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double exposing super 8


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#1 David Scott

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 04:48 PM

Ok, I have more questions. First, I got a Hama reminder from a guy in Germany because my cameras don't do internal rewinds, blends or any of that. So, before I bought it, I thought it would just rewind the cartridge, but when I received it, it had this clip in it to place on the cartridge to keep the take up reel from winding the film forward. I've read before that the film would bunch up inside the cartridge, but I thought that would be in the rewind. My question is- does the motor or internal gearing of the camera get harmed in any way by the film cartridge not being able to spool forward?

And then, my next question- doing titles... I want to do titles by double exposure. I've been searching, but all I can find online is how to do them in Movie maker. My plan is to type my titles and credits, photograph the pages on b&w negative film and use a slide duplicator in front of my macro focused lens to film the titles with black background and white letters on Kodak vision3 50d, then rewind the film and shoot the scenes. Or vice versa. It seems like it should work perfectly as long as the black in the 35mm negative is total black. I'm thinking the letters will come out completely white, not showing the scene through them and if the background is totally black, the scene will expose onto the film perfectly as well provided all settings are right. Has anyone done this? Is my thinking accurate?
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#2 Mark Dunn

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Posted 29 January 2018 - 10:34 AM

You have to stop the take-up from rotating- I just used to use sellotape- but the camera doesn't mind at all. The takeup clutch is quite weak. You're limited to a few feet because there's only so much free space in the cartridge. There's more space at the beginning of the roll- the takeup chamber is then empty- so this is the best time to do backwinds, although I never had any trouble. I never backwound more than about 180 frames IIRC.
Your titles plan sounds OK. In practice the scene shadows will be degraded a bit because there are limits to how black you can get a background without underexposing the titles.

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#3 David Scott

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Posted 29 January 2018 - 10:59 AM

Ok, very cool, thanks for the info, I didn't realize there was a clutch in there.
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#4 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 29 January 2018 - 03:53 PM

Just make sure to expose for those title slides!  Much less exposure than going by the camera's light meter, usually 5 Stops under...but depends on how much type there is.  So manual exposure setting is the only way to get this correct. Try shooting a test of the slides using a digital camera set for the same ISO/ASA as what you're going to use, and then underexpose until the title slide looks correct.  It is very easy to over expose this and get blooming from the letters themselves.   

 

To fully double-expose a Super 8mm film cartridge fully, you'd have to have the entire cartridge rewound back to the beginning.  This can only be done by carefully opening the cartridge, removing the film and rewinding the film and resetting it all back up.  Actually, with care, via a small hole or notch punched somewhere near the beginning, it can be lined back up to that exact spot so you can begin filming on it again, for the title pass or other shots.  Keeping detailed notes for accuracy, you can get some great effects.   This is one of the oddball services my lab offers.  Anyhow, this isn't for everyone of course.   I know of a couple entries into contests by customers of mine, and I'm sure everyone wondered how the heck someone was able to double expose the entire Super 8mm 50ft cartridge.   

 

Regarding film backwind in the cartridge, the maximum is 300 frames, with most recommendations being at 100 frames.  How much depended on where you were, as most film rewind is recommended 5 feet from the beginning or end of the film; otherwise you could jam the cartridge or run out of film.  Backwinding, is limited by the small cramped space in the cartridge supply side where the film is pushed backward up into this space.  This is whether done in camera or externally via a device for this purpose [Craven Film Backwinder, EWA S8B, etc] or just with tape over the core and using your hands via your hands holding in the cartridge pressure pad and pushing the film backwards until it reaches its end{the equivalent amount that was not taken up onto the takeup core} this all in TOTAL darkness of course in a darkroom or using a film changing bag.

 

The takeup clutch of Super 8mm film cameras varies in strength, but it is designed to slip and remain stationary after a certain degree of tension.   However, for some projects in which the cartridge was going to be used up quickly and not sit around, it's easy enough to break the internal takeup core ratchet by rotating it counterclockwise 2 or 3 times which bends the plastic ratchet allowing the core to move freely.  By doing this, you won't have to tape the ratchet or core takeup, and can just backwind the film from the takeup side to the supply side.  This was always easier using Super 8mm SOUND film cartridges as their built in ratchet is tiny and allowed ease of film rewind for double exposures and super impositions and dissolves in camera.  Sort of a moot point now but wanted to add this in as a fact [some sound film cameras do not recommend using the builtin dissolve function with silent cartridges....such as my beloved SANKYO XL620 so I just broke the silent cartridge ratchet so I could do dissolves on those films.  Today, with only silent cartridges available, I still have to do this to use the camera's special effects regarding film rewind.

