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It's true that buzz in the industry can help drive things, but a small company making limited production film products in a digital world, may not be able to afford the marketing necessary to be successful. I use the logmar example, they made a "modern" camera and nobody knows it even existed, outside of a few people on forums. The cost to market a new product would be astronomical and almost silly in a way. Super 8 is way easier to market because its retro and cool, people shoot one roll of film at a time and it's pretty inexpensive for that one roll. There are no benefits to super 8 over digital, it's just cool and Kodaks $499 camera and marketing plan has cost them quite a bit.

 

Super 16 is a different product, more expensive and more commercial then super 8. The retro feel doesn't really exist with sync sound super 16 cameras. Then you add the price of such a camera, and the market is way smaller. Again, if logmar couldn't sell 50 super 8 cameras, I doubt a $10,000+ new super 16 camera will sell any more. Also there isn't a market for low end s16 cameras as the Russian K3 segment dominates.

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Well maybe not a new machine... but what about a conversion? You can now have a wider image. That should be relatively simple. Just a little adjustment here and there...

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'New' means current and by default the majority are attracted to something new. A new camera will naturally create more interest and curiosity. But a conversion or updating and older camera is perhaps the best way to go, their are several candidates for this, we can look at a sync camera like the ACL or smaller amateur cameras, like remodeling a Bell and Howell 240. The re are many questions such as which camera and who the potential users will be.


If a larger company produces a new camera it will definitely have broader appeal. For instance, Kodak is a huge company and are in an ideal position to manufacture a new Super 8 camera. They have most likely spent a lot of money on their new Super 8 camera and may not make a direct profit from the venture, but the 'buzz' they have created, the publicity will naturally give them, film and Super 8 a huge boost, so it's worth it. After all, all sorts of people will get to hear about their new Super 8 camera.


If Arri released their 416 Super 16 camera again (unlikely), the camera will not be affordable it's not a cheap camera to make. Ikonoskop's Super 16 camera is interesting, it should have been more affordable than it was when new, it shouldn't have been as expensive, but it was, I suspect they manufactuers went overboard on making a cool looking design. I have used several, these cameras are popular with my students when I do Super 16 workshops because they are easy to use, fairly new and crucially they look modern.


The a-cam is basically like an old amateur camera from the 1950's and is limited in so many ways, while it is an electronic 'sync' camera, it is noisy, it's small and light, but it is not that easy to load film and of course it can only take 100ft loads, then there's the biggest issue, it has not got no reflex viewfinder. In my opinion all these issues can be solved at very little cost and then it will have greater appeal especially amongst the newer generation of filmmakers.


Pav

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Very interesting Pav!!! How old is the redux of the Ikonoskop camera??? I seem to recall seeing it somewhere... Yes, it has a very carry a high degree of hotness... But all that and still no reflex viewing... Would it not be top on the list to have reflex viewing and even an option for HD signal output to video assist display? I can understand the noise... but you enter a whole new level when you try to silence a mechanism the was never meant to be silent... That is the big line in the sand...

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The problem is that we already have inexpensive super 16 reflex cameras... The K3 and Bolex models are great examples. You can get a Super 16 K3 off ebay from Russia for $250 bux shipped. I've been in the camera quite a bit, converting it to motor drive wouldn't be too difficult. There is plenty of space inside the spring cavity to do that work. Making it quieter would be more of a challenge, but it's much louder then my EBM bolex.

 

How do you beat a $250 Russian Super 16 camera? You really can't, it's a heck of a deal.

 

The Ikonoskop is a joke and it was made at a time when Super 16 cameras were still very expensive. Today it's not even recognized, I keep forgetting it even exists.

 

Again... how do you beat a $250 Russian Super 16 camera?

 

If you were to make an all-new camera, even if it was a range finder, it would cost 10x that of the K3. It would probably cost more then a NEW Bolex S16 package straight from the factory! These manufacturers have already amortized the cost to develop cameras. Any new camera would be very expensive as to pay for the development cost.

 

Here is the other major problem. These older cameras have been around for decades, some of them 50 years or more. There are many places for parts and support for most of them. If you started a new company with a new camera, why would I want your product when 5 years later there is no more support and it's all one-off, so where do I get parts? This is a HUGE problem and it's a non-starter in a lot of ways. When those people who bought Logmar's, need to buy new electronics 20 years from now, they'll be poop out of luck. Where, an all-mechanical camera like the K3 will be running through the next century no problem at all.

 

So again... how do you beat a $250 Russian super 16 camera?

 

Anyone wanting to build a new camera, should really buy a S16 K3 off ebay and study the crap out of that simple design. It's a miracle the damn thing runs, but it's the simplest little wind up toy you'll see. Puts the overly complex Bolex to shame.

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The problem is that while the K3 is cheap it is 'old', I am not sure that training people with 'old' tools works ,,unless we are comfortable teaching history and how things used to be. To encourage young people to use Super 16 I think we need new tools.

 

Pav

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The problem is that while the K3 is cheap it is 'old', I am not sure that training people with 'old' tools works ,,unless we are comfortable teaching history and how things used to be. To encourage young people to use Super 16 I think we need new tools.

