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Super 8 more expensive than 35?


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#1 Ben Syverson

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 12:36 PM

I realize the choice of Super 8 is mostly an aesthetic rather than budgetary one these days, but I'm wondering how people keep costs down when using this format.

Using Pro8mm as a reference, 10 rolls from stock to scan is $672, or $67 per roll. By comparison, 35mm shorts can be had for 15¢/foot, processed for about the same, and scanned for 32¢/foot, for a total of $62 per 100' roll.

I realize that a 50' load of Super 8 runs longer than a 100' load of 35, but have we really reached a point where it's literally cheaper to shoot a daylight load of 35 than Super 8?

Edited by Ben Syverson, 26 May 2011 - 12:38 PM.

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#2 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 01:18 PM

Indeed interesting and revealing. Unfortunately an hour of labour costs about the same for both service.

The only thing is of course pro8mm may the choice when you are around there and have plenty budget. Better and far more affordable service for super-8 can be had at many locations in the world. Only express services are somewhat limited.
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#3 Nicholas Rapak

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 11:56 PM

50' of Super 8 is equivalent in running time to 225' of 35mm, so it would be ~$140 for a 50 ft cart equivalent. Not only that, but Spectra's stock to scan price for 12 rolls divides out to $55 a cart, less than 40% of the cost of the equivalent run time in 35.

Edited by Nicholas Rapak, 26 May 2011 - 11:56 PM.

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#4 Will Montgomery

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 11:06 PM

It's a good point that 35mm has become much more affordable.

Super 8 of course can be shot, processed and transferred for much less if you are ok going the film chain type transfers and shoot reversal instead of a Spirit or Millennium HD transfer.
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#5 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 07:54 PM

Well, it's both....budget and imagery. Super 8mm filmmaking (not factoring in the transfer to video/digital costs since that can vary widely and many do it themselves) IS CHEAPER than shooting in 16mm or 35mm, when you compare the run times. If you buy the film direct from KODAK and use an 'affordable lab', then 50 feet of film will cost about $30 USA to shoot, that works out to about $10 or less per minute of run time at 18fps or under #12 per minute of run time at 24fps. That is signficantly lower than either 16mm or 35mm. That $30 figure is also factoring postage costs to the lab. According to the current Eastman KODAK Motion Picture Product Catalog (via PDF off their website) A cartridge of TRI-X 7266 film will costs $11.12 versus $21.62 for 100ft of 16mm. The Super 8mm comparison is biased in its own favor if shooting at 18fps, but even shooting at 24fps you will get 2.5 minutes of run time (in film or transfer) compared to 16mm runtime of 1 minute & 23 seconds at 24fps. Factor in the processing costs and it's very obvious, Super 8mm wins cost wise at either 18fps or 24fps.

Using EKTACHROME 100 Daylight 7285 for comparison, it's $14 for Super 8mm 50ft compared to $36.93 for 16mm 100ft. If you buy 200 cartridges, the cost is $12.18 each! There is some additional savings in 16mm if you buy in bulk and spool the film down yourself of course. For 35mm the cost is $475.73 for a 400ft roll, so $118.93 per 100ft (although in 35mm loads are generally longer). Processing costs are also higher when you leave Super 8mm, and although based per foot, it will work out substantially higher.

Perhaps the realm where cost is less relative is in Film-to-Video Transfer, as the cost here is usually relative to the labor involved, and can be about the same laborwise for all gauges, with the cost per foot, due to their physical length differences, being notwithstanding. Since Super 8mm can be and often is, so much a DIY filmmaking experience, many that stick with it, also often sort something more affordable out for transfer than the rates at some labs. So, it's very clear, there is substantial savings...and were there not, then there just would not be so many newcomers at young ages getting into the hobby, craft, and artistic and fun area of Cinematography which we know as Super 8mm (no slight to our Regular/Double/Normal/Standard 8mm fans, as much of this applies to that gauge as well).

Just my input into this topic, as it has been discussed in the cine realm for decades!
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#6 Abala Babala

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 04:43 AM

I realize the choice of Super 8 is mostly an aesthetic rather than budgetary one these days, but I'm wondering how people keep costs down when using this format.

 

Super 8 is about 1/2 the price of 16mm per min. I hear people say the opposite a lot but whenever I do the math it comes out cheaper. Or am I mistaken? 


