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Could a Television Show like "Lost" benefit from Super-8?


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#1 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 12:17 AM

Mini-DV has taken on a very credible role as an everyday video acquisition format AND as a useful B-Roll option.

Example. Betacam SP shoot, the camera is on sticks, a teleprompter attached to the front of the lens, wires connected to a television monitor and a wired lavalier, etc... The client wants me to grab a "quickie shot" of kids playing in the swimming pool outside as B-Roll. I cannot justify moving the Betacam Camera for the quickie shoot, instead I pull out a Digital-8 camcorder and grab the outside shot without having to do anything to the Betacam SP camera, I get the shot and come back and finish the Betacam SP shot.

When filming the TV show "Lost", isn't it likely that no matter how many cameras there are, at some point during the day, having a floater camera or two to grab little moments such as a quick POV shot with a handheld shaky cameras, cameras in hard to reach positions, chases sequences know more for their blur than their clarity, couldn't these shots be acquired with a Super-8 camera shooting 50D?

At the end of the day, it's possible that this type of solution could cost Kodak a small amount of sales of 35mm or 16mm if it's discovered that the Super-8 50D works perfectly for some applications. But in the bigger picture, if Kodak worries too much about the possible tiny tiny loss of film sales on Lost rather than the possibility that the show's production schedule could move at a faster pace by incorporating Super-8 50D, wouldn't that be considered as being penny wise and pound foolish if at the end of the year the forces that want HD cite increasing the production schedule as a reason?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 12:24 AM

The show is shot in Super-35 and posted in HD (and broadcast in HD) -- you could get away maybe with Super-16 shooting slower-stock for action cutaways & inserts, but not Super-8 unless it was for a special look. It wouldn't match the 35mm photography even if you used 50D stock, especially not in the 16x9 HD broadcast. Even shooting those fast cutaways in 24P HD would probably make more sense than using Super-8, and definitely I'd option for Super-16 over Super-8.

It's not an accurate comparison, comparing a small vs. large film format to a high-end vs. low-end SD video camera. Grain is not a factor in video cameras.
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#3 Rachel Oliver

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 05:57 AM

The show is shot in Super-35 and posted in HD (and broadcast in HD) -- you could get away maybe with Super-16 shooting slower-stock for action cutaways & inserts, but not Super-8 unless it was for a special look. It wouldn't match the 35mm photography even if you used 50D stock, especially not in the 16x9 HD broadcast. Even shooting those fast cutaways in 24P HD would probably make more sense than using Super-8, and definitely I'd option for Super-16 over Super-8.

It's not an accurate comparison, comparing a small vs. large film format to a high-end vs. low-end SD video camera. Grain is not a factor in video cameras.


Hi;

They could have used S-8 for the "Darma orientation films", whatever they did those with looks pretty rediculous to me, like HD with a post film scratch/dust filter... Someone will probably reply saying it was 35mm :rolleyes: But it just looks so fake, (maybe on purpose :ph34r: )

Olly
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#4 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 06:18 AM

The show is shot in Super-35 and posted in HD (and broadcast in HD) -- you could get away maybe with Super-16 shooting slower-stock for action cutaways & inserts, but not Super-8 unless it was for a special look. It wouldn't match the 35mm photography even if you used 50D stock, especially not in the 16x9 HD broadcast. Even shooting those fast cutaways in 24P HD would probably make more sense than using Super-8, and definitely I'd option for Super-16 over Super-8.

It's not an accurate comparison, comparing a small vs. large film format to a high-end vs. low-end SD video camera. Grain is not a factor in video cameras.



Sound is such a big component and a huge reason why Music Videos can intercut a grainy black and white shot next to a robust shot in 35mm. It's the soundtrack that carries the sequence through. The 50D would not look that grainy, that's the point. It might require widening the gate to make it close to HD specs, that I would agree with.

As for HD acquistion mixed in, that is a different point. It's possible that would work fine. But just because an HD camera that costs a lot of money could work does not mean a modified Canon 814XLS could not be incorporated in the type of situations I cited above.
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#5 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 06:46 AM

The 50D would not look that grainy, that's the point.


A 35mm frame is roughly 16 times larger than Super 8. A Super 35 frame is even larger. Even shooting 50D you are still going to have a huge difference in grain.
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#6 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 07:40 AM

A 35mm frame is roughly 16 times larger than Super 8. A Super 35 frame is even larger. Even shooting 50D you are still going to have a huge difference in grain.


That's not necessarily the proper comparison to make. How much can one zoom in on that 35mm frame before the grain becomes noticeable?
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#7 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 02:34 PM

That's not necessarily the proper comparison to make.

