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2-perf Super8 Anamorphic


Lasse Roedtnes
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With film formats shooting negative film, you are mainly paying for real estate, so if you increase the size of the Super-16 area by pulling down more perfs of film, you just end up spending a similar amount of money on stock as a 35mm format of similar negative area, but now you might have created a non-standard format that limits your ability to shop around at different post houses for the scanning, etc. Standardization helps bring down costs by creating more competition for services.

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Could you define cheap/affordable?

(Naked camera body price without lens) for a 35-2 with integrated sound

Yes, a naked body that was functional minus lenses. I realize mags may have to be extra. I put it in quotes to signify that cheap or affordable is a relative term. What would make it really affordable is the lens mount. Lots of great Nikon glass out there. Like David has pointed out, using a format that already exists is best. Like your S8 camera, a beautiful reimagining of an existing format.

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I don't know what the current stock prices are but in some online article, someone said they got a new 400' can of 16mm from Kodak for $216 and a new 1000' can of 35mm for $863, so if I use those prices...

 

Given that both a 400' mag of Super-16 and a 1000' mag of 35mm shooting 4-perf get you a similar amount of running time (about 11 minutes), you could then say that shooting in 2-perf would cut the $863 amount in half to $431 for getting the same amount of shooting time.

 

So in that sense, 2-perf 35mm is still twice as expensive, stock-wise, than Super-16. But if you created a sideways 2-perf Super-16 VistaVision format, you'd end up with the same price for stock as 2-perf 35mm. But the difference is between the aspect ratios.

 

Sideways double-S16 would give you a negative frame that was 14.84mm x 12.35mm (183.27mm) and had an aspect ratio of 1.20 : 1.

 

The 2.40 area of 2-perf 35mm is 20.96mm x 8.76mm (183.61 sq.mm).

 

So the same negative area but the double S-16 gives you half the width in terms of aspect ratio, at the same cost for stock. Of course, you could try a 1.3X Hawk anamorphic lens to get a 1.56 : 1 aspect ratio, which could be cropped to 16x9 or 1.85.

 

Yes, go to sideways 3-perf Super-16 and you'd be spending $648 to get that 11-minutes of run time. The negative would be 22.26mm x 12.35 (1.80 : 1).

 

3-perf Full Aperture is 24.89mm x 13.87mm (1.79 : 1) and would cost $647 for 11-minutes, again, almost exactly the same cost for almost exactly the same negative area and same aspect ratio.

 

So there would no savings in raw stock here, the same quality results, but you'd be shooting with a non-standard format with 3-perf Super-16 sideways and I'm sure there would be additional costs with that. So I can't see any advantage in inventing such a thing UNLESS it would result in a smaller camera (but unless you made a bigger mag, you'd have to live with only getting 1/3 the running time on a 400' mag.)

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I'd advocate a sideways S16 camera with some clever variable pulldown (pull sideways) mechanism, ie. where you can dial in any aspect you like, independant of perf pitch. The perfs would be used purely for transport where the film can be stopped anywhere - (between perfs). While stationary in the gate, during exposure, registration marks would be burnt into the film - between the frames, along with any other info one might like to burn in there.

 

For example, if targeting a 16:9 aspect the dimensions of the frame (without anamorphics) would become:

 

21.96mm x 12.35mm (271.15 sq.mm)

 

Or if targeting the same aspect as 2 perf 35mm (2.4:1), the dimensions would become:

 

29.55mm x 12.35mm (365 sq.mm)

 

A similar design for S8 would also be cool.

 

C

Edited by Carl Looper
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Scanning.

 

A scanner just needs to ensure it can do some overlap in each snapshot it takes of the film as it passes under the scanning lens. Some dedicated software can do the rest. It's basically just an image stitching job, plus some simple machine vision code to lock onto the format of the registration marks made.

 

With a dialed in 2.4 aspect the exposed film might look like this.

 

 

post-48441-0-35900800-1448048366_thumb.png

 

 

The film just runs through a scanner like it normally would, but software takes the raw scan frames and reassembles the film to whatever downstream format is required.

