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Thoughts on Max 8mm Format?


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#1 Gabe Agoado

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 03:51 AM

I have been planning to shoot my senior thesis on Ultra 16mm with an anamorphic adapter so I can get top prize at my school's film festival. I just happened to come upon this clip shot with max8 and an anamorphic adapter, and I really like it. It got me thinking:

1. Don't have to worry about inexperienced AC messing up film loading / don't need an AC at all.

2. Faster film changing.

3. Easier handheld work / smaller rig.

4. Lower film cost.

5. Super 8 camera with XL/variable shutter is helpful for low light.

6. With the grading it seems to hold up well against graded 16mm footage I've shot.

 

I'm just curious what other people think about Max8, if it's worth it or not, and where I might be able to get a conversion done (I know Pro8mm can do it to a few cameras).

 

For a point of reference, I was planning to shoot with a converted Scoopic MS and if I switched to Max8 I'd be looking to convert a Bauer A512 or Bealieu 4008 zm2


Edited by Gabe Agoado, 26 April 2016 - 03:52 AM.

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#2 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 09:03 AM

You really can't compare Super 8 to 16mm on a lot of levels. For one, it's usually more expensive per foot to shoot Super 8. Good lenses are available for some super 8 cameras but they're harder to find than good lenses for 16mm cameras. Super8 is inherently less stable than 16mm and that goes a long way towards getting a sharp image. If you want the Super 8 look, then go for it, but it's not going to look the same as the 16mm unless you're shooting with something like the Logmar, which is pin-registered and has a pressure plate.

 

Max8 doesn't really buy you that much, in my opinion. I have a Max8 Beaulieu and it's fun to play with, but the amount of extra film you're exposing is so small that if you just frame it with regular Super 8 and scan on a really good scanner, then crop it in post, I'm not sure it's worth the extra effort for that an extra millimeter on the neg.

 

-perry 


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#3 Joel Rakowski

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 12:41 PM

+1 to Perry's Post above

 

As someone who has used a few max 8 cams with anamorphic adaptors you are better off shooting super 16 and doing some kind of extreme cropping if you really want a 2.4 ratio or shoot 16 anamorphic. I'd say only got like 50% of my footage actually came out sharp using anamorphic adaptors, they are tough to use on a small camera and on lenses that don't really want restrictions that an adaptor would work best with. 

 

Plus sound is going to kill you, I've had used a 1014XL, 4008, and even the new Logmar is almost too loud without a barney to capture sound. 

 

And the price difference isn't really that much different to save a couple hundred on an important project like this. 


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#4 Will Montgomery

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 04:12 PM

While Super 8 has come a long way, especially Vision 3 50D, it still has a certain look that may take away from your thesis piece. Super 16 or even 35mm would be a better choice. You might be surprised at how affordable 35mm is these days. You just need to keep an eye out for film stock or even call a Kodak rep and talk to them about student programs. I think they're extremely interested in pushing for format to students.

 

As Perry says, while Super 8 may save film costs, a proper transfer isn't that much more on 16mm. Plus 16mm is more of a professional format and it's worth it for you to have that experience. Shoot Super 8 all day long for fun or for the artistic choice, but for something you'll be showing to find work...I'd go with 16mm. Better cameras, better lenses.


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#5 Gabe Agoado

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 05:50 PM

Thanks guys.


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#6 Mark Sperry

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 10:18 AM

While I won't say that it would come close to replacing 16mm, I shoot Max 8 in my Pro8mm rebuilt 4008.  Given that the squared off format has pretty much gone the way of the dinosaurs, I like shooting Max 8 because it allows me to shoot with the Super 8 aesthetic, in a rectangular format.  I don't think I've seen a real resolution boost, but the images from that camera are beautiful.  If you wanted to shoot a film that was intentionally a lo-fi Super 8 picture, then it would be great.  But as the others have said, Super 16 would be my go to for something that looks like a 'real film'.  


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