Jump to content




Photo

Popular Super-8 cameras, 1970-72?


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 Wes Bollinger

Wes Bollinger

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 16 December 2015 - 12:23 PM

Hi all.

 

Summary: Trying to research the most popular Super-8 cameras sold for private use between 1970-1972.

 

Thanks ahead of time.  Basically, I'm doing research on popular/bestselling Super-8 cameras commonly used for either amateur filmmaking or home movie recording between 1970 and early 1973.  Sifting through some other sites like super8wiki and a few vintage camera sites, I'm having trouble pinpointing production dates for certain cameras, or sales figures indicating what would've been the most popular cameras, say, in the US in late 1972.  Even something as basic as knowledgable opinion written on the subject eludes me.

 

I'm looking for resources that might point me in the right direction, or anyone with specialist knowledge who might easily offer a guess as to what brands and models I might start looking at.

 

Cheers!


  • 0




#2 Zac Fettig

Zac Fettig
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 338 posts
  • Other
  • Boston

Posted 16 December 2015 - 04:00 PM

http://super8wiki.co...x.php/Main_Page

 

Good place to research cameras.

 

Sears catalogs would be a good place to start. That would be where most of America would have turned to buy cameras in that time period. Europe... I'm not as familiar with. But Sears would have been the place to have sold it in the 70s. High end stuff would have gone through specialty shops (camera shops).

 

http://www.searscatalogsonline.com/

http://www.wishbookweb.com/

 

Sales figures would likely be difficult to find. Ditto production dates. Even the manufacturers aren't likely to have that information available these days. Best bet would be period magazines. Research is goig to have to be the old fashioned kind, slogging through libraries.


Edited by Zac Fettig, 16 December 2015 - 04:00 PM.

  • 0

#3 Wes Bollinger

Wes Bollinger

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 05 January 2016 - 09:31 AM

TL;DR:  I've decided that the best camera seems to be the Kodak XL 55.  Now I'm looking for examples of what footage taken with that camera would've looked like in a low-light/dance club setting.  More research to be done on the camera itself.  Any other thoughts from anyone?

 

Hi Zac,

 

Thanks for your advice.  I got to the library, and after a bit of slogging around (unfortunately, your helpful archive-searching suggestion couldn't be followed up as the Sear Catalogue isn't on microfilm anywhere nearby), I managed to find a source to start with.  I found a paper on the history of Super-8 filmmaking, and after sifting through the sources cited in it, I came across Lenny Lipton's The Super 8 Book (1975) ( Google Books link ).  

 

I'm writing a novel where one of the characters will be using the camera in a night club in 1973, and the footage will be viewed in the present.  After looking through Lipton's book I've decided that my character will be using the Kodak XL 55 ( http://super8wiki.co...php/Kodak_XL_55 ). Does that sound about right to you?

 

I'll do some specific research on the camera itself (i.e. how long the film rolls were, how many minutes of footage could be captured, what the aesthetic quality looked like of something filmed with the same camera in similar conditions), but if you have any other stray or cursory thoughts on the matter, I'd be grateful to hear them.

 

I'm open to all suggestions from anyone, in fact!

 

Thanks again.


  • 0

#4 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2182 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 05 January 2016 - 09:40 AM

Super-8 cartridges are 50' giving 3 1/3 minutes at 18fps . That model does place you quite squarely in your period- there was nothing else like it.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 05 January 2016 - 09:41 AM.

  • 0

#5 Andries Molenaar

Andries Molenaar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 607 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Amsterdam

Posted 05 January 2016 - 06:29 PM

Filming in a night club? Your character is invisible or ends up in hospital?


  • 0

#6 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4745 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 05 January 2016 - 06:51 PM

Don't think you'd see much in a night club with 40ASA Kodachrome, just the lights flashing and some outlines of dancers at most..


  • 0

#7 Zac Fettig

Zac Fettig
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 338 posts
  • Other
  • Boston

Posted 05 January 2016 - 07:44 PM

Does it have to be super 8? I'm not aware of any super 8 film stocks faster than 200ASA in super 8 until '77. Almost all night clubs I've ever seen have terrible lighting.

