# Super 8 Feature

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### #1 Tiffany Dang

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 03:15 PM

Hello,

I am new to shooting on 8mm film and need assistant. I would like to shoot a 90 minute film on 8mm, how much film cartridges would I need for 4 to 1 ratio.

Thanks,
Tiffany
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### #2 Freya Black

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 03:49 PM

Hello,

I am new to shooting on 8mm film and need assistant. I would like to shoot a 90 minute film on 8mm, how much film cartridges would I need for 4 to 1 ratio.

Thanks,
Tiffany

Well at 18fps you get 3.20 per cart so:

90/3.20 = 28.125

So lets say it is 29 carts for every 90 minutes, so then if you multiply 29 by 4, or whatever your shooting ratio is, then you will get the number of carts for that ratio. 116 in this case I think?

love

Freya

Edited by Freya, 17 April 2006 - 03:50 PM.

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### #3 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 03:59 PM

Hello,

I am new to shooting on 8mm film and need assistant. I would like to shoot a 90 minute film on 8mm, how much film cartridges would I need for 4 to 1 ratio.

Thanks,
Tiffany

If shooting at 18 frames per second, 360 minutes divided by 3 minutes and 20 seconds equals 108 film cartridges

If shooting at 24 frames per second, 360 minutes divided by 2 minutes and 30 seconds equals 144 film cartridges.

However, it can be wise to roll off two feet at the front and the back of the cartridge to help avoid dust and dirt on your good footage. Also, the shorter cartridge run times can cause one to "roll out" in the middle of a take more often than when shooting 16mm and 35mm full loads so you probably will want to call a 3 minute and 20 second cartridge 3 minutes, and a cartridge 2 minutes and 30 seconds 2 minutes and 10 seconds.

More conservative figures to consider.....

360 minutes divided by 3 minutes and zero seconds equals 120 film cartridges (at 18 FPS)

360 minutes divided by 2 minutes and 10 seconds equals 166 film cartridges (at 24 FPS)

Shooting ratios are difficult to guage because there is also pre-roll and post roll time to consider for each and every sound take "Roll Sound", "Rolling", "Speed" "speed", "Roll camera", "rolling", "speed" "speed", then the slate person says the scene, walks out of the shot, there is a pause, then the director yells "Action". All of that can take 5-10 seconds per take, minium. If you aren't doing long takes, suddenly 20-30% of your time is sync sound related.

If you are doing long takes, then you run the risk of running out before the scene ends.

On the saving film side, some scenes will have angles that don't need full scene coverage, but to be safe it's probably best to do the whole scene...tough call either way.

Additional sound issues come into play. A good take might be marred by some off camera sound being heard and the take has to be done over.

It's quite possible that your plan for a 4-1 ratio will actually turn out to be significantly more, how much more completely depends on the script and the director.
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### #4 Matt Pacini

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 05:56 PM

A 4 to 1 ratio is insanely low.

You have to be extremely experienced to be able to pull something like this off, yet it's always the inexperienced that think they're going to be able to do it.

I would shoot for AT THE VERY LEAST a 6 to 1 ratio. That's even tough to do.
You have to be prepared down to the very last detail, have everything storyboarded and know exactly how much screen time each shot is going to take,etc.
Then, everything has to go right, and it never does, even with an experienced crew and flawless equipment.
I'm not trying to discourage you, but it's just damn difficult to do this, and the lower your shooting ratio, the more your film will suffer.

"Been there, done that, regretted it profusely."

MP
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Posted 18 April 2006 - 08:35 AM

Tiffany,

Kodak has a usefull footage calculator to help with your footage needs,

http://www.kodak.com...Calculator.html

4 to 1 ratio will be tough but its certainly not impossible. Wheather you can get away with it depends on your director/camera person/crew attitude of being willing to accept it and rise to the challenge.

