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FINALLY - Kodak Super 8 camera!


Goran Barac

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16 minutes ago, Jon O'Brien said:

I'm sure Super 8 can be made to look really sharp and impressive, getting somewhat towards a 16mm look, but I'm not really interested in it for that. I specifically got back into Super 8 because I wanted a format that looks obviously like film when viewed on a phone screen. It might surprise some, but 50D 16mm can look very clean and pristine on a phone screen. On a computer screen you can see that 16mm is actually scanned film, but on a phone only Super 8 looks very obviously like real film. Most young people tend to watch videos on their phones, and many of them really love Super 8. That's why I'm back into it. They're the ones getting married, and hopefully wanting wedding films (if they can afford them). Otherwise, I'd shoot 16mm and 35mm only. Lately I'm thinking even 16mm looks too grainy for a short film or feature movie, and ideally I'd shoot only 35mm 2-perf. Maybe one day.

S16 is fine I think, except, everyone insists on shooting on 7219 and light it like it is digital and push it even further to  accentuate the grain even more on an already inherently grainy and soft format. I like to shoot 7213 and overexpose 1 stop and light within film print contrast range.  Or at least, shoot it at box speed. I would like to squeeze out every bit of sharpness that I can. It's my own personal taste of course...

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11 minutes ago, Giray Izcan said:

S16 is fine I think, except, everyone insists on shooting on 7219 and light it like it is digital and push it even further to  accentuate the grain even more on an already inherently grainy and soft format. I like to shoot 7213 and overexpose 1 stop and light within film print contrast range.  Or at least, shoot it at box speed. I would like to squeeze out every bit of sharpness that I can. It's my own personal taste of course...

Yep, I agree. 

A lot of my stock choice is based on how the day is going and what I'll need as the day goes on. Sometimes I'll use 500T when I need to speed up shooting and do some interiors where I literally have no time to light. I recently did a narrative where I had to do a few interiors and exteriors at night, which required 500. It really came out nice, even though it was under heavily. I was under around half a stop and on my Optar T1.3 lenses, so the fact I had any detail was good. The background of the city in the distance, still was visible, which was nice. This was lit with a single chimera and Pavo Tube. 

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1 hour ago, Giray Izcan said:

Also, I see the 220 degree shutter angle as an offset from the light loss due to the beam splitter.

Makes sense. I'm just saying, beware the perils of that shutter angle. I've seen many instances where otherwise beautifully lit and composed shots were compromised because of that 1/39 shutter speed. And those cameras were really designed for 18fps, so we're looking at less than a 30th of a second. For me, anything slower than 1/45 starts getting tricky. It's just something to be mindful of, especially if you're perceiving a softness in your images.

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2 hours ago, Jon O'Brien said:

Lately I'm thinking even 16mm looks too grainy for a short film or feature movie, and ideally I'd shoot only 35mm 2-perf. Maybe one day.

Just as there are people who say that if you're going to pay the money to shoot Super 8, you may as well spend a little extra and shoot S16, there are those that say if you're going to pay for S16, you may as well pay a little extra and shoot 2-perf 35mm. I've never done a cost analysis in term of stock/processing/transfer, but my guess is there is some truth to that.

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1 hour ago, Scott Bullock said:

Just as there are people who say that if you're going to pay the money to shoot Super 8, you may as well spend a little extra and shoot S16, there are those that say if you're going to pay for S16, you may as well pay a little extra and shoot 2-perf 35mm. I've never done a cost analysis in term of stock/processing/transfer, but my guess is there is some truth to that.

Not really because it is very difficult to get silent 2perf camera purchased and even renting is very challenging. Additionally the size and weight difference compared to s16 is pretty huge. Overall I think the availability of cameras is the biggest limiting factor when considering 2perf.

For s8 and regular8, they are economical if shooting the original 18fps and 16fps respectively. If shooting 24fps or 25fps it usually makes lots more sense to shoot 16mm. 

Though one could shoot 16mm at 16fps and make it lots cheaper than high quality 24fps s8. One factor is that the camera, lens and film stock does not need to be top quality on 16mm to get better result than top notch s8 footage. So one can use basic camera, basic lens, shoot short ends and cheap on scanning on 16 and that makes it more economical. If wanting up the quality, just update the stock first, then the lens, then the camera body if needed. And slightly higher quality scanning.

