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Short Ends hurting Super-8?


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#1 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 07:02 PM

Analysis:

Short Ends are the bane of the film business.

A film project finishes, there is left over film. Most of the film that is left over might actually have been in the camera magazine but was taken out because the scene being shot was longer than what was left in the magazine. Short Ends can also result when a film shoot is changing to a different film stock. It's possible that an entire full load is "re-canned" for this very reason.
Once the film can is open, the film can never be resold as new, it can be called either a short end or a re-can.

Because short ends and re-cans can actually be fairly lengthy, when a film is wrapped there can easily be a few hundred dollars worth of short ends. When the short ends are re-sold, it is a true win win all the way around. The production company not only gets some unexpected money back, but they don't have to deal with storing the film.

The reseller of the film gets a good enough buying price to where they can mark it up and then resell it at an excellent price for the very low budget film project, and apparently, that is where Pro-8mm comes onto the scene.

If it's true that they are using short ends to make Super-8 negative camera stocks, then they are hurting the super-8 field even as they help it. It must please resellers of short ends and Kodak as well to have a company out there willing to buy short ends. It's like hiring a cleaning service to clean up a small mess, only you don't have to pay them, if anything, they pay you.

The "mess", aka short ends, are ultimately consumed and this is a good thing for EVERYONE. For Kodak, for the reseller, and for Pro-8mm.

The only one who may lose is the Super-8 filmmaker. Why? Because Super-8 is so small, dirt, dust, and scratches are magnified between 4 to 12 times the size they would be if the exact same dirt, dust or scratch resided on the film before it was slit down to super-8.

Because the short end film has now been in a changing bag TWICE, and in a film magazine once, it's more likely to have MORE dirt, dust and scratches on it than film that has been handled less times and only been in a changing bag ONCE before it is shot. If Pro-8mm is getting short end film or recans, they have to handle it as well, slitting it, then loading it into a film cartridge. Compared to if Kodak just made the super-8 negative from their own new stock, the short ends may have been handled SEVERAL more times.

The business reality is that if Pro-8mm is buying short ends, they really are doing the film community a "service" by buying up short ends.

If the Super-8 filmmaker complains that their negative film has too much dust, dirt or scratches in it, then they are told if they want to avoid that problem, they should shoot 16m or 35mm, and the play is complete!

The same people that support super-8 also seem to benefit by super-8 being less than what it could be.

This is truly a "let a sleeping dog lie" issue (and you can interpret the word "lie" however you want.) We should just shut up and be grateful that Kodak still makes super-8, and yet, it seems wrong to me to allow a company like Pro-8mm to have a monopoly on a format in which it appears that they are primarily using short ends or re-cans. It's not like they have two pricing structures, one for short ends and re-cans, and one for new film. It appears it is all being sold as new film.

If true, this rises to a level of consumer deception that is not acceptable.


--------------------------------------------
Question:

If Pro-8mm supports Kodak AND Kodak film resellers by buying short ends, Why would Kodak want to upset Pro-8mm by selling the low ASA negative stocks and directly competing with someone who is buying short ends?

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Commentary:

I can call Kodak's decision to suspend Kodachrome 40 an excellent opportunity for independent film labs all over the world to thrive because they will be able to process the Ektachrome stock that replaces Kodachrome, a stock they could not process.

I can also state that Kodak has GENEROUSLY stepped out of the Super-8 processing business and in the process handed over their super-8 processing customer base to small independent labs all over the world. With that in mind, can Kodak go the extra step and really open up Super-8 processing options for small labs the world over who could also process the negative film stocks by offering the 50 ASA negative stock as well?

Open the Super-8 Negative processing dike up all the way by also offering ASA 50 negative. With the 200 and 500 Negative film stock already being offered, the 50 would really round out the selection. I don't believe 200 and 500 sales would be hurt if 50 were also offered, if anything, the three negative stocks together become an excellent pallette for the commited cinematographer working in Super-8.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 07:16 PM

Kodak doesn't make any money in the short end business. For all they care, people can throw away their short ends because Kodak made their money when it was sold fresh originally.

So Kodak's decision whether or not to release slow-speed negative stocks in Super-8 have nothing to do with worrying about Pro-8 one way or the other, but merely has to do with sales. Slow-speed stocks are low sellers at Kodak compared to high-speed stocks, so there is more high-speed stock made and it therefore makes more economic sense to release their most popular stocks in Super-8, which is essentially being subsidized by the 35mm business.