If you/they do, you will have to tailor your shoot and production methods around the conservatioin of the film. For example because Super 8 comes in cartrideges of 2 minitues 30 (at 24 fps) and not in longer rolls you will have to carefully but quickly use the end or roles on usefull but not vital cutaways, closeups, inserts ect. before you go into shooting a longer dialougue take on a new cartidge. Another method of saving film would be to shoot all non dilaougue shots/takes non-sync to save the stock that would be burnt on the clapper, Robert Rodreguez shot the entirety of El Marichi non-sync which allowed him to complete an 80min film on 25 400'rolls of 16mm thats nearly a ratio of 3 to 1.

At my old filmschool we shot our graduation films on 5 rolls of 400 16mm. The one I worked on had a script and finale running time of 15 minutes, another which i focus pulled/camera assisted for had 17minutes, they achieved that through jigsaw cutting and shooting non dialougue scenes non-sync.

Check out these articles
http://www.nextwavef...making/abc.html
http://www.nextwavef...g/learning.html

So it is possible, and you will learn a lot from it, but its like living on the minimum-wage its, its possible but it will mean compromise and it will be stressful.
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### #6 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 11:20 AM

The last few feet of your cartridges are the toughest to figure out what to with. It's an excellent idea to shoot close-ups or inserts rather than roll out in the middle of a dialogue take, however, that could result in additional transfer time in post because the colorist may have to stop and re-set all of their settings for a shot that may only be a few seconds long. It's still probably worth doing however and is a good idea.

Another way to save a bunch of money and probably ensure you keep to your schedule is to shoot your feature film like a music video. Pre-record the dialogue and then playback the audio on location and have the actors lip synch to it. Although this idea would horrify most good actors who need to create the moment as it's happening, it's a wonderful method for nullifying extraneous sounds that inevitably ruin many takes. This method actually can help the DP design the lighting and set the framing based on the emotion that has already been captured when pre-recording the audio. This can also free one up to use different actors for the audio takes versus the actual filming.
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### #7 santo

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 01:58 PM

Hello,

I am new to shooting on 8mm film and need assistant. I would like to shoot a 90 minute film on 8mm, how much film cartridges would I need for 4 to 1 ratio.

Thanks,
Tiffany

Order 150 carts direct from Kodak. That will give you a little breathing room, shooting at 24 / 25 fps. If you really do get 4 to 1 and have extras left over, sell them on ebay. But count on ordering a little more later on instead to finish up your film.

Pre-record the dialogue and then playback the audio on location and have the actors lip synch to it. Although this idea would horrify most good actors who need to create the moment as it's happening, it's a wonderful method for nullifying extraneous sounds that inevitably ruin many takes.

This will last for about 2 seconds on a film set and if it goes beyond that, your actors delivery will be mechanical and really sub-par. It only works for music videos, because they're synching to musical lyrics with delivery and stucture rigidly in place. Also, music videos likely have about a 20 to 1 shooting ratio or more. At least that's what I've seen.

Avoid this advice at all costs and instead do the opposite like a long list of great filmmakers in history did. Shoot all your dialogue recognizing that virtually all of it will be dubbed later. You will save megatons of film that otherwise would be burned reshooting takes needlessly, and most actors do very well post-dubbing. It is actually actor-friendly in many ways. With NLE and the amazing sound tools available, it can become virtually invisible.
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### #8 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 03:18 PM

Actually, the pre-recorded method works really well if the actors listen to the scene a few times before the scene is actually shot. It can save a ton of film because any unwanted location sound interruptions (planes, traffic, lawn mowers etc.) become irrelevant as the audio track has already been recorded. Even if the actors were off a beat, it can easily be pulled up later.

This method defeats two problematical situations that are more associated with Super-8 than 16mm, too short of film run time per cartridge, and generally nosier super-8 cameras. Both issues become irrelevant if the sound is pre-recorded ahead of time.

I've tried the technique myself and it made filming a lot of fun beause we didn't have to worry about background sounds and we also knew how long the scene was before we did the take and could figure out if we had enough film for a full take.

As I stated before, the down side has nothing to do with any technical issues, experienced actors would hate this method, newbie or even non-actors who can memorize adapt to the method much easier.
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### #9 Scot McPhie

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 05:04 PM

I've written a film calculator called Filmulator - it's better than Kodak's becasue you can calculate development and telecine costs, and how much hard drive space you'd need.

http://www.mango-a-g...m/show/show.htm

- I managed to get around 4:1 for my feature In My Image although admittedly our camera set ups/shot selections weren't overly ambitious!

