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handcrank super 8? super 8 vs. 16 mm? very new ebay

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#1 Jonathan Shapiro

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:07 AM

Hello I did not not whether to post this in the "Students and First Time Filmmakers" section or under the "Cameras Systems and Formats" section, but decided to post here because of the primitive nature of my question.

I recently was inspired to look at film movie camera prices. After seeing the cheap prices on ebay (99 cents for beautiful antiques that were "working") I really wanted to buy a cheap model (I am a student so I have at most 30$ to spend). I asked a friend of my sisters who goes film school about them, and he brought me to my senses and told me that it is almost impossible to find 8mm film (not surprisingly, they were all movie cameras that took 8mm film or double run). Don't want to bother him anymore, so I will be asking questions here.

He told me to get one that took super 8 film because it is the cheapest film (and it and 16 mm are the only accessible types).

Question 1: When I go online, it shows super 8 film more expensive then 16 mm.
http://compare.ebay....mTypes&var=sbar
450 ft of 16 mm for 60 dollars

Everytime I find super 8 film, 50 ft is 22 dollars...I feel like I am way oversimplifying this. Can someone link me to the cheapest super 8 and cheapest 16 mm that can be found?

Question 2:
What attracts me to filmmaking (with film) is the process and hands-on components that it brings (as opposed to digital). Consequently, my "ideal camera" would be one that takes the cheapest film, but also is hand-cranked. From what I understand, camearas that took Super 8 film were made after they stopped making hand cranked movie cameras. Is that correct? Would it be impossible for me to find a super 8 camera that also has a handcrank (I don't want to go mix and match or something like that)?

Question 3: As an ebay shopper, are there distinguishing features that I can use to detect if a camera will not work? For instance, my friend who is very into film photography says that if that place where you load the cartridge is scratched, then the film will always be messed up. Are there similar things like that that apply to movie cameras?
Thank you for all your help (and I hope that I posted in the right forum)
Jonathan
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#2 Mark Dunn

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:18 AM

At 24fps, super-8 runs at 20ft/min whereas 16mm runs at 36ft/min. So super-8 is usually cheaper per minute. The stock you found on ebay isn't fresh stock, it's ten years out of date and isn't a camera film; it's for filming CRT screens in black and white . Fresh colour 16mm. camera film is not as cheap as that, more like $150/400ft.
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#3 Geoff Howell

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:41 AM

Just to clarify when you say 'hand-cranked' do you mean like a Lumiere brothers type thing? or do you mean a camera with a clockwork motor (like a Bolex) that needs to be wound up or 'cranked'?

If the prior; you won't be able to find a hand-cranked super8 camera as the format was only invented in the 1960's. However, I'm sure with some expert 'MacGyver-ing' a super8 camera could be adapted for such an operation!

are you familiar with the Lomokino?

Also, it's possible to shoot 16mm for around the same cost as super8 (sometimes cheaper!) but there are a number of factors you need to take in to account.
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#4 Matt Stevens

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 12:27 PM

I would encourage poster to buy a super8 camera that is in good working order. There are plenty on eBay and we can assist in helping you look.

Buy a bunch of B&W Tri-X reversal from Kodak (it's the cheapest). Shoot at 18fps on your first rolls. Experiment. Make sure to slate everything so you can visually see "Oh, I shot that at 2.8" so you can see your mistakes.

Film costs money. It's cheaper to buy a digital camera. But it is not as rewarding.
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#5 Matt Stevens

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 12:34 PM

I always say the Canon 310XL is the best starter camera. Pretty much focuses itself and has the fastest lens of all time.

http://www.ebay.com/...=item20ce836d85

The 514 XL is also a great camera. The 814 and 1014's are all great. Canons are the best for newbies as there are plenty of them, plenty of spare parts and most in the forums have used them or are familiar with them.
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#6 Jonathan Shapiro

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:57 PM

Thank you all for the immediate responses. I plan on sometimes filming in black and white and sometimes filming in color. But from what I am inferring (and seeing on the internet), CRT screens are a whole different ball game, correct?

I meant a camera that needed to be wound up or "cranked", not the "Lumiere brothers type thing".

I wasn't familiar with the Lomokino, but the price is unfortunetly a massive deterant.

"Also, it's possible to shoot 16mm for around the same cost as super8 (sometimes cheaper!) but there are a number of factors you need to take in to account."

^This is gold. I would love to learn the major factors which I should take into account. I knew that I was looking at things way to simply.


"I always say the Canon 310XL is the best starter camera. Pretty much focuses itself and has the fastest lens of all time."
My one qualm with this is I would like to have as much control as possible (with of course my money limit).

I bid on this camera. I offered 16 dollars (and there is 9 dollars shipping, so it would amount to 25 dollars in all). No feedback yet. If I get the product for that amount, would people consider that I got it at a good price (factoring in shipping).

