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Moises Perez

New Super 8 film camera!

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I don't think there would be any market for a new super8mm "pro" camera. It would cost a lot more than most used ultra/super16mm packages and the processing wouldn't be cheaper either. BUT, don't let that stop you from pursuing this if that is your dream. It would be cool as hell to see a hardcore "pro" super8mm camera on the market, I wouldn't be able to afford it and probably nobody would buy it, but it would be SWEET nevertheless.

 

I'm sorry, but this will not fly, unless you are prepared to pay more for one of these cameras than the price of a new car.

 

 

There just isn't enough demand to make them in bulk, economically.

 

 

 

Even 16mm cameras are starting to get axed. 35mm models probably won't be available new for much longer either.

 

Hate to be a buzz-kill, but I have to tell it like it is. The film market is a continually-shrinking one.

 

LOL! Do you really think 35mm film cameras "won't be available new for much longer"? Keep dreaming guy.

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Hey Karl,

My message was meant to stick up for the spirit of what Moises was trying to do and not meant to come accross as "hostile" towards you. But speaking of hostile your posts do seem unnecessarily grumpy you and use a lot of CAPS when you write. It came accross to me as a bit heavy-handed towards Moises admitedly lofty proposition.

 

I love film and have been both productive and fruitful with it. I touch celluloid everyday either by shooting it on the production side or scanning it on the post side. I love innovation and think it's important to support both the little guy and the big guy. Today is a perfect example. I'm going to work the first half of the morning modifying our Spirit gate to be able to transfer Ultra 16mm (an admittedly cottage format that we poineered the post workflow for on our URSA diamond). Then in the afternoon I'm putting together a bid for a 35mm 3-perf 2K DI for a Paramount feature from dailies through film-out.

 

 

 

 

I don't think you need to be blunt or jaded to get films made or make a living in film. Savvy optimism works well too.

 

 

 

While many super 8mm shooters don't have a ton of money... Some do and they really care about quality and are willing to pay for it. That and my passion the format caused me to invested in a Super 8mm gate for our Spirit at the price of a well equiped european sports car (money I made shooting Super 8mm film btw). We have many Super 8mm clients that are spending 5-figures per year transferring their Super 8mm film with Cinelicious.

 

 

 

 

You are right Karl... I gotta get back to it.

 

Paul, then in that case you are higher up than I am. But I AM on the lab end and I am passionate and positive about it during the day, but like to vent on here during the eveing (or day if I get out at 2AM like I did last night/this morning)

 

 

I don't 'like to pop balloons or squash dreams, but dreams do need to be based in reality or they shall remain just that. . . dreams.

 

 

 

 

Thank you for doing your part to keep this industry alive, like I do. It needs people that sacrifice their personal lives and other ambitions at this point. Good for you for making the sacrifice too. We need to meet up for a beer somewhere somehow. . . I was born in Cally, but haven't been back there since ;-)

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LOL! Do you really think 35mm film cameras "won't be available new for much longer"? Keep dreaming guy.

 

 

Yeah Dave, I'm f*&^ing laughing out loud too, but that doesn't make the "joke" any less funny. Kodak used to put only feature TV shows and movies in their On Film propaganda. Ever wonder why they are writing articles on 30-second commercials these days?

 

 

I came out of still photography. Let me tell you, that is funny too, but digital MORE than decimated (reduced to 10% is what decimate means) the still film photo industry. So get ready for the same thing or worse to happen to MoPic very very very soon.

 

 

 

Doesn't help that there's an ink jockey running Enertainment Imaging at Kodak at the moment. Karen DuMont and John Pytlak wouldn't be happy with that decision.

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I think you are getting away from the subject. All I'm asking is whether anybody is interested in a new camera. I don’t mean the Super 8 film gauge is better than 16mm, 35mm, or 70mm.

I'm just trying to figure out what you mean by "Yes... size does matter !" and "enhansed (sic) for HD" - I imagine Arri, Aaton and the rest will want similar clarification

 

 

What I’m looking for when I shoot Super 8 is its special characteristics. I love the grain and its organic look. It is just different.

Consider how far you're going to get with Arri/Aaton without understanding the technical reasons for this 'it's just different' 'organic' look.

