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#1 Matthew Johnson

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 10:29 AM

Hi, this is my first post. After reading as much info as I've been able to find on Super 8 and doing some intensive research (not least Michael Lehnert's excellent series of articles in Super 8 Today) I've just purchased a Nizo Professional from Germany. I've also purchased a few rolls of various Kodak film stock (Ektachrome, Plus-X, Tri-X, Vision2) in order to start experimenting.

I'd like to make short, atmospheric films set to pieces of music, soundscapes or spoken word poems. I don't intend to use actors or even have many people in them but instead shoot in the countryside and/or city using time lapse and other Super 8 techniques.

Trying to be sensible (and wary of the cost of shooting/developing Super 8 as opposed to video) I thought it prudent to seek some advice on this forum before I start shooting. I'm a complete novice so apologies if these questions sound a bit obvious.

Which frame rate is it best to shoot at? 18fps or 25fps? I realise the cartridge lasts longer at 18fps but what are the advantages and disadvantages to either speed? And how does this affect the telecine process?

In his article about the Nizo Professional Michael said that it can in fact accept speeds up to 400. How will I know if the camera has adopted the correct setting? As the manual I downloaded doesn't seem to give much detail in this regard. And how would it react to film as fast as the Vision2 500T?

I intend to edit digitally. Can both reversal and negative film be telecined the same? Or does one or the other have to be somehow treated first?

I'm sure I have a lot more questions but that's about it for now. Any advice gratefully received

Thanks
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#2 Matthew Buick

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 03:45 PM

Using 25 fps would be a lot more sensible than using 18. More detail goes past your eyes in a second, so the overall quality will be much higher. Plus you can increase frame rate to 50i very easily.

The Nizo Professional should have full manual exposure, so you'll be able to rate pretty much any stock.

Also, there shouldn't be any difference in how the film is treated for telecine, naturally expect a lot more contrast and saturation with reversal, but that goes without saying.

Happy filming!

P.S: Michael Lehnert is a fabulous guy, he posts here you know. :)
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#3 Richard Tuohy

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 07:58 PM

G'day Matthew,
welcome to the forum.
I will add my 2 cents to your frame rate question. There are two things aspects to the question: what does the difference mean photographically, and what does the difference mean on transfer to digital? Photographically, the different frame rates (and hear I am really talking about the rate you take to be 'normal' for your project - ie such that 1 second of camera time = 1 second of project(or) time) yield a faster or slower shutter speed for each frame of film. If you imagine your camera has a 150 degree shutter opening (and it will be something like that) if it is rotating at 18 fps then each frame gets a shutter open time of a 43rd of a second. At 24fps you get a shutter speed of more like a 57th of a second. Theoretically then, all things being equal, the image shot at the faster shutter speed will be just that bit sharper than that shot at the slower speed because there was less time for camera movement, and less time for the subjects movement to create blur. But the higher the shutter speed, the more light you need to expose any frame, so a faster shutter means a wider aperture on the lens, or more lights required, or less low light ability. Its a trade off there. Sometimes you might need to shoot at a slow fps simply because there isn't enough light for a faster one. Another factor is that the higher the number of frames per second, the smother motion will appear on screen. If you can imagine what 1 frame per second would look like you will realise that increasing the number of frames per second will increase the smothness of motion. Also, the more pictures per second, the less the pronounced the film grain on any one picture. Also the more frames per second, the less time any piece of dust will be visable etc.. That said, do I think the difference is palpable? Not very. It is real but isn't the difference between a good film and a bad one at all.
As for telecine, it depends on the method. If you are having transfers made using a flying spot scanner at a fancy post production house, or if you are having the material transferred on a frame by frame scanner like a moviestuff unit or a Flashscan, then both frame rates will yield a second of video time for a second of camera time. They do this by duplicating frames (or fields). If you shot at 18 fps and are transferring to Pal (25fps video) then the transfer will add 7 duplicate frames (or 14 duplicate fields). If you shot at 24 fps then the transfer will add 1 frame or two fields. Can you see these added frames? Perhaps a bit, yes. But again, its not the difference between a good film and a bad film by any means.
Other methods of transfer use a projector speed that works with the video system being transferred to. This means that with Pal for instance, something shot at 18fps will be transferred at 16and 2/3rds FPS, or shot at 24 will be transferred at 25 fps. This means a second of video time is no longer equal to a second of camera time.
24 was introduced as a standard speed for super 8 with the advent of sound film. the faster film speed resulted in clearer sound. This isn't important these days.
If I am shooting super 8, I invariably use 18 fps myself. I feel it looks right for the format. But this is a personal choice. Do a comparison test yourself.

As for neg and reversal, the fact that one is negative and one positive has to be corrected during the telecine. If you are having the transfer done professionally, you don't have to worry about this. If you are doing it yourself, then you will have a hell of a time transferring the negative. Can be done, but its very hard and unforgiving.

As for the asa question, there is a notch on the cartridge that is there to tell the camera's light meter what asa of film is inside the cartridge. There is no confirmation of that visible for the camera user. You have to take it on faith that the camera is working correctly. You also need to know what any particular camera is capable of. Your nizo can read any super 8 speed notch. The whole notch question is a big one for super 8 users, and quite a lot to get your head around. the upshot is that you needn't worry too much about it at this stage as you have a fancy camera in which all stocks should work.

good luck and enjoy,
richard
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#4 Matthew Johnson

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 03:30 PM

Many thanks for your considered replies. I shall copy/paste those and refer to them as I start shooting. I also just found a great little book about Super 8 by a guy called Lenny Lipton. Brilliant book. Seems a very perceptive guy with a very wry sense of humour.
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#5 Matthew Buick

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 07:03 PM

Enjoy! By the way, nice first name! ;)
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#6 James Grahame

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 07:23 PM

Many thanks for your considered replies. I shall copy/paste those and refer to them as I start shooting. I also just found a great little book about Super 8 by a guy called Lenny Lipton. Brilliant book. Seems a very perceptive guy with a very wry sense of humour.

Mmm. Lenny Lipton is a one-of-a-kind character. He first gained fame by writing the lyrics to "Puff the Magic Dragon."
He dabbled extensively in film before becoming obsessed with 3D. He's currently an executive at RealD, the company behind the digital 3D technology used on "Meet the Robinsons," "Beowolf," "The Nightmare Before Xmas" and many others. I'm sure he has two or three dozen patents to his name by now. :)
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#7 Jim Carlile

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 07:56 PM

Because of some technical reasons that are too complicated to go into right here, the Nizo will expose V500T at ASA 100, possibly 160 if you toggle the filter switch. This is way overexposed unless you're in a really low-light situation, where it doesn't matter because even with the aperture opened up all the way you need that extra speed.

So in most situations I think you're better off using V200T. But some people claim it doesn't matter much so experiment away! That's the fun of it. In my view, really low light-- 500T. Average or outdoors, 200T.

I'm not a big fan of 25fps because in most scenes it doesn't make much difference and nowadays nobody ever makes blowups at that conventional sound speed. Transfers look good at 18fps so why waste film? Hey, they can even look good at 9fps!
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