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Samuel Berger

Double Super 8 in 2018

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Greetings, posters from the future year of 2028! By now you should have at least a few DS8 colour stocks to choose from, and I'm sure you're enjoying feeding your DS8 cameras with the best stocks available.

 

However, our timeline might be diverted from becoming your reality, if hobbyists don't do something about the dire conditions of DS8 in 2018. There have been no colour stocks for years now. Many converted Bolex H8 cameras, perfect for shooting DS8, sit unused due to the lack of film. Only Fomapan seems to still exist.

 

In all of this time, only Paul Cotto had come forward with an idea for a perforator. Well, his interests went elsewhere and no one has risen to take his place.

 

I'm sure some of our present hobbyists have thought about costs of building a perforator. What conclusions did they arrive at?

 

I think a Kickstarter should be created for a Super 8/DS8 perforator, because it can't possibly be an unattainable goal. People everywhere want more filmstock for their cameras. Perhaps it is time for hobbyists to put their heads together and take advantage of modern crowdfunding.

 

Otherwise that future of a 2028 where we are all shooting any Super 8 stock we want will be a parallel universe.

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Wittner in Germany announced a few years ago that they had acquired a perforator for DS8 and had it completely refurbished at great expense and had the intention to offer DS8 stocks.AFAIK nothing ever came of this project. If they still have the machine they're not using it.

 

Retro8 in Japan has a new perforator that seems capable of producing DS8.

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I use a nice Pathé Webo BTL (which I'm sending to overhaul). With Fomapan, of course, 30 meters, but also 10 meters, even if the Pathé can only contain 30 meters reels, I rewind the 10m reels in 30m reels.
I also know that the Retro 8 machine can cut films in DS8, since it's a Super 8 machine that forms the same holes, and doing the same on two sides of a 16mm should not be difficult.

The DS8 is a format never used properly (also for few emulsions :( ), it's great...

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Bombard Kodak with money offers. Bombard Wittner with money offers. Bombard Ilford with money offers. Buy Fomapan R. Bombard Foma Bohemia with money offers. Lend me $6,000 for tooling up my Kodak-Chalon-16mm perforator.

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Back in the 60s and 70s, DS8 was cheaper by the foot than super8 in cartridges. There was a definite economic advantage to shooting DS8. After when demand fell, it became a specialty product and DS8 became generally more expensive than super8 cartridges. Only Fomapan's prices have remained reasonable.

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Wittner did offer DS8 approx. 2014-2016. It was even listed in the new webshop until recently. MOQ was 24 rolls (IIRC). Obviously sales did not even justify to keep the product listed. Today only S8 50ft, R8 25ft, 16mm 1R 100ft+400ft and sometimes 1200ft. Thats it. No DS8, no 16mm 2R, no R8 100ft+400ft any more :-(

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Wittner did offer DS8 approx. 2014-2016. It was even listed in the new webshop until recently. MOQ was 24 rolls (IIRC). Obviously sales did not even justify to keep the product listed. Today only S8 50ft, R8 25ft, 16mm 1R 100ft+400ft and sometimes 1200ft. Thats it. No DS8, no 16mm 2R, no R8 100ft+400ft any more :-(

 

It's possible that expecting a customer to order 24 rolls at a time was a bit much.

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Bombard Kodak with money offers. Bombard Wittner with money offers. Bombard Ilford with money offers. Buy Fomapan R. Bombard Foma Bohemia with money offers. Lend me $6,000 for tooling up my Kodak-Chalon-16mm perforator.

Thai isn't much to start an enterprise. If anyone could do it I am sure you could.

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Wittner even sold off their backup machines. I.e. they had multiple.

It seems to be too much trouble for them.

 

Kodak has pancakes of 1000ft DS8 which are then split and machined into S8 cartridges.

It would be easy as pie to grab a few of these rolls and spool them onto 100ft reels :)

But likely also to them, it is too much trouble and possibly implies that they would sell less S8 cartridges.

Edited by Andries Molenaar

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Andries, I agree!

Maybe they could sell stocks in DS8 not cut in "unofficial" form (not on official site, etc.), maybe at some labs...
In some places, there was also talk about the request to Kodak of 35mm Ekta100D whole, without perforations, by laboratories that would cut them in 9.5mm.
I wonder: in these times of fast business, it's really more important to have film to create a 40-dollar cartridge, which allocate a small percentage (5%?) for a direct and paid instantly sale to a laboratory that then would sell it under another format?
Bureaucratic terms slow down this "easy" and instantaneous business?
Kodak could do an online poll (signed, by email, for not having false votes) to know the formats that buyers are interested in?
I don't understand much about economics, I'm curious, I don't want to make controversy.

