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New Kodak Super 8 Camera


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#1 Gary Lemson

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 07:01 PM

Hello,

I thought Kodak's new Super 8 camera was due out this fall, but still no word from big yellow.

Anyone have any insight?

Thx,
GL
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#2 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 05:21 AM

After participating in a Kodak customer clinic regarding the camera this summer, I was fully expecting to see some news about it by now. Delay or wavering about the product was really not something I gathered.

 

Instead, I now get newsletter and sales promos on the dedicated email address I use for correspondence with Kodak regarding the new Super 8 camera. That is weird, and frankly disappointing. Just yesterday, I got two Kodak newsletters on that dedicated email address, telling me about the fantastic Kodak Ektra smartphone, and where to buy it. /sarcasm


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#3 Heikki Repo

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 07:24 AM

Well, there is this:

http://www.filmshoot...tart=15#p218432


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#4 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 08:30 AM

Thanks Heikki! Yes, I've seen this rumour and the contributions of Anthony Schilling and Will Montgomery.

 

My point person here in the UK told me of R&D delays, but nothing about a push forward of the release window.

 

I am not sure about the frame stability issue.

The surmised problem with frame stability is one primarily related to the design of the Kodak Instamatic cartridge itself. Film gate and claw movement engineering have been able to reduce frame instability pretty well in, say, Super 8 production cameras. Those cameras were costly in consequence, but it has been resolved 40-50 years ago already.

 

And industry and academic institutional purchasers (which will have to be the bulk buyers to make this a viable product, as "filmshooting amateurs" longing for the Kodachrome era are simply no longer a demographic that matters commercially) will choose Super 8 aesthetically because of frame instability, not despite it. It's part of the format's associative distinction and what attracts people who grew up with digital formats and who are discovering analog formats as something "novel".

 

If the frame instability is so bad, though, that it's just visually catastrophic, then that would indicate a more serious construction and design issue with the entire camera. The investment to fix that could push the entire project into economic unviability.

 

Prospective buyers I spoke to expect this to retail at US$ 500 to actually make a purchase. That would be extremely cheap for a brand new opto-mechanical fine-engineered instrument like a Super 8 camera. I think the sweetspot for institutional buyers stops at US$ 1500 to US$ 2000. Will anyone buy it if it has to retail at US$ 3500 to make a ROI? After all, that would be today's price for a 1980s Nizo professional camera, adjusted for purchasing power and inflation changes.

 

I remain optimistic about the "Kodak Neomatic Model 2016 2017", but Kodak now using the mailing list data collected specifically for the Kodak Collection™ and The Super 8 Collective™ to promote the so-so Kodak Ektra smartphone, a licensed product by manufacturer-for-hire Bullitt that simply fails to convince at that price tag, is not really encouraging.


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#5 Heikki Repo

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 09:42 AM

The good thing is, at least on Twitter Kodak is assuring us that the camera is "coming soon, stay tuned": :)

https://twitter.com/...770819647049729


Edited by Heikki Repo, 02 December 2016 - 09:42 AM.

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#6 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 09:47 AM

:D , yes, indeed!


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#7 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 01:12 PM

I'm sure Kodak is feeling the heat. Their holiday promotions for batteries and light bulbs have been met with nothing but backlash and requests for new camera and film packages. No surprise there. Keep hammering them, Not having this ready by Christmas seems un-wise. Not sure how much longer I can hold onto the money I have set aside for it.


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#8 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 01:48 PM

Well put, and in your 1000th post here as well  :) .


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#9 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 05:37 PM

Have comfortable automatic exposure and possible Autofocus just to get going and adjust to a slower pace.

 

In the mean time just get a Leicina Special or one from the A-line models like Canon 1014xls, Nizo professional, Nikon R10/R8 :)

Or one from the modernest plenty others like Canon 310 XLS AF,

Agfa Movexoom 10 which have the modernest of SMD electronics, stepper motors and the sharpest of lenses.


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#10 Will Montgomery

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 02:41 PM

My guess is more like July or August of 2017. I believe it's more difficult than they expected plus dealing with the processing/transfer package and all the people that have no clue what real film is all about...I can't imagine the helpline phone calls they'll be getting once people realize they are paying $70-$100 for 3.5 minutes of footage.


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#11 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 06:20 PM

3.5 minutes of footage?
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#12 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 06:22 PM

Real professionals shoot at 18 fps ;)
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#13 Will Montgomery

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 10:38 AM

3.5 minutes of footage?

