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variation in reel length


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#1 Leigh Goldstein

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 06:51 PM

I know at 18 fps it's 200 sec, but is that plus/minus 0.01s, .1s, 1s, or 3s?
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#2 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 12:54 AM

I know at 18 fps it's 200 sec, but is that plus/minus 0.01s, .1s, 1s, or 3s?


I shot tons of Super 8mm although haven't for a while but this question never
occurred to me. Is there really an issue if one roll gives you an extra second?
Maybe it's not exactly 50 ft. due to manufacturing deviations.

I'm not being at all sarcastic. I know that my 50 ft. rolls were all about the same
running time but I never timed them. If you're talking about 200 seconds vs.
200.01 seconds, or even vs. 203 seconds, what's the concern?

There may have been some variation in the 18 f.p.s. depending on batteries and
temperature but nothing ever noticeable and it still ran the same when projected at
18 f.p.s..
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#3 Leigh Goldstein

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 05:10 AM

For some Attack of the Fifty Foot Reels you have to submit a soundtrack wav file with the undeveloped reel of film.
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#4 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 08:41 AM

I will be terribly sarcastic (if not sardonic) by replying to the OP in an equally demanding way (no hard feelings, please, as I just take you and your question very very serious indeed):

Considering the fact that a film is supposed to be shot entirely in-camera and in-cartridge without any editorial work which will then be screened under pseudo-controlled conditions to a mismatched soundtrack with non-quartzed sepmag systems at 18fps (to add insult to injury) to an audience anything but concerned with Kubrick'esque precision, the attempt to find out the picture-exact and sub-frame precise length of a 15m cartridge is mind-blowingly expanding my own horizon about working with Super 8.

I am currently travelling but next week-end back in my office, I can give you the exact frame count of a 15m Kodapak cartridge according to SMPTE standards (or are you working with an old Ektasound cartridge?). Nevertheless, I doubt that will be helpful unless you can answer the following systems which will indicated plenty of related issue troubling your line of thought:

What camera are you shooting with?
Is your camera crystal-sync?
What crysta-sync module is it?
What do you do if it off-quartzes when starting-up, leading to easily 3 frames off your time line?
What will be the projection/transfer system?
What film stock will you be shooting?
Kodak confectioning and loading is more precise than 2nd-gen-loading companies like Wittner or Pro8mm or Spectra or GK or Kahl. As most are not even including the SMPTE-compliant stopping notch and autostop slit at the end of the film, using these undermines any attempt of the OP question anyhow.
Do you know that in processing, it is quite normal that up to a dozen frames will be cut-off at front and end of the reel for laboratory reasons? Double-check with your lab how many frames they will be cutting off by phone in advance, or better travel there and hand-in your cartridge yourself and supervise the development process.

Furthermore? Are you sure that the frequency range of a WAV file required by the organiser will play well in a screening room? It is after all lower than the frequency range allowed by the Commag 1 stripe on Super 8 played at 24 fps through a Bauer Studio class projector amplifier, let alone the Eumig S-class sound system? Will the audience recognise that clipped trebble at time point 01:27:23.3452?



We are just working on restoring a film that was shot under the regime of several counter-floating mathematical formulae dictating cuts, scene lengths, focal lengths, moves and speeds across focal ranges, the filming speeds plus was timed to music, musical rhythms and of course the content of what was shown in the picture. It was a massively complex undertaking in the first place to film it, and is now even worse to restore it to commag sound, let alone HD-transfer it later as it was originally presented with sepmag from CC (!, ah, the mid-1980s.... :-) )
This is just a dislaimer about me now stating that you should maybe relax more and don't worry about that. I wouldn't worry if I would shot this project with a 120m reel in an Xtèra or 416 while actually being able to quartzing the filming speed to the triple digit behind the dot.

I was once terribly worried if the 6 3/4 ltr engine of the Bentley Arnage T speeds me up to 60mph in 5.2 or 5.5 secs, as the manufacturer both states in different publications... Trust me, it's a question only troubling people who organise their iCal or Outlook in 5 minutes slots. One might as well not stop worrying about loving the bomb.
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#5 Leigh Goldstein

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 04:12 PM

Thanks for the much good information and perspective. I will relax about this.

I am still interested to know the answer, but it won't affect my work much.
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#6 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 05:19 PM

Good! Welcome to a lifestyle of filmmaking that will help avoiding cardiac arrest soon.
(only available in conjuction with a healty lifestyle and balanced diet blablabla)

Will get you the SMPTE data as soon as I have access to my library at the office.

Cheers, -Michael

Edited by Michael Lehnert, 20 November 2007 - 05:20 PM.

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#7 Jim Carlile

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 03:53 AM

I know at 18 fps it's 200 sec, but is that plus/minus 0.01s, .1s, 1s, or 3s?


Depends upon the projector, if you're talking about running time and a specific number of feet of film. Or do you mean a three inch reel, etc?-- then it depends upon running time of projector and type of film base, thin polyester or regular tri-acetate.

Projectors can run from 16 to 20 fps, or worse variations. It all depends.
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#8 Mark Dunn

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 12:47 PM

Project it and time it. You can't get tight sync, but you're not making that sort of film anyway. Not on one uncut reel of Super-8.
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