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I recently spoke with my rep and a gentleman in production about a double-8 run or pulling the double super 8 before they convert it to Super 8 cartridges.

 

Basically it boils down to a lot of bureaucratic difficulty within the company. They have provided special order products like unperforated 16mm stock in the past and will consider it again as long as it doesn't interrupt factory processes too much...but even with the massive reorganization and downsizing, they haven't quite gotten to the responsiveness and nimbleness of a startup or other companies of the same size.

 

They recommended I check back after the first of the year and Ektachrome 16mm release (that's not a confirmation of a timeline by the way).

 

I would expect a minimum order of something like 10,000 feet of DS8 (which would be 20,000 once split) might be possible. That would require all DS8 enthusiasts to purchase quite a few rolls and a lot of work rolling them down to 25' and 100' reels. Not sure where you even get those supplies these days.

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Today, I contacted Mr. Robert Shanebrook, author of the authoritative "Making Kodak Film" on whether he had any insight into this. He immediately responded with a reply from Diane Carroll-Yacoby, Product Manager / Consumer & Film Division ay Kodak.

I reproduce her answer here:

 

"Hello Bob & Jean-Louis:

Thanks for your inquiry. We currently manufacture S8 film (internally) in a 1-4 configuration where the 16mm slit is perfed on both edges, then split into 8mm before spooling into the Super8 cartridges. The lengths are much longer than 400’ though. The DS8 products were discontinued because they were low volume sales.

I cannot recall a request for this (to offer something like the product noted below) in the past several years – because we actually make this slit/perf (1-4) as part of our normal operation, we “could” consider producing it for an outside customer as a “Special” or Custom” order. Yes, there are required minimums with a guideline of $25K per order (we can be somewhat flexible on this). Note that the cost per foot would be at least 20% higher than the list price of the closest stocked film – so a custom order is costly (for both the customer and Kodak, frankly).

There would be added lead time and payment would be required in advance. We would create “one time use” catalog number(s) which would be deactivated after the order was filled. If outside the United States, there could be extra duty and taxes that would be paid by the customer as well.

So, it is a bit of an ordeal to execute, but it is doable. I have coordinated a few of these “custom” type orders in my tenure as Product Manager, about the last 7 or 8 years.

Thanks again for your interest in Kodak products.

Regards,

Diane"

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I cannot recall a request for this (to offer something like the product noted below) in the past several years

 

Funny, as I just made the same request with a product manager in the motion picture division so they don't seem to talk to each other.

 

I can't get over how much of an "ordeal" it would be to spool off say 10k feet before they slit the film. What kind of ordeal are we talking? Two hours worth of work? Then typing a new catalog number into a database? The bureaucracy with this company will kill it yet.

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Funny, as I just made the same request with a product manager in the motion picture division so they don't seem to talk to each other.

 

I can't get over how much of an "ordeal" it would be to spool off say 10k feet before they slit the film. What kind of ordeal are we talking? Two hours worth of work? Then typing a new catalog number into a database? The bureaucracy with this company will kill it yet.

 

It got killed by retired employees who want their pensions (logically but cynical).

 

Of course, this yanking a few cans of DSD-8 intermediate product calling it an ordeal shows other problems. Although disappearance must be battled too :)

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25K is not a huge number to hit if it were a crowdfunded enterprise... Kickstarters that offer an actual product seem to fund very quickly. What worries me is the Product Manager's note that, "the cost per foot would be at least 20% higher than the list price of the closest stocked film".

 

I'm not great with math but here goes...

 

Ektachrome Super 8 is $40 per 50ft. roll = $.80/ft

Multiply that by 2 for the double width, add 20% = $1.92

25k divided by $1.92 = 13,020 ft of film.

That would give you about 130 spools @ 100ft each, cost per spool would be about $192.!!!

 

Argh

Edited by Webster C

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What worries me is the Product Manager's note that, "the cost per foot would be at least 20% higher than the list price of the closest stocked film".

 

I'm not great with math but here goes...

 

 

Yes, I didn't even want to try to figure out the costs of 100ft after reading that!

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