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Just a weird idea: Ultra 8mm

Super8mm widescreen Ultra 8mm

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#1 Christian Schonberger

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 09:06 AM

Hi group,

 

Just came up with an idea - and I am sure I'm not the first one, because it's kind of obvious:

 

Why not thinking about "Ultra 8mm"? All it needs is a sprocket hole offset so it coincides with the frame line. Since Max 8 (Super Duper 8) is a "camera only" format, there should be no reason not to include the Super 8mm equivalent of "Ultra 16mm": Simply (= when constructing a new camera) expand the film gate to the entire usable width of film with the option for a sprocket hole offset (shifting the pulldown claw mechanism vertically by half a frame)? Sure: the Super 8mm sprocket hole is quite "high" and sandwiching an image between these would leave quite some wasted space. There's also the issue with the film code printed between sprocket holes. But it might be a good idea for shooting something resembling anamorphic widescreen. Sure: cropping needs to be as tight as possible and the film gate needs to be very clean: no headroom.

 

Has this option been considered already?

 

I attached a crude line Ultra 8mm idea.jpg drawing I made over the the Wikipedia image, showing two adjacent frames of the "Ultra 8mm" image.

 

Just thought I'd share this. Hope it's not redundant.

 

Thoughts?

 

Christian


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#2 Carl Looper

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 11:45 AM

Not quite the same idea but related - where actual cameras have been modified. I have one of these myself:

 

http://www.cinematog...=57047&p=373832


Edited by Carl Looper, 09 April 2016 - 11:52 AM.

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#3 Christian Schonberger

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 04:14 PM

Not quite the same idea but related - where actual cameras have been modified. I have one of these myself:

 

http://www.cinematog...=57047&p=373832

Yes, I read about the UltraPan 8 idea. Found some other footage on Vimeo a while ago.

 

That's great and basically the 16mm equivalent of the older Techniscope (standard 35mm 2 perf pulldown) and current Super 35mm 2 perf. Only the first link still works. Very nice footage. I'd probably crop the sides a little to get 1:2.35 "Cinemascope" aspect ratio, the recent 1:2 ("House Of Cards" TV show) or the American cinema widescreen 1:1.85 - especially since lens aberrations are a little too visible on both sides - unless larger diameter lenses can be used - and the ultra wide format only lends itself to certain types of images/stiles of compositions. And yes: I had the exact same in mind: image stability/registration needs to be of high precision.

 

Anyway: always fantastic seeing people coming up with these ideas that actually work very well. If I only were a skilled film camera technician....

 

As far as I know Wittner and Andec (both in Germany) and B+H (US) supply Double 8mm and Double Super8mm footage - Fomapan R 100 ISO (both formats), Orwo 100 ISO (can be developed in D-19, Double 8mm only as far as I know, but I am pretty sure Wittner can cut it to double Super8mm upon request, they have precision machines with very tight tolerances) black and white and Wittnerchrome 200D E-6 color reversal (both formats) - the latter being a little too grainy for any format smaller than standard 16mm IMHO. Still a great and feasible idea - looks very good on the sadly discontinued E 100D E-6!

 

Thanks for posting the link to the thread - very interesting and informative!

 

Christian


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#4 aapo lettinen

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 04:13 AM

There's keykode numbers and film info printed between perfs so they will appear in your image. That's a common problem with oddball film formats, the other being camera and scanning issues
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#5 Christian Schonberger

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 07:14 AM

There's keykode numbers and film info printed between perfs so they will appear in your image. That's a common problem with oddball film formats, the other being camera and scanning issues

Yep, I mentioned the key code numbers. They have to be considered in Ultra 16mm as well - so even if there is only a little more space available between sprocket holes, it might be a good idea since the key code numbers don't occupy the entire space between sprocket holes (depending on film stock of course). The idea is: even with Max8 there is still a very considerable amount of cropping top and bottom necessary to obtain 1:1,78 or wider - and on Super 8mm every and each fraction of a millimeter counts.

