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Investing In Super 8 Camera??

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#1 Ting Ma

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 04:03 PM

Hi!

 

I am a student filmmaker looking to shoot some experimental films with a super 8. I've been eyeing a couple of Canon 814 xl-s and zooms. Because these cameras are so old, are there a lot of chances for mold in the lens? Also, are there any other good affordable super 8 cameras for a film student? Keep in mind I'm a freshman in college so anything more than $120 would considerably put a dent in my wallet. 

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this!


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#2 Jay Young

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 04:16 PM

Nah,  just get one and shoot. 

 

The 814 is a fine camera.

So are the Nizo's, and Nikons, Beaulieus, Kodaks, and all those other brands are ok too.

 

If you want to spend the money, you'll likely get a decent one.

If you want to not spend money, then buy them for cheap ($10) and see if they work, if not... toss and get another cheap one.


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#3 Ting Ma

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 04:24 PM

Follow up question, I notice that in many eBay postings the automatic zoom or exposure systems do not work. But most of these cameras have manual zoom and exposure systems correct? So the automatic components shouldn't be a big deal right?


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#4 Ting Ma

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 04:26 PM

Nah,  just get one and shoot. 

 

The 814 is a fine camera.

So are the Nizo's, and Nikons, Beaulieus, Kodaks, and all those other brands are ok too.

 

 

Yes, I understand that. But I understand that many of the super 8 cameras have different fixed lenses in which I cannot replace. So shouldn't I mind the camera with a better lens or does it not matter as much in super 8 than digital 


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#5 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 01:52 PM

The Beaulieu has a more traditional lens mount so you can use manual glass. However, the format itself, the inherent nature of the plastic backplate (in the cartridge) and perforations that aren't exactly made properly... means the format in of itself doesn't necessitate high quality glass. So it really doesn't matter what camera you buy because the glass doesn't play the biggest role, the format itself does. Cameras like the Logmar, solve most of these problems and the images that come out of that camera look more like 16 then super 8.

You can check for fungus in the glass and if it's clean, just roll with it!
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#6 Giray Izcan

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 10:42 PM

Logmar... An Aaton XTR package from Visual Products is 4500. I think it is ridiculous to spend anything more than a grand on a home video quality s8 or any 8 camera... For 5k, you can get a decent 35mm Arri package that you can do sync sound with.


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#7 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 11:12 PM

Well... yea. People try to spend all this time and money making a consumer format look good. No matter what, it's a consumer format... Reminds me a lot of hi-8 and svhs. Consumer formats that had "professional" equipment made, but the results were still far lower then betacam.

I posted on one of the other kodak super 8 threads that super 16mm is still far better quality and similar cost to a logmar super 8 camera and using super 8 as a format.
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#8 Freya Black

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 07:59 AM

Yes! Keep the cost low while working with Super 8.

I find it's better to just buy cheaper cameras for $10-20 and find ones that work okay or can be made to work.

You can even find canon cameras or other good makes for these kind of prices.

 

Work out what features you need. Don't worry about the lens as much, as an interesting lens will probably just add more character!

 

Freya


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#9 Giray Izcan

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 10:18 AM

Or just get a Bolex or an Eclair camera, and shoot 16. I f you shoot r16, you can even print it and watch it on a projector. You can get a decent 16mm projector for 2-300 dollars.


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#10 Zac Fettig

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 11:06 AM

Hi!

 

I am a student filmmaker looking to shoot some experimental films with a super 8. I've been eyeing a couple of Canon 814 xl-s and zooms. Because these cameras are so old, are there a lot of chances for mold in the lens? Also, are there any other good affordable super 8 cameras for a film student? Keep in mind I'm a freshman in college so anything more than $120 would considerably put a dent in my wallet. 

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this!

 

Keep in mind that a roll of film+processing+telecine will set you back about $60. With lab minimums, it doesn't make sense to do telecine until you have 8 rolls of film or so. It's not a cheap way to do experimental film while you're in college.

 

Super 8 has a lot of awesome things going for it. Cost ain't one.

 

If you want my advice: skip film until you graduate. Get something you can shoot with on the cheap: so you can shoot with it a lot. If you want something that's different... look for old video cameras. Heck, there was a huge interest in the PXL-2000 for a while in the 90s because it looked "different". All the Panasonic DVX-100Bs that were so in demand just a few short years ago are practically being dumped for pennies on the dollar.

