of Kodachrome 40" by Filmfreund Jürgen Lossau 2964 views
"Pro-8mm WINS, EVERYONE ELSE LOSES..." by Alessandro Machi 2751 views
"Why Does Kodak Hate super8?" by Trevor Swaim 2605 views
"Amazing Super 8 Reversal One-stop Difference" by Santo 2442 views
"Super 8 feature" by GeorgeSelinsky 2435 views
"Can Super 8 look as good as 35mm?" by philie-t 2383 views
"A new Super 8 camera - possibly" by Scott McPhie 2338 views
"Super 8 film and 2K digital intermediate to 35mm film" by Michael Ryan 2314 views
"Fuji Single 8 Bites The Big One -- Kodak Karries On!" by Santo 2152 views
"the lowdown on superduper 8" by xoct 2114 views
"Sharpest Super 8 Camera and/or Lens" by Matthew Buick 2070 views
(please accept my apologies should I have overlooked or accidentally skipped a thread that had higher viewings)
Edited by Michael Lehnert, 29 September 2007 - 09:06 PM.
I'd like to commend you for taking the time to do this.
If Chris Cottrill is reading this could easily serve as a super-8 article for Super-8 today, excellent tie in to this forum and website, plus, the added surprise bonus is as people look these topics up they can see how many more hits the topic has as time goes on versus the tally that is printed in the magazine.
Some don't seem to comprehend that topics from a year or two ago or more that sit in the archives STILL get hits via google and even if they no longer reside on page one, and that theoretically still benefits the Super-8 community by providing information without having to start another redundant post.
Also visit the websites that "ciny.com"-members here give in their signatures, with Alessandro Machi, Mitch Perkins & Rick Palidwor in particular as they complement this thread well.
INFO FOR SUPER8 NEWBIES by Terry Mester
You can find useful information on Super8mm by clicking the Threads linked below. If you would like to record Sound with your filming, log onto the Website www.geocities.com/filmanddigitalinfo which provides info on recording synchronous Sound. Good luck to you.
I have contacted Tim Tyler (due to a lack of moderator here) asking him to pin this thread as an introduction to this subforum (just as other subforums have it as well). I hope no one here would disagree with that ? Otherwise: Sorry !
For those new to photography, cine-film cinematography, or just the Super 8 format, coming from the digital still picture or videography realm, please find below a brief collection of introductory hyperlinked resources.
TIME EXPOSURE AND TIME LAPSE INTERVALOMETER RESOURCES
If anyone is interested in doing "real" cine-film-based, Koyaanisqatsi-like intervalometer cinematography, reading through these three threads that came into being thanks to Joe Taylor and Alessandro Machi is a very good first-port-of-call resource:
Time Exposures with Super 8 ? Any Capable Cameras?
Intervalometers or Super 8 Cameras ? Made for Beaulieus?
ABSOLUTE BEST TIME-LAPSE Super 8 ? Must have time-exposed Controls
Because of the complex subject matter, I recommend reading all three chronologically, from 1 to 3, from top to bottom .
If you need to find a few books on the subject of Super 8, the format and its technical aspects as well as related issues of cinematography, the following thread will give you a brief overview of available literature:
(by the way, this is the thread that cost Santo his existence on this board. If you ask yourself "Santos? who is this guy and where is he?", then click here)
P.S.: Please obstain from posting any follow-up remarks on Santo in this thread. I am trying to cultivate this thread here as a sort of constant-bump-up resource-based FAQ over the future. Many many thanks for respecting this. I really appreciate the cooperation very much! -Michael
...and back to more fundamental stuff, namely a brief...
INTRODUCTION TO THE SUPER 8 CARTRIDGE
Well, acknowledged, the Super 8 cartridge isn't really the "Normandie" of engineering efforts, but it isn't the "Titanic" either, despite what you can hear in some other forums or during social get-togethers of self-declared "S8-Saviours"!
Though not without problems, the cartridge is much better than its reputation. And technical changes to its proven design or insertable add-ons as suggested by third parties recently, hasn't really produced much better results (quite often on the contrary)!
In my experience ? apart from cases of carelessly loading some..., well, any raw film at hand into the cartridges which were emulsion-wise too thick and hence caused jamming ? problems with frame stability or incorrect film transport I heard of or saw were in effect much more often caused by badly or non-maintained (i.e. non-CLA'd) cameras rather than the much maligned cartridge. Once the cameras were serviced, cartridges from the same batch produced great results.
