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#1 Luke McMillian

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 02:52 AM

Hey all,

It's happened suddenly, but I never considered shooting on super 8 film, until a friend I know said they have a 8 mm film camera ( I don't know if it matters if it's an 8mm or super 8mm, it may be super 8..) they don't use and I can have for free. So I plan to pick up a 50 foot roll of kodak from the local camera shop, the description reads KODAK TRI-X 8MM SUPER8 REV 50 SP464 7266. Don't know what that means exactly. I've been a mini dv shooter for the past while, and really excited to shoot film instead of striving for a film look all the time in video and never getting that same feel.

I'm going to start with a 1 minute short and shoot sync sound with my mini dv cam and shot gun mic +boom pole. Now I know very very little about super 8, and wondering if anyone can either take me through the ropes..apprentice me for a few moments! haha or suggest some sources for everything to be aware of when shooting super 8.

1. I also have a few specific questions. I plan to get my footage transfered to my pc eventually. And the transfer they have at the camera store says "super 8 to dvd." I'm not sure if that means uncompressed .avi or that it is mpeg2 and ready to pop into a dvd player to watch, and I guess I could rip the footage from the dvd, but I don;t know what that would do to the quality as I edit it, and then put it back to dvd again. What method should I ask for them to do precisely?

2. If the camera she gives me turns out to be wrong for super 8 film, or broken etc. what camera should I be looking for? Exact model and everything. I'm gonna hit up all the used camera shops and then garage sales this spring.

3. About exposure, will I use a light meter, or would I go by the meter in the camera if it has one?

How much light will I need to light my shots? I'm used to working with a Panasonic GS400 and it needs a little more light than usual mini dv, but how much light wattage will I need for super 8 film? I don't know what the film speed is, it didn't say on the description as far as I can tell, but I'm getting 100 asa?

4. I want to get a widescreen, 16x9 image from the footage, what is the aspect ratio of the original footage, and how would I do that exactly in an editing program, how much do you know to crop off an image?

Lastly anything else that I should be aware of that I have missed? Assume I know nothing, I know there is a lot more to it than what I've said. Again, assume I know nothing!

Thanks very much for reading, I can't wait to shoot film!

Luke
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#2 Gianni Raineri

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 04:57 AM

Hi Luke, I'm attempting an answer to this because I had a bunch of my students at work ask me about 8mm cameras this week in class. I may copy and paste some of this into my learning materials.

The camera is Super 8 if it loads on the right side and had one spindle for advancing the film. It's 8mm if it loads on the left side of the camera, and has two spindles, or possibly Single 8 if it's a Fujica. 50' Tri-X is Super 8 cartridge, as 8mm come in 25' daylight loading spools, and needs to be run through the camera twice.

Some cameras have light meters, with either button cells to power them, or the light meter piggyback's on the electric motor's AA's batteries. Some cameras are totally automatic, some have manual exposure control. Some cameras are windup spring motor s with or without button cells for the lightmeter. Some are electric motor driven cameras with manual controlled exposure, which typically open or close something like a diagraphram (two overlapping L or V shape sliding together or apart to adjust the light levels exposing the film) between the lens and the film gate. Nicer cameras actually use a diaphram aperature in the lens, as in real cameras.

Shutter speed is typically always the same unless you have a variable speed shutter. This about 1/60th-ish or 1/30th-ish for the XL super 8 cameras. Exposure time increases at 12fps and 9fps to 1/20th-ish or 1/15th-ish of a second, shortens the exposure to 1/100 or 1/200th-ish at 32fps or 64fps. If this doesn't make sense, buy a expensive digital or cheap old film SLR and turn off auto exposure (and auto foucus too!).

Good cine cameras can fade in or out using the shutter, which changes the amount of light during the fade. Cheap cine cameras use the aperture in the lens for fade out, which changes the depth of field during the fade. Dissolves are hard to do in super 8, easy peasy in 8mm and single 8. Nowdays we use iMovie to produce the fades, dissolves and and titles.

About converting the cine film to computer, the DVD format is a destination medium, ok for playback, not for editing unless you are desperate, and only have a DVD camcorder. Ask them for the mini-dv tape transfer, (or the .AVI / .DV / .MOV file transfer to your external usb2 - firewire hard disk) so you edit it on your pc or mac. Find another transfer house or do it yourself if they say no. Find a projector and project it yourself and video the movie off a wall mounted sheet of inkjet printer paper. Put that dv file into your computer.

All video files are compressed (for us mortals). DVD compression (variable rate, but 1 or 2 hours for 4 gigs) too compressed for editing, DV format is better for editing but still compressed (at 1 gig every five minutes) Uncompressed is for the AVID freaks and non consumer AV Gods and Goddesses who's computer can handle
30 mb per second and better...