 

You can tell them 2.5 I guess, but then the pitchforks come out.


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#14 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 12:44 PM

 

You can tell them 2.5 I guess, but then the pitchforks come out.

As main stream this whole promo may appear, it will still add up to a big fat world wide niche. I have newbies sending me 1-4 rolls of film to scan all the time, just by word of mouth, from all over the West. I get the impression that most of them have at least been experimenting with digital video and NLE workflows in some capacity, and the contents of their footage usually suggests a good effort when it comes to test driving film. I have a feeling the S8 camera is not for people who are constantly tossing one thing over their shoulder for the next new thing, that's who the new phone is for. There are a lot of people out there who shoot HD but dabble in S8 when they can, knowing the hurdles and price of admission. If we all need to endure another 6-8 months of secrecy, the rumors of new reversal films and new projectors better be true.  


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#15 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 01:06 PM

This camera will be for the professional and educational market who have no longer time and budget for insecurities and risks associated with maintaining second-hand production cameras made 50 years ago. This will not be a camera, either in features or in price, for the occasional video shooter or Youtuber moving away from DSLRs, videocams or phone cams, with no understanding of "how to tape video on film". People who will actually buy this camera will know the costs, and won't have time or mindshare for pitchforking Kodak on Facebook about "3 minutes of video" for the cost of a Franklin or 15 Churchills.

 

The production chain Kodak will propose with this camera and bundled film/dev/digi packages will be analog image acquisition and a full digital post. Anything else does not make any commercial sense.

 

I think the rumours of new reversal films and projectors are fanciful nonsense emerging from an ill-advised and maybe not even intentional "super-secrecy" around this camera. Not even during the hysteria after he death of K-25 and K-40 did people go as silly with nostalgia as now. Get a grip everyone.  B) What's next in the rumor mill? Kodak launching a new wet splicer, resurrecting  Hammann, launching a new S8-Moviola?  :rolleyes:


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#16 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 01:54 PM

This camera will be for the professional and educational market who have no longer time and budget for insecurities and risks associated with maintaining second-hand production cameras made 50 years ago.


Umm, I personally don't think so. The Kodak camera doesn't have a viewfinder. You will also not learn much about professional filmmaking using one. This is why schools that still use film, teach with professional formats like 16mm and 35mm. The Kodak camera is no different then a camcorder in my book. You push in a cartridge and you've got a little LCD display showing you the shot with all the numbers you need to set exposure, without learning how to use a light meter. It's basically the LEAST professional camera on the market.

This will not be a camera, either in features or in price, for the occasional video shooter or Youtuber moving away from DSLRs, videocams or phone cams, with no understanding of "how to tape video on film".


This is EXACTLY the market Kodak is tapping. Thanks to the "video centric" nature of the camera, it's designed specifically for those youtube guys wanting to shoot something different. This is why they showed the camera at CES, the consumer electronics show, right down the hall from GoPro. It's also why they're doing a one-stop service for people, where they pay one price and get back their film on files, not a positive for projection. The market is 100% consumer level.

People who will actually buy this camera will know the costs, and won't have time or mindshare for pitchforking Kodak on Facebook about "3 minutes of video" for the cost of a Franklin or 15 Churchills.


I bet people who buy this camera will put it on a shelf in their living room because it looks cool. I bet most of the owners could care less about the cost associated. The people I talked with at Cinegear at the Kodak booth in 2015, were all rich guys wanting a new toy. I bet someone makes a feature with one right away, just because "it's retro" and no other reason.

I think the rumours of new reversal films and projectors are fanciful nonsense emerging from an ill-advised and maybe not even intentional "super-secrecy" around this camera. Not even during the hysteria after he death of K-25 and K-40 did people go as silly with nostalgia as now. Get a grip everyone.  B) What's next in the rumor mill? Kodak launching a new wet splicer, resurrecting  Hammann, launching a new S8-Moviola?  :rolleyes:


I agree, I don't think those things will happen. Kodak has no interest in striking prints from your negative either. Their business is film manufacturing, process and scan.
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#17 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 03:09 PM

Umm, I personally don't think so. The Kodak camera doesn't have a viewfinder. You will also not learn much about professional

filmmaking using one. This is why schools that still use film, teach with professional formats like 16mm and 35mm. The Kodak camera is no different then a camcorder in my book. You push in a cartridge and you've got a little LCD display showing you the shot with all the numbers you need to set exposure, without learning how to use a light meter. It's basically the LEAST professional camera on the market.