 

 

Here is a picture I got from one of my Super 8mm projects, it looks grainy but I love it.

Great ! so, um, er, why not just use the camera you shot it with ? At least ask yourself why the next guy wont just shoot with that camera off ebay.

 

 

All of these film formats are special and they should be used according to your needs. For instance, I don’t think one can replace a bigger film format for a smaller one and hope to get the quality of the superior film format. In my opinion, one of the most important reasons one uses Super 8 film is because we like its unique look.

The grain ? then crop 16mm - and you have post pan and scan shift/swing to boot and a smoother ride in terms of processing and the rest - sure you wont have your wide angle lenses, but you wont with a PL mount anyway

The 'look' ? which is a heap to do with the lack of pin registration and those dinky integral zooms or primes with no focus as the DOF is so deep anyway ? (again, what is the PL mount for ?)

 

 

LOL! Do you really think 35mm film cameras "won't be available new for much longer"? Keep dreaming guy.

I'm with Karl on this one (but we do need to come to an agreement on exactly on the duration of 'much longer') - there are already so many cameras out there already, and with dwindling stock (the trend over time is less and less) sooner or later the amount of cheap 2C's destroyed as crash cams will be less than the surplus of new cameras required for all productions at any given time...

 

There will always be people keeping any given scene alive (modern day wet plate collodion for instance) but we're talking industry scale economics here.

 

 

Don't get me wrong, just saying - please build a camera, that'd be damn cool ! - but Arri/Aaton ?! :mellow:

Edited by Chris Millar

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35mm MoPic cameras will be available "as-new" for at least another 40 years. Whether film remains available for that duration is another matter. . .

 

 

But the actual manufacture of new cameras is ramping down as we speak. I think they're down to custom made-to-order already and ramping up for other cameras like the Arri Alexa already.

 

 

 

That was all I was saying.

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35mm MoPic cameras will be available "as-new" for at least another 40 years. Whether film remains available for that duration is another matter. . .

 

 

But the actual manufacture of new cameras is ramping down as we speak. I think they're down to custom made-to-order already and ramping up for other cameras like the Arri Alexa already.

 

 

 

That was all I was saying.

 

As far as I understand it Bolex have kept up the illusion they were producing cameras long long after production ended - a new camera from Switzerland has been sitting around potentially as a unbuilt collection of spares for maybe decades...

 

Slowly the available models and accessories are being removed from the website - Bolex nerds will note the absence of the 26mm preset (the nicest and most versatile lens ever made for the Bolex), but the 10mm and 75 are still available... I don't think the 12.5-100 zoom can be properly (bolex) modified for super16 any more due an essential element part running out - etc...

 

The real Bolex seems to be jumping aboard this new fangled 8mm 'HD' thing - perhaps they would be a better company to approach ? :lol:

 

Another scenario is factories being shipped overseas - Lambretta sold the rights and machinery to SIL an Indian outfit which produced 70's design scooters well into the late nineties

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I can offer some perspective from the hobbiest.

Keep it real simple. Follow up on the Kodak M2-M4 designs. For someone like me you can't beat auto-focus. 18 and 24fps is great but not a big deal.

The only way to get people hooked on film to begin with is to give them the experience of shooting and projecting the film. This is where institutions failed. In film school we sat around talking film and romanticizing it. I figured to hell with this. I dropped out and bought my own stuff.

 

I don't see how you can address problems with available cameras without addressing the whole process. Shoot the film, have it developed and project it. From there most people will want to telecine it and that might be the bigger problem as far as cost and complexity.

 

For the pros. What is it you want to get out of Super 8?

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"One of the main reason that film is dying off is that for the amateur/semi-professional

the cost is almost way too much...and the steps needed are too crazy/back alley/dealing with snobs.."

 

That about sizes it up.

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35mm MoPic cameras will be available "as-new" for at least another 40 years. Whether film remains available for that duration is another matter. . .

 

 

But the actual manufacture of new cameras is ramping down as we speak. I think they're down to custom made-to-order already and ramping up for other cameras like the Arri Alexa already.

 

 

 

That was all I was saying.