 

No problem with scanning since the half frame offset can be easily obtained with continuously running scanners using laser to synchronize the sprocket holes with the frames being scanned and the scanner gate is usually ready for a wide over scan. The camera: since there are new Super8mm cameras being built from scratch as we speak - and Super8mm "out of the cartridge" being seriously considered - to make that final necessary leap to bring Super8mm to its fullest potential, that's where the vertical sprocket offset might be considered. Film projectors such as the rather simple Bauer T18 (which I owned during a while) were able to switch from regular 8mm to Super 8mm, including the pull down height, frame size and position and the half frame offset. So that had been done already 40 years ago.

 

Christian


Edited by Christian Schonberger, 10 April 2016 - 07:15 AM.

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#6 Mark Dunn

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 07:22 AM

The cartridge would probably scratch the outer edge.


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#7 Christian Schonberger

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 07:29 AM

The cartridge would probably scratch the outer edge.

Yep. But even with the cartridge (which IMHO should be discarded with any future high end Super 8mm camera anyway - to keep Super8mm still kind of "easy to use" without fiddly camera or mag loading, a Fuji Single 8mm type cartridge should be very seriously considered IMHO) you can use the re-usable GK-pressure plate which should prevent this. Anyway: just kicking around an idea.


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#8 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 12:44 PM

The Double Super 8 based UltraPan8 3.1 format is wider than Super 16mm (13.00mm x 4.22mm) and technically requires a lens mount modification to offset the new optical axis. There are two examples manufactured. One with corrected offset absent any public scans. The link above is the initial prototype with the uncorrected offset. I utilized a APO-centric Tevidon 10mm C Mount lens. There is slight distortion in the upper right frame but non-technical viewers have yet to point it out. Such is the rigidity of perfectionists.  

 

My personal shooting preference is the "smaller" 16mm wide Regular 8mm based UltraPan 2.8 format with a 10.54mm x 3.75mm frame. Normal 16mm optics provide full undistorted coverage utilizing the optimal optical center. This was shot with a 5.9mm T2 Angenieux prime shot on V3 200T, i.e. 

 

 

It is also much easier to source or re-manufacture any acetate based 16mm film stock into double perf 16mm wide Regular 8mm as they share the identical perf dimensions. 


Edited by Nicholas Kovats, 11 April 2016 - 12:47 PM.

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#9 Christian Schonberger

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 01:27 PM

Nicholas,

 

Great looking footage! Aren't the old double 8mm spools a bit short in running time? (about 2x 1:30 minutes? = 1 x 1:30 minutes in UltraPan8 3.1 - and that's just 16 fps)?

 

Another thing: on Vimeo (I think it's one of your uploads, can't seem to find it though) I saw 1960s vintage footage (Portugal) where 16mm film was used just like the old 2 perf 35mm Techniscope: half frame height. I wonder how the camera owner managed the pull down claw to catch each spocket hole twice and perfectly registered (it is an over scan so you can see it's standard 16mm with only one sprocket hole level with the frame line = every other frame line in the half pull down wide format).

 

UltraPan 8 2.8 is an excellent idea. Just: in my humble opinion 200 ISO (even the modern V. 3 stock) is already a bit too much on the grainy and soft side. Colors, lights, shadows and shapes are beautifully rendered - evenly throughout the entire frame width, but the surface textures are basically just grain. The ultra wide format is not for close ups :-)

I admit I have to get used to it since my eyes - involuntarily - still break down the frame to two regular 8mm frames (with no wasted space down the center I should mention) which actually look exactly like regular 8mm.

 

Please note: this is my humble opinion only. Aesthetically I like it a lot, not to mention my appreciation for film enthusiasts who really come up with ideas that work and actually prove it by using it: I truly admire that!

 

I can come up with theories all day. They are of no use until they are put into practice. Thanks for sharing the information and footage!

