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The evolution of Spherical Cinemascope Super 8 utilizing 16mm cameras.

Nicholas Kovats

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Hi everyone.


I have been shooting Super 8 on and off since 1979. There is something mystical about shooting such a miniaturized format, e.g.



*YouTube search term = "Kis Angyal"



However the allure of Cinemascope 1:2.40 is undeniable and my attempts have resulted in a fusion of the two mediums. My initial approach has been to utilize an Anamorphic 2X projector optical adapter + step down ring + prime/zoom lens + c-mount S8 camera as shot by Justin Lowell, i.e.



*YouTube search term = "Anamorphic super 8 film test = "Zoology""



The difficulty of a practical shooting technique whilst dealing with 3 major variables of two separate focusing barrels plus what I call horizontal Anamorphic skew is at best an exercise in triple diligence. The minimum focusing distances of these projector Anamorphic adapters at 5 feet plus their misaligned interface with prime/zoom lenses is suboptimal.


I commissioned a preliminary CAD sketch for a proposed CNC machined adapter that would attempt to handle the concerns outlined previously, i.e.




But I began to wonder if in fact there could be a more reasonable and precise approach such that a Cinemascope Super 8 wannabe could obtain the equivalency to the all in one, heavy and ultra expensive 16mm or 35mm anamorphic compression lenses?


Surprisingly enough the Russians tried it first, i.e.



a.) Quarz 10:


Format frames: 4.22 x5.69 mm (Super), or 4.22 x 10.8 mm (wide)

Focal length: 15 mm

Viewfinder: parallaksny

Drive: Springs

The frequency of shooting: 8, 18, 32 fps


b.) Quarz 2x8S-W (Wide):


Format frames: 4.22 x5.69 mm (Super), or 4.22 x10.8 mm (wide)

Focal length: 15 mm

Office diaphragm: automatic and manual

Viewfinder: parallaksny

Drive: spring (5 m)

The frequency of shooting: 9, 18, 24, 36 fps

Dimensions: 197x104x60 mm

Weight: 1.2 kg


In the spirit of the global 8mm/16mm DIY culture I propose the following hybrid solutions for a proposed spherical Cinemascope Super 8 system with the following definitions and disclaimers, i.e.


1. Spherical Cinemascope Super 8mm with a 10.12 x 4.23mm frame resulting in the classic cinemascope 2.40 ratio.

2. The 4.23mm vertical height conforms to the Super 8mm SMPTE specification with the ideal potential and anticipated conformence across 'scope S8 cameras and classic 1.33 Super 8 brethren.

3. Current crystal structure of modern film stock such as S8/16mm Kodak Vision exceeds resolution of 1950's/1960's film stock.

4. This proposed format is in the spirit and relative to DIY Super 8mm and not 35mm scope setups.

5. The full range of spherical 16mm optics would be available w/o compression artifacts.


I see three major options ranging from most expensive to least relative to conversion costs, i.e.


1. A 16mm camera converted to Cinemascope Super 8mm camera utilizing 16mm wide Double Super 8 film stock (DS8), i.e.


-JK Camera conversion of 16mm Bolex REx5 - $2,000 US.

-Parts available. Tried and true conversion of many H8 to H16=DS8, S16 conversions and

some H16 to standard DS8.

-Bolex cameras were originally designed to be converted from 16mm to 8mm and vice


-JK Camera conversion of Krasnogorsk-3 (K-3) - $5,000 US

- ...an attempt to bring the cheap Soviet camera of the people to the masses. A big Nyet!


-readily available 100ft DS8 stock, i.e. Fomapan, Kahl, etc

-a DS 8 precision privately commissioned one off precision die is potentially available approx. $6,000 US. to reperf 35mm stock.


-mechanical conversion requirements:

-Super 8mm sprockets + pitch adjustment,

-machined Cinemascope gate 10.12 x 4.23mm

-viewfinder etchings/mask, etc.



-single pass w/ a typical 100ft roll of DS8 perf stock as opposed to a double pass, i.e. see No. 2 below.


-cost=$2000 minimum (camera only)

-no sprocketless 16mm telecine projectors available, i.e. estimated conversion cost of 16mm telecine projector = formidable bucks.



2. Cinemascope mask w/ 16mm camera/optics/gate utilizing 16mm film stock with off-centered gate, i.e.


-double perf 16mm film stock - 10.12 x 7.49 mm standard frame, i.e. two cinemscope 10.12 x 3.75mm frames + frameline per 16mm frame (10.26 x 7.49mm).

-necessitates off center gate with a realignment of 16mm lens amount.

-user would have to flip, rethread and expose the same 100ft roll to expose the second 10.22 x 3.75mm frame.

-user would end up with two oppositely aligned Cinemascope 10.22 x 3.75mm frames which would have to be realigned/synced in telecine or editing software.

-greater likely hood of misalignment and/or user/camera error.

-mechanical conversion requirements:

-machined Cinemascope gate 10.12 x 4.23mm

-viewfinder etchings/mask, etc.

-off-center gate

-realignment of 16mm lens amount


-100ft 16mm film results in roughly 200ft of Cinemascope Super 8mm.

-current sprocket 16mm telecine transfer bays can be utilized, i.e. Workprinter, Tobin, etc.

-plethora of single or double perf 16mm film stock available.




-double pass required. Prone to error.

-smaller vertical axis = 3.75mm results in less resolution relative to options no. 1 and 3.



3. Cinemascope mask w/ 16mm camera/optics/gate utilizing 16mm film stock with centered gate, i.e.


-double perf 16mm film = 10.12 x 4.23mm frame

-optimizing the 16mm frame real estate = 10.26 x 4.28 mm frame.

-mechanical conversion requirements

-machined Cinemascope gate 10.12 x 4.23mm

-viewfinder etchings/mask, etc.



-single pass

-cost=cheapest ($500?)

-current sprocket 16mm telecine transfer bays can be utilized, i.e. Workprinter, Tobin, etc.

-plethora of single or double perf 16mm film stock available.

-centered gate

-no realignment of 16mm lens mount necessary.



-approx. 10.12 x 3.27mm of 16mm frame real estate per 16mm frame wasted.




If I have omitted key considerations or proposed an incorrect spec please post as such to this thread. My newly acquired 16mm K3 and Bolex Rex5's are standing by awaiting baptismal Cinemascope Super 8mm conversion. :)





Nicholas Kovats

Toronto, Canada

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