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Investing In Super 8 Camera??

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Hi!

 

I am a student filmmaker looking to shoot some experimental films with a super 8. I've been eyeing a couple of Canon 814 xl-s and zooms. Because these cameras are so old, are there a lot of chances for mold in the lens? Also, are there any other good affordable super 8 cameras for a film student? Keep in mind I'm a freshman in college so anything more than $120 would considerably put a dent in my wallet.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this!

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Nah, just get one and shoot.

 

The 814 is a fine camera.

So are the Nizo's, and Nikons, Beaulieus, Kodaks, and all those other brands are ok too.

 

If you want to spend the money, you'll likely get a decent one.

If you want to not spend money, then buy them for cheap ($10) and see if they work, if not... toss and get another cheap one.

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Follow up question, I notice that in many eBay postings the automatic zoom or exposure systems do not work. But most of these cameras have manual zoom and exposure systems correct? So the automatic components shouldn't be a big deal right?

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Nah, just get one and shoot.

 

The 814 is a fine camera.

So are the Nizo's, and Nikons, Beaulieus, Kodaks, and all those other brands are ok too.

 

 

Yes, I understand that. But I understand that many of the super 8 cameras have different fixed lenses in which I cannot replace. So shouldn't I mind the camera with a better lens or does it not matter as much in super 8 than digital

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The Beaulieu has a more traditional lens mount so you can use manual glass. However, the format itself, the inherent nature of the plastic backplate (in the cartridge) and perforations that aren't exactly made properly... means the format in of itself doesn't necessitate high quality glass. So it really doesn't matter what camera you buy because the glass doesn't play the biggest role, the format itself does. Cameras like the Logmar, solve most of these problems and the images that come out of that camera look more like 16 then super 8.

 

You can check for fungus in the glass and if it's clean, just roll with it!

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Logmar... An Aaton XTR package from Visual Products is 4500. I think it is ridiculous to spend anything more than a grand on a home video quality s8 or any 8 camera... For 5k, you can get a decent 35mm Arri package that you can do sync sound with.

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Well... yea. People try to spend all this time and money making a consumer format look good. No matter what, it's a consumer format... Reminds me a lot of hi-8 and svhs. Consumer formats that had "professional" equipment made, but the results were still far lower then betacam.

 

I posted on one of the other kodak super 8 threads that super 16mm is still far better quality and similar cost to a logmar super 8 camera and using super 8 as a format.

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Yes! Keep the cost low while working with Super 8.

I find it's better to just buy cheaper cameras for $10-20 and find ones that work okay or can be made to work.

You can even find canon cameras or other good makes for these kind of prices.

 

Work out what features you need. Don't worry about the lens as much, as an interesting lens will probably just add more character!

 

Freya

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Or just get a Bolex or an Eclair camera, and shoot 16. I f you shoot r16, you can even print it and watch it on a projector. You can get a decent 16mm projector for 2-300 dollars.

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Hi!

 

I am a student filmmaker looking to shoot some experimental films with a super 8. I've been eyeing a couple of Canon 814 xl-s and zooms. Because these cameras are so old, are there a lot of chances for mold in the lens? Also, are there any other good affordable super 8 cameras for a film student? Keep in mind I'm a freshman in college so anything more than $120 would considerably put a dent in my wallet.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this!

 

Keep in mind that a roll of film+processing+telecine will set you back about $60. With lab minimums, it doesn't make sense to do telecine until you have 8 rolls of film or so. It's not a cheap way to do experimental film while you're in college.

 

Super 8 has a lot of awesome things going for it. Cost ain't one.

 

If you want my advice: skip film until you graduate. Get something you can shoot with on the cheap: so you can shoot with it a lot. If you want something that's different... look for old video cameras. Heck, there was a huge interest in the PXL-2000 for a while in the 90s because it looked "different". All the Panasonic DVX-100Bs that were so in demand just a few short years ago are practically being dumped for pennies on the dollar.

 

If you prowl ebay for a while, and are patient, you occasionally get a bargain. I got an Canon 814 AutoZoom Electronic for $23 once (still use it). But the actual costs of shooting are harder to keep down on a budget. Oh, and the AZE doesn't have a problem with the auto aperture. It's the manual aperture that tends to go (it's made of rubber and the cameras are all pushing 40 years old now).

