New Super 8 Cartridge Design
Posted 29 October 2007 - 10:07 PM
The original Kodapak Coaxial Instamatic-Cartridge by the Eastman Kodak Company.
Despite being a successful and well-working design that sold in incredible quantities over decades with actually only few endemic problems, it has been much maligned among many filmshooters. And this despite valiant attempts by some DoPs or filmmakers to question those all-too-critical statements that alledge a major design flaw, sometimes even trying to redeem the reputation of the engineers (often derided as incompetent cartridge muppets) and atone for the harsh press that pops up whenever someone has a jamming cartridge in hand.
Posted 29 October 2007 - 10:09 PM
By some referred to as Kaccema like a manufacturer's brand name although it is basically cyrillic for 'cassette' (As in: "Oh, look a CAR.") and hailed as superior to the Kodak original mostly due to it having a metal pressure plate (an opinion I unfortunately cannot follow with from my own filming experiences with it), it features a number of slight differences to the original Kodak design. Most obviously two snap-in clippers to allow opening it up with ease; then of course the aforementioned metal pressure plate with slightly different channel and ramp alignments than found on the plastic pressure plate used by Kodak; and finally a wider thread-through opening in the middle part in-between the two coaxial cartridge chambers.
Posted 29 October 2007 - 10:11 PM
The new GK-Film Precision Cartridge was presented in Berlin on the 20th October during the Nomos Award Screening. Astonishingly few details have surfaced over the past week from people who were there and saw it. Even picture material is rare, and the posted pictures is apparently third-hand when it arrived in my mailbox.
Two things are worth mentioning already:
First off all that the design ? despite obvious assumptions ? was not made by Jonathan Ive and will not be sold with actual film material in this see-through form . Actually, why the iCartridge prototype showpiece has translucent plastic instead of transparent plastic to allow a proper glimpse into the fabled interior (which is where Gottfried Klose reportedly made most changes to the design), remains unclear to me. After all, this was the public presentation, and fears of copyright infringement or patent theft at that state should no longer be a worry. It is supposed to be sold with Cinevia-branded film in less than two months.
The second thing is of course the use of what appears to be a metal pressure plate inspired by the FrameMaster, featuring a plain flat plate similar to 16/35 magazines, and totally eschewing the channel and ramp alignments that the other two metal and plastic pressure plates feature.
Posted 29 October 2007 - 10:13 PM
More shall be posted as info becomes available in the "cloud" of from Gottfried Klose / GK-Film directly...
Edited by Michael Lehnert, 29 October 2007 - 10:13 PM.
Posted 14 November 2007 - 09:34 PM
Posted 15 November 2007 - 12:43 AM
The new GK-Film Precision Cartridge was presented in Berlin on the 20th October during the Nomos Award Screening. Astonishingly few details have surfaced over the past week from people who were there and saw it.
This thing looks great is it reloadable?
Posted 22 November 2007 - 06:41 PM
I think I can explain the strange transparent plastic. A production mold is expensive to create, so companies often start by machining a part from a slab of soft plastic or by getting a cheaper aluminum mold made. Both techniques often require different types of plastic than the final steel production mold (aluminum will cause the plastic to cool faster, so a different softer resin may be required to produce the part).
Actually, why the iCartridge prototype showpiece has translucent plastic instead of transparent plastic to allow a proper glimpse into the fabled interior (which is where Gottfried Klose reportedly made most changes to the design), remains unclear to me.
Posted 23 November 2007 - 08:51 AM
any update if it is reloadable or only sold with GK-Film film?
(im going to get something to eat)
Posted 24 November 2007 - 08:39 AM
Posted 25 November 2007 - 11:07 AM
Posted 27 November 2007 - 04:45 PM
People who have been at the launch event during the Nomos Award Screening in Berlin and talked to Gottfried Klose of GK-Film personally don't know anything really about the GK-Film Precision Cartridge.
