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Etching the viewfinder for 9x16


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#1 Marty Hamrick

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 10:32 AM

I have a Canon Scoopic and an Elmo 1012 SXL.I was pondering etching the vf glass for 9 x 16 framelines.Anyone ever try this?Just wondering if that's an easy thing to get into.
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#2 Erdwolf_TVL

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 02:19 PM

I have a Canon Scoopic and an Elmo 1012 SXL.I was pondering etching the vf glass for 9 x 16 framelines.Anyone ever try this?Just wondering if that's an easy thing to get into.


How good of an idea is it to shoot letterbox on Super-8?
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#3 Marty Hamrick

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 02:42 PM

How good of an idea is it to shoot letterbox on Super-8?


If you're shooting for 9 x 16 format HDTV,how else would you go?
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#4 Ian Marks

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 02:53 PM

I think the biggest obstacle with trying to etch framelines in the finder of a Super-8 is that the viewfinder of almost every camera (some Beaulieus being the only exceptions I can think of) don't have ground glass focussing - the finders show an aerial image, which is why having a microprism or so-called split image "rangefinder" to assist with focussing is so important. The edges of the frame are usually defined by a mask somewhere within the viewing pipeline - if you could get the camera apart to get access to the mask, I guess you could use some drafting tape or something similar to cut the mask down to the 16:9 you're looking for. Sounds like an awful lot of trouble to go through to me - it might be better just to compose very carefully and use the finder as-is.
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#5 Erdwolf_TVL

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 05:23 PM

If you're shooting for 9 x 16 format HDTV,how else would you go?


How much of the useful frame would be left after cropping?

I mean, with Super8, there isn't much to start off with :blink:
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#6 Chris Burke

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 05:34 PM

How much of the useful frame would be left after cropping?

I mean, with Super8, there isn't much to start off with :blink:




There is enough info to make it worth while. Pro8mm does the Max 8 camera, Rick Palador does the Super Duper 8, I had my nizo 6080 filed out to widescreen and it works. Bonolabs does 1920 x 1080 HD telecine of super 8 and the result are great. The image is grainy, but that is the selling point. It is not going to equal 16mm or 35, it is super 8. Such modifications are done to keep up with the ever expanding HD post world we live in. :rolleyes:
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#7 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 10:05 PM

Rick Palador does the Super Duper 8


Thanks for the plug but the correct spelling is Palidwor.
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#8 Bob Last

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 12:40 AM

There is enough info to make it worth while. Pro8mm does the Max 8 camera, Rick Palador does the Super Duper 8, I had my nizo 6080 filed out to widescreen and it works. Bonolabs does 1920 x 1080 HD telecine of super 8 and the result are great. The image is grainy, but that is the selling point. It is not going to equal 16mm or 35, it is super 8. Such modifications are done to keep up with the ever expanding HD post world we live in. :rolleyes:

Cropping is different from widening the gate. The better tradeoff without losing much of the resolution is the use of anamorphic lens - no glass to etch, no gate to file, no lens to align.
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#9 Marty Hamrick

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 09:08 AM

Cropping is different from widening the gate. The better tradeoff without losing much of the resolution is the use of anamorphic lens - no glass to etch, no gate to file, no lens to align.


What kind of aspect ratio would you get there and how much of the image would have to be letterboxed to get on the screen?I like the idea but who does an unsqueezed transfer in super 8?Or 16mm for that matter?
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#10 Sam Wells

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 10:52 AM

I think the biggest obstacle with trying to etch framelines in the finder of a Super-8 is that the viewfinder of almost every camera (some Beaulieus being the only exceptions I can think of) don't have ground glass focussing - the finders show an aerial image, which is why having a microprism or so-called split image "rangefinder" to assist with focussing is so important. The edges of the frame are usually defined by a mask somewhere within the viewing pipeline - if you could get the camera apart to get access to the mask, I guess you could use some drafting tape or something similar to cut the mask down to the 16:9 you're looking for. Sounds like an awful lot of trouble to go through to me - it might be better just to compose very carefully and use the finder as-is.


Hmm. I've done a 1.85 on 16mm cameras ground glass with clear scotch tape !, but like you say...

ps I use clear tape so I can see easily outside the frame line, an advantage.

-Sam
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#11 Ian Marks

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 02:14 PM

Again, we're not talking about 16mm cameras with groundglass focussing - almost all Super 8 cameras have aerial image viewfinders - there is no "screen" per se to etch. It's like looking through binoculars - nothing but lenses between your eyeballs and whatever you're focussing on.

Moreover - you asked about cutting down the viewfinder to correspond to a widescreen crop of the standard format - not about filed out gates and funky Super-Duper-Pooper-8 formats. If you do file out your gate (a dubious proposition for Super 8), you should ideally re-center your lens, and then you want to WIDEN your viewfinder's image to correspond to the image, not cut it down. Your images are probably going to have dark corners at shorter focal lengths. Just my .02.
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#12 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 02:22 PM

If you do file out your gate (a dubious proposition for Super 8)


Why is it a dubious proposition? You expose more of the film emulsion, with careful lens settings you can avoid vignetting, and it's not hard to get used to framing the extra area weven without seeing it in the viewfinder. Not perfect, and of course you are better off to re-centre the optics and viewfinder, but dubious?

For the results we've achieved check our stills from our feature Sleep Always at www.friendlyfirefilms.ca . (stills link at bottom of home page.)

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#13 Chris Burke

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 03:45 PM

Cropping is different from widening the gate. The better tradeoff without losing much of the resolution is the use of anamorphic lens - no glass to etch, no gate to file, no lens to align.