 

Lastly, another odd point, was that via limited backwind done x number of frames at a time, the former long discontinued 200ft(60m) Kodak cartridge could be completely backwound for special effects.   Owing the design of this, and some problematic issues, I never recommended it.  Had it been built better so it could be reloaded, it could've been more viable.  I always tend to over add information in these postings because I know how limited such information is, especially to anyone fairly new in the world of Super 8mm filming.


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#5 Jon O'Brien

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Posted 29 January 2018 - 05:24 PM

I sometimes backwound Super 8, in the 80s. I did one shot of someone firing a 'laser' pistol. The beam was a slit in a piece of black cardboard with red cellophane and back lit. It was a success, but was a very brief shot. I seem to recall I got the idea from Cinemagic magazine. I put tape over the cartridge's take up wheel. Not long after, I changed to regular 8mm, then on to 16mm.


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#6 David Scott

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Posted 29 January 2018 - 10:03 PM

Martin, thanks for all the great information, I will try to keep all that in mind, and I will shoot some tests first, I really have to get back in the habit of more planning and more testing before shooting final footage. Using digital point and shoot cameras for 20 years has really made me lazy, but I'm getting back into it. And thanks also Jon, not exactly the same, but definitely close enough to be relevent.
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#7 Luigi Castellitto

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 07:41 PM

I use a nice Beualieu 4008 ZMII, which has a method, a bit 'complex, to do lap dssolves and rewind maximum 100 frames of film, but I would like to shoot double exposures more longer, so I was interested in the nominated Super 8 rewinders machines.
Which of the models is the best? The ewa, the Hama, etc.
They work well? I had read of cases in which the film was ripped.
When you take the cartridge out of the camera and insert it into the rewinder, and when you pull cartridge out of the rewinder and insert it into the camera, do you burn those few frames exposed on the cartridge? Should you do it in the dark (uncomfortable if you are around) or inside a changing bag?

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#8 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 08:46 PM

They all use a similar method, stopping of the film core takeup from rotating, and then backwinding the film by pushing it back into the upper part of the supply part of the cartridge.  The BEAULIEU can actually go further than 100 frames.  They only state 100 frames since the frame counter only counts to 100 frames.  If you keep careful track of it, say 150 frames, and start your Double Exposure sequence  with the frame counter at Zero, then if you shoot 150 frames, the frame counter will be showing 50 frames since you will have gone past the 100 mark.  You then just backwind carefully until you've backwound 150 frames.   The metal bodied CRAVEN Backwinder which was made in England has a metal sprocket wheel to wind back the film.  

 

The best method to do a long double exposure or to completely double-expose the film is to open the cartridge and rewind it and then reload it back into that or another cartridge.  The Russian made KACCEMA ones are pretty good.  GK Film made one by it was expensive and not sure where you would find those.  However, used cartridges can be opened carefully and reused.  It requires careful work so as not to damage the cartridge.  I suggest trying this with an old cartridge junk film so as not to risk wasting a new film.  You will have to hard score all around the welded seam of the cartridge with a Single-Edged Razor Blade, and then carefully crack it open at the seams.  The top side or Label Cover seam is different as it is set into the lip of the center chassis.  You just have to slide the blade under it and work it along carefully.  I also have used small screwdrivers and even a guitar pic to hold the lip of the part I just broke free, to give me room to continue moving along the seam until it is completely broken free.  There are videos on You Tube by some showing how they opened the cartridges, worth watching for ideas.

 

And about fogging the film, yes, using an exterior film rewind device you will fog that cartridge film gate area unless you use a film changing bag or a dark room.  However, since you have a BEAULIEU, you don't need any of those devices really unless you want to.  The BEAULIEU uses the film claw to reverse wind the film, so you do have to be careful.  As for the stories of ripped film, yes that can happen and usually does damage the film perforations IF while using the Backwinder Devices the core is not taped to prevent film takeup (one reason I always just break the core ratchet).  If while backwinding you meet strong resistance I recommend NOT to go any further to avoid risk of film damage.  Sprocket hole damage is bad enough, but if you were to snap the film there could be trouble with getting it processed.