 

If you prowl ebay for a while, and are patient, you occasionally get a bargain. I got an Canon 814 AutoZoom Electronic for $23 once (still use it). But the actual costs of shooting are harder to keep down on a budget. Oh, and the AZE doesn't have a problem with the auto aperture. It's the manual aperture that tends to go (it's made of rubber and the cameras are all pushing 40 years old now).


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#11 dio zafi

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 12:36 PM

i' was born in "91 so I don't have any emotional attachment to film.. But from my experience working with colorists..Kodak film has the most professional and best image on the planet It gives the director and d.p. more control of their vision It's cheaper than working with digital which needs costly coloring and equipment rental. It gives the d.p. and or director a life instead of spending their time with the endless digital updates on cameras..and software..saving them from the digital black hole. On the set and in preparing your project there is more thought involved with using film. The world's best directors and d.p.s enthusiastically use film. Film sees things the way the human eye sees. When you buy a roll of film you are also buying the archival material for your film as well as having a perfect look right out of the can.. The best cameras in the world are film cameras. The best way to have a unique beautiful look if your starting out of is with film.


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#12 Freya Black

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 01:22 PM

 

Keep in mind that a roll of film+processing+telecine will set you back about $60. With lab minimums, it doesn't make sense to do telecine until you have 8 rolls of film or so. It's not a cheap way to do experimental film while you're in college.

 

Super 8 has a lot of awesome things going for it. Cost ain't one.

 

If you want my advice: skip film until you graduate. Get something you can shoot with on the cheap: so you can shoot with it a lot. If you want something that's different... look for old video cameras. Heck, there was a huge interest in the PXL-2000 for a while in the 90s because it looked "different". All the Panasonic DVX-100Bs that were so in demand just a few short years ago are practically being dumped for pennies on the dollar.

 

If you prowl ebay for a while, and are patient, you occasionally get a bargain. I got an Canon 814 AutoZoom Electronic for $23 once (still use it). But the actual costs of shooting are harder to keep down on a budget. Oh, and the AZE doesn't have a problem with the auto aperture. It's the manual aperture that tends to go (it's made of rubber and the cameras are all pushing 40 years old now).

 

 

You can shoot tri-x reversal and project with a cheap e-bay projector and skip the whole teleccine thing for the time being.

Same with viewer/editor for editing. Makes things a lot cheaper.

 

agreed about PXL2000 and DVX100, both great cameras for doing different stuff with in this age of dull but quite nice video.

 

Freya


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#13 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 11:18 PM

Wait PXL2000 arguably the worst camera ever made, is a "great camera" for doing different stuff?

If you aren't shooting film... if your whole world is digital... you can make digital look like ANYTHING in post. No reason to waste time, money and energy on making old video cameras work, when you can buy a decent camera for not much more money.

I know I sound like a broken record and everyone is probably tired of hearing this, but the blackmagic pocket cameras are going for $600 on ebay. You can buy a piece of junk M43 lens for $150 bux and be done with.
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#14 Freya Black

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 04:38 AM

Can you make the black magic footage look like the pxl? If so post some footage. I've had so many people say stuff like this over the years but never seen anyone manage anything close.

You hear the same about film too in fact there are people saying right now that you can get the super8,look by just dropping resolution of video in post.

If you can achieve the pxl 2000 look in post then I really want to know how and I would like to see an example.

Would actually be quite useful to know if it was really possible but in my experience people just say this stuff. They cant. Really do it.

Freya
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#15 John E Clark

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 01:31 PM

Wait PXL2000 arguably the worst camera ever made, is a "great camera" for doing different stuff?
 

 

 

Yes... it's great... for giving to children... I don't know but I think I may have bought the Daughter this or something like this in the era...

 

Most recently the Daughter and the Mother got into a fight over wedding pictures. The Daughter wanted the Mother to bring the Hasselblad out of mothballs to shoot a 'few B&W rolls' of Film film... the Mother is not budging... no more film... In the olden days she would process and print all her B&W... these days we would have to send the film out for processing and scanning, then e-send the PS files to a print service... why bother... just take the images digitally in the first place... we never did have enough for the 'digital' Hasselblad back or now camera...

 

Re: doing things with film...