It is when you're talking about shots that need to match.
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#8 Chris Keth

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 02:53 PM

The thought process isn't bad but why wouldn't you go with super 16 with an a-minima? It's going to be MUCH closer to super 35 in look and not much heavier or bulkier.
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#9 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 08:16 PM

The thought process isn't bad but why wouldn't you go with super 16 with an a-minima? It's going to be MUCH closer to super 35 in look and not much heavier or bulkier.



I agree that the minima is the logical choice however I don't know a lot about the minima but doesn't it require a special wind and a specially prepared film stock, that would be counterintuitive to the grab and go idea of shooting a shot that otherwise wouldn't be shot.

The idea behind the Super-8mm is it would not take up a lot of room, and would be pre-packaged and ready to shoot in an instant. As for matching the shots around it, I think I was pretty specific as to the kind of shots I think would work. Running POV shots, Close up insert shots, obstructed shots through foilage, the classic running away from the evil forces shot that is usually a bumpy, blurry fast paced POV of the pursued as they try to escape. The idea of the super-8 is not to replace any 16mm or 35mm but to supplement a shooting schedule that may be unrealistic to maintain.

I've seen footage shot years ago in Africa that was shot on Super-8 and looked spectacular. Take a look at lord of the rings and during the fight sequences, one can point to dozens and dozens of shots that have virtually no detail or clarity but serve to create the illusion of wild action.
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#10 Will Montgomery

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 08:43 PM

The idea behind the Super-8mm is it would not take up a lot of room, and would be pre-packaged and ready to shoot in an instant.


I think the point is that the highest rated show on network TV doesn't really need to save money or time in production enough to justify the complete disconnect in look. They absolutely could use super 8 on the Darma explaination sequences (and I agree that it wasn't even 16mm on what they showed, absolutely some Smoke or Inferno effects) but why bother when the director just tells the DP to make it happen and they will lug the Super 35 camera whereever they're told.
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#11 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 06:04 PM

That's not necessarily the proper comparison to make. How much can one zoom in on that 35mm frame before the grain becomes noticeable?


I appreciate the point you're trying to make, but I think you've answered your own question. 35mm doesn't need to be blown up, but Super 8 does. The difference in resolution is vast, and no matter how good your lenses, and how slow your stock, the huge difference in neg area will show.
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#12 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 06:42 PM

I think the point is that the highest rated show on network TV doesn't really need to save money or time in production enough to justify the complete disconnect in look. They absolutely could use super 8 on the Darma explaination sequences (and I agree that it wasn't even 16mm on what they showed, absolutely some Smoke or Inferno effects) but why bother when the director just tells the DP to make it happen and they will lug the Super 35 camera whereever they're told.


I don't agree with "complete disconnect in look" either, that's why I limited the scope of the type of shots that the Super-8 would be used for.

One issue that has come up on the televison entertainment shows regarding "LOST" are the endless recap shows because they cannot crank out a show a week. The big promo hype for "LOST" is that they will run six new shows for six consecutive weeks.


A 35mm frame is roughly 16 times larger than Super 8. A Super 35 frame is even larger. Even shooting 50D you are still going to have a huge difference in grain.


That's not necessarily the proper comparison to make. How much can one zoom in on that 35mm frame before the grain becomes noticeable?


I appreciate the point you're trying to make, but I think you've answered your own question. 35mm doesn't need to be blown up, but Super 8 does. The difference in resolution is vast, and no matter how good your lenses, and how slow your stock, the huge difference in neg area will show.


I don't think I answered my own question, but nice try.

It's an outdoors action show, there is a lot more flexibility in the shot selections than if it were a drama shot on a set.
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#13 Nathan Milford

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 10:17 PM

It may be impolitic for me to say, but...

I just don't understand the mentality of people who think that Super 8 is a tool for, or solution to, any serious production problem other than "lets shoot something that looks like Super 8."

Why doesn't Arri or Aaton make a Super 8 Camera?!?!?

Why shoot HD when you can use Super 8?!?!

Why don't hit primetime TV shows use Super 8 for some of thier production?!?!?

Why doesn't Kodak release more stocks for Super 8?@!?

These questions answer themselves unless you have absolutly no understanding of modern production and economics. You can cite, cost savings, portability or even the fact that it is film (vs. video that is), but it still makes little or no sense to any working professional to employ the format in any way other than for a niche.