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#9 Luigi Castellitto

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 12:14 PM

Thanks Martin, very clear.
I knew the method of opening the cartridge, but I always found it uncomfortable, if I had to shot more scenes double exposed.
 
As for the method of rewind of my Beaulieu, yes, is good, you're right, you could go over 100 frames (a little!), but I thought that the backwinders like the Craven could reverse more of 150 frames, even, example, 300 frames, with more security than the camera. How much frames can the backwinders go to the maximum?

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#10 David Scott

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 12:38 AM

Ok, well, I went ahead and shot the film, didn't have time for a test roll, my film has to be at the lab in England by March 12th and scheduling actors, locations etc around everyone work schedules means I'll be throwing the package in the mail with just enough time. So, here's what I did- I underexposed the credits by one stop, but, I couldn't use a 35mm film negative with light behind, even though I made a slide duplicator out of translucent white plexiglass and abs plastic tube because I couldn't find quick processing for the black and white film. Anyway, I printed the cards out with white letters and black background, BUT the black has some printer streaking. So, I shot it, then rewound the film, put it back and started shooting the opening scene over the opening credits, also slightly underexposed by one stop. Unfortunately, I won't get to see it until the films are done at straight 8 and ready to be returned, so I won't know if it came out the way I wanted, but in the meantime, I think I'll shoot that test roll as an afterthought. For anyone info, I was able to very comfortably rewind the film by a total of 198 frames.

Edited by David Scott, 11 February 2018 - 12:39 AM.

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#11 Luigi Castellitto

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 04:13 PM

David, so do you recommend the rewinders, like Hama, ewa, etc.? :)


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#12 David Scott

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 09:53 AM

I have a Hama, this is the first time I've ever used it and it worked flawlessly. So, I would say that's my endorsement. One thing I wish it did, however, is lock the cartridge into itself. Basically, you have to hold it in there. Also, you definitely have to keep the take-up reel from advancing while filming in order to rewind.

Edited by David Scott, 13 February 2018 - 09:55 AM.

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#13 Mark Dunn

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 10:43 AM

David, so do you recommend the rewinders, like Hama, ewa, etc.? :)

If you can find one, the Craven backwinder completely encloses the cartridge and holds it steady. If you're interested I could look it out for you and we could agree on a price.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 13 February 2018 - 10:43 AM.

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#14 Luigi Castellitto

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 01:59 PM

Thank you, David.

 

If you can find one, the Craven backwinder completely encloses the cartridge and holds it steady. If you're interested I could look it out for you and we could agree on a price.

 

Yes, Mark, I'm interested. I also saw the ewa, very readily available, what do you think about it?
Of course, it's clear that the Craven is more solid, it's in metal. I found it only at, £49.99, but is too much, it's not worth that price.

How many roll-up frames does Craven declare?

Edited by Luigi Castellitto, 13 February 2018 - 02:05 PM.

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#15 David Scott

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 11:52 PM

I'm good, I have a changing bag I use, just in case my grip slips while rewinding.
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#16 Mark Dunn

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 05:49 AM

 

Thank you, David.

 

 

Yes, Mark, I'm interested. I also saw the ewa, very readily available, what do you think about it?
Of course, it's clear that the Craven is more solid, it's in metal. I found it only at, £49.99, but is too much, it's not worth that price.

How many roll-up frames does Craven declare?

 

I didn't use more than about 180 frames. I don't know the limit. I don't know about the EWA.

Send me a PM with your best offer. Postage extra of course.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 14 February 2018 - 05:49 AM.

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#17 Luigi Castellitto

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 10:13 AM

Thank you for info, Mark. I found a person who gives it to me for free. He uses, now, only the 16mm, he left the Super8 format, says it is in mint state and with instructions.

Sorry, I did not realize you already had it, I thought you should ask to other persons.
 
When it arrives I'll test it, I'll tell you how it goes.
However, I follow your advice, no more than 180 frames, even if my Beaulieu already has the option to do it, and as Martin rightly said, perhaps more than the 100 frames printed on the frame counter could go... We will see which method will be more safe.

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