 

Pav

 

​All of this should be prefaced by the fact that unlike many of you, I am an amateur, the premise of anything I produce is all production money will be lost, and nothing will ever sell. So, it's easy for me to pontificate. Howver, my celluloid tower thoughts maybe useful in some small way.

 

I think the idea of hoping to appeal to modern tastes using film seems self-contradictory. Convenience, speed, economy, temporal reproducability-- these are the gods of digital technology.

 

However, as I've written elsewhere, I look at the unavoidable cost-per-minute of filming as an asset in drama. That is exactly what gives life its drama. This minute passes, and it, and the film, are gone.

 

Life never shoots the same frame twice.No matter how Herculean the effort, or how expensive the camera one uses.

 

The idea- and the feeling-- you can "do it over for free" is one of the most anti-dramatic, contrary-to-the-facts-of-life fallacies that people start to believe -- to feel -- when using digital technologies.

 

There's a limited and shrinking number of sub-30 olds who have the sense of drama and subtlety to see that the imperfect --the flawed-- and the slow can be superior in emotion. It's not just this generation, it all humanity-- we all want things easier.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_aesthetics

 

If things aren't getting better every day in every way, maybe-- just maybe-- sometimes an older, slower, more expensive, more imperfect way of doing something may be better. Not in spite of the fact it's older and slower-- but partly because of it.

 

Where is the one single frame of digital video that carries the dramatic weight within itself that this single, flawed frame does?

I've never seen one.

post-34466-0-53820800-1478424489_thumb.jpg

Edited by Alain Lumina

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OK... Guys thanks for all the wonderful feedback on this topic...

 

But here's the thing, film give you that "film look" if you will... where digital can but you gotten mess with it and know what you're trying to achieve let alone have the tools to do it... where as film just gives you that look... with all it's flaws and imperfections. You can get that charm the ability to suspend disbelief that movies deliver and that's the attraction to film. Along with the mystique of film production... most equipment has a high gee-whiz factor and that too is an attraction. As far as old vs new... well it's only money... The things is you want your camera to be reliable. That's why old equipment must be rebuilt to insure this confidence.

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But here's the thing, film give you that "film look" if you will... where digital can but you gotten mess with it and know what you're trying to achieve let alone have the tools to do it...

Digital can only to an extent. A lot of people think you somehow get a "film image" out of flat/log/raw digital in grading. From that comes "why bother with processing and scanning, pay more, hire a DP who can shoot it when you can replicate it in post".

Sure you can get pretty close on carefully shot footage. But you can't always fake it - eventually there'll be a scene where limitations of digital will show up on screen. And film stocks generally have different color and textures compared to video.

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If you only look at film with the idea of getting a film look, then you're really missing the power of the format. To me archiving/long term preservation and film's ability to be resolution agnostic, are more critical, even if highly "technical" aspects that people forget about.

 

The one thing digital can't do is breathe. Even fancy computer algorithms, muck up the most critical element of film; no two frames are the same. Film breaths, it has a life to it even if there is nothing happening on camera. Film stock is inherently imperfect, the cameras and projection systems also add a bit of imperfection. Even a dirt less, grainless piece 15/70 IMAX, still breathes life into solid images.

 

The best example of this is one of my favorite IMAX films "Rocky Mountain Express". It's one of the last movies shot entirely in 15/70 and finished photochemically. They have non-moving shots of steam engines at rest, not moving at all, yet there is so much life in them thanks to the perfectly registered, yet still moving image.

 

It doesn't matter how many tricks you add in post production, digital is incapable of delivering the same image as film. People have tried, they've experimented and honestly, many are moving back to film production. This year alone, we have seen dozens of movies originated on film, both S16 and 35. Next year alone, we have TWO huge movies being shot and distributed on 70mm. Big hollywood movies, big stars, on the big screen, using a 100+ year old technology to capture their images. Filmmakers have learned their lesson with digital; it's amazing low-light capability, simpler workflow and high resolution without the cost of large format negative.

 

Yet, it still doesn't matter unless our youth are shooting on film, unless THEY see the necessity. This is why I started my educational foundation and why I teach an all-analog filmmaking class that ALL seniors in the filmmaking program MUST take. The lessons they learn with film will hopefully open a doorway to continue shooting in the future as they become professionals. To me, equipment isn't as important because it exists! There are literally thousands of sync sound 16mm cameras around and tens of thousands MOS cameras. Cheap cameras are not a problem, but education is, understanding film and not being intimidated by it, is absolutely the key.

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If you only look at film with the idea of getting a film look, then you're really missing the power of the format. To me archiving/long term preservation and film's ability to be resolution agnostic, are more critical, even if highly "technical" aspects that people forget about.

 

The one thing digital can't do is breathe. Even fancy computer algorithms, muck up the most critical element of film; no two frames are the same. Film breaths, it has a life to it even if there is nothing happening on camera. Film stock is inherently imperfect, the cameras and projection systems also add a bit of imperfection. Even a dirt less, grainless piece 15/70 IMAX, still breathes life into solid images.

 

 

Excellent points.

