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DIY - Reloadable Super-8 cartridges


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I recently started to develop my own phootage at home, both out of curiosity and of me being sort of a miser :) After this I started looking for other fun ways of cutting cost with filming super-8, and one of them was to buy raw super-8 film on large rolls from e.g. Witter and load cartridges with it. Since reloadable cartridges cost (maybe not that much though) I started testing cutting up old used cartridges and re-use them.

 

On my homepage you can see how I did this.

http://holymanta.com/super8.html

 

Cheers!

/Thomas

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Exactly, I wouldn't recommend that anyone should store their cartridges in the open, just as I wouldn't recommend anyone to store their regular Kodak/Fuji/Kahl stock out of their protective bag in the open either. My plans are to load the cartridges, shot within a few days and develop them at home as quick as possible. That should eliminate tape coming loose with time causing light leak. Plus put two bits of tape parallell to eachother, other than the pictures were I just split a bit of tape in half.

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hello tom,

well done. I have done this too, but with cartridges that weren't as glued tight as Kodak ones seem to be. I also purchased a carton of empty cartridges from Kodak for loading ds8 into. I gave up on that as too time consuming for commercial purposes. I still have empty cartridges. Want to buy some? Aus$3.50 each. Much easier to re-use than glued cartridges.

email me at richard@nanolab.com.au if you are interested.

cheers,

richard

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Guest Craig Madokoro

Thanks for the offer Richard, I'll thnk about it but I'm also starting to enjoy this little endeavour. I printed my own labels today to put on my cartridges. Again, you can check this out on my website.

 

Hi Thomas,

 

Have you ever reloaded a Super 8 Sound cartridge? I have some Kodachrome Super 8 Sound film in 200' cartridges, but there are very few cameras that can take that size cartridge. I wonder if they were loaded into 50' cartridges more people could use them?

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Hi Thomas,

 

Have you ever reloaded a Super 8 Sound cartridge? I have some Kodachrome Super 8 Sound film in 200' cartridges, but there are very few cameras that can take that size cartridge. I wonder if they were loaded into 50' cartridges more people could use them?

 

Hi Craig.

 

Unfortunately I have no experience Whatsoever with sound cartridges or sound film. Isn't sound film a bit wider to fit in a sound strip? In that case I doubt you can fit it to a non sound system without having to slit of the sound strip.

 

/Thomas

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Unloading 200ft is a bit tricky. It is not as straightforward as it may seem.

 

If you load the film in 50ft Kaccema or any thing else you can of course expose them. Dwayne's can process the film from the core so that you don't have to send in the cartridges. After return you can record sound on the striping.

 

If you would load the film into sound S8 cartridges you can use the striping for recording.

 

Considering that there are considerable offerings of S8 sound cartridges you may be better off selling the 200ft as such. Or get yourself a 200ft enabled camera and shoot the film yourself. There are some 15 models of 200ft cameras.

 

Better hurry as the processing is only available until end of 2010! :)

Edited by Andries Molenaar
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Hi Craig.

 

Unfortunately I have no experience Whatsoever with sound cartridges or sound film. Isn't sound film a bit wider to fit in a sound strip? In that case I doubt you can fit it to a non sound system without having to slit of the sound strip.

 

/Thomas

All 8mm. film is 8mm. wide. The main stripe goes opposite the sprocket, outside the frame. A narrower balance stripe goes outside the sprocket, for even winding. Some projectors can record on it but the sound quality is pretty awful. Use of it was the only way that Super-8 could offer stereophonic sound.

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Hi Craig.

 

Unfortunately I have no experience Whatsoever with sound cartridges or sound film. Isn't sound film a bit wider to fit in a sound strip? In that case I doubt you can fit it to a non sound system without having to slit of the sound strip.

 

/Thomas

 

 

The striping is on the margins of the same film of 8mm.

A 'wide'strip on the outside at the perf side and 'small' width on the unused margin on the unperfed side.

