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Recent Super 8 Experiences


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#1 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 06:52 PM

Hi, had two recent overlapping experiences with shooting on super 8, learned some interesting things, particularly to do with prices in the UK.

:unsure: First Experience. - 'Texting' 2 minute short.

Simple idea showing a guy texting and waiting for the reply of a girl he recently met at a bus stop, while his voice-over tells us how wonderful she was.

The idea was to shoot the film on a single cartidge, and to try mixed lighting - tungsten in front of unjelled windows etc. Rated the film at 160, and did use an 85b for outdoor shots.

Bought the film direct from Kodak, sent the film to Andec in Germany, it took less than two weeks for it to return and then had it transferred onto miniDV at The Widescreen Centre for £25. My instructions included where to correct the exposure but not to correct the colour temperature. Widescreen Centre completed the job in under 5 days.

Once I watched it I was shocked by several things. Firstly the lab had lost the the first 25 seconds or so of the girl at the bus stop, so that would mean reshooting it.

Secondly the Widescreen Centre did not correct the expousure at all, and had it all over exposed. They refer to it as a proffesional service but I get the impression their equipment doesn't allow for them to do this.

I tried bringing the expousure down in Final Cut but it emphasised a considerable amount of grain. I also noticed flashing (from airport X-rays?).


So for the reshoot (I had recently used Todd AO for my sisters wedding) so didn't take any chances I had Todd AO process and transfer the second cartridge and re-transfer the first cartridge.

They charged - £20 plus vat for processing, £20 plus vat for telecine of the roll they processed, and £25 plus vat for telecine of the roll they didn't process.

Despite giving identicle insturctions, they results were very different. The exposure levels were excellent, and the colourist ignored my instructions and made everything quite warm, which actually worked really well. The quality was considerably better, with less grain, but the excess handling on the original roll had taken its toll and a scratch run down much of it.

It left me to feel that for low quantitiy projects Todd AO are definatly the best for super 8 negative, and they will only work out slighty more expensive than the alternative, and they may even work out slightly less than the alternatives if you consider the lack for excess travel and postage.

Planned to include some still samples but having difficult with the attachment - will try latter.
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#2 grantsmith

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 06:59 PM

interesting.

Yes, I'm not so convinced about the widescreen centre either. I've e-mailed them 3 times with simple questions (enquiring about services that they offer) and have never received a reply yet!
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#3 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 07:26 PM

The Second Experience

I decided to shoot my sister's wedding on a Mixture of Super 8 and Super 16 with the two being intercut in an edit, as it would cost the same as to hire a proffesional videograhper. I budgeted for 1000' of 16mm (about 26 min) and 5 cartridges of Super 8 (12 min 30). Two friends operated each camera (as I was giving the bride away), the Super 16 was shot on an Arri SR2 and super 8 on a Beaulieu 4008, with mono-pod for stability and using a Cokin filter attachment with (with 85b etc)

I was planning to have the Super 8 developed and telecined for as less as possilbe, but I had just viewed the first cartridge in the previous project, so not wanting to take any risks I just used Todd AO.

The cost total came to this:

£200 plus vat for process and telecine of the (12.5min) of super 8.
£240 plus vat for process and telecine of the (26 min) of super 16

so the super 8 cost considerably more per minute than the 16mm, even including the stock costs, which feels a little ridiculous.

The end results were interesting, the super 16 was amazing in quality though lacked intamacy and didn't really pick up the characters of the day, while the super 8 did and perhaps was a more touching account of it. Quality wise the super 8 was very dissapointing, and looked considerably inferior than previous telecined Kodachrome that I have. The grain was tilting from the normal 'clearly present' to being 'to obvious and possilby ugly.'

In retrosect I would recomend shooting a wedding in super8 rather than 16, simply because the camera was more invisible and captured the event more humanly, not to mention more practicle, however the high price is a major draw back.

I'll try and post some still example to show the quality differences, as soon as it will let me.

Edited by Andy_Alderslade, 19 June 2006 - 07:26 PM.

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#4 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 08:46 PM

The Second Experience

I decided to shoot my sister's wedding on a Mixture of Super 8 and Super 16 with the two being intercut in an edit, as it would cost the same as to hire a proffesional videograhper. I budgeted for 1000' of 16mm (about 26 min) and 5 cartridges of Super 8 (12 min 30). Two friends operated each camera (as I was giving the bride away), the Super 16 was shot on an Arri SR2 and super 8 on a Beaulieu 4008, with mono-pod for stability and using a Cokin filter attachment with (with 85b etc)

I was planning to have the Super 8 developed and telecined for as less as possilbe, but I had just viewed the first cartridge in the previous project, so not wanting to take any risks I just used Todd AO.

