Jump to content


MAX 8 from PRO 8 -- The Real Widescreen Super8.


  • Please log in to reply
28 replies to this topic

#1 santo

santo
  • Guests

Posted 04 December 2005 - 10:56 AM

Just an interesting news item and fresh super 8 development that actually makes some sense, and I thought I'd share it on here for anybody unaware of this.

As is the case it seems in this little format, there's always been a lot more nonsense and fantasy and quack engineering and shakey theories than there is in larger formats. I know that when I rediscovered super 8 for myself a couple of years ago, I had a bit of trouble getting my thinking past the handicap of buying into the "super 8 collective" mentality which hamstrings and cripples so many super 8 filmmaking efforts. The Canon/Nikon home movie camera + Kodachrome40 + miniDV camcorder transfer mentality. Likely because it had been the domain of hobbiests for so long in the time before the dawn of the 21st Century and the current shift to the 1, 2, 3 whammy of professional film stocks, widely available quality Rank/Shadow/Spirit et al telecine, and pro quality NLE systems for home use. When all is done and calculated in, you realize that professional results ultimately cost no more and require less effort than the substandard hobbiest approach if your goal is to make a few short films. It only requires clear-headed thinking and logical deduction.

One of the trends I saw in the past two years which I thought was a joke was the move to a "widescreen" super8. Like Super16. They called it "ultra 8" or 'superduper 8" or whatever. It involved a widening of the film gate to take advantage of that extra bit of film material where a sound stripe would have gone. Of course the results were really sketchy. All you get at most usable super 8 focal lengths used in dramatic filmmaking (15mm and under) as a great big case of vignetting cutting off the top and bottom of the right side of the screen beyond the normal super 8 frame. The lens is, by any practical measure, not replaceable nor recentre-able in those fixed unremoveable softy-zoom home movie cameras. In short, it was a big waste of time because all it involved was filing out the gate of a super 8 camera. Not only did you get the vignetting, but you also got a nice juicy scratch line running down where you filed as well, that you then had to figure out how to minimize in post! But there was nothing that could be done about the really distracting black circle vignetting on the right side, anyways. And how about the viewfinder? Well, that stayed the same, too. No clear idea what you're really framing in your shots. Ridiculous. But it sure didn't stop a bunch of people from filing away at their gates.

But now I've come across this company's news release -- whom I have no affiliation with and don't work for -- who are actually making a real widescreen super 8 camera. It's all there, designed to take advantage of all the film area, just like super16, with the aim of shooting for HD transfer.

$500 is not outrageous considering the work done, in my opinion. I see people spending that much to ship their Beaulieus to Sweden for a restoration job quite often (which I don't consider a waste, either, as it's a professional featured camera worth investing a little money into). If that's the going rate for somebody to send in their own Beaulieu for this modification, then it's a decent deal. If there's some requirement that it be a Pro8 Beaulieu, then it becomes highly questionable, I think. I don't know what the story is on that.

http://www.pro8mm.co..._Equip_Show.pdf
  • 0

#2 Bob Last

Bob Last
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 52 posts
  • Other
  • San Jose, CA and Philippines

Posted 04 December 2005 - 12:19 PM

If there's some requirement that it be a Pro8 Beaulieu, then it becomes highly questionable, I think. I don't know what the story is on that.

I'm not sure what the catch is. It clearly stated in their release that the price is for "existing Classic 8 owners only". It begs the question of how much will it cost for non-Pro 8mm Beaulieu 4008 ZMx owners or cameras bearing their old company name, Super8Sound.

You are right on on the subject. It is a 'real' widescreen format. The conversion makes it transparent to the user unlike a simple gate filing where you may see vignetting on once side of the screen, off-center composition, or partly hidden view when taking the shot. The lens has been shifted. This is a major rebuilding.

I am still trying to decide on the merit, however. Should the film be develop only by Pro8mm? Are the other developing services equipped in processing Max 8 or SuperDuper shot rolls without scratching the edge of the film? What will be the effect on the cameras' registration now that part of the film that is pressed to the gate was taken off? On the other hand, there is no doubt a 20% increase in useable film area is quite substantial.
  • 0

#3 santo

santo
  • Guests

Posted 04 December 2005 - 12:36 PM

All really good questions!

Looking over that pdf, I also had to note that although Pro8's Max8 is touted for potential HD transfer, they don't offer HD transfer. So more questions there, I guess.