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Hi, I found your posting quite interesting. I have been reloading Super 8 cartridges since 1981, both silent and sound. And yes, those darn 200 footers can be downloaded into 50ft segments and loaded into either sound or silent cartridges; as I have done this many many times over the years. In fact, I still have the very first 2 silent cartridges I have ever reloaded, and have used them about a dozen times each, and it shows that these cartridges are tougher than what many give them credit for. Actually, the 50ft sound cartridges come apart much easier and with less residual damage; one reason for my having saved hundreds of them for an eventual creation of sound-stripe film one day. I have experimented with this project but put it on a backburner for the time being. It would only be single-stripe (main track) when I get back to it again. Some customers wanted the FujiChrome Single 8 films in Super 8 and vice versa, especially the sound films, since FUJI ceased making their sound film about a couple years after KODAK. Another advantage of reloading the cartridges is that it's very possible to reload already exposed Super 8 film so that it can be exposed again; such as for making split-screen effects, or burn-in titles into background shots, and for other specialty purposes. I've done this for some of those film competition participants, whereby the original film has to have everything shot on it (such as the Straight-8 one in England). These days, so many working with Super 8 end up doing all their editing digitally so with their final project ending up on video anyhow, all their effects and title work is done in the computer. That's a far cry from how terrific a projected film appears! Especially in CinemaScope, and with dual-track or stereophonic sound. A filmmaker I knew some years back also shot his films with quadraphonic sound...true surround sound, and in Widescreen. I've worked with those Russian cartridges also, and while novel, have found it just easier and more practical for me to reuse the KODAK ones. I can salvage better than 50% of the silent ones, and 90% of the sound ones. I've sealed them up with high grade electrical tape, the type that doesn't leave any sticky residue behind; sealing the seams on both sides, and then a piece of tape around the complete side of the cart to secure that, and then a piece of clear good packing tape around the rear end of the cartridge to allow it to slide in and out of side loading cameras easily without any risk to the integrity. I have also sealed them with model cement and super glue....model cement works best and is slow since they have to be clamped to get a really secure seal. Also have designed custom cartridge labels for the various odd film types I've custom loaded. ----- Anyhow, just thought I'd input my 2 cents here, since this is something I do often enough here. ---- On a side note: any KODACHROME sound films that don't get used before the lab shuts down the K-14 process, can still be processed as B&W...either as reversal or negative. While this can be done for silent films also, it allows some extended longevity to any unused KMA sound films. Kind regards to all posters here, Martin Baumgarten

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---- On a side note: any KODACHROME sound films that don't get used before the lab shuts down the K-14 process, can still be processed as B&W...either as reversal or negative. While this can be done for silent films also, it allows some extended longevity to any unused KMA sound films. Kind regards to all posters here, Martin Baumgarten

 

 

Thanks for your comment. Glad to have you posting here :)

 

Do you have a recommendation on the procedure and chemistry with times for processing the K40 into BW.

It would be nice to do something useful with films which don't make it before dec 2010

 

And what with really old K40 which would process into faint pink images with K-14.

Can these be used with some reduced exposure?

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Thanks for your comment. Glad to have you posting here :)

 

Do you have a recommendation on the procedure and chemistry with times for processing the K40 into BW.

It would be nice to do something useful with films which don't make it before dec 2010

 

And what with really old K40 which would process into faint pink images with K-14.

Can these be used with some reduced exposure?

Dear Mr. Martin Baumgarten do you or any body knows how to replace or dose it matter a recording indecator lamp? It it the Exciter lamp fuse?

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Just because I posted this somewhere else a minute ago and fits here, this is a quick DIY guide for altering cartridge notches easily to make the camera recognize the actual film stock used.

 

The (cellphone-)photos show making an adapter to close the Tungsten notch, altering the ASA notch width works the same way though. All you need is some oil/vaseline and some solid ribbon epoxy

 

1: Lubricate the cartridge where the ribbon epoxy will go. Below I used too much oil, use a Q-Tip or so to remove it. Vaseline should work too.

IMG_0096-20100826-134130.jpg

 

2: Knead the ribbon epoxy well and fill it in the gap. Make sure there are no overlaps thus the cartridge does not get bigger than it was before. Stick a paperclip (or that Q-Tip) in the glue to make removing the part later on easier.