 

Best,

Christian


Edited by Christian Schonberger, 11 April 2016 - 01:29 PM.

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#10 Doug Palmer

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 04:42 AM

Nicholas,

 

 

 

UltraPan 8 2.8 is an excellent idea. Just: in my humble opinion 200 ISO (even the modern V. 3 stock) is already a bit too much on the grainy and soft side. Colors, lights, shadows and shapes are beautifully rendered - evenly throughout the entire frame width, but the surface textures are basically just grain. The ultra wide format is not for close ups :-)

 

 

Best,

Christian

I take rather an opposite view of UP8 and  other small-format extreme-wide-ratios.   I think they look great for close-up filming,  taking advantage of the artistic composition effects of those extreme ratios.  Nicholas just sent me a link to this UP8 film, take a look:

https://vimeo.com/152004929

 

Thanks for that link Nicholas !  OK it's grainy but the general effect of all those shapes and the colour I think is enhanced by the wide ratio.  And arguably the grain adds to the effect.  (Interesting too that it was apparently made without editing afterwards, but that's another subject.)

Where I think these small formats fall down is in trying to show wide long-shots.  Because one instinctvely wants to see these on a very large screen,  and then the grain becomes a problem.  Unless it is used to enhance what is being said.  

Also I was brought up with cinerama and other deep-curve systems where the wide ratios were spread across the vastness of the screen with great effect.... I doubt if a small-format system could be utilised for this. 


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#11 Christian Schonberger

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 06:25 AM

I take rather an opposite view of UP8 and  other small-format extreme-wide-ratios.   I think they look great for close-up filming,  taking advantage of the artistic composition effects of those extreme ratios.  Nicholas just sent me a link to this UP8 film, take a look:

https://vimeo.com/152004929

 

Doug,

 

Well this is a private video. Even though I have an account on Vimeo, I don't have access to this particular upload. Would love to see it (if possible).

 

Well I might have said it wrongly: I meant: in this ulta wide ratio you can't have a close up of a face - not even "Sergio Leone style" with just the eyes - because you will always have room on the side(s). I fully agree: the small area won't allow for sweeping landscape panoramas with many "tiny" people in it. What I had in mind was what I saw on the uploaded footage: medium wide shots where no detail gets too small. Looks just fine!

 

That's what my comment about close ups was about: you will always have space to the sides. Even in dialog scenes with two people - leveling the faces. Take for example a flower: too much space on the sides, but if you find a field of flowers which is fairly level - that would make a great composition. Crashing ocean waves would be another perfect example. Keeping things level is quite the challenge when you have few headroom top and bottom.

 

I studied the existing online footage of "The Hateful Eight" regarding framing, lighting and composition. Well that pin sharp format allows for room up and down, so you can place a group of people or just one person (close up or semi) in a room and have lots of small details surrounding them.

 

UltraPan 8 2.8 probably will look quite sharp and low grain in Vision 3 50D BTW!

 

We basically talk about the exact same thing.

 

Best,

Christian


Edited by Christian Schonberger, 12 April 2016 - 06:27 AM.

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#12 Christian Schonberger

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 07:52 AM

Well I hope it is O.K. to post these screen grabs here. I think these are excellent examples of classic cinema how to compose a widescreen image (in all cases 1:2,35 - anamorphic) which could work perfectly for the U.P. 8mm. Just imagine a little adjusting to the even wider format.

Sure: these are carefully staged with pristine composition and blocking, but it is an example how for example a short film could be storyboarded for U.P. 8mm. That's what I meant with "not for close ups" - there's always more space to be filled. Nothing better than images to explain things:

 

I took the screen grabs from an excellent YouTube video:

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Edited by Christian Schonberger, 12 April 2016 - 07:54 AM.

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#13 Christian Schonberger

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 08:05 AM

P.S. Disclaimer: the opinions in the YouTube video I mentioned above do not necessarily represent my own.