Nevertheless, in a mass-produced consumable item such as a Super 8 cartridge that has nevertheless to be of a high-precision manufacturing provenience, problems can occur.
That is why there is a COMMON PRE-SHOOT RITUAL that one should perform with every cartridge before inserting it into the camera:
Do some tapping of the unwrapped cartridge ?Â preferably the lower part of the labelled side ? gently yet decisively against your open palm three to four times and then lightly shake the cartridge out from a twist of your hand a couple of times. This is done so that the film can unravel a bit from its originally firm winding when coming out of the manufacturing plant and cold storage.
Additionally ? as Alessandro Machi suggested ? you can advance the cartridge spindle by a few extra turns manually, as this should indicate any potential problems with it. After inserting the cartridge into the camera, just shoot 3 to 4 seconds of film at 18 fps or 24 fps blank, doublechecking your camera's indicator means for good transport.
As regards inserted ADD-ON DEVICES for Super 8 cartridges:
This almost exclusively concerns the FrameMaster precision-made metal pressure plate by Gottfried Klose of GK-Film, currently sold via Andec in Berlin, DE.
The question is often raised whether the investment into this device is meaningful or not, especially because of the mixed results people get and report when using the FrameMaster.
As things stand from reading ciny.com over the past years, plus occassionally strolling over to filmsht.com, cameras in not-too-good mechanical condition seem to profit more from the FrameMaster than cameras that get regular CLA! This means that the better the cameras are maintained, the less the FrameMaster ameliorates frame stability or reduces frame variance, and is hence a meaningful or useful device for cinematographers. However, these are just subjective colportage findings, no "objective testing" was done to prove or falsify what I collected as info so far.
To wrap up what was started in post #3 of this FAQ-style thread, namely FIRST PORT OF CALL RESOURCES FOR SUPER8 NEWBIES and INFO FOR SUPER8 NEWBIES here are some hyperlinks to more technically-natured and data-compiling websites providing...
Due to a sudden high demand for info on airport x-ray scanning and its effects on film material, I decided to make a little hub post to those threads that discussed this extensively plus write a little summary here, under the title..:
AIR TRAVEL, FILM MATERIAL AND THE BIG LUGGAGE/BAGGAGE X-RAY SCARE
- what to know - what to do - how to relax -
In a nutshell:
The best way to ensure your film material is not harmed by the airport scanning devices currently in use is to put the films in a plastic bag in its original packaging (plastic or tin reel containers or paper box packages), transport it as hand luggage (not hold luggage), and pass it through the hand luggage airport x-ray scanners on its own, separate from all other items. In this way the scanning technologies & methods currently employed (i.e. after InVision Technologies, Inc. introduced intelligent computer-assisted variable-intensity scanning in the late-1990s, plus the heightened security regimes post 9/11 and 7/7) will automatically apply the appropriate minimum radiation dosage that is normally not harmful to a wide range of film materials (reversal, negative / colour, black-and-white / cine-, photo-, instant-film / small-, medium- and large-format / low-, mid-, high-sensitivity exposure index nominals). Alternatively, source your film materials on location via local sales channels or use Kodak's/Fuji's service of supplying film stocks on location through their local representatives or via proprietary worldwide postal or courier services (which do not scan as regularly/intensively as widely believed, particularly if not in-/outbound of the USA which has a relatively tight freight controlling regime in place).
Although theoretically capable of higher doses, current airport scanning devices bear little resemblance to yesteryear's crude x-ray machines. Therefore, as far as real-world anecdotal knowledge is concerned, doses actually employed by today's scanner technologies have not caused any problems via fogging currently available cine-, photo- and instant-film in recent years. This is particularly sure for the low-sensitivity end of the exposure index spectrum and with reversal films, even when it comes to repeated scanning, for example when travelling along a route of several destinations by airplane. However, the higher the potential sensitivity related to the size of the used grain structures of the film stocks, particularly for top-end negative films, the more possible (yet not necessarily probable) it is that fogging damage that is also visible after development (!) of the film might actually occur, particularly when travelling repeatedly through airports along your trip.
So: 2 scans with K-40 - low risk / 15 scans with V3-500 - higher risk.
Remember: Labs receive airmail-sent films every day without fogging, and I enjoyed ISO 3000 Polaroids while travelling around half the planet with them.
