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#1 Wes Shaye

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 10:08 AM

Hello everyone,

My friend and I are going to be shooting a (well, goning to try) a feature length film on Super 8? I dont own the camera, it's his, but I might as well get one for myself. He has the Canon 814. Im sure it only has the 18fps option, but my question is...

I want this to look as good as possible, so does it look better when you shoot 24fps? Most professional movies are shot in 24 right?

But also this runs up your tapes from 3 min to under a minute right?
Its going to be hard filming extensive dialogue scenes and cost a lot of money when we having to keep loading a new tape every minute.

Any advice/ stories of your own would be helpful.

Thanks
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#2 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 10:28 AM

Hi,

there are a couple of issues that flag up with your post, but I don't want to discourage you just getting started with Super 8 shooting, but very simply said:

- 24 fps is more the standard speed for shooting, especially with sound (either dubbed, on-set, commag or sepmag) and if you want to telecine or scan your film at a lab. You will face less issues choosing 24fps later on in post. Also bear in mind that some labs don't "do" 18fps.

The 18 fps speed comes from when Super 8 was a consumer medium. It was a cost-saving method to shoot 3min 20 sec of film. Particularly as amateur films were mostly shot silent. 24fps became popularised on Super 8 when commag sound was introduced in 1974 in cameras and projectors, a requirement to maintain standard projection speed and good sound quality from 20Hz to 20kHz.

A Super 8 Cartridge is filled with cine-film. It's not a tape, and it does not come with sound "out of the box", but I am sure you did your due diligence research and know that. As I said, at 18fps, a 50 ft / 15m cartridge "lasts" for 3:20min. At 24fps, you can shoot for 2:30min, so way more than "less than a minute". Bear in mind that this "length" changes when you shoot slow motion or high speed at, say 4 fps or 54 fps for various effects. So keep track of the footage counter that shows the remaining length in ft/m, and do a calculation in your head how long that would be in minutes and seconds.

Both the Canon Auto Zoom 814 and Canon 814XL-S (not sure which one of these two "814" you have) have a multitude of filming speeds, including 18fps AND 24fps.

Just to hit on another issue: you mention long dialogue sequences. Again, I am not sure how thought-through your project is, but as I am sure you are not shooting commag (i.e. soundstripe on film), how do you intend to sync the sound that you record separately with your camera? Do you shoot on set or do you do ADR, i.e. dub everything in post, incl. dialogues? Or is your camera crystal-sync'.

I am sure others will chime in and help clarify a couple of issues that you might face shooting a "today's quality expectations" feature.

-Michael
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#3 Wes Shaye

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 02:34 PM

Thanks so much for the reply Michael.

I am going to record sound on a portable Sony Dat machine with a shotgun mic that will be slated. That was actually a concern of mine too. That syncing the sound to a certain speed as i've read, can be tough because the it can speed up or slow down.
So 24 fps seems to be the way to go.

It would be great but I dont think we'd be able to do a master shot of a scene if its over the alloted time of the cartridge, so we're just going to have to do a few different cuts and closeups. Which IMO can make the scene more interesting for sure, but possibly could hinder the acting as far as getting a rhythm going.
But " by any means necessary" is probably a beneficial outlook to have so im not too worried.

Again, any tips or comments are appreciated.

Thanks
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#4 Miguel Loredo

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 07:23 PM

I think the only Canon 814 that cannot run at 24 fps is the "Canon 814 XL". All others can.
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#5 CM Houghton

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 02:11 AM

Hello everyone,

My friend and I are going to be shooting a (well, goning to try) a feature length film on Super 8? I dont own the camera, it's his, but I might as well get one for myself. He has the Canon 814. Im sure it only has the 18fps option, but my question is...

I want this to look as good as possible, so does it look better when you shoot 24fps? Most professional movies are shot in 24 right?

But also this runs up your tapes from 3 min to under a minute right?
Its going to be hard filming extensive dialogue scenes and cost a lot of money when we having to keep loading a new tape every minute.

Any advice/ stories of your own would be helpful.