It is really too bad that they don't break their customary webboard silence on this. A completely understandable policy considering the peanut gallery of flakey mentally challenged conspiracy theory simians who make up about 80% of filmshooting.com, but here it's different. I guess we'll have to call/email Pro8 if we want particulars or try to catch them at a trade show.
  • 0

#4 steve hyde

steve hyde
  • Sustaining Members
  • 446 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Seattle

Posted 04 December 2005 - 02:28 PM

...well, for the record, Rick Palidwor and Mitch Perkins are the inovators of widening Super 8 gates for widescreen aspect ratios: http://www.friendlyfirefilms.ca/
  • 0

#5 santo

santo
  • Guests

Posted 04 December 2005 - 03:17 PM

Not even remotely true. I remember that wonky film-thurso guy bouncing off the walls on filmshooting/quacks/slotcars.com, proving "they" "we" (?) were/was filing out gates back in the mid-eighties. He/they/we claimed to have a film strip with a date on it that said 1985 or something. And somebody else brought up a magazine article from the old super 8 hobby home movie days. People have been doing that since somebody came up with the idea for super16. BIG difference is that now we have somebody actually rebuilding a super 8 camera like a super 16 camera. This is a really significant development that makes it viable for the first time. Maybe. Some questions need to be answered to be certain.
  • 0

#6 Mike Crane

Mike Crane
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 141 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 04 December 2005 - 04:33 PM

Still though, we are talking about widening the gate to take advantage of only a small sliver of picture. Not even close to being worth $500.00 for what will ultimately make no discernable difference in quality. I would be better off investing that kind of super 8 "mod" money in 16mm if I were looking for significantly improved HD picture.

So what if Pro8mm offers HD transfers? Considering what we know of Pro8, I am sure it would not be made available for a fair price or comparable level of quality to other HD facilities. Plus, Super 8 does not hold adequate resolution to take advantage of HD. I would rather get a better, less costly SD transfer someplace else and up-res to HD for what would likely be identical results.
  • 0

#7 Machado

Machado
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Other

Posted 04 December 2005 - 04:52 PM

So how many feature films have been shot in MAX8 or Super Duper8? Also, Which was the first???

I'm sure Widening the gate has been done decades ago, but where are the fruits of those labours??? A 3min k40 real shot on a japanzoom which was headed to the dump anyway?

Were talking about not only modding a camera, but actually making a viable marketable finished product at the same time.

So, once agian, please name some Max8/ Super-Duper 8 films made and when they were made.

I'll start....

Sleep Always c 2002
  • 0

#8 santo

santo
  • Guests

Posted 04 December 2005 - 05:05 PM

I would highly recommend to anybody wondering if the $500 pro8 actual camera modification is worth it over simply filing down their gate, order a copy of SLEEP ALWAYS and watch it. Compare it to the Max 8 demo I just found on the Pro 8 demo DVD, and you will then have a very clear perspective on what is being discussed here. Maybe my recommendation will generate a little cash and help keep Mitch the camera tinkerer (one of the makers of SLEEP ALWAYS) from the dumpster diving for PCs as he is so clearly describing these days on filmshooting/slotcar.com, with regards to his current thread concerning the typical hobby shooter fantasies that one can produce professional negative film telecine results with a miniDV camera and a modified projector.
  • 0

#9 Matt Sandstrom

Matt Sandstrom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts
  • Director
  • Stockholm, Sweden

Posted 05 December 2005 - 05:10 AM

...well, for the record, Rick Palidwor and Mitch Perkins are the inovators of widening Super 8 gates for widescreen aspect ratios:

don't be silly. of course they're not.

/matt
  • 0

#10 steve hyde

steve hyde
  • Sustaining Members
  • 446 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Seattle

Posted 05 December 2005 - 02:22 PM

don't be silly. of course they're not.

/matt



"Chaching" said it best above. Okay, Matt, if Mitch and Rick are not the first inovators to release a picture shot with a wide gate, who is?

