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MFX SUPER 8 FILM


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#1 Tony Hudson

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 03:31 PM

Would anyone like the return of a film stock similar to the old Kodak MFX Estar film that was sold as 100ft load carts? That's 5 minutes at 24/25fps. I'd love to have the option, it was obviously a thinner film stock.


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#2 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 09:48 PM

By all Super 8 Gods, where did you get those carts from?

If I remember correctly, the Kodak MFX was not sold in the consumer market but was actually a military surveillance film, B&W, developing both as negative or reversal film. It was an integral part of the Kodak Analyst, a Super 8 camera for intelligence gathering and surveillance purposes (an ad from 1974 is attached). The Estar basis of that film material made the film emulsion thin enough so that 100ft / 30m of this film stock went into one Super 8 cartridge.

Yeah, that would be a cool option, just for the sake of it. After all the cartridge notching chaos, now eggheads could start worrying about the 30ft / 15m film counters indicating incorrectly :P .

Seriously now, there were so many cool film stocks around in the mid-1970s, particularly from Eso-S, which covered so many fields of applications. Right now, for the first time, we are coming back to that level. Bring it on!

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#3 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 10:09 PM

Thanks for sharing that. Estar based films, if they were to jam, could cause the camera motor to basically tear apart, because the film won't!


I bet coming up with the actual shutter speed must have been difficult. Clearly a slower shutter would give the camera more usefulness in lower lighting situations, (where crime may be more likely to happen), but then the images might have had too much motion blur in them! They settled on 100th of a second. Boy that's kind of scary. They should have put some kind of auto override in the thing so it could switch to time-exposure if the light level became too low.

Or what about a double burst action. The first frame is shot at 1/100th, then the film advances and takes another picture right away at a 1/8th exposure. Then the camera would wait until the selected interval had passed and double burst again. That would produce an effective difference of 3 1/2 f-stops between methods. Then when looking at the film, some type of rotating blade could be spinning in front of the projector and the person could isolate either version for playback purposes!
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#4 Clive Tobin

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 10:25 PM

Thanks for sharing that. Estar based films, if they were to jam, could cause the camera motor to basically tear apart, because the film won't!...

Kodak didn't claim that the thin 100 foot version was projectable in a regular projector. Possibly it was just too thin, or built up static, or something?

Seems to me there were problems in processing it also. I seem to recall hearing some very loud and colorful language coming from the processing department when one of these carts came in.
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#5 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 10:35 PM

Kodak didn't claim that the thin 100 foot version was projectable in a regular projector. Possibly it was just too thin, or built up static, or something?

Seems to me there were problems in processing it also. I seem to recall hearing some very loud and colorful language coming from the processing department when one of these carts came in.


Excellent point, the film processing labs could possibly have equipment destroyed since the film doesn't rip, yet it's so thin that it must be difficult to process for so many different reasons. Might require having all the moving gears set up with slip clutches.

I wonder if anyone who ever shot this film reads this forum and would share their experiences.
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#6 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 01:16 AM

Some years ago I remember that the Widescreen Centre in the UK was selling a negative super 8 "surveillance" film (it actually said "surveillance" on the box). This was before any of the vision negative stocks were available on super 8 so was drooling at the possibility but it was too expensive. This was probably 8-10 years ago. Anyone in touch with the Widescreen Centre could probably get some information on that and how it related to this MFX stock.
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#7 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 12:42 PM

Some years ago I remember that the Widescreen Centre in the UK was selling a negative super 8 "surveillance" film (it actually said "surveillance" on the box). This was before any of the vision negative stocks were available on super 8 so was drooling at the possibility but it was too expensive. This was probably 8-10 years ago. Anyone in touch with the Widescreen Centre could probably get some information on that and how it related to this MFX stock.
Rick


You are bang on, Rick, but Kodak Surveillance wasn't just sold by the Baker Street boys, it was sold internationally.

Ritter, the former German Beaulieu distributor, and Andec in Berlin sold it as well for 34,95 DM. Development at Andec did cost almost the same again, namely 32,- DM.

The Kodak Surveillance was unrelated to the Kodak MFX. It was in fact Kodak EXR 200 T (7293), the first negative film to be available for Super 8. Matthew Buick will probably relish at this EXR connection :P !

And while we are at that: Super 8 Sound (now: Pro8mm) as the US-American Beaulieu distributor sold it too, IIRC, and they sold the same film stock under their own brand name as well as Pro 8/93. So much for a cannibalising sales stategy (I guess Phil Vigeant had a reason for doing so).
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#8 kevin jackman

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 01:39 PM

i am pretty sure that stuff was 200 asa negative. ive seen some old boxes of it floating around. and that was pre vision
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#9 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 09:23 PM

Earlier today, Will posted this below in another thread:

Kodak made a camera called the "Analyst" which was a timelapse only camera designed for surveillance and analyizing things that took a long time. Really cheap little cameras with weak lenses and all plastic gears so they tend to break, but you might be able to pick one up for $20 or so. They have a larger range than most built-in intervalometers.


Now bearing in mind what Alex and Clive said about the Estar basis of the film emulsion of the Kodak MFX film stock, namely that it can't be ripped apart, what Will has to say about the Kodak Analyst's internal mechanical set-up makes a lot of sense: an all plastic gear used internally is not only great for keeping the price for such a speciality product down (the advert frankly talks about the price, see above), but it also means that the plastic mechanics would easily break upon potentially jamming, without the big expensive damage that could occur if that were to happen in a fully-metal or composite cockwork...