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#7 Pavan Deep

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 09:08 AM

Are you mistaken? It really depends on a number of factors. Here in the UK buying a new Super 8 cartridge of say Vision 3 50D is about £20.00, individuals can no longer buy film directly from Kodak, processing a single cartridge is about £15.00, telecine prices can vary, but are usually about £20.00 per cartridge. The total cost of using one 50ft cartridge of Super 8 film can be around £55.00, the cost can come down if you get film cheaply and shop around for telecine, I have been able to get a cartridge have it processed and telecined for around £40.00, including postage, this is still expensive.

 

A 100ft of 16mm is about the same in running time as the typical 50ft Super 8 cartridge, fresh Kodak Vision 3 50D 100ft daylight spool  can cost around £30.00, processing can be around £11.00 and a 2K digital scan can be around £11.00, so the total cost is about £52.00. In this case Super 8 does work out more expensive.

 

In reality you can get 16mm film for much less, the first is you can buy fresh 16mm film Kodak Vision 3 50D in 400ft rolls for about £100.00 [and even cheaper] thus each 100ft works out to £25.00, you’ll have to spool it down to 100ft daylight spools to use it in 100ft cameras, you can do this yourself or ask a lab, labs might spool it down for free especially if you’ll send the film to them for processing. The second is that you can get 16mm film cheaply much more easily than Super 8, I have bought 16mm films in 100ft daylight spools for £10.00 off other filmmakers. Here you can still buy the last batches of Fuji 16mm in 400 foot rolls for about £55.00 -which is incredibly cheap.

 

The biggest advantage of using Super 8 is the ease and portability of the cameras and the cheapness of Super 8 gear. The big benefit of using 16mm [apart from it's technical superiority over Super 8] is that professional 16mm equipment is very cheap at the moment. The other advantage is the speed unlike Super 8 16mm film processing is much faster.

 

Pav


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#8 Jeremy Cavanagh

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 06:27 AM

Silverprint in London has super 8 cartridges of Vision 3, 200T and 500T for £16.50 and I have asked them about obtaining 50D and they are certainly willing to try. You can avoid the usual suspects for reversal processing in the UK and get it done for £13 and telecine for £12.00 which gives a total cost of £36.50 per cart excluding postage and that price would be different if you telecine more than 50 ft at a time. I am not sure how you arrive at £11.00 for processing 100 ft of 16 mm as a one off, I would've thought that would only apply to a batch of 16 mm considerably longer than 100 ft but I could be wrong.


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#9 Pavan Deep

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 09:49 AM

I am a huge fan of Super 8 and have used it since 1989 often using a few cartridges every month; one of the main attractions is its simplicity and was its low costs. Since 2012 I have seen the costs of using Super 8 go up considerably. With Ektachrome you had to pay for the film to be processed, although Ektachrome can be quite easily processed at home, but negative films like the Vision 3 are not easy to process at home and as far as I know nobody here in the UK can process colour negative Super 8, everyone sends films abroad.

 

Around £36.00 excluding postage is still expensive; with postage the costs will go up to £40.00 or even more, especially when we compare that using Super 8 in 2006 was only £13.00 for film and processing, which was expensive, if you shopped avoided the high streets you could pay around £8.00 for film and processing of one cartridge.

 

As for 16mm, I have arrived at these costs based on my recent purchases [November 2014] where I had 400ft of film processed and scanned at Cinelab UK [Formerly Bucks Labs], I think most labs in the UK have a minimum order which is about 400ft, [this equates to 4 Super 8 cartridges]. The costs for processing colour reversal in 16mm are much more than colour negative.

 

Pav


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#10 Jeremy Cavanagh

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 01:25 PM

Thats very interesting info Pav. Thanks


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#11 Jeremy Cavanagh

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 03:41 PM

A mistake I made in my previous entry was that the processing costs I quoted were for reversal and the super 8 stock prices were for neg and the price I have just looked up for neg processing is £17 so bringing the total cost I quoted to £40. I didn't quote postage because you have transport costs whether you pay for petrol to drive over to a lab or send it second class post.

 

I have been learning to process neg (including removing remjet) from other people so I would be surprised if there isn't someone in the UK doing neg processing of Super 8.

 

Does Bucks perhaps process Super 8?


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#12 Ian Cooper

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 04:05 PM

Does Bucks perhaps process Super 8?

 

"i-Dailies" advertise super-8 processing (which would be ECN2).

It's been mentioned a couple of times, but nobody has commented that they've actually used the service.


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#13 Pavan Deep

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 04:43 PM

I-Dailies is a great lab, but they don't process Super 8 anymore as far as I know they haven't got round to changing this on their website.