IMG_0097-20100826-134212.jpg

 

3: The finished Notch-Closer, ready after few minutes. Fits perfectly. Before full hardening, you can model the result with an x-acto-knife or so quite well to make it fit even better.

IMG_0099-20100826-134459.jpg

 

To alter the ASA notch width, do the same but shorten the resulting piece per Notch Ruler.

 

This works great in cameras that do not allow manual exposure override.

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[1]. {a}. For B&W Reversal processing of KODACHROME 40A (K-14) films that have been cold stored and thus should be as normal, they can be normally processed in the older B&W Reversal Formulas (prior to the current D-94a & Permaganate Bleach) as a starting point. You might have to increase First Developer time anywhere from 1-2 minutes to get your density correct. The matter isn't the processing, but the darn Remjet Anti-halation backing removal. This is best done after processing is complete. Make a mix of 2-4 Tablespoons household BORAX per Liter of Water at 70 F to 80 F. The film should be soaked in this solution for at least 5 to 10 minutes, and then slowly wiped off a foot at a time, using a solution soaked Photo-grade Sponge or Soft Cotton Flannel Cloth. Make sure you frequently rinse out the sponge or cloth with fresh water since it will rapidly accumulate the remjet coating. I recommend setting up a Film Rewinder on a board and clamp that to a table or lab sink to allow film takeup. Once the film has been all wiped off, you may want to go over it one more time running it between a set of film rewinds mounted on a board, with a tray of solution and wiping sponge/cloth, to get any remaining traces of the remjet coating. --- Then, reload the film onto the processing reel (which you first cleaned off using an old soft bristle toothbrush and solution) for proper rewashing/Washing and then your Final Rinse (KODAK Photo Flo or similar) prior to hanging it up to dry. For spot free drying, you can wipe the film off using a Photo Chamois slowly as you wind the film onto your Film Drying Rack, or loop it onto a vinyl clothsline emulsion side facing upward.

 

{b}. For those old films, you will have to experiment, but generally very old KODACHROME films should be Negative processed, and best done using a higher contrast technical Developer such as D-19. Otherwise the negative won't have any tone separation at all and would just be a flat muddy mess to try and work with. Reversal processing such old films has the same problem as B&W Reversal films......totally flat, no contrast, and/or all washed out images regardless of adjustment time cutting in the First Developer. Such old films, along with old KODACHROME-II (K-12) films done in D-19 as a B&W Negative, with the First Developer time cut to 2 to 3 minutes and the Temperature at the minimum of 66 F for the entire process, will yield fair to dense negative images, but with sufficient contrast to transfer a pretty good image to video. This is ONLY recommended for such old films that were filmed on years ago. If you attempt to film on such old film, the extreme age fog in it will prevent you from any acceptable image capture.

 

[2]. Regarding the ELMO SC-18 projector recording indicator lamp, there isn't any exciter lamp fuse or any exciter lamp at all UNLESS you have the rare Magnetic/Optical version. Most of these projectors are magnetic recording/playback only. Check the fuses in the machine, should be 3 of them, with the machine unplugged of course....also check the continuity of the lamp itself to make sure it hasn't blown out. If the lamp is fine and fuses are fine, the problem is somewhere in the power supply to the lamp. You or someone adept at electrical work, can easily rewire the lamp to a power supply line coming off the main transformer so that it will come on when the projector is plugged into the mains, as it normally would.

