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Leicina Special + ST-1 time exposures


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#1 Alan Lasky

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 02:44 PM

Ahoy,
I wonder if anyone might be able to help with a Super 8 related question. I am shooting some time-lapse utilizing a Leicina Special and the ST-1 Electronic Control Unit. It is working great; amazing considering the camera was last manufactured in 1977 (I have DV cameras from last year that have stopped functioning).

Anyway, I want to shoot some long exposure stuff (streaking car headlights, people drawing with led lights, etc) and I can not find any information on time-exposure using the Leicina Special/ST-1 combination. Both the Leicina Special Manual and the ST-1 manual mention time-exposures, but there is no real data about how it actually works. Page 23 of the Leicina Special manual says: (see also Working Sheets No. 210-27 under "Long time exposure"). Does anyone have experience with time exposures using the Leicina Special and ST-1 controller? Does anyone know where I might find the ever-elusive Leicina "Working sheet No. 210-27" that apparently deals with this subject?

Also, production would like to get the material transfered to HD (direct to hard drive preferable) and I would like to hear about any experiences with the facilities that do that sort of thing (Bono Labs, Flying Spot Film Transfer, etc).

Thanks in advance for any help.

Alan Lasky
Los Angeles, The People's Republic of California
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#2 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 02:50 PM

While the Leicina may be the ideal camera for time-exposure in Super-8, it is not the only camera that does time-exposure in Super-8. Several Nizos, Bauer-Royal's, Eumigs, and even a couple of other brands can do time-exposure as well.
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#3 Alan Lasky

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 04:17 PM

While the Leicina may be the ideal camera for time-exposure in Super-8, it is not the only camera that does time-exposure in Super-8. Several Nizos, Bauer-Royal's, Eumigs, and even a couple of other brands can do time-exposure as well.


Uhhhhh, OK.
Respectfully, I am not sure how this answers my initial question? Yes, several other cameras are capable of time exposure. That's fantastic. I happen to be using the Leicina, which is the one I posted a specific question about. I re-read my post and I never stated that the Leicina was the only camera capable of time-exposure, just that I was using it and that I had a technical question about its operation in time exposrue mode.

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#4 Bernhard Zitz

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 05:43 PM

For time exposure set the the exposure-mode knob to T

once the controller plugged to the camera it should work.

The batterypack should NOT be on the camera since the controller suplies the power. You also can feed the controller with power from the camera. So either batteries in the controller or in the camera.

When the red light on the side of the camera is on shutter is open, when it's off shutter is closed.

First trigger opens shutter second trigger is closing shutter, third trigger is opening etc. The duration of the trigger-impuls doesn't matter for timexposure, only the time between the triggers, what leads to the following problem:

Shutteropentime and closedtime is always the same. For example 2seconds of exposure are always followed by 2seconds of pause. I prefer Nizos for time-exposure, they reopen the shutter emediatly...(sorry I know you're using a leicina :rolleyes: )

One could overcome the problem by DIY a cotroller that double-triggers, only the first trigger had to be a single... Or do it manual...


cheers, Bernhard

Edited by Bernhard Zitz, 24 September 2007 - 05:47 PM.

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#5 Alan Lasky

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 06:38 PM

Danke Schon Bernhard,
BTW which Nizo do you prefer for time exposure and why?

Alan Lasky
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#6 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 08:23 PM

While the Leicina may be the ideal camera for time-exposure in Super-8, it is not the only camera that does time-exposure in Super-8.


I evidently agree with you, Alex, but would go a little bit further, if I may B) :
Actually, the Leitz Leicina Special is anything but the ideal camera to do time exposure. The external intervalometer design, its integration with the camera systems, the rarity of the device and finally, its in effect manual and unnecessarily complex ergonomics for operation make this the worst solution to make time exposures on Super 8 :( .

Sure, thanks to its Schneider 11x6mm and the interchangeable lens option, the Leitz Leicina Special is one of the top production cameras for Super 8. But serious alternatives to it with like-for-like camera-mechanical excellence and optical resolving power, plus a built-in solution with "easier-to-operate" and "great-results-first-time" experience would be the Nizo professional and Bauer A 512.
Even the external intervalometer for the third alternative, the Beaulieu 4008 ZM II (with Schneider 11x6mm, not the Schneider 6-70mm) is a more thought-through device.
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#7 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 08:33 PM

Uhhhhh, OK.
Respectfully, I am not sure how this answers my initial question? Yes, several other cameras are capable of time exposure. That's fantastic. I happen to be using the Leicina, which is the one I posted a specific question about. I re-read my post and I never stated that the Leicina was the only camera capable of time-exposure, just that I was using it and that I had a technical question about its operation in time exposrue mode.