 

C

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A single exposure would look something like this:

 

post-48441-0-77231300-1448049994_thumb.png

 

 

The image width is unrelated to perf pitch. The frame just happens to be wherever the dialed in aspect and corresponding pull sideways pitch places the frame on the film. It becomes the role of the registration marks (the cross hairs) to facilitate registration in the digital domain. The random pattern I've put in there just represents some meta data that might be usefully encoded at the time of exposure. Aspect, lens used, exposure, date time, frame number, etc. And would be usefully programmable!

 

C

 

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In an economical version, implemented in a Super8 (Max 8, SuperDuper8) version, the dimensions of a 2.4 aspect (without anamorphics) would be:

 

15.264 mm x 6.36mm (97 sq.mm)

 

Interestingly this is not a quarter of the area used by 2 perf 35mm. It's only half the area.

 

But also interesting is that in the context of these possible 2.4 alternatives the 2 perf 35mm then becomes the happy "goldilocks" format. Twice the area of sideways S8 (ie. better quality) and half the area of sideways S16 (ie. better cost).

 

But the ability to shoot to any aspect one likes (without sacrificing any real estate), with or without anamorphics (and the ability to use different anamorphics by adjusting the aspect accordingly), and with digital savvy registration, does make a variable aspect sideways camera quite attractive.

 

C

 

 

Edited by Carl Looper
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I like your idea Carl, it's cool stuff.

 

Film stock retail pricing is:

.56/ft 35mm

.36/ft 16mm

 

400 ft of 35 is $224 @ 2 perf almost 9 min

400 ft of 16 is $144 runs 11 min

 

Processing is the same .21/ft

Telecine is the same

The only difference is scanning per foot cost, which is slightly higher then 16mm.

 

When you shoot 4 perf 16mm horizontal you're using 4x the amount of stock, but are creating almost the same image size as 2 perf 35mm. So if you do the math, a 400ft roll of 16mm at 4 perf, would run 3 minutes instead of 11. To get the same time as a 400ft of 2 perf 35mm, you'd have to shoot close to 4 rolls of film, equivalent to 1600ft.

 

In my eyes 4 perf 16 is a lot more money then 2 perf 35. It's actually closer to 3 perf 35 cost. Which is why it doesn't make any sense. Plus, dealing with the single registration system is substandard to 35s double system. No matter what you do, 35 will be better.

 

In my eyes, the cost to develop such camera and the limited amount of use, doesn't make sense. On the flip side, a new light weight 35mm camera that accepts canon and Nikon glass and shoots 3 perf and 2 perf, that would be killer. It would be hard to make due to flange distance issues, but I think it's doable. But honestly, that's what the professionals need right now. If that kind of camera were available, I think there would be sales. Arri has pretty much stopped supporting film cameras. So used newer arri cameras are going to be worthless not to far from now when the electronics fail and you can't make them work. This is why a newer camera would be nice to have. At the same time, I'd develop a 2 perf projection system with digital registration system using Carl's design. Don't quite know how it would work, but it's totally doable. Small light weight 35mm projectors that can be easily installed using powerful LED lamps as a light source with manual kelvin control.

 

Because an entire movie can be held on around 4000ft of film in 2 perf, no need for platters. You can ship a reel already built for way less cost and film stock costs would be substantially less.

 

This is what will save film... Not some toys that artists play with for fun. We need professional solutions that will keep film in the theaters alive.

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That's true, but it makes A LOT of noise, so there goes any audio recording.

No, not a lot of noise. A CRAP LOAD OF NOISE. It will turn every head within a 1/4 mile. I guess it didn't matter in the middle of the Iwo Jima battlefield with bombs going off everywhere.

 

If you're thinking about home movies, the Bolex EBM with super 16 mod is absolutely the best.