Scot
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### #10 Kirk Anderson

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 09:17 PM

Hire a college student to be your assistant DP. Use his/Her college ID for 30% off the cost of the flim direct from kodak. Kinda Sleezy but you're giving a College student work on a feature flim and you're getting a break on film costs. I see it as a helping hand to both of you.
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Posted 20 April 2006 - 10:36 AM

Hire a college student to be your assistant DP. Use his/Her college ID for 30% off the cost of the flim direct from kodak. Kinda Sleezy but you're giving a College student work on a feature flim and you're getting a break on film costs. I see it as a helping hand to both of you.

I may be wrong but I think Kodak only give a 10% student discount on super 8, compared with 40% on 16mm - its a big drawback to shooting super 8.
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### #12 Tiffany Dang

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 01:39 PM

Thank you all.

Tiffany
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### #13 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 02:11 PM

As of a while ago Kodak gave 20% off if one purchased at least 5 cartridges of the same film stock in Super-8.

There have been film student incentives that give another 20% off if one is actually enrolled in an accredited film school but I don't know if that still applies. Additionally, one can get another 2% off depending on how one pays.

But those days are probably now in the past and frankly, it probably really didn't help Kodak's bottom line that a few years ago Kodachrome film listed at \$14. 50 a cartridge but could be purchased for \$8.50 cents per cartridge if one used all the available discounts.
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### #14 santo

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 05:12 PM

As of a while ago Kodak gave 20% off if one purchased at least 5 cartridges of the same film stock in Supr-8.

this must have been a few years ago. I buy my super 8 by the case and have never gotten any discount -- only very friendly and professional service direct form Kodak Canada's main office off of Eglinton West where I pick up my film.

I will be keeping this student discount in mind when I shoot a new feature planned for this fall. This is a brilliant money-saving opportunity. If it is still true, my hired flunky will be a film student who qualifies. I'll begin by quizing my friends teaching at the top schools in TO for candidates this fall! This could save me thousands of dollars if I can get student discounts for both film, development, and post! Incredible. Keeping an eye on this board has maybe paid off again!
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### #15 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 02:50 AM

this must have been a few years ago. I buy my super 8 by the case and have never gotten any discount -- only very friendly and professional service direct form Kodak Canada's main office off of Eglinton West where I pick up my film.

I will be keeping this student discount in mind when I shoot a new feature planned for this fall. This is a brilliant money-saving opportunity. If it is still true, my hired flunky will be a film student who qualifies. I'll begin by quizing my friends teaching at the top schools in TO for candidates this fall! This could save me thousands of dollars if I can get student discounts for both film, development, and post! Incredible. Keeping an eye on this board has maybe paid off again!

One of the problems for Kodak is they sell direct, yet their own Super-8 resellers don't really get a discount (as far as I know, or if they do, it's so small that they really can't compete with buying direct from Kodak. This is a conundrum because it is the dealer that can help the beginning filmmaker with answers to questions about filmmaking yet Kodak isn't giving the dealer enough of a profit margin to justify the dealer being able to offer great customer service.

Internet forums then get down on film resellers if they sell the film for more than what Kodak sells it for yet the dealer is the potential lifeblood for newbies to learn the basics about film cameras and the filmmaking process.
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### #16 Chris Burke

