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Introducting a new ultra-wide film format called UltraPan8


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#1 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 10:06 PM

The emerging popularity of 1.33:1 televison in the late 1940s and
early 1950s spurred tremendous development in ultrawide motion picture
technology. Its zenith best represented by the stupendous Cinerama and Cinemascope film based formats.

I would like to expand upon these spectacular ultrawide antecedents
with the introduction of UltraPan8.

It is a new ultrawide native spherical film format utlizing modified
8/16mm cameras and the entire 16mm width of 2 perf regular 8mm motion
picture film.

It's native gate dimensions are 10.52mm x 3.75mm with an aspect ratio
of 2.8:1. This is wider than Cinemascope at 2.39:1 and a bit smaller
than Cinerama's 2.87:1 aspect ratio. UltraPan8 represents a 41% increase in imaging area over Super 8 film and a respective 62% increase over regular 8mm film.

Standard 16mm optics provide optically centered full frame coverage.

Key design principals were the interchangable film transports of the
Bolex H8/H16 cameras and the historical engineering of both 8mm and
16mm film formats sharing identical perforation dimensions.

One of the design intents was freedom from bulky 16mm Cinemascope
anamorphic projector lens setups. Here are some examples of previous
ideas and testing for comparison purposes, i.e.

1. My original design for a potential adapter setup which was never
implemented, i.e
http://www.flickr.co...otos/90929958@N ... otostream/

2. Anamorphic test shot utilizing 16mm anamorphic projector lens +
stepdown ring + Beaulieu 4008. Cinematography by Justin Lovell,i.e.


The camera was modified by Jean-Louis Seguin and includes a native
2.8:1 UltraPan8 viewfinder with a Cinemascope 2.4:1 mask. We are also
working towards modification of a 1936 8/16mm multiformat worm gear Bolex projector for film based projections.

The 8 bit digital overscanned files of the inaugral test roll were
provided by John Gledhill of bitworks.org utilizing his sprocketless
16mm transfer bay in conjunction with a linear 12 bit imaging camera w/ 14 bit mask.

The digital deliverables included

1. Sequential 8 bit JPEGS. Full and half resolution. No color
correction applied albeit some gamma.
2. 1700x600 DIVX file.
3. 700x250 DVCPRO file.

Here are some sample frameshotsof the overscanned final output 8 bit JPEGS, i.e.

1. http://db.tt/mOoaVKp
2. http://db.tt/yQvrul9
3. http://db.tt/JSbM3IC
4. http://db.tt/qXFY2mJ
5. http://db.tt/kAhNgUU

Here are MPEG4 links to the 1700x600 DIVX file. I have added
music/credits to the unedited raw footage but I have decided to
display the test roll in its entirety, blemishes and all, i.e.

YouTube =
Vimeo =

Here is the above 1700x600 DIVX file available for download and for
your examination. Keep in mind this is not the full resolution
sequential JPEGS, i.e. DropBox = http://db.tt/rnEYkBs

There are visible issues in the footage and they are being addressed.
Although this was my first time filming with a Bolex I could not wipe
the perpetual grin of my face as I shot this test roll, that being the fact of
native UltraPan8 in the palm of my hand...a tad lighter than Kubrick's
handheld 25 pound 65mm camera shots in 2001! In fact 2001 is THE original inspiration with its gorgeous 65mm Cinemascope cinematography.

And why not re-introduce film based spectacle in these times of the digital imaging onslaught?

There will be forthcoming updates regarding additional footage and an
inspiring academic paper detailing the important historical
engineering modifications of the UK based WideScreen Association.

"From the heavens sprung such images."
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#2 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 10:12 PM

The forum mulched one of the links. Here is the correct one, i.e.

"1. My original design for a potential adapter setup which was never
implemented, i.e

http://www.flickr.co...in/photostream/ "
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#3 Toby Edwards

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 02:14 AM

Very cool stuff. I look forward to seeing more!!!!

Toby
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#4 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 12:46 PM

Thanks, Toby. I will be posting additional footage in the near future and another individual based in the US has ordered the 2nd official UltraPan8 conversion.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 02:44 PM

Thanks, Toby. I will be posting additional footage in the near future and another individual based in the US has ordered the 2nd official UltraPan8 conversion.