The good people of Polanoir at Unsaleable.com ? a reliable source to get my Polaroid 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 medium-format packfilm or indeed SX-70 integralfilm ? don't know any details about the GK-Film Precision Cartridge either, although they are going to manage sales via the renewed attempt to establish the Cinevia brand.
And the greatly advertised "launch article" in the current issue of Jürgen Lossau's Smallformat magazine is an utter travesty. It's a one column and a half long note covering less than a quarter of one page in the news section (a portrait shot of Gottfried Klose is devouring most of that space anyhow) with no new information whatsoever. If anyone bought the issue because of Jürgen Lossau's announcement, then potential feelings of fraud might arise. Luckily enough, I got the issue for free without even any request from my side whatsoever ? despite or maybe because I cancelled my subscription of Schmalfilm magazine as that one's content got 90% unbearable for the price. So I put an 'Avoid' warning out re. that.
Posted 27 November 2007 - 06:29 PM
The GK-Film Precision Cartridge was designed by Gottfried Klose of GK-Film in order to offer a third Super 8 cartridge design with the clear intention to ameliorate the overall transport qualities in light of the needs of the many film stocks that are now being offered for the format.
Transport qualities had apparently suffered as far as the two other designs were concerned (namely the Kodapak Coaxial Instamatic-Cartridge by the Eastman Kodak Company and the Russian Reloadable Cartridge originally sold by Kahl Media Art Film) because the film stock's overall thickness and flexibility was too off-standard from the previous K-40/E-160 "gold standards" around which the previous two designs were apparently built.
Some if these claims can be disputed or are debatable, put the "web consensus" seems to sides with Gottfried Klose on all that.
The GK-Film Precision Cartridge is currently put through prototype testing, but is supposed to go on sale towards the end of this year already, according to Polanoir. But Jürgen Lossau already implies delays and provides "February 2008 at the latest" as a more realistic date. It will again feature the Fuji Velvia 50 D film as originally sold by Klose under the Cinevia brand. The V-50 is provided by Fuji Europe in Düsseldorf, DE, states Lossau (from where else, might I query?) and loading and packaging will be done at Filmotec in Wolfen, DE, i.e. the-factory-formerly-known-as Orwo in East-Germany.
Smallformat magazine wants to publish a "...detailed test report [...] in [its] next issue...", but frankly, that was said about so many interesting articles recently which were then replaced by nostalgia texts that one should be careful to believe such announcements by now.
Based on very basic CAD print-outs showcased in Berlin, the GK-Film Precision Cartridge will consist of the same amount of parts as the two previous designs, so twists and changes to constituent parts can only be minor. There will be no fundamentally redesigned innards, e.g. changing the ways of the film path or film threading, let alone the way the coaxial cartridge chambers are sized or aligned.
The GK-Film Precision Cartridge is not supposed to be reloadable by the "consumer" in the way the Russian Reloadable Cartridge is. However, I think that aspects of the design are meant to be reused or recycled. If not the plastic casing parts then at least the metal pressure plate.
According to what I gather, the design heavily borrows from the expensively manufactured FrameMaster device that Gottfried Klose originally developed as a lay-over onto the plastic pressure plate by Kodak in order to ameliorate frame stability and reduce frame variance. I doubt that economies of scale would make the price of even a watered-down version of a FrameMaster-derived metal pressure plate significantly less expensive, so I suggest that this part of the cartridge will very likely be extracted at the processing lab (Andec with Filmotec involvement to get the metal pressure plate back from processing to loading?) and the original manufacturing costs for that part are hedged through futures.
If it gets reused, then issues of wear and tear arise as a friend of mine who owns a FrameMaster notes that high meterage (or footage, if you prefer) does leave micrometer marks on the flat-polished side. Dropping it on location can severely damage it. So this is quite an issue re. the care filmshooters or DoPs put towards the cartridges. This would be even more the case if the entire cartridge is supposed to be reused.
