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Japan trip- exclusively super8


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#1 Andrew Means

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 12:05 PM

So I'm going to Japan in September with my girlfriend and a couple other friends. Since I don't really have a good still camera, nor do I have a good video camera, I figured I'd document the trip with my Nikon R10- what better way to document my first trip to Japan than with a warm, 'memory' feel of super8?

Considerations:

I'm poor. I can basically afford 120 bucks for film. I'll be there 7 days, so I'll have to be pretty judicious in what I shoot, basically editing myself as I select shots. This isn't a huge issue for me, in fact I love the constrictions of a 3:20 reel, but it's definitely going to be interesting. Anybody have any suggestions for shooting on a budget aside from "try to buy more film"?

Mobility: We're going to be doing a lot of walking, and I want to be able to start filming quickly, with minimal setup. I have a frietag messenger bag (large one) and I want to keep my whole shooting rig in that (along with whatever else I need over the course of a given day) so I'll need to bring just the essentials. What would you bring? I'm thinking of making a fleece bag to put the camera in so it doesn't get scratched/banged around. Tripod would probably be too large for me to carry all over the place, so for most shots I'll probably have to go handheld.

Shooting in a foreign country. Anybody shoot in Japan before? What are the faux pas? How do I shoot discreetly? Does it matter?

Any other tips & tricks?

Thanks folks-
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#2 Bryan Darling

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 12:23 PM

All I take with me is camera, film, and my lightmeter. The less the better. Depending, I also have a portable battery-operated 50w halogen I take with me. It all fits into a small camera bag and runs off a 12v motorcycle battery using XLR plugs I attached. Makes for getting good stuff in dark places with Tri-x film pushed a stop.

Anyhow, when it all comes down to it, taking less is more freedom! I never really use tripods and would never bring one with me on a trip, to cumbersome.

Have a great time, Toyoko should be amazing.
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#3 Jon-Hebert Barto

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 12:50 PM

I don't think you'll have any trouble shooting in public in Japan. As a matter of fact, isn't there some stereotype about Japanese people travelling with cameras and taking pictures of everything? Ya, I think so. Never been there before but many friends have and they are a very open community from what I hear, so you shouldn't have any problems unless of course you shoot where there are signs clearly stating not to.

I am jealous :angry: I love Japanese culture! Hope you have a great time. Oh, post some footage when you get back....

-Jonnie
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#4 Andrew Means

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 12:59 PM

All I take with me is camera, film, and my lightmeter. The less the better. Depending, I also have a portable battery-operated 50w halogen I take with me. It all fits into a small camera bag and runs off a 12v motorcycle battery using XLR plugs I attached. Makes for getting good stuff in dark places with Tri-x film pushed a stop.

Anyhow, when it all comes down to it, taking less is more freedom! I never really use tripods and would never bring one with me on a trip, to cumbersome.

Have a great time, Toyoko should be amazing.



Thanks! I was going to ask about film stock- I was planning on doing 7217 for the majority of the trip, but will Tri-X do low-light better? I'm not married to shooting color the whole time...
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#5 Dan Horstman

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 01:55 PM

The main concern I have is the X Ray Machines at the Airport. You might want to look into what you need to do to get the film through without getting near the X Ray Machine.
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#6 Andrew Means

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 02:58 PM

The main concern I have is the X Ray Machines at the Airport. You might want to look into what you need to do to get the film through without getting near the X Ray Machine.


My good friend is a professional photographer and has travelled a ton- he carries his film in a bag for them to hand-check when he goes through security.
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#7 Robert Hughes

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 07:36 PM

The Nikon R-10 will accept any ASA film you put into it. So bring a few different types; low ASA color reversal like E64T or Fuji, and medium ASA b&w reversal Plus-X (100) and Tri-X(200). The Tokyo Ginza shows up great with any color film (you might try some 7217 negative), but the bright neon signs may blow out if you use negative 7218 (500 ASA) at night. 7218 would be very handy for existing lighting indoors (homes, museum, theater).

X-Ray machines are a problem at airports nowadays. Can you mail some film to a hotel or PO box and pick it up when you get there? Otherwise, use carry-on baggage and request the security staff to hand inspect your film to avoid the X-Ray; sometimes they'll oblige you, sometimes not.

