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Questions about Shooting Regular 8mm


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#1 Billy Soistmann

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 06:53 PM

Hi, this is my first post and I just have a few questions regarding shooting on 8mm. I am somewhat experienced shooting digitally but this is my first experience with real film.

I just received a Canon Motor Zoom 8 EEE camera as a gift. It is in good condition and in working condition as far as I can tell. After putting new batteries in it, the film spinning mechanism works, as does the exposure light and zoom buttons. The lens is in good condition and I also have a wide-angle adapter but I can't get it to screw in place.

So my main question is about what film I need. I know that Super 8 film will not work in my camera because it comes in cartridge not spool form. The only place I could find that sold Regular 8mm film is from John Schwind. Is that the kind of film I need? Will both color and black-and-white film work in this camera? What about Double Super 8? Is that Super 8mm film that will fit on in my regular 8mm camera or should I avoid that? Also, should I get a 25ft or 100ft spool? I can't tell which will fit in the camera.

So, if this film is correct I can order it, expose it, then I have to ship it off to have it processed, correct? Are there still labs that process Regular, as opposed to Super 8mm film?

I'm considering getting a Super 8 camera soon, but I'd like to try out filming with the camera I have first. Any suggestions, corrections, or tips would be appreciated. Thanks!
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#2 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 10:57 PM

Hi Billy,

that's a good camera to start learning about film, and Canon made great lenses for their movie cameras right from the start. Yours probably dates from around 1963!

If you don't have a manual you can download one free from here:

http://static.cinein...User-Manual.pdf

Double 8 film is what you want and if you're in the US, buying it from John Schwind is the best thing to do. The camera takes 25 ft spools, and you can use colour or black and white. It's actually 16mm film with double the perforations - the first time you run it through the camera it exposes only half the film width. You then turn the exposed spool over and run it through again to expose the other half of the width. After processing it gets slit down the middle and joined together to make a 50 ft length. That's enough for a little over 4 minutes if you shoot at 16 frames per second.

To watch it you can either get the film transferred to a digital file or do it old school and run it through an 8mm projector. It's great fun to project your footage up on a screen, but for editing it's easier to use a digital file.

One thing to know about your camera - the light meter takes an old 1.35V mercury battery that is no longer available. There are replacements but I think they are either the wrong size or a slightly different voltage (1.5V, which will alter the meter reading). You can make adapters out of metal to fill out the battery length, or change the camera's ASA setting to correct the meter, but either way it's worth using an external meter to check the camera's built in one.

Your camera has a manual override for the exposure so you can actually not worry about the camera's meter and just set the aperture manually using an external light meter anyway, which is what I'd recommend if you want to learn about using film and about cinematography in general. The user manual tells you the exposure times for different frame rates.

Here in Australia Nano Lab is the place to go for processing. Someone else will have to tell you about labs in other parts.

Hope you enjoy it!
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