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Time Exposures with Super 8


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#1 Joe Taylor

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 08:45 PM

Would love to do some time-lapse work (primarily time-exposures) in super 8, but with the exception of the Bolex H8, cannot find any capable cameras.

Are there any super 8's out there that can do any time-exposures?
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#2 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 09:09 PM

Would love to do some time-lapse work (primarily time-exposures) in super 8, but with the exception of the Bolex H8, cannot find any capable cameras.

Are there any super 8's out there that can do any time-exposures?


Plenty.

Those with the best lenses, the Schneider 11x6mm, are the Beaulieu 4008 ZM II and the Leitz Leicina Special. However, time exposures are controlled by external intervalometer accessories for those cameras, which are extremely rare now to find. If that accessory is not supplied, you can't use these functions.

The best cameras with non-interchangeable lenses and time-exposure functions are the Bauer A 512 with the Schneider 12x6mm and the Nizo professional with Schneider 11x7mm. The Schneider 12x6mm is crisper than the Schneider 11x7, and the intervalometer of the Bauer A 512 is brilliantly constructed, with a swing-out second CdS cell that measures incoming light 'til sufficient exposure density is reached, then moves to next frame. The Bauer A 512 is also a more thought-through design for non-T-Ex-filming.
The Nizo professional offers superb ergonomics and MoMA-worthy design, a true stunner. The time exposure feature is controlled automatically with a non-swing-out CdS cell. It is controlling film exposure firstly just like the Bauer A 512 does (i.e. prioritising film frame exposure 'til "enough light" has reached the frame), but it also secondly offers prioritising time exposures by presetting the actual exposure time, i.e. xyz secs long.
A useful option.

On a budget, get lesser yet time-exposure-wise identical siblings of these cameras: the Bauer A 508 or the Nizo 801 (macro), or even the Nizo 561 macro. I would not go for smaller-lens'd siblings of the Nizo big body cameras, such as the Nizo 481, as the 48mm-lenses suffer from flare and uninspired focal length

There are also of course the two Eumig cameras that the undisputed master of time exposure cinematography in Super 8, our very own Alessandro Machi, uses (check out his website and work, AMAZING!): the Eumig 881 PMA with Eumig Makro-Viennon 1:1,8 / 7-56mm and the Eumig 860 PMA with Eumig Makro-Viennon 1:1,8 / 8-48mm. Both good glasses, but I shall leave the stage for Alex to chime in and explain those cameras, as he is the maestro re. this topic.

(bows out)
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#3 Joe Taylor

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 10:11 PM

Excellent!! I had no idea there were so many options. I'll start at the top of your list.

Thanks.
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#4 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 05:13 AM

blush.

Coming soon to YouTube, all of my super-8 films. Although I have a couple of 30 second spots in which the music that accompanies the spots are something I really don't want to let out there out of respect to the composers. Any suggestions on how to keep the sound but somehow contaminate the audio so it doesn't get lifted? It's strictly instrumental so if lifted it can be easily used by anyone.

What's amazing about the three time-exposure cameras that Michael mentions is that they all use slightly different techniques to achieve time-exposure. I think the eumig method is the coolest, but it is also the most complex because it has the most options. One can either cover the light sensor entirely with a variable LED and control the duration of the time-exposure by varying the brightness of the LED. Or, one can take a piece of black electricians tape and cover just the amount of the sensor that creates the desired automatically varying time-exposure lengths. Or, one can go naked and not cover the light sensor at all. All three methods achieve different results, and I have found that all three methods work best at certain times. These three different time-exposure methods may make the Eumig perhaps the most versatile time-exposure camera ever made in any format.

The Nizo is clever in that the intervalometer becomes the time-exposure function by sliding a red-lever over, which inverts the intervalometer function. By invert I mean after the red lever is slid over the shutter stays open versus closed and the intervalometer now controls how long the shutter stays open rather than the interval between single frames at normal shutter speeds, a very clever idea and one that might have made offering time-exposure in 16mm and 35mm much easier than it currently is.

The Bauer has what I like to call a "Delorean" swing out light sensor. What I find slightly flawed is there is a timer on the front of the camera and when it winds down to zero the darn thing shuts off. On the Eumig the countdown feature can be defeated because there is a slip clutch on the countdown timer, whereas on the Bauer I think it's built more like a tank and can't be taped to stop from moving forward. So every 180 frames or so the timer has to be carefully and smoothly rewound.

Nowadays digital still cameras are being used in this field. People are using laptops and their digital still cameras to do short duration time-exposure sequences. I still like doing them on film however. I can't stand the idea of relying on a computer when I am in a creative mode.
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#5 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 09:43 AM

Variable LED?!? Gosh, you provide angles on time exposure cinematography I couldn't even imagine existed!

I can fully understand your problem re soundtrack copyrights on web download platforms, Alex. I would really like to hear from people with audio background about that, too, as this is a problem I am struggling with as well.

"Delorean" swinger... a cool metaphor! I never looked at it like that, but it's so bang-on...
You are correct about your assumption re the time period counter on the Bauer A 512. Because it doubles as a useful scene length pre-selector (ranging from 12 secs to 0 sec) it stops the camera when it reaches '0 sec' on its turning scale, and hence annoyingly affects the possible overall length of time exposure shots as well. You can turn the knob back to the '12 sec' marker while the camera clicks away with its time exposures, but it's not ideal. Taping it doesn't work, as the knob is mechanically linked to the (strong) motor shaft (Bauer always gives the impression they used V12 engines, whereas Nizos appear to use eco-hybrids). And I wouldn't gaffer tape it, as this will hold the knob in place at '12 sec', but I don't know about potential mechanical backlashes towards the motor shaft. If you need time exposures lasting the period of 12 secs of screened film or longer, then you will have to deal with that aspect, Joe.

EDIT: I just gave that a try. You can gaffer tape the knob, and it holds without affecting the motor. So you can disable the time period counter that way and shot with the intervalometer as long as you want beyond 12 sec of screened film length.
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#6 Jean Beaudoin

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 09:51 AM

I have a Nizo Pro and here are a few examples of time lapse/pixilation done with it.
Sorry for the poor upload ! I highly recommend this camera...

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#7 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 10:02 AM

I just watched "Dead Lonesome", Joe, and it is phantastic and beautiful, with astounding landscape composition and sound design. Marvellous!

Alex, Joe, I feel honoured to post in a thread with you two guys, true masters of your craft.

Any and every reader of this thread should check their signature links out!
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#8 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 03:26 PM

Thanks Michael, Hopefully my websites will be loaded with imbeded YouTube clips by the end of the year. Lets not forget Rick Palidwor, who successfully incorporated time-exposure time lapse into his super-8 feature, Sleep Always.

Being able to add time-exposure sequences to narrative stories and have them fit can be challenging, (I presume since I haven't done it). I sheepishly admit that whenever I read the title of Rick's movie in a topic title on the internet, I add an extra "Sleep" to it. "Sleep, Sleep Always". Maybe that could be the title of a sequel.
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#9 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 09:13 PM

Thanks Michael, Hopefully my websites will be loaded with imbeded YouTube clips by the end of the year. Lets not forget Rick Palidwor, [...] "Sleep, Sleep Always". Maybe that could be the title of a sequel.


I am looking forward to both :D
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The Slider

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