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Opinions about Pro 8mm


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#1 Tony Terziev

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 04:53 AM

Hello!
Im currently in the pre-production phase for my super 8 short and I really need your opinions about Pro 8mm film and processing. Any pros & cons? Are they reliable? Anywhere I could see some footage (besides the demo footage on their homepage and YouTube)? I will be filming with the Beaulieu 4008 ZM II. Wonderful camera! ;) Still deciding weather to use negativ or positive film stock.

Thanks in advance.

/Tony
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#2 Bengt Freden

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 08:32 AM

Hello Tony,


Some thoughts on this from Stockholm;
Although I haven´t even used or processed any of the Vision2 200T carts that I have bought yet, I would still recommend you to use a negative stock.
You will have much greater freedom in editing and post-production and there is also the greatly extended range of detail in the shadows and the wider exposure latitude, which will give you a usable image even if you overexpose (gives better contrast) or underexpose (gives lower contrast and increased grain).
If you scan the material directly after processing, you will greatly diminish the impact of white dust and specks in your completed film.
Then store the negative in a dry place and don´t touch it, if you aren´t doing negative cutting prior to telecine transfer.
With reversal stock, I have found that you might want to view the processed material, either in a good viewer or a projector, which always increases the risk of scratches and dirt from static electricity on the original.

Furthermore, you have almost infinite possiblities in non-linear editing and related software to enhance contrast (a must in my opinion), correct the colors (which always seem to be too warm and 'brownish') and enhance the sharpness. Some of these options are there if you shoot reversal stock, too (if you scan the reversal original), but the way I see it, there are more options open by shooting with a negative.

Re. Pro8mm;
There are discussions elswhere in this forum and at Filmshooting.com about the short, 'left-over' 35mm ends, that Pro8mm apparently uses for their slitting down to Super 8mm. There have been arguments aginst this film stock being 'fresh' or outdated - I don´t know if are any tests made or if someone has experienced color shifts.
There are also some who have reported that there are cartridges jamming, from the slightly thicker film emulsion in the negative stocks. To counter this, Pro8mm apparently doesn´t fill the carts full to 50'/15 meters but loads slighly less film.
I am also interested in the sharp Vision2 50 Daylight version (which doesn´t require the W85A daylight filter) but so far I have only bought film stock from Kodak, to be on the safe side. I am hoping for Kodak to release this stock in Super 8 in the future.

Re. choice of camera;
I agree - the Beaulieu 4008 ZMII is THE preferred production camera! I have four of them (one of them is a ZM, with the 8-64 lens) and they all run at exactly 25 fps. The largest benefit in using this camera, IMHO, is the possibility to use other lenses. From now on, I will use the 'FrameMaster' precision pressure plate (sold in Germany) to prevent sharpness 'breathing' and unsteadiness in the camera gate. This combined with a good quality zoom - the f=1.8/6-66 Optivaron or the T1.4/6-80 Angénieux - or even better, some really good prime lenses (Zeiss ZM, Nikon, Canon, Angénieux, Kinoptik, Century, Schneider Cinegon, Switar, etc, etc) will ensure images of outstanding quality, very close to Std 16mm, if you use a fine-grain film stock and shoot from a tripod or a Steadicam-type stabilizer.

A tip: always use a good matte box/compendieum and a 'French flag' on top, to ensure that you will have the best possible contrast and freedom from flare and other reflexes in your multi-lens zooms.

All the best from Stockholm,
Bengt
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#3 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 10:25 PM

Search this forum as well as filmshooting.com and you will find many lengthy discussion of Pro8. From what I ahve read (and people I have spoken with) I wouldn't go near them. There are many better alternatives at better prices to boot.

Rick
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#4 Tony Terziev

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 03:12 AM

Thank you for the quick reply Bengt!
Could you please define "French flag"? I'm still learning about the Beaulieu cameras. :)
I'm still not totally sure weather I should use negative over reversal. I really like how the reversal comes out, (especially Velvia 50 D) but the things you wrote about enhancing the contrast and saturation in the post-production make sense. I guess I will go with negative, to be on the safer side and not getting over/under exposed footage.

Thanks once again!

/Tony
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#5 Matthew Buick

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 07:09 AM

I've had problems with the EXR I bought from Con8mm. About thirty seconds of footage came out as what I would call acceptable, most of the shots looked dramatically underexposed, even though they were exposed in a well daylight room around early afternoon at f8. I did notice temporary colour shift at least once. The cartridge was also very wobbly, the registration was abysmal, it was as if I had been hand'holding the camera in some of the shots.
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#6 Bengt Freden

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 01:59 PM

Hi Tony,

A 'French Flag' or a 'Cremèr' (after the original French manufacturer) could be very simply a thick black rectangular piece of cardboard that you put above the lens shade to shade the front lens from the bright light that usually comes from above - the sun.
The professional ones are made from aluminium plates or plastic, often with a matte underside. I have made one from black cardboard, which is light, and I have covered the underside with self-adhesive black velvet, to make absolutely sure that I won´t get any reflections.
If you put it on a flexible arm with clamps at both ends (or a thick steel wire that you clamp/fix to the tripod or handle) You may then bend it to fit the focal length, so that it is just out of the frame - you need to have a really strong and sturdy wire, though, so the flag doesn´t dip into the frame while you are shooting or quickly tilting or panning.
It could also be used from the side, if you have a strong Tungsten lamp as side or back lighting.

Be sure to test it before you shoot, by moving your finger over the outer edge of the 'flag' into the image area, to make sure that it is completely out of the frame in the viewfinder. You will have to add a little bit of extra 'margin', especially if you use the wide angle setting on your zoom, because most Super 8 camera viewfinders show less than what you actually get in the camera.

It´s a very basic and simple device that ensures the highest contrast in your original footage.

/ Bengt

Edited by Bengt Freden, 26 March 2008 - 02:02 PM.

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#7 Bengt Freden

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 02:19 PM

Hi again, Tony,

(I know this doesn´t really belong in this thread - I use this image only to define and explain better where a 'French Flag' is usually positioned:
I use a flexible arm called 'Wiggly Worm', which I bought from Robert White in the UK. As you can see, I have also attached side flaps, hanging down from the flag´s top surface:

Posted Image

No lens flare there!
/ Bengt

PS. I have removed the camera´s slanting handle, by the way, and instead mounted a rapid attachment plate from the Swedish medium format SLR camera manufacturer Hasselblad, with the help of Beaulieu service technician Björn Andersson here in Stockholm.
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#8 Tony Terziev

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 04:37 PM

Wow Bengt!
You have got a beautiful set-up!
Looks very professional and im sure it gives wonderful footage!
Thank you for the detailed description of the french flag! Might build one someday.

Tack ännu en gång! ;)

/Tony
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