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Samuel Berger

Kodak's New Super 8 Camera Update

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Too many cooks. Kodak said they were listening to input from filmmakers. That's the mistake that created a camel, which is nothing but a horse designed by a committee, and then broke its back.

 

$3000 for a Super 8 camera? How many Coppolas are there to buy this?

 

When they said it was around $750 that sounded doable. Now they'd better absolutely stun everyone or this will be the nail in the coffin.

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This new camera doesn't really offer anything that doesn't already exist

The sync sound and max gate are are all i'm really after apart from my existing cameras. Pro8mm is already selling rebuilt cameras with crystal sync and max gate for $2500-$3000. The Logmar was selling for $3800. How do they NOT know there is no market for 2000 cameras at that price? I sent them an email with my 2 cents and that's all there getting unless they sell it at a realistic price.

https://www.pro8mm.com/collections/super-8-cameras

Edited by Anthony Schilling

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The sync sound and max gate are are all i'm really after apart from my existing cameras.

But the camera makes too much noise to be a "sync sound" camera.

 

Are you going to shoot with a 50mm lens and put a coat over the camera body when you shoot interior dialog scenes?

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But the camera makes too much noise to be a "sync sound" camera.

 

Are you going to shoot with a 50mm lens and put a coat over the camera body when you shoot interior dialog scenes?

 

Where did you hear the camera? As far as I know they haven't reached a release version yet, so maybe quieting down the movement is in the works.

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But the camera makes too much noise to be a "sync sound" camera.

 

Are you going to shoot with a 50mm lens and put a coat over the camera body when you shoot interior dialog scenes?

I have a 66mm zoom ready for it, but i have a long history of shooting live music on film where camera noise doesn't come through. Syncing has always been a pain staking task. If it is quiet enough, or blimpable, Doing a sync dialog short on S8 would be a lot of fun.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Nh9BTMWj9M

 

I'm a bit confused, when I look at the Logmar footage that is posted on YouTube, it looks great. But then when I really study it, and notice the sprocket holes that are projected on the left side of the image, the sprocket hole is moving around all over the place. If that is actually a projection of the sprocket hole in the film (and not some artifact from the telecine or some other process), that image is not registered well at all. The whole point of a registration pin (and the side rail and pressure plate) in a motion picture camera is to place the captured image in the exact same location, frame after frame, relative to the edges of the film and the sprocket hole. The fact that the sprocket holes on that test footage, seem to be moving all over the place, tells me that the registration is off.

 

You can lay one frame on top of the next, frame by frame, in a very tedious, time consuming process, after the film is scanned, and you will get what looks like perfect registration. That is what it looks like was done with that test footage. Having proper registration, proper tension of the side rail, and proper tension on the pressure plate all adds up to having each frame on the film landing in the exact same spot, in relation to the sprocket hole/film edge, thereby negating the need for tedious, time consuming frame alignment.

 

If that truly is a projected image of the sprocket holes on that piece of Super 8 footage, that film is not registered properly at all.

 

Best,

-Tim

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Nh9BTMWj9M

 

You can lay one frame on top of the next, frame by frame, in a very tedious, time consuming process, after the film is scanned, and you will get what looks like perfect registration.

 

There's no need to manually place frames. You stabilize it with a tracker in AE or Nuke or any number of different programs.

 

But yeah good point.

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We've had this discussion many times. It's impossible to get a stable image from super 8 and the only reason the Logmar looks good is because it has a real pressure plate AND the scan fixes all the frame wobble that's inherent with the format.

 

Again, had the Logmar mechanics been in the new Kodak camera, even if it were $2500 bux, that would make sense. The fact the new Kodak camera relies on the cartridge pressure plate, is going to kill any stability. Someone has posted the samples here before and they don't really look any different then a Beaulieu with a good lens.

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I have a 66mm zoom ready for it, but i have a long history of shooting live music on film where camera noise doesn't come through. Syncing has always been a pain staking task. If it is quiet enough, or blimpable, Doing a sync dialog short on S8 would be a lot of fun.