One cultural oddity; if a policeman waves at you, he wants you to talk to him. Don't walk away.

Edited by Robert Hughes, 01 August 2006 - 07:41 PM.

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#8 Bryan Darling

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 02:41 AM

Thanks! I was going to ask about film stock- I was planning on doing 7217 for the majority of the trip, but will Tri-X do low-light better? I'm not married to shooting color the whole time...


I don't shoot negative film in Super 8, only in 16mm. I prefer reversal. For me it's a matter of ease of use and transfer, etc. I like to be able to project my films, edit if I so choose, and transfer them. I have a great system for digitizing the film, however it doesn't like negative film. I don't feel like spending hundreds of dollars an hour on a Super 8 transfer, I'd rather just shoot 16mm if I was going to do that. Additionally, I know if I got the exposure or didn't, I know what the color, etc., all by looking at the film. You learn so much about you camera, the film, and the process shooting reversal. Not to mention, it's just less expensive down the line: film is less, processing is less, transfer is less in that less time spent tweaking the image in the suite although you can if you want. Just how much less depends on the places and your discounts.

I've pushed both 7266 and 7280. I love black and white the most, and Tri-X is my favorite. It has great blacks, good range, fast emulsion and pushes great. I've done a 1-stop but I think a 2-stop would be cool as well. It all depends on your aesthetic.

My thing is, especially when traveling, I want to forget about as much technical stuff and just shoot! Just have fun and maybe grab a few interesting moments!
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#9 Andrew Means

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 12:15 PM

I don't shoot negative film in Super 8, only in 16mm. I prefer reversal. For me it's a matter of ease of use and transfer, etc. I like to be able to project my films, edit if I so choose, and transfer them. I have a great system for digitizing the film, however it doesn't like negative film. I don't feel like spending hundreds of dollars an hour on a Super 8 transfer, I'd rather just shoot 16mm if I was going to do that. Additionally, I know if I got the exposure or didn't, I know what the color, etc., all by looking at the film. You learn so much about you camera, the film, and the process shooting reversal. Not to mention, it's just less expensive down the line: film is less, processing is less, transfer is less in that less time spent tweaking the image in the suite although you can if you want. Just how much less depends on the places and your discounts.

I've pushed both 7266 and 7280. I love black and white the most, and Tri-X is my favorite. It has great blacks, good range, fast emulsion and pushes great. I've done a 1-stop but I think a 2-stop would be cool as well. It all depends on your aesthetic.

My thing is, especially when traveling, I want to forget about as much technical stuff and just shoot! Just have fun and maybe grab a few interesting moments!


You know, at this point in my super8 development, shooting mostly reversal is probably the smarter thing to do- I'll bring one or two negative rolls, a couple b&w, and the rest reversal- especially since the processing and telecining costs would be much larger if I went entirely negative...

Anybody disagree?
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#10 Bryan Darling

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 05:08 PM

You know, at this point in my super8 development, shooting mostly reversal is probably the smarter thing to do- I'll bring one or two negative rolls, a couple b&w, and the rest reversal- especially since the processing and telecining costs would be much larger if I went entirely negative...

Anybody disagree?



The black & white is reversal. 7265, 7266, & 7280 are all reversal Super 8 stocks. You'll find that the 7266 (Tri-X) is great for lower light environments. If you get an 0.6 and/or 0.9 ND filter, you can also shoot it in bright daylight. A good, decent quality filter from Tiffen would be sufficient. Check out B&H Photo online, there prices are the best. I find my meter reads f32 - f22 quite often during the middle of the day. I like shooting around a f1.9 - f5.6, sometimes more depending. Since Super 8 has enormous depth-of-field, you can shoot more open without worrying too much. The nice thing with the ND filter is you'll go from a f32 to f16 with the .6 or f32 to f11 with .9. If anything it will bring the bright light down into something more manageable.

This may be way more information that you're looking for, but it's something to consider. Sometimes it's nice to just take one stock with you and just shoot it. Makes it easier to figure things out and you'll know how to get what you want. If you do want color, just remember that the E64T needs an 85B filter for outdoor use, which brings it's speed down to 40ASA. The nice thing is it works great for outdoors during the day, even in overcast situations. When it's overcast, you'll be shooting more open say f2.8 f-4, perhaps even F1.4/1.9 in darker places.

