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Super 8 Universal Matte Box Alpha Version


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#1 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 11:46 PM

I'm in the process of developing a Matte Box for Super 8 cameras which I hope will be universal for ALL Super 8 cameras. The Matte Box will be 3"x3" at the base and 4.5"x4.5" at the fullest point. It has a simple rails system so it will NOT be threaded onto the lense. Even though the Matte Box is fairly light, it is made of metal and is too heavy, IMHO, to hang off the lense.

The pictures below are of this Alpha version, so realize that it is not that pretty. Main reason it isn't pretty is because the Box portion is not painted, but just covered in Electrical tape. Reason it wasn't painted is because I have yet to purchase a paint gun for applying "airbrushed" paint. I still have some features to implement as well.

Here are the pictures of the Alpha...feel free to comment!

[attachment=2644:matte1.JPG]
[attachment=2645:matte2.JPG]
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#2 John Adolfi

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 07:25 PM

I think it not only looks good in its prototype state but the fact that someone is developing products for super-8 is well rather super! Keep it going Matthew.
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#3 alexandros petin

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 11:29 AM

Well its damn pretty!!!
the universal matter is a bit difficult
i tried without success to make a matte box for a nizo
the problem is that i dont want to override the grip (which carries the batteries)
so that makes the distanse too much.
have you considered that for your project?
keep it going! super 8 mm as a threat!!! ;-)
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#4 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 01:15 PM

Well its damn pretty!!!
the universal matter is a bit difficult
i tried without success to make a matte box for a nizo
the problem is that i dont want to override the grip (which carries the batteries)
so that makes the distanse too much.
have you considered that for your project?
keep it going! super 8 mm as a threat!!! ;-)


I haven't looked at nearly ALL Super 8 cameras, obviously. Chances are, it may not be entirely universal, but should hopefully cover the most popular Super 8 cameras. My main desire in making this is 1) Most Matte boxes out there are way too expensive 2) The Matte boxes out there are not proportioned appropriately for Super 8 cameras.

With my current design, however, the maximum lens size is about 72mm. Does anyone know if there is a Super 8 lens that is larger in diameter than that? I figured it may be a problem if someone has a Beaulieu or Leicina Special with a special lense. I chose the 72mm threshold though because I feel it looks the best on a Super 8 camera without looking ridiclously large.

I encourage people to submit there comments, concerns, or potential camera makes/models that might present a problem.
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#5 Michael Ryan

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 03:14 PM

Hello Matthew,


Do you have a ballpark price? I think that is also a key factor. When and where would you sell this?

Keep up the good work. A Super-8 matte box is something that is hard to find at a good price point.


good luck,

Mike
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#6 Tim Terner

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 03:32 PM

Hi Matthew,proto looks good, but are there any slots for filter holders and revolvers or is this just a lens shade
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#7 Matthew Buick

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 03:48 PM

Will there be ones with wider aspect ratios? 2:35:1 perhaps?
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#8 Kieran Scannell

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 04:02 PM

Makes me want to pick up my old Nizo again!

Looks amazing Mathew!

Kieran.

Will there be ones with wider aspect ratios? 2:35:1 perhaps?


What do you mean Matthew how does the Matte Box affect the aspect ratio? Just curious.
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#9 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 05:03 PM

Wow, I appreciate all the replies and interest all of a sudden! I'll answer the questions since I last left.

Hi Matthew,proto looks good, but are there any slots for filter holders and revolvers or is this just a lens shade


Tim, in the final stage there will be filter holders, most likely 2. The size will be 3x3 instead of 4x4.
The filter holders will most likely be fixed since this will keep it in the price point I want. I realize this
could present a problem for Circular Polarizers. I'll keep you updated when I get to that stage of
development.

Will there be ones with wider aspect ratios? 2:35:1 perhaps?


I assume you mean using dimensions that will not cause vignetting? As far as that goes, I will take
custom dimensions in special cases like that and make one since one dimension is as good as the next,
provided the lens doesn't exceed 72mm. Also, it would be up to the individual to determine the measurements
for their particular aspect ratio. I don't have an Anamorphic lense, therefore, I cannot compute a proper
measurement for it based on my particular design. Like I said, current dimensions are:
3" wide X 3" high at the lens start, 4.5" wide X 4.5" high at the front of the box, and 3" deep. This works great
for standard Super 8 aspect ratios.