Yea music video stuff and shoots where dialog isn't critical, it can work.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Nh9BTMWj9M

 

I'm a bit confused, when I look at the Logmar footage that is posted on YouTube, it looks great. But then when I really study it, and notice the sprocket holes that are projected on the left side of the image, the sprocket hole is moving around all over the place.. The fact that the sprocket holes on that test footage, seem to be moving all over the place, tells me that the registration is off.

 

According to the youtube notes by Friedeman:

"The clip was stabilized (tracking marker put on the frameline) since the scanner software used currently does not register based on the +2 sprocket hole, but on the sprocket hole next to the visible frame. You can see how bad the sprockets in this cartridge were if you watch the weaving sprocket hole on the left. "

 

If you use a different sprocket to register the scan than the one used by the camera you will introduce weave that can exist in the film itself.

 

Stabilizing in post is pretty simple anyway, but I think the remarkable thing about this footage is how sharp and clear Super 8 can look. A registration pin doesn't just act to stabilise the image from frame to frame, but (along with the pressure plate) keeps the film rock steady during the individual frame exposure, which is really what we're seeing here compared to most Super 8 footage that can also be stabilised in post but doesn't usually look this sharp.

 

We've had this discussion many times. It's impossible to get a stable image from super 8 and the only reason the Logmar looks good is because it has a real pressure plate AND the scan fixes all the frame wobble that's inherent with the format.

 

Again, had the Logmar mechanics been in the new Kodak camera, even if it were $2500 bux, that would make sense. The fact the new Kodak camera relies on the cartridge pressure plate, is going to kill any stability. Someone has posted the samples here before and they don't really look any different then a Beaulieu with a good lens.

 

Well yeah, Super 8 is not generally a format designed for super sharp imagery. I'm actually amazed how sharp it sometimes is with those old plastic cameras.

 

But that's the format, and it's what people expect from Super 8. The cartridge makes it quick and easy to load, and keeps things compact. The Logmar requires threading and space for the sprockets, it's no longer really S8, you may as well shoot S16.

 

Super 8 carts don't actually have a pressure plate, just a fixed film channel slightly thicker than the film itself, so you can potentially get focus breathing within that channel as well as vertical movement during exposure. Only the side rail pressure and the design of the film path inside the cart act to stop the take-up from pulling on the film during exposure, there's no fixed loop as such. But a well-designed new camera should be able to get the most out of the format, and a good scan will make it look stable. I just wish (like everyone here) they could have kept the cost below a grand.

 

If they can keep camera noise to a minimum the sound recording aspect will be a big advantage.

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Just want to chime in here. Super 8 cartridges DO have a pressure plate. It's actually quite substantial which a thick spring behind it. I am amazed at how durable this disposable cartridge is. I have kept a couple around for over OVER 30 years which I have reloaded and they have run fine every time. So much for a cheap piece of plastic; it's well engineered despite some of it's drawbacks. Lastly, keep in mind THIS is the SUPER 8 part of the Cinematography dot com site....so those respected folks that want to bash the film for whatever reason, please just go to the format you love best. And please stop telling us fans of this format to use Standard 8mm or 16mm etc.......we KNOW all that....we KNOW the limitations of this format, and this is what we chose and want to share information to help each other out in keeping Super 8mm film alive and using it to the best of our abilities. We also KNOW that IF the format had been designed differently for film transport it could be better, steadier, stabler, more professional etc, but it is what it is. I mean, none of us are going to the 16mm and 35mm sections of Cinematography dot com and telling those fine venerable folks to not do this or that, or that using their format or certain cameras is total crap etc. Let's be reasonable, so, add to this site to support Super 8mm or just not say anything negative (unless of course, you're discussing negative filmstocks). Just my opinion, I don't want to step on any toes here, but....this IS the Super 8mm area.

 

In all my years in working with Super 8mm (aside from other formats all the way up to 70mm), it has always been fun. I have seen some incredibly sharp films on various filmstocks in Super 8mm. Some of my own films that I had shot in CinemaScope using an Anamorphic lens and projected onto screens up to 24ft wide, had to be pretty steady in image registration and projection otherwise viewers would get sick. Some simple cameras have also produced very nice sharp images, such as the very basic ones made by Haking in Hong Kong for GAF, Halina and others using a manual exposure setting via the Waterhouse Stop wheel method.