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 06:21 AM

For a feature film, do not shoot 4:1. Unless your story has lots of voice over with B roll footage covering it, then I suppose it could work or it is a non conventional narrative where you can get away with a deadly low number like 4:1. But, if your film is a typical narrative with actors on location or on a set saying their lines, then you must shoot at least 6:1. Think about it, two takes of a wide master, two takes of a MCU of one actor and two of the other actor equals 6. this in itself is piss poor coverage, but with cracker jack acting, beautiful framing and lighting, no sound screw ups or anything else goign wrong, you can get away with 6:1. For your own sanity, plan on buying 200 + carts. Like Santo says, you can sell off what you don't use.
Shop around for a deal through a lab. Lots of labs now offer stock, processing and telecine for a discount price. Do the work, take the time to find the best deal you can. Seeking a student discount is probably the best way to go. On average plan on spending \$30 plus for one roll, that includes stock and processing. If you are buying 200 or more, I am sure a lab will cut you a deal, especially if you do it all (stock, processing, tk) with them. I got a deal via Cinelab on Super 16 that was too good to refuse, \$180 per 400' (stock, processing, tk). they will even do better than that with volume and are starting to sell Super 8 as well.

Get the best telecine you can afford. Straight to hard drive as uncompressed seems to be it these days.

Do not use the method of actors lip syncing their own performance on set, this is insane. You simply will not get the results that are acceptable. It will be a sync nightmare. Most all beginning or green film makers make the mistake of neglecting sound, bad audio will kill you movie. Really good audio with less than par picture can and often does work quite well.

If all this seem like too much for you, then perhaps you are not ready yet. I suggest that you shoot a small scene or a trailer for your movie. Shop that around and get interest and funds to do it right. Not doing as I have advised is simply not worth the money and effort you will have to put out.

I hope I have not discouraged you. I only want to help you avoid the ulcer that you would get from your suggested plan. I am envious. I really want to do a super 8 film and probably will this year, although it will be a short. I wish you the best.

Chris
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### #17 Freya Black

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 08:04 AM

I may be wrong but I think Kodak only give a 10% student discount on super 8, compared with 40% on 16mm - its a big drawback to shooting super 8.

AFAIK this is because you are in England. I've only ever been told of a 10% discount for M.P. film here in England. Certainly the one time I did get some prices out of Kodak (years and years ago now) the U.S. students got at least twice as much discount. However it's been years since I've been able to get any kind of prices out of Kodak U.K. or any information much at all (I think I just got lucky once!) so this could have changed.

I'm not sure if this is the way it is on the mainland.

There can't be much of a margin on Super 8 film however anyway, so it could well be that the discount is lower for S8 film as well as the discounts being different in England. *shrug*

love

Freya
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### #18 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 11:35 AM

Seeking a student discount is probably the best way to go. On average plan on spending \$30 plus for one roll, that includes stock and processing. If you are buying 200 or more, I am sure a lab will cut you a deal, especially if you do it all (stock, processing, tk) with them.

Your putting out a conflicting statement here. Only Kodak can offer a student discount on the film stock, film labs cannot. So while the film lab can discount their own services, it gets to be a bit much to ask them to also discount the film stock as well. Maybe they can kind of roll it in to the overall job, but it's important to realize that the lab has very little margin on Kodak film as it currently stands.

Get the best telecine you can afford. Straight to hard drive as uncompressed seems to be it these days.

Not necessarily true. The term uncompressed is basically BS. What's the difference between 8 bit uncompressed, 10 bit uncompressed, and 12 bit uncompressed, answer, compression. I would not do any straight to drive transfers for a full feature until I first was able to copy the files back to a video format to make sure that there were no screwy issues to discover.

Do not use the method of actors lip syncing their own performance on set, this is insane. You simply will not get the results that are acceptable.

It's annoying to hear others negatively talk like an authority figure on a concept that I successfully used on a short film that resulted in a shooting ratio of no greater than 4-1. If your argument is that certain types of movies such as a dramatic piece won't work with this method that could be possible, but comedy certainly would work. Comedy derivatives such as spoofs or slapstick would also work very well.

I very clearly pointed out that the idea favors first time filmmakers working with newbie actors. An established actor would never go for the idea and rightly so. I have edited picture and sound for the last ten years and I can't begin to tell explain how worthless mismatched dialogue ambience kills a scene, no matter how well it is shot.

Surely one can imagine how much freeer the camera can be to roam where it wants if the soundtrack has already been created.

It will be a sync nightmare. Most all beginning or green film makers make the mistake of neglecting sound, bad audio will kill you movie. Really good audio with less than par picture can and often does work quite well.