 

There are things one can do with processing film that are difficult to achieve with digital... like taking a roll of negative film... developing it in a crappy bucket, resulting in large sections of badly developed areas, or fixer stains... step on it to 'squeegee' the excess water, resulting in random scratch patterns, place it on a drying rack to pick up all manner of floating debris, dust, a few gnats or flies, etc.

 

Then there's running it through a crappy projector...

 

All that takes powerful computers to simulate...


Edited by John E Clark, 15 January 2016 - 01:35 PM.

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#16 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 02:57 PM

Can you make the black magic footage look like the pxl? If so post some footage. I've had so many people say stuff like this over the years but never seen anyone manage anything close.


All I need is a sample of full white, full black and of course example of what it looks like in motion. It wouldn't look identical, but very close.
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#17 Ting Ma

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 08:33 PM

 

Keep in mind that a roll of film+processing+telecine will set you back about $60. With lab minimums, it doesn't make sense to do telecine until you have 8 rolls of film or so. It's not a cheap way to do experimental film while you're in college.

 

Super 8 has a lot of awesome things going for it. Cost ain't one.

 

If you want my advice: skip film until you graduate. Get something you can shoot with on the cheap: so you can shoot with it a lot. If you want something that's different... look for old video cameras. Heck, there was a huge interest in the PXL-2000 for a while in the 90s because it looked "different". All the Panasonic DVX-100Bs that were so in demand just a few short years ago are practically being dumped for pennies on the dollar.

 

If you prowl ebay for a while, and are patient, you occasionally get a bargain. I got an Canon 814 AutoZoom Electronic for $23 once (still use it). But the actual costs of shooting are harder to keep down on a budget. Oh, and the AZE doesn't have a problem with the auto aperture. It's the manual aperture that tends to go (it's made of rubber and the cameras are all pushing 40 years old now).

 

Thanks for all this replies!!

 

I understand that it is pretty expensive to shoot with super 8. But regarding the telecine, I don't think I will need that. Right? From what I've researched, I would just need to pay for my film stocks to be developed and digitized. After digitization, I can just edit all of my footage on final cut right?

 

Regarding the suggestion for the black magic camera, I am saving up for that as well... But I am really interested in learning about the ole' fashion film. Since I was born in '97, I have never had any experiences with film and think it will be a good learning experience.

 

One more question to everyone. It seems cheaper for me to purchase cameras such as the 514xl, or cameras that can only shoot in 18 fps. If I shoot something in 18 fps, would I have to have it scanned in 24 fps? Even if I plan filming the entirety of the film in 18 fps? I'm not looking to have my super 8 films shown through film projectors, just as a regular video file.

Thanks again to everyone that responded!


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#18 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 11:36 PM

If you want my advice: skip film until you graduate.

 

He's a film student now.  So now is time for him to experiment...not when he graduates.

 

Yes, film can run into money quickly, but unless you're planning on self-financing a short film for thousands of dollars while you're in college, I don't see how shooting the occasional roll of Super8 will break the bank.  I shot Super8 & 16mm in college and I was able to afford it.  You should learn on film first, then digital.  This way you'll have the fundamentals down.  The overall concepts are the same, but film is much more of a discipline, in my opinion.  If your school offers a 16mm course, take it.  The majority of 16mm cameras are far less automated than the Super8 cameras.

 

And yes, you should be able to find something in your price range on ebay.  Like Jay said...just find something and start shooting.


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#19 Zac Fettig

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 10:30 AM

 

Thanks for all this replies!!

 

I understand that it is pretty expensive to shoot with super 8. But regarding the telecine, I don't think I will need that. Right? From what I've researched, I would just need to pay for my film stocks to be developed and digitized. After digitization, I can just edit all of my footage on final cut right?

 

Regarding the suggestion for the black magic camera, I am saving up for that as well... But I am really interested in learning about the ole' fashion film. Since I was born in '97, I have never had any experiences with film and think it will be a good learning experience.

 

One more question to everyone. It seems cheaper for me to purchase cameras such as the 514xl, or cameras that can only shoot in 18 fps. If I shoot something in 18 fps, would I have to have it scanned in 24 fps? Even if I plan filming the entirety of the film in 18 fps? I'm not looking to have my super 8 films shown through film projectors, just as a regular video file.

Thanks again to everyone that responded!