Edited by tornsprocket, 02 August 2006 - 05:10 PM.

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#11 Andrew Means

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 06:38 PM

The black & white is reversal. 7265, 7266, & 7280 are all reversal Super 8 stocks. You'll find that the 7266 (Tri-X) is great for lower light environments. If you get an 0.6 and/or 0.9 ND filter, you can also shoot it in bright daylight. A good, decent quality filter from Tiffen would be sufficient. Check out B&H Photo online, there prices are the best. I find my meter reads f32 - f22 quite often during the middle of the day. I like shooting around a f1.9 - f5.6, sometimes more depending. Since Super 8 has enormous depth-of-field, you can shoot more open without worrying too much. The nice thing with the ND filter is you'll go from a f32 to f16 with the .6 or f32 to f11 with .9. If anything it will bring the bright light down into something more manageable.

This may be way more information that you're looking for, but it's something to consider. Sometimes it's nice to just take one stock with you and just shoot it. Makes it easier to figure things out and you'll know how to get what you want. If you do want color, just remember that the E64T needs an 85B filter for outdoor use, which brings it's speed down to 40ASA. The nice thing is it works great for outdoors during the day, even in overcast situations. When it's overcast, you'll be shooting more open say f2.8 f-4, perhaps even F1.4/1.9 in darker places.


This is all great info- I'm really not very well versed in the technical aspects of film photography unfortunately, so the f-stop stuff is slowly digesting, but I'm getting the gist of what you're saying. I totally get what you're talking about with the filter, as we just got our first little super8 short back (K64, shot in daylight) and it's definitely got a blue tinge to it.

I'd really like to do color for the majority of this trip, and while I expect the majority of stock will be shot during the day, I'd like to do some night shooting. Are there faster color reversal stocks than the Ektachrome, or might that be a good time to try out some negative film?
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#12 Bryan Darling

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 03:50 AM

If you're set on color your choices are E64T if you're using reversal, and either of the negative stocks.
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#13 Chris Graham

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 10:01 AM

You're so lucky, good luck! My Japan trips have been delayed. =(
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#14 Gianni Raineri

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 12:53 PM

I lived in Tokyo and did a bit of freelance photography in the early 90's. If you have no native speaking buddies as interpreters, expect some confusion and disorientation, like you are on another planet. Have fun with it and enjoy! I would take a 4x5 notebook and marker pens for two reasons....

ONE: Most everybody in Japan has studied and can read and write English, but very few can actually speak it. Using your notebooks and marker pens for communication will help alot. Make about twenty Japanese - English flash cards with the important buzz words on 'em, very large font size, and make up new ones as you go. Involving people you meet with creating new ones is kinda fun and is a real ice breaker. For example, if you find a camera shop, walk in and confidently ask for something impossible and complex like "One Hour Super 8 processing", I woudn't expect to find any....

TWO: Shoot a few frames of your note pages (like a clapper board) at opening shots or at least for the start of the reels. Maybe use single frame mode for them, with your new friends holding the page with their name and emails on camera. If that's not your thing, at least use a digital camera for that...

Gianni B)


Anybody shoot in Japan before? What are the faux pas? How do I shoot discreetly? Does it matter?

Any other tips & tricks?

Thanks folks-

B)
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#15 Gianni Raineri

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 01:10 PM

Coudn't edit the previous post. I wanted to add the phrase to use when asking your subjects to pose for the camera:

"Moderu Ninate Kudasai" pronounced phonetically, means "Please pose for the camera"... I used that all the time.

Also

"Watashi wa Kameraman Desu" means I'm a Camera Man.

"Watashi wa Eiga Kantoku" means "I'm a Movie Director"

"Watashi wa Eiga oh Tsukute imasu" means "I'm making a movie"

Gianni B)
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#16 Andrew Means

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 02:05 PM

Thanks Gianni, these are awesome ideas. How do you say "I'm a movie director, would you like to come back to my hotel with me?" : )

Seriously though, the flash card ideas are great.
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Visual Products

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Technodolly

CineTape

rebotnix Technologies

Wooden Camera

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Willys Widgets

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Opal