Alan Lasky


My concern on your behalf was you appear to be doing something for a television show or some other professional purpose and usually time is of the essence, I deduced this by your use of the phrase "production would like to get the material transferred....)

Also, production would like to get the material transfered to HD (direct to hard drive preferable) and I would like to hear about any experiences with the facilities that do that sort of thing (Bono Labs, Flying Spot Film Transfer, etc).

Thanks in advance for any help.

Alan Lasky
Los Angeles, The People's Republic of California



Since no one had responded to you yet I was letting you know you had other options just in case you didn't have much time, which is usually the case for professional productions.
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#8 Alan Lasky

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 09:07 PM

My concern on your behalf was you appear to be doing something for a television show or some other professional purpose and usually time is of the essence, I deduced this by your use of the phrase "production would like to get the material transferred....)
Since no one had responded to you yet I was letting you know you had other options just in case you didn't have much time, which is usually the case for professional productions.


Indeed we are doing this for professional output. Forgive me if my tone seemed less than appreciative. Fortunately we do have the benefit of time. Which camera is best for time exposure? Which offers the most control?

Also, I would like to hear people's experience with transfer of supr-8 to HD.

Thanks,
Alan Lasky
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#9 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 09:36 PM

Also, I would like to hear people's experience with transfer of supr-8 to HD.


I am currently in negotiations with Todd-AO here in London for a more sizeable HD Telecine project using 10-bit uncompressed direct to hard disk.

I have been shown a testreel of Super 8 7217 that was (as I would need it to be for my purposes) pillardboxed to accomodate the full 1:1.33 Super 8 frame and I must say it did blow me away. The texture, photographic layering of the emulsion comes out beautifully, and there is no trace of "that" coarse-grainy look if one does not want it to be there. Plus: color-grading achieves amazing results when a talented person does it.

I came to the conclusion that Super 8 has actually much more potential than Kodak allows it to have. And Rochester just started to take it serious as a cinematographic medium 2 years ago...

It is very impressive what one can get out of Super 8 if you take the production chain serious and don't get booged down in those "half-good is good enough for S8" ideas.

There was a huge debate here last year whether such an approach - I call it now "Santo's method" - is meaningful. But Daniel's "Halogenuros" project that 4K'd Super 8 showcased it most positively. And what I have seen so far on "merely" uncompressed HD plus downconverted media-output on Blu-ray Disc, Super 8 can really develop a cinematographic material-aesthetic outside that "1970s-family-film" stereotype it is mostly known and used for today in the industry.
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#10 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 09:49 PM

Which camera is best for time exposure? Which offers the most control?


Cf. my more extensive post earlier in this thread. In a nutshell:

- Nizo professional with Schneider 11x7mm
(Time exposure prioritised either by light-influx or by preset exposure time)

- Bauer A 512 with Schneider 12x6mm
(beautifully reliable and rough'n tough, prioritises light-influx)

- Beaulieu 4008 ZM II with Schneider 11x6mm or Angénieux 13x6mm
external intervalometer similar to Leitz ST-1, but less technocratic ergonomics.
very rare to find (even rarer than ST-1), so virtually pointless as an option
=> avoid ZM IV with Schneider 6-70mm
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#11 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 04:19 AM

Cf. my more extensive post earlier in this thread. In a nutshell:

- Nizo professional with Schneider 11x7mm
(Time exposure prioritised either by light-influx or by preset exposure time)

- Bauer A 512 with Schneider 12x6mm
(beautifully reliable and rough'n tough, prioritises light-influx)

- Beaulieu 4008 ZM II with Schneider 11x6mm or Angénieux 13x6mm
external intervalometer similar to Leitz ST-1, but less technocratic ergonomics.
very rare to find (even rarer than ST-1), so virtually pointless as an option
=> avoid ZM IV with Schneider 6-70mm


I don't recall any of the Beaulieu's actually doing time-exposures.

