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Super-8 and the other 2 formats


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#1 John Adolfi

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 06:17 PM

I was giving some thought why I shoot Super-8 and what would be the reasons I would shoot 16mm or 35mm or even video instead.
Super 8 gives me the ability to be a one man opperation. The camera is light, easy to load and inexpensive.
However after listening to Santo and others on how we can "raise the bar" I got very excited all over again about the possibilities of super8. But the reality is it has limitations. The amount of info you can place in each frame is not inifinite. So I took a second look at the Canon Scoopic a 16mm camera that comes close to a super 8 camera in the design and feel. However great the Scoopic's legendary zoom is, Santo go me wondering if today's new zooms and prime lenses are the way to go. Since the Scoopic has a fixed 1970's fixed lens I would never be able to know if better could result. And also if I was to up the ante from Super8 to 16mm wouldn't super 16mm make a better choice?

I stumbled onto 2 cameras that I feel would provide some of the smallness, compactness of Super 8 with the additional frame real estate. The Aaton A-minima and the Ikonoskop A-cam. At $15,000 and $6,200 they are the two choices to consider.

Moving up to 35mm all I could see with this professional format was having to lug a 50 lbs. of camera up the side of Machu Pichu and begin to wish I had a Beaulieu 7008 instead. However I just discovered a smaller 35mm version called the Arri 235. The way I discribed it to my Wife, she insisted I use those types of endearments for her alone and not for ANY camera. Sorry Dear.

I'd like to hear your comments on compact and light 16mm and 35mm cameras that give us the freedom and feel of a super 8 camera.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 07:45 PM

There's no simple answer -- the cameras vary in size, complexity, features, costs -- and it also depends on what you need to do with them.

I'd say that if you want to shoot in Super-16 with the size and weight of Super-8 / DV cameras, probably the Aaton A-Minima would be a good choice if you can afford it and a decent Super-16 zoom lens.

In terms of being a one-man band, it just depends on how much lifting you want to do by yourself but there are one-man 35mm shooters. But you have to take into account that 35mm film stock is 4X larger and thus heavier than 16mm, so even if the camera is not heavy, you may be lugging around some heavy loads of stock depending on how much footage you need to shoot. But in terms of size, I know someone who has a nice Arri-2C rig that fits into a small case with some mags, so it's not that large.
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#3 Scot McPhie

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 10:39 PM

Jeepers creepers that's small:

Posted Image

hmmmm my new camera.......


Scot
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#4 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 11:28 PM

Sure super 8 has resolve limitations, but thats what makes it good. personally, 35mm has too much resolve for my taste. I prefer the look of S8 stocks that I've been shooting on my 5 favorite cameras, with endless combined features, more than anything I've seen in 35mm. and I can't be nearly as creative with 16mm as I can in S8... speaking of limitations. Maybe that can change if I ever get ownership of an A-minima... that would be my first pick of any camera.
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#5 santo

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 09:02 AM

John,

The reasons to actually shoot super 8 have to do more with an aesthetic choice, and not really so much with the practical ease of shooting with a larger format such as 16mm or super16mm. Certainly if money is not an object for you, the 16mm and super16 options can really present very little difference in ease of use. However, few people who really think about it, see any reason to own a 16mm camera instead of renting because of not only initial cost, but the fact that maintenance is many times more than any super 8 camera, and usually runs into the thousands for proper servicing of the modern cameras. Buying and owning just one really good super 8 camera is a decision nobody regrets that I've heard of.

It is, on one hand, foolish and ill-informed to dismiss what you can now do with super 8 based on old-fashioned notions from just 10 years ago and condem it to "the bad film look" by advocating and sticking to reversal film, Japanazooms, DIY telecine, and DV transfers. These are the narrow-minded morons (and sometimes businessmen with an interest in this approach) I consistently argue against on film boards. On the other hand, it shows intelligence and savvy to pick super 8 for projects which require a strong "film flavour" to come out their best, as grain and the "feel" of film will be far more present in the finished product, when using the same approach one would to any other format with decent lenses, proper telecine and video finishing format, and modern film stocks.

Does the project really need the extra flavour of super 8, or is it better served with less emphasis on the medium -- in which case 16mm or super 16 might be better choices?

Do we really need a delicious smokey, peaty serving of Laphroaig 15 year old single malt Scotch Whisky with its bold flavour this afternoon, or will I be mixing cocktails for some statuesque ladyfriends who would be better off with some nice Ballentine's in their Godfathers?

These are the questions we must ask.
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#6 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 09:54 AM

After spending lugging video cameras, sound, and lighting packages for the past several years, I can attest that the fun of Super-8 is that much can be packed into a small camera case. I can easily fit five super-8 cameras into one case, plus all the film and batteries I would need, this gives me a broad range of filming options.

Now, if I actually had access to an affordable 35mm stop-motion / time lapse rig that did everything my Eumig 880 does, I would definitely consider swapping out five super-8 cameras for one such 35mm camera irrespective of the bulkiness of the 35mm camera.
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#7 John Adolfi

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 09:01 PM

The teype of documentary shooting I'm thinking of is the following:
Very few if any people.
No lips syncing
Travelogue style film.
Interior of museum artifacts in various countries
Interiors of temples in various locations around the world
Remote locations.

I would love to shoot it in 65mm. No Imax but 5 perf 65mm.

Super 8 is like a cat. Smooth, sleek, unnoticed and light.

Would I be crazy to consider a Leicina with a couple of digi primes?
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#8 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 10:05 PM

The teype of documentary shooting I'm thinking of is the following:
Very few if any people.
No lips syncing
Travelogue style film.
Interior of museum artifacts in various countries
Interiors of temples in various locations around the world
Remote locations.

I would love to shoot it in 65mm. No Imax but 5 perf 65mm.

Super 8 is like a cat. Smooth, sleek, unnoticed and light.

Would I be crazy to consider a Leicina with a couple of digi primes?



I think museums frown upon tripods being used, otherwise a camera with a slower frames per second option plus time-exposure would allow you to get pretty decent exposures in otherwise potentially subdued lighting conditions.
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Visual Products

CineLab

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Broadcast Solutions Inc

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Metropolis Post

Ritter Battery

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