Asking for manual or hand-control checking of the films should well be attempted, but it is neither legally required from the security staff or by IATA regulations. If you want to have such controls performed, always pre-book this well in advance by contacting the airport security when this option is available - check in advance with the airport operator at hand. As a guideline, you can assume that smaller continental point-to-point airports are more likely to accommodate your request, whereas bigger intercontinental or high-profile/high-thru'put hub airports are least likely to find time nor nerves to cater for your special needs.
Important Don'ts are..:
do not use atomically-dense leadbox of foilbag transport devices built for the purpose of shielding x-rays (as still sold in the consumer market). These will exactly trigger increases of both the amount of radiation and the energy of the x-ray beam because the scanners now operate in such a way that they increase the milliRÃ¶ntgen dosage from a spreaded 1 mR to a focused/concentrated 300 mR until they achieve to penetrate the to-be-scanned material via its auto-exposure and auto-recognition programming in order to identify it.
do not put film in hold luggage, as hold luggage is generally scanned with a high-intensity dosage.
do not transport film with other lateral metallic or chemical materials as these rather than the once-suspicious silverhalides of the film (which the scanner might now be programmed to recognise as harmless film material) could trigger a higher-dosed re-scan that could potentially harm your films - so they would in effect become a collateral damage.
do not transport film with other gear as scanners also react to visual imagery associated with dangerous devices, such as handguns or electronics-embedded detonation devices. So your Nikon R10 might actually trigger a high-intensity scan because it resembles a pistol.
do not start arguing with security staff or behave most insisting on (non-)prebooked manual or hand-controls. Such behaviour will almost certainly trigger animosity and hence be counterproductive. Even when pre-arranged with security companies, the staff on that shift is not required in any way to abide to prior arrangements made, even when put in writing. If they say "No!" on the day, then it really is "No!", no matter how many signed papers from their bossES you wave at them.
try to avoid putting bribes forward to get your films through, as is encouraged for some less-developed-countries destinations. This will only further cultivate the bribery culture from local officials and inflates the problem. Bite the bullet on that one - following crews will appreciate that.
The following threads discuss some furthergoing points that should be read by anyone interested in this topic:
As an ever increasing number of people come to this forum to find out which camera to go for in Super 8, I decided to herewith re-post the (revised yet unchanged) ranked list of Super 8 cameras that several colleagues and myself established through extensive testing a while back.
The purpose was to find out which Super 8 cameras were most ideally suited for production purposes in the Super 8 format. We established a couple of criteria for that purpose along which we intended to rank the potentially most suitable cameras accordingly.
Unlike what most might think, this cannot just be all about 'sharpness'. Why? Discussing sharpness is a fuzzy topic. There are so many parameters that determine every "real-life" shot: light condition, shutter opening angle, aperture, exposure time, film pressure and flatness, frame stability and frame variance, mechanical transportation and registration, and film development. Even when boiling it down to camera-mechanical excellence body-wise and optical resolving power lens-wise, it's still virtually impossible to come up with a definitive answer about 'sharpness' as determined by visual impressions from a presentation.
For this project, we shot nearly a hundred cartridges for the testing of film stocks and cameras of various make and age. The film stock tests were shot over several days with parallel set-ups in France's Provence during a beautiful lavender summer, while the camera tests were shot in a gloriously obscure backyard in the middle of Germany's Nowhereville, as controlled as possible over three hours with parallel set-ups. The camera tests were shot on Kodak Kodachrome 40 T (7268), while the film stock tests comprised the Vision, Vision2 and X-series, various Ektachrome and Velvia color reversal films and even a daylight reel of K-25 in the Beaulieu SD8/60 magazine. All film stocks used were cold-stored or fresh and came from the same batches (sponsored by Kodak and private donors). The cameras used had received prior regular CLA (cleaned, lubricated, adjusted/collimated) over years (proved by supplied paperwork) and were checked again beforehand. Most gear came from elderly German-speaking (D-A-CH) ladies and gentlemen who were all to happy to comply with the request to have their beloved machinery put to good use. Additional gear came supplied from some fellow filmmakers.