If not I will pressure the person into either selling it to me or nulifying the offer.

I hope that I do not increase my competition for these items, but I will take that risk. Here are the other 3 items that I am watching:

http://www.ebay.com/...984.m1423.l2649

Is this one handwound or not? If I got it for 25 dollars (including shipping) would it be a good price?

http://cgi.ebay.com/...em=390467935477

I am really, really interested in this piece. The seller says that she will ship it for the exact price (not charge extra). I have offered 10 dollars. Assuming shipping is around 10 dollars too, all I will need to buy is a lens. Does the camera look functional, how cheaply could I find a useable lens, and would it be a good buy (if the offer was accepted).

Lastly, I was thinking of offering 18$ for this movie camera (it would amount to 30 in all), but was advised to go for the argus instead.
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#7 Jonathan Shapiro

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:09 PM

Update:
http://cgi.ebay.com/...em=390467935477

For this one, the person is willing to sell me it for 10.00 and send it for only 10.00 shipping (even though it is more money). About to accept the offer but wanted to have someone check it out and make sure it is functional etc...

Can someone verify these things for me?
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#8 Jonathan Shapiro

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:21 PM

one last bit of info... Will I need to buy a cartridge/magazine if I get that camera. The seller says that I just need to get a lens, but the camera does not have a magazine or cartridge....
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#9 Mark Dunn

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 06:15 AM

You would need to buy and load a magazine. It's not impossible, but a bit complicated for a first camera.
The other one takes film on an ordinary spool.
They are both clockwork.
bear in mind these are very old cameras without reflex viewfinders or zoom lenses Usable but limited.
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#10 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 10:33 AM

one last bit of info... Will I need to buy a cartridge/magazine if I get that camera. The seller says that I just need to get a lens, but the camera does not have a magazine or cartridge....


I really wouldn't bother with that one. Don't get a camera without a lens. And don't stuff around with magazine load cameras. Magazines haven't been made for decades and you pay a premium for people to reload them, if you can even find reloaded ones. Also, for a beginner, buying film on ebay can be a real gamble, mostly it's way out of date and you have no idea how it's been stored.

Before you start spending money, you should do a little more research. How do you intend to view what you've shot? Buying a camera and film is only the first expense. You then need to get the film developed, and to watch it you either have to have it transferred to a digital file, or projected in a projector.

For me, projecting what I've shot is one of the great joys of using film. It has a look all of its own, and you can fill a wall with your images. If you use a type of film called 'reversal', you can shoot it, get it processed, and project it without needing to make a print. It's like slide film. Unfortunately we're down to only B&W with reversal, as the only reversal colour stock (Ektachrome 100D) was recently axed by Kodak. But B&W is still great. You would need to buy or borrow a projector though. And old school editing using splices can be time-consuming, and requires a few more things to buy, like an editing viewer and a splicer.

The other option is scanning the film after processing, which can be quite expensive. But you end up with a file you can watch on a computer, easily edit, add music, share it on youtube or whatever. Cheaper scans end up looking more like video than film, so for me it kind of defeats the purpose.

I really don't know what's cheapest in the end, taking all the factors in. Maybe 16mm reversal and an old 16mm projector, if you just want to play with film.

My choice would be standard 8 (also called regular or double 8). In vogue from the 30s to the 60s, then made obsolete by Super 8. Lots of wind-up cameras that use 25 ft spools (don't get a magazine one), are completely manual, and pretty cheap. The little Bolex ones are great. You can still get film (try http://www.zerelda.c...tionalfilm.html), and processing. Projectors are usually cheap too. Except for a few Russian models, Super 8 cameras are all battery powered and plastic, which doesn't sound like what you want, even if they're easier to use. I personally find it much more fun to use a well-made old metal camera that you have to wind up. (No offense to all the S8 lovers out there!) Plenty of 16mm wind-ups out there too, usually cost a bit more though, as do the projectors.
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#11 Jonathan Shapiro

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:09 PM

Thank you both! I was quite excited, but then I realized that figuring out where/what magazine to buy would be way too complicated.

"Before you start spending money, you should do a little more research. How do you intend to view what you've shot? Buying a camera and film is only the first expense. You then need to get the film developed, and to watch it you either have to have it transferred to a digital file, or projected in a projector."

I would love to project it (i think the video production teacher at our high school has a projector), but if I do not have those utilities, then I will view it digitally. After I buy the camera, everything (EVERYTHING) will be about cost effectivness (so if it is cheaper to project it, that is what I will do, if it is cheaper to watch it digitally, that is what I will do). I want to hand edit though as opposed to computer edit. I seen some cheap equipment floating around on youtube. Maybe after I get better versed at everything I could buy cheap 16 mm equipment.