Steve

I would highly recommend to anybody wondering if the $500 pro8 actual camera modification is worth it over simply filing down their gate, order a copy of SLEEP ALWAYS and watch it. Compare it to the Max 8 demo I just found on the Pro 8 demo DVD, and you will then have a very clear perspective on what is being discussed here. Maybe my recommendation will generate a little cash and help keep Mitch the camera tinkerer (one of the makers of SLEEP ALWAYS) from the dumpster diving for PCs as he is so clearly describing these days on filmshooting/slotcar.com, with regards to his current thread concerning the typical hobby shooter fantasies that one can produce professional negative film telecine results with a miniDV camera and a modified projector.



I'm interested in seeing the DVD....Didn't know such a thing exists. I'll check it out.

Steve

Edited by steve hyde, 05 December 2005 - 02:23 PM.

  • 0

#11 santo

santo
  • Guests

Posted 05 December 2005 - 04:02 PM

The history of the origin of the automobile is a fuzzy one, too. http://www.loc.gov/r...eries/auto.html

Or the airplane. http://www.didyouknow.org/wright.htm

The question is, who actually did it right so that it was a viable concept? All I know is that we have Karl Benz, the Wright Bros., and with widened super 8: Pro 8's Max 8.

...not that we can exactly compare Max 8 to the other two in import. to the world... :)
  • 0

#12 Matt Sandstrom

Matt Sandstrom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts
  • Director
  • Stockholm, Sweden

Posted 05 December 2005 - 04:21 PM

if Mitch and Rick are not the first inovators to release a picture shot with a wide gate, who is?


don't change the subject. it's quite likely that theirs is the first feature shot with a wide gate, but that's not the same thing as them inventing it. the idea has been around for as long as i've been surfing the super 8 internet boards, i.e. around eight or nine years, but i wouldn't be surpised if somebody already did it back in the 70's. if you already know about super 16 and super 35 it's not rocket science to figure out that you can do the same thing with super 8, is it? and mind you by that i'm not saying an invention has to be the work of a genious.

EDIT: so you see i'm not with santo here -- i think pro8 invented it even less than mitch and rick. :-)

/matt

Edited by mattias, 05 December 2005 - 04:24 PM.

  • 0

#13 santo

santo
  • Guests

Posted 05 December 2005 - 04:42 PM

Hey, where do I say that Pro 8 invented anything? I bet people were sticking negative film in super 8 carts before they did. But it probably didn't work very well because it was approached half-baked, just like superduperstupid 8 doesn't work very well because it's half-baked.
  • 0

#14 steve hyde

steve hyde
  • Sustaining Members
  • 446 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Seattle

Posted 05 December 2005 - 06:04 PM

don't change the subject. it's quite likely that theirs is the first feature shot with a wide gate, but that's not the same thing as them inventing it. the idea has been around for as long as i've been surfing the super 8 internet boards, i.e. around eight or nine years, but i wouldn't be surpised if somebody already did it back in the 70's. if you already know about super 16 and super 35 it's not rocket science to figure out that you can do the same thing with super 8, is it? and mind you by that i'm not saying an invention has to be the work of a genious.

EDIT: so you see i'm not with santo here -- i think pro8 invented it even less than mitch and rick. :-)

/matt



....well, I see your point and don't take issue with it. The American Thomas Edison gets credit for inventing a lot of poop that he didn't invent. In the end, I guess I'm just biased because I admire the fact that Mitch and Rick made their Super 8 feature on a shoe string with custom camera modifications for widescreen presentation. Now some American company is capitalizing on the *buzz* that I think rightfully belongs to a couple of artists in Toronto. I'd rather see the buzz working towards financing their next picture rather than Pro8mm's overpriced camera mods....

Steve
  • 0

#15 John Pytlak RIP

John Pytlak RIP

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 3499 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Rochester, NY 14650-1922

Posted 05 December 2005 - 08:11 PM

Just keep in mind that "non standard" formats may have limited post-production choices. All of the widely used formats have image areas specified by SMPTE standards, so everyone handling the film is "on the same page".
  • 0

#16 Rick Palidwor

Rick Palidwor
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 407 posts
  • Director

Posted 05 December 2005 - 10:46 PM

It's nice to see Sleep Always being discussed here. When we went public with Sleep Always three years ago, we claimed it was a "new" format (we didn't say anything about "inventing" it, though I guess that was implied), not knowing that other people had done the same thing. Once we found out that others had played with this (in a more amateur way) we removed the claim to it being a "new" format from our website.