Furthermore, as the FrameMaster's track record is still very patchy after more than 5 years of mainstream usage, it will be interesting to see how this metal pressure plate design of the GK-Film Precision Cartridge will impact film transport and frame stability at all or in general. Also, issues of compatibility with Super 8 cameras' film gate assemblies that take the channel and ramp alignments of the original two plastic and metal pressure plates into exact consideration arise if the metal pressure plate is all-flat-polished as the FrameMaster is. If I remember correctly, there have been problems with the FrameMaster device and the Leitz Leicina Special and the Nikon R10 in the past, acknowledged by Gottfried Klose himself.
So much for now, at least from me. Any further infos are highly welcome, really, as the knowledge flow is anything but a stream (not even a little river)...
Posted 30 November 2007 - 01:25 PM
Please do the Super 8 community a favor and stop the negative comments about smallformat. It's an extremely small magazine focused on an extremely small market. All of the regular contributors work extremely hard without much tangible reward, and your sniping is demoralizing. There is absolutely nothing stopping you from writing content for the magazine, in fact it would be greatly appreciated.
The GK-Film Precision Cartridge is currently put through prototype testing, but is supposed to go on sale towards the end of this year already, according to Polanoir. But Jürgen Lossau already implies delays and provides "February 2008 at the latest" as a more realistic date. It will again feature the Fuji Velvia 50 D film as originally sold by Klose under the Cinevia brand.
Smallformat magazine wants to publish a "...detailed test report [...] in [its] next issue...", but frankly, that was said about so many interesting articles recently which were then replaced by nostalgia texts that one should be careful to believe such announcements by now.
I discussed Mr. Klose's cartridge with Juergen a couple of days ago. Mr. Klose is working extremely hard to test his design as thoroughly as possible, and some test cartridges will be forwarded to Juergen shortly. There have been no delays that I am aware of, and I'm sure that the February 2008 date mentioned in Juergen's piece was based upon comments made by Mr. Klose himself. After all, that gives the company a mere 60 days or so to finish testing and ramp up production (with Christmas in the middle). It's a very aggressive timeline, indeed.
Juergen will publish his experiences with the cartridge as soon as he can, but please remember that there is always a tradeoff between writing an extensive article and getting the essential information out there. In the case of the last issue, I think Juergen made a good choice to introduce the cartridge in a brief Viewer piece that was written as the magazine was going to press (remember that there is a lag of a few weeks between when the editorial work is finished and printing). There was no point in going into more depth because the cartridge was still in development and subject to change. In fact, there has already been at least one significant alteration.
Edited by James Grahame, 30 November 2007 - 01:27 PM.
Posted 30 November 2007 - 08:58 PM
I appreciate your standing up for Smallformat at times when its future is looking very bleak indeed. I am sure Jürgen Lossau and the staff at Schiele & Schön appreciate it. When Jürgen took over the German-language Schmalfilm and then created the English-language Smallformat, he decided to pursue a very specific editorial direction which caused controversy in the German amateur filmmaking circles to which Schmalfilm caters for over 50 years. Transfering that editorial direction into the international sphere for a global magazine at a time when the Super 8 format is extremely dynamic and rapidly professionalising, Jürgen's editorial direction seemed even bolder to pursue. I hope that the recent changes to that in moving closer content-wise to what Super 8 Today successfully stands for will lure in new readers. If that fails, then the demise of Smallformat is entirely caused by itself, and most certainly not to my critical remark, as you seem to imply.
My critical remark is about how specific topics are repeatedly grandly announced and then not delivered. If I had actually bought this issue after Jürgen Lossau's topical (!) announcement on the other forum (which I wanted to do at Widescreen Centre, but travelling abroad kept me away from Baker Street), I would be furious about what I got in effect, and in a dissonant consequence would certainly not subscribe to Smallformat, let alone recommend it to colleagues ? i.e. the contrary would happen to what the editorial team is begging its readership to do to keep the English-language edition alive. If such marketing is supposed to attract subscribers (like the never materialising E-64s), then this strategy will backfire horribly.