 

40 years! I would agree with that statement. I originally thought you meant that 35mm cameras will cease production within 5 years or sooner...and that is what I was lol'in at. I own an Eclair NPR that is good as new...and it was probably built 40+ years ago...so I think we'll be seeing the used market for 35mm film cameras going strong for the next century or longer. When digital acquisition can exactly mimic film grain, everyone will jump aboard and leave film in the dust.

 

And, am I the only one who thinks motion picture film is a totally different beast than still photography film...I mean, it's next to impossible to demarcate good digital from 35mm film when observing a STILL frame...but, at least for me, I can tell right away if a picture is digitally acquired once I see MOVING clips. When things move on screen, digital gives you that..well, video look. I hate the way digital looks in a feature film, cause it just screams cheap and plastic. Besides all the usual arguments, film is expensive and that's a good thing because it's a giant barrier to the market for feature filmmakers. A barrier that the studio's can afford to maintain.

 

Well, whatever, none of us have a crystal ball, so your guess is as good as mine. Cheers!

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Anytime a topic like this comes up most of you guys go off into techno-babble or economics. And you wonder why film is dying out?

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Anytime a topic like this comes up most of you guys go off into techno-babble or economics. And you wonder why film is dying out?

 

Well, no we don't 'wonder' - we speak techno-babble and economics and make predictions based on those discussions :rolleyes:

 

But reality is that answer was only half assed - I'm part with the film isn't dead crew myself ! - I'm building a bellows for a 11x14" ULF camera at the moment :lol:

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Well, no we don't 'wonder' - we speak techno-babble and economics and make predictions based on those discussions :rolleyes:

 

But reality is that answer was only half assed - I'm part with the film isn't dead crew myself ! - I'm building a bellows for a 11x14" ULF camera at the moment :lol:

 

I'm definitely in the "film isn't dead" group too. Moises may not get very far with this idea, but I support anyone who wants to expand the horizons for film production of any kind. I wish there were more open-minded film enthusiasts like Moises.

Edited by David S Carroll

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Thank you for doing your part to keep this industry alive, like I do. It needs people that sacrifice their personal lives and other ambitions at this point. Good for you for making the sacrifice too. We need to meet up for a beer somewhere somehow. . . I was born in Cally, but haven't been back there since ;-)

 

Sounds good Karl. I'm in NYC quite frequently. What lab do you work at? Maybe I'll swing by.

 

-Paul

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Well, no we don't 'wonder' - we speak techno-babble and economics and make predictions based on those discussions :rolleyes:

 

But reality is that answer was only half assed - I'm part with the film isn't dead crew myself ! - I'm building a bellows for a 11x14" ULF camera at the moment :lol:

The original poster was asking all Super 8 users what they thought of a new Super 8 camera. I was suggesting that for amateurs the problem is in the cost of telecine. We'll use any camera that works. I like the Kodak M4's.

As usual we're left out of the discussion even though Super 8 is a consumer format.

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Ikonoscop kicked around the idea of a new DS8 camera a few years ago. They needed a few dozen people or so to commit to a $5000 model. Never happened. A high end camera for S8 is too much to ask... I would rather see a remake of a nice Nizo or Canon model. Those cameras still shoot awsome looking footage when running properly... it would be nice to have some more affordable reliability to keep the format going just how it is. Art, music, personal, photography, commercial and feature cut ins are all great uses for S8. But they don't need a $5000 camera. And you can't compete with HD and 16mm for low budget full length work these days-

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Hello,

 

Thank you Anthony, this is the kind of answers I’m looking for. As I stated before, I consider Super 8 to be unique. I don’t think we should compare it with any other format being film or digital. All I’m saying is Would you like to see a brand new camera? I’ve working with Super 8 and transferring my footage to a High Definition (HD) wide format and I like the results. There are several ways to achieve a wide screen in Super 8. One is the to widen the film gate.

 

Here is a picture of what I mean:

 

 

super816x9.jpg

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Best case for a new camera would be something in the prosumer range, $500-$900... just like a consumer HD. You would think a motor and a lens would be a hell of a lot cheaper to produce than the high tech stuff out now. Something like the Nizo 481, but with a wider gate and maybe 80fps vs 54fps slomo would be a dream. The objective would be to maintain what we have but with more reliable, fresh gear. If the price is kept under 1k for something like a popular old model, I could see enough selling... between production companies and a whole bunch of enthusiests.

