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disastrous first time super 8 shoot w/ Canon 518 sv


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#1 clark the k

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 10:40 PM

I remember the day I won my Canon 518sv on ebay I was as happy as a kid on Christmas day now it's turned into a nightmare before Christmas. I'm wondering if I got a lemon. Are there any owners of the Canon 518sv that can pass on their expertise and experience? Let me list my problems:

1. Exposure was terrible. Everything I read about this camera says that it reads 64T correctly (which is what I used) but all my footage was horribly underexposed. Exteriors shot on sunny days look as though they were filmed at night and let's not talk about interiors...oh the horror. Is this a common problem for this camera? Should I only be using a handheld meter and setting the exposure manually? If so, how do I set exposure for wide and distant subjects?

2. Color has a reddish tint. It was my understanding that there is a built in filter and shooting a tungsten balanced film like 64T in daylight would work fine. Not in my case. The camera comes with a key that inserts into a slot on its top that has something to do with the filter. Under what conditions do I need to use this key? Should i buy a lens filter? How would that effect the built in filter?

3. I tried a few sync sound tests. After bringing in my footage into my editing software and lining up the clapper with its sound wave I found the audio quickly drifted out of sync and required lots of tedious re-syncing. Is this normal? Is this because the camera isn't crystal? Is there a way of retro fitting this model of camera with a crystal motor?

Are any of these problems insurmountable? Should I be looking into getting a different camera?
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#2 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 11:16 PM

I remember the day I won my Canon 518sv on ebay I was as happy as a kid on Christmas day now it's turned into a nightmare before Christmas. I'm wondering if I got a lemon. Are there any owners of the Canon 518sv that can pass on their expertise and experience? Let me list my problems:

1. Exposure was terrible. Everything I read about this camera says that it reads 64T correctly (which is what I used) but all my footage was horribly underexposed. Exteriors shot on sunny days look as though they were filmed at night and let's not talk about interiors...oh the horror. Is this a common problem for this camera? Should I only be using a handheld meter and setting the exposure manually? If so, how do I set exposure for wide and distant subjects?


Normally the internal meter is okay but it sounds like yours has a problem. Use external meter next time and set aperture manually.

2. Color has a reddish tint. It was my understanding that there is a built in filter and shooting a tungsten balanced film like 64T in daylight would work fine. Not in my case. The camera comes with a key that inserts into a slot on its top that has something to do with the filter. Under what conditions do I need to use this key? Should i buy a lens filter? How would that effect the built in filter?


Hmmm. By default the filter is in, set for shooting Ektachrome outdoors. You insert the key to remove the filter. IOW, you'd want the filter in. Only reason for a reddish tint may be bad colour in the telecine. Where was it done?

3. I tried a few sync sound tests. After bringing in my footage into my editing software and lining up the clapper with its sound wave I found the audio quickly drifted out of sync and required lots of tedious re-syncing. Is this normal? Is this because the camera isn't crystal? Is there a way of retro fitting this model of camera with a crystal motor?


Not recommended to shoot sync sound with non-crystal camera, so you're unlikely to get decent sync at any time with that camera. Running on AA batteries, who says what speed it is running at or whether the speed is consistent between shots and within shots. Did you shoot at 18 or 24fps? If 18, telecine was likely done at 20fps to eliminate flicker, which immediately goes out of sync. If you insist on trying sync sound, shoot 24fps with a camera that is proven to run steady, keep your shots short and consider a tail slate so overall drift can be measured and perhaps corrected in digital suite.

Are any of these problems insurmountable? Should I be looking into getting a different camera?


You might consider finding another camera becaues of light meter issue, unless you're okay with external meter.

Rick
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#3 Gareth Blackstock

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 02:27 AM

hello.

from my experience the 518 is pretty good for shooting. reddish tinge might be old film? or kept in a hot place. I have heard that can happen.

If shooting to add dialogue later, def shoot 24fps, but only for 20 seconds at a time, this will make synching up later easier.

Concerning exposure, if the conditions are average, ie not too dark or too bright, just manually set the camera exposure to 5.6. this should cover your average bright and dark areas.

you can also pick up an old hand held reflective light meter cheaply, just keep in mind they are mostly for still cameras. search the forums for the calculation to convert to motion film readins.

good luck
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#4 Richard Tuohy

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 07:16 PM

Hi Clark,
the 518 is in a lot of respects all the camera one really needs. However you are talking about old equipment and it sounds like the light meter has drifted. Forgetting indoors for the time being (which isn't really possible without lights) does the 'f'-stop scale visable inside the viewfinder still respond to changes in light? For instance, if you point the camera at the sky, then point it at the ground, is there a significant change in the f-stop indicator? If yes, then your meter is still sensitive to light, but has drifted. If not, then your meter is completely broken.
When reversal film is under exposed, colour defects seem to get enlarged. If shooting under tungsten lights, I'd expect a red tinge to be apparent on under exposed footage. But I suggest you don't worry about the red cast until you are able to get correct exposures with this camera.
As for using a hand held meter - this is doable, but not straightforward. Read the info on my site about callibrating a meter to a super 8 camera:
http://nanolab.com.au/bracketed.htm
As for the filter key, the key should be insterted when filming under tungsten lights, and left out when filming in daylight.
You could consider buying an external 85b filter for the camera, but then you would need to leave the filter key in all the time as well, or else you would be filtering twice.
good luck - keep at it, and shoot a careful callibration test,
richard
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#5 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 01:18 PM

You didn't happen to buy this untested camera from ebay Hungary?
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