 

There is so much you can do in Super 8mm, and KODAK realizes this, thus all their work in getting a camera back into the market. I would've like to see perhaps a much lower cost camera as well, in addition to their electronic hybrid one that's coming out soon. However, they probably feel there's a glut of such cameras remaining in the hands of most of us, so they are putting all their sticks in one basket here for now at least. This camera will have some similarities to the LOGMAR, but it will NOT be a LOGMAR. And the LOGMAR has some similarities to the former MEKEL Super 8mm pin registered camera that was custom made in California, had C-mount lenses and a similar film path where the film was pulled from the cartridge and hand threaded thru sprockets, rollers and the film gate. The new upcoming KODAK camera is designed to make filming fun and easy via their long running Super 8 Cartridge design. Only time will tell how well the new camera will sell. More importantly for many of us, will be having Color Reversal EKTACHROME film to use. So, let's keep this Super 8mm section, for Super 8mm. Thanks.

 

P.S. Perhaps there should be a Double 8mm (aka Regular 8imm, Standard 8mm, Normal 8mm) section....and one for 9.5mm since eventually there will be film available for Nine Fivers again, as we're all hoping.

Edited by Martin Baumgarten
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Just want to chime in here. Super 8 cartridges DO have a pressure plate. It's actually quite substantial which a thick spring behind it. I am amazed at how durable this disposable cartridge is. I have kept a couple around for over OVER 30 years which I have reloaded and they have run fine every time. So much for a cheap piece of plastic; it's well engineered despite some of it's drawbacks.

 

I'm sorry, Martin, but it's not a pressure plate. Super 8 cartridges have a sprung plate but it's not a pressure plate that presses on the film like those in standard 8, 16 and 35mm cameras. Those are highly polished metal plates with specific spring pressure to keep the film steady while still allowing it to slide past during the pulldown phase.

 

The sprung plate in a Super 8 cart presses up against the gate to form the film channel, but exerts no pressure on the film itself. It's just a means of ensuring that the film channel is formed.

 

See: http://www.cinematography.com/index.php?showtopic=59680

and: http://www.cinematography.com/index.php?showtopic=60409&page=22&do=findComment&comment=398623

 

Lastly, keep in mind THIS is the SUPER 8 part of the Cinematography dot com site....so those respected folks that want to bash the film for whatever reason, please just go to the format you love best. And please stop telling us fans of this format to use Standard 8mm or 16mm etc.......we KNOW all that....we KNOW the limitations of this format, and this is what we chose and want to share information to help each other out in keeping Super 8mm film alive and using it to the best of our abilities. We also KNOW that IF the format had been designed differently for film transport it could be better, steadier, stabler, more professional etc, but it is what it is. I mean, none of us are going to the 16mm and 35mm sections of Cinematography dot com and telling those fine venerable folks to not do this or that, or that using their format or certain cameras is total crap etc. Let's be reasonable, so, add to this site to support Super 8mm or just not say anything negative (unless of course, you're discussing negative filmstocks). Just my opinion, I don't want to step on any toes here, but....this IS the Super 8mm area.

 

I hope you don't believe my comments were bashing Super 8, I apologise if anything I wrote seemed to be doing so.

 

You're absolutely right, it is what it is - easy and fun, full of character, a fantastic gateway into filmmaking and a valid hobby in itself. All I was suggesting was that if people are hung up on getting super sharp imagery then they should probably look to another format. I think it's valid to describe how the transport system works, as a way of explaining why it isn't a format that can be expected to consistently deliver sharp imagery. That isn't putting it down, it's just being honest about what it is.

 

I agree that we shouldn't disparage Super 8 for not being something else.

 

 

P.S. Perhaps there should be a Double 8mm (aka Regular 8imm, Standard 8mm, Normal 8mm) section....and one for 9.5mm since eventually there will be film available for Nine Fivers again, as we're all hoping.