How common is an anamorphic lens for super 8? Wouln't it be an attachment to the front of the existing lens? I agree that it might be better, but are those lenses any good?


chris
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#14 Bob Last

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 04:10 PM

How common is an anamorphic lens for super 8? Wouln't it be an attachment to the front of the existing lens? I agree that it might be better, but are those lenses any good?
chris

It is common. The A-lens is attached at the front camera lens. If you go to the picture section of filmshooting.com, you will see several set-ups. The most popular A-lens for super 8 are the Kowas and Iscoramas. These are Japanese and German glass respectively. Get the 1.5x versions. These are the "Inflight" version of the Kowas. The Iscoramas (36, 42, 54mm) are all 1.5x. Here's a sample of an Isco 54 sold at eBay. Some sold for about $300.

Iscorama 54 in eBay

These currently retail for a ridiculous $2,830 at Widescreen Center:

Iscorama 54 Retail
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#15 Ian Marks

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 04:51 PM

Shooting with an off-center lens with inaccurate viewfinder framing is, in my opinion, a dubious proposition.

Simply filing out the gate on a Super-8 camera is not a magic bullet. I've visited the Sleep Always website and my hat is off to you for having made your film. The bottom line is that you got your film made and out to the public, and I think that's a real accomplishment, regardless of the film format.

I've seen some Super-Duper footage that was posted on the web - I don't remember where but it involved a man running through a park - and I seem to recall some shots with darkening along one side (because of the off-center lens) and when these shots were cut together with others that did not have that problem (presumably shot with the zoom at a longer focal length), the effect was jarring. It effectively killed my interest in Super-Duper 8.

Even though I'm no fan of Pro8mm, their Beaulieu modification seems to me to be the best - possibly the only - way to do for Super 8 what Super 16 does for regular 16mm. Even then your choice of cameras and lenses is severely limited and your telecine options even more so.

I think an anamorphic lens which is de-squeezed in post production is probably a more sensible route to obtaining a satisfactory widescreen look from Super 8. . . BUT, there is certainly room for more than one point of view in the Super 8 world.

I would also point out that there are many good old 16mm cameras languishing on shelves everywhere that can be picked up at or near Super-8 prices. I'm talking about the Bell and Howell Filmos and 240T's, the non-reflex Bolexes, Kodak K100's, and others which can sometimes be had for $100 or so. For those that insist of a reflex viewfinder, these cameras can be mated to a Pan-Cinor zoom with built in viewfinder (or Angenieux, if one is willing to spend more) to create a perfectly capable reflex camera which will produce images superior to Super-Duper 8 even when cropped down to 16:9. I've been seeing Canon 1014's and Nikon R10's going for many hundreds of dollars, but my 16mm Bolex M5 and 17-85 reflex zoom cost me less than $200 combined.

I am NOT knocking Super 8 - I dig it. Just yesterday I snapped up a Chinon Pacific 12SMR and I'm looking forward to getting it and shooting some 200t. I just think that in the quest to squeeze every bit of image quality out of Super 8 (a format that is inherently challenging), we sometimes expect too much. Going up to the next format is maybe worth considering before a person takes a file to their trusty Super 8.
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#16 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 05:41 PM

I've seen some Super-Duper footage that was posted on the web - I don't remember where but it involved a man running through a park - and I seem to recall some shots with darkening along one side (because of the off-center lens) and when these shots were cut together with others that did not have that problem (presumably shot with the zoom at a longer focal length), the effect was jarring. It effectively killed my interest in Super-Duper 8.



Super-duper 8 admittedly is subject to vignetting problems, but with careful lens settings it can be avoided. When you do get the settings right the results are significantly better than normal super 8. The footage you saw on line sounds like it could have been "Stuntman" by Justin Lovell, which has some vignetting. He too will figure out the settings to avoid it.

In other words, the problem can be avoided, so I hope your interested in super-duper 8 can be revived somewhat. It's no magic bullett - I know of no one who has claimed that - bit for a simple mod it delivers results.

Rick
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#17 Justin Lovell

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 08:55 AM

yup, that's me.

things defineatly to be learned.
I was also wanting to shoot with my c-8 wide attachment, but that's a no-no with super duper 8. as it is, the attachment vignettes on the normal super 8 frame !

other downside is you can't do super duper 8 with K40, too many processing scratches (blue ticks) on the film from processing. Also depending on the lab you process it at, you may need to do a wetgate transfer to fill in processing scratches.
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#18 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 11:14 PM

I was also wanting to shoot with my c-8 wide attachment, but that's a no-no with super duper 8. as it is, the attachment vignettes on the normal super 8 frame !


It can be done with the wide attachment - I've done it. You need a good f-stop, like 5.6 or better. There's a shot in Sleep Always where the character Frank enters his room after the first meeting with Nada, from a high angle, and he goes to the window. We had the wide attachment on my Canon for that.

Rick
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#19 Justin Lovell

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 12:10 AM

It can be done with the wide attachment - I've done it. You need a good f-stop, like 5.6 or better. There's a shot in Sleep Always where the character Frank enters his room after the first meeting with Nada, from a high angle, and he goes to the window. We had the wide attachment on my Canon for that.

Rick



interesting indeed.... I thought just the size of the glass and the centering of the lens was the issue.... i don't see how a different fstop would really change that.

You will get shallower DOF with more wide open fstops, so does that make the lens blur into the frame more?
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#20 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 12:46 AM

interesting indeed.... I thought just the size of the glass and the centering of the lens was the issue.... i don't see how a different fstop would really change that.


I believe it's because the smaller f-stop is only pulling light from the centre of the lens. A wide f-stop pulls light from the edge of the lens, which is also why wide f-stops are softer: the edges of all lenses are softer than the centre. Naturally vignetting will also be increased.

In general it is recommended that you shoot with at least f4 or higher with the C-8 Wide attachment, for this same reason: soft shots.

I don't think the DOF plays into it. Never considered it.

Rick
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