That's all for the record. Frankly, we don't care who "inveted" it, as clearly there were many people playing wtih the same idea, as often happens with innovations. What really counts, as with all innovations, is what you do with it. What we did was make a feature length movie, which has now screened in five countries and won 7 awards, whereas the early dabblers did not go public with anything (to my knowledge), so we are often credited with pioneering this format, which in a way we did (by bringing lots of attention to it) but we clearly didn't invent it.

Pro8 is obviously doing it "right" by recentring the optics. We have always known that was a major flaw with our gate-filling, and we have always been up front about that. I get many inquiries about super-duper 8 and I tell people the flaws. They turn some people off, they challenge others.

Santo makes it sound like there is vignetting in every shot which is not true. We definitely have some bad shots in Sleep Always (we never claimed it was perfect), but the vignetting can be minimized if not entirely eliminated. It restricts your lens settings a little, but we never said it was perfect. Work with it or not, your choice. We learned over time and the bad shots are from when we started. We did not think it was worth reshooting a few things just for that.

We screened in the UK last night and I already got one email from somene in the audience saying they were inspired to get back to super 8.

For those who have not seen Sleep Always, please visit our website and check some of the stills. No vignetting, no scratches (to prove it's possible). Check viewer comments. Check our page at the imdb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0404434/

I'll let the comments speak for themselves.

Rick
  • 0

#17 jeremy edge

jeremy edge
  • Guests

Posted 06 December 2005 - 03:37 AM

"A completely understandable policy considering the peanut gallery of flakey mentally challenged conspiracy theory simians who make up about 80% of filmshooting.com, ."

"Maybe my recommendation will generate a little cash and help keep Mitch the camera tinkerer (one of the makers of SLEEP ALWAYS) from the dumpster diving for PCs as he is so clearly describing these days on filmshooting/slotcar.com, with regards to his current thread concerning the typical hobby shooter fantasies that one can produce professional negative film telecine results with a miniDV camera and a modified projector"

"superduperstupid 8 doesn't work very well because it's half-baked"

Wow

Stand up guy.

A bet you'll make just as many friends as you did there lol!

Debate or difference of opinion is part of human interaction but this kind of debate ...well, if you came over here thinking this was a slightly different board you were right......and I would caution you that they won't tolerate those who don't mind their manners.Just a word of advice.

'Hey, where do I say that Pro 8 invented anything? "
not you...pro8mm claimed to be introducing a new format in their first press releases...
Isnt that a claim of invention ?

" typical hobby shooter fantasies that one can produce professional negative film telecine results with a miniDV camera and a modified projector"

Sleep Always was shot on reversal and I dont think there are any fantasies there when their movie is getting screened and much acclaim. If they are "hobby' shooters ,then what are you? According to many ,pro8 cant produce professional telecine results with a professional telecine!

Everyone agrees that centering the lens and modifying the viewfinder is a good accomplishment.And they deserve many props for that.
It's the so called introduction of a "New Format" that anyone ever had a problem with as many had done before if not quite so thoroughly.

And I do agree with the poster who said that is a shame that they are "capitalizing on the *buzz* that rightfully belongs to a couple of artists in Toronto" Which is always been the heart of the debate which I believe I started on said forum. Not any claim that the toronto crew "invented" anything.

Give Pro8mm all the props you want....I'll do the same for Rick and Mitch anytime for I'll always speak up for what I believe is right.If you're standing behind what you believe more power to you. but I can't respect the insults and bashing of other filmakers and I doubt the mods will put up with it either. If you came over here to gain a larger audience for your opinions it's a shame you made such a nice first impression.

I would seriously like to know what they would charge to modify a bealieu that wasnt purchased there.
$500 is more than reasonable, but $3500 for a modded bealieu and doing all your transfers at pro8mm? I have my doubts this will catch on. For those prices it's probably time to move onto 16.But who knows?
  • 0

#18 santo

santo
  • Guests

Posted 06 December 2005 - 09:19 AM

Just playing devil's advocate as usual. Pushing a few buttons. All of it true and proveable, unfortunately. But there is no bad publicity. You're not going to see me bashing the artistic merits of their film -- I draw the line there as it has not been put up for public discussion by them, so that is wrong, in my opinion. But really, the more people like Mitch and the rest trash Pro8 without any actual experience or foundation, the more people hear about them and are interested. Like in this crazy thread on this topic:

http://www.filmshoot...pic.php?t=12263 "Max8: New life for super 8 or gimmick?"