 

If he's shooting inside a nightclub, a Bell and Howell Filmo 16mm camera and some Kodak 4X film (400ASA) would be more plausable. For reference look up the film Peeping Tom (1960). The camera wouldn't be much larger. The nice thing with the filmo is that they made it from the 1920s into the 1980s (with design changes). They were common news footage cameras in WW2/Korea/Vietnam. A filmo 70DR with an Angenieux 25mm f0.95 lens would be reasonably availble in that time frame. And could probably shoot in a nightclub.


  • 0

#8 Bengt Freden

Bengt Freden
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 118 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Stockholm, Sweden

Posted 06 January 2016 - 06:16 AM

Or perhaps a Beaulieu 4008 ZM with the Angénieux 1.9/8-64mm zoom lens? It isn't exactly an XL camera for available light, but it is a sexy little thing. It first became available in 1965.

Bengt F, Stockholm, Sweden  :) 


  • 0

#9 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2182 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 06 January 2016 - 06:33 AM

Does it have to be super 8? I'm not aware of any super 8 film stocks faster than 200ASA in super 8 until '77. Almost all night clubs I've ever seen have terrible lighting.

 

If he's shooting inside a nightclub, a Bell and Howell Filmo 16mm camera and some Kodak 4X film (400ASA) would be more plausable. For reference look up the film Peeping Tom (1960). The camera wouldn't be much larger. The nice thing with the filmo is that they made it from the 1920s into the 1980s (with design changes). They were common news footage cameras in WW2/Korea/Vietnam. A filmo 70DR with an Angenieux 25mm f0.95 lens would be reasonably availble in that time frame. And could probably shoot in a nightclub.

I've had decent results with 160G stock in nightclub-style lighting. 18fps at f1.2, 220 shutter like the XL55.


  • 0

#10 Bengt Freden

Bengt Freden
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 118 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Stockholm, Sweden

Posted 06 January 2016 - 07:37 AM

This is the Beaulieu 4008 ZM, for what it's worth, although it should have it's 'Reglomatic' zoom and aperture drive motors

on the lens:

http://www.ebay.com/...PgAAOSw8-tWZTsR

 

It was a very popular Super-8 camera in Europe around 1970-72, until the 4008 ZMII came along, with the 1.8/6-66mm

Schneider Optivaron zoom lens.

Bengt in Stockholm


  • 0

#11 Wes Bollinger

Wes Bollinger

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 06 January 2016 - 07:57 AM

TL;DR: The camera doesn't have to be Super-8, but the character using the camera probably wouldn't be sophisticated enough to pick up something that he couldn't walk into a general electronics/Sears store in '72 and buy, though he does have expensive taste.  I figured the low-lighting would kill the images of the nightclub, but I'm either going to try to add more light in the night club (by writing it in), or think of another away around it because it would be better if the footage when watched today wasn't an indecipherable mess.  I appreciate all the suggestions so far, and I'll be looking at the links and other cameras recommended here.

 

Thanks for all the replies so far.  Basically, no, the camera doesn't have to be Super-8, but I'm trying to give the character who is "shooting" in the nightclub a popular "amateur" camera for the pedestrian/at-home filmmaker in 1972 - early 1973.

 

The thing about this character is he's rich, and can afford all the gadgets and toys he wants to play with, but he wouldn't have the knowledge to pick out an excellent camera to shoot with.  He's a young, spoiled playboy-type who's the equivalent of someone today who would buy the most expensive DSLR they found in a general electronics store, without doing any research, and then take it out with him to parties and clubs trying to make a "movie."  The character I'm writing could end up with another camera, but it would have to qualify either as a luxury object (to motivate him to buy it without having to go out of his way for it) or just the camera he was most likely to end up with at that time (i.e. the bestselling in 72-73).  He doesn't know a camera might shoot poorly in low lighting conditions.

 

I did figure it would be too dark in the nightclub, and- I was going to use the highest ASA I could get in the camera (again, that isn't specialist, hard to buy stock).  I was looking for approximate low-lighting footage with the Kodak XL 55, and the closest I found was this: https://www.youtube....h?v=6JwyOzdWXzc.  The person here is shooting outside at night with the camera, and seeing how most of the light sources are blown-out and surrounded by darkness, I figured the footage in the club would be terrible because there you also have movement and tight space.  I'm thinking of solving it by basically allowing a mix of a) turbulent shots of bodies writhing in a suffocating darkness semi-illuminated at points by the dance-floor lighting, disco balls, gel-hued moving spotlights, etc, and also ii), then having shots of a nearby bar/lounge area that is much better lit, without being too bright, where everyone is sitting static on stools or couches and you can see the characters better.