Which is why getting a good audio track of a low budget movie before shooting the movie does many positive things. It proves one has an interesting movie if the soundtrack alone can sustain interest. If a filmmaker cannot even create a decent soundtrack before the movie is shot how are they going to create one during and afterwards when they have a film camera to contend with?

If all this seem like too much for you, then perhaps you are not ready yet. I suggest that you shoot a small scene or a trailer for your movie. Shop that around and get interest and funds to do it right. Not doing as I have advised is simply not worth the money and effort you will have to put out.

That is always the best way for someone with less experience, shoot a short version first that allows the filmmaker to go through all the same steps they will take on the longer project they have planned.
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### #19 santo

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 01:07 PM

Okay, maybe Alex is being funny again. He has an unusual sense of humour. But still, you have to wonder...

The term uncompressed is basically BS. What's the difference between 8 bit uncompressed, 10 bit uncompressed, and 12 bit uncompressed, answer, compression. I would not do any straight to drive transfers for a full feature until I first was able to copy the files back to a video format to make sure that there were no screwy issues to discover.

There is no extra digital compression between an 8 bit, 10 bit, or (if anybody offers it) 12 bit uncompressed file, Alex. There is only different amounts of information and image rendering sensitivity. 8 bit has less information than 10 bit. 1/4 the sensitivity. For each pixel 256 possible shades of grey on a black and white scale, for example, instead of 1024 with 10-bit. Compression has nothing to do with it.

What possible "screwy issues" are going to appear on a MOV file or an AVI file that wouldn't appear on a video tape, Alex? When you get your harddrive back from the transfer house you simply watch all the footage and if there's any problem you have them fix it or redo it. Just like you would if you had it transfered to tape.

re: Your soundtrack idea. If a stiff-looking comic spoof with unrealistic looking performances is what you're looking for, yeah, it will probably work just fine.
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### #20 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 01:54 PM

Okay, maybe Alex is being funny again. He has an unusual sense of humour. But still, you have to wonder...
There is no extra digital compression between an 8 bit, 10 bit, or (if anybody offers it) 12 bit uncompressed file, Alex. There is only different amounts of information and image rendering sensitivity. 8 bit has less information than 10 bit. 1/4 the sensitivity. For each pixel 256 possible shades of grey on a black and white scale, for example, instead of 1024 with 10-bit. Compression has nothing to do with it.

What possible "screwy issues" are going to appear on a MOV file or an AVI file that wouldn't appear on a video tape, Alex? When you get your harddrive back from the transfer house you simply watch all the footage and if there's any problem you have them fix it or redo it. Just like you would if you had it transfered to tape.

Analog is called "noisy", but bits are just perfect no matter how many, or how few, there are?

Obviously there IS a difference quality between the amount of bits, as you yourself just explained. The less bits the less information, the less quality. Clearly wider shots would suffer as there would be less image area to convey information yet the bit rate, because it cannot go beyond it's own threshold, just sort of mutes what it can't see. Big whoop. When 8 bit was king, people were raving about that, now it's 10 bit, according to marketing, I guess each bit version is more perfect than the one before.

One "distinction" that many NLE systems "enjoyed" for a number of years was their inability to be transferred back to video without there being this annoying "ringing" or "pulsing" effect when one merely put the video in pause mode on a \$15,000 professional betacam sp deck. One could see this horrible ringing or pulsing that was fortunately minimized when one played the tape back at normal speed. To this day I can tell who did their end credits on a Media 100 because of the obscene level of color fringing that can be observed.

Computer screens mask existing problems, a good thing if only computer screens existed, a bad thing because computer screens aren't the only game in town and what really matters is how the image looks once it's back on an actual video format, and that is why one should verify that their 10 bit transfers can be edited on the NLE platform of choice and then transferred back to digital video formats such as Digital Betacam or analog formats such as Betacam Sp with no unexpected surprises.

re: Your soundtrack idea. If a stiff-looking comic spoof with unrealistic looking performances is what you're looking for, yeah, it will probably work just fine.

Lets just say you would not be capable of making it work well and leave it at that.
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