 

Christian


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#14 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 12:43 PM

Thanks, Christian,
 
The UP8 2.8 or 3.1 formas have doubled the runtime relative to the typical 100 ft Bolex daylight load, i.e. just over 5 minutes at 24fps. I find it a luxury as I have a long history with the 2.5 minute limit of 50 ft Super 8 carts at 24fps. 
 
That would be Tony Shapp's 1960s footage shot with Stuart Warriner’s incredible Pan-16 format, i.e. 
 
 
 
Single perf standard 16mm film stock with a special double pulldown to expose two (2) 2.4 Cinemascope frames sequentially per single 16mm frame. This is the holy grail of small format widescreen filmmaking. Widely available single perf 16mm film stock to produce non-anamorphic Cinemascope 2.4 frames or wider. Most of Stuart's engineering journals have disappeared. I have bits and pieces from Tony Shapp and my dream is to reverse engineer the Pan-16 camera and potentially combine it with Lindsay Buckingham's incredible Varispect work regarding a Bolex vacuum and pin registration transport system. That would be pushing the Bolex as far as one could I suspect. I have been attempting to get access to one of Stuart's Pan-16 camera for over 4 years. He also built associated Pan-16 projectors with Variable Pitch Compensators (VPC). I have a few precious frames of Stuart's incredibly unique 45 degree diagonal 1:2.1 Super 8 format.    
 
I have yet to shoot V3 50D UP8 footage. My camera technique tends to be fluid and that happens to my preference. I also love the human face. I am still in an ongoing process to acquire a decent tripod. But I suspect my cameras would soon fly off the tripod. I have also adapted my UP8 2.8 technique to skating, i.e.
 
 
Handheld cameras are life itself. The operator's energy transferred to the medium. That said I still admire an excellent executed tracking shot. I have started to experiment mounting film camera's to steadicams. i.e. Logmar, Bolex, PAM, etc. 
 
Are you presently engaged with any film projects? Are you located in Germany?
 
Regards,
 
Nicholas  
 

 

 

 

Nicholas,

 

Great looking footage! Aren't the old double 8mm spools a bit short in running time? (about 2x 1:30 minutes? = 1 x 1:30 minutes in UltraPan8 3.1 - and that's just 16 fps)?

 

Another thing: on Vimeo (I think it's one of your uploads, can't seem to find it though) I saw 1960s vintage footage (Portugal) where 16mm film was used just like the old 2 perf 35mm Techniscope: half frame height. I wonder how the camera owner managed the pull down claw to catch each spocket hole twice and perfectly registered (it is an over scan so you can see it's standard 16mm with only one sprocket hole level with the frame line = every other frame line in the half pull down wide format).

 

UltraPan 8 2.8 is an excellent idea. Just: in my humble opinion 200 ISO (even the modern V. 3 stock) is already a bit too much on the grainy and soft side. Colors, lights, shadows and shapes are beautifully rendered - evenly throughout the entire frame width, but the surface textures are basically just grain. The ultra wide format is not for close ups :-)

I admit I have to get used to it since my eyes - involuntarily - still break down the frame to two regular 8mm frames (with no wasted space down the center I should mention) which actually look exactly like regular 8mm.

 

Please note: this is my humble opinion only. Aesthetically I like it a lot, not to mention my appreciation for film enthusiasts who really come up with ideas that work and actually prove it by using it: I truly admire that!

 

I can come up with theories all day. They are of no use until they are put into practice. Thanks for sharing the information and footage!

 

Best,

Christian


Edited by Nicholas Kovats, 12 April 2016 - 12:46 PM.

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#15 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 12:59 PM

Hi Doug,
 
I agree with your widescreen composition statements. The link to Patrick Tarrant's latest UltraPan 2.8 is not accessible to the general public (password protected) due to his current circulation of the film to various festivals. It will be made public in due course. And yes, it features some wonderful close-ups. Confirmed that Patrick's piece was entirely edited in camera with multiple repeated back-winds. 
 