The exposed and Andec-/Kodak-developed films were then projected up to 16ft wide in a screening room, originally in Berlin, with additional ones for controlling purposes in Davos plus in our film group's premises in Basel (to triple-check with personal films and equipment). The results were evaluated, discussed and put to paper in form of a collective panel debate. Please bear in mind that although the project members had set-up objective criteria, the panel's evaluations and discussions were of course purely subjective and at times controversial. I recall trouble surrounding the Canon 814XL-S and Canon 1014XL-S. And in case of the Nizo sound cameras, we actually had to ask a fellow filmmaker who owns an entire flock of Nizos to bring in additional footage from one of her film projects she just wrapped in Jordan and Lebanon to get an additional outside perspectives in. Otherwise, we would not have stopped shouting at each other.
I hence know that discussing any gear, especially cameras, can be a potentially heated topic as many cameras have real love/hate-fandoms here in the "cloud" that are entrenched along the lines of the "Nizo/Bauer/Beaulieu-Bandwagon" vs "Japanozoom-Fighter". Some results might be shocking to some (they were to us), but actually they are in line with an informal poll on "the other forum" (click me), and more reliably with a series of texts and discussions with Dr Carl-Hellmuth Hoefer in which he concludes with near-similar results based on this decades of experience as "The Super 8 Doctor" (met the guy in Davos, quite a sympathetic chap).
Although our results might spark a trench-warfare debate nevertheless, this is something I want to avoid and will not participate in, because I have no time for this sort of discussion. So in order to make sure no one feels that her or his beloved camera was wrongly bashed, I decided to write a white paper and a series of articles about the leading cameras. The article series will follow the camera list from top-to-bottom and is getting published from the next issue onwards in Chris Cottrill's Super 8 Today magazine. It will be serialised over four issues originally (covering the top four cameras), but the next camera articles are already finished and will be published there as well ? Chris was quite enthusiastic about it, and we are working hard to get some great photography for the forthfollowing issues. The white paper and a text-only version of the articles ? out of respect for Chris' venture and the risk he takes with his great magazine ? will only be made available as a very simple PDF from my film groups "Power of 8" website here from mid-2008 onwards. The articles take the form of a camera review. They intend to give some historical background and context for each camera, review and compare it with others, give critique of some fundamental flaws to-watch-out, praise what makes them unique etc. You get the picture?
So let's get to that Top 30 list, shall we?
Beaulieu 4008 ZM II with Schneider Beaulieu-Optivaron 1:1,8 / 6-66mm (C-Mount) with Beaulieu Reglomatic
Leitz Leicina Special with Schneider Leicina-Optivaron 1:1,8 / 6-66mm (M-Mount) with Leitz Leicinamatic
Macro-Neovaron 1:1,2 / 6-51mm as found on Bauer C 900 XLM and Bauer S 209 XL
Macro-Neovaron 1:1,2 / 7-45mm as found on Bauer C 700 XLM and Bauer S 207 XL
Nizo 561 macro with Schneider Macro-Variogon 1:1,8 / 7-56mm
Nikon R8 with Nikon Cine-Nikkor 1:1,8 / 7,5-60mm
Canon Auto Zoom 814 Electronic with Canon Macro 1:1,4 / 7,5-60mm
Eumig 881 PMA with Eumig Makro-Viennon 1:1,8 / 7-56mm
Eumig 860 PMA with Eumig Makro-Viennon 1:1,8 / 8-48mm
A cut-off line was established for cameras that did not feature 24fps, that did not have manual aperture control (i.e. full manual control over the diaphragm and not mere exposure compensation or an EE lock feature for an otherwise fully automatic exposure control). Special-purpose cameras such as the Eumig Nautica, the Canon 310 XL or Bauer III XL were not included either because of their originally-intended special field of operation. Also, OEM-branded cameras such as Bauer cameras sold under the Porst name have not been double-listed here.
Despite great effort, we were not able to test a variety of cameras due to a lack of getting our hands on them, but who should have been featured as they promise to be highly ranked, at least in the mid-field down. These are (in order of interest):
Agfa Movexoom 10 MOS Electronic with Variostar 1:1,8 / 6-60mm Minolta Autopak-8 D 12 with Zoom Rokkor 1:1,8 / 6,5-78mm Minolta Autopak-8 D 10 with Zoom Rokkor 1:1,8 / 7-70mm Elmo 1018R with Elmo Zoom 1:1,8 / 7-70mm Elmo 1012 S-XL with Elmo Zoom 1:1,2 / 7,5-75mm Nalcom FTL 1000 Synchro Zoom with Shinkor Zoom 1:1,8 / 6,5-65mm (Nalcom-Mount)
Also, we weren't able to source two rare, if not mythical lenses, either:
The first was optionally sold with a specific Beaulieu 6008-model, whereas the other was probably a prototype or pre-series run of a Variogon design eventually not used by Beaulieu as it had traditionally opted for Optivaron designs.