On 8mm formats you are walking the knife edge of being acceptable or unusable, there is no headroom, no margin for error. Shooting with 0 error margin is painstakenly slow, potentially expensive and almost always the end result will suffer one way or another

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2 hours ago, aapo lettinen said:

Not really because it is very difficult to get silent 2perf camera purchased and even renting is very challenging. Additionally the size and weight difference compared to s16 is pretty huge. Overall I think the availability of cameras is the biggest limiting factor when considering 2perf.

On 8mm formats you are walking the knife edge of being acceptable or unusable, there is no headroom, no margin for error. Shooting with 0 error margin is painstakenly slow, potentially expensive and almost always the end result will suffer one way or another

Excellent points, especially about the 2-perf equipment availability, which is why I was thinking of cost analysis strictly in terms of stock/processing/scanning.

The equipment is one of the mitigating factors that is so often overlooked when the type of discussions I alluded come up. The other things that are overlooked are maintenance of the equipment (up to and including replacement if necessary) and the number of people that are often needed in order to properly use the equipment. It's much easier to be a one-man band with a Bolex H16 than with an Arri BL4, and there are strata of complexities between the two and beyond, of course.  So when someone says -  as has been done here and elsewhere - If you're gonna spend the money on Super 8, you may as well spend a little more and shoot 16mm, it's really only true if looking at it strictly in terms of stock/processing/scanning. Rarely is this statement made while considering all the additional costs that go along with making the jump to 16mm. That is, unless you can fulfill your 16mm needs shooting with a Bolex or a Krasnogorsk, because the next step above that is a bit of a doozy, and the step above that often means you're renting and not buying.

That's all I was really getting at with my original post: Things can look very enticing when only looking at certain elements (film/processing/scanning), but when viewed as a whole, things start to add up very, very quickly.

For the record, I wasn't saying that Jon is under some misapprehension about the costs involved with shooting 2-perf 35mm. I genuinely agree with him that shooting that format would be wonderful. Some of my favorite Italian horror films were shot using that format, and I even had an opportunity to tinker with a 2-perf Kinor some years back.

Oh, I don't agree that 8mm is a no-margin-for-error format unless you're talking about shooting with reversal stocks. Shooting on negative has broadened those margins considerably, IMO. 

Edited by Scott Bullock
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9 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Currently I own and have shot with: 

Beaulieu 2006
Beaulieu 4008
Beaulieu 6008
Elmo 240S-XL
Elmo 1012S-XL
Yashica Electro 600 

The images are very similar on all of them, tho the Elmo 1012S-XL is probably the one I'd keep if I sold the rest. 
 

Heck if I know! 

I currently sport: 

Elmo ST-160
Elmo ST-1200HD
Bolex 18-5
Bolex SM-8

My main projector is the ST-1200HD, which I've refurbished, so she runs great. 

I think it's critical to separate personal preference with reality. There are some very cool aesthetic aspects of the format, but that has no relevance to the quality. There were some benefits to Kodachrome when shooting and projecting, but Ektachrome is meh and ya can't project negative obviously. Also, there is really no cost benefit to Super 8 anymore. 16mm price per minute at 24fps is damn close to the same if you scan. It's only when you project, when you see a bit of savings on Super 8, especially at 18fps. 

Lots of people are getting into older formats like VHS/BETA/Hi-8 and such. They love shooting and have a lot of joy. Good for them honestly, I have fixed many a deck and camera for them. I for one, couldn't wait to move up to 16mm as a kid. I couldn't wait to stop shooting SD analog video. I went through HD so fast and onto 4k before you could even blink an eye. Today, nearly everything I shoot is 4k - 8k, I even scan and finish my 16mm films at 4k and distribute them 4k as well. 

So it really depends on what you're after. The aesthetic aspects or the images inside the format. I'm all about the image, I don't really care about the aesthetics. The tactile nature of the format, doesn't translate to your audience very well. So if you're doing it for yourself and nobody else, that's a totally different thing than what a filmmaker is thinking about. That's kind of my point. Filmmakers give two shits about aesthetics, it's all about the image and why would they blow $5499 on a camera that gives them the same image as any of the cameras I mentioned above. 