You can add the Eumig 800 series to that list. (although NOT the 800, but the 830, 860, 880 and 881). Eumigs
however are probably the most lubrication thirsty cameras I have ever worked with. Odds are if you pick one
up it WILL need an internal lubricating and this camera may be one of the most difficult to open up AND reseal
because there are so many dials and knobs that could be left in the wrong position!

also Bolex made a "680" that did time-exposure and Revue also made a camera that did time-exposure.

the Eumigs probably have the most complex and most intriguing time-exposure options because of the photo cell that is actually imbedded just under the lens whereas the Nizo's probably have the most "controllable" style of time-lapse.

I have never used the Nizo for time-exposure (I am a Eumig guy) but apparently on the more advanced models one sets the time-lapse function first to the time interval that is desired, than the red slider on the side of the camera is shifted over and the function inverts so instead of one frame being exposed every 20 seconds, when the red switch is shifted over to the left the camera specs invert and the shutter stays open for 20 seconds and then advances a frame.

A very clever way to achieve the time-exposure function.
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#12 Bernhard Zitz

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 05:31 AM

Indeed we are doing this for professional output.



If it's for professional output and you don't need a vintage S8-look use a DSLR. If you don't expose to long you'll get very nice results, more pro-broadcast-looking than S8. CCDs or CMOS get noisy with very long exposure-times, my minolta d7 gets critical at 10secs...

The advantage of DSLR over film is to have instant preview, higher resolution and no need for transfer, just dump it on your harddrive and convert it to a codec compatible with your editing software.

cheers, Bernhard
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#13 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 06:07 AM

If it's for professional output and you don't need a vintage S8-look use a DSLR. If you don't expose to long you'll get very nice results, more pro-broadcast-looking than S8. CCDs or CMOS get noisy with very long exposure-times, my minolta d7 gets critical at 10secs...

The advantage of DSLR over film is to have instant preview, higher resolution and no need for transfer, just dump it on your harddrive and convert it to a codec compatible with your editing software.

cheers, Bernhard


The Super-8 won't necessarily look "vintage" if one does around an f4.0 f-stop in super-8 with a 5 second exposure and shoots either the 200 negative stock or the Velvia 50 or Ektachrome 100D stock. One can also capture 3600 frames from the super-8 film cartridge as well.
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#14 Bernhard Zitz

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 06:58 AM

The Super-8 won't necessarily look "vintage". One can also capture 3600 frames from the super-8 film cartridge as well.


Yep, it's a cliche that one always refers S8 to a vintage look, S8 can look pro if done right. But why would one choose a more complicated and more expensive method?

Even being a S8 and 16mm-enthusiast I would use a DSLR for the job; because you see what you get, if you don't like it, just redo it. It's faster and cheaper. At 1080xsomething you'll get 2000frames or more on a 4giga-card (depending compression etc...)

It's funny, one asks a simple technical question and the discussion derives to a faith war "digital vs film".

Anyway, Alan, could you describe the shots you're planing to do in time-exposure and with what footage you have to intercut it.

Or maybe you just don't care and want to shoot the stuff with your leicina, anyway it's fun using a S8.
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#15 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 07:38 AM

Agree with you, Alex; disagree with you Bernhard.

It's funny, one asks a simple technical question and the discussion derives to a faith war "digital vs film".


Actually, it's not that simple, and has nothing to do with a pointless "digi vs film" battlefield thread indeed.
It's just that the wording of your post did imply for Alex specific connotations which are all-too-often impeding discussions about S8 as a medium. I am fully certain that you are a pro that meant this in the way you posted it above. But there a countless unreg'd readers who visit this forum to get an overview and understanding of S8, and for the sake of completion, a self-reflective discussion is important: which is what you and Alex engaged in.

Why does it matter?