Thanks


There's some good information on Super 8 stock and issues with the format over on Wiki:

http://en.wikipedia....Super_8_mm_film

Wish you luck, it doesn't sound like it'll be easy to develop, depending on what stock you'll be using.
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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 02:44 AM

I am going to record sound on a portable Sony Dat machine with a shotgun mic that will be slated. That was actually a concern of mine too. That syncing the sound to a certain speed as i've read, can be tough because the it can speed up or slow down.
So 24 fps seems to be the way to go.


You'll have a problem if the camera doesn't have a crystal controlled camera, the speed will vary and the chances are the camera isn't actually running at 24fps, but slightly off. You'll also need to put something on to camera to keep the camera noise down.

Motion also tend to look better at 24 fps.
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#7 Keith Walters

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 03:57 AM

I am going to record sound on a portable Sony Dat machine with a sh

I am going to record sound on a portable Sony Dat machine with a shotgun mic that will be slated. That was actually a concern of mine too. That syncing the sound to a certain speed as i've read, can be tough because the it can speed up or slow down.
So 24 fps seems to be the way to go.

Unless you use a crystal-sync camera, you are indeed going to have sound-sync issues, but for a low-budget project you can overcome those by adopting some of the techniques used in the early days of sound film.

In the very early days they used to record the sound onto a wax gramophone disc, and sync the sound in post production by varying the speed of the turntable motor.

The usual method was to use a conventional clapper board to mark the start and finish of a take. They would then count the number of frames between the start and end slate frames, and divide this by 24 to give the precise length of the take in seconds.

They would then use a stopwatch to measure the time between the corresponding clapper board clicks while playing back the wax recording on a studio turntable. The turntable motor would have a speed control marked in +/- percent, and from the stopwatch measurement and the calculation of the length of the film take, a percentage adjustment could be made to the turntable speed so that the time between the start and end frames on the film exactly matched the time between the start and end clicks on the wax recording.

After that, the sound on the wax record could be dubbed onto a special sound recording camera synced to the film footage.

Nowadays you can do exactly the same thing using one of the many freeware audio processing programs available on the net, such as Audacity.

Same principle applies.
1. When shooting, mark start and end frames with a clapper board, making sure the camera clearly "sees" it and the recorder "hears" it.
2. Count or measure the number of frames between start and end slates on the film and use that to calculate the exact length of the take.
3. Load the audio into Audacity and trim off everything before and after the clapper board clicks (which will be clearly visible on the "Oscilloscope" waveform).
4. Measure the length of your remaining sound recording (already marked on the Audacity display)
5. From 2 and 4 above, calculate the percentage you have to increase or decrease the time to make it match the film.
6. Select the entire file, select "Effects", "change speed" and then enter the result from 5.

For example if your take occupies 1010 frames between the start and end slates, then at 24fps projection (or in a telecine) it will occupy 42.5 seconds.
Suppose Audacity tells you that the time between the start and end clicks on the audio recording is actually 43.6 seconds. 43.6 divided by 42.5 = about 1.026, so you need to speed up the audio by 2.6% (making the duration shorter) to make the duration of the audio match the duration of the picture.

Then all you have to do is save the file and line up the clicks with the start and end frames using your editor program. It's actually a lot quicker to do all this than to describe it!

You don't need a DAT recorder by the way. This system will work just as well with an analog cassette deck, or you can often just plug a microphone into a laptop computer and use Audacity to make a direct digital recording. For extra backup, an MP3 player with a built-in voice record facility slipped into a pocket can also work surprisingly well!
But, the golden rule is, try all this out beforehand with a handycam or similar before you start committing anyhting to celluloid!







otgun mic that will be slated. That was actually a concern of mine too. That syncing the sound to a certain speed as i've read, can be tough because the it can speed up or slow down.
So 24 fps seems to be the way to go.

Unless you use a crystal-sync camera, you are indeed going to have sound-sync issues, but you can overcome those by adopting some of the techniques used in the early days of sound film.

In the very early days they used to record the sound onto a wax gramophone disc, and sync the sound in post production by varying the speed of the turntable motor.

The usual method was to use a conventional clapper board to mark the start and finish of a take. They would then count the number of frames between the start and end slate frames, and divide this by 24 to give the precise length of the take in seconds.

They would then use a stopwatch to measure the time between the corresponding clicks while playing back the wax recording on a studio turntable. The turntable motor would have a speed control marked in +/- percent, and from the stopwatch measurement and the calculation of the length of the film take, a percentage adjustment could be made to the turntable speed so that the time between the start and end frames exactly matched the time between the start and end clicks on the wax recording.