Again you are wrong! My audience, family and friends do like the aesthetics of Super 8. In fact they like that it's sharp but has that dreamy feeling at times depending on the scene being shot. They also like the sound, and smells from the projector running in the background. Projecting Super 8 can be a rewarding experience, and for me it also holds some nostalgia as well. I grew up watching myself on Super 8 from my uncle's film collection. So it in a lot of ways holds special meaning to those of us that remember it from childhood. If you can't get some sort of feeling from film why shoot with it? Plus Super 8 was always intended for the home movie market period. Remember it came out in 1965 proceeding Standard 8 another fun format. I think the problem nowdays is people loose the reason why they decided to shoot on Super 8 or any film format. It's got to be about fun not always the technical sound. Over the years I've learned how to get Super 8 to look good, and it comes with practice, and a good eye. But I never loose site of why I'm filming with Super 8, and that's to preserve special moment with friends and family. Moden Ektachrome works well for what I need out of Super 8. And it certainly has the right amount of low grain, resolution, etc. As I've mentioned many times here, and else where 7294 needs more light. Once you adjust it's a stellar looking stock! OK I'm done with this conversation as it's turning into an unwanted battle. 

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10 hours ago, Scott Bullock said:

You used Optar Illuminas wide open? If so, that really is impressive. What focal lengths do you have? I own a 9.5mm but I've never shot with it wide open that I can recall.

I think I used the full kit in that night scene, 9.5, 12, 16, 24 and 50. I do have an 8mm as well, but it distorts a lot, I only use it when I need it. The night shoot was all half a stop under, but 500T can be pushed a bit. I was only concerned about the blacks disappearing, which they do in some places, but I'm able to bring it up a bit in post. The still grabs don't do the source justice. In a final color, it'll have a bunch of nodes with mattes. 

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10 hours ago, Scott Bullock said:

Just as there are people who say that if you're going to pay the money to shoot Super 8, you may as well spend a little extra and shoot S16, there are those that say if you're going to pay for S16, you may as well pay a little extra and shoot 2-perf 35mm. I've never done a cost analysis in term of stock/processing/transfer, but my guess is there is some truth to that.

I always felt the same way, but even with short ends, 16mm is still cheaper. Cameras are lighter, smaller, require less support, lower cost rental/lenses and such. 11 minute loads which is plenty for most shoots. I think if you do the math per finished minute, you'd see 2 perf is still around 2x more money than 16mm, plus it doesn't really give you any benefits. It doesn't use the full width of the S35mm frame, so you're not really gaining much real estate unless you're shooting widescreen. Personally, with everything going to TV these days, 1.78:1 is perfect aspect ratio, so S16 or 3 perf, is the best format for that delivery. 

The only negative of S16 are night/low light scenes. So shoot those on 3 perf 35mm with 500T pushed a stop? Then you save the money on the bulk of your shooting on 16mm and then save the 35mm for the few moments you need it. Where I personally haven't done this yet, I may for my next film. 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
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I applaud Kodak for this effort but I think they would have been better off following the approach of Impossible Project / Polaroid.  When Impossible revived polaroid they began by offering refurbished cameras. Then they offered a new camera. Later when they obtained the rights to the polaroid name and intellectual material, they offered more new cameras. Kodak should have worked with Pro8 who already had rebuilt and modified cameras, starting first with a basic model then moving to a more advanced model, then eventually to their own newly manufactured camera. All of this could have been done in the run up to the new model. This approach would have allowed them pivot and react to user feedback and capitalize on the resurgence of interest in film.

Polaroid came back from the dead and seem to have a well considered long-term plan. Kodak's new super 8 camera was introduced with much promise and what seemed to be a very thought out approach. Then it began to feel more like an afterthought as they went radio silence for years. I hope this works for them, and I'm glad they are at long last taking orders. It just could have been so much more than it seems to be.

Edited by Rob Skates
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16 minutes ago, Rob Skates said:

I applaud Kodak for this effort but I think they would have been better off following the approach of Impossible Project / Polaroid.  When Impossible revived polaroid they began by offering refurbished cameras. Then they offered a new camera. Later when they obtained the rights to the polaroid name and intellectual material, they offered more new cameras. Kodak should have worked with Pro8 who already had rebuilt and modified cameras, starting first with a basic model then moving to a more advanced model, then eventually to their own newly manufactured camera. All of this could have been done in the run up to the new model. This approach would have allowed them pivot and react to user feedback and capitalize on the resurgence of interest in film.

Nice idea, and thats why Kodak did exactly this, they took advantage of a lot of the R&D work that Logmar did developing their super 8 camera. 

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27 minutes ago, Fabian Schreyer said:

That is what Kodak should have done. The way I see it, they choose to ignore almost everything that Logmar came up with.

No they literally did do it, they used logmars R&D and design, they just changed it, normale gate and stuff. Just look at the Flip out LCD it's exactly the same. I don't know if they bought/ licensed the plans, but it is as I said, quite literally what they did.

