Hi, I've got a tiny Bolex reg. 8 camera, shot quite a few films on it back in the 80's. It used to work very well. Been wondering what it would be like if I shot a short movie, framing it for the 'widescreen' look (eg. 2.35:1) and cropping it in post. Wouldn't be showing it with a film projector. Yes, it would undoubtedly be very poor definition and lots of grain. Has anyone made any films like this I can see online? I can view a reg. 8 movie on youtube, and just block the screen with bits of paper to see what it looks like, but most of the 8mm films I've seen on youtube are very poorly scanned and are not representative of what is possible.
The UltraPan8 Bolex conversions use the H8 transport with a standard 8mm pulldown and expose the entire 16mm width of Regular 8 film and producing a native 2.8:1 aspect ratio. The 13x viewfinder is also 2.8. This system is non-anamorphic and utilizes the center portion of classic 16mm optics and doubles the run time of 100ft of Regular 8mm film to 5+ minutes, eg
Wow, both possibilities look great! The Moller looks a lot more affordable for me, if I could find one. That camera in your shot Simon is basically the very same I have - except mine has a light meter box at front of viewfinder. I must admit the UltraPan8 looks great.
Cropping the tiny Regular 8mm frame would increase visible grain, but it is doable. A lot depends on the grain and image quality of the film stock you use. However, going Anamorphic Widescreen works great also. There were several 1.5x compression anamorphic lenses made in the 1950s to 1960s that are small and compact. The most expensive is the BOLEX Moeller 1.5x lens, which coupled with its dedicated lens holder mount is very nice. The lower cost alternatives were: Yaschica, Elmo, S.T.O.P. Hypergonar 1.75x(which now seems to be very expensive), KinoScope, VistaScope (made by Delrama in Holland)iand others. These were all small lenses originally intended to fit the Regular 8mm camera lens, some with lens adapters or using a small tripod socket mount.
Some other lower cost 1.5x compression lenses were the Palamorphot 1.5x and the MagnaScope 1.5x.
If you don't mind the 2x compression format (yielding a 2.66:1 aspect ratio) then rigging up anyone of the many affordable 2x anamorphic lenses out there would work. It might look a little odd with a large lens rig on such a tiny camera, but I've done it many times, and works great. Consider the affordable KOWA 16D or F, and the very affordable often under $100 LOMO lenses from Russia or Ukraine on eBay.
Then there's the new tiny I-PRO anamorphic 1.33x lenses being made for cellphones which should easily fit the tiny 8mm camera lenses from Moondog Labs and other similar type attachments (not the Wide Angle lenses you see sold!), B&H Photo's price is $175 and they also make a 52mm filter adapter for it. This lens will yield the 'modern' 16:9 aspect ratio format which all modern Televisions and digital video cameras are set for.
The modern Kodak 50D colour negative vastly exceeds the performance of the old Kodachrome that represents most extant Super-8. There are a few black and white stocks but only really two in colour, unless you want to pay really rather a lot of money for the Pro8mm stuff - though they do have a lot of stocks.
As you have correctly recognised the scan is critical. You may have seen some of the truly spectacular results people have achieved - look around Vimeo - even using older cameras.
What all this does demonstrate is that the lenses on older Super-8 cameras were often not particularly wonderful, something you'll exacerbate if you strap an anamorphic adaptor onto one. Super-8 cameras known to have good glass tend to command a price premium, so you'll want to be careful.
With care, modern Super-8 can look like bad 16mm. The problem is that shooting really good Super-8 can approach the price of 16mm, too.
PS - on a Windows PC, hold down the alt key, and type 0246 on the numeric keypad: ö
Great to know, Phil, thanks! I got my start in Super 8, made stacks of films with it in my teens. Then actually did the counter-intuitive thing and decided I was more interested in regular 8. Felt it was more 'arty' somehow. I did miss the long-running shots possible with an electric motor though. I got frustrated with Super 8 and yearned to move up to 16mm, which I eventually did. Very interesting to see the latest pro results with Super 8 though.
Removing the spring stop from a younger Paillard-Bolex H-8 gives you almost a minute of run time. That camera takes electric motors, too. You can crank H cameras by hand as long as you wish. Big base models are preferable in doing so. The only problem is that the crank can slip off the shaft. Paillard completely missed out on that. One could give the shaft a LH tap and a screw to the crank.
There are more Double-Eight cameras with long runs. Cameras with a going barrel allow to tighten the spring during a run. I have shot full 100-ft. lengths with an old H-16 that has a winding key in the spring core. Even the little Bell & Howell Filmo 8s can be kept running by twisting the spring key, a flexible shaft will ease greatly.
Yeah the H series are far better for serious filming, but I love how compact the pocket cameras are. I tend to use my D8 (the triple turret pocket) more than my H8 because it's so much easier to carry around. Standard 8 is my favourite format - much nicer cameras than S8, no batteries required, manual prime lenses, pressure plates, spools and lacing etc, and the tiny frame accentuates all that is beautiful about film imho. Having just watched Dunkirk in 15/70 that's a nice format too of course, but I don't think Nanolab here in Victoria processes 65mm...
I've played with anamorphics on a pocket camera and loved the results, but unless you get something nice and small like the Möller it requires some jigging and is tricky to focus.
I mainly just film my kids, so no serious filming for me.. my art forms are folded paper and paint - much cheaper.
I haven't shot but 1 roll of R8 but I've shot a good amount of Super 8 and I'd definitely say both have the resolution for a crop. Obviously not idea but cheapest compared to buying an expensive anamorphic lens.
This is a mixture of S8 shot on a Nizo 801 Macro (super sharp lens) and R8 shot on my grandfather-in-law's old Keystone K35 with some fungus-infested lenses. Still sharp though. You can tell the different cameras by the grittiness of the R8 due to the Fomapan film vs the Kodak Tri-X of the S8. But like I said, a crop wouldn't be terrible. The Super 8 looked incredibly sharp here! Definitely close to 16mm in my opinion.
This video I filmed on S8 with the sharp Canon 814XL-S was cropped to 16:9 but could probably handle a crop to 2.35 ratio as well.
These were all 2k scans which REALLY make a difference compared to 1080p telecines.
I'm really encouraged by the film clips above, and what people have written. I just love watching real film that's been scanned. I know some are purists that want to see the film projected, and that's great too, but I am really interested in the blend of shot on film and then scanned. I love the look. I was often disappointed with projection because the film ended up always getting knocked around and scratched and dusty after many showings. Let's hope real film will always be around. I agree with everything you say about standard 8 Dom. I'm feeling inspired. My little camera has the two lens turret.