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Super-8 Camera Checklist


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#1 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 12:55 AM

I have several Super-8 cameras that I purchased on Ebay but never tested. I would like to construct a testing sequence that gives me the most bang for the buck. The idea being that one cartridge of film allows me to test, lets say five cameras.

Any suggestions on how I would go about this test?

The number one issue for me is, should I construct a test that compares cameras to each other, or should I test cameras via test charts.

One flaw with test charts is that they are two dimensions only and I think part of the testing process should involve 3 dimensions.
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#2 Robert Hughes

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 05:19 PM

I have several Super-8 cameras that I purchased on Ebay but never tested. ... Any suggestions on how I would go about this test?

Well you could get all pseudo-scientific and create depth of field setups under differing lighting intensities, etcetera.

Or you could jam a cartridge into each camera and shoot your girlfriend at the beach, in the shade, by candlelight, etc...

Which set of test films would you rather look at?
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#3 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 08:54 PM

Well you could get all pseudo-scientific and create depth of field setups under differing lighting intensities, etcetera.

Or you could jam a cartridge into each camera and shoot your girlfriend at the beach, in the shade, by candlelight, etc...

Which set of test films would you rather look at?


The premise I laid out was I want to economize and use one cartridge of film to test five cameras. If I had the luxury of $260 plus dollars to test five cameras with five cartridges of film, processing and rank cintel transfer, I would know how to do it.

Do I shoot 10 feet in the first camera and then move on to the next camera, or do I alternate all the cameras with the same exact set-up? Once that is decided, do I do indoor tests or outdoor tests, once that is decided, do I do tests in the wide angle mode or the telephoto, if both, which should I favor more?
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#4 Stuart McCammon

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 09:38 PM

Alex,

It would be most helpful to first determine a use for this information. Are you planning to write a shooting guide for each camera? Or do you want to simply determine what functionality each camera has for your personal projects? Or is this targeted toward some other use of the information?

Next, make a list of each camera with features, lenses, etc. and find points of commonality and unique features of each. You may find that you wish to explore the strengths of each camera rather than compare them.

If your intent os to compare, I would shoot 50D film at a high F stop to remove variables caused by graininess of stock and get the most information from each frame. I would use one shot with lots of contrast and shadows (like a forest and lake in the bottom half of the frame with a clear sky above, maybe use an ND filter if it is cloudy), an outdoor long lens shot with objects throughout the depth of field, an indoor shot wide open in a busy environment so you can also compare focus and color across a short depth of field, one with bright colors and one that is shades of one color.

It would be more interesting if you had a goal, like shooting for one of those one cartridge festivals using the strongest features of five different cameras. Do they even let you do that? lol)

Stu
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#5 Maulubekotofa

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 10:19 PM

1100 posts in s8 and you cannt buy more thn 1 roll of film what up iwth that?
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#6 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 10:43 PM

1100 posts in s8 and you cannt buy more thn 1 roll of film what up iwth that?


Not too impressed by your answer, especially since it shows you couldn't follow my previous two paragraph response which included....

The premise I laid out was I want to economize and use one cartridge of film to test five cameras. If I had the luxury of $260 plus dollars to test five cameras with five cartridges of film, processing and rank cintel transfer, I would know how to do it.


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#7 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 10:57 PM

Alex,

It would be most helpful to first determine a use for this information. Are you planning to write a shooting guide for each camera? Or do you want to simply determine what functionality each camera has for your personal projects? Or is this targeted toward some other use of the information?

Stu


Basically, I want to verify that each Super-8 camera works properly, this then allows me to actually make it available for shoots that matter or in which a rental may be involved. While I understand that I could pay more to have a camera serviced than what I purchased it for, I'm trying to hold the line by not having to spend more to do a test with a Super-8 camera than what I purchased it for.

Maybe I should reverse engineer this question. I think it's important to know a camera is solid/sharp, in wide zoom mode with the f-stop wide open. I think it's important that the camera have good registration at different filming speeds and I think it's important that the automatic exposure setting is decently calibrated.

Should I add anything else to the list, I'm only going to shoot 10 feet per camera for my tests.
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#8 Stuart McCammon

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 04:06 PM

Basically, I want to verify that each Super-8 camera works properly, this then allows me to actually make it available for shoots that matter or in which a rental may be involved. While I understand that I could pay more to have a camera serviced than what I purchased it for, I'm trying to hold the line by not having to spend more to do a test with a Super-8 camera than what I purchased it for.

Maybe I should reverse engineer this question. I think it's important to know a camera is solid/sharp, in wide zoom mode with the f-stop wide open. I think it's important that the camera have good registration at different filming speeds and I think it's important that the automatic exposure setting is decently calibrated.

Should I add anything else to the list, I'm only going to shoot 10 feet per camera for my tests.