I'd have to go with the Scoopic MS for home movies. Not Super 16 but easily modified for Ultra. Fastest loading 16mm camera ever invented (besides some of those old magazine types) auto threading like the old B&H projectors from school. Great lens, fairly quiet, built-in metering system with auto iris but not super quick like Super 8 so it's more usable...one built-in battery lasts for more than 6 loads...I've never worn out a fully charged battery in one shoot. I have one with crystal sync.

 

For any paying production, I love my SR2 & SR3 but I've never worked with an Aaton or Eclair. I'm sure they have some advantages but I like that I can get parts and techs all over the U.S. still for them.

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What method are you purposing to record the metadata at the time of exposure? Lasse appears to be wary of lasers. Albeit both Aaton and Arriflex utilized lasers to record LTC timecode metadata. Aaton at the gate. Arri in their modified magazine.

 

I suspect the Aaton system was inherently more stable relative to recording data at the actual gate during exposure whereas the Arri system would require some kind of programmed offset. What I mean is the Aaton system would brilliantly use the non-moving held frame at the gate whilst the Arri lasers would have to expose metadata onto a moving "target" as the film flew by continuously.

 

A single exposure would look something like this:

 

attachicon.gifSidewaysS16_2_4_SingleFrame.png

 

 

The image width is unrelated to perf pitch. The frame just happens to be wherever the dialed in aspect and corresponding pull sideways pitch places the frame on the film. It becomes the role of the registration marks (the cross hairs) to facilitate registration in the digital domain. The random pattern I've put in there just represents some meta data that might be usefully encoded at the time of exposure. Aspect, lens used, exposure, date time, frame number, etc. And would be usefully programmable!

 

C

 

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In my eyes, the cost to develop such camera and the limited amount of use, doesn't make sense. On the flip side, a new light weight 35mm camera that accepts canon and Nikon glass and shoots 3 perf and 2 perf, that would be killer. It would be hard to make due to flange distance issues, but I think it's doable. But honestly, that's what the professionals need right now. If that kind of camera were available, I think there would be sales. Arri has pretty much stopped supporting film cameras. So used newer arri cameras are going to be worthless not to far from now when the electronics fail and you can't make them work. This is why a newer camera would be nice to have. At the same time, I'd develop a 2 perf projection system with digital registration system using Carl's design. Don't quite know how it would work, but it's totally doable. Small light weight 35mm projectors that can be easily installed using powerful LED lamps as a light source with manual kelvin control.

 

Yes, all things considered a 2 perf 35mm is looking like the winner. And a corresponding projector with super bright LEDs. I've been looking into RGB LED light sources myself of late - for retrofitting our 16mm projectors. They are so much cheaper than xenons or halogens - and can be programmed to whatever colour you want. And a lot less heat to manage.

 

C

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What method are you purposing to record the metadata at the time of exposure? Lasse appears to be wary of lasers. Albeit both Aaton and Arriflex utilized lasers to record LTC timecode metadata. Aaton at the gate. Arri in their modified magazine.

 

I suspect the Aaton system was inherently more stable relative to recording data at the actual gate during exposure whereas the Arri system would require some kind of programmed offset. What I mean is the Aaton system would brilliantly use the non-moving held frame at the gate whilst the Arri lasers would have to expose metadata onto a moving "target" as the film flew by continuously.

 

 

I haven't fuly thought this through. Not sure what Lasse has in mind. LEDs would be fine. Some LEDs are in fact lasers but unless one is going to be recording a hologram on the film (which one might do as there are some benefits to that) conventional LEDs would be just fine. Either way you don't want the light from such hitting curious eyeballs as Lasse mentioned. I'd advocate projecting the data onto the film using a mirror on the shutter (same concept as using a beamsplitter prism but avoids issues with dirty prisms and light loss).

 

So I'm imagining an LED with diffuser, a small LCD panel in front of it, and a small lens in front of that, for bringing the LCD panel into focus at the film plane. Would need two of them to write the registration marks either side of the frame. The metadata doesn't have to be encoded at the gate but the registration marks need to be done at the same time and place as the image exposure. Or an alternative, with a pin registered camera, would be post-encode the film with registration marks. For example you rewind the film in camera and do a second pass, with some lens mount attachment, that writes the registration marks to the film! Or pre-encode the marks for that matter.