 

Though I love Standard 8 I think a separate section for that format would be very quiet.. and I can't remember ever even seeing a 9.5mm question on this forum!

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Okay, sorry to have opened up a can of worms here. As a camera repair technician with over 45 years experience as well in 8mm, Super 8mm, 9.5mm, 16mm, 65mm & 70mm(later on), I've known all about the Super 8mm cartridge design. I just didn't want to get into such great detail since this topic has been explored and explained before by some of our very experienced and knowledgable folks on this group. That one threat went on for ages, but it was good!

 

So, yes, the Super 8 cartridge does NOT have a true pressure plate, its just a pressure pad, to create a thin channel with minimal friction so the film passes thru etc etc. I've experimented in the past with grinding down the pressure pad support nibs on the film gate, and reducing the pressure pad tension in the cartridge (since I have opened thousands of these in processing film, and saved hundreds for reuse, so I'm quite intimate with the design from a practical point of view). But, this type of reworking is for experimenters since the reality is, we have to work with the design the way it was setup. I doubt the new KODAK Super 8 can be much different in the gate since it will be designed to work with the existing cartridges.

 

When I first experimented in slitting down and reloading DS8 FOMAPAN to load into the Super 8 cartridge, I noticed the considerably thicker film and was worried a bit by the increased friction in the "channel" since it would be thicker than the space alloted. Via some silicone wiped on the gate and on the pressure pad in the cartridge, the film ran thru fine. FOMAPAN is now available in the Super 8 cartridge from some vendors having been custom ordered that way for those that are interested. Anyhow, while there is that "breathing" room for the Super 8mm film to glide thru the "channel" setup, it is truly a very tiny amount. I have noticed over the years that various Super 8mm cameras have a different width/depth to this "channel" created by the pressure pad resting on the nibs on the film gate. Some have the top nib higher to allow for an angled entry to the gate, and of course, most of the metal gates are better than their plastic counterparts in other cameras. So much of this is all part of that other thread which was a precursor to before the LOGMAR camera was introduced. So, perhaps enough said on that. I do wish to thank everyone that has chimed in here with valuable comments both for practical use as well as the technical side.

 

I do hope that once EKTACHROME 100D is released, we will see it again in Double 8mm, DS8mm, 16mm (maybe in 9.5mm also from those that can slit and perf it) as well as in Super 8mm and 35mm slide film which are the first ones that it will appear in. Hey, long live film!

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I dedicated the best years of my life to Super 8. Then I got out of it when a telecine transfer service lost over a decade of my life on film. Thousands of feet gone forever. It took a long time for me to come back to it.

 

Was it Super 8's fault? No, but it was too painful to start over.

Edited by Samuel Berger

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I think Martin's comments are spot on. While one can be critical of aspects of the format, there is absolutely no point posting consistently negative comments about Super 8.

 

Until recently there was a magazine in the the UK published quarterly concerned only with film making. The main contributor had virtually nothing good to say about Super 8, even though it appeared he often used it. Much attention was also given to equipment that was extremely rare or for which film was extremely difficult to obtain. One wondered why the only magazine in the UK dedicated to the use of film could not focus instead on encouraging newcomers to take up film making.

 

There surely can be no question that Super 8 is superior to Standard 8? The frame size is larger, the film is designed to be striped in the logical place away from the sprocket holes, the splices are made between the frames and not through the sprocket holes. In addition, there are high specification projectors that can be used for Super 8 which are not available in Standard 8 and there is a greater choice in film stock now available. If you don't want to use a cartridge, there are several Double Super 8 cameras to chose from of a spec.at least equal to anything manufactured for Standard 8.

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I think Martin's comments are spot on. While one can be critical of aspects of the format, there is absolutely no point posting consistently negative comments about Super 8.

 

Until recently there was a magazine in the the UK published quarterly concerned only with film making. The main contributor had virtually nothing good to say about Super 8, even though it appeared he often used it. Much attention was also given to equipment that was extremely rare or for which film was extremely difficult to obtain. One wondered why the only magazine in the UK dedicated to the use of film could not focus instead on encouraging newcomers to take up film making.