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i' was born in "91 so I don't have any emotional attachment to film.. But from my experience working with colorists..Kodak film has the most professional and best image on the planet It gives the director and d.p. more control of their vision It's cheaper than working with digital which needs costly coloring and equipment rental. It gives the d.p. and or director a life instead of spending their time with the endless digital updates on cameras..and software..saving them from the digital black hole. On the set and in preparing your project there is more thought involved with using film. The world's best directors and d.p.s enthusiastically use film. Film sees things the way the human eye sees. When you buy a roll of film you are also buying the archival material for your film as well as having a perfect look right out of the can.. The best cameras in the world are film cameras. The best way to have a unique beautiful look if your starting out of is with film.

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Keep in mind that a roll of film+processing+telecine will set you back about $60. With lab minimums, it doesn't make sense to do telecine until you have 8 rolls of film or so. It's not a cheap way to do experimental film while you're in college.

 

Super 8 has a lot of awesome things going for it. Cost ain't one.

 

If you want my advice: skip film until you graduate. Get something you can shoot with on the cheap: so you can shoot with it a lot. If you want something that's different... look for old video cameras. Heck, there was a huge interest in the PXL-2000 for a while in the 90s because it looked "different". All the Panasonic DVX-100Bs that were so in demand just a few short years ago are practically being dumped for pennies on the dollar.

 

If you prowl ebay for a while, and are patient, you occasionally get a bargain. I got an Canon 814 AutoZoom Electronic for $23 once (still use it). But the actual costs of shooting are harder to keep down on a budget. Oh, and the AZE doesn't have a problem with the auto aperture. It's the manual aperture that tends to go (it's made of rubber and the cameras are all pushing 40 years old now).

 

 

You can shoot tri-x reversal and project with a cheap e-bay projector and skip the whole teleccine thing for the time being.

Same with viewer/editor for editing. Makes things a lot cheaper.

 

agreed about PXL2000 and DVX100, both great cameras for doing different stuff with in this age of dull but quite nice video.

 

Freya

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Wait PXL2000 arguably the worst camera ever made, is a "great camera" for doing different stuff?

 

If you aren't shooting film... if your whole world is digital... you can make digital look like ANYTHING in post. No reason to waste time, money and energy on making old video cameras work, when you can buy a decent camera for not much more money.

 

I know I sound like a broken record and everyone is probably tired of hearing this, but the blackmagic pocket cameras are going for $600 on ebay. You can buy a piece of junk M43 lens for $150 bux and be done with.

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Can you make the black magic footage look like the pxl? If so post some footage. I've had so many people say stuff like this over the years but never seen anyone manage anything close.

 

You hear the same about film too in fact there are people saying right now that you can get the super8,look by just dropping resolution of video in post.

 

If you can achieve the pxl 2000 look in post then I really want to know how and I would like to see an example.

 

Would actually be quite useful to know if it was really possible but in my experience people just say this stuff. They cant. Really do it.

 

Freya

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Wait PXL2000 arguably the worst camera ever made, is a "great camera" for doing different stuff?

 

 

 

Yes... it's great... for giving to children... I don't know but I think I may have bought the Daughter this or something like this in the era...

 

Most recently the Daughter and the Mother got into a fight over wedding pictures. The Daughter wanted the Mother to bring the Hasselblad out of mothballs to shoot a 'few B&W rolls' of Film film... the Mother is not budging... no more film... In the olden days she would process and print all her B&W... these days we would have to send the film out for processing and scanning, then e-send the PS files to a print service... why bother... just take the images digitally in the first place... we never did have enough for the 'digital' Hasselblad back or now camera...

 

Re: doing things with film...

 

There are things one can do with processing film that are difficult to achieve with digital... like taking a roll of negative film... developing it in a crappy bucket, resulting in large sections of badly developed areas, or fixer stains... step on it to 'squeegee' the excess water, resulting in random scratch patterns, place it on a drying rack to pick up all manner of floating debris, dust, a few gnats or flies, etc.

 

Then there's running it through a crappy projector...

 

All that takes powerful computers to simulate...

Edited by John E Clark

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Can you make the black magic footage look like the pxl? If so post some footage. I've had so many people say stuff like this over the years but never seen anyone manage anything close.

All I need is a sample of full white, full black and of course example of what it looks like in motion. It wouldn't look identical, but very close.

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Keep in mind that a roll of film+processing+telecine will set you back about $60. With lab minimums, it doesn't make sense to do telecine until you have 8 rolls of film or so. It's not a cheap way to do experimental film while you're in college.

 

Super 8 has a lot of awesome things going for it. Cost ain't one.