Hello Matthew,
Do you have a ballpark price? I think that is also a key factor. When and where would you sell this?

Keep up the good work. A Super-8 matte box is something that is hard to find at a good price point.
good luck,

Mike


Yes, I do have a ballpark price. The complete kit which will include the matte box, 2 fixed filter holders (for now),
2 rails (these are not 15mm rails as are used for 35mm cameras as that is overkill for a Super 8 camera IMHO),
and the tripod bracket is hopefully going to go for $100. I felt this was reasonable considering the price of many
other matte boxes out there. The cheapest NEW matte box I found was one for $139 that didn't have rails and
threaded into the lens. The french flag on that was an additional $59.

I do hope to add a french flag option after the matte box system is complete. I plan to sell these through a website
domain I will create in the near future. When I will sell this is largely dependent on how well I'm able to implement
my plans. I'm currently in college so I have much time to work on this. I'm mainly trying to accumulate good
power tools right now for this venture.

Makes me want to pick up my old Nizo again!

Looks amazing Mathew!

Kieran.
What do you mean Matthew how does the Matte Box affect the aspect ratio? Just curious.


Thanks a lot Kieran! I hope you do pick it up again. I'm excited everytime I can get a new tool or
come up with a new idea to implement for this kit. The most important factors I consider for this are
keeping the cost low, keeping the box sturdy, and keeping it nice looking since that is, for many, a big
part of why matte boxes are purchased.
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#10 Paul Vanderhoof

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 07:00 PM

I would like to see 4 x 4 filter slot since all my 16mm and HD filters are that size. I would be an interested buyer of this when finished if it's sturdy and lite weight.
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#11 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 08:04 PM

I haven't looked at nearly ALL Super 8 cameras, obviously. Chances are, it may not be entirely universal, but should hopefully cover the most popular Super 8 cameras. My main desire in making this is 1) Most Matte boxes out there are way too expensive 2) The Matte boxes out there are not proportioned appropriately for Super 8 cameras.

With my current design, however, the maximum lens size is about 72mm. Does anyone know if there is a Super 8 lens that is larger in diameter than that? I figured it may be a problem if someone has a Beaulieu or Leicina Special with a special lense. I chose the 72mm threshold though because I feel it looks the best on a Super 8 camera without looking ridiclously large.

I encourage people to submit there comments, concerns, or potential camera makes/models that might present a problem.


Matthew, phantastic job, and great idea. A Super 8-bespoke matte box will surely be welcome to add a brand-new alternative to the old Bauer and Nizo matte boxes and current models by Mamiya. Keep it up!

Re. your request for comments:

- 72mm is a good choice as the larged front lens diameters found in the Super 8 format is 67mm.

- It's a reasonable decision of yours to focus on cameras with a flat camera base (like your Sankyo). That will, however, cause problems for owners of cameras that don't have a flat camera base, i.e. essentially all Beaulieu cameras, from the 2008-series to the 6/7/9008-series. Owners can use Beaulieu flat camera base adapers to circumvent the problem (if they can track one down), but the, you might maybe want to try to accomodate the added height increase from those.

- What is the planned track width of your rails system (you said you did not want to use 35mm format standards, I think I read earlier). You might want to use a track width which is wide enough to accomodate extended Canon, Bauer and Nizo handgrips to fit in-between the two rails.
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#12 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 09:29 PM

I would like to see 4 x 4 filter slot since all my 16mm and HD filters are that size. I would be an interested buyer of this when finished if it's sturdy and lite weight.



I feel your pain as far as that goes because many people have invested in filters of that size. However, I made the original prototype (which I don't have pictures of right now) with the 4x4 size and it sincerly looked ridiculous. It was so large, in fact, that it interfered with my design idea for the matte box-to-rail
connector piece. The piece came down too low for my design and the rails went considerably below what
would be reasonable for it to mount to the tripod bracket. Not saying there isn't ways around this,
but at the moment I can't think of any without making this project much more costly.