 

I'm going to try to have the dance-floor footage not look like blurred, indistinct crap, but this is the character and context I'm working with. 

 

Thanks for the suggestions about the other cameras.  I'll look into them, but hopefully I can determine whether or not an amateur would be sophisticated enough to end up with something different at the time.


Edited by Wes Bollinger, 06 January 2016 - 08:00 AM.

  • 0

#12 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2182 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 06 January 2016 - 08:34 AM

Then there's no doubt about it. Your spoilt brat would go into a posh camera shop and pay through the nose for a 16mm. Bolex or, failing that, a Super-8 Beaulieu. Super-8 is, or was then, a lot easier to get processed and to project.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 06 January 2016 - 08:36 AM.

  • 0

#13 Wes Bollinger

Wes Bollinger

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 06 January 2016 - 09:23 AM

Cool, I'll look at the Beaulieu.  Great shout, thanks.  

 

Would it make a difference if, say, the camera was bought in Mexico or the US rather than Europe at the time?  What I mean is, would've the Beaulieu been on the market outside Europe?  If not I'll probably just say he bought it in Europe on a trip to London.


  • 0

#14 Zac Fettig

Zac Fettig
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 338 posts
  • Other
  • Boston

Posted 06 January 2016 - 09:41 AM

Mexico yes, the US no.

 

The bigger difference would be location. In Duluth, you take what Sears carries. In New York, you can get almost anything.

 

Bolex would have been available almost anywhere (although high end). You'd have had to go to a camera shop (not a department store) to get one. They were more common back then then they are now. And most camera shops would have had special order books and could have gotten you whatever you want.

 

A rich guys toy would have been fancier. The Kodak would have been a common choice for a working class family in the early 70s. Not really something a rich guy would have used to show off. Bolex 16mm or Beaulieu Super 8 sound about right.


  • 0

#15 Josh Gladstone

Josh Gladstone
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 309 posts
  • Editor
  • Hollywood

Posted 10 January 2016 - 03:37 AM

Not sure if this helps, but I do believe they did have some large ludicrous lights that you could use with your camera to allow low-light and indoor shooting. Think wedding movies. Like this:

 

s-l1600.jpg

http://www.ebay.com/...ggAAOSwMmBV2Kfx

 

 

Of course you have to plug them in, so they're not very portable. Probably not a lot of use in nightclubs. Unless maybe there was a battery pack for them? But I really don't know much about them.


Edited by Josh Gladstone, 10 January 2016 - 03:38 AM.

  • 0

#16 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2182 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 10 January 2016 - 06:10 AM

There was the sun-gun, with a large 30V battery, but it was professional kit.


  • 0

#17 Wes Bollinger

Wes Bollinger

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 11 January 2016 - 07:25 AM

Thanks for the suggestions!  I still have the barrier that the guy doing the shooting is an amateur (possibly even an overstatement--a drunk with a camera is more like it), so I don't think he'd be thinking about lighting.  On the other hand, I could shift his character a bit so he owns the club or knows someone who will allow him to bring the lights in the club because  he's somehow thought of the lighting conditions.  That or maybe he has a high powered flash light or spotlight (like that scene in the night club in After Hours where Scorsese does his cameo working the spotlight) ... or maybe the bouncer will set off the emergency lighting for him or something.  Anyway, hmm...still working it over in my head because I need the recording to be intelligible, while also sticking to the character's integral lack of knowledge about filmmaking.

 

I'll let you guys know what I end up doing.  I should be writing the scene sometime in the next two weeks.

 

Cheers.


Edited by Wes Bollinger, 11 January 2016 - 07:27 AM.

  • 0

#18 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4745 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 11 January 2016 - 10:15 AM

If he;'s an amateur, chances are he''ll be shooting Kodachrome, which is 40 ASA. The brightest light likely to be found in a night club could be a stage light.  


  • 0


The Slider

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Zylight

Willys Widgets

Pro 8mm

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Visual Products

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Zylight

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Visual Products

CineTape

Ritter Battery

Tai Audio

Glidecam

The Slider

Pro 8mm