As far as me "doing the Super 8 community a favor" and your supposed-to-be-revealing insight into the voluntary, unpaid and personal world of social engagement in which my S8 community work had always been located (!), please allow me to provide you with the research you should have done about me in the first place before making a private comment here, because its your name and reputation that is on the line, not mine:
I was already a regular contributor to Schmalfilm and discussed future publication strategies with his predecessor Klaus Pellinka when Jürgen Lossau was an unknown guy still researching for his first book and looking like a poor sod trying to flog subscription to his camera book all alone in the empty entry hall of the Waghäusel Cine Fair ? which is where I first met him and became one of his first customers ? despite him insisting that the Nikon R10 had two double registration pins!
I was also voluntary writer and editor for several cine-film journals and co-organised film festivals in Hof, Berlin, and Davos. I was the first to break news of "overseas S8 scenes" into the cosy Kodachrome world of German 1990s Super 8. I also developed the plan for a link-up between Schmalfilm and CineMagica magazine for which I worked as contributing editor for 6 years, then a sophisticated and non-profit niche publication far ahead of its future partner. The link-up later executed by my successor (I left Germany for the UK then which meant in a pre-internet time that previous relations basically became unmaintainable) netted Schmalfilm over 250 Europe-wide subscribers with a finger's snip.
Professionally, I am absolutely brash to state that I write, work and research about issues pretty much unrelated to cinematography every day to deadlines measured in hours rather then weeks, and to standards most good folks at Schiele & Schön can't even imagine, let alone grasp.
You should also not be surprised to read that I have actually submitted substantial pieces of material, articles both in English for Smallformat and German for Schmalfilm publication-ready in DTP formats to Jürgen personally already 2 years ago. After many weeks of silence from him, I got a reply that clearly showed that the editorial future he wanted to pursue (historical, collector-orientated, tech-wise on the level of 1980s articles à la Dieter Müller which were great but not contemporary anymore) was not intersecting with my texts. I granted him an option for the texts for one more year (!), which expired without further interest. It is only then that I contacted Chris Cottrill of the then-new Super 8 Today and we likemindedly agreed on what is now supposed to become a dozen articles that start with the current issue. And please bear in mind that Super 8 Today is a one man show, made on a fraction of Schiele & Schön's budgets, without the fancy layout and photography, but content-wise just closer to the Zeitgeist. It would in essence need much more assistance from the Super 8 community than an established publishing house like S&S.
I even publicly offered Jürgen and Smallformat my consulting services to turn the magazine around in this very forum re. his editorial, content, marketing and distribution strategy, but that was not taken up at all, which is fair enough for me. I am very happy with my engagement for Super 8 Today. I prefer to help the underdog rather than the better-placed guys who can't manage their big machines.
To be honest, I really can't do more for you guys. But after reading my statement above, you will certainly understand that I choose from whom I accept criticism and from whom I can actually discard it. I hence invite you to cease making unsubstantiated claims against my work, and rather assist Smallformat to deliver what it promises to do with the extent it publicly proclaims, rather than asking me to shut up. This is a free forum, after all, not the Pravda.
Posted 01 December 2007 - 03:22 PM
Both Super 8 Today and smallformat are underdogs. Both magazines have tiny readerships and both are fighting to survive. No one makes a living from either magazine. That's the nature of publishing a magazine that caters to a "long tail" hobby like Super 8 film.
I prefer to help the underdog rather than the better-placed guys who can't manage their big machines.
I understand that you consider smallformat to be part of a big machine because it is printed by a commercial publishing house, but that does not mean that it is a big budget production. It simply means that there is access to professional layout staff and Schiele & Schoen's printing and distribution.