As the camera does only expose pictures at intervalometer mode, I am certain it wasn't intended for running projection, but rather one-frame projection through a viewer (to have a good look at those evildoers of 1974.... hmmm... sexploitation film producers robbing banks, then, I guess... :P :rolleyes: )

Or am I missing something and talk nonsense?

i am pretty sure that stuff was 200 asa negative. ive seen some old boxes of it floating around. and that was pre vision


Kevin, are you referring to the Kodak Surveillance, which was actually Kodak EXR 200 T, or are you writing about the Kodak MFX being 200 ASA?

I can't decipher the posted pic's details so well, but it does indeed seem that it is 200 ASA daylight and 160 ASA tungsten B&W film...
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#10 alan doyle

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 03:17 AM

i know this is a very old thread but dat dare is my film and pictures...at the top of the page.
i got this stuff when i was shooting at an american airbase near las vegas,we were shooting 16mm and s8 and i got given a weird time lapse camera from the 70s and a bag of film.
the kodak analyst camera and the mfx were used big time by the us government in the 70s and early 80s,everything from military too attorney office too banks..similar look to tri x...a little less contrast.
always the worry that the film would destroy your camera though.
this was shot a long time ago on it. looks pretty good..
http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

i was the first person in europe to have kodak surveillance film as has been stated this was nice motion picture stock 5293 put into a cartridge.
a bank in japan paid kodak to make it,i think they paid for 48 thousand rolls..i piggy backed the order and got 4000,still think it was the best negative super 8,nice look and transported real smooth through my cameras..

Edited by alan doyle, 28 May 2009 - 03:21 AM.

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#11 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 03:06 PM

What processing was applied to this MFX?

I have a number of these cartridges too and don't to wreck too much film while attempting to find times and chemistry. Thanks!
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#12 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 02:27 PM

Found this little reference. Seems they used a lot of MFX on the surveillance of Nuclear sites.


. EVOLUTION OF CONTAINMENT AND SURVEILLANCE - THE FIRST FOUR DECADES
1957-1997 /5/
The IAEA was established in 1957 as a functional organization, including
the commencement of inspections at nuclear facilities in member states.
The first inspections began in the early 1960s at small research reactors,
and expanded in 1962 to power reactors. Although there was little C/S
equipment available for use, it was in this time frame that the first use
of C/S began. Several commercially available seals were placed in use,
initially on a trial basis. In the fall of 1966, the IAEA was using the US
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seal. Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL)
in the US later developed solder techniques designed to strengthen the
tamper resistance of these seals. When implemented for IAEA Safeguards on
a routine basis, the IRS seal became known as the "Type E" seal. Even
after 40 years, it is still in use. No optical surveillance or monitors
were in use in the first decade of the IAEA.
Starting in the second decade after 1967, a variety of equipment was
introduced. In the area of seals, the backbone became the aforementioned
Type E metallic seal. Today, after several modifications, it remains the
most widely used seal. Adhesive (paper) seals were introduced, principally
for short term sealing applications. The first fibre optic seal, termed
Fiber Lock, was developed and offered for evaluation by the US Arms
Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA). Also, the development of electronic
seals began at Forschungszentrum J├╝lich in Germany, and Sandia National
Laboratories (SNL) in the US.
By early 1976, the IAEA had about 60 optical surveillance systems in use,
including several types of single frame 35mm, 16mm, 8mm, Super 8mm
cameras, and a few custom made video units. This came about as a result of
the rapidly expanding commercial market for in-dustrial and home use of
film-based movie photography. These systems included:
Film Systems - One of the first optical surveillance devices used was the
35mm Robot Cam-era, custom made for the IAEA by a German vendor. This
system was mains powered and had an 8,000 frame capacity, with time
recorded on each frame from a battery operated 24 hour clock. It produced
excellent picture quality, and was evaluated in several nuclear
facili-ties in Europe and South America.
Throughout this decade, numerous commercial film cameras were developed
and appeared on the market. A number of these systems were evaluated by
the IAEA, and to a limited degree, used in field applications. These
systems included:

. Zeiss 35mm Contarex camera

. Flight Research 35mm camera

. Bolex 16mm camera

. 8mm Minolta D-4 camera (first 8mm system)

. Minolta D-6 camera

. Minolta D-10 camera

. Kodak Analyst Super 8mm camera

. Minolta XL-400 and XL-401 Super 8mm cameras

The first models of the Minolta XL-400 camera system used a French
mechanical timer, were battery operated, with constant or random picture
taking time-intervals, and had a 3,600 frame capacity. Later models had an
electronic built-in timer, a 7,200 frame capacity, and used Ko-dak MFX
film. By 1978, the Twin Minolta XL-401 camera system, after a number of
timer
6
modifications, became the primary IAEA optical surveillance system, and
was in worldwide use for well over two decades, until it was replaced by
video systems.
In some cases, inspectors had to develop the film in the bathtubs/sinks of
their hotel rooms, producing a variety of inconveniences and results. The
inspectors later used the Porto-PAC dry process Kodak developer for
processing the film. Use of this developer eliminated the hotel
room-bathtub-film developing routine.





Edited by Andries Molenaar, 05 June 2009 - 02:29 PM.

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#13 alan doyle

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 11:04 PM

What processing was applied to this MFX?

I have a number of these cartridges too and don't to wreck too much film while attempting to find times and chemistry. Thanks!



treat it like tri x..
maybe process yourself as a b&w negative over exposed a stop...
it will be flat looking use it in a good solid camera manual exposure...
the kodak analyst was designed with many nylon and plastic parts because of jams,that estar base is tough...
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#14 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 02:29 AM

We find this film stock very problematic to develop especially with Super 8mm because the base is so thin and the stock is so old it is very difficult to get it out of the Super-8 cartridge at all and the stock is like a razor because of how thin the base is. Also it has to be run through the processor by itself as the polyester base is usually quite strong in this stock it's so thin it has a tendency to break and a break in a continuous processor means it may ruin someone else's film if it isn't run by itself.


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