 

[3]. The cartridge notch epoxy method is very ingenius! I so often just use bits of old cartridges and Super Glue them in after cutting them to fit, with a small plastic piece behind it acting as a brace from it to the back wall. I've had to reset the Metering Notch also on ones where I had custom slit down DS8 KODACHROME 25 Daylight or reloaded FUJI Single-8 R25 film into Super 8 cartridges. For those films being used in a manually ISO set camera such as the BEAULIEUs, the metering notch is not a problem. I also cut out a filter notch on all those cartridges that don't have one, so I can make use of the internal filter if I choose to. For example: KODAK used to have the filter notch on PLUS-X 7276 films and then did away with it on the 7265 version. It's nice to have the Filter Notch on both Plus-X and Tri-X films, since it saves having to add a medium yellow or orange filter to the camera lens. Black & White films are best shot in Daylight with such filters to render the tones correct and absorb excessive blue which helps darken skies and make the clouds stand out, and avoid complete white to the sky...giving it some shades of gray relative to exposure and how the sky actually appears. Anyhow, it also saves darkening the viewfinder by using the internal filter for that purpose. I often use an ND6 Filter on the camera lens when shooting with TRI-X 7266 in Daylight, so in combination with the builtin 85 Filter, the effective filmspeed is now down to a managable ISO 25 or thereabouts allowing better depth-of-field and exposure control. Or use other filters for exposure and contrast control. --- While I'm on this side topic here.....Plus-X 7265 processed normally in the older reversal formula is still ISO 50, not ISO 100. So it can still be rated at ISO 50 for those processing the film themselves. The filmspeed gain has a lot to do with the process now, as it was all a compromise so that labs would stop using heavy metal Bleach in lieu of the safer Permaganate Bleach. This is all topic unto itself.

 

Hope this clears some things up.

Best regards,

Martin Baumgarten

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  • 10 years later...

Just found this post - very interesting but it seems like the OP's website is dead now.

Were there commercially sold "reloadable" Super-8mm cartridges? I would very much like to find a way to double-expose Super-8mm film and maybe transferring film into a cartridge that is easy to open and close might help... If anyone has a link, I'd appreciate - thanks!

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Those reloadable cartridge prices are outrageous!  Just get some old cartridges and practice with the ones you are able to open successfully.  Use a single edged razor blade, carefully, and score all around the seams of the cartridge, paying special attention to the small plastic weld spots that they are cut/broken through [on the label side is important since that is the film supply side].   You will have to be quite firm with the razor blade or X-acto knife, or box cutter blade, when scoring the core film takeup side of the cartridge.  It is best to go over these areas and score it fully to know that it will come apart. 

Then using a couple of small knives and/or flathead screwdrivers, work one under the top label side of the cartridge....then insert another next to it and while keeping one in place, begin to slide the other one all along the seam of the cartridge and it will break the seal.  Once you have broken the seal along both the supply top side of the cartridge and the bottom core takeup side of the cartridge......you can begin to work on separating the outer shell from the inner chassis.  Once apart, pay attention to where the film pressure plate and spring are located (they easily slide out of their slot), as well as the film supply side plastic slip sheet, and the film supply slip ring (some don't use the slip ring in later cartridges).  

Examine critically all along the seam lines for burrs and roughness.  Cut off any burrs with a razor blade/X-acto knive etc, and use some fine sandpaper to smooth other areas if necessary.  Prior to reloading you will want to double check that the cartridge is clean.

To reload a film into the cartridge, you will need to make a film loading jig.....use a 50ft projection reel, Super 8mm or Regular 8mm.  You will need to remove one side of the reel, leaving only the core and the other side wall.  Wrap some cut to fit vinyl electrical tape around the center reel core so the core is a bit larger in diameter from the stationary film supply hub in the cartridge.  Practice with scrap film, ideally, the scrap film that was in the cartridge.  It is important to keep the film perforations in the correct position.  I use a tiny piece of tape to secure the film to the prepared 50ft film reel. [NOTE:  If reloading a film that has already been exposed for double exposure purposes etc, you will need to first rewind the film onto a normal 50ft reel (in the dark of course!).   Then tape the end of it to your prepared 50ft reel, and rewind the film onto it.....using a finger to maintain film tension against the single wall side so the film winds up evenly.  

