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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 - 10:20 PM

*I apologize for the cross-posting with the Super 8 forum but as this is a hybrid Bolex 8mm/16mm technology I felt it was appropriate for 16mm filmmakers. Thanks for reading!

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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 ntroduction 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 ameras 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 orginal 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 - 10:31 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 Chris Millar

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 10:59 PM

While I applaud camera modification...

Why not just shoot 16mm and crop to whatever aspect you like ?

If you're worried about the film wastage then mask the top and expose the bottom, rewind in the dark, flip your aperture plate mask then shoot the top half (centre the lens each time if you deem in required)

Thats an even more glorious 3.32 aspect ;)

Project the same way - and you can telecine it too
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#4 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 10:19 AM

Nice work Nicholas, and Jean-Louis.

The interchangeability of parts in Bolex H8 and H16 models makes this a fairly easy mod, though being a Bolex tech myself (far below Jean-Louis' experience however) I imagine it's not without some difficulties... unless you have the parts you need two cameras for a start.

The advantage over cropping half of 16mm footage and then reshooting on the other half as Chris describes would be that it's much easier for the user, the lens is centred as opposed to using the top or bottom half of the lens image circle, and I imagine transfer would be simpler (that last one is a guess though).

The disadvantage is that you're limited to the stocks available for double eight - namely reversal - unless you get that guy in England to reperf some negative for you.
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#5 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 12:25 PM

Chris,

The design intent is ease of use with off the shelf components. No flipping or masks. Native spherical optically centered ultrawide film-making. I supplied my H16 for the optics needed for the UltraPan8 conversion of a standard H8 body which was supplied by Jean-Louis. Total cost was approximately $460 CAN and is quite modest relative to a standard 1.77 AR Super 16 conversion.

The 2.8:1 Ultrawide viewfinder also has a native 2.4:1 Cinemascope frame-line for composition or extraction purposes.
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#6 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 09:15 PM

Hi Dom.

There are in fact several suppliers of reversal 2 perf R8 including a 10 ASA stock. I have been in contact with Ed Newill in the UK and we have discussed reperfing 2R 16mm Kodak or Fuji negative film stock, e.g. V3 50D, 200T, etc.

Nice work Nicholas, and Jean-Louis.


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