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Carlos de Varona

Scoopic MS and ultra 16

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Hey guys, so while Ive shot film in still cameras for years, Ive never really went over to motion picture film. (I shoot digital)


My questions are:


I see a lot of talk about the Scoopic MS and ultra 16. Im trying to really understand what the difference between ultra 16 and non ultra 16 is. Also, while looking for footage taken from this camera, I notice some frames are 4x4 or 4x5 and some also are 16:9 looking..


How do I make sure I get 16:9


I appreciate the help. In the meantime i will continue digging through these archives you all have made here on this great database. Thanks to all of you.



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Scoopic is a cool camera.


Ultra 16 is a modification to the original camera.


The original camera was non-ultra, or "Regular" 16mm... 1.33:1 Aspect ratio.

Ultra 16 widens the frame on both sides, aspect ratio of 1.85:1


I would post frame dimensions, but there doesn't seem to be a consistent measurement.



To make sure you get 16x9, tell the lab scanning your film that you want 16x9... OR, scan the whole thing and frame/crop in post.

Edited by Jay Young

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The Scoopic is a very interesting camera. In the U.S. it was used often by football teams shooting games for review the next week and by news crews picking up b-roll.


The later versions, the MN & MS (the black bodies) have a really great lens; I've had a few colorists ask me while in a session what lens was used due to the sharpness and color; they were always amazed that it was the built-in lens.


Ultra-16 is simply widening the gate on both sides so more of the film is exposed, giving you a wider image for transfer. It goes into the space between sprockets on that side. Advantage is that no moving of the lens mount is required; it expands equally on both sides. Some transfer systems (Spirit) have issues seeing the space between sprockets so this can be an issue.


Super 16 expands on the non-sprocket side giving you more of a 16:9 image but the lens must be re-centered over this area. Super 16 is much more of a "standard" than Ultra-16.


The advantages of the Scoopic over other similar priced cameras are:

  1. Fastest auto-loading system I've ever seen on a 16mm camera; like one of those B&H school projectors that you just slide the film into the the path and it sucks it up and threads automatically.
  2. Great lens with wide zoom range and incredible macro ability.
  3. Auto exposure. I use it to set the exposure then lock it so it doesn't "breathe". Even if you leave it in auto mode, it isn't as fast as a Super 8 camera in changing exposure so it's not that bad...but you'll want to set it and lock it most of the time.
  4. MOTOR!!! I had a K3 and my hand would literally be in pain because of the constant winding. The motor makes a huge difference.
  5. Batteries last for 5+ rolls; I've never run out of battery power on my re-celled battery. Batteries Plus+ can easily re-cell these for around $60.
  6. Easily upgraded to ultra-16
  7. The "TV Safe" lines in the viewfinder are great for framing a 16:9 crop while shooting.


  1. Nearly imposible to upgrade to Super 16. It has been done, but only at great expense and time.
  2. The 400' adapter is rare and hard to use when you find it...figure only on using 100' loads.
  3. No other lens options; stuck with built-in lens (but I love it!)
  4. Difficult to do fine adjustments to the film path...they are hard to work on.

There are a few good threads on the camera here so definitely do a search. Great camera to get into film with.

  • Upvote 1

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Thanks for all this info Jay and Will. Exactly what I needed. I guess ultra-16 isnt bad If i dont mind the film info popping up on the side.


Is your scoopic upgraded to super or ultra 16? Even if its not, do you have any sample footage I could take a look at? Thanks again!

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While I have shot Ultra-16 with this camera for years, I have never actually transferred the full Ultra-16 frame because I always used to work with a local company that had a Spirit telecine and couldn't see into that "between the sprocket" area...so it's all regular 16 cropped which still looks great. I've been shooting less 16mm and more 35 recently. I do however have a music video shoot coming up that will be done on a couple SR2's with Double-X B&W I'm looking forward to. I use the Scoopic more as a home movie camera these days.


My Scoopic MS is Ultra-16 (upgraded by Bernie at Super16Inc.com) and crystal sync. I bought it already with crystal sync so I don't know if the crystal sync company is still operating... here's there website:




Honestly though, I don't think that crystal sync is very important on this type of camera. I have another Scoopic MS without crystal and I can't really tell much difference between the two.


Here's a really short shot from the Scoopic MS. It shows the camera operating at different speeds...These are all just a home movies mostly. Don't have much call for that camera on pro jobs.



There's a little Scoopic in this:



Here's the other, non-ultra Scoopic MS I have...


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