 

If you want my advice: skip film until you graduate. Get something you can shoot with on the cheap: so you can shoot with it a lot. If you want something that's different... look for old video cameras. Heck, there was a huge interest in the PXL-2000 for a while in the 90s because it looked "different". All the Panasonic DVX-100Bs that were so in demand just a few short years ago are practically being dumped for pennies on the dollar.

 

If you prowl ebay for a while, and are patient, you occasionally get a bargain. I got an Canon 814 AutoZoom Electronic for $23 once (still use it). But the actual costs of shooting are harder to keep down on a budget. Oh, and the AZE doesn't have a problem with the auto aperture. It's the manual aperture that tends to go (it's made of rubber and the cameras are all pushing 40 years old now).

 

Thanks for all this replies!!

 

I understand that it is pretty expensive to shoot with super 8. But regarding the telecine, I don't think I will need that. Right? From what I've researched, I would just need to pay for my film stocks to be developed and digitized. After digitization, I can just edit all of my footage on final cut right?

 

Regarding the suggestion for the black magic camera, I am saving up for that as well... But I am really interested in learning about the ole' fashion film. Since I was born in '97, I have never had any experiences with film and think it will be a good learning experience.

 

One more question to everyone. It seems cheaper for me to purchase cameras such as the 514xl, or cameras that can only shoot in 18 fps. If I shoot something in 18 fps, would I have to have it scanned in 24 fps? Even if I plan filming the entirety of the film in 18 fps? I'm not looking to have my super 8 films shown through film projectors, just as a regular video file.

Thanks again to everyone that responded!

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If you want my advice: skip film until you graduate.

 

He's a film student now. So now is time for him to experiment...not when he graduates.

 

Yes, film can run into money quickly, but unless you're planning on self-financing a short film for thousands of dollars while you're in college, I don't see how shooting the occasional roll of Super8 will break the bank. I shot Super8 & 16mm in college and I was able to afford it. You should learn on film first, then digital. This way you'll have the fundamentals down. The overall concepts are the same, but film is much more of a discipline, in my opinion. If your school offers a 16mm course, take it. The majority of 16mm cameras are far less automated than the Super8 cameras.

 

And yes, you should be able to find something in your price range on ebay. Like Jay said...just find something and start shooting.

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Thanks for all this replies!!

 

I understand that it is pretty expensive to shoot with super 8. But regarding the telecine, I don't think I will need that. Right? From what I've researched, I would just need to pay for my film stocks to be developed and digitized. After digitization, I can just edit all of my footage on final cut right?

 

Regarding the suggestion for the black magic camera, I am saving up for that as well... But I am really interested in learning about the ole' fashion film. Since I was born in '97, I have never had any experiences with film and think it will be a good learning experience.

 

One more question to everyone. It seems cheaper for me to purchase cameras such as the 514xl, or cameras that can only shoot in 18 fps. If I shoot something in 18 fps, would I have to have it scanned in 24 fps? Even if I plan filming the entirety of the film in 18 fps? I'm not looking to have my super 8 films shown through film projectors, just as a regular video file.

Thanks again to everyone that responded!

 

Telecine is your digitization. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecine) A telecine is the process of capturing the film to either tape or digital. These days, it usually means sending in a portable USB hard drive and having the lab transfer to that. Once you telecine the film, you can edit on Final Cut. You don't need it if you plan on editing reversal the old fashioned way (with tape and splices). You will need it if you shoot negative (I don't think the labs can make a color workprint in super 8 anymore, but I never really cared enough to look into it).

 

About frame rates, you'd have to talk to the lab. My guess is you can scan to 18 FPS directly (I know I've done it in the past, but the last time I tried was to miniDV). Film will last longer at 18fps. Even if it's set to 24 FPS, you can always just adjust the timing in Final Cut. That said, I've always preferred the look of stuff shot at 24 FPS. I've never really seen a cost savings in buying a camera than can only do 18 FPS. There is a savings in the film cost (about 25%), but it was never worth the trade-off to me.

 

Typically, the S8 shorts I've worked on tend to have about a 3:1 shooting ratio. So say an 8 minute short will need 24 Minutes of raw stock or 9 carts. Let's for arguments sake say you decide to shoot Tri-X (black and white reversal). That's $20.42/cart stock cost from Kodak or $21.95 from B&H [if you want color, that's gonna push it to $25.96-Kodak/$34.95-B&H for Vision3 200T]. $16.00/cart processing student rates from Cinelab. You'll need to get it telecine'd to edit it in a NLE (such as Final Cut). That's $0.27/foot student rate, best light ($100 minimum charge).