Rest assured that we are still and continuously working on the Top Camera Guide and will post upgrades to it (if required) both in this FAQ-style thread and in other dedicated threads in the Super 8 subforum.
~ a white paper on history, attitudes and workflows ~
In light of a very important thread started by Maya that discusses, frankly, the future direction Super 8 is likely to take with an increasing amount of users in light of technological advances and it being now an integral part of the cine-film family and no longer the forgotten and unloved retail end of Kodak's consumer operations, I post a PDF-type White Paper here that discusses primarily for newbies or early adopters of the format (hence the slight simplifications in the text) what the stand of things are for this format.
This text was originally published in Chris Cottrill's magazine Super 8 Today a year ago, authored by myself. As I retain copyrights, and because it is out there for over a year, I think its time to move it into public domain. If anyone disagrees, please drop me a line and I will consider taking it offline again. If anyone wants to discuss the content, either PM me or please start a new thread in the Super 8 sub-forum. Please DO NOT reply with posts in this FAQ-style thread! Thanks.
This text would not have been possible without the kind assistance of John Pytlak of Kodak, who was very actively involved with ciny.com here, and who is greatly missed by those who are regulars here. If you want to honour him in what I believe to be the way he wanted it, please click here to go to this thread. Thanks.
Unfortunately, still missing some of the great classics:
"Why I Miss Santo"
Huge readership on these topics and more that did not make the list! Hope we get the chance to re-cap all the good times. Where did Santo and Alex go anyways?
Are these topics archived somewhere? I can't seem to find them.
One of the "classics", Why I Miss Santo is easy to find in the forum. Just go to the Search field in the top right of the page, click/tap to search 'forum' rather than just 'topic', and you can find it listed in the search results.
A good discussion, both on the banned user known as Santo, and Santo's Method (read about it here) which has, a decade on, become standard industry post practice even for occasional shooters. It will also form the base procedure for Kodak's new one-stop buy-and-develop solution out later this year. In the end, technological advances, reduced costs, and greater accessibility made Santo's post-chain ideas normal.
Having said that, his rhetorical assertions and apodictic attitudes were challenging for many here. Insulting fellow users with silly memes wasn't helping his cause. But everything he posted was a great read, for sure.
~ a white paper and pictorial guide comparing and explaining features, operations, and maintenance ~
Following on from the overall Top Camera Guide and the how-to Super 8 Works… posts above, here's a post providing two downloadable PDF documents, in white paper and pictorial guide versions, that discuss the features, operations and maintenance of the top four production cameras for the Super 8 format. These cameras fall into two categories: the Beaulieu 4008 ZM II and the Leitz Leicina Special which have interchangeable vario lenses; and the Bauer A 512 and the Nizo professional, featuring non-interchangeable vario lenses.
All these cameras provide outstanding optical capabilities and possess camera-mechanical excellence that qualifies them for uncompromising projection and broadcasting purposes. Not only do they cover all the usual features expected from any "high-end" camera, they also offer truly unique and special functions. If you want a "top-of-the-market" camera for shooting either in the traditional "Ivan's Method", or contemporary "Santo's Method" of a digital post chain (see above), your quest to choose the right gear should start with considering these four production cameras.
The results from shooting with these production cameras show appreciable differences that set them visibly apart from the follow-up group of "high-end" cameras: a discussion of those, e.g. the Canon 814/1014-generations, Beaulieu 6/7/9008-series, and Nizo and Bauer sound cameras – all mostly built during the "Super 8 zoom war", around commag sound and with XL feature – will follow later in a separate post, as they are much more complex to assess. However, the white paper (though not the pictorial guide) contains a review of the Nikon R10 with Nikon Cine-Nikkor 1:1,4 / 7-70mm as a bonus.
The attached texts were originally published in Chris Cottrill's magazine Super 8 Today, authored by myself. As I retain copyrights, I think its time to move them into public domain. Check out the now defunct magazine, and consider buying some back issues, as it's a true treasure trove for any Super 8 filmmaker. If anyone wants to discuss this, either PM me or better start a new thread in the Super 8 sub-forum. Please DO NOT reply with posts in this pinned FAQ-style thread, as they will be removed!