 

Telecine is your digitization. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecine) A telecine is the process of capturing the film to either tape or digital. These days, it usually means sending in a portable USB hard drive and having the lab transfer to that. Once you telecine the film, you can edit on Final Cut. You don't need it if you plan on editing reversal the old fashioned way (with tape and splices). You will need it if you shoot negative (I don't think the labs can make a color workprint in super 8 anymore, but I never really cared enough to look into it).

 

About frame rates, you'd have to talk to the lab. My guess is you can scan to 18 FPS directly (I know I've done it in the past, but the last time I tried was to miniDV). Film will last longer at 18fps. Even if it's set to 24 FPS, you can always just adjust the timing in Final Cut. That said, I've always preferred the look of stuff shot at 24 FPS. I've never really seen a cost savings in buying a camera than can only do 18 FPS. There is a savings in the film cost (about 25%), but it was never worth the trade-off to me.

 

Typically, the S8 shorts I've worked on tend to have about a 3:1 shooting ratio. So say an 8 minute short will need 24 Minutes of raw stock or 9 carts. Let's for arguments sake say you decide to shoot Tri-X (black and white reversal). That's $20.42/cart stock cost from Kodak or $21.95 from B&H [if you want color, that's gonna push it to $25.96-Kodak/$34.95-B&H for Vision3 200T]. $16.00/cart processing student rates from Cinelab. You'll need to get it telecine'd to edit it in a NLE (such as Final Cut). That's $0.27/foot student rate, best light ($100 minimum charge).

 

So your cost breakdown is as follows:

9X $20.42 = $183.78 - Stock cost

9X $16.00 = $144.00 - Developing

9X50X $0.27 = $121.50 [Meets the minimum charge requirement] - Telecine

 

For a grand total of $449.28. That's a realistic cost for an 8 minute B&W finished film, not including shipping costs ($499.14 for color). It IS affordable, but it isn't chump change, even for a working professional. That said, it isn't necessarily all up front costs. You can buy film as you go and pay the development as you shoot. The only part you'll have to pay all at once is the telecine, because of the minimum charges.

 

I don't want to be discouraging, but this is what you'll run into as soon as you start shooting. When I was in school, that was the cost of 2 books. But it was more than I spent on food in a semester. For some people, it's nothing (its about the cost of a new video game console). For others, it's the difference between going to school and not going to school. When I was in college, I bought a super 8 camera, and was able to shoot 1 roll of film before I crunched the numbers and decided it wasn't practical to do it (it's gotten more expensive since then, Kodak jacked the rates WAY up). I've shot a bunch after I graduated. But you'll have to go over the numbers yourself and decide if it's something you can do.

 

http://motion.kodak....ducts/index.htm

http://cinelab.com/

http://www.bhphotovi...3313 4294955497


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#20 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 04:10 PM

One more question to everyone. It seems cheaper for me to purchase cameras such as the 514xl, or cameras that can only shoot in 18 fps. If I shoot something in 18 fps, would I have to have it scanned in 24 fps? Even if I plan filming the entirety of the film in 18 fps? I'm not looking to have my super 8 films shown through film projectors, just as a regular video file.
Thanks again to everyone that responded!


Well, 18fps is really a projection-only format. Your 18fps footage will be telecine'd at 24fps and then a pulldown applied to 24fps. So you will get blurred, duplicate frames in the playback. The crispness of a real 24 frame per second shoot and edit, won't exist. So I highly suggest shooting and editing @ 24fps. The cost difference up front is minimal compared to the quality loss in the back end.

I don't want to be discouraging, but this is what you'll run into as soon as you start shooting. When I was in school, that was the cost of 2 books. But it was more than I spent on food in a semester. For some people, it's nothing (its about the cost of a new video game console). For others, it's the difference between going to school and not going to school. When I was in college, I bought a super 8 camera, and was able to shoot 1 roll of film before I crunched the numbers and decided it wasn't practical to do it (it's gotten more expensive since then, Kodak jacked the rates WAY up). I've shot a bunch after I graduated. But you'll have to go over the numbers yourself and decide if it's something you can do.


Yep and there in lies the biggest problem really. The expense to shoot an 8 minute short film in B&W is pretty high. Once you add gate wobble/weave and pressure plate focus issues of most camera/cartridge combo's, the end product looks very unprofessional. So you aren't using it on your demo reel and years from now when you look back, you may think twice about the decision to shoot super 8 IF you wish to be a filmmaker.
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