There are digital options to remove or computationally mask the random swirling film grain but I am biased and a fan of sub-micron film particles that clump together formulating what has been popularized as "grain". :) The famous Widescreen Association in the UK use to build deeply curved widescreens (30 ft wide? ) for their multiple widescreen format presentations. Another dream of mine with some modifications a la Douglas Trumbull's immersive micro-cinema projects. A deeply curved trapezoid screen floor to ceiling in an inflatable portable micro-cinema with limited 45 degree angled seating with curved rows.  
 
Cheers!
 
Nicholas

 

 

I take rather an opposite view of UP8 and  other small-format extreme-wide-ratios.   I think they look great for close-up filming,  taking advantage of the artistic composition effects of those extreme ratios.  Nicholas just sent me a link to this UP8 film, take a look:

https://vimeo.com/152004929

 

Thanks for that link Nicholas !  OK it's grainy but the general effect of all those shapes and the colour I think is enhanced by the wide ratio.  And arguably the grain adds to the effect.  (Interesting too that it was apparently made without editing afterwards, but that's another subject.)

Where I think these small formats fall down is in trying to show wide long-shots.  Because one instinctvely wants to see these on a very large screen,  and then the grain becomes a problem.  Unless it is used to enhance what is being said.  

Also I was brought up with cinerama and other deep-curve systems where the wide ratios were spread across the vastness of the screen with great effect.... I doubt if a small-format system could be utilised for this. 


Edited by Nicholas Kovats, 12 April 2016 - 01:00 PM.

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#16 Doug Palmer

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 01:15 PM

Doug,

 

Well this is a private video. Even though I have an account on Vimeo, I don't have access to this particular upload. Would love to see it (if possible).

 

Well I might have said it wrongly: I meant: in this ulta wide ratio you can't have a close up of a face - not even "Sergio Leone style" with just the eyes - because you will always have room on the side(s). I fully agree: the small area won't allow for sweeping landscape panoramas with many "tiny" people in it. What I had in mind was what I saw on the uploaded footage: medium wide shots where no detail gets too small. Looks just fine!

 

That's what my comment about close ups was about: you will always have space to the sides. Even in dialog scenes with two people - leveling the faces. Take for example a flower: too much space on the sides, but if you find a field of flowers which is fairly level - that would make a great composition. Crashing ocean waves would be another perfect example. Keeping things level is quite the challenge when you have few headroom top and bottom.

 

I studied the existing online footage of "The Hateful Eight" regarding framing, lighting and composition. Well that pin sharp format allows for room up and down, so you can place a group of people or just one person (close up or semi) in a room and have lots of small details surrounding them.

 

UltraPan 8 2.8 probably will look quite sharp and low grain in Vision 3 50D BTW!

 

We basically talk about the exact same thing.

 

Best,

Christian

Yes UP8 I agree would look pretty good in 50D at least on normal size screens.

The screen grabs you showed are standard lens shots,  or a bit longer focal length shots.  So,  much of the surrounding details need to be seen in that space which is in reasonable focus.  I think though, extremely wide ratios work very well when the space to the side or sides of the person is simply occupied with bokeh or an out-of-focus void.  It somehow puts greater emphasis on the person's face than a narrower ratio would. :unsure:


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#17 Doug Palmer

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 01:19 PM

So I like the effect of long lens close-ups in very wide ratios like UP8.  Lots of flattening of perspective and out of focus areas at the side.


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#18 Doug Palmer

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 01:39 PM

 

Hi Doug,
 
I agree with your widescreen composition statements. The link to Patrick Tarrant's latest UltraPan 2.8 is not accessible to the general public (password protected) due to his current circulation of the film to various festivals. It will be made public in due course. And yes, it features some wonderful close-ups. Confirmed that Patrick's piece was entirely edited in camera with multiple repeated back-winds. 
 