The cost total came to this:

£200 plus vat for process and telecine of the (12.5min) of super 8.
£240 plus vat for process and telecine of the (26 min) of super 16

so the super 8 cost considerably more per minute than the 16mm, even including the stock costs, which feels a little ridiculous.

The end results were interesting, the super 16 was amazing in quality though lacked intamacy and didn't really pick up the characters of the day, while the super 8 did and perhaps was a more touching account of it. Quality wise the super 8 was very dissapointing, and looked considerably inferior than previous telecined Kodachrome that I have. The grain was tilting from the normal 'clearly present' to being 'to obvious and possilby ugly.'

In retrosect I would recomend shooting a wedding in super8 rather than 16, simply because the camera was more invisible and captured the event more humanly, not to mention more practicle, however the high price is a major draw back.

I'll try and post some still example to show the quality differences, as soon as it will let me.



Thanks for sharing your experiences. Perhaps the price disparity had more to do with the quantity of film you shot. Perhaps they had a one hour minimum and whether you shot 12.5 minutes or 20 minutes, process and transfer to video might have been the same price???

Did you notice different grain structure among the super-8 that was shot depending on the camera used and the contrast/lighting & framing?
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#5 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 04:19 AM

Thanks for sharing your experiences. Perhaps the price disparity had more to do with the quantity of film you shot. Perhaps they had a one hour minimum and whether you shot 12.5 minutes or 20 minutes, process and transfer to video might have been the same price???


From my understanding the price stays contsant, until you start shooting many hours of footage, where perhaps then a deal will be arranged. So untill then the price pretty much stays at a minimum of 24p a foot plus vat for 16, and £40 a cartridge for super 8. I think the extra labour for taking the film out the cartridge for super 8 has something to do with higher price.


Did you notice different grain structure among the super-8 that was shot depending on the camera used and the contrast/lighting & framing?


I wish i could post some stills so you could see for your self. The footage for the short when telecined by Todd-AO was most definatly the best. Both projects where shot with a beaulieu and the schnieder lens, but the quality of the wedding shoot was most defniatly of an inferior quality, actually very disappointingly so. The weather may have been a part in this, as the operator was having to intelligently use the internal light meter (not the incident meter used for the short), but the weather was intense cloudless sunshine, so the meter may have been tricked by intensly bright backgrounds. The operator was compensating for this, and despite also rating the film at 160 again, its very possilbe it was still underexposing faces.

I would really like to post the stills, but it won't let me upload anything higher than 5 kb, if anyone can tell me a way around this that would be a great help.
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#6 Rachel Oliver

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 06:27 AM

Hi;

Thanks for sharing this, very interesting. I use the Widescreen-centre's flash scan 8 sytsem quite often but I would never dare ask them to transfer neg and actually have to grade it, they are just a bunch of nice fellas with a decent little machine, not colorists by any stretch. I've found however that using them for reversal transfer where I've worked hard on building 99% of my look into the stock has yielded very decent results, despite what some may say neg is strictly for pro colorists with Ranks and Ursas to play with, hence the cost which really makes neg super 8 in the UK a tough decision when as you say shooting S16 is around the same if not cheaper in the end! On a positive though since re-discovering S8 reversal these last few years and how to make it look it's best I've made so much more personal works on film instead of DV.

Olly
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#7 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 07:06 AM

Hi;

Thanks for sharing this, very interesting. I use the Widescreen-centre's flash scan 8 sytsem quite often but I would never dare ask them to transfer neg and actually have to grade it, they are just a bunch of nice fellas with a decent little machine, not colorists by any stretch. I've found however that using them for reversal transfer where I've worked hard on building 99% of my look into the stock has yielded very decent results, despite what some may say neg is strictly for pro colorists with Ranks and Ursas to play with, hence the cost which really makes neg super 8 in the UK a tough decision when as you say shooting S16 is around the same if not cheaper in the end! On a positive though since re-discovering S8 reversal these last few years and how to make it look it's best I've made so much more personal works on film instead of DV.