The idea to use DSLR because it accommodates post using DI easier is an obvious proposition anyone with an understanding of photography and cinematography thinks off straight-away. But such rationale does not take into account that in cinematography, ...

a) material aesthetics count to transmit a message and are concious decisions a filmmaker does after giving it considerable thought (even though "the suits" will question every dedolight and Arrimax on your budget list, let alone the shooting format).
Hence if someone asks about a S8 technicality for a "pro production", it is not automatically because he is probably shooting on S8 because he doesn't know any better or indeed any other digi or cine medium. He might shoot on it because he wants S8's easy-to-handle principles, or the on-set convenience it allows, or the unconspiciousness the gear enables all the while retaining aesthetics inate to all cine-film formats which (despite S8 being smaller than S16 or N35 blabla) are consistent and immediately recognisable.
Even those RED threads have now profoundly understood that point and are promisingly discussing what I think to be the best cinematographic discussions go on here right now - and certainly not along video vs film trenches).

B) After all, if you do an HD Telecine anyhow, you might as well grap a manual Normal 16 Bell & Howell off eBay, do manual time exposures using time tables, and then transfer it at a comparable price. Beats DSLR quality-wise without a shadow of a doubt (or screw around on any Konvas and do it on Super 35 on a budget :) )

c) comes from the corner (and I don't mean you, Bernhard, specifically with this strongly formulated point - I just want to make a general point here as Andy is looking at this from a production perspective) that is intellectually ladden to attribute specific cultural perceptions to Super 8 as a "vintage format" because of its social provenance, but have actually nothing to do with Super 8 as a contemporary cinematographic medium. Having lived in Continental Europe for too long (where this coarse-grain flicker Super 8 tradition impedes any form of real filmic advancement), I too had this perspective. But my exposure to the Californian sun and British rain, and to actually see what one can do with a Vision2 or Plus-X via a talented HD Telecine changed my opinion fundamentally (see my earlier posting).

Dear o'dear, sure, these discussions were around in the 1960s too when Kodak really believed they could launch "that amateur format", 16mm, into the broadcast sector: "How stupid, it will never work. 16mm is for family films, home projectors and consumer-grade reversal film. You can't do news broadcasts with that?! What might people think of our station? And then there is this Scandinavian guy who expanded the frame ratio!? Super-Duper 16 or what it's called? What a bearded fool! Only a French guy could take that serious, and their cameras are as bad as French cars blablabla..." :D B)

Just a question: what is "pro-broadcast looking" supposed to mean? Ken Loach shooting on S16? "Heroes" on 35mm? "Miami Vice" with a Viper? Or a one-person ENG journalist running around Capitol Hill or Westminster or Bundesplatz who does interviewing, lighting, sound and shooting all by himself: "Herr Blocher, Herr Blocher, eine Frage wegen der Schwarzen Schafe... ach, verflixt, der Ton steuert nicht aus..." ;)

Now, let's close that can of worms really fast before we see a Santo redux here again. :huh:
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#16 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 08:05 AM

Cf. my more extensive post earlier in this thread. The listing is based on cameras that combine camera-mechanical excellence and leading optical resolving power with their lens: cameras hence on a par with the Leitz Leicina Special that Andy uses:

- Nizo professional with Schneider 11x7mm
Time exposure prioritised either by light-influx or uniquely by preset exposure time
=> avoid Nizo 801 and 801 macro because of inferior lens when compared to the Pro

- Bauer A 512 with Schneider 12x6mm
beautifully reliable and rough'n tough, prioritises light-influx
=> avoid Bauer A 508 because of inferior lens when compared to the A 512

- Beaulieu 4008 ZM II with Schneider 11x6mm (similar to Leicina) or Angénieux 13x6mm
external intervalometer similar to Leitz ST-1, but less technocratic ergonomics.
very rare to find (even rarer than ST-1), so virtually pointless as an option
=> avoid ZM IV with inferior Schneider 6-70mm

You can add the Eumig 800 series to that list. (although NOT the 800, but the 830, 860, 880 and 881). Also Bolex made a "680" that did time-exposure and Revue also made a camera that did time-exposure.


Thanks, Alex. Looking at your works, time-exposure with Eumigs are alphabetically magical!

I have never used the Nizo for time-exposure (I am a Eumig guy) but apparently on the more advanced models...


Yeap, the last-generation big-bodied Nizo could uniquely prioritise time exposures either by light-influx or uniquely by preset exposure time. But only the specially-made Nizo pro's lens and componentry would put it close to the Leitz Leicina Special quality-wise (at least that is what we concluded based on the test shoot'n screening project. A pity that the Canon 1014XL-S does not allow this feature...

I don't recall any of the Beaulieu's actually doing time-exposures.