 

But more convenient and perhaps more foolproof to have it done at the same time as exposure.

 

C

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Yes, all things considered a 2 perf 35mm is looking like the winner. And a corresponding projector with super bright LEDs. I've been looking into RGB LED light sources myself of late - for retrofitting our 16mm projectors. They are so much cheaper than xenons or halogens - and can be programmed to whatever colour you want. And a lot less heat to manage.

C

Heat is the biggest issue. If you really think about it a 35mm projector isn't that big until you add that lamp housing. So developing a 2 perf projector system that uses all of your awesome technology concepts would be perfect in my eyes. I envision 3 boxes, one for your supply and take up system. One for the desktop projector and one for the reels. It would be totally stand alone just like today's digital cinema projectors. In fact, I'd put it on a table just like what they do. Have a fly-in lcd display that comes in during previews and once the film starts, it mechancially flies away and the film starts... Or it stays there just deactivated. All of this stuff is simple and if you us electronics to make it work vs gears and single motor design, you can build something that not only works better then current projectors but is simpler to manufacture and smaller.

 

I need to write some of this down! Lol :)

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Heat is the biggest issue. If you really think about it a 35mm projector isn't that big until you add that lamp housing. So developing a 2 perf projector system that uses all of your awesome technology concepts would be perfect in my eyes. I envision 3 boxes, one for your supply and take up system. One for the desktop projector and one for the reels. It would be totally stand alone just like today's digital cinema projectors. In fact, I'd put it on a table just like what they do. Have a fly-in lcd display that comes in during previews and once the film starts, it mechancially flies away and the film starts... Or it stays there just deactivated. All of this stuff is simple and if you us electronics to make it work vs gears and single motor design, you can build something that not only works better then current projectors but is simpler to manufacture and smaller.

 

I need to write some of this down! Lol :)

 

Yep. A portable 2 perf 35 mm projector. Sounds good to me. I'd build that first :) Indeed I'd make it in such a way that you can take the legs off the projector, and pull out the LED light source module, and one has a 2 perf 35mm camera ready for the next days shoot. And the following night one puts the legs back on, the LED module back in, and attach a digital camera to the lens mount and run a scan.

 

C

Edited by Carl Looper
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Indeed the projector/camera/scanner (proscam?) could be such that the film can run through it either horizontally or vertically (or to entertain some economically challenged concepts it could run diagonally as well).

 

With the pulldown (pull sideways/ pull diagonally) pitch completely decoupled from the frame pitch one could choose any aspect one likes and any real estate burn one likes. And project it at that same selection

 

Indeed the extra step would be to design it in such a way that it can take either 35mm or 16mm, (using interchangeable gates etc).

 

From the same planet the Transformers came.

 

C

Edited by Carl Looper
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how about this... Lcd shutter?

When you turn the gate, it automatically figures out what format your using. Then all you do is punch in the perf format and it protects it.

 

Idk about it being a scanner. But digital and film projector built into one unit... That's not a bad idea. Most theaters could care less about it being a scanner.

 

I'd aim for 35 only because that's the best projection format due to its size and quality to cost ratio. Just module the living heck out of it so owners could build the machine they need.

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I've looked at LCD shutters in the past. A problem is that when the liquid crystal is turned on (blocking light) they're not entirely opaque. A small fraction of light still gets through - which you don't (of course) want. And I imagine in their reverse state they absorb a bit of light as well. I haven't looked at it more recently - perhaps more recent LCD technology has improved the situation.

 

An alternative to the traditional mirror shutter is using the same mirrors they use in DLP projectors. That way you can use some of the mirror pixels to write data to the film plane, and the remainder to direct the lens image to the film plane. During film pulldown, the mirrors redirect the lens image to the viewfinder.