 

Pav


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#14 Pavan Deep

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 04:48 PM

Hi

 

Someone should start processing Super 8 here in the UK, otherwise I fear that more people would be put off from using Super 8, I know from personal experience that the disappearance of Ektachrome 100D has been pretty bad for Super 8. Unfortunately Bucks don't process Super 8.

 

Pav


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#15 Jeremy Cavanagh

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 05:43 PM

There are a couple of small operations that processed reversal using E6 and did a very good job and I can think of one that has worked hard to expand their service offerings since the demise of Ektachrome (e.g. by offering Wittner's Agfa 200D). It would be good if one of these small operations took on Super 8 neg processing. From talking to the people who took me through neg processing I understand ECN-2 can be processed by C-21 chemistry with the addition of a stage to remove remjet allowing hand processing (which the small operations doing reversal used) and their opinion was that the resulting colour differences could be made up in telecine but I have no experience of this.

 

BTW, Pav, the approx £100 you quoted for a 400 ft roll from Kodak, is that based on having an account with them and placing an order over a set amount or it buying through a reseller?


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#16 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 09:36 PM

My cost is about $32USD per 50ft roll to scan. I order my stock straight from Kodak at about $17.35 per cart, get it processed at about $15 per cart. I invested in the Retro8 scanner this year, so telecine costs are no longer a factor. When I started out shooting S8, K40 was $10 without processing or $13 with processing included by Kodak. Without prepaid you could get processing at Dwayes for $9 per roll, $19 for film and processing. Splicing and projecting was the main method, but a lot of folks found tools or methods to DIY transfer reversal film. Using none Kodachrome stocks cost about $25 per 50ft processed cart. That was all 10 years ago.

So today I'm paying about $7 more per roll than I was 10yrs ago for non K40 stocks. I would still use the superior big boy telecine for any more serious or commercial work. but when you cut that cost out of the equation, it's still the low cost option. Not to mention working with Vision3 films in the current NLE workflow is worth the extra cost. The added flexibility and results of negs are just as much fun now as viewing and splicing was at first. I Think of the new DIY machines that scan negatives are like having a new high end film projector on the market, and 3 speeds of color reversal stock.
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#17 Pavan Deep

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 03:24 AM

Personally, I think DIY telecine is the way to go to keep costs down for Super 8 with systems like Retro 8 or other methods of DIY transfer like using frame by frame capture using machine vision cameras, DIY telecine is fun. I made my own frame by frame telecine device a few years ago and am currently making a better one to transfer both Super 8 and 16mm. I think the biggest problem remains processing, if only Super 8 negative processing was as simple as colour photographic film which uses C41 chemical kits, processing colour photographic film at home is incredibly easy.


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#18 Jeremy Cavanagh

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 01:41 PM

I think the proliferation of small format scanners is key to keeping super 8 going. I hope to build my own DIY version over the next year, however, ambitiously, I am hoping I might be able to afford a 2K or even 4K mono CCD sensor with large photosites e.g. 5 um and larger with 10 to 14 bit O/P (mono because I would like to try R,G,B scanning to get over Bayer filter limitations plus add the possiblity of HDR or infred scratch removal).

 

Anyone happen to know where I could obtain such a  sensor or am I just being too ambitious?


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#19 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 05:02 PM

Aside from the Retro8, Tobin has a reel to reel scanner coming out as well. Not to mention Blackmagic Design may have something of a desktop scanner in the works from their Cintel aquisition. I read that their goal is to create something that is of pro quality but affordable... like their business model which tries to deliver professional tools to regular people. I think they see the road block in films workflow expense. maybe there will be different versions like 8/16mm or 16/35mm?


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#20 Carl Looper

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 03:43 PM

I think the proliferation of small format scanners is key to keeping super 8 going. I hope to build my own DIY version over the next year, however, ambitiously, I am hoping I might be able to afford a 2K or even 4K mono CCD sensor with large photosites e.g. 5 um and larger with 10 to 14 bit O/P (mono because I would like to try R,G,B scanning to get over Bayer filter limitations plus add the possiblity of HDR or infred scratch removal).

 

Anyone happen to know where I could obtain such a  sensor or am I just being too ambitious?

 

Point Grey have a large range of machine vision camera/sensors:

 

http://grasshopper3....camera-selector

 

For example, this one comes closest to your spec:

 

GS3-U3-91S6M-C

Mono

9.1 MP

Sony ICX814 CCD, 1", 3.69 µm

Global shutter

3376 x 2704 at 9 FPS

14 bit A/D convertor

 

http://grasshopper3....B3/Grasshopper3


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