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They kept everything but changed out one of the most important aspects from Logmar s8.. this camera doesn't even have pin registration. Film gate and transport are the most important details with film cameras, not the sound capturing abilities like this camera.. first of all, all those features are nice, but why would I worry about capturing sound when the camera is not quiet enough and only takes 50ft cartridges? I understand the camera allows for different aspect ratios, which is nice, but again, who would want to further crop their already tiny s8 frames? 

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You’re so right. Why still the idiotic cartridge with that floating film transport concept? Can’t understand it. Also, that they didn’t finish the reflex system by an ocular is beyond common sense. The electric display in addition, then it could fly.

The moment you’re tightening the fastening screw of a tripod the camera becomes a flimsy hybrid, not apt for anything. I judge brutally and stand by it. Do I trust the face plate with the lens mount thread and the body, if I want to put a heavier or longer lens on? I don’t. How can I focus really accurately? I can’t. Microprisms, split screen, rangefinder, ground glass?

Why not Double-Super-8? All Super-8 film Kodak makes is existing as DS-8 for a moment, namely after perforating. A 50-ft. spool loading camera would have been something, still relatively compact and not so weighy but 50 feet available uninterrupted, a generous gate for good technical sharpness as well as image steadiness. I mean, $5495  . . .

The shaky images Kodak is now showing can be had with an M2 from 1965. That one is more compact and lightweight. Same cartridge. I don’t see any progress besides two crystal controlled speeds and free setting of exposure index.

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Everyone points to the nuanced flaws of this camera relative to the years and years of experience we have working professionally with highly advanced/technical systems. The flaws of Super 8 are well known and obvious measured against the technologies that we've worked with. Kodak should've done this and should've done that. All the points are great, don't get me wrong. But thank god Kodak did something because lest we forget, film has a real likely chance of going away for good, permanently. Case in point, god I loved shooting that Agfa 400XT. Gone. And mmmm, that creamy Fuji 400T Eterna....it was so good. Too bad those companies abandoned film in an instant. And it's not like Kodak is exactly and economically thriving company these days. It's amazing that this even got done. 6-7 years in the making now?

Anyway, also, good on all those "hipsters" who think it's cool. Hopefully they'll start shooting more 16 and 35mm some day as their careers advance, so that I can keep my Arri rolling too, or not have to resort to processing 16mm in my bathroom in a garbage can.  Maybe one of 'em will buy my camera someday for a good price when I can't lift it anymore. And in my opinion $5500 is not that much cash for a rental house, a film school, or a kid who is willing and capable of slapping down that kind of cash for the latest DSLR BS package with a floaty gimbal thing....which truly will be obsolete in a couple years. I mean, anyone ever try finding storage media for a Red One or getting any support? Good luck. But I digress. 

The Logmar camera...I want to get my hands on one of those as well. Good for them too. I hope it becomes more widely available.   

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21 hours ago, Giray Izcan said:

Tyler, even cropped to 1:85, 2 perf images are significantly larger and sharper than any s16 - of course, assuming a 2 perf camera is available.

2mm taller, and 10mm wider (with full width) 

That's not that significant when you're talking about a format that's HALF the cost. 

If you do the math, which I've done so many times, even have videos about it, 2 perf is actually really not that cheap. People just think of; film, processing, scanning costs, but suddenly you're also renting a higher value system. You need a heavier duty tripod, you'll need S35mm lenses, the list goes on and on. For me, the big thing was just not being able to afford fast zooms. I can with S16, but with S35mm, just renting them was tricky. Wanna do a long zoom shot? Pfft, now you've got a literal cannon on the front of your body. I have a 320mm zoom for S16, that's like 600+ mm on a S35mm camera. Then you've gotta fight to get good high speed primes. By the time you're done, you've just spent 2x the rental cost. 

Also, that whole shallow depth of field thing which makes S35mm so nice, it just doesn't exist as much with 2 perf because the frame size is so small. It has nearly all the same problems as S16mm with getting that look. Gotta resort to longer lenses and being wide open, vs being able to use shorter lenses. 

Sure, you get a bigger image for sure, but at 2x the cost. 

With 3 perf at least, you're getting a MUCH larger image. You can fit almost 5 S16 frames into a single 3 perf frame. Much easier to get the shallow depth of field look as well, it just happens without any work. 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
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2mm taller and 10mm wider is quite of a difference. Imagine the bump in quality from going n16 to s16 where it is not nowhere this much of a difference in size, it's a big difference. You photograph a lot larger and sharper images and then crop into that to get 16x9 in comparison to s16.

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