 

I don't equate the education sector with Californian/NYC-style film schools or colleges out to teach professional filmmaking. I can see why you argue from that perspective as a DoP and a teacher in one of such schools, but from my angle at Europe's biggest arts university, Super 8 cameras are deployed not to teach professional filmmaking, but to allow students experimentation with material aesthetics, for example as part of creating fine art; or as part of media communication courses; or as an alternative medium for portfolio creation or collateral efforts on fashion design projects. I can assure you that cadrage through an optical mirrored viewfinder isn't even an aspect of the creative act there - the flip-out view screen will suffice, as will the camera's video assist output. The "Kodak Neomatic Model 2017" package as I have encountered it in customer clinics with Kodak allows exactly the device accessibility and feature discoverability that this age group is used to from operating analog/digital video gear available on the market for two decades now.

 

If students truly want to comprehend the opto-mechanical interplay in cinematography, I give them a Beaulieu 4008 ZM II with Schneider 11x6, which is the most didactic S8 package I know in that respect. They learn more about the laws of optics and mechanics from exploring the function of the exposure index dial and variable shutter lever, seeing how the DoF in the visuals, f-stops on the lens, and pointer needle in the viewfinder alter, than through hours of reading physics theory (which is not to say the latter doesn't matter).

 

So this has nothing to do with learning professional filmmaking, where I would otherwise absolutely agree with you. Alas, this side of the Atlantic, 16/35 is rarely an option in film schools, and those students really interested in the formats buy those cameras privately for themselves. After all, the costs have never been so low as today to get a 35 BL and shoot 35, or an Aaton and shoot S16.


This is EXACTLY the market Kodak is tapping. Thanks to the "video centric" nature of the camera, it's designed specifically for those youtube guys wanting to shoot something different. This is why they showed the camera at CES, the consumer electronics show, right down the hall from GoPro. It's also why they're doing a one-stop service for people, where they pay one price and get back their film on files, not a positive for projection. The market is 100% consumer level.

 
As you can read above, I agree with you, from the "video-centric" facilitation the camera body offers, to CES for launch, to the aesthetic distinction it provides. But note that I differentiate between occasional Youtubers, for which this will not be an interesting product at all, and professional Youtubers who, though part of today's gig economy of "projects" without rigid structures and conventional company commitments, run what would qualify by older standards as pretty well-invested production firms (or collectives). They will deploy S8 as part of a or their channel, or a visual signature look, in a consistent manner, either for themselves or for their "clients". In light of this, I think labels such as "consumer-level", "prosumer-level", "industry-level" don't apply anymore in this field, for this is what happens at the conclusion of the "democratization" of filmmaking through trivial-barrier access to the means of production, one of the key effects from digitalisation. But the realization of this change might be a generational thing.
 
As what for some are still "consumers", it is those who produce more material, have higher returns, and greater overall output than many people once confidently labelled "industry"! These labels have simply broken down in their usefulness to designate people and their work. Even the parallel labels of "amateur" (who makes without aim to earn) and "professional" (who makes to earn) are becoming increasingly less applicable in today's and likely future economic conditions – in filmmaking more than in other industry sectors.
I have not heard Kodak speak of this Neomatic as a "consumer product" or a "pro-level" product, or targeting "amateurs" or "professionals", or any of that stuff. More on this below. For now, I say that to think in these SONY/Matsushita market segmentation terms from 1995 is unhelpful to to make sense and understand people, products and markets; let alone create them.
 
One-Price-Packages are also not "a consumer thing" per se. I got these with ARRI in Munich shooting 35.
 
You see, the biggest threshold for people to adopt S8 today is to piece together the entire acquisition/post chain, using multiple suppliers often across the globe, dealing with risks and overheads, cost that in to have a viable project in the first place, and having the time to do all the research to locate reliable suppliers in the first place. The demographic I am describing does not engage with products with that kind of inherent resistance, or built-in protracted learning curve.
 
For you or me having grown up with cine-film, phoning up suppliers, comparing lab costs through printed price lists, driving hundreds of kilometers with film cans, and ordering film cement by postcards, this may all be difficult to understand, but S8 is now simply unsellable at scale if you don't offer the cartridge from one POS, then return it with freepost and get back a dev'd negative (which may actually well become optional) and a 1080p or 2k scan which is solely downloadable and shareable from the cloud. I frankly don't even think there will be much provision for supplying/including/shipping HDD/SSD drives with the reel's content from some partnered lab, given the complex logistics and security/interface challenges – it's simply too convoluted and unwieldy to do this. A 2.5 minute-long reel at 2k is entirely feasible to manage online.