As I said, an external intervalometer was made available in the late 1970s (after 4008 prodution had already ceased) that enabled this feature by being connected to the open motor-shaft to the left-hand side of the 4008 ZM II and ZM IV bodies only.
It was made as a very small production run and is thus extremely rare. I have only seen it once at Ritter Film + Videotechnik (ex-Beaulieu Germany) in the mid-1990s where it was sort of auctioned-off at one of its trade fair shows. I put my name down on a prospective-buyer-list, but I was told that the list was already pages-long and they doubted it would materialise in my lifetime. Got a mint Bauer A 512 in the Profi Set from them and cheap as chips instead.
Someone from the BCFI made 3 to 4 replicas of it, but only for his mates. Until they pass away and their families decide to sell the equipment, they won't reach the market.
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#17 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 08:53 AM

Ehm, sorry, Alan, when I referred to you as "Andy" in above posts. I can't edit it (for some unknown reason), so I must seek an apology for it in this way.

Please accept my sincerest apologies, Alan.

Lesson to be learned: never post on ciny.com while doing something else in parallel: like talking to someone over the phone who's name is Andy...
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#18 Alan Lasky

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 12:23 PM

Yep, it's a cliche that one always refers S8 to a vintage look, S8 can look pro if done right. But why would one choose a more complicated and more expensive method?

Even being a S8 and 16mm-enthusiast I would use a DSLR for the job; because you see what you get, if you don't like it, just redo it. It's faster and cheaper. At 1080xsomething you'll get 2000frames or more on a 4giga-card (depending compression etc...)

It's funny, one asks a simple technical question and the discussion derives to a faith war "digital vs film".

Anyway, Alan, could you describe the shots you're planing to do in time-exposure and with what footage you have to intercut it.

Or maybe you just don't care and want to shoot the stuff with your leicina, anyway it's fun using a S8.


Hola,
I can not talk about exactly what we are shooting, as usual production would freak out. :o

I did test out a DSLR but I was not really happy with the results, and the nature of what we are shooting (exterior day for the time lapse) meant that there was a great deal of frame-to-frame exposure compensation required on Flame/After Effects/Digital Fusion/Nuke (whatever had the plug-in) to get it to look good.

Believe me, I have no interest in a "digital vs film" flame war. I am neither a film purist nor a digital purist. I worked for DALSA for 2 years on their 4K digital camera, I worked for Panavision, I did DI, HD post, VFX, etc. The argument is a dead issue as far as I am concerned. You use what is right for the project and what makes sense financially. Ultimately most of the people fighting about this point do not have to ever go in and deal with the line producer regarding the actual camera budget of a project. Sure, I'd love to shoot the time-lapse/time-exposure using an Arri 435 Advanced with a capping shutter and a set of Master Primes and then have the negative scanned at 4K, but the logistics and economic reality on the project simply do not support it. We will likely shoot 16mm, Super-8, HD, 35mm and some DSLR before the project wraps; it is just that kind of gig.

To be clear, we are not using Super-8 to mimic a "70's look," we are using it because we really, really like the result. I asked the question about transfer to HD because I want to make sure we squeeze the most out of the Super 8 negative that we can. I would like to go to one facility that people recommend, rather than testing a whole bunch and wasting a lot of time.

Thanks,
Alan Lasky
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#19 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 12:43 PM

Hmm, can't comment on HD Telecine experiences in LA or CA area, Alan.
(I thought you might be in LA re. your work at Panavision in 2000, but couldn't be sure)

Here in Europe: Todd-AO in London, UK / On Line Video 46 in Zürich, CH.
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#20 Bernhard Zitz

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 01:09 PM

I did test out a DSLR but I was not really happy with the results, (exterior day for the time lapse)


So it's more time lapse in daylight and not time exposure with long exposure times? It's true that in sunny daylight DSLR does not very well, I often end with blown highlights.

I thought it would be a night-scene with long opening-times because you said time exposure.

If you have further questions on using the controller for time-lapse don't hesitate asking. But once you plug it to the camera and play around you'll find out how works without manual or "Working sheet No. 210-27".

If you do normal time laps set the mode-knob to "1" not to "T" as I mentioned before. And all the stuff about openingtime and pause etc. doesn't matter in normal time-laps mode.

cheers, Bernhard
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