There are digital options to remove or computationally mask the random swirling film grain but I am biased and a fan of sub-micron film particles that clump together formulating what has been popularized as "grain". :) The famous Widescreen Association in the UK use to build deeply curved widescreens (30 ft wide? ) for their multiple widescreen format presentations. Another dream of mine with some modifications a la Douglas Trumbull's immersive micro-cinema projects. A deeply curved trapezoid screen floor to ceiling in an inflatable portable micro-cinema with limited 45 degree angled seating with curved rows.  
 
Cheers!
 
Nicholas

 

 

 

Oh dear !  I shouldn't have put that link... I'm really sorry Nicholas.  And Patrick Tarrant, of course.  My sincere apologies.

 

Regarding the old UK Widescreen Association gatherings which I sometimes attended,  yes I remember that vast 32 ft screen that was used to show super-8 Cinerama.  Surprisingly,  even sitting close, the definition was pretty good, steady image and the joins were not that noticeable.  But that was original Kodachrome.


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#19 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 02:10 PM

No problem. Doug. Please do not worry. We appreciate the promotion. :)

 

You are a living witness to the legendary Widescreen Associations 32 foot wide screenings! Very impressive, sir. Were these screenings restricted to their three screen Cinerama Super 8 films? Any other formats? 

 

 

Oh dear !  I shouldn't have put that link... I'm really sorry Nicholas.  And Patrick Tarrant, of course.  My sincere apologies.

 

Regarding the old UK Widescreen Association gatherings which I sometimes attended,  yes I remember that vast 32 ft screen that was used to show super-8 Cinerama.  Surprisingly,  even sitting close, the definition was pretty good, steady image and the joins were not that noticeable.  But that was original Kodachrome.


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#20 Christian Schonberger

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 06:29 PM


Are you presently engaged with any film projects? Are you located in Germany?
 
Regards,
 
Nicholas  

Nicholas,

 

Well I am German-born, living for over 30 years in Portugal (Lisbon). I go way back to the days of Super 8mm. I started back in 1975 at the age of 14. I owned first a funky, fun Agfa Movexoom and made it eventually to a nice Beaulieu 6008S. Then in 1981 video came along and I said: no way!

 

Starting now on Super 16mm with a modest, already modified K-3. After being at customs for about a month now - and finally all the paperwork done, I should receive it in a matter of days now.

 

I am a pro musician, so I won't have much disposable income in the near future, but I'll take it step by step. I shall say: I am not a film purist. I simply happen to love film. Everything about it. Pure magic - and with modern hi res scanning it is way easier to share your work with fellow enthusiasts.

 

I totally agree: I will at least do my film titles also on film (to match the look and feel). As a musician and living in an incredibly beautiful city, I shall have no problem finding things and people to point a camera at.

 

At heart (besides being passionate about music) I am your typical hands-on DoP. Fate would lead me to music, and I never regretted it.

 

I have been studying film (all aspects of it) as an "armchair film maker" for all my life - since 16mm was way out of reach for a long time. Still learning and highly appreciating anyone's efforts and sharing of information - I will share my own experiences ASAP on YouTube and Vimeo. Will keep you guys posted.

 

Sure: a nice tripod and very likely a DYI dolly and other gadgets will eventually follow. I am also a huge fan of great, smooth handheld camera work. I'll need a wide angle lens with deep depth-of-field for that (not a fan of jittery footage with focus issues). No problem with fish eye distortion. So the Peleng 8mm is high on my "must have" list.

 

I already have some projects planned, but first it will be test footage. Anything too ambitious will surely end in disaster (or unintended humor). I try not to get into it over my head, but I am confident that I will come up with some nice footage soon.

 

Thanks again to everyone for kindly sharing your footage, most valuable information, knowledge, tips and tricks.

 

All the best,

Christian


Edited by Christian Schonberger, 12 April 2016 - 06:29 PM.

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