I haven't made any "unsubstantiated claims against your work," Michael.
I hence invite you to cease making unsubstantiated claims against my work, and rather assist Smallformat to deliver what it promises to do with the extent it publicly proclaims, rather than asking me to shut up. This is a free forum, after all, not the Pravda.
All I was trying to communicate - perhaps too strongly - is that your negativity has the potential to do more damage than good. I already work very hard to write content for smallformat and provide translation help. I simply don't have the time to do more and I would love to get help from others.
Edited by James Grahame, 01 December 2007 - 03:23 PM.
Posted 01 December 2007 - 05:28 PM
Based on that premise I would have to agree that it's probably not worthwhile criticizing something most of us take no initiative in making "better" or "more" about what we would want to see, although it appears that Michael tried.
I found the image in the current small format magazine of a 70's prototype zeiss ikon hybrid super-8mm/still film camera to be worth the price of a years subscription. It looks like it was designed in tribute to the "Flying Nun's" habit. http://www.cinematog...s/quicktime.gif The image of the camera I speak of remains in the magazine. I want one, too bad they don't exist.
Posted 01 December 2007 - 07:40 PM
You continue regarding my critical and from a consumer-perspective wholly justified remark as "negativity" (please consider the subtle differences between 'critique', 'scepticism', and 'negativity') and believe that silencing criticism will do Smallformat good. I can reassure you that the contrary is the case, and I most warmly advice you to reflect on the real nature of Smallformat's and indeed even Schmalfilm's life-threatening problems. This would involve going head-to-head with your "boss" and his editorial stance, direction, content-selection and also distribution and other outreach strategies. As long as your internal set-up isn't discussed, projecting difficulties onto your "external environment" (I think that's the proper management lingo for this) will only lead to the probable future that Smallformat will not see next year's holiday season.
If you believe you want input from the ciny.com or filmsht.com communities regarding how Smallformat can or should be changed in order to cover the need and demand for current and prospective buyers (a sort of virtual focus group, if you want ? not that I believe that focus groups have any merit, but it legitimises bad management to safe its face towards the board by saying "we tried everything, folks, it's not us that f*cked it up"), then please create a new thread here or there that raises and debates the issue. I would welcome that this thread here, is not hijacked for that.
With best wishes: good night, and good luck,
Posted 01 December 2007 - 10:28 PM
Luckily, this is a forum, not Pravda.
I am constrained by the articles that I receive, but rest assured that I have discussed the direction of the content with Juergen. I'd love to see more technical articles, I'd love to see more hands-on-shooting pieces and I'd love more DIY building articles, but I don't have the time to write them myself. That restricts me to the pool of articles available from schmalfilm. I have approached others to contribute, but very few have actually come through with text, either because of time restrictions or because they don't feel comfortable writing an article. I will definitely get each and every decent article into print.
I apologize for not responding directly to some of the things you said in your previous comment. I don't know anything about your history with schmalfilm, but I am sorry that it did not end on a happy note.
Posted 01 December 2007 - 11:58 PM
I don't know anything about your history with schmalfilm, but I am sorry that it did not end on a happy note.
Oh, I wouldn't say that at all. There isn't any baggage or indeed ending at all that would qualify as "not a happy note"; it's just what I wrote in my post: I merely offered my services because I know the scene and most people personally and could somewhat contribute again as I did for many years earlier. That offer just came naturally, like you offer help to a neighbour or working colleague or friend or whatever. If someone declines your help to assist him carrying a sofa to the second floor, but then stumbles and breaks his back, then really I can't be bothered, as it was his/her decision to go it alone. Everyone has to take responsiblity of one's own decisions, no matter how good or bad the outcome is. And re. Super 8: well it's because it's exciting what goes on with Super 8 since Kodachrome was phased-out, and for the first time in years, I have actually some time to invest into all this again because I am able to return a bit to cinematography in general after being caught up with saving the world (no cheerleader was involved, though ).