I repair film cameras. I love film, and still shoot it for stills almost exclusivly. I enjoy Super 8 and I own several Super 8 cameras. I've seen it blown up to 35mm and I've seen scanned at 2K... it's still Super 8. It's a wonderful niche format, like pixelvision, and a great format to learn filmmaking with. Hell, I'm shooting my wedding in Super 8 (and Super 16mm), but I just can't take the format or it's cheerleaders seriously when they ask questions like that.
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#14 K Borowski

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 10:29 PM

To answer your question: NO.
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#15 Rik Andino

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 12:30 AM

I just don't understand the mentality of people who think that Super 8 is a tool for, or solution to, any serious production problem other than "lets shoot something that looks like Super 8."


You're just dealing with a bunch of delusional hobbists
Who have little understanding how a professional production runs.

If you've ever shot or seen 35mm or even well composed S16
You would stop trying to compare S8 to these better formats.
Hell even well shot HD is better than S8 (yeah I said it... :P ).

S8 is a good format to learn and is very good for specific effects (the S8 look)
But when you put it through a serious production workflow it falls short.


So please let's be realistic here no Primetime TV drama is going to use S8 as a cost saving tool.
Stop making yourself look like a fool by suggesting these ludicrous scenarios.

I don't want to offend you Alessandro
but sometimes people just might need someone to smack some sense to them.
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#16 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 02:39 AM

It's an outdoors action show, there is a lot more flexibility in the shot selections than if it were a drama shot on a set.


I own a Super 8 camera, and I love the ease of use, and the look of Super 8. However, it just DOES NOT cut with 35mm in any way. There is simply too much difference in neg area for the grain to match shot to shot. It's not a criticism of S8, just a statement of fact.
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#17 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 04:29 PM

There is some serious dumbassery going on here. I specifically listed the types of shots that could be intercut between formats, I never inferred that just any old set-up could be intercut.

Running POV shots, Close up insert shots, obstructed shots through foilage, the classic running away from the evil forces shot that is usually a bumpy, blurry fast paced POV of the pursued as they try to escape. The idea of the super-8 is not to replace any 16mm or 35mm but to supplement a shooting schedule that may be unrealistic to maintain.


Additionally. Lets say it rained the night before and a bunch of running POV shots have been planned. The blurry, or stacato type of bumpy action was planned, do you send out a guy to run in the mud weighted down with a full blown steadicam package, or give it a shot with a super-8 camera versus perhaps just giving up on the days shoot because of the mud?

Why doesn't Arri or Aaton make a Super 8 Camera?!?!?


Actually, designs were made and it was considered and I think a mock-up was even made.

Why shoot HD when you can use Super 8?!?!


If Super-8 could work in the way I have described, and I were Kodak, I think I'd rather see the super-8 camera on the set than my competion. Why not at least acknowledge that I addressed this issue in the OPENING TOPIC statement. Why did I shoot digital 8 for a specific shot when I had a betacam sp camera on site?

Why don't hit primetime TV shows use Super 8 for some of thier production?!?!?


Actually, some have and still do.

Why doesn't Kodak release more stocks for Super 8?@!?


This is just a riot. Do you know how many Super-8 stocks are currently available from Kodak and other companies? I don't keep count but if somebody in the know would like to respond I know it's at least close to a dozen.

These questions answer themselves unless you have absolutely no understanding of modern production and economics.


Yes, they did, didn't they.
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#18 Matthew Buick

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 07:32 PM

That's not necessarily the proper comparison to make. How much can one zoom in on that 35mm frame before the grain becomes noticeable?


I'm gonna guess about 4X magnification. :)
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#19 Nathan Milford

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 08:04 PM

You're absolutly correct. Super 8 is the next big format, as long as you're willing to sacrifice image quality and choose your shots carefully as to not upset the many shortcomings of the format and limit yourself to 50D (out of ALL of the other stocks already avaliable) to avoid golfball grain. I'm sure Kodak is listening and is generously willing to risk a loss to fuel the fire behind this hot professional format and equipment manufacturers are flocking to the format I'm sure.

No use arguing with the religous, you've converted me... do you nuts have secret handshake and do I get to ride around in the Super-8-mobile? Your fervor might, one day, match that of the RED fourms on dvxuser. >8)
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#20 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 10:56 PM

Yeah, yeah, yeah super8 can intercut with 35mm for effect as seen in several Oliver Stone and other films.
That does not change the vast resolution difference between the two formats.
It is possible to run in mud with a Minima by the way. Mud is mud.
The super8 afficionados that see it as the solution to every production problem are a bit naive and over zealous. Annoyingly so at times.
Remember: You CAN put a pickle through a Cheerio. You just need a very small pickle or a very large Cheerio.



Oops, or CGI!
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