 

C

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Oh that's interesting. However the moment you add a DLP chip, your dealing with digital pixels again. Even when the imager is all the way black, the edges of each pixel can be seen. I've done lots of testing with DLP and found even without signal, it still letting light through. Plus and this is the killer, you can't shoot light through a DLP chip.

 

Now, you could make a small mirror shutter. That's possible for sure. The DLP chip can reflect on the mirrored shutter onto the screen. That's totally doable, it would just put the shutter in front of the film plane. Not the end of the world.

 

I actually would like this design to be very simple. More like a rolling loop projector. Use a stepper motor with large steps to bring the film into position using a combo pull down claw and registration pin on a drum that rotates and pulls the film through. The stepper would be controlled by computer as well and use mechanical alignment and electronic alignment. When the film has stopped and has been centered properly, the shutter will open.

 

Brain is working on this one. :)

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Yes, I wasn't meaning to suggest shooting through the DLP mirror - but rather using it as a reflector, ie. to reflect the lens image onto the film plane - and otherwise reflect it (during pulldown) to the viewfinder - but it would of course reverse the image on the film (unless one had another mirror in there of course). The micro gaps in the DLP mirrors wouldn't actually matter, interestingly enough, because the image isn't focused on the mirror surface but beyond it. To put it another way the micro-gaps in the mirror surface are out of focus at the film plane.

 

However I don't know how planar a DLP mirror surface is. Could very well be bumpy even if slightly so it would mess with the image defintion. For DLP projection any such bumpiness doesn't matter.

 

So perhaps it's better just to stick to a traditional shutter design - simpler and cheaper. And after all, it works just fine. If it ain't broke why fix it?

 

C

Edited by Carl Looper
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Straying off a bit but as we are currently discussing 2-perf 35mm, I wonder if Nicholas or Carl or anybody ever heard more from Steve Buckingham in Australia ? Remember, he talked of his late father Laurie developing a 2-perf camera and he claimed his family still had the prototype. I've seem to have lost all the correspondence we had ;) but there's just a small paragraph here near end of this article:

http://www.filmisfine.com/?p=36&v=79cba1185463

It would be interesting indeed to actually see this camera, if it does exist. There's no mention though of a 2-perf projector.

I agree... both camera and projector would be a great idea if someone could manufacture them, taking advantage of all the recent technology.

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I haven't heard this story but perhaps Nicholas might have come across it in his research. Great story. Would love to chase it down and see if there's some artifacts around.

 

C

 

Doug and Carl,
I have not followed up with Steve Buckingham regarding his father Laurie's incredible 16mm/35mm camera engineering in over a year and half.
I did end up purchasing the 1964 issue of American Cinematographer detailing Laurie's superlative pin registered and vacuum based Bolex modified transport system. That is not a typo. He implemented a completely self contained vacuum system that pulled the film flat against the gate during exposure. Laurie called it the the Varispect 16mm system. "Vari" as in variable aspect ratio. He was able to film an 16mm image edge to edge. I have uploaded Steve Buckingham's original scan of one of his Father's Varispect films. It is a historic artifact and needs to be recognized as such. The image is of Laurie and his four children in the late fifties, i.e.
Laurie also developed a very compact 2 perf Techniscope 35mm camera that was discussed in detail with an industry leader at the time. But is was not meant to be. This is all prior to the development of the "tiny" Super 16mm format in the late sixties. I cannot recall his Techniscope 35mm timeline. I wonder if there is a connection to the eventual introduction of "official" Techniscope in 1960 by Technicolor Italia?
A brilliant engineering "renegade" waaaaay ahead of his time. Almost lost to the annals of history. Last I heard there was an internal family dispute regarding Laurie's cameras upon his passing in Dec. 2014 at 92. You can read more in Doug's excellent blog article, i.e. http://www.filmisfine.com/?p=36&v=3e8d115eb4b3.
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Yes, I wasn't meaning to suggest shooting through the DLP mirror - but rather using it as a reflector, ie. to reflect the lens image onto the film plane - and otherwise reflect it (during pulldown) to the viewfinder

Ohh got ya. I think you're right. If the mirrors are full on they would be fine.

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