Once completed, you will remove this tightly wound film from the film reel and remove the small piece of tape in the empty center area.  Then place the wound film onto the stationary hub in the cartridge, so that it unwinds from the front portion of the cartridge to make the turn and thus have the emulsion in the outward position as it travels over the pressure plate.  [Note the film is always wound emulsion side in when on the supply side].  Carefully holding the cartridge [use small pieces of thin cardboard or plastic and rubberbands or tape if needed to keep the film from getting away from you on the open chassis], load the film so there's a few inches of slack to the take up core side.  To attach it to the takeup core, you can use some film tape or good vinyl electrical tape [you will need to wipe the core surface with some isopropyl alcohol{91% or higher} to clean it of film lubricant, so that the tape will stick].  Wind the film onto the core at least two revolutions.  Prior to all this, make sure the film ratchet is okay...if it's bend a little you can easily straighten and adjust it using good tweezers or needle-nose pliers.  When ready to assemble the cartridge, you will need to remove the rubber-bands or tape from your thin cardboard pieces (if you used them to hold the film on the chassis), otherwise, carefully keep the film in place, and supply side facing upward, as you slide the outer shell over the chassis, working around carefully to make sure it's tightly together.   When done, wrap some rubberbands around it to keep it tightly together. 

Using dim light, or a night vision camera or googles ideally.....use some black electrical tape of high quality, and tape all the seams snuggly making sure the tape is tight against the outer shell.  This will seal the cartridge, so it can be opened and reused over and over many times.   If you reloaded an original Super 8mm film, the film has already been factory lubricated, however if working from bulk film, it should be wiped with a film lubricant, or cloth with plastic safe Silicone, in the dark or course.....so that the film is lubed for smooth transport through the cartridge.  Some people don't bother to lube the film, but if not, make sure to wipe the stationary surfaces in the chassis areas with a cloth moistened with plastic safe Silicone, as well as the pressure plate.

This all may appear to be very difficult, but once you have practiced this in the light with scrap film, it will become easier each time.  The hardest part is opening a cartridge that you wish to rewind the film with, and do it so to be able to reuse it.   This doesn't always happen, even with the best of care, since sometimes the outer shell will crack in a bad spot or part of a chassis wall will break from force.   About half of the cartridges to maybe 75% will survive for successful reloading, sometimes even more.  It's tricky.  I keep plenty of good used cartridges on hand for reloading, should the original one not survive.   Other things to pay attention to are the notch codes for similar film (or cut your own  if using slower speed shells in which you will be loading a higher film speed into, or you may have to glue in a piece of plastic to shorten the notch etc).

Lastly, be VERY careful with Single Edge Razor blades or other such cutting tools!  I wear leather gloves when doing this to protect my hands if I should slip.  When I need to open a cartridge to rewind the film, I will score the cartridge in the room light, and then crack it open carefully in the darkroom working around the seams.  So, don't buy those expensive empty cartridges unless you feel wealthy!  I can buy good working cameras off eBay for those prices!  

I hope this helps you.

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Dear Martin, here is an excellent tutorial by Friedemann Wachsmuth! The Adox cartridges are simple to open, as there is no glue, and once the delivering  core  is mounted and the film threaded to the pressure plate, the cartridge is light safe and  the film can be fixed to the uptaking reel  outside the darkroom.

 

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Yes, thank you. I should've mentioned the ADOX cartridges, but haven't seen one in my hand yet.   Since Fabrice is in France, he might have easier access to obtaining one of these. 

Sie sind doch 100% korrekt Herr Doktor, Friedemann Wachsmuth hat sich einen ausgezeichnet  Video hergestellt.  Sein Deutsch ist ein bischen schnell gesprochen, aber Ich kann es folgen.  Der Video ist aber trotzdem benutzbar auch wenn mann nicht Deutsch verstehen kann.

[The video is quite useful even for non german speakers, since it displays all necessary to reload those ADOX cartridges.   And some of his methodology is similar to what is required to reload the used KODAK cartridges].

Edited by Martin Baumgarten
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7 hours ago, Martin Baumgarten said:

Sein Deutsch ist ein bischen schnell gesprochen

They always say that, even when I speak to other Germans 🙂

Guess I should make an English version of that video, too. Too bad that currently no new Adox cartridges are being made, the tools are all still there though. 

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