Camera? Use any camera you can find, but don't spend any money that you don't mind throwing away. All the cameras are over 30 years old. Any Soviet Super 8 is great, like the Zenit's, built to film nuclear war on the battlefield. Just keep the film underground in lead lined cases. They are dirt cheap to and under valued for super 8.

[know it all mode on] then graduate to the French, German, and Japanese and Russian models. Beaulieu 4008ZM's, Nizo 401, 801, or 2056, 3056, 4056, 6056's. Canon 1014 XLS, 814XLS, Canon 814 Autozoom Electronic. Loads of other top end ones... [\know is all mode off]

the super8 wiki list of cameras

Process the film yourself in a bucket using D76 or Diafine. Spend the money you save on processing on a Lomo tank.

Gianni

It's happened suddenly..

...I can't wait to shoot film!

Luke


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#3 Gianni Raineri

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 05:26 AM

For Extra Credit:

Continuing on the ....Process the film yourself in a bucket using D76 or Diafine. Spend the money you save on professional processing on purchasing an old Russian Lomo Cine Film Processing tank.

Shoot E-6 reversal stock. It is easier to project and transfer it yourself. Black and white reversal processed as neg can be home telecined using the negative art mode of your camcorder. I have not tried DIY telecine colour neg yet, I'm worry about being put down by those that charge hundreds of dollars for a few minutes of custom "graded" telecine. I'm only an amateur, doing this for fun and art and home movies. That's what Super 8 orginally about. I suppose colour negative processed as negative can be processed as black and white in home telecine and neg art'ed in the camcorder, or damn the colours as in cross processing and use blue filters over the projector or camcorder during telecine.

If you have money, shoot the colour negative super 8 stock, send it to specialist labs and have them deliver the film back along with it transferred onto a mini-DV tape. Just yesterday I spoke with the lab manager at Todd-AO Lab in London and heard they process about 200 rolls of super 8 colour neg every month this way. I only know of Pro 8 mm lab [ducks for cover] in the Arnie State that does that in the US. For a rundown of all the labs visit Onsuper8.org's portal

If you don't acutally use pro 8's services, they are an interesting read to learn about cine film as media, along with onsuper8 portal. If you get good and recognized, you sponsors / producers will probably nudge you into 16mm media, which is on the other forum...
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#4 Luke McMillian

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 08:07 PM

Hey Gianni,

Thanks so much for all the wonderful info. I recieved the super 8 camera today, not quite sure how highly regarded it is, but it's called a Yashica. Here's a link to the exact model that I have.

http://super8wiki.co..._Electro_8_LD-6

Is this camera any good, or will I get at least a decent image from it? I'm not sure if the camera works, but it looks like it's in good condition, and I ordered some super 8 film to try out.

I'm worried about the auto exposure on the camera if it'll give me decent results, I wish it had more manual control, like full aperture and shutter control.

I'm wondering too, it requires 1.5 v AA batteries, would it hurt the camera to use rechargeable AA's that are 1.3V?

Anything else I should know about using the camera?

Thanks so much

Luke
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#5 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 01:48 AM

Hey Gianni,

Thanks so much for all the wonderful info. I recieved the super 8 camera today, not quite sure how highly regarded it is, but it's called a Yashica. Here's a link to the exact model that I have.

http://super8wiki.co..._Electro_8_LD-6

Is this camera any good, or will I get at least a decent image from it? I'm not sure if the camera works, but it looks like it's in good condition, and I ordered some super 8 film to try out.

I'm worried about the auto exposure on the camera if it'll give me decent results, I wish it had more manual control, like full aperture and shutter control.

I'm wondering too, it requires 1.5 v AA batteries, would it hurt the camera to use rechargeable AA's that are 1.3V?

Anything else I should know about using the camera?

Thanks so much


the rechargeables should be fine to try out. I recall there being some Yashica topics in the past couple of months. I presume a simple search in this forum using the word Yashica should find you a couple of topics that probably will answer your questions.

Luke


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#6 Gianni Raineri

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 04:54 PM

Trust in your light meter, and "Use the Force Luke" :P rechargables if you are Green, otherwise use Alkalines, or if the NiMh's don't work.

I never used a Yashica Super 8, but it's worth a go. I have no doubts you'll get images off it if it works! I've got a series of great Yashica Rangefinders (35mm still cameras) from the 60's and 70's....

If you shoot outdoors use E6 filim and keep the sun above and behind you outdoors, or shoot in overcast days... If you shoot indoors, use 200T and keep the lights behind you...