If the Super-8 market is limited and releasing a greater number of different stocks just means the same number of sales spread out among these different stocks that all have to be produced in volume, warehoused, and then thrown out when outdated, then there isn't a strong business argument for doing so. This is a very small market compared to 35mm and has to piggy-back to some degree on the trends of that market.
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#3 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 07:46 PM

If the Super-8 market is limited  and releasing a greater number of different stocks just means the same number of sales spread out among these different stocks that all have to be produced in volume, warehoused, and then thrown out when outdated, then there isn't a strong business argument for doing so.  This is a very small market compared to 35mm and has to piggy-back to some degree on the trends of that market.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Ouch, too bad for us Super-8 film users that Kodak sells more of the higher rated ASA film than lower rated because in Super-8 the popularity of lower ASA film stocks is probably greater than the higher ASA film stocks. An 50 ASA negative stock would complement the ASA 200 and 500 quite nicely. Rather than raiding the 200 ASA and 500 ASA users, a 50 ASA negative stock might even encourage more overall Super-8 film consumption because a filmmaker would have more realistic options for a project with such diverse negative film stocks available.

It's possible that the loss of repeat business is stagnating the Super-8 market. We know one HUGE reason for the loss of repeat Super-8 business resides in the San Fernando Valley. If the Super-8 market is small but stable, that means new business is replacing the one and out customer. Again, we probably know who is causing one and out business to occur.

If the quality were improved on the low ASA negative stocks by having Kodak releasing the 50 ASA negative stock, Super-8 sales could possibly increase because users would have more than one place to choose who they get their negative stocks from.

A full pallette of ASA negative stocks could possibly increase new business. Especially if the Kodachrome people warm up to the Ektachrome stock.

If Super-8 labs stay busy, then Super-8 can grow.

I seem to recall that Kodak marketing, in an effort to reach the college crowd, mentioned in one of their brochures or advertisements just how grainless some of their new film stocks could look.
That already adopoted Kodak marketing strategy could bode well for Kodak at least attempting to release Super-8 50 ASA negative film stock.

Perhaps Kodak could do a run of ASA 50 Negative Super-8 from a short end??? :D:D:D
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#4 John Hyde

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 10:56 PM

Agreed Alex,

I think the 50D would draw in a significant number of NEW customers that currently prefer Pro8mm due to variety and convenience. If Kodak offers a fairly complete palette of super 8 neg film, professionals will use them more often when they want to buy their film from one location for a shoot.

In addition, the look of 50D in super 8 is simply stunning. With Kodak quality behind it I am sure it will draw many new people to film.
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#5 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 05:46 AM

Agreed Alex,

I think the 50D would draw in a significant number of NEW customers that currently prefer Pro8mm due to variety and convenience.  If Kodak offers a fairly complete palette of super 8 neg film, professionals will use them more often when they want to buy their film from one location for a shoot.

In addition, the look of 50D in super 8 is simply stunning.  With Kodak quality behind it I am sure it will draw many new people to film.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thanks. I'll pass along your comments to those looking to expand Kodak's Super-8 product line.
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#6 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 02:23 PM

Thanks.  I'll pass along your comments to those looking to expand Kodak's Super-8 product line.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


John, I would most definitely give ASA 50 a try if were available from Kodak.

I will not try it from the non-Kodak facility that is currently loading it. And because the 50 is not available, it's more difficult to plan a shoot knowing I don't have the lower ASA to complement the higher ASA stuff.

We have a reverse Catch-22 here. The larger format 35mm film stocks can get by without lower ASA film stocks and still avoid massive grainiess, but iin Super-8, it appears the 50 ASA is essential to round out the ASA negative family.

If I am wrong and the 50 ASA is not that much different than the 200, please let me know, but if there is a significant difference, I would gladly shoot 50 ASA negative over Kodachrome 40.
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#7 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 10:21 PM

John, I would most definitely give ASA 50 a try if were available from Kodak...

If I am wrong and the 50 ASA is not that much different than the 200, please let me know, but if there is a significant difference, I would gladly shoot 50 ASA negative over Kodachrome 40.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


7245 still has the lowest granularity, but the image structure of 7217 is surprisingly good for a film with its speed. Try it with a bit of overexposure, and you will be even more pleased with the low graininess.
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#8 Brian Wells

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 12:13 AM

If Pro-8mm is getting short end film or recans, they have to handle it as well, slitting it, then loading it into a film cartridge. Compared to if Kodak just made the super-8 negative from their own new stock, the short ends may have been handled SEVERAL more times.


I will not try it from the non-Kodak facility that is currently loading it.


... Just a casual observer here...

Would it be acceptable to slit and load your own 16-into-S8 cartridges for filmmakers? If the market is big enough, as you say, then visitors to your site would likely be intrigued by a professional taking the time to load the cartridges properly and with fresh stock. Perhaps you could charge a small fee for your service.

My thought is (again, as a video cameraman...) is that the Pro8mm shop has a pretty bad reputation in the filmmaking community for their shady business practices and they have done little to improve their image. i.e. - they are still disgraceful.

What S8 filmmaking needs is a reputable service instead of Pro8mm. Someone who is diligent and adheres to a standard of excellence. Alessandro, you sound the guy for the job. :)

Just an idea.

BW
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#9 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 01:09 AM

... Just a casual observer here...