You are only assisting them. They cannot lose except through silence and being ignored. Just me bringing up this whole thing on here means a few more sales, a little more awareness for this SLEEP ALWAYS film. As a customer who bought it and watched it, I think that I have every right to comment on the technical aspect -- a "hook" -- that is hyped up without authentic merit, in my opinion. Those who disagree should buy the film and make up their own minds. Unlike those who trash a company that they have never been customers of, as is the case in this continued Pro8 nonsense and all the bizarre conspiracies -- or even the nutty conspiracies about Kodak for that matter -- on that other board.

Really I'm not making any of this stuff up that you quoted, Jeremy. There's a big thread where that guy is dumpster diving for PC's and his goal is to make a converted movie projector/miniDV transfer system that looks professional.

http://www.filmshoot...pic.php?t=12250 "Neg Stock Xfer"

Sorry, Jeremy, but it is a fantasy to believe that this can be done properly with negative film.

The Superduperwahtever thing is half-baked, and it does not work very well. Max 8 is at least fully baked. And, yes, a stretch, but I suppose one could call it introducing a new format to the public, as it is something nobody has offered to the public before. A real camera conversion with the lens centered and the extra area actually useable, and a real telecine set up to transfer it.

Very good of you to stand up for what you think is right, Jeremy. Meanwhile, I'm going to continue to stand up for factual information and critical analysis in a format that has had very little publicly viewable debate on technical issues until the past couple of years which involved anything other than a hobby approach. It has come of age. It can be approached in the same way as any other motion picture format can be now, and that involves cutting through the nonsense and calling a spade a spade.

And I'd like to say that Mr. Pytlak has made an excellent point. So, add that to the excellent questions raised by LastQuark to balance out any Pro8 bias here with some legitimate points, rather than just trying to root for the "underdog". You should read over that "Max 8" thread at filmshooting and Mitch's responses to poor Roger Evans, and then consider if that is an underdog you wish to continue to root for.
  • 0

#19 jeremy edge

jeremy edge
  • Guests

Posted 06 December 2005 - 11:45 AM

Nice to see you being a little more pc :)

I would hardly call Roger an innocent pedestrian getting run over by Mitch in that exchange but ,I'm staying out of that one anyway.

If you know what focal length your camera vignettes at,and you have a clean gate you shouldnt get scratches or vignetting.Lots of people do this with the k3 (including me)and I'll bet the first super 16 stuff was done that way before someone did a more involved overhaul of the camera.Half baked or not that was the birth of that format which is more an extension of an existing one.As is this.

As for a home negative transfer? If he pulls it off, hey ,I'll want to know how he did it. If it were me I would try to get a good deal on a workprint.But if he's planning another feature he may be trying to save a few thousand dollars which is nothing to sneeze at.

Really I have found for me,that shooting 16 isnt all that expensive like everyone thinks.I would encourage anyone doing a feature or anything serious to consider it over super 8.at least if there are concerns about grain.With short ends ,some after hours "standby" telecine pricing...its not much more than super 8.

I think if I were going to try my hand at my own transfer....shooting 7285 reversal and using one of those elmo's with a 5 blade shutter would work pretty well in 16mm.Then you'd only pay for stock and processing.
  • 0

#20 Matt Sandstrom

Matt Sandstrom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts
  • Director
  • Stockholm, Sweden

Posted 06 December 2005 - 02:11 PM

I admire the fact that Mitch and Rick made their Super 8 feature on a shoe string with custom camera modifications for widescreen presentation.

same.

Now some American company is capitalizing on the *buzz* that I think rightfully belongs to a couple of artists in Toronto.

i disagree. i think pro8 are capitalizing on the work of hundreds of filmmakers since several decades ago. when i read the original statement of said toronto guys about their "new" format i reacted the same way as i did when i saw pro8 offering it. rick and mitch corrected themselves and will forever enjoy the fame of bringing this format to audiences, but will pro8 do the same? if they would say "using an idea that has been around since forever, but taken to new levels by pro8" i would probably buy it, but never as long as they make false claims. simple as that.

/matt
  • 0


Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

Ritter Battery

Abel Cine

Visual Products

CineTape

Opal

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Technodolly

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineLab

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

CineLab

Visual Products

Opal

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineTape

FJS International, LLC

Tai Audio

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc