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Super 8 ABC's for Surf Film


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#1 Greg Baumann

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 12:51 AM

I am planning on shooting a surfing film using a Beaulieu 4008ZM4. I will be shooting on Ektachrome 64T, cause that was all I could get my hands on. Now I'm in Nicaragua, which limits my options.

I have read the Beaulieu manual, but need some more tips on making sure I don't waste my film stock. I never have shot film. Hopefully enthusiasm will compensate for ignorance. I've spent many hours on the forums looking for these answers, and come up fairly empty (or at least confused). A book isn't an option because getting things shipped here is difficult. You all seem the most patient, so here's a test of that patience...

Premises:
-Frame rate. I was going to shoot at higher frame rates because I'd like the film footage to capture some fluid motion that I want to slow down.

-Media. The final product will be a mix of Super 8 and HD video, shown on DVD.

-Distance. Much of the filming will take place at distance: 50-150 yards.

-Light. Quite sunny. Subjects will be front or side lit 90 percent of time. Tons of water reflection.

-Gear. Beaulieu 4008zm4. Schneider-Kreuznach 1.4/6-70 lens; Canon TV zoom lens V6X17, 17-102 mm, 1:2.0; Canon Lens FD, 300mm 1:5.6 SSC.

Questions:
--How does use of higher frame rates affect exposure?
--The camera's ASA settings don't have a dot for 64. Just rough it?
--I don't have a separate light meter. How do I set the camera to adjust for light conditions?

Thanks everyone ... Any input appreciated.
Greg
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#2 Adam Garner

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 05:03 AM

--How does use of higher frame rates affect exposure?

higher frame rate means you have less exposure time per frame. So, you have to compensate for that by opening up the iris (lower f-stop). Auto-exposure typically does this for you. I don't know anything about the 4008, unfortunately. Does it have TTL (through the lens) light metering?

--The camera's ASA settings don't have a dot for 64. Just rough it?

64T is rated 40ASA outdoors with an 85 filter. Do you have an 85 filter, or does the 4008 have an internal filter (meaning, do you have a switch with a bulb and a sun?). Again, I'm not familiar with the camera, but you need to get as close as possible to those exposure ASA's. If you don't have a filter, expose it as close to 64 as possible and try and fix the color in telecine. Not ideal but will work.

--I don't have a separate light meter. How do I set the camera to adjust for light conditions?

Again, does it have an internal meter? It must... If it's TTL it should take care of that for you as long as you set the ASA right.

NOTE : With water, since it's reflective, I'd suggest locking down your exposure. Take a reading in Auto Exposure, then lock it there. The reason is that occasionally you'll get a good shot of sunlight off the water right through the lens. The response of the camera's auto-aperture will be to close up. That'll darken the whole shot.

You would definitely rather have the shot blow out or have a sunburst in leu of the whole shot darkening up for a second.

Sorry I don't know more about the Beaulieu, but the principles are all the same.
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#3 Greg Baumann

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 10:51 AM

Adam thanks so much for the input... my responses to your queries below...
Does it have TTL (through the lens) light metering?
--Yeah, the 4008 does that.

Do you have an 85 filter, or does the 4008 have an internal filter (meaning, do you have a switch with a bulb and a sun?). Again, I'm not familiar with the camera, but you need to get as close as possible to those exposure ASA's. If you don't have a filter, expose it as close to 64 as possible and try and fix the color in telecine. Not ideal but will work.
--The Beaulieu has the sun/bulb switch ... so I will set to 40 and the sun switch

Again, does it have an internal meter? It must... If it's TTL it should take care of that for you as long as you set the ASA right.
--OK

NOTE : With water, since it's reflective, I'd suggest locking down your exposure. Take a reading in Auto Exposure, then lock it there. The reason is that occasionally you'll get a good shot of sunlight off the water right through the lens. The response of the camera's auto-aperture will be to close up. That'll darken the whole shot.
--Will do

That was super helpful Adam... thanks Greg
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#4 andy oliver

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 06:34 PM

Hi, 64t requires a filter 85b, not 85 ( thats my understanding, and i always use an 85b with 64t ) To swing the filter out of the optical path of a ZM & ZMII requires a filter key to be inserted between the body of the camera and handgrip. On the ZM4 with a 6-70 lens, generally the filter is built into the lens, just operated the little knob/slider thing near the iris.

From experiance with beaulieu cameras, i've found the iris tends to close down in auto mode, especially if a bright area ( water, sky etc ) enters the frame, take a reading and lock the exposure. As a very rough guide, at 24 fps with 64t exposure should be no smaller than approx F11 on a sunny day, here in the uk, i would opt for f8- f8/11 depending upon subject matter... So if your camera is saying f16-f22 i would be worried...

filming say at 24 fps exp is f8
at 48fps exp will be f5.6

stick with the lens that came with the camera, unless that canon zoom lens has been properly adjusted to the camera you may get soft images, especially at wider aperatures.....

run at least one test film thru the camera and see the results before the day of the shoot
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#5 greg ocallaghan

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 06:49 PM

I've shot a lot of surfing with my B4008 ZMII. Shooting surfing usually means a lot of sun. Especially in Nicaragua. I've shot in Panama and Costa Rica, same conditions more or less. With the ZMII at 24 fps (using 200t) even at f22 there was still too much light coming in. I would really suggest to try to get your hands on a ND filter set. I know it will be hard but maybe in the bigger cities you can find an old photo store? 64t wont probably give you problems with too much light, but espect to be in the f11-f22 region.. Surfing always looks best at dawn and dusk, but if you have to shoot mid-day id use an ND filter. I usually have my ND8 in front of the lens..

Oh and don't shoot everything at 48fps! :P I usually only use about of 20% of surfing footage in the final clip since sometimes the surfers **(obscenity removed)** up, or just don't catch the best waves all the time. Unless you're traveling with WTC pros you'll waste a lot of frames! Just guess it per session and think about the wave conditions. If the waves are really good then shoot close-ups at 48fps. Otherwise 24fps isnt as bad either.

Sounds like you're staying in Nico for a long time, i've heard its got amazing waves! Def want to see the end results!
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#6 Oliver Christoph Kochs

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 07:01 PM

Hi,

i highly recommend Daylight stock. If it must be reversal: Get the 50D (made from Fuji Velvia) or Kodak 100D. Both available in Super 8 cardridges. Even better is the 50D negative stock available from Pro8mm. You'd then not need to filter with orange 85b.

On a sunny beach - even with the slowest stock - ND (grey) filters or a polarizer might come in handy to reduce light, because (as said befor) a 22 f stop is no good. A 5.6 or 8 will deliver the sharpest results.

Personally i think the Beaulieus are all crap. I've owned maybe 4 (two of them were R16s) and IMHO the guilliotine shutter is a failure design. The 4008ZM4 shoots 80 fps, which is nice, but keep in mind that these S8 cardridges are not made for this. Try this before you shoot and see if the frame jitter / gate weave is okay for you.

Good luck.
Oliver
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#7 Greg Baumann

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 12:13 AM

Hi, 64t requires a filter 85b, not 85 ( thats my understanding, and i always use an 85b with 64t ) To swing the filter out of the optical path of a ZM & ZMII requires a filter key to be inserted between the body of the camera and handgrip. On the ZM4 with a 6-70 lens, generally the filter is built into the lens, just operated the little knob/slider thing near the iris.

From experiance with beaulieu cameras, i've found the iris tends to close down in auto mode, especially if a bright area ( water, sky etc ) enters the frame, take a reading and lock the exposure. As a very rough guide, at 24 fps with 64t exposure should be no smaller than approx F11 on a sunny day, here in the uk, i would opt for f8- f8/11 depending upon subject matter... So if your camera is saying f16-f22 i would be worried...

filming say at 24 fps exp is f8
at 48fps exp will be f5.6

stick with the lens that came with the camera, unless that canon zoom lens has been properly adjusted to the camera you may get soft images, especially at wider aperatures.....

run at least one test film thru the camera and see the results before the day of the shoot

Thanks Andy ... It may just work out that I can run a test roll ... Will keep the board updated...
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#8 Greg Baumann

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 12:16 AM

Hi,

i highly recommend Daylight stock. If it must be reversal: Get the 50D (made from Fuji Velvia) or Kodak 100D. Both available in Super 8 cardridges. Even better is the 50D negative stock available from Pro8mm. You'd then not need to filter with orange 85b.

On a sunny beach - even with the slowest stock - ND (grey) filters or a polarizer might come in handy to reduce light, because (as said befor) a 22 f stop is no good. A 5.6 or 8 will deliver the sharpest results.

Personally i think the Beaulieus are all crap. I've owned maybe 4 (two of them were R16s) and IMHO the guilliotine shutter is a failure design. The 4008ZM4 shoots 80 fps, which is nice, but keep in mind that these S8 cardridges are not made for this. Try this before you shoot and see if the frame jitter / gate weave is okay for you.

Good luck.
Oliver

Oliver, thank you... Unfortunately, or fortunately, the camera decision isn't up for discussion at this point. I'm in Nica and there's not much going back! Maybe a polarizer is doable... perhaps I could get something that simple shipped to Nica. Do you happen to know the proper diameter for a polarizer on the B? Cheers!
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#9 Greg Baumann

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 12:20 AM

I've shot a lot of surfing with my B4008 ZMII. Shooting surfing usually means a lot of sun. Especially in Nicaragua. I've shot in Panama and Costa Rica, same conditions more or less. With the ZMII at 24 fps (using 200t) even at f22 there was still too much light coming in. I would really suggest to try to get your hands on a ND filter set. I know it will be hard but maybe in the bigger cities you can find an old photo store? 64t wont probably give you problems with too much light, but espect to be in the f11-f22 region.. Surfing always looks best at dawn and dusk, but if you have to shoot mid-day id use an ND filter. I usually have my ND8 in front of the lens..

Oh and don't shoot everything at 48fps! :P I usually only use about of 20% of surfing footage in the final clip since sometimes the surfers **(obscenity removed)** up, or just don't catch the best waves all the time. Unless you're traveling with WTC pros you'll waste a lot of frames! Just guess it per session and think about the wave conditions. If the waves are really good then shoot close-ups at 48fps. Otherwise 24fps isnt as bad either.

Sounds like you're staying in Nico for a long time, i've heard its got amazing waves! Def want to see the end results!

Greg - Yeah three months should be enough to tweak and adjust my approach. Thanks for the fps advice ... Where would you order an ND filter set if you were in the states? Maybe I could get the retailer to send it to Nica via DHL... Do you happen to know which filter set would be best for my/your setup? I'm hoping the morning shoots with less light won't necessitate the filter sets. I'd like to get the F stop down to a middling range to increase sharpness. Cheers and thanks for your help...
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#10 andy oliver

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 03:40 AM

filter size is 62mm on the 6-70 lens... Please remember you're shooting with reversal film, exposure is more critical than 200T or any neg stocks. Def run a film thru the camera before the shoot.
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#11 andrew parrish

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 11:58 AM

Hi,

i highly recommend Daylight stock. If it must be reversal: Get the 50D (made from Fuji Velvia) or Kodak 100D. Both available in Super 8 cardridges. Even better is the 50D negative stock available from Pro8mm. You'd then not need to filter with orange 85b.

On a sunny beach - even with the slowest stock - ND (grey) filters or a polarizer might come in handy to reduce light, because (as said befor) a 22 f stop is no good. A 5.6 or 8 will deliver the sharpest results.

Personally i think the Beaulieus are all crap. I've owned maybe 4 (two of them were R16s) and IMHO the guilliotine shutter is a failure design. The 4008ZM4 shoots 80 fps, which is nice, but keep in mind that these S8 cardridges are not made for this. Try this before you shoot and see if the frame jitter / gate weave is okay for you.

Good luck.
Oliver


Hi Oliver,

What do you think would be a good choice for surf stuff. I think The Beaulieus get allot of play with the surf crowd because of the frame rates and the interchangable lenses. Would you look at the Leicina specials or the nalcom , or would you get into something more conventional, like a 1014xls with telly adaptor lens?

thanks, AP
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#12 Glenn Brady

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 09:36 PM

filter size is 62mm on the 6-70 lens... Please remember you're shooting with reversal film, exposure is more critical than 200T or any neg stocks. Def run a film thru the camera before the shoot.


Although the lens in this application will probably used at longer focal lengths, there may be vignetting at the shortest focal length if a 62mm filter in screwed onto the lens and the usual Schneider Nr. 30/2 lens hood screwed to the filter. This lens hood is split to accommodate series 8.5 filters - those are what should be used - but these are likely going to be very hard to find in Nicaragua.
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