Would it be acceptable to slit and load your own 16-into-S8 cartridges for filmmakers? If the market is big enough, as you say, then visitors to your site would likely be intrigued by a professional taking the time to load the cartridges properly and with fresh stock. Perhaps you could charge a small fee for your service.

My thought is (again, as a video cameraman...) is that the Pro8mm shop has a pretty bad reputation in the filmmaking community for their shady business practices and they have done little to improve their image. i.e. - they are still disgraceful.

What S8 filmmaking needs is a reputable service instead of Pro8mm. Someone who is diligent and adheres to a standard of excellence. Alessandro, you sound the guy for the job. :)

Just an idea.

BW

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hey Brian, there is no way I could do it as well as Kodak.
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 01:15 AM

I still like the 200 Vision 2 made by Kodak.  It is a great stock for my lit interiors.  But, it has its limitations as a good exterior stock capable of consistently delivering low grain pictures.  It just does not function as well as the 50D outside.

I hate to say this, but I am forced to buy 50D from the other guys (who shall remain nameless).  Their film and processing quality is marginal at best.  But I really need the 50D to make some of my shoots work.

I wish Kodak would produce the 50D so I could buy all my film from them and shoot film more often for my low budget projects.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



The quote above came from the Super-8 Vision 200T topic

http://www.cinematog...?showtopic=8075]

Spectra Film and Video is ready to provide solid service to the film community, it would be a shame if they fall by the wayside because without the 50 ASA super-8 negative, it really is not a level playing field right now.
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#11 Matt Pacini

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 01:24 PM

Short ends are a wonderful option for filmmakers on a budget.
The question is not if short ends are a problem.
The question is if Pro8mm is a problem.

MP
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#12 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 01:47 PM

Short ends are a wonderful option for filmmakers on a budget.
The question is not if short ends are a problem.
The question is if Pro8mm is a problem.

MP

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


But there are technical considerations when it comes to short ends specifically for Super-8 that make it a losing proposition most of the time.

Super-8 Short ends sold at a new film price is one issue. The fact that the size of a dust particle on a Super-8 frame is 4x times larger than how it appears on a 16mm frame and the size of a dust particle on a Super-8 frame is 12x larger than how the same dust particle would appear on 35mm is another issue. It's pretty much an inevitability that the three additional times the short-end film is put into a different environment (twice in a changing bag, once in the camera magazine), will probably never make the short end film have less dust, but most probably have more dust.

I do agree that for 16mm and 35mm that short-ends are one way to stay within a lower budgeted project's financial constraints.
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#13 Mike Crane

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 04:04 PM

Pro8mm short ends also have issues if you do not know how old the film is. Would anyone feel comfortable shooting 5245 in super 8 that was produced in 1998, mixed with the same film produced in 2000, mixed with a few more rolls produced in 1996? Keep in mind, you just bought all this film together from Pro8mm yesterday!

At least, in the world of 16 and 35mm short ends you have the option of checking emulsion and batch numbers on the can. Pro8mm includes nothing to tell us how old their film is, or the batch. They just continue to pretend that they sell new film.

Not knowing if the film has gone way past the expiration is enough to greatly bother me. The additional likelihood of mixing old film together with a lottery of production dates really pushes it way beyond acceptability.

Combining this with offering it at new film prices, not knowing how the original shortend was treated, under what conditions the film is treated by Pro8mm (if they skimp on the film itself there is no telling what else they are doing to save a buck - including their marginal processing) is really bad business.

I think Pro8mm and their little cheats to increase their profit at the expense of filmmakers stink! I only use them as a last resort. And, if Kodak produced 50D in super 8 I would not use them at all. <_<
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#14 Carl Weston

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 07:21 PM

If I?m going to pay $35.00 dollars for a roll of Pro8mm super 8 negative I might as well shoot 16mm. Does anyone know the percentage of new neg vs short ends they use?
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#15 John Hyde

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 09:43 PM

If I?m going to pay $35.00 dollars for a roll of Pro8mm super 8 negative I might as well shoot 16mm. Does anyone know the percentage of new neg vs short ends they use?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Interestingly, you pay even less for NEW Kodak film and better processing from Spectra Film (by as much as $5.00 per roll). I ask myself where all the extra money at Pro8 goes when they charge so much for a product that costs them so little!

Sorry to report that Pro8mm uses short ends exclusively. And, their conversion process is unreliable. I found this out the hard way. If you want good results, my advice is to use Kodak made super 8 for your shooting.
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#16 Matt Pacini

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 04:50 PM

I've never heard of anyone selling Super 8 short ends, since S8 comes in cartridges.

MP
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#17 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 09:15 PM

I've never heard of anyone selling Super 8 short ends, since S8 comes in cartridges.

MP

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I think they are referring to the practice of slitting 8mm out of 16mm or 35mm short ends or recans.
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#18 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 10:16 PM

I think they are referring to the practice of slitting 8mm out of 16mm or 35mm short ends or recans.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


and selling it as new! :angry: (not Kodak, somebody else).
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