After that, the sound on the wax record could be dubbed onto a special sound recording camera synced to the film footage.

Nowadays you can do exactly the same thing using one of the many freeware audio processing programs available on the net, such as Audacity.

Same principle applies.
1. Mark start and end frames with a clapper board.
2. Count the number of frames between start and end slates and use that to calculate the exact length of the take.
3. Load the audio into Audacity and trim off everything before and after the clapper board clicks (which will be clearly visible on the "Oscilloscope" waveform).
4. Measure the length of your remaining sound recording (marked on the Audacity display)
5. Calculate the percentage you have to increase or decrease the time from 2 and 4 above
6. Select the entire file, then select "Effects", "change speed" and then enter the result from 5.
For example
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#8 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 04:15 AM

...and continuing on from Keith: if you use, say, Final Cut, you could - with relative ease - sync the scanned/telecine'd film and your audio track and align it. You could also speed up or slow down. Now this is all a bit break-neck and not very elegant, and potentially very time-consuming.
But it can be done. When I started out shooting on S8, I did long dialogue sequences, with some takes over 30 seconds long and aligned and some times re-aligned the audio to the film multiple times in the take. All this was done with feeding the audio from the 1/4" tape recorder directly into the S8 film projector. After 10 seconds being in line, the film and audio usually then went out of sync, however, after some monumental work hours, a perfectly sync'd dialogue-heavy film left post and premiered. And yes, both camera and recorder where not crystal-sync'd (but in perfect working order). What made it possible was the synchro-sound features that allowed frame-perfect starting of both the projector and cable-sync'd slaved tape recorder... a Bauer and Eumig feature at that time. So once you aligned the clappers, you got a perfect sync starting. Looking back and to my screen here with FCP suite, doing this digitally is actually a piece of cake. :-)
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#9 Keith Walters

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 04:36 AM

...and continuing on from Keith: if you use, say, Final Cut, you could - with relative ease - sync the scanned/telecine'd film and your audio track and align it. You could also speed up or slow down. Now this is all a bit break-neck and not very elegant, and potentially very time-consuming.
But it can be done. When I started out shooting on S8, I did long dialogue sequences, with some takes over 30 seconds long and aligned and some times re-aligned the audio to the film multiple times in the take. All this was done with feeding the audio from the 1/4" tape recorder directly into the S8 film projector. After 10 seconds being in line, the film and audio usually then went out of sync, however, after some monumental work hours, a perfectly sync'd dialogue-heavy film left post and premiered. And yes, both camera and recorder where not crystal-sync'd (but in perfect working order). What made it possible was the synchro-sound features that allowed frame-perfect starting of both the projector and cable-sync'd slaved tape recorder... a Bauer and Eumig feature at that time. So once you aligned the clappers, you got a perfect sync starting. Looking back and to my screen here with FCP suite, doing this digitally is actually a piece of cake. :-)

You can't assume Final Cut will be an option. But, whatever you're doing, if you always use start and end slates, re-syncing the audio suddenly gets several thousand percent easier if timecode lets you down!

That's why, kiddies, if you look for instance at "Dr Who Confidential" you'll still see them using old-fashioned clapperboards, even though they're using state-of-the-art video cameras and timecode-locked digital audio. Only takes a second, but it can keep your balls off the line if somebody screws up the frame rate when all the dynamite goes off :D

I also like they way they showed the Foley artists just rattling bits of old junk to make the noises as well as using digital samples.

I've shown high school students how to do separate sound with only very basic equipment and simple editors like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. It's simply staggering what a difference good audio makes to an amateur project.
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#10 Keith Walters

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 04:40 AM

I've got no idea what happened to my post before Michael's :( Is anybody else finding this new forum editor a bit flakey?
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#11 Kirk Anderson

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 05:52 PM

I shot a 20 minute short on super 8 on an 814 auto-zoom.
We shot at 24fps and recorded externally into a laptop.

Our issues we encountered.

1) Camera noise sucked. Try and blimp it. We didn't even try, we just lived with it and tried to scrub it out in post.