I bet people who buy this camera will put it on a shelf in their living room because it looks cool. I bet most of the owners could care less about the cost associated. The people I talked with at Cinegear at the Kodak booth in 2015, were all rich guys wanting a new toy. I bet someone makes a feature with one right away, just because "it's retro" and no other reason.

 
This is quite a change in your argumentation, but I am happy to follow you down that path…
 
Now, your point may well be the case, but those would then be neither "consumers" nor "professionals", but industrial design collectors. That demographic exists for everything nowadays. To produce just for them is not something Kodak does right now. It wouldn't make any sense, frankly. And I doubt the "Neomatic" will become "an instant classic", because the industrial design is anything but inspired, and product appearance less substantial than "vintage" Super 8 production cameras. People have and will put a Nizo by Dieter Rams, or pre-6/7/9008-series Beaulieus by Marcel B on their shelves next to a Leica IIIf. But you are unlikely to find a utilitarian Canon 8/1014XL-S created by committee there.
 
As far as "rich guys wanting toys" are concerned… again, I am unsure how this relates to your prior points about "consumers", film schools, Youtube etc. Also, people putting things on shelves normally don't make feature films with that same gear. To shoot a feature film is pretty hard and considerable work, and most clichés of "rich guys" I meet here in London don't have the attention span or stamina to go through with something like that beyond the initial idea of "would be cool to do do it". And then, with a feature production done with this camera, we could already talk about being in serious "professional" territory, anyway. ;)
 
People like Gunter Sachs, who were 1960s playboys but were also making award-winning documentary films and supporting professional if not cutting-edge camera developments such as the Bolex 16 Pro (which by-the-way incorporated many Super 8 inspired functions into the professional Normal 16 form factor) have always been a rare exception among "rich guys". It could well be that the Kamp kids and Erika Burda would pick Super 8 as image acquisition format for their holiday movie projects, but then again, probably not.  B)
 
In this respect of choice, as regards doing it "because it's retro or something"… well, that has been the mantra for S8 usage since the late 1990s. Just ask Filmfreund Jürgen Lossau. It kept S8 going after it was displaced by S-Video in its original market. Please don't forget, though, that far more important was in fact the drive to take S8 serious as a cinematographic non-nostalgic format with a proper hi-def digital post chain – something that was pioneered in this very forum in 2007 by Santo, against great resistance from K-40 lovers. Check out my forum admin pinned post for references.

I agree, I don't think those things will happen. Kodak has no interest in striking prints from your negative either. Their business is film manufacturing, process and scan.

 
Agreed. To pick up the base case and business rationale I touched on earlier here, as far as I know, Kodak is producing this camera to provide the overall market for the format with a functioning Super 8 camera, beyond the risks of buying ill-maintained second hand cameras which's crappy output tarnishes the medium's aesthetic, reputation, and potential. The absence of reliably functioning gear is the biggest thread to the format since the battle for commercial viability through sales numbers, which had been the threat to the format throughout the 1990s and 2000s. So, the new camera functions as a pre-requisite vehicle to allow Kodak to sell Super 8 film in a vertically integrated way, providing film stock, development, scan, and distribution in a one-stop/one-price solution. This is what Kodak itself has always been about, after all, not just for S8. This may look like going back to 1960s "consumer" models, but as I have argued, these labels no longer work for the people producing material on media at different scales and reaches nowadays.

 

 

EDIT: extensive typos as I was originally writing this post during pre-boarding  -_-


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#18 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 02:17 AM

Super 8 is, was, and always will be a DIY format for the most part. Sometimes it's used commercially to emphasize or emulate just that, however not enough to suggest a "professional" super 8 industry dictating any standard of expectations. It's aimed at the large number of people shooting small amounts of S8 film for what it is, because they like it. Aside from the fact that most cameras impose a risk, the workflow has cumbersome hurdles that digital video does not, it's expensive... Yet a lot of people are still shooting it because they like it. The idea is that all of the people who like it and want to shoot it, but do not because of the hurdles, will now shoot it once those hurdles are alleviated. I've met few DIY people over the years that don't want to shoot super 8. The format is already profitable for Kodak on it's own, but will also be crucial inspiring people into larger formats. A Canon 512XL and K40 pre-paid mailers are all it took for me to learn more. 