Posted 02 December 2007 - 12:27 AM
Reading these really makes one aspect clear:
One should truly realise what utterly astonishing and miracuously advanced and excellently-engineered gear was offered or pondered about at all levels, but particularly at the "top-of-the-market" and "high-end".
The Kodapak Coaxial Instamatic-Cartridge is the prime example of a decades-long successfully mass-produced and 99%-functioning feast of engineering which was and is consumable at nearly all income levels, even today. And I wish many N16/S16 or N35/S35 cameras had the degree of possibilities and the horizon of capabilities that S8 cameras allow out-of-the-box with features, functions and options you even can't "do in post" today (as if FCP will righten every wrong that some goofy caused on set...)
And even though I have more troublesome memories of the Ektasound Coaxial Instamatic-Cartridge and that problematic 18 frames offset with commag sound, I respect it as delivering better results attempting what it wanted to be than many contemporary "prosumer" video camcorder from Panasony do today.
Let me continue on that by babbling on about a phantastic S8 week-end: I had a couple of screenings recently, watching restored projects by the film group I am part of, the PP, originally shot in the 1980s and which were just fully restored and cleaned by a lab:
One of those films contained footage (or meterage, if you prefer) that was actually the first-ever-shot reel of a then-brand-new Bauer C 700 XLM from 1984. I must say I was utterly shocked by the awesome rock-steadiness of the frame stability. It surpassed the frame variance I have seen from broadcast-used Arriflex 16 SR-series cameras (excl. the SR3 Advanced with lateral film guides at the gate; only took Türkenstrasse around 2 decades to iron that weave out / more on that issue in this thread here), and of course that one features a registration pin (illustrating another point about that mechanism here)
The original quality that could be achieved with (some will probably prefer to say "despite") the much-maligned Super 8 cartridge and its plastic pressure plate and a simple pull-down claw is extraordinary. I wish more people who can't or havn't been able to see top condition Super 8 projected, i.e. in the setting it was originally designed for just like 16 and 35, would be able to have this experience, as shouts about "bad cartridge design" and "needs for reg pins à la Arriflex" would be more cautious ? in light of that experience of mine, that sounds somewhat jaundized, if not "ill-informed". By the way, that camera is still with us in active duty as a C camera, gets regular CLA, and although no longer factory-new, is still very good.
And its not just about that:
The shots were done on Agfachrome and Plus-X (the old 7276, not the visibly superior new 7265) and the soundtrack came from the commag sound stripe at 18 fps (!). You could not see any noticeable grain of the 7276 on the silver screen, and it looked as if it was shot yesterday (wardrobe design was carefully done not to showcase aging 1980s "fashion statements", I guess). The projection was done ? should anyone be interested ? with a Bauer T 600 stereosound and an Eumig S 940 stereo multiprocessor using the multi-coated Schneider Xenovaron 1:1,3 / 12-30mm at full wide angle to get the biggest possible projected picture in the screening room ? thus already leading to degrading the quality as much as possible...
Just for fun, as the screening room had a good mood amongst us the later the afternoon got, and as we talked about tech issues and this post here, we loaded some early 1970s footage shot with a Hanimex. I don't even know the designation anymore (it's somewhere in storage...), and I expected a ludicrous quality. To our surprise, the visual quality was actually on a par with footage of a 10 year older Canon 514 XL! So even the presumptions about camera qualities and brand names should be taken with some caution.
To sum it up and stop annoying everyone by telling this anecdote again and again:
I was really shocked that it could actually shock me how good 7% of a 35mm frame can look! It's grand time people put the same understanding of cinematographic professionality to this format than to the other three ones, otherwise, we will always waste our time with people ranting against plastic pressure plates and nostalgically-perceiving only "consumer" cameras (which they were and yet were anything but) from which you can't expect much anyhow, in the end. One couldn't be more wrong.
If you liked this post, you might like this post