Olly


I agree completly, they are probably fine for Reversal, and after my recent experiences, I think I will stick to shooting reversal in super 8 now. I think though negative is in theory better suited for transfers, the high contrast look of reversal works better with super 8, especially when keeping the grain under control.

The only issue of course is there are no UK labs that process super 8 reversals.
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#8 Maulubekotofa

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 08:50 AM

I agree completly, they are probably fine for Reversal, and after my recent experiences, I think I will stick to shooting reversal in super 8 now. I think though negative is in theory better suited for transfers, the high contrast look of reversal works better with super 8, especially when keeping the grain under control.

The only issue of course is there are no UK labs that process super 8 reversals.


I was curious if you considered shooting tri-x or plus-x for the wedding in super 8. I realize that you mention there "are no UK labs that process super 8 reversals" but for a wedding, the B&W reversals would have been one of my first choices under consideration. Also, could you have shot 16 using reversal stocks? Sorry to hear about your poor experiences with 200T. Sounds like a lot of money was spent with "so-so" results. Looking forward to seeing a few stills of your project. You can sometimes use "PrtScn" on your keyboard to capture images from your Premiere video preview. Hosting the images is the trick though.
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#9 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 09:35 AM

Finally here are some Examples on myspace, they are relatively small, but they give the idea.

http://viewmorepics....99-9aceeaa00364



I was curious if you considered shooting tri-x or plus-x for the wedding in super 8. I realize that you mention there "are no UK labs that process super 8 reversals" but for a wedding, the B&W reversals would have been one of my first choices under consideration. Also, could you have shot 16 using reversal stocks? Sorry to hear about your poor experiences with 200T. Sounds like a lot of money was spent with "so-so" results. Looking forward to seeing a few stills of your project. You can sometimes use "PrtScn" on your keyboard to capture images from your Premiere video preview. Hosting the images is the trick though.


I did consider shooting reversals, but I decided to play it safe with negative - infact more than likely we will turn the super 8 black and white for the finale edit of the wedding. Plus after seeing several 'what resembled 'x-ray' flashes in the 'texting' footage, i really didn't want to risk using non UK labs again - ha, remember this was my 'only' sister's wedding. I'm quite happy with most of the footage but overal, as already said overall there have been disappointments.
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#10 Andrew Means

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 10:59 AM

Wow, that's a huge difference between Todd AO and Widescreen telecine. Let me get this straight real quick - In the duplicate shots from 'texting', are the differences solely from the Telecine process, or is any of that how they developed the film?
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#11 andres victorero

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 03:34 PM

yes, a lot of difference ... what happened in widescreen centre? :huh:
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#12 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 03:55 AM

Wow, that's a huge difference between Todd AO and Widescreen telecine. Let me get this straight real quick - In the duplicate shots from 'texting', are the differences solely from the Telecine process, or is any of that how they developed the film?


Well both The Widescreen Centre and Todd AO scaned the same Negative, so it must be from the telecine process.
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#13 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 03:16 PM

Finally some examples for you all to see.

Todd-AO scans 'Texting' scans

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

The Widescreen Centre scans

Posted Image

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#14 steve hyde

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 03:44 PM

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Yeah - to my eyes it looks like you got an uncorrected 'one light' transfer from one place and a corrected transfer at the other. It makes a HUGE difference as we can see in your examples...

I'm curious to know what type of telecine equipment was used in each instance. I have had a few cheap super 8 transfers here in the States that were made on RAnk Turbo machines that look pretty gritty and blue like the images you are showing here.

Steve
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#15 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 04:08 PM

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Yeah - to my eyes it looks like you got an uncorrected 'one light' transfer from one place and a corrected transfer at the other. It makes a HUGE difference as we can see in your examples...

I'm curious to know what type of telecine equipment was used in each instance. I have had a few cheap super 8 transfers here in the States that were made on RAnk Turbo machines that look pretty gritty and blue like the images you are showing here.

Steve


Those Widescreen Centre scans were done on a 'Scan 8' machine, from germany - a machine made especially for super 8. I imagine it gives excellent results for Reversal film, which undoutably the bulk of super 8 film is, but as slight criticisim of the company they didn't announce their limitations before I paid, despite referring themselfs as a 'proffesional' service.
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#16 NathanCoombs

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 05:01 AM

Those are the worst looking super-8 scans I have ever seen! You must be gutted
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