Ask you friends or family to help with this habit, but either giving you money, or keeping an eye out for anyting cine film related. I've trained my kids, spouse, co workers, and parents to report any sightings in their daily life.

Gianni in London
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#7 Gianni Raineri

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 05:10 PM

Stupid browser I'm using (Flock) doesn't let me edit the post...

About the batteries for these old cameras, I have found NiCads locally for real cheap, and work fine in these old 1970's and 80's cameras.. They don't loose their charge just sitting around like NiMh's.

Also indoor shooting with E6, stay next to the windows (light) or replace all the room light bulbs with low wattage- high output florescents. I've got two 85w monster bulbs that each output 400W worth of light. 200T film is fine, just keep the light behind or beside you.

Gianni
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#8 Luke McMillian

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 07:39 PM

Hey Gianni,

I tried batteries in the camera and it didn't work. So I switched them backwards and forwards thinking it'd make a difference, then I noticed that the contacts inside the handle had a little bit of green stuff on them, so i cleaned it off with some tiolet paper, and voila..power! Everything seems hunky dory, and I ordered in this film KODAK TRI-X 8MM SUPER8 REV 50 SP464 7266. That's the only stuff they had at the shop, not sure exactly all the info on it, but I'm going to look into aquiring different films, and see what kind of looks I can get.

Why do you say keep the lights behind you? I was basically gonna set up my lights similar to what I do for my videos but with a little more power, putting the lights closer possibly. Does the camera over expose high lights really easily? I find that happens with my camcorder a lot.

Trust in your light meter, and "Use the Force Luke"

the funny thing is I was actually partly named after Luke Skywalker, and the Luke from General Hospital haha.

Thanks for the info

Luke
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#9 Terry Mester

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 08:15 PM

Hi Luke, the HTTP Links below will help you.

INFO FOR SUPER8 NEWBIES
You can find useful info on Super8mm by clicking the Threads linked below. If you would like to record Sound with your filming, log onto the Website www.geocities.com/filmanddigitalinfo which provides info on recording synchronous Sound. Good luck to you.

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=20597
http://www.cinematog...showtopic=20645
http://www.cinematog...showtopic=20939
http://www.cinematog...showtopic=20634

Edited by Terry Mester, 10 March 2007 - 08:16 PM.

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#10 Gianni Raineri

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 02:23 PM

Hi again, cool links Terry, interesting background review about for Super 8 newbies. Thanks for the links.

Hey Gianni...

....Why do you say keep the lights behind you? I was basically gonna set up my lights similar to what I do for my videos but with a little more power, putting the lights closer possibly. Does the camera over expose high lights really easily? I find that happens with my camcorder a lot......


Have a look below into the jpg pix of the Kodak M2 Instamatic Movie Camera. Notice the direction of the photographer's shadow relating to the position of the sun (your light source). That's a forumula for a typical family filming under the sunny 16 rule, using contrasty Kodachrome II projection films which under those circumstances performed great. However it's easy to screw up the exposure with a wrong setting and light angle using reversal projection film.

kodak_m2_instamatic_super_8.jpg

It seems to me that the general consensus is that Video is comparable to reversal film, which is less forgiving of mistakes compared to negative film, which forgives over exposure. There are other variable conditions affecting the judgemental difference between video and film, or reversal vs negative film, with the 8mm format. Consider that projecting a reversal direct image vs telecine'd mini-DV is not a direct comparasion. The TV screen or AV projector has less dynamic range than film, plus converting film to mini-DV involves steps which make the result better or worse depending on who does it and how it's converted to video. If you make a digital intermediate then go back to projection print, that's an ideal standard to strive for, but not realistic, not practical, and too expensive for amateurs on 8mm film budgets.

I've experimented with DIY telecine with mobile phones, digital camera, 1 & 3ccd camcorders, using 6fps, and realtime capture, off a screen, an aerial image, and inkjet paper. That's fine for grandma and the kids, but we (in this forum) can't really consider just anybody's telecine business for our work. Home users don't expect quality, they just want the film on TV or DVD. When it comes to learning super 8 as a storytelling medium beyond video, then Moviestuff.tv workprinter technology is the best to show off 8mm for the dedicated super 8 shooter.

Note that the workprinter system is designed for reversal films, not negative film, with only a few shops converting negative materials to mini-dv. The orange mask needs colour correction beyond the typical camcorder white balance. Then there is dust and scratches, which is sorted out by the quality control demanded by the pro labs that use Flying Spots - Spirit technology, for productions needing perfection and standards.


Gianni in London B)
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