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#19 Simon Wyss

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 06:38 AM

Aside from the fact that most cameras impose a risk, the workflow has cumbersome hurdles

 

A Canon 512XL and K40 pre-paid mailers are all it took for me to learn more. 

 

Contradictory. Are mailers a hurdle? Haven’t been for hundreds of thousands of users. One sent the exposed film from all over the planet to a Kodak plant and found it a little later processed in the mail box. Super-8 was the biggest single project of the EKC ever, it brought them billions. This new-Super-8-camera project is a mere joke compared to the old days. Even Kodak’s 9.5mm engagement was vaster.

 

No, the Kodakers don’t know how to handle today’s customers who want everything for nothing. In a way, they know that it won’t work. They know that digital is not their thing, yet still don’t open the taps they have right under the hand. Double-Eight for example, Kodak could flood the market with stocks in that format. They could reintroduce print stocks as 16mm perforated 0.15" 1-4 for DIY as well as professional printing. Or 16mm 2-r. as an other example, Kodak wouldn’t have any difficulty offering it more aggressively in order to reach those who have an old or an animation or a high-speed camera. Imagine the impact of a Mitchell 16 being shown in action! Kodak could easily help those who have a Double-Super 8 camera. One could start talks about the Arriflex DS-8 of which about a dozen were made. Kodak could openly encourage overhauls of the many older equipment. The power of a film manufacturer such as Eastman-Kodak lies with the film. Kodak could try to coat a thinner base to double the capacity of spools and magazines. There’s a lot to discover with technology itself. Motion pictures are a technical phenomenon. Just like printing-through ink from the backing paper of 120 roll films, a problem Kodak has solved not long ago, 220 roll films or a 320 are feasible. Why not 100 feet of a thinner base film on 50-ft. spools for old Bolex or Nizo cameras, 200 feet of thinner film on 100-ft. spools? 800 feet in 400-ft. magazines, 100 feet in Super-8 cartridges? Fuji’s Single-8 polyester base stocks were about a quarter thinner than Super-8 film. It’s about time that the 2.5 mil base gets widely introduced. That would be something new, not scanning-clouding.


Edited by Simon Wyss, 11 December 2016 - 06:43 AM.

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#20 Doug Palmer

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:23 AM

 

Contradictory. Are mailers a hurdle? Haven’t been for hundreds of thousands of users. One sent the exposed film from all over the planet to a Kodak plant and found it a little later processed in the mail box. Super-8 was the biggest single project of the EKC ever, it brought them billions. This new-Super-8-camera project is a mere joke compared to the old days. Even Kodak’s 9.5mm engagement was vaster.

 

No, the Kodakers don’t know how to handle today’s customers who want everything for nothing. In a way, they know that it won’t work. They know that digital is not their thing, yet still don’t open the taps they have right under the hand. Double-Eight for example, Kodak could flood the market with stocks in that format. They could reintroduce print stocks as 16mm perforated 0.15" 1-4 for DIY as well as professional printing. Or 16mm 2-r. as an other example, Kodak wouldn’t have any difficulty offering it more aggressively in order to reach those who have an old or an animation or a high-speed camera. Imagine the impact of a Mitchell 16 being shown in action! Kodak could easily help those who have a Double-Super 8 camera. One could start talks about the Arriflex DS-8 of which about a dozen were made. Kodak could openly encourage overhauls of the many older equipment. The power of a film manufacturer such as Eastman-Kodak lies with the film. Kodak could try to coat a thinner base to double the capacity of spools and magazines. There’s a lot to discover with technology itself. Motion pictures are a technical phenomenon. Just like printing-through ink from the backing paper of 120 roll films, a problem Kodak has solved not long ago, 220 roll films or a 320 are feasible. Why not 100 feet of a thinner base film on 50-ft. spools for old Bolex or Nizo cameras, 200 feet of thinner film on 100-ft. spools? 800 feet in 400-ft. magazines, 100 feet in Super-8 cartridges? Fuji’s Single-8 polyester base stocks were about a quarter thinner than Super-8 film. It’s about time that the 2.5 mil base gets widely introduced. That would be something new, not scanning-clouding.

Agree ! 

I can't see a technical reason why films couldn't be thinner.  And I've noticed that thinner film-stocks like Wittnerchrome actually run more smoothly through a Bolex. At least quieter.  One of the downsides with film is the restricted duration in the mag or cartridge, so it would be nice to see that problem partly overcome.  And when a prospective new super-8 film-maker asks you how long a cartridge lasts, their face won't grimace quite as much. 


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