If the camera is pulling a Reg.8mm frame vertically but exposing a reg.16mm frame horizontally, wouldn't it be 100% larger than Reg.8mm, not 62%?
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#6 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 09:53 PM

David,

My rudimentary mathematical calculation has been outed. I humbly accept your correction.

Aside from the math what are your thoughts?
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 10:47 PM

It sounds fun but what stocks are available in Regular 8mm?
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#8 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 11:52 PM

That's terrific Nicholas to see someone using this format again. Yes, it's true, this format has been used many times in the past by various Widescreeners amongst the various Widescreen Associations [The Widescreen Association - England, Australian Widescreen Association, American Widescreen Association - AMWA, and AWS - American Widescreen Society, and various cine clubs worldwide]. Variations of this theme, modification of a BOLEX H-8 (Pan-8) or H-16 (Pan-16) to shoot a Widescreen non-anamorphic format is still done by a very few enthusiasts.

An "ultra" format was also tried using the Double Super 8mm format via the full film width years ago, and again repioneered by Rudi Muester of Muester Film & Video Tech in Switzerland, who proposed the Wide DS8 format complete with magnetic sound tracks. He also was the inventer of the Super 8-B format (B standing for Breitwand or Widescreen in German), which in English could be called Super 8-W (instead of that idiotic name that is out there.....and excuse me I just can't write it down here), whereby the area nominally used for the main soundtrack (optical or magnetic) is used for imaging area resulting in a wider format (akin to the Super-16 format but in Super 8).

Those wonderful BOLEX cameras just lend themselves to so many realms of filmmaking. They have been used for 3-D, time lapse (there are units out there that allow such functions with even the earliest ones made), anamorphic Widescreen (whether using the original Moeller lenses made for this purpose in the 1.5x compression format or any of the 'Scope' lenses in 1.75x or more popular 2x compression formats).

Another underdog of formats was using the Split-16 or Split-8 format, whereby the camera films sideways, using normal 16mm film but half-frame (or Double 8mm film, but using a 16mm frame height pulldown for similar effect). The aspect ratio is wider-than-normal at 1.5:1, with an image field twice that of a Regular 8mm frame, still yielding very good image quality......and the lower running costs, since a 100ft Daylight spool of 16mm film has DOUBLE the running time. The film is used as in any Double Run camera. Holding the camera sideways with two hands results in very stable images, and projection is done with either using a Dover Prism in front of the lens to reorientate the image onto the screen, or via a modified projector that sits sideways. In either case, the 16mm projector has the film gate modified to show the half-frame, and the now 8mm width projection reels are keyed with the square 16mm one to fit the projection arms.

Sorry for digressing here a bit, but the topic is Widescreen based. One more interesting tidbit, a man in England Stewart Warringer invented a tilted filming format on Super 8mm film that resulted in a Wider-than-norma aspect ratio. The gate was filed out, and the camera was fitted into a holder so that it was at a 30 degree tilt. You'd have to see it to believe it, but it worked fine. The projector also was modified with the gate filed out at that angle....and it had to sit in a cradle to hold it that way so the projected image would be correctly orientated on the screen. The goal of all these formats and others, was to yield a Widescreen format, without having to use Anamorphic Lenses. Of course, those of us that have shot and still use Anamorphic lenses for Widescreen or CinemaScope filmmaking (or still photography) appreciate the gain, for the small bother of having to use brackets and make some other technical concessions in filmmaking.

I applaud your efforts and wish you great success in this. Being the person I am, I will shoot in Widescreen in either 8mm format using an Anamorphic lens though.
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#9 Chris Millar

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 12:44 AM

One more interesting tidbit, a man in England Stewart Warringer invented a tilted filming format on Super 8mm film that resulted in a Wider-than-norma aspect ratio. The gate was filed out, and the camera was fitted into a holder so that it was at a 30 degree tilt.

cool - he snuggled the frame corners between the sprockets ... (?)

I like !




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#10 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 06:39 AM

David,

Predominately reversal stocks, i.e.

1. Ektachrome 100D - color
2. Plus-X - b/w
3. Tri-X - b/w
4. Wittner: CHROME DOUBLE V50D-8 based on based on Fujichrome Velvia 50
5. ORWO UN 54 - b/w
6. FOMA Fomapan R100 - b/w
7. Cine Chrome 50D - color

Some suppliers,i.e.