Furthermore, I picked 3x3 because for those of us that don't already have a nice collection of 4x4 filters,
the 3x3 are cheaper to purchase which is in spirit with the motivation behind my project in the first place.

Matthew, phantastic job, and great idea. A Super 8-bespoke matte box will surely be welcome to add a brand-new alternative to the old Bauer and Nizo matte boxes and current models by Mamiya. Keep it up!

Re. your request for comments:

- 72mm is a good choice as the larged front lens diameters found in the Super 8 format is 67mm.

- It's a reasonable decision of yours to focus on cameras with a flat camera base (like your Sankyo). That will, however, cause problems for owners of cameras that don't have a flat camera base, i.e. essentially all Beaulieu cameras, from the 2008-series to the 6/7/9008-series. Owners can use Beaulieu flat camera base adapers to circumvent the problem (if they can track one down), but the, you might maybe want to try to accomodate the added height increase from those.

- What is the planned track width of your rails system (you said you did not want to use 35mm format standards, I think I read earlier). You might want to use a track width which is wide enough to accomodate extended Canon, Bauer and Nizo handgrips to fit in-between the two rails.


Thanks for the encouragement first off. As far as the flat camera base issue, I intend to implement a simple
adjustment system which allow vertical adjustment, as well as horizontal. It wont be pin point accurate, as that would be beyond this product. However, the vertical system will have "notches" that you can put your
rails in to increase or decrease the default height of the matte box, relative to your camera base. Hopefully, this should solve the problem on most of the cameras mentioned.

The rail issue is another one entirely. Problem with that is, the rail mounts are bolted to the matte box. The widest point of the matte box is 4.5". The mounts are themselves 5/8" wide each, so the maximum possible space between rails is roughly 3 3/8". Right now the rails are not that far apart, but then again, it doesn't have to be for my camera. But since you bring this up, I may try to tailor it to the largest case scenario, however I cannot go over this 3 3/8" distance. I appreciate you bringing this up and I would appreciate it if you could measure your cameras and inform me if a 3 3/8" track width would be sufficient.
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#13 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 07:00 PM

I'm currently in college so I have much time to work on this.


I love the attitude, Matthew! :D B)

The rail issue is another one entirely. Problem with that is, the rail mounts are bolted to the matte box. The widest point of the matte box is 4.5". The mounts are themselves 5/8" wide each, so the maximum possible space between rails is roughly 3 3/8". Right now the rails are not that far apart, but then again, it doesn't have to be for my camera. But since you bring this up, I may try to tailor it to the largest case scenario, however I cannot go over this 3 3/8" distance. I appreciate you bringing this up and I would appreciate it if you could measure your cameras and inform me if a 3 3/8" track width would be sufficient.


No problemo. I went through the camera pool and also through the list of cameras we used for the Top Camera Guide shoot & screen I talked about in another thread. I went through the "usual suspect" Beaulieus, Nizos (small-body, big-body and sound-body), Bauers (A- and C-models), some Canons and Elmos. The greatest width/diameter of a handgrip that would need to fit in-between your two rails did not exceed 4.7 cm, which is 1.85". So if the track width of the two rails is that or around 5 cm (2"), I am sure that would leave enough space!

I don't own a Nikon R10, but remember that the camera's handgrip is quite thick, as it swallows 6 AA batteries in a revolver drum. If anyone who owns one could measure the diameter (which could be more than the 4.7cm/1.85"), that would be quite helpful.

What I couldn't do either is measure if the rails, had they a track width of 5 cm / 2", might maybe collide with the side-mounted handgrips from the Canon 814 & 1014XL-S? I don't have one around anymore as our 814XL-S will go up for sale over the next weeks or so :( . So maybe a "Canosound" owner here could double-check the distance between inner side of the handgrip and tripod thread on the camera base.

Hope that helped nevertheless, Matthew. Good luck!
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#14 Glenn Brady

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 06:31 AM

I don't own a Nikon R10, but remember that the camera's handgrip is quite thick, as it swallows 6 AA batteries in a revolver drum. If anyone who owns one could measure the diameter (which could be more than the 4.7cm/1.85"), that would be quite helpful.