 

So your cost breakdown is as follows:

9X $20.42 = $183.78 - Stock cost

9X $16.00 = $144.00 - Developing

9X50X $0.27 = $121.50 [Meets the minimum charge requirement] - Telecine

 

For a grand total of $449.28. That's a realistic cost for an 8 minute B&W finished film, not including shipping costs ($499.14 for color). It IS affordable, but it isn't chump change, even for a working professional. That said, it isn't necessarily all up front costs. You can buy film as you go and pay the development as you shoot. The only part you'll have to pay all at once is the telecine, because of the minimum charges.

 

I don't want to be discouraging, but this is what you'll run into as soon as you start shooting. When I was in school, that was the cost of 2 books. But it was more than I spent on food in a semester. For some people, it's nothing (its about the cost of a new video game console). For others, it's the difference between going to school and not going to school. When I was in college, I bought a super 8 camera, and was able to shoot 1 roll of film before I crunched the numbers and decided it wasn't practical to do it (it's gotten more expensive since then, Kodak jacked the rates WAY up). I've shot a bunch after I graduated. But you'll have to go over the numbers yourself and decide if it's something you can do.

 

http://motion.kodak.com/motion/products/index.htm

http://cinelab.com/

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Format_Super+8&ci=341&N=4093113313+4294955497

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One more question to everyone. It seems cheaper for me to purchase cameras such as the 514xl, or cameras that can only shoot in 18 fps. If I shoot something in 18 fps, would I have to have it scanned in 24 fps? Even if I plan filming the entirety of the film in 18 fps? I'm not looking to have my super 8 films shown through film projectors, just as a regular video file.

Thanks again to everyone that responded!

Well, 18fps is really a projection-only format. Your 18fps footage will be telecine'd at 24fps and then a pulldown applied to 24fps. So you will get blurred, duplicate frames in the playback. The crispness of a real 24 frame per second shoot and edit, won't exist. So I highly suggest shooting and editing @ 24fps. The cost difference up front is minimal compared to the quality loss in the back end.

 

I don't want to be discouraging, but this is what you'll run into as soon as you start shooting. When I was in school, that was the cost of 2 books. But it was more than I spent on food in a semester. For some people, it's nothing (its about the cost of a new video game console). For others, it's the difference between going to school and not going to school. When I was in college, I bought a super 8 camera, and was able to shoot 1 roll of film before I crunched the numbers and decided it wasn't practical to do it (it's gotten more expensive since then, Kodak jacked the rates WAY up). I've shot a bunch after I graduated. But you'll have to go over the numbers yourself and decide if it's something you can do.

Yep and there in lies the biggest problem really. The expense to shoot an 8 minute short film in B&W is pretty high. Once you add gate wobble/weave and pressure plate focus issues of most camera/cartridge combo's, the end product looks very unprofessional. So you aren't using it on your demo reel and years from now when you look back, you may think twice about the decision to shoot super 8 IF you wish to be a filmmaker.

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If you really want the experience of film, you're probably better off renting a 16/s16 camera for a week than buying a s8 camera. Since a lot of them are sitting on the shelves at rental houses, you can probably use one for near free, if you're nice and you make a good first impression.

 

Once you look at the cost of a year of super 8 shooting, you'll see the "dent" in your wallet is a lot bigger than just jumping into a GH2 or other similarly-priced camera.

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I've just taken a hard look at the cost of Super8. Super8 stock is kind of pricey for what it is. 50ft of super8 Negative is $26 and 100FT of 16mm Negative stock is $46. the 100ft roll of 16mm if sliced down the middle has enough film to produce 4 carts of super8, yet it doesn't even cost twice as much. It would cost $104 to purchase 200ft in Super8. So in terms of how much Film "real estate" your buying Super8 stock cost is more than double the price of 16mm. Processing 200ft of Super8 also cost 3x as much as a 100ft roll of 16mm and Scanning rates per minute are about the same or a little more for Super8. You will get a longer run-time obviously but at the sake of image quality. There are other factors that make Super8 appealing, like portability and ease of use but 16mm is a better deal cost wise and Super16 far better still.

 

I produced a 8min Ultra16mm B&W negative film in 2013, After 500ft of Fresh B&W negative stock, processing and HD telecine it cost a little less than $500 total. It would cost about $300 to do the same in B&W Reversal Super8 today or $325 in color.

 

I like being able to project super8. Its great for home movies but I'm running low on Kodak 100D :(

 

400ft in 16mm raw stock is $176 and 35mm $316 a little less than double.

