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Variable speed vs non-variable speed?


Jaime Barbosa
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Ok, I'm new to super 8, but I'm learning something new everyday. You guys have been a tremendous help. I do not own a projector, but I'm in the process of getting one. I currently own 2 cameras. I own the Nizo 561 Macro and a Kodak Brownie model 2. Both are in near mint condition. I have yet to use either camera. I foresee using the Nizo much more than the Kodak, though. Still, I've been looking into getting a projector that will play both super 8 and standard 8mm film. I want something small and inexpensive, but still good quality. A part of me, however, wants to get a projector that only plays super 8 film. I'be read that such projectors are much more reliable than the duo type. Well, I narrowed it down to 2 projectors, the Elmo FP-A and the Bolex 18-5L. Both are rather inexpensive and seem well-built. I like the built quality of the Bolex much more than that of the Elmo, though. The downside of it is that it only plays super 8 film and it does not have variable speed control. The Elmo, on the other hand, plays both types of films and has variable speed control. Assuming having the ability to play both types of films is not a big deal to me, my only issue with the Bolex will be the lack of variable speed. Everyone says I need a projector with variable speed if I plan to capture the image with a digital camera. My question is, do I really need to have a projector with variable speed? If I have the projector playing at 18 fps and I get the flicker problem when I try to capture the image with my digital camera, shouldn't I be able to correct the problem simply by adjusting the shutter speed of my digital camera? Your opinions will be of great help to me. Thanks.

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Bear in mind that projecting at 18 fps will involve a 3 bladed shutter in the projector in order to avoid flicker when viewing it. Your video camera is shooting at 29.97 fps, recording from a projector, which isn't running at at a locked precise speed, so flicker is unavoidable. The best way is to have your film telecined or scanned in a transfer to video, so that there isn't any shutters or or other variables involved.

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Bear in mind that projecting at 18 fps will involve a 3 bladed shutter in the projector in order to avoid flicker when viewing it. Your video camera is shooting at 29.97 fps, recording from a projector, which isn't running at at a locked precise speed, so flicker is unavoidable. The best way is to have your film telecined or scanned in a transfer to video, so that there isn't any shutters or or other variables involved.

Thanks, Brian. Good points.

I am a DIY type of guy. I enjoy experimenting with things rather than paying someone to do them for me. It's sorta like a hobby in some ways. I own a digital camera which I am able to not only change shutter speeds, but also the fps. I'm thinking that should eliminate some of the flicker. I don't expect professional results, but I would like to see what happens. I like to gather as much information as possible from people before I venture into uncharted waters. Uncharted waters, at least for me. :)

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As Brian said, elimination of flicker in the DIY set-up you are describing is difficult, total synchronisation almost impossible to attain if you don't quartz'em up.

 

If you don't want to pursue a modern production chain and thus do a digital telecine or scan of your material (negative or reversal), and if you want to artistically experiment with Normal 8 and Super 8 through projection (possibly projecting negative film stock as is and not merely reversal film, or devise other visual/performative arts processes with virage or scratching or whatever) then I suggest you go with the Elmo.

 

– It has dual format so you can project Normal 8 and Super 8 – otherwise, the Kodak Brownie you bought is useless to you.

 

– It has variable speed, which will give you another artistic register to use in general, and some leverage for your attempt to do DIY filming off a screen.

 

– Elmo is actually in general mechanically sturdier built than Bolex, which should reduce your angst stemming from owning a dual format projector. In fact, I think that angst is overhyped. I own a dual format projector since 1984, it was used the most of all my projectors, and it's the only one of those 6 projectors from top-level manufacturers (Braun, Bauer, Eumig) in current ownership that never needed any maintenance.

 

Good luck.

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