 

Cheaper and cheaper hard drives are diminishing the archive advantage of film, but you still have the annoying long term overhead of keeping watch on "When exactly does this USB2 hard drive become inaccessible without exotic expense?" One has keep reviewing archives on hard drive to think about "Do I buy new hard drives now to keep this accessible?" There's no end in sight for that problem , and it's hard to deal with because it means scheduling a review every 5 years or so, easy to forget.

 

And the "breathing" is a perfect way to put the living quality film images have.

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Excellent points.

 

Cheaper and cheaper hard drives are diminishing the archive advantage of film, but you still have the annoying long term overhead of keeping watch on "When exactly does this USB2 hard drive become inaccessible without exotic expense?" One has keep reviewing archives on hard drive to think about "Do I buy new hard drives now to keep this accessible?" There's no end in sight for that problem , and it's hard to deal with because it means scheduling a review every 5 years or so, easy to forget.

 

And the "breathing" is a perfect way to put the living quality film images have.

 

Hard drives for archive? Nonsense, hard drives have a very finite life. Even sitting idle, un-powered and unconnected in a vault, the data on the platters and the physical drive itself becomes less reliable day after day. This has been discussed before.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2062254/25-000-drive-study-shines-a-light-on-how-long-hard-drives-actually-last.html

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Where it's true, the actual magnetic data on the platters doesn't change. The mechanics of the drive do fail and fail often. I've been in the computer industry for a very long time and the amount of "archive" drives which have crossed my desk, would make you never want to use a hard drive. I've seen entire raid arrays go bad AT THE SAME TIME because the drives were made around the same time and they all went bad at the same time.

 

Drives in a raid array, running 24/7 generally run 3 - 5 years without an issue. You can actually BANK on more then 3 years, but much after and they start to fail. The first thing that happen is very basic data corruption of the directory block, which makes the drive slowly stop working. A bad directory block drive will go bad very quickly, usually a few months and it will be toast. Yes you can send the drive for data recovery, but sometimes it's very expensive. I use to specialize in data recovery and it's very time consuming. Files come off corrupt and need substantial code variations to work again. I actually co-designed a program back in the Mac OS 9 days, which fixed these issues, but that was in the 90's.

 

Drives that sit on shelves, fail because the motor bearings cease and the motor can't spin. This blows up the main board on the drive and that's it, drive is toast. Outside of customers brining in drives with this very problem (we call it stiction), I've personally seen this happen on drives over 7 years of age. This is a much harder thing to deal with because without mechanics that spin the disks and without a main circuit board that works, you're kinda screwed. Even the top data recovery places, struggle to get data off drives like that, though most of the time, it's doable for a hefty fee.

 

Today drives are made cheaper and cheaper, entirely by machines and the test cycles are generally only 24hrs. They map bad blocks and ship them. Also, since data density has increased, a single platter can now contain 2TB, which is quite amazing. This will lead to more serious tracking issues up the road and those higher density drives will most likely last a shorter MTBF. Everything is also switching over to SSD, which is a non-starter for the data recovery business. Unlike spinning disks, SSD's are small raid arrays with a bunch of memory which is raided together as raid 0. If one of those memory chips has a small hiccup, you permanently loose all data. SSD's have huge problems with rapid read and write processes like swap files which are used by the system as memory. SSD's can't erase the old files fast enough, as hard drives simply "forget" the location of data, writing over the same spot with new data, SSD's have to actually write zero's over old data before they can write new data. So sure, SSD's are fast, but when they get full, they get super slow and if you fill them to capacity, they will stop working entirely.

 

Now everyone has different experiences and not every drive is considered the same. I have drives that are 15 years old that still work fine, made in a time period where platter density was around 10gb and testing/block mapping took place over weeks, not hours. I personally go through a set of raid drives every 3 - 5 years. Once one fails, the others fail soon after and luckily I have everything backed up, but how many drives does one need? I shoot HD 1080p Pro Res 220 personally, so I don't need a lot of storage. I have 5, 2TB 2.5" portable USB drives in my safe and that's my backup of raw material. Finals are spread across three other drives, one back in Boston that bring with me every year and store in my parents safe. Yet, any one of those drives could go bad at any minute and I'd be out the data. The only solution is to backup on multiple drives, store them in different sealed locations and run them on a regular basis to insure the platters don't stick. Then it's down to luck... which is a huge problem.

 

Film? Well... I run an archive that's from the 70's and it's been stored on the top shelf of a garage, in the SO Cal sun since it was originally shot and all of it's good. Colors are perfect, no warping or sticking either. So roughly 40 years sitting in the baking So Cal sun and it's fine. Yes, it's mostly Kodak color reversal of one kind or another, which from my experience, seems to retain colors over a longer period of time then negative. Still at the rate technology is moving forward, we will not be able to use storage mediums from today 40 years from now. None of what we have today, computers, telephones, hard drives, SSD's, none of it will be workable 40 years from now. Yet, all of the film you have will be just as relevant in 40 years as it is today. If dooms day happens and almost the entire population is wiped off this earth. There will be some underground storage facility full of film and you can still watch it by holding it up to some light and sliding it through your fingers. After our civilization is long gone, it will survive as a permanent record, not some in-between technology like modern computers use.

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