OK, so shoot a wide shot outdoors close to a fence, with 50D film and lots of light, and put a bunch of things on the fence with varying levels of relief, color and detail, and include one thing that spins and has lines on it that will allow you to measure any registration problems. Get a light meter reading, then grab one shot from each camera ramping from speed to speed, process and check for exposure, sharpness and registration problems - voila!

Edited by Stuart McCammon, 07 June 2006 - 04:09 PM.

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#9 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 04:22 PM

OK, so shoot a wide shot outdoors close to a fence, with 50D film and lots of light, and put a bunch of things on the fence with varying levels of relief, color and detail, and include one thing that spins and has lines on it that will allow you to measure any registration problems. Get a light meter reading, then grab one shot from each camera ramping from speed to speed, process and check for exposure, sharpness and registration problems - voila!


Sounds pretty good. I won't actually be comparing the cameras because by the time I have swapped the film into the five cameras, the lighting conditions will have inevitably changed, however I will be verifying how each camera works.

Maybe testing five cameras per cartridge is too aggressive. Perhaps three cameras is more realistic.
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#10 Seth Mondragon

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 04:28 PM

Alessandro Machi wrote:

Maybe testing five cameras per cartridge is too aggressive. Perhaps three cameras is more realistic

or here's a crazy idea....maybe 3 carts to test the 5 cameras. If you're worried about $$, I don't think you need to spend all that much for all this high-end telecine. Seriously, if you just want to make sure the cams work, just get a mom n' pop transfer house.....or send it to me and I'll take it to my guy (you've seen his work if you've seen any of the clips I've posted) and it'll cost like $20 for a transfer.
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#11 Maulubekotofa

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 11:36 PM

use 2 carts and shoot bandw and then send the film to a chepa prosessor and project the final video to see what it looks like then your can rent you camersa ouit with noi problems.
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#12 Stuart McCammon

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 01:31 PM

If you want to use the footage to show to someone, I would do an actual registration test with a chart. You should be able to do all five in one cart)
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#13 chris evans

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 06:30 PM

You definitely need more than one cartridge. You're looking at roughly either 3 x 10 second tests per camera or like 5 x 6 second tests per camera for just one cartridge.
Agreeing with Stuart on this, do a camera chart and registration on one cartridge and then take a second cartridge out for a practical 'real world' test.
I know you're trying to get away inexpensively, but two cartridges can't be that much of a hurt on the wallet.

C.
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#14 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 01:22 AM

You definitely need more than one cartridge. You're looking at roughly either 3 x 10 second tests per camera or like 5 x 6 second tests per camera for just one cartridge.
Agreeing with Stuart on this, do a camera chart and registration on one cartridge and then take a second cartridge out for a practical 'real world' test.
I know you're trying to get away inexpensively, but two cartridges can't be that much of a hurt on the wallet.

C.


I have more than five cameras. By the time I actually do tests for all my super-8 cameras, it will add up.

I like the idea of having a dedicated film cartridge for registration only filming that I could then swap out among several cameras. To make that idea flow even easier, I think taking still shots of each camera I plan on testing, with the serial number written in sharpie somewhere within the image, would then be the ideal visual slate for each camera just prior to testing that camera's registration.

So does anyone have an opinion about 3d registration tests versus standard 2d registration tests? I think the 2D charts don't tell the full story. What if I designed a test that used one 1/3 of the filming area for registration, but left the other 2/3's of the frame open for me to put different colored 3D shapes at different distances? The frame then would be shot with the cameras in wide mode. How many objects could I realistically use to fill the other 2/3's of the frame?
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#15 Maulubekotofa

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 09:24 AM

you only need to do the 2d charts since your proejctor or tv is only 2d to unless you have a hollargram matrics proejctino system in mind
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#16 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 10:51 AM

you only need to do the 2d charts since your proejctor or tv is only 2d to unless you have a hollargram matrics proejctino system in mind


Or we pretend that depth of field and depth perspective do not exist when we film or review footage. :blink:
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#17 Maulubekotofa

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 09:56 AM

Or we pretend that depth of field and depth perspective do not exist when we film or review footage. :blink:


so are suggesting depth oif field changes infixed focus fixed aperature setting interesting just shoot a chart and then worry about whterher the tungstan fiulter changes the focus when camer a is on a triupod
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#18 Robert Hughes

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Posted 17 June 2006 - 06:54 PM

Oh, that's a lot of typing errors, Maulubekotofa.


But Stuart's post seems like the best concept, so far.
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#19 Maulubekotofa

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 11:26 PM

Oh, that's a lot of typing errors, Maulubekotofa.
But Stuart's post seems like the best concept, so far.

that s just the way i type i think it gets the messatge over you think?
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#20 Andrew Means

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 11:12 AM

that s just the way i type i think it gets the messatge over you think?


ergh, I don't know man. Message yes, but it honestly makes you sound illiterate. And not in the oh-how-quaint way like ol dubya pulls off...
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