The base of the grip on the Nikon R10 Super is 1.548" wide and 2.770" long. The grip is the same width to the base of the camera, although it's longer there to accommodate the trigger mechanism and remote control socket.
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#15 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 12:41 PM

I went through the "usual suspect" Beaulieus, Nizos (small-body, big-body and sound-body), Bauers (A- and C-models), some Canons and Elmos. The greatest width/diameter of a handgrip that would need to fit in-between your two rails did not exceed 4.7 cm, which is 1.85". So if the track width of the two rails is that or around 5 cm (2"), I am sure that would leave enough space!


I decided to make the track width 2 3/4" wide. According to the data I've received from you and Glenn, along with my own research, this should be sufficient for nearly all Super 8 cameras. Also, it still looks good enough to be aesthetically pleasing.

Just for an update so far of the project specs, the rail thickness is 1/4" (6.35 mm). This should be plenty strong enough to hold up the matte box which will be well under 1 ibs. The rails are 1 ft. long (30.48 cm).
The block and screw that mount to the cameras tripod mount is about 1" in on the rear of the rails. This gives up to 11" of length for the matte box to mount at the end of your lens. Are there any cameras that have a body+lens length of > 11" from where the camera tripod mount and the end of the lens? I'm referring to stock lenses, not ridiculous add ons and huge filter chains. I thank anyone who helps with this.
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#16 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 06:35 PM

Are there any cameras that have a body+lens length of > 11" from where the camera tripod mount and the end of the lens?


The only camera I can think of as potentially problematic could be the Bauer S 715 XL microcomputer with the Angénieux 15x6mm fully extended, as its tripod mount is (stupidly) placed at the full rear of the camera body.

(cf: http://puisto.org/ka...15XLWithMic.jpg )

The Beaulieu 6/7/9008-series is fine.

(cf: http://www.mondofoto...eu_7008-S_a.jpg )
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#17 kevin jackman

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 09:45 AM

is this going to be a solid unit or will it be expandable like a typical bellows type?
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#18 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 01:42 PM

is this going to be a solid unit or will it be expandable like a typical bellows type?


When you say expandable, are you referring to the matte box itself or the rails system? The box itself is made of solid materials and thus will not move.

While I'm at it, I'll give an update of design developments and changes at this point:

-Matte box will accept up to a maximum of 67mm lens since I was informed this was the maximum for Super 8 stock lenses

-Rail track is 2 3/4" wide. This should be plenty to fit around handgrips, if applicable.

-Rail diameter is 1/4" (6.35mm) and 12" long. Unlike on 15mm rail systems, the length on mine start from the beginning of the camera mount instead of coming out the front of the tripod mount.

-Matte box rail mount is a 4" high block that mounts to the bottom of the matte box and has spaced holes for vertical adjustment of height into the 4" wide horizontal railblock at the front of the rails. The horizontal block is also adjustable forward and backward on the rails using wingnuts to loosen and tighten the horizontal block relative to the camera/lens length.

-To increase fine tuning placement ability, the rail-to-camera base block mount will have three spaced holes for mounting the rails to the camera. This is done so that the rails can be placed around difficult handgrips that might extend too far to one side. This effect is also offset by the front horizontal railblock having the same spacing of holes for the matte box mount to mount to.

Note: So far the material cost is low enough that I'm feeling real good about $100 being the final cost. I really do want to keep it reasonable. The finished product will obviously not look like a 6.6" Arri system that cost $2,000+, but it will look cool for a Super 8 camera. I hope you all will continue to hang in there with me and help me out as I go along.
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#19 Giles Perkins

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 03:25 PM

Bellows - as per http://www.cavision..../4x4bellows.htm (2nd photo down) for example - I'm guessing?
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#20 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 05:55 PM

Bellows - as per http://www.cavision..../4x4bellows.htm (2nd photo down) for example - I'm guessing?


I see what you mean, I figured that's what he meant. Nope, that's not it. I figured the pics I put up there would give a good idea of what the matte box will look like (aside from the electrical tape lol). The rails system will be more intricate than what's shown. I'll try to get updated pics up soon of where I'm at currently with it.
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