 

There surely can be no question that Super 8 is superior to Standard 8? The frame size is larger, the film is designed to be striped in the logical place away from the sprocket holes, the splices are made between the frames and not through the sprocket holes. In addition, there are high specification projectors that can be used for Super 8 which are not available in Standard 8 and there is a greater choice in film stock now available. If you don't want to use a cartridge, there are several Double Super 8 cameras to chose from of a spec.at least equal to anything manufactured for Standard 8.

I think you may be misinterpreting Martin.

His point is that the pressure plate problem is an inherent limitation of the Super-8 cartridge which was designed in at a time when it wasn't relevant to the way in which the format was used.

Now that Super-8 is never projected, striped or spliced, its limitations are crystallised. OTOH because so few stocks are available in 8mm, its advantage is moot.

Edited by Mark Dunn

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I heard from a reliable source that the new Kodak camera; made by Logmar; will not have the gate and pin registration system of their premium camera. This source also indicated that the premium Logmar camera had issues with the pin registration function. It's really too bad that the turnaround time to receive/process Single 8 film seems to take so long. That is the format I would go with. I have 3 Z800's I would really like to use and would love to get a ZC1000. Right now, I think I'm going to go with my Beaulieu 4008ZMII; using Nikon AL-S primes. Carroll Ballard used Nikons on his Eclair for some of his classic feature films. That Logmar footage is amazing, though! Some shots almost look 3 dimensional. It must have some good glass on it! When R8mm starts becoming more available; I'll start using my Jean Louis Seguin modified Bolex Ultrapan 8 camera again.

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It's really too bad that the turnaround time to receive/process Single 8 film seems to take so long.

This has not been my experience. Once I was able to get in touch with Tak from Retro8, I ordered on a Friday, received it on Tuesday. The DHL service they use is pretty fast!

The ZC-1000 is why I returned to the hobby and I'll soon be using the Canon 814XLS again, for 500T film.

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There surely can be no question that Super 8 is superior to Standard 8?

 

Uh oh..

 

Without needlessly criticising Super 8 (cough), I would beg to differ, but it's true that the lack of film stock options for Standard 8 now does make Super 8 a much more versatile format. Hopefully the return of colour reversal will include Standard 8, which would remedy that a lot. I personally only shoot it for projection, so I don't care about negative options.

 

Super 8 really is all about ease of use - snap loading, auto exposure, zoom lenses, battery driven, reflex viewfinders. I don't think image quality is necessarlly superior just because of the expanded frame area - as discussed there are drawbacks with the S8 transport system, as well as the fixed zooms, the plastic materials and the viewfinder prisms in the light path. I've seen excellent footage from both formats, as well as terrible.

 

For me the charm of Standard 8 is in its reflection of the original 16mm format it derived from, the well-made cameras, the manual workflow, the interchangeable prime lenses, the spring motors, the spool loading and associated flashes and fades. It's a step back in time to a different era, before modernity really struck. It's certainly not everyone's cup of tea, but hardly inferior. As a technician I appreciate how much easier Standard 8 cameras are to service and bring back to excellent condition. As a student of cinematographical history, the cameras span a history of amateur filmmaking from the early 30s to the late 60's, which gives them an incredible variety of design.

 

There were some excellent projectors made for Standard 8, I own a Bolex M8 and an 18-5 and they are both superb. I've projected my films dozens of times with no scratching whatsoever.

 

Like anything, there are pros and cons, but the superiority of Super 8 over its older sister is very far from being without question.

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This has not been my experience. Once I was able to get in touch with Tak from Retro8, I ordered on a Friday, received it on Tuesday. The DHL service they use is pretty fast!The ZC-1000 is why I returned to the hobby and I'll soon be using the Canon 814XLS again, for 500T film.

Unfortunately, I had bad luck on my first order; which was lost; after I paid for film and processing.(Shipped Japanese Sea Post) After I paid for a second cartridge; Tak shipped it DHL; only because the first one was lost. He explained that DHL was normally quite a bit extra. The U.S. Postal service told me that 13 days was normal for regular mail between Japan and the U.S.

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