1. Toronto -> http://lift.ca/equipment/store
2. Germany -> http://www.wittner-c...mm/d8_filmm.php
3. US -> http://www.spectrafi...o.com/Film.html

Edward Nowill in the UK will reperf any 2R 16mm negative stock into standard double perf regular 8mm. Turn around is approximately 8 weeks.


Would you be interested in testing an UltraPan8 camera, David?

It sounds fun but what stocks are available in Regular 8mm?


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#11 Will Montgomery

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 09:47 AM

Edward Nowill in the UK will reperf any 2R 16mm negative stock into standard double perf regular 8mm. Turn around is approximately 8 weeks.

I'm sure Kodak would do it for a $30k order or so. It would be great to have some Negative 50D in Regular 8mm.
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#12 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 01:17 PM

Hi Martin.

It's great to see your post as I have been a great admirer of your anamorphic explorations for some time. And your a consummate historian as well.

I am in direct contact with Tony Shapps of the Widescreen Association fame who like yourself has preference for the external anamorphic lens method. He also has in his possession one of Stuart Warriner's custom Bolex Pan-16 cameras. Very difficult engineering as I have explained in a posting in the UK section of the 8mm forum, i.e.

http://8mmforum.film...ic;f=1;t=006398

"What Stuart Warner accomplished with Pan 16 was very difficult from an camera engineering perspective and is not cheaply reproducible for the masses. He choose the more arduous path of modifying the 16mm gate to replicate the 1/2 pulldown cycle of 8mm. But its even more complicated than that as there is only a single standard 16mm perf per 16mm frame height.

How in gods creation did he manage TWO half-pulldown 8mm gate cycles with only ONE perf! Think about it.

Film transport is a modern and proven engineering wonder. Continuous movement to intermittent to full braking to expose the frame in the gate then immediately switch to ramp up to intermittent back to continuous. All in 10ths or 100thss of a second.

And he achieved two PAN16 frames per standard 16mm height with ..I repeat...one single perf. The head hurts. I suspect Stuarts' invention of the mythical VPC (Variable Pitch Control) for PAN16 projectors was an attempt to control the variability of his PAN16 camera gate pulldown and PAN16 projector gates. One has to respect his pioneering efforts, indeed. "
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#13 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 01:28 PM

Will,

A local film cooperative has made first contact and they have previously purchased 6000 ft of 2 perf R8 E100D. They spool this down into 100 + 25 ft lengths for their members. I will update accordingly if this ends up generating a discussion on the possibility of a bulk negative R8 purchase.
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#14 Matt Stevens

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 05:12 PM

How about shoot some video of your actual camera in your hands, using it, so we can see what exactly it is you are shooting with. I'd like to see this camera.

Who can transfer the rolls is a good question...??? 1080p uncompressed would be a must or why bother?

Clearly there would be a loss in cropping down to 2.35:1, but not by much and the viewfinder would have to be made to crop out the area outside of 2.35:1 so we could frame properly for widescreen.

Forgive me for not following all the details, but how many seconds of footage will a roll give you at 24fps? Is there a change in that? I'm just not following all of the details.

The idea of this is beyond awesome. No doubt.
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#15 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 08:21 PM

Matt,

As per my detailed description it is a standard Bolex H8/H16 Rex 4 body w/ 3x C-mount lens turret. The modifications are internal only. There are numerous YouTube videos available of this camera in action. Again, as per my description, bitworks.org in Toronto is responsible for the digital transfer on their sprocketless 16mm transfer bay. I am sure with a little bit of research on the net you will find numerous transfer houses in the US with the same setup. Emphasis on sprocketless.

As I described above a Cinemascope 2.4:1 mask exists in the camera. There is no horizontal loss only slight vertical as per the UltraPan8 viewfinder, i.e. 2.8:1 -> 2.4:1. There are 2000 16mm wide 8mm high frames in a standard 25 ft R8 roll which equates to roughly 1m 23s of glorious UltraPan8 footage.

I appreciate your enthusiasm.
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#16 Matt Stevens

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 04:00 PM

I'm sorry I asked.
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