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I’ve working with Super 8 and transferring my footage to a High Definition (HD) wide format and I like the results. There are several ways to achieve a wide screen in Super 8. One is the to widen the film gate.

 

Here is a picture of what I mean:

super816x9.jpg

 

Hi Moises,

That picture is a good idea... however it would be difficult to cut that close to the R side of frame in telecine. We recently modified our Super 8mm gate on the Spirit to be able to transfer Max8 and went a bit wider than even that so it may be possible. When are you going to come in and check out the new Spirit - Super 8mm scans?

 

-Paul

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Thank you Anthony, this is the kind of answers I’m looking for.

 

If you cant reply to a couple of questions from some strangers on the net you asked for opinions from then I well, I don't know what to say - I was interested in your idea, but now... good luck to ya ! (?)

 

damn, can't help myself :D ... isn't that area you propose to extend the image out onto used to support the film against the gate - in which case it's likely to be scratched ?

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Hi Paul,

 

Thanks for the invitation. I really want to see what your Spirit is capable of doing. I’m especially interested in seeing a 2K transfer, perhaps a DPX file. I’m working on another crazy project and I would like to experiment beyond the 10 bit uncompressed 1080p. We’ll talk about it.

 

Moy

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I admit that the idea of a brand new 'pro' super 8 camera would be a very cool thing. It would certainly make me drool over such a product. However, as others have said....realistically, it would just be too expensive to produce and the retail price would put off too many people from buying it. Though you never know, some rental houses might pluck up the guts to buy one or two - that way clients can rent one out rather than spend a fortune buying one, and would of course help out the rental house gradually recoup their costs (provided there is enough demand of course.) There are many super 8 cameras around these days that are still in good running order but the question is...how much longer will they remain that way? Another decade or two? Refurbished cameras (such as those offered by Pro8mm) sound like a viable option to extend the life of the format. Though some say that we still need a brand new super 8 camera to garauntee longevity and reliability with regards to equipment (as long super 8 film continues to be manufactured.) I think the only practical and semi-affordable way to allow a company to produce a new super 8 camera is to design a bare bones, stripped down version as Richard suggested. However, even though it would add to the cost, I still would like to see a reflex viewfinder, single frame and multiple running speeds - you have to have at least some attractive features and versatility to grab the interest of a prospective buyer. Hmmm...someone on this thread regarded super 8 as a low resolution format. I wouldn't say that was right. If you load slow speed film stocks, you can obtain quite impressive image quality. And I, as well as others I know, have seen comparisons of projected images from super 8 projectors than some models of video projectors and found that the super 8 definitely looked better. However, I certainly wouldn't call super 8 'HD quality.' .

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like I wrote to the person who started this thread, there is a camera that would be quite cheap to make since it was made with almost entirely off the shelf parts. a friend of mine is exploring the posability of doing it as we speak. it might just be a couple of thousand dollars for such a camera and with a fair amount of features found on a 16mm camera of the 1980s. who knows it might come to fruition.

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Film maintains an advantage over digital in the area of exposure latitude - film captures a greater tonal range. With respect to resolution Super 8 is, of course, the lowest resolution of the available film formats - but in the digital age that is not necessarily a problem.

 

There is a digital processing technique called "super-resolution" which is still in it's infancy, but very promising. With moving picture signals a high resolution signal can be reconstructed from what was otherwise considered a low resolution signal. The most intutive approach involves integrating a signal in the temporal rather than the spatial domain using optical flow computation. But there are other more radical techniques such as "image hallucination" in which the algorithms infer what the hi-res signal should look like from statistical analysis of a large databases of existing images. Some of the experimental results in this area are quite astonishing.

 

This example of "image hallucination" is extremly insane:

 

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dedeoglu/cvpr04/videos/input_output_animated.gif

 

Another way of framing this is to say that motion picture film has a large ammount of so called "redundant" information. It is this very fact what makes digital video compression possible. Digital video compression removes this "redundant" information (and restores it during decompression). But this "extra" information is not entirely redundant. For why would it need to be restored if it was rendundant?