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I should mention that Kodak gives a nice 33% discount of motion picture film to students. Also some labs do as well. So now while your a student is the best time to experiment with film. Overall it has never been less expensive to shoot film. Quality cameras a very inexpensive now and scanning prices are far less than what they used to be.

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I've just taken a hard look at the cost of Super8. Super8 stock is kind of pricey for what it is. 50ft of super8 Negative is $26 and 100FT of 16mm Negative stock is $46. the 100ft roll of 16mm if sliced down the middle has enough film to produce 4 carts of super8, yet it doesn't even cost twice as much. It would cost $104 to purchase 200ft in Super8. So in terms of how much Film "real estate" your buying Super8 stock cost is more than double the price of 16mm. Processing 200ft of Super8 also cost 3x as much as a 100ft roll of 16mm and Scanning rates per minute are about the same or a little more for Super8. You will get a longer run-time obviously but at the sake of image quality. There are other factors that make Super8 appealing, like portability and ease of use but 16mm is a better deal cost wise and Super16 far better still.

 

 

That's a really odd way of looking at things. Yes if you look at the surface area of the film then you are getting a lot more for your money with Super 16 or even 16mm but then you don't have the look of Super 8 anymore which is a different thing. What you write sort of makes sense if you are coming at it from a quality per pence kind of outlook but Super 8 is never going to work at that kind of level because it also tends to have all the other funky aspects like weird vintage zooms and gate wobble and other things that might be quite filmic and different but are odd from a pure idea of quality like you seem to be coming at things from. I really believe that if you are going to shoot Super 8 then you have to accept that it is Super8 and work to it's strengths rather than trying to make it be 16mm or something. Yes you can probably mount high end Cooke S4's onto a Beaulieu camera or a lencina cine special but it doesn't really make sense. By the time you have paid all the rental costs for the lenses and the adaptors and getting the beaulieu up and running you have probably paid more that just to shoot 16mm and it isn't 16mm still.

 

However that is a nutty approach to Super8. There are a lot of Super 8 cameras that have loads of features and are cheap as chips. They have weird vintage zooms but people are fighting over vintage lenses in the high end digital cinema world so why not just go with it. You don't take into account the cost of the camera which is so low that you can afford a lot of film. Running costs are low with AA batteries too. My Canon 514XL only needs 2 and runs for ages! Very easy to find at short notice too unlike V-lock batteries or something.

 

50ft of super8 Negative is $26 and 100FT of 16mm Negative stock is $46. They are about the same run time so for the same time in your film, you are nearly talking half the cost. It would be better if it was half the cost but there it is. If you shoot Tri-X then I bet the numbers are even more favorable for Super 8. Processing 200ft of Super 8 might cost 3x what you pay for 100ft of 16mm but then it is 4x the running time, so again it is cheaper. As for scanning, it depends where you go. For high end scanning I tend to find it is only slightly cheaper per minute than 16mm or even 35mm as it's all about the time on the machine and the operator. However there are a ton of cheaper options for Super 8 and as the format is able to resolve less detail to start with then using such scanning isn't as much of a hit, especially if shooting B&W reversal.

 

Yes Super8 isn't 16mm. It can't compete on the resolution per foot side of things and if you try to force it to be things it isn't then you are just shooting yourself in the foot but if you work with it as Super 8 then you can get good results for a much lower price.

 

Freya

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Well, 18fps is really a projection-only format. Your 18fps footage will be telecine'd at 24fps and then a pulldown applied to 24fps. So you will get blurred, duplicate frames in the playback. The crispness of a real 24 frame per second shoot and edit, won't exist. So I highly suggest shooting and editing @ 24fps. The cost difference up front is minimal compared to the quality loss in the back end.

 

I agree that 18fps is maybe not a good idea but my reasons are different.

The problem with 18fps is that it is difficult to make 24 or 25fps out of it.

You have to create a weird pattern of frames to get to 24 or 25fps.

The strange cadence makes the playback look stuttery and odd, this is fine if you are trying to fake a hand-crank look or odd silent film thing but maybe not for other things. Again it depends on what you are doing with it, like a lot of things. There are a lot of blanket statements that get made in the world of cinematography that are more to do with snobbery than to do with practicality and shift with the fashions of the time.

 

If you want to create a smoother look then you are ironically better shooting 12 or even 9fps! 12fps per second is best because it's just a matter of repeating every over frame. 9fps is very low on temporal resolution and will be slightly slow-mo when you add two frames for each frame to get 24 but you still maintain the flow of the frames at the same rate so to speak.

 

So only shoot 18fps if you want that distinctive odd movement look for some reason.

 

Freya

Edited by Freya Black

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