The idea of using reversal seems great. Is it the same price and everything? Do most people buy their film online or at a store (And if so, what store?).

"My choice would be standard 8 (also called regular or double 8). In vogue from the 30s to the 60s, then made obsolete by Super 8. Lots of wind-up cameras that use 25 ft spools (don't get a magazine one), are completely manual, and pretty cheap. The little Bolex ones are great. You can still get film (try http://www.zerelda.c...tionalfilm.html), and processing. Projectors are usually cheap too. Except for a few Russian models, Super 8 cameras are all battery powered and plastic, which doesn't sound like what you want, even if they're easier to use. I personally find it much more fun to use a well-made old metal camera that you have to wind up. (No offense to all the S8 lovers out there!) Plenty of 16mm wind-ups out there too, usually cost a bit more though, as do the projectors."

I was about to buy a standard 8 but was recommmended against it because the person I talked to said that you cannot buy standard 8 film (but you have proved him wrong I guess). I would be all for buying one (they are exactly what I want), but in the long run will they still continue creating film for standard 8's (whatever model I buy will be the one that i hopefully use my whole life). Does accesibility translate to cost effectivness (because 16mm is more cost effective [right?] wouldn't it be cheaper and so if I could find a metal, wind-up 16 mm wouldn't it be more cost effective to buy it as opposed to a standard 8?

From what I have read from your post it seems to me that I should buy a 16mm, buy REVERSAL (is all 16mm compatible with all 16 mm cameras?), and then see if I can borrow a film splicer and projector (and then I am set, yes?). Unless standard 8 film is cheaper then 16mm which I would think wouldnt be the case because standard 8 is rarer.

Last thing: I am confused about the whole magazine aspect. So do wind-ups not need magazines? or are they they only cameras that need magazines...or do ALL Cameras need magazines?
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#12 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:18 PM

From what I have read from your post it seems to me that I should buy a 16mm, buy REVERSAL (is all 16mm compatible with all 16 mm cameras?), and then see if I can borrow a film splicer and projector (and then I am set, yes?). Unless standard 8 film is cheaper then 16mm which I would think wouldnt be the case because standard 8 is rarer.

Last thing: I am confused about the whole magazine aspect. So do wind-ups not need magazines? or are they they only cameras that need magazines...or do ALL Cameras need magazines?


Only a few cameras took magazines, they were introduced (both in 16 and 8) as a simpler way of putting film in your camera, much like the Super 8 cartridges, pre-loaded at the factory. Most old 16mm and standard 8 cameras use daylight spools, usually 25 ft for 8mm and 100 ft for 16mm. The spools were designed to cover the film somewhat so you can load the camera in subdued light without fogging much more than the first few feet. It gets a bit confusing because the term "magazine" is also used for the add-on compartments used with more professional cameras that hold longer lengths of film, totally different thing.

25 ft of standard 8mm (which becomes 50ft after being processed, split lengthways and joined) gives you about 4 minutes at the old filming speed of 16 frames per second, 100 ft of 16mm gives you the same at the same filming speed. If you shoot at a faster rate, like the modern standard of 24 fps, you get less than 3 minutes. You'd have to compare stock and processing costs in your area to see what's cheaper. Check out the prices for transfer too. It's hard to get negative film in standard 8 (or colour reversal now), so there are many more stock options in 16mm, though older 16mm cameras might require double-perfed film which reduces your options back down. Standard 8 is made by adding perforations to double-perf 16mm.
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#13 Zachary J Esters

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:05 PM

Hey Jonathan!


When you say "hand-edit..."

.....are you referring to the old school way of cutting the frames with scissors and taping them together?


Many kudos to you my friend! I don't know many people that do that nowadays (because it's VERY time-consuming, and time is money, or more time that you could've been using to film more), but I do believe that it will be a learning experience, and by the time you make it to editing digitally, you'll appreciate the digital/computer editing suites ALOT more than the ones who've never had a chance to "hand-edit."

However, as Matt Stevens said above, keep a "digital camera" in consideration. If you want to see fast results of your cinematography (lighting, camera-work, etc) -- then the turnaround time from preproduction to post will be long, mainly because you're trying to find the cheapest methods of shooting, processing, and viewing, but all of this that you're trying to purchase will be costly; also if you're not experienced at hand-editing, it'll be more costly because you have to hand-edit it right, and before that, have it processed in a lab and made insensitive to light then sent back to you, etc.... when virtually speaking, you're going to switch over to computer editing in time anyway, because it has been found countless times to be much more efficient.

If you have a lot more money in your budget for it than you make it seem, then by all means, there's nothing wrong with making a film camera your first camera. As far as hand-editing though....... haha, well, that's all I will say about that!

Hope this helps!



Zachary J. Esters
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