2) For every 10 seconds of shooting we had to pull an average of 7 frames out from final cut pro. That sucked too. LOTS of time trying to get something right, that would ultimately never be right. like 60 hours of edit time on a 20 minute short and most of that was syncing.

3) We never shot more than 10 seconds at a time for sync sound times. That sucked.

4) We had a friend do the telecine for free as some stroke of dumb luck. I never even met the guy. That would be EXPENSIVE if you were to do it right and pay for it.

Here's a clip from a test.


I dont' think I'll ever post the whole thing. I don't even know where the file is.

NOW all that being said.

I will shoot super8 sync again and I plan on doing it soon.

However, I'll be using a 1014XLS or 814XLS along with a controller from the film group.
Also a Zoom recorder.
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#12 Wes Shaye

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 11:28 PM

Thanks for all the replies.

Man, this sounds like a major pain in the arse. But i welcome the challenge... I guess.

So is it alot of money to get a camera crystal synced?

How would that work with my dat recorder, if at all?

Could I build a little sound proof box/cover to slip over the camera or something, or would this work- staying far enough away from the subject your shooting so the mic doesnt pic the camera up. Then zooming in to what you what you want to see??
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#13 Gareth Blackstock

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 07:15 PM

I have shot a little sound with super8, and found it to be pretty good with the right preparation, although I never shot any sequence for longer than 20 seconds, the synch drifted a lot after that point.

have a look at this webpage, http://mishkin.yolas...d-recording.php

it might be helpful concerning sound recording. I use a Mini Disc, which is great! most people shy away from using Mini disc because it uses compression, but apparently the only sounds that are compressed are those too high or low in the frequency for the human ear, therefore not affecting the recorded track's quality. I may be wrong in this, but it is what I have been told.

I made up a blimp for my super8 camera, and it is excellent, barely a noise. And it was cheap, built from easily available materials. (it however does look like a camera from the early 1920's) below is a link to the blimp I built.

http://mishpics.yola...imp-designs.php

When you have recorded your tracks, and you do hear some camera in the background, you can download one of the many free sound programs off the net, and remove much of the offending noise, it is imperfect though.

good luck, and have fun.

cheers
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#14 Anthony Brock

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 06:32 AM

Both the Canon Auto Zoom 814 and Canon 814XL-S (not sure which one of these two "814" you have) have a multitude of filming speeds, including 18fps AND 24fps.


I bet he has the Canon 814XL Electronic Michael. It's that all black one that came out between the Auto Zoom 814 and the 814XL-S. The 814XL Electronic is a great camera, but it does top out at 18fps. I have one too that I'm dying to use for small web films if I can figure out a silent 18fps NLE workflow.

-Anthony
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#15 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 08:32 AM

Hi Anthony, gosh, of course! My mistake... That model totally fell off my radar max'ing out at 18 fps :unsure: B) . Not to go off-topic here, but what are your primary problems in finding a silent 18 NLE workflow? Just out of interest...

As regards MiniDisc mentioned above by Gareth: I too use an old Sharp MD-MS722 MiniDisc unit. It was bought with a then outrageously expensive 8-track Fostex HD console back when MP3 files and 56k modems were really something, and a Cantar-X was plain science-fiction. If you bought digital audio gear for your production house in the late 90s, you could really sink a lot of money into obsolencence... ;)

I still like the size and the ergonomics of the Sharp, and paired with modular Sennheiser mics and a Rycote set-up, it still does what I want when shooting Super 8. That means for me a team of two, and total freedom from the gear requirements that come when shooting S16, or the overhead needed for 35.

I too was wary about ATRAC compression, but overall, it was a step-up from using big Stellavox, Nagra or Uher gear with crystal-sync units. Recording dialogue and atmo on set or on location, I defy people to really pinpoint audible ATRAC compression. Sure, it's something else when recording music in a studio environment for radio (which - btw - until recently was still done in Germany on 1/4" @ 76cm/s or 38cm/s). But using that gear just lead to a higher overhead for the audio dimension than it did for shooting through S8 cartridges. I just thought that it reduced the joy and priviledge that S8 offers over 16 or 35.

I never warmed to DAT in its heyday because of the recorder designs, Sony's pricing and I just wanted to get for once away from tape recording (hey, it was the 1990s...). I am sure some people will call me silly for that... :D
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