 

Now if you don't compress Super 8 (to digital video) during a scan you can use this so-called "redundant" information to reconstruct a high definition signal.

 

The technique works much better with film than it does video due to the random structure of the particles/dye clouds that make up a film image.

 

But back on topic - a new pro super 8 camera is a great idea. I'd buy it. I recently had a choice between purchasing an 18 MP Canon EOS with 1920 x 1080 HD video and a Super 8 camera of the same price.

 

I purchased the Super 8 camera.

 

Carl

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More than a high-end pro camera, you would need to create an inexpensive new camera that could be sold at Urban Outfitters and Target. Then market it as "retro cool" by getting the Today Show, Late Nite and other programs to do specials on the comeback of Super 8. Get the volume up for those cameras AND Kodak's film sales.

 

There also needs to be a simple package similar to what Spectra and Pro8mm do but done with the latest slick web design and technology that makes it super clear and easy. Where you order film, it comes do you, then drop in prepaid mailers back to the same company that processes and transfers in HD and posts back to the site for download. All for $25 a reel. So therefore it would never be done.

 

Maybe if you took some Y-Fronts modified for the pseudo-HD and had a bunch of interns running it day & night you could come close but the margins would be tiny.

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This is a fascinating topic and one that has cropped up in the Super 8 film arena many times in recent years. Realistically, the probabililty is slim, but not impossible. The last "new" Super 8mm camera was the BEAULIEU 9008 and was selling in the price range of $7,900 USA depending on how outfitted and where you ordered it from. This was several years ago. So the price range suggested is understandable, although from the lowcost attraction of the gauge, high to many users. While determining what features it should have, IF a major manufacturer were to get into the game, it might be best to feature an interchangeable mount to allow a variety of lenses to be used, whether it be C-mount, PL, etc. That should be very doable. Of course, the camera design suggested is fully blown professional and there would have to be sufficient filmstock support, to support it.

 

On the other hand, the lower cost end of things, the spring wound clockwork camera made by LOMO under their QUARZ name is pretty good, and it might be quite possible to get them to consider reworking the design and updating it a bit.....or as mentioned maybe having it made in China.

 

While so many dream of having a new camera, let me remind you of another film gauge, with perhaps the smallest grouping of devoted followers....that some years back did get their wish to have new camera. This is the 9.5mm format, which still thrives with a user group of perhaps less than 500 worldwide. They had two cameras made, both were in France, with one being a 9.5mm version of the BEAULIEU R-16 Electronique. I own the earlier spring wound version. Anyhow, this small group still persists in getting "new" projectors and editors and splicers, even though these are remanufactured 16mm units to suit 9.5mm. I know this is a bit off target here, but I mention this to those that say it isn't possible at all, as they were able to get something new, and while not cheap at all, it was all done in very limited numbers.

 

Back to our own reality here.....I agree with one posting that a low end workable camera could be made affordably. One of my favorite low end cameras is one made in Hong Kong by the Haking Company and sold under the Halina and GAF and other brand names. A very simple fixed lens, manual aperture unit that produces remarkably steady and sharp images. I can see how an updated version of such a camera could have a better viewfinder and also allow some type of lens interchangeablity. Although, it is possible to add an add-on wide angle or telephoto to those simple cameras.

 

Really though, there is such a massive glut of Super 8mm cameras out there, and many can be repaired and kept going for many many years. The more complex later electronic CMOS IC types might be more limited as repairing those when the computer chips fail is impossible without parts. But the electric-mechanical cameras can be kept running a long time. That's one of the reasons I have a soft spot for many of the Chinon made GAF ST series cameras that while they have some drawbacks, the basic design is pretty robust and can be kept running with maintenance. Some cameras made were and are a nightmare to even try to repair, and others are worth it; compared to the cost of having something new made today. Regardless of opinions, pro or con, Super 8 does have it's place in the realm of filmmaking formats (and so does Regular 8mm for that matter which is not dead either). Either way things go, it's nice to see such dedicated interest in keeping this unique and viable format of filmmaking expression alive and well into the forseeable future. I'll keep using it, along with my still film cameras, until the day they